The Singing Mercenaries
The Singing Mercenaries
The Singing Mercenaries are a group of adventurers currently operating in the Nentir Valley of the Kingdom of Nerath. They were brought together and lead by the gnome bard Winward in the year 331 of Nerath.
Winward had lead an eventful life, to say the least, during the first 96 years of his life. However, the destruction of the Gnomish Village by the Gnomes’ hated enemies, the Fomorians, left Winward alone in the world, forced to wander. He chanced upon Valmir shortly after the Village’s destruction. The Fey have a strong connection to the Elderwild Forest, and at the whim of Valmir’s Fey patron, he was deposited within the forest, only to be attacked by a Fomorian giant just leaving the slaughter at the Village. Winward chanced upon the battling, and, with his hatred of Fomorians rising, aided the warlock in slaying the beast. Realizing their common enemy in Fomorians, as Valmir was beholden to the Fey, Winward recruited Valmir to form the group that would eventually be known as the Singing Mercenaries. It is unclear at this point how and why Winward and Valmir traveled so far south from the Elderwild Forest.
The group first gained fame in the Nentir Valley, and are known among some of the Lord Marshalls of Nerath, due to their stopping a cult of Orcus’s from taking over the Lord Warden’s place in Fallcrest. They are hailed as heroes by the Markelhays and the Dwarves of Hammerfast, although Sirius Valorfast holds them responsible for the death of his son. Because of this recognition, they were asked by both the dwarves and elves for aid against evil threatening the two races. From Fallcrest, the Singing Mercenaries traveled to the elven forest of Narlasil, where they assisted Narlasil’s Eternal Defender in his quest to save the forest from an evil corruption that was spreading through the forest and slowly killing it. They managed to save the forest and stop the corruption by entering the ancient ruins of the Jinrai and stopping the machinations of cultists of Orcus. After their adventures in Narlasil, the group traveled northeast into the Dawnforge Mountains in order to seek help from a temple of Bahamut. While they were able to stop the evil assaulting the temple, the temple was destroyed as a result. The Singers proceeded back to the forest in search of further answers, but were eventually met by Valmir, who needed their help in aiding his now-revealed master, the Prince of Frost. This took them into the Feywild, where they braved the secrets of the Grove of Graves, an ancient Eladrin burial place. Although the Singers solved its puzzles and completed Valmir’s task, they were rewarded by being thrown into the Void between the planes by the Prince of Frost. Eventually they escaped the Void, and found themselves in Sigil. They are currently investigating an evil that is stalking Sigil.
The original members of the Singing Mercenaries are Winward, Valmir, Tattered Onion and Thorn. Jett joined the group shortly after their arrival in Fallcrest, after being introduced to the original members by the Ebon Griffin’s proprietor. Shikou happened upon the Singers during the their first encounter with a mysterious order at the Half League Inn, and decided to stick with them, seeing as they had a knack for getting into trouble and he was looking for challenges. Shalazar fell in with the group after they aided him against some abomination, as described in Chance Meetings. Mark 9 joined the group out of his programmed duties to aid them in making their way through ancient, arcane ruins. Nyktas joined the Singers after they rescued him from a strange torture device within the tower of the Jinrai. The Singers were guided by supposed, half-elf named Variel who eventually betrayed them. Hemerias joined the group in the Feywild, after tracking them for many days and murdering Nyktas, whom he sought revenge upon.
Valmir joined with Winward as described above, and is one of the original members of the Singing Mercenaries. He was with the party until their revelation that Narlasil was under the control of Orcus cultists and vampires. He aided the elves in creating a portal, but upon its completion was taken by his master, the Prince of Frost. He reappeared before the Singers asking their aid in a task for the Pale Prince, but once the task was complete, he was whisked away by his master, while the other Singers were sent hurtling into the Void between the planes.
Shikou joined the party after realizing they had a knack for getting into trouble, and that he would have plenty of fights thrown his way if he stuck around. He stuck with them through the events in Fallcrest, and traveled with them to the elven lands of Narlasil. He was infected with Moon Frenzy during a fight with a werewolf, and was eventually reduced to a blood-crazed beserker, and the party was forced to leave him in the care of a mysterious elf in the northern swamps of Narlasil.
Shalazar, a Dragonborn avenger, joined the party after they aided him in the woods of Narlasil as described in Chance Meetings. He continued traveling with them until a mysterious Draconic artifact transported him to an unknown destination.
Tattered Onion, a Goliath barbarian, was the third member of the Singers, recruited in a mountain tavern just north of the Elven forests shortly after Winward and Valmir met. He traveled with the party up until the events of Dark Portents. At some point prior to then, he developed a case of explosive hemorrhoids. Tattered also fell on a spike that Shikou had left lying around as part of a training exercise, crippling the Goliath in the short term. He took after the party from Fallcrest once he recovered, but was captured by strange green creatures in the forests of Narlasil. He helped the party escape, but got lost in the woods again. He managed to reconnect with the rest of the group after they had opened up the ruins of the Jinrai and has remained with them since.
Mark 9 joined the group after they chanced upon the ruins he was programmed to be custodian of. He assisted them in solving the puzzle to gain access to the ruins, and also defeating his brethren, who acted as violent guardians to the ruins. He escorted them through the tower of the Jinrai and was with them during their trials in the temple of Bahamut. He dissapeared one night during a planar experiment that went very wrong, just before the Singers encountered Valmir and embarked with him into the Feywild. During his planar travels, Mark 9 was stripped of his ability to channel magical power. To compensate, he drew upon his immense knowledge of the arcane and alchemical, and while he could not direct raw magical power, he is now adept in imbuing mundane items with magical power.
Sasz followed the Singers after they were captured in the Temple of Bahamut. At the behest of Ahmidarius, he has joined the Singers to find his destiny.
The only other member of the group, to date, is the Avenger Thorn, a servant of Bahamut. Thorn was a member of the Singers during their assault on the Keep of the Shadowfell. Thorn is a powerful Avenger, and his Razorclaw Shifter heritage made him a ferocious martial fighter. Despite this, Thorn and the group parted ways immediately after their adventure in the Keep, due to differences between Thorn, Winward and Tattered arising from Thorn’s actions in dealing with undead in the Keep. Where and when Thorn was originally recruited is uncertain. Thorn met with the Singers again, this time as an adversary, as they snuck into the great Temple of Bahamut in the Dawnforge Mountains. In the wake of the temple’s destruction, it was uncertain whether he is alive or dead, but he reappared in Sigil and rejoined the party.
The Singing Mercenaries, despite being known by that name, are hardly musical. The name was created in jest by Captain Nathan Farringway of the Fallcrest Guard, who noted that, despite their leader being a bard, none of them were much inclined for conversation, much less more performance-worthy endeavors such as singing. The name is especially stinging for Winward because he once promised his true love that he would never sing until he had composed the world’s greatest song for her. They are sometimes referred to as “The Singers,” although they have never referred to themselves by any moniker.