Scaled Down Scales
Vryloka Merchenary Ardent, with a penchant for demanding more and more gold.
None-too-bright, Grigore’s constant attempts to show that he is not a vampire only serve to increase the concerns of those he is trying to convince. Indeed, Jerath has commented: “I think the Vryloka protests too much.”
His endless greed seems worse then even the most miserly Robber baron, as he keeps being heroically ignored by his comrades riotous refusal to even discus who gets what magical items.
“Hope has no hold when I am near…er”
— Grigore Goldforge
But worst of all is his ridiculous delusions of ever uniting the party under his banner. Getting worse and worse by the day, his petty dreams of protecting the softer members of his party, whilst rallying the tougher ones, serves only to exacerbate his ludicrous self involvement. The audacity with which he demands sound strategy and fare loot distribution only seems to anger his comrades and deepen their resentment towards him.
“I mean, despair has no hold when I am near. That’s it.”
— Grigore Goldforge
On top of all this he pretends to protect his so called friends by healing every little scrape and bruise. Even when they demand he stop, the fool throws himself in harms way no matter the odds of his survival, all in attempt to disguise his own selfish cowardice and pathetic weakness. These sad silly dreams are coupled with his fantasy of his survival and the accomplishment of his life’s goal before the Raven Queen calls him home.
But at least he not bitter, give him that.
“I’m still getting used to this Argent Soul stuff.”
— Grigore Goldforge
Indeed, any bitterness he might have previously felt has given way to the boundless optimism of an Argent Soul: He has become a brilliant vessel, embodying hope, joy and the boundless confidence of his daughter (at least since he was re-united with his family).
Now that his sleep is no longer wracked by dreams of his family in the Shadowfell, Grigore’s presence lifts his allies spirits. On the battlefield he washes away despair, dispells their doubts, and fuels their passions.
As an Argent Soul, he has an uncommonly pure soul (which sometimes only his wife can remind him of). He sees the best in every situation, finding solutions where others find only defeat. He can understand this in the denizens of Gloomwrought (like his parents), but he has a hard time fathoming it in those who are born to less dismal climes.
Melancholy has no hold on him since he realized it can be exploited. He has vowed to never let anyone use it against him again. He understands this even applies to the economic realm (where Depression can beget depression which begets more Depression, and vice versa).
Grigore has sworn to use his optimism to burn away the grief in those around him. His fellows find his good nature infectious and strive to rise to his example. He hopes this will help them avoid being exploited by the those who might take advantage of their melancholy.
The road to becoming an Argent Soul has not been easy for Grigore. He was not simply born a good and wholesome person, untouched by the horrors around him. For there were horrors aplenty in the Shadowfell where he grew up.
“I would do that as willingly as one would kill a fly. Hmm, wait a minute, have I heard that somewhere before?”
— Grigore Goldforge
Even once he left Gloomwrought, those horrors preyed on his mind and on his dreams. For he had left his family behind in the gloom. Sometimes it seemed the Red Witch (as the Raven Queen is known among his people) sought to purify his soul by sending him to sunnier climes his family had little hope of ever witnessing.
But when Madras Kalgore and Grigore’s own nemesis (Roland) brought his wife and children away from the Dust Quarter (a wealthy section of Gloomwrought in the Shadowfell), he realized that even the most sinister of beings might bring light into someone’s life. And he began his journey on the path to Argent.
He knows that he has far to travel on that path, but he is confident the journey will be worth it.
“Roland killed Belinda’s father? I always knew that bastard was no good for her!”
— Grigore Goldforge
The Last Crusade of Carl Johan Goldforge
As the last living member of the fated Goldforge crusade, I am compelled to recite my time with them. I could go all the back to the beginning, but that’s for other scholars, my insight into his life comes at the end.
I remember when I first met Carl. He came to my village with a small party of battered adventurers. They all were lugging large sacks of loot, as they trudged past me a wagon full of glittering gold, and dazzling gems and wondrous items ranging from shining armor to radiant weapons pulsing with unknown magic’s. They were on their way to the big city and stayed at the local inn. I remember imagining how fun it would be to sneak into that wagon, to be part of one of his great expeditions.
When I finished my apprenticeship with the old blacksmith back home, I was ready to ply my trade in some far of land, to see new people and find adventure in some foreign exotic place. Though fate, it seemed, had other plans, as when I made ready to leave the blacksmith died and my village had need of my services. I was forced to stay
Yes, I could have left, but what kind of man abandons his loved ones for selfish gains, certainly not I.
After many years I had given up my dreams of adventure, but instead took an apprentice of my own. I worked the forg as best I could, but found my passion laid more with cooking thou my apprentice leaned the trade far better than I and in no time had learned all I could teach him. Then came time for him to leave, he didn’t want to go, but the town had no need for two blacksmiths. Then I thought back to my dreams of adventure and offered my forge to the lad and asked if wished to replace me instead, he gratefully agreed and married a local farm girl, explaining his reluctance to leave.
Unrestricted, I went to leave for fortune and glory, only to find fear and uncertainty in my heart. The thought of leaving now seemed the greatest doom I had ever faced and so I stayed. The months rolled by as I stayed to “acclimate” my apprentice to the forge, he already knew more about it than I did by this point. Then one muggy day the Carl Johan Goldforge came through town again, I watched them roll through all the members of his party had aged or were replaced by new faces, but Goldforge was exactly as I remembered him. It was strange, but then I felt the youthful vigor fill me again.
In the town center GoldForge gathered a crowed and asked for volunteers for one of the greatest expeditions he had ever set upon. He needed a cook, a blacksmith, a scribe and any able bodied man willing to learn soldiering, I volunteered for everything. Goldforge loved my cooking and found my smithing to be more than adequate, but I knew nothing of being a scribe. Goldforge found no other scribe, blacksmith and no one else’s cooking compared to my own and so I was the only one he needed and aside from some burly farm hands who decided horse mucking sounded less interesting than soldiering, who could blame them.
The expedition commenced and with it all my dreams of adventure came true. I quickly made friends by turning even the most unflattering meal into gourmet, the ranger in our midst showed me what herbs where edible and caught the party fresh game. The warriors found my repairs great exclaiming my name after every victory, as for scribing Goldforg taught me all I need to know, but I kept going, learning even more helping to identify wondrous items even he could not identify.
After a yearlong trip which I will say was the greatest time of my life, we finally reached an ancient tomb. The place was overgrown and decrepit. Many started talking of turning back, but Carl Johan Goldforge refused and convinced them all to stay. I would rather have died then and there than turn back, though at least I would have died happy.
The first level of the tomb was infested with cobalts, vile little creatures, I always had an affinity for dragonborn and reptiles alike, but these were the most despicable things I had ever met. The fighting didn’t last long and we set up camp in the entrance, Carl warned us this place would be filled with numerous horrors and we would handle each level slowly and methodically.
The second floor had yet more cobalts, but they had managed to set up fiendish traps and ambushes, I then had to learn the healing arts from Carl, he was an ardent, but thought having two healers was better for everyone. On top of all this we lost two of our number, one of them was our farm hand and the other was a bard who kept our spirits high, I naturally started making bad jokes to raise moral, it was less than successful until Carl shared with me some of his best jokes, I never knew why he didn’t tell them himself.
Four days in and we had made little progress into the third level which had been populated by lurching zombies and mind bending puzzles. Finally though we had reached the fourth level and met no resistance, the party thought we had finally reached the treasure, but Carl Johan Goldforge knew better. He explained the nature of dungeons and the less enemy’s there were, the tougher and more devious the denizens. Thou we pressed on I wish we had not, Carl by this point had managed to keep us alive and I asked him how. He explained that his quick wits allowed him to formulate proper plans, and his armor were the reason.
He explained that he had three blacksmith brothers, they were masters of arms and armor, that by giving Carl their very best equipment they advertised to all who saw his prowess, the craftsmanship of his equipment be showcased, Aside from that they did not want Carle to die.