Pontus Olgraffson - Barbarian (Fruztii)
The lands of the Cold Crow cover the southwest portion of the Fruztii (Frost Barbarian) kingdom, including parts of the Timberway Forest and Griff Mountains. Pontus is the eldest son of Olgraff, Jarl of the Cold Crow. Unlike the great warriors who lead the other clans, Jarl Olgraff was a cleric of Kord who relied on his wisdom and intellect, in addition to his strength, to lead his people.
Olgraff supported the former King Ralff in his decision to form an alliance with Ratik to the south. This alliance was very controversial, but it resulted in the Fruzzti becoming a powerful kingdom and breaking free of their servitude to the Schnai (Snow Barbarians, whom for decades had ruled over them). To seal the alliance between the Kingdom of the Fruzzti and the Archbarony of Ratik, the former King Ralff married his son, Hundgred Rallfson, to the daughter of a Ratik noblewoman. His Most Warlike Majesty, King Hundgred Rälffson is now king of the Fruzzti, and he has expanded the alliance with Ratik by increasing trade with them, as well as with the dwarves of the Griff mountains. The capital of Krakenheim is beginning to look much more modern and civilized, thanks to the new queen's influence. "Decadent," some the Jarls call it. Some even say magic and other evil things are practiced there. There are many within the Cold Crow and other clans who desire to return to the old ways. One such person was Olgraff’s cousin, Bran. When Hundgred ascended to the throne, Bran became increasingly vocal against your Olgraff’s support for him. Although the details are not clear, at some point, Olgraff exiled Bran for treason.
Olgraff’s support of the king was not the only source of tension. There are also many in the Cold Crow Clan that believe in the second coming of Vatun - the mythical god of the barbarians who led the clans to their freedom so long ago. Olgraf believed Vatun was only a legend. A story told to children. He encouraged the worship of real gods, especially Kord, greater deity of Athletics, Sports and Brawling, who, to the barbarians represents strength and power.
In the Common Year (CY) 578, just a few months before Pontus’ 17th birthday, a group of Fruztii from the Timberway came to visit Jarl Olgraff to ask for his help. They told a tale of an evil curse that was spreading through the forest, turning everything black. On that fateful day, the world would change for Pontus forever.
Olgraff gathered several his best warriors, including Ingvar Branson, who remained loyal even after the exile of his father, the BeastMaster Hrothgar and his loyal wolf pack, and Pontus to investigate the threat. What they found deep in the Timberway cannot adequately be described here. A curse spreading through the forest, turning all the trees and vegetation dark gray, and getting darker and darker as the group approached the center – which appeared as a black void from which no light could escape. Inside this void, one of the group found a shard that looked like a black crystal or chunk of obsidian, though it reflected no light. The shard turned the barbarian’s hand a dark gray, which then quickly spread up his arm and throughout his body, killing him. As the group fanned out in search of more of these things, Ingvar and his men took the opportunity to strike out at Olgraff in an act of bloody treason. Hrothgar, loyal to the end, moved in to protect Olgraff, but it was too late. Realizing that Pontus would be the next to die, Hrothgar sacrificed himself to allow Pontus to escape, sending two of his wolves to protect him as he ran.
Unfortunately for Pontus, while he escaped death, he would be captured a few days later by a barbarian hunter, those traitorous barbarians who have turned their service to the Overking to track the nomadic tribes for capture or execution. This barbarian hunter was none other than Bran, whose hatred for Olgraff ran so deep that he would turn his betrayal against all his people. Though he could have killed Pontus, he preferred instead to have him suffer a lifetime of servitude, and so, bound and chained, he was placed on slave ship, where he would spend the next year of his life attached to an oar.
Pontus sailed many seas, and was sold several times over. His latest owners in the Wild Coast eventually sold him to a mysterious buyer from Ket, and shipped him over land to the Northwest. It was during this journey that Pontus would finally gain his freedom by the grace of a mysterious man in robes and a large brimmed hat, who, without saying a word, slew all of Pontus’ captors with his bare hands before opening his cage and disappearing.
Pontus found himself alone on a road in the Gnarley Forest, with only a few coins and crude weapons he collected from his captor’s bodies. The month was Coldeven, in the year CY 579 – not that Pontus was fully aware of that. He followed the road to an inn, where he took shelter and ate his first meal as a free man. As he was drinking his ale and enjoying the music, he began to feel dizzy. The music was amazing, but it pounded in his head as the room swirled around him. Pontus tried to make a move toward the exit but passed out on the way. When he awoke, he was naked on the side of the road. He is certain he was in the same place as before, but there was no inn here. Next to him, also naked, were a Gray Elf and a Half-Elf that he vaguely remembers seeing in the inn when he was there.