Resting west from the outskirts of Lake Esmel lies a stone hovel with thatch roofing. It resides on a shallow hill that overlooks several large gardens, landscaped in a way that makes them appear to spill over the hill’s sides. Three cattle graze lazily on barley grass in a long stockade. The cobblestone walls were short enough for them to walk over, but they never leave their area. A small herd of sheep, too many to count from the treeline, seemed to roam freely in an area surrounded by sparse wilderness.
The ranch is owned by a brawny wood-elf named Duhtreb. Owning a Ranch, which was strange work for Wood-Elves, allowed him to take care of his young family. The city that he and his wife migrated to, before the ranch, was a harsh place. People who use magic were often viewed as outsiders here, and were most certainly not allowed a place in their township. More and more corruption seemed to stem from a city so far from The Holy Empire’s reach that it became clear they would need to leave. Knowing that living here would be in despair, he purchased some land far to the west. There, he and his wife built a small home, and raised their infant son.
The Family name used to be Ithil’Gwathren, but Father had it changed to the rough Common tounge, along with his own name. In Common, the name translated to “Moon’s Shadow”, so it became Moonshadow. Berthud Moonshadow was a name that read well and allowed for more trade contracts with the city of Doram, from which they fled. Father would tend to the cattle and sheep, mother would tend to the gardens, and they made enough of a living not to get noticed. Life was peaceful.
Tobias spent much of his young time helping his family on the Ranch, lifting hay bales or shucking corn. As a very young boy he was often with his Mother, Elvira. Tobias was far too little to be around the larger farm animals. He would help her fertilize the vegetable gardens and play in the dirt, much to Elvira’s dismay. The family earned a modest living but never wanted for much. As the ranch grew, Berthud grew more and more grunt. The neighboring city was a stressful place to make business, and he often had to get payments in advance for his wool and mutton. He fought for every silver piece he could, but would still often be sold short. Berthud bit his cheek for the most of it, and never took it out aggressively on his family.
As his young son Tobias aged, he began to help his Father. Berthud had a very stiff upper lip with Tobias, and was very short with him when it came to the animals. They were the primary source of income for the family, and Tobias was to inherit all of this. Berthud made sure the boy knew his stuff when it came to the beasts, and Tobias responded in kind. Tobias and his Father, however, were not cut from the same cloth.
The first time Tobias was asked to slaughter an animal, it was a sickly old sheep. At 16 years, he was still considered a child to his family. Although a young man in the human world’s eyes, he still had a lot to accomplish before reaching maturity. Tobias was given a dagger and told exactly where to stab to kill the beast as quickly as possible. Tobias’ hands shook as he dropped the dagger, begging his Father not to kill the sheep. This sheep had been around for well over a decade, Tobias saw this sheep when he was a child. He knew this animal, and refused to kill it. Berthud dismissed the boy, and made him watch as he evicerated the animal. Tobias screamed and cried, and Berthud’s heart sank.
That night, Tobias didn’t touch his mutton. His Father and Mother were having a heated conversation about the boy and his inability to do the family’s trade. His mother argued that he can help tend the gardens, and his father refused to raise a dirt monger. The next day, Tobias’ father did not wake him to do chores. Tobias did them anyways, but got not so much as a glance his way from his Father for weeks.
Months went by, Tobias spent a great deal of time with his Mother Elvira. In his Father’s distance, his bond with his mother strengthened. They would talk about nature and plants, how they worked and who provided their life. She showed Tobias some of her gifts, and tought him how to do the same. By holding an unripened fruit in her hands, she could bring it to fruition in moments. Tobias loved his Mother dearly, and with his help the vegetable gardens began to flourish. This displeased his Father greatly. He did not want his son to grow things, “It was a business for outsiders and a disgrace to his family’s name!” he would say. In the months leading up to Tobias’ conscription, his Father would often sneer out, “If I had wanted a dirt monger, I would have bought an orc not raised a son!”.
The tension Berthud was creating by constantly shunning his son was begining to effect Elvira. She would come to Tobias’ aid when he was silenced by his Father’s shame. She would argue back that the boy was special, his empathy was a sign of great wisdom and they should encourage his strengths. His Father flat out refused to consider such emotion strength, and in his anger, wrote out the letters to various temples back home, asking them to conscript his son to their services.
The scrolls were never recipricated. Years went by and his Father continued to shun the boy who was now fully grown as an adult phisically speaking. Mentally, his family still saw him as a child. One morning, while Tobias was watering the gardens, a rider approached from the treeline nearest him. Pulling back his hood as he rode towards Tobias, a fairly young Human was revealed. The man was kind to Tobias, and talked to him as if he were a man not a boy. The human was wearing a large cloak with gold trim, and a symbol of a skeletal hand holding a set of balanced scales etched in gold on each shoulder. Under the cloak, the jingle of mail could be heard. He wore some sort of paint on his forehead that reflected slightly in the sun, again gold in color. On the side of his saddle, a shield was strapped. Painted on that shield was another very large sun, this one much more detailed with metal inlays. The man asked where he could find Berthud, and Tobias pointed to the stables.
After a few minutes passed, Berthud approached Tobias with the stranger. Tobias was informed that he had been sold to the nearby Temple of Kelemvor, and that he will live out his life in servitude to this god. This human was now his new master, and would be Tobias’ teacher and mentor from here forward. He swore that if the man Tobias was to be was ever to return here, he better be a man of great reknown. Hearing the scorn in Berthud’s voice, the human dismounted and approached Tobias. Smiling widely and holding out his arms, he exclaimed “Tobias, it is your Father’s wish that you leave here and come with me. I am at your behest to please, make the decision on your own for me here and now whether or not you truly wish to join me on Kelemvor’s path?”
Berthud was furious, he began to shout at the Human who was thoroughly ignoring him now. The human saw the look of confusion on Tobias’ face and humbled again, “My name is Shepard, I only wish for you to join me on this journey if it is what you truly want. I cannot say the same for your Father, but you are welcome to make a choice here. It is only honorable that a man respects his Father, but sometimes to respect our Father, we have to defy others. Never defy yourself. Now choose!”, his voice boomed out the last words as though the very forest around them joined in to help. His Father was silenced by the priest’s booming voice, and Tobias was shaken visibly by it. Mustering up his courage, Tobias responded with a resolute “Yes.” Shepard clapped his hands together loudly and turned to Berthud, “Gather his things, the deal is done.”. Berthud looked at the human angrily and stomped back to the barn. His Mother came from the house a short while later, carrying a backpack. Her face swollen with tears, she bid Tobias goodbye. She explained that this was not her wish, and that if he could ever send word back home that he should. “Use your gifts, use your heart, and I will always be with you,” she whispered to Tobias giving him one final hug.
Tobias accompanied the young human through the next six decades. The teacher and mentor Tobias knew and cherished had risen to great heights in the area. Under his guidance, Tobias began to feel the words of Kelemvor. He began to communicate with the god and, the god began to communicate with him and through him. He and Shepard would help heal the sick, cure crops of blight and bring light to tunnels and mines that were often traveled. Any town that needed their dead tended was done free of charge, their soul ferried away to be judged at Kelemvor’s gates. Tobias always held a chip on his shoulder from his Father’s scorn. He would often go out of his way to tend to sick animals and pets the most. After years of not speaking of his Father, the rage became too pent up. He lashed out at Shepard for stealing him away from his mother, even threatened that he was bought and sold as a slave. With a slight smile and a long sigh, the now middle aged Shepard bid Tobias to “Please, shut up.”.
Shepard explained, “It is not that your Father did not love you dearly. Your mother even more so. For they were pressured by corruption of the city they did business in to dismiss you. The competing farmers threatened to come collect you and make an example of you because of your gifts. Those gifts are the reason your mother never ventured into town, and your Father hid you away from the others. Only when your crops began to ripen more than the other farms did any suspicion arise. It was out of their desperate love for you that you are now here safe and not chained as the town fool. You should always honor the memory of your parents and if you count your blessings, one day you will see them again.”
Tobias was stunned to hear such revelations. Desperate to explain to his parents that he understands, he began writing home. Over the next several years, Tobias kept up regular correspondence with his Mother Elvira. He would send home seeds of exotic fruits and vegetables he and Shepard would find on their travels. She in turn, would send back detailed drawings and notes on the plants as they grew. He loved his mother dearly, however his Father never responded to his letters. His mother would mention him and explain how much he misses Tobias. But Tobias, by now a young elven man knew better. He would need to hear it straight from the horses mouth if there was to be closure, and the distance made angst. It was always a stern “No” from Shepard when Tobias would bring up going home. Tobias would argue that the town who resists Kelemvor needs his tutilage the most, Shepard would respond with stone walled silence.
It was at Shepard’s eighty third birthday that he passed his shield over to Tobias, “A gift, my friend.”. Tobias’ eyes lit up and he chuckled saying, “It is customary for one to recieve gifts on their birthday, my old friend. What trickery is this?”. Shepard sighed and explained that he must leave Tobias now. There is something that needs to be done and the journey was not Tobias’ to take. Further down the road is the city of Obsidian Bay, and they are in need of Kelemvor’s light. Thomas met Tobias’ questions as to where and why with his old stone faced silence. After Tobias was done asking questions he would not get the answer to, Shepard embraced him in a hug and bid him farewell. He claimed, “Where I venture, only the true light of Kelemvor may follow. You must now go find that light within yourself!” The next day, he was gone.
Tobias travelled the days length towards Obsidian Bay, and found it a peaceful enough place on arrival. A self sufficient town, walled in inner city and a fairly large keep to watch over it all. Making his way around town, he came upon the temple district. He found a the temple of Kelemvor, and has been a disciple there ever since.
The town clergy did include Kelemvor, but it also included several different Deities. The temples coexisted peacefully enough, but the temples of Kord and Pelor bore a great frustration with Tobias’ success preaching of Kelemvor. They sabotaged the process every step of the way, and Tobias confronted their disciples on more than one occasion. Their leader would deny any knowledge of such vandalisms and slander with a sly grin, and laugh in Tobias’ face when accusations were brought up. Tobias and his flock peacefully persevered their bond to Kelemvor, rebuilding and cleaning the temple despite the set-backs. It took several years for the tension between the temples to simmer, and it still is a bit of a sore spot in the Temple District.
Tobias’ help gathering people and teaching them the ways of the Lord of the Dead was bringing in a great deal of coin for himself. He invested into the Temple of Kelemvor, what was left was sent home to his mother. After several years of service in Kelemvor’s name, Tobias recieved news that the Clergy of Kelemvor was gathering for a fairly large meeting. Tobias, gathered his belongings and hefting his old mentor’s shield, set out on foot to the meeting.
The Grand Temple to Kelemvor is a beautiful sight. A gorgeous building made of white alabaster and marble, it houses a very large spire that has a bright shining light at it’s apex. Even on a cloudy day, this temple and it’s neighbors are bathed in daylight. The temple was not open to the public this day, and inside were dozens of Priests. Hushed worried murmuring was spreading through the crowd as people moved about the main chamber. Nervous of all the seniority in the room, Tobias held back towards the entrance. He was startled to see Thomas arrive into the chamber from one of the back rooms. In a frail, but powerful voice that reverberated inside the large chamber, he summoned everyone into the room. As his eyes met with Tobias’, a kind smile spread across his face, but his eyes were not smiling. They looked concerned, despite the conscription of happiness his lower face was expressing.
Now an old man, Shepard’s hunched form standing in front of him, still smiling that awkward concerned smile. “Hello young man!” Thomas crackled out between old, dry teeth. “Come with me, let us talk.”
Shepard let Tobias barrage him with his questions, meeting him as always with his stone walled silence. After Tobias exhausted himself with worry, Thomas pat him on the back and chuckled. “It is through our own Wisdom that we divine the truth in all questions.” Tobias blinked at Thomas stupidly, and they both burst into fits of laughter.
After a rowdy back and forth over how things are going at Tobias’ new temple, Shepard beamed proudly over the tales. Sighing deeply, he changed the tone of the conversation dark with the next bit of information he had for Tobias. “I must go again, to a place where only the true light of Kelemvor can be. A place that you are not ready to seek.” With that said, Shepard stood up and raised a hand, silencing the expected barrage of questions Tobias was famous for. Smiling with concerned eyes, Phanos said “Tobias, please… Shut up.”. Tobias chuckled as his old master disappeared behind large doors.
Tobias knew that his old master was going to meet his death this time, he was ancient by human standards. By denying Tobias entrance to the meeting, he was protecting him. Tobias was wise enough in his age now to understand this. Hefting his mentor’s shield and standing to his feet, Tobias began the journey back to Obsidian Bay. He understood what his master meant now, and felt no remorse. For a Doomguide of Kelemvor, death is just the beginning… He will see his mentor again.