It all started some years ago, when the McRedighters were but young gnomes. On an unusually sunny day in late November, the McRedighter clan was enjoying a walk through the forest surrounding their house, laughing and playing as they ran between the trees and over the logs laying about. When, unfortunately, one of the children stumbled upon a small stone cache protruding slightly from the earth. He called his three brothers to come lay eyes upon this mysterious sight.
A mischievous bunch, these McRedighters were, always getting into more trouble than they should have… Well not all of them, but they shared the blame almost always, as true brethren should.
As they conversed about what might be in this cache, they came to the conclusion that the only way to find out was to open it. It took all four of them to lift the fifty pound stone off of its base, and a hiss of pressure was relieved as this happened.
All was dark inside the small cache, but at the bottom there lie the shape of a key. So the oldest of them reached in to the hole for the key. His hand lingered there for a second as if something was wrong. His face drained and he swallowed heavily. Just then his arm plunged further into the cache, as if being pulled by an unknown force. He screamed and wrenched his arm out of the hole to reveal an undamaged hand holding the key.
He began rolling on the ground with laughter as his younger brothers cursed him for scaring them. When they regained their wits they returned to their home to show their parents what they had found.
The oldest reached out his open hand toward his father to show him what he had found. His father looked at the key and smiled. It was an average looking key, with the shape of a door on the back end. He ruffled the boys hair and said, “Have a seat. I think it’s time you knew about our family.”
“Boys, for generations our family has protected this key. It is the only one like it, and it shall forever be that way. This key holds the passage to a place that should never be traveled. A place that contains a book that should never be read. Not by anyone in existence. This book has the power to turn this world to dust, or even worse than that. There have been entire wars fought to gain control of this key. An unmeasurable amount of bloodshed has happened to protect this key. Our family was chosen hundreds of years ago to protect it and to make sure that it never falls into the wrong hands. When you come of age I will pass this responsibility on to you.”
“But thats enough for now. It’s time for you young ’uns to head off to bed.”
Later on that night, a strange wind from the east began blowing in the crack below the door of their house. It chilled the one room house and all its inhabitants to the bones.
Then, out of nowhere, was a loud bang on the door and the wind blew it open to almost rip it off its hinges, and in the doorway stood a tall silhouette. As he stepped into the room the floor froze around him. He mumbled, “It’s here.” He looked at the father of the family, who now stood with his hunting knife by the chair close to the door.
The figure looked at him and with a wave of his hand sent the gnome flying into the wall. His wife immediately darted for her children to protect them, when he waved his hand a second time and sent her into the opposite wall. He walked to the oldest boy’s bedding, where he had hidden the key under his pillow, and reached his hand out. The key shot out from under the bedding and into the man’s hand.
Earlier that evening, just after his parents were asleep, the oldest of the brothers had swiftly and silently left the house. He was on his way to his uncle’s cabin across the way when the wind started blowing. Just as his uncle opened the front door a light arose from the direction of the boy’s house. His uncle said, “Quick! Inside boy!” He then locked his nephew in a cupboard so as to keep him safely hidden from danger.
As he sprinted to his brother’s house, Ghidell began calling his brother’s name frantically. His only response was the crying and yelling of his other three nephews, Valru, Tresk, and Colbear.
He burst through the door to find the entire house in flames. He snatched up the three children and rushed them outside. He then looked at Valru and said, “Your brother is in my cupboard. Go to him and hide there. Do not come out until the morning!” The two boys then ran to their uncle’s cabin to join their brother, Colbear resting in the crook of Tresk’s arm.
Ghidell then ran into the blazing inferno to find his brother and sister-in-law. He would not return from this attempt to save his brother.
When the boys exited the cupboard the next day, they returned to where their home had once stood only to see the ashes of the only home they knew. Neither their uncle nor their parents were anywhere to be found.
The four brothers, with the exception of Colbear, who was being carried, began to walk westward to the only place they had to go… the city of Hedgeton.
The oldest, Norber, who was on the cusp of adulthood, would look after them for the next twenty years. He raised the younger three as their parents had raised him.
They wouldn’t talk much of their family over these twenty short years, and as each of them came of age, they would study beneath four separate teachers.
Norber, after the first few years of being there, met an old wizard. A lore master, if you will, that took him under his wing and taught him all he could of magic, spells, and the books that contained them.
Valru would eventually meet a paladin that taught him of battle and healing powers that he would use to save those who were not yet ready to die.
Tresk found that his love for music and story telling would lead him to become a bard, telling stories of places that were only in fairytales and singing songs about love and war.
Colbear was different. He could never really get past the anger of losing the parents he barely knew. He would join the city guard for a few years, but one day his drinking problem got the best of him. He began fighting those who offended him. It eventually got so bad that he abandoned the guard and began fighting for money.
When his brothers caught wind of this they sat down and began talking of things they had been learning. Then one night they made a vow… Renewed an old one rather. They solemnly swore that they would track down the evil wretch that called himself Banfuku and would not rest until he was dead.
This is the story of the McRedighters…