Part 1: Heritage of Murder

Prologue:

"The Lord of Murder shall perish, but in his death he shall spawn a score of mortal progeny. Chaos shall be sown in their footsteps." So sayeth the wise Alaundo.

Mirtul 11, 1373- The Year of Rogue Dragons:

It is with mixed feelings that I, Gorion Greenstone, take pen in hand once more to relay the events of the past days in an attempt to relieve my own worries and fears- as well as to express my hopes and joys. It has been fifteen years since the boy has come into our life here at the fortress of Candlekeep- a time which has not been, nor will it ever be, one of peace and quiet.

The elderly wizard's mouth curled upward at that last statement as he sat at his desk. He chuckled slightly as the shadows danced over his face, the study room only lit with several candles as he dipped the quill in the inkwell again, brushing out further words and sentences on the parchment that composed his journal of sorts.

Where to begin... introductions, I suppose. Greywulf is the boy's name, and an appropriate moniker as any. A charismatic young fellow, and developing into quite the sorcerer. It would seem my lessons have paid off, though it may be more of his own innate talent than anything. If only Imoen had the dedication of the boy, she might be as powerful as he in the arcane arts- oh yes, I suppose it has been some years since I last found time to write of anything in my own life. Imoen is my other ward here at Candlekeep. A mischievous lass with a penchant towards thievery, she still possesses one of the noblest hearts I've seen in my years as a Harper.

Gorion set his quill down for a moment, reaching into one of the many pockets in his robe for a handkerchief, feeling a sniffle coming on- he frowned as the pocket turned up empty. A vision of Imoen earlier that day bumping into him on that particular side flashed back to memory- he sighed, reflecting upon what he had just written.

Or perhaps not. Regardless, the two complement each other quite well. It is well that they have each other for company; t'would be a lonely existence here at Candlekeep otherwise. I do what I can, but I am not the young man I used to be, and could little provide the company both desire so much. The other monks here are little better, and some prove altogether hostile to Greywulf, or at least those who know his secret. Yes, he is no ordinary boy. I scarce need mention the events that still linger in the minds of those mortals on Faerun who, like me, witnessed the cataclysmic Time of Troubles. Gods were made flesh, mortals ascended to the divine... and demigods were spawned. The Lord of Murder foresaw his destruction and took steps to ensure his rebirth. Thus were the Bhaalspawn conceived in hatred and murder, all for the purpose of resurrecting their father.

The prophecies speak of their bloodlust and their evil... I believe that our destinies are not set in stone. Not mine... and not Greywulf's.

A knock at the door was just enough to draw his attention; Gorion glanced behind him, then shook his head. Most people would not bother him while locked away in his study- perhaps they would simply leave if he did not reply. He stroked the long gray beard upon his chin, then resumed writing.

Yes, the boy is a Bhaalspawn. I have raised him in hopes of suppressing the evil that runs through his veins, in hopes of bringing something, anything good out of the darkness that the Bhaalspawn are prophesied to cause. Others, particularly members of my kin amongst the Harpers, would disagree.

Another knock at the door drew a look from the wizard; he considered rising from his chair and answering... but with a contented sigh, he lifted the cup of tea resting on the far side of his desk, took a quick sip, then continued.

Yes, there are undoubtedly great and important events to come in the boy's future. Whether they shift the balance towards darkness or light I cannot say, but his role cannot, will not be ignored. May Mystra watch over him in his future- the dark deities are undoubtedly doing so as well.

A sharp rap at the door of his study caused Gorion's hand to jolt, just enough to smudge the last sentence he had been writing. The wizard snorted in disgust, then called out behind him in exasperation, "Come in, come in!"

The wizard did not even bother to look up as he attempted to wipe the last few ink droplets from the parchment without smearing it further, and so did not see the two figures that slipped inside his study, shutting the door quietly. Still, Gorion's eyes twinkled with appreciation as he looked up, his face opposite from them- "I was wondering if ye two would be showing up any time soon. I am glad to see I was right."

"When have you ever been wrong?" the wry question posed by the female half-elf, one hand on her hip as she eyed the old man, was taken in the context it was meant; Gorion chuckled as he stood, embracing her and then taking the hand of her husband to shake firmly. The half-elf in armor took off his helmet, resting it under one arm as he nodded to the wizard. "It h-has been some time, G-Gorion."

"Indeed, my old friends." Gorion smiled as he closed the book he had been penning, sliding it across his desk. "Indeed it has."

X X X X X X X

A bright and hopeful sun rose in the eastern skies, slowly awakening all in the city of Baldur's Gate, specifically the group of adventurers sleeping just a few miles south from the recently besieged city. Three different tents were pitched in a patch of grassy plain, staked down and slowly illuminated as the shadows fled the morn.

A young man sat in the blankets from which he had recently risen, an old and worn journal resting in his lap as he uncorked a small inkwell, doing his best to avoid spilling it as he tried to ignore the raucous snores coming from his tentmate. He smiled with acceptance, ran one hand through his sandy brown hair, then began writing.

I suppose introductions are in order once again- this was really my father's journal, not mine. But he's not here... and I guess it felt right, continuing the legacy he left behind. I am Greywulf, ward of Gorion... and I am a Bhaalspawn. Yes, you read that correctly. My father- foster father I suppose, though I will always see him as more of a father than any dead god could be- never told me much of how I came to be with him, and what I have read here has done little to aid me. I suppose I will relate the events of recent days then.

Gorion never said much of the Bhaalspawn or the prophecies surrounding them, but I now see how often they must've crossed his mind, troubled his thoughts. He was right to be worried; in the end, it was a Bhaalspawn who brought him to his death. No, I did not commit patricide, if any reading this need assurance of that fact. My half-brother Sarevok was the murderer, and I have ensured that he paid for his crime. The murderer sought to become the new Lord of Murder, and I was a threat to that claim. A nearly averted war between Baldur's Gate and Amn was his doing as well, but once again, the efforts of my companions and myself have undone much of what he had wrought.

"Psst!! Greywulf!"

The sharp whisper almost made him jump; still, he had been on the receiving end of such sneak attacks often enough to keep from showing it too much. He glanced over at the pink-haired girl, her impish grin seemingly unfazed by the look of mild exasperation on his face. "Some people knock, Imoen."

"You're in a tent. There's no door, silly." she said, half-chuckling to herself as she spoke. "Anyway, Jaheira wanted me to get you and Minsc up. Says it's hard enough to get moving without the two of you wasting half the morning."

She slipped out before he could reply- the young man sighed, then dipped his pen once more.

Speaking of companions, that would be Imoen, my... sister, of sorts. She's not a Bhaalspawn, but I grew up with her in Candlekeep, so she's as close to a sibling as I can imagine. She was the only one there with me after Gorion died- I don't think I would have made it without her. I owe her a lot- my life, no doubt. Not to say she doesn't try my patience daily, but its part of why I love her. Or hate her, depending on the time of day. I've done my best to train her in the magical arts, and she's caught on quick- quicker than I could have ever expected.

Greywulf smiled, nodding in satisfaction. Before he could begin again, the flap of his tent opened a second time, revealing a dark-skinned woman in full mage regalia. She glanced down at the sleeping ranger, then at the sheepish sorcerer whose quill was still in hand.

"Dynaheir... I was just about to get Minsc up-"

The wizardess raised one hand, cutting him off with a look of stern discipline. "Dost thou take me for a fool? Gather your belongings and prepare for the day, we have much to do."

She turned to leave, but glanced back once more, letting the front of stern and unflinching cool drop for one moment as what might- just possibly- have been a smirk crossed her regal features. "And do not forget to mention Boo in your writings... Minsc will ask, you know."

He grinned back, waiting for her to leave before picking up the pen a third time. Yes, continuing on the subject of companions. One of the odder pairings we've run into, Minsc and Dynaheir still remain by my side. Dynaheir is a Wychlaran witch from the northern land of Rashemen. We rescued her at the behest of her traveling companion Minsc, a ranger who also hails from that icy land. Dynaheir is... normal enough, though she does keep to herself more often. Minsc, on the other hand- well, he has a hamster named Boo. He says it talks to him. We say he's a little crazy. He says Boo is a Miniature Giant Space Hamster. He's seven feet tall and one giant ball of muscle. We decided... let the man talk to his hamster.

"By Silvanus, man! How long will you sit in that bed of yours and waste time?" Jaheira's exasperated voice nearly sent his quill sliding over the pen, but by a great feat of dexterity or simple luck, he managed to catch it right before it would have undone the whole of what he had written. He winced, looking up at the green-eyed druid and her pursed lips, a glare burning into his skull regardless of whether he was looking or not. "Didn't I send Imoen in here? Dynaheir as well?"

"Yes, mother. Right away, mother." Greywulf quipped, drawing another sigh of mild irritation from the woman as he set his writing utensils down again.

"Fine. Be up in the next minute or I will bring your tent down on the top of your stubborn head." she threatened, before halting her exit, her brow knitting as she spotted the journal. "Is that Gorion's old journal that you are continuing?"

The faintest hint of a smile tugged at her lips as she saw him nod an affirmation; it passed just as quickly, but she tossed back one last sentence before leaving. "Five minutes then. No more."

Little could I forget to pen down the names of Khalid and Jaheira, the couple who have arguably saved my life more times than I can count. They were friends of Gorion amongst the Harper organization, apparently they have known me far longer than I have known them, but I do not remember them visiting me as a child. Regardless, at Gorion's behest I sought them out after his death at Sarevok's hands. The two are married, and while it may seem otherwise, their love is strong. It is another odd pairing; Jaheira is the most stubborn, headstrong, and demanding woman I have ever met (and it will be even worse should she ever read this), while Khalid's temperament seems to have no limits when it comes to patience.

What else can I say? A mad ranger, a noble witch, an impish rogue, a domineering druid and a nervous fighter. This is the family I've made for myself, here on the road. I like to think Gorion would be proud of what I've done so far. Maybe continuing his journal is a way of keeping his memory close-

A massive arm swung around, knocking the quill out of his hand and spilling the inkwell over the page Greywulf had just finished writing. The sorcerer half-elf tried not to curse as he saw Minsc finish stretching as he blinked twice, grinning as he sat up. "Good morning! Another day to be filled to the brim with butt-kicking and goodness! Isn't that right, Boo?"

A small hamster crawled out from seemingly nowhere into Minsc's hand, squeaking as the ranger peered down at the large smudge that now comprised the page Greywulf had been writing. "Hmm... Boo does not wish to be rude, but he says you are not a very good artist. Your picture does not look like a... whatever you were drawing."

Greywulf couldn't help but laugh; he stood, nodding once to Minsc before slipping out of his tent, letting a blast of morning air cover him. He looked up at the distant city of Baldur's Gate on the horizon, then at his companions, all scattered about the campsite doing one thing or another. "I guess that means I'm done writing history..." he murmured to himself. "Time to start making it."