A daring dragonborn of bardic background and scrutineering savvy.
Targoth Fastclaw was born in Ternesh’rach (Ternesh’rach, a corruption of Dragonic “Hernesj Taurach,” or “Stone Fate”), a small settlement of dragonborn nestled in the middle reaches of the Dragonchain mountains, 23 years prior to the current date. His father was named Balthasar and his mother Korinn. Fastclaw is the clan (a federation of families) name of the dragonborn who inhabited Ternesh’rach. The Fastclaw clan traces its lineage back to the height of the Arkhosian civilization. They remember with pride their work as great artisans, warriors and keepers of knowledge and lore at the height of the civilization, the shame that came with the escalation of the war between Arkhosia and the Tiefling nation of Bael Turath, and the sadness brought on by the betrayal of the traitorous Gray Worm Zebukiel (see Dragonomicon I pp. 249), the ultimate cause of Arkhosia’s downfall. Fittingly for a remnant of a dead empire, Ternesh’rach’s patron deity was the dead dragon god Io, whose passing led to the creation of Bahamut and Tiamat. Targoth’s family name is Ornkear (Silverday), although the bloodline’s history is for some reason missing from historical records. As is customary for dragonborn, Targoth goes by his clan name, only sharing his family name with his closest friends.
Though Dragonborn wedlock ends around three years after a child is born, Targoth knew both of his parents growing up, for in Ternesh’rach, children were raised in a communal fashion, a tradition modeled on the societal structure of Arkhosia and intended to give children as many role-models as possible. All children learned to defend themselves: everyone needed to be able to fight to defend Ternesh’rach from various monsters and barbarians. They also learned of Arkhosian history and of the world they now lived in, and they were all given chances to develop a variety of talents, including those which Targoth excelled in.
Early on, Targoth exhibited a sharp mind for musical performance. As part of their upbringing, all young learned some music, but Targoth was unique among in his affinity arcane musical magic of Arkhosian bardic tradition. An elder named Saresh who had taught at the Dakkoni Academy of the Arts for a period of time helped Targoth develop his proficiency and was the child’s mentor for most of his life. Targoth was instilled with a keen sense of how one’s actions and moral choices reflect upon oneself and those one surrounds oneself with. He was taught the histories of Arkhosia, the glory of the civilization and the hubris that led to both its and Bael Turath’s downfall.
After the fall of Arkhosia, barbarians from the Frostmarch had swept across the continent and plundered the ghost towns and abandoned fortresses. Ternesh’rach had survived because of its prudent placement in the Dragonchain mountains and its size. However, its days had been numbered for a long time. Slowly, over the centuries, its numbers had been dwindling. Since Dakkoni Consolidation, the population decline had sped up as more dragonborn, driven by the desire to contribute to the growing civilization, left the enclave to join the Dakkoni populace. The city had neared a point of instability and there was a growing movement amongst the town’s elder council to fully integrate with the empire. This was not only for safety’s sake, to prevent more deaths from the Frostmarch barbarians, but also to forestall any potential tensions with Dakkon. Six years ago, the clanmaster of the village, along with the council of elders, made the decision to abandon what they had known all their lives and integrate with Dakkon.
The Ternesh’rach dragonborn thus began to integrate with Dakkon. The clan travelled as a group to Riven. From there, various groups set off to make their contributions to the burgeoning civilization. Targoth stayed in Riven for a few months, studying the civilization’s art and culture with Saresh, his former mentor, until the latter departed on an invitation to resume his studies at the academies in Easar (Saresh had previously been an Academy bard and historian). Though Targoth, nineteen at the time, knew he was ready to make his own way in society, he was crestfallen to part ways with Saresh, perhaps the member of the clan he was looked up to the most. Saresh had lived in Dakkon before, and knew so much about, well, most things, that without him, Targoth was ill at ease. Other clan members were departing or settling into professions in Riven. The military town provided ample work for the dragonborn, skilled as they were in various crafts. Korinn Fastclaw, for example, could work metal better than most people in the city, and soon was deputy forgemistress at a renowned smithy. Targoth had been raised with such a sense of self that his inability to this point to steer a course for himself made him further restless.
Despite not quite fitting in, Targoth still got by fairly well, working a number of odd jobs. He played instruments as part of a small musical troupe on some evenings. He ran errands for people he met and discovered that he had a knack for navigating the city’s social channels and finding out information. For a while he considered joining the military—he was skilled with a longsword, and they were in need of people able to lead a platoon—but couldn’t fathom surrendering his will to someone higher ranked than him.
After the better part of a year, Targoth made up his mind: he was going to head west to the frontier. He had in recent months rekindled a friendship with Kasra Fastclaw, a fellow dragonborn from Ternesh’rach. Kasra had an eye for logistics, and had informally helped him find errands to run for city folk and kept tabs on the books. Together, they began to wonder what they could do with this little business if they set up shop in Bashar or Orran. Targoth learned that a group of tiefling miners were setting out for the latter city, and they struck a deal to travel together, knowing that there were dangers in the mountains from which greater numbers would provide a shield. When all plans were finalized, there were six tieflings and three dragonborn: Targoth, Kasra, and another dragonborn from Ternesh’rach, Sammash, a cousin of Kasra’s. Sammash had obtained a contract in Bashar to steward a forest for logging.
Targoth bade farewell to the remaining Ternesh’rach dragonborn in Riven. Such goodbyes among the clan were not tearful, and to an outsider they might even appear cold. Targoth shook hands with his mother as they departed, and she gave him the bastard sword which he uses to this day, forged in her smithy. As he entered the mountain road to Bashar, he tasted the cold mountain air and felt energized has he had not in ages.
The journey was uneventful for the first two weeks. The group would either pitch camp or stay in one of the villages or military outposts that had sprung up along the route, and they were not robbed or set upon by any wild beasts. It halfway through the third week that crisis struck. While traversing the foothills of the Kingshield, the party was attacked by a raiding party of kobolds and ophidians, large numbers of which lurked in the mountains. The group was caught by surprise: displaying unusual intelligence, the vile reptilians tricked the group up a dead-end path and then swarmed them. In the confusion and ensuing battle, Sammash managed to escape, and Targoth and Kasra were badly hurt. The tiefling miners, unskilled in combat, all perished except one, Iados, who lived long enough to make it to Bashar.
When Targoth and Kasra, carrying the wounded Iados, reached Bashar, they immatiately alerted the City Watch of the tragedy. The Constable, a blunt half-orc by the name of Druuk, interviewed the three survivors. Targoth told Druuk everything he knew: they were attacked by kobolds and ophidians who were unusually co-ordinated; only the three made it to Bashar; all the tieflings’ bodies were accounted for but Sammash was missing, probably escaped in the confusion. The Constable listened to what he had to say, but Targoth got an impression of subdued hostility. Kasra reported that she said the same, but the two knew nothing of Iados’s testimony: the morning after they were questioned, he died from his wounds.
Later that day, Sammash arrived in town. Targoth and Kasra heard the commotion themselves and rushed to the scene. Sammash was caught in a net, having been accosted by a member of the City Watch. As the two drew near, they saw that Druuk himself was standing over their friend. He turned to them, and told them that Sammash was to be put to death for the attempted robbery and murder of their party. Targoth was uncharacteristically speechless for only a second, then demanded of Druuk an explanation. Druuk related Iados’s testimony: The ophidians and kobolds displayed organization beyond their abilities (as Targoth himself had stated), and Sammash had escaped; this was suspicious, and Sammash had probably worked with the Kobolds to steal the group’s supplies and mining equipment and sell it on the black market. Druuk agreed with this accusation: Sammash’s turning up two days later unharmed was a clear indication of guilt, and his shared reptilian heritage with the attacking party only served to corroborate this. The crimes, murder and highway robbery, were both punishable by death, and indeed would be, with no need for a trial.
It took great restraint for Targoth to avoid getting himself killed. Instead, he tried to dissuade Druuk from his course of action by debating the points of the case, but he found that Druuk was not open to reason. The half-orc simply spoke in veiled threats of Inquisitors and violent punishment. The group almost came to blows, and Druuk ordered Targoth and Kasra to leave Bashar immediately, lest they be considered co-conspirators and put to death as well. Kasra was ready to give up her life to fight her cousin’s killer, but Targoth reminded her that she would better honor her cousin by living to avenge him than by giving up her life in futility.
And so Targoth and Kasra Fastclaw wound up traveling to Orran. They swore an oath to avenge Sammash, and to discover what was really the cause of that attack on the mountain, and to work to aid the pursuit of justice so that this kind of thing did not happen again. They set up a scrutineering agency, Dragonborn & Dragonborn, in Orran, and worked on solving problems and criminal cases that cropped up. The border town being a border town, there were some fairly run-of-the-mill robberies and hold-ups, and a few more outlandish cases involving murder and twisted motives. They discovered that the Constable of Orran, Aden Yardley, was much more honorable than Druuk, but through a tendency towards short-sightedness occasionally would have prosecuted the wrong person were it not for their intervention. Yardley respected Targoth and Kasra for their ability to tease facts out where there seemed to be nothing, but was continually frustrated by Targoth’s insistence that he must work outside of the official institutions of Dakkon. As it was their job to know the goings-on of Orran, quite a small town, the people in Orran began to know of the Dragonborn scrutineers who sometimes worked and other times interfered with the City Watch. With this came customers, and Targoth and Kasra were able to make ends meet, just about.