City of Splendors: Waterdeep
"To battle my brothers, and let no evil stand in our way!"
Cleric of Mystra 7
Celestial Mystic 3
Seemingly less and less common these days, Talbot Mercy is in fact a born and raised resident of Waterdeep, the City of Splendors. The only son of wealthy parents, he wanted for nothing as a child, and saw much of what the most renowned city in all of the Sword Coast had to offer. His parents doted on him and showered him with gifts, so when at the ripe young age of 16 it entered his mind to become an adventurer, he began his career with the finest equipment money could buy. His parents supported him whole-heartedly in fact, believing in their secret hearts that if their son became a famous adventurer, it would bring them even greater prestige and renown in the city.
So off he went with a band of likewise well-intentioned but ultimately clueless would-be adventurers, destined for glory in the Northern Sword Coast! However, things did not go quite as planned. Heading north out of the city of Waterdeep, Talbot and his new friends, Ceelia, Merf and Zilba were not prepared for the less glamorous aspects of adventuring, and soon found themselves wearying of the road. Barely had they made it to Longsaddle before most were ready to give up, but not Talbot. Though never instilled with much of a work ethic, he had a stubborn streak a mile wide, and once set on something, seldom could be swayed from his course. With great passion he spoke of the treasures and glory to be had in the lands about Luskan and Mirabar, and even as far north as Icewind Dale! Rallying behind this impassioned plea (and with a few days in a warm bed with three squares a day to fortify them), the flaky but determined band set out again.
The made it as far as the Lurkwood before disaster struck; a day’s march into the forest, Ceelia fell through what appeared to be a section of forest floor, right into the lair of a mating pair of trolls! Enraged, the beasts flung her bodily from their pit and erupted forth in a fury of claws and teeth. Talbot felt a shock through his body like lightning, and was rooted to the spot in sheer terror as his friends were slaughtered around him. Ceelia was impaled on a tree not far from where she fell as the troll flung her free of its lair. Merf charged in with his axe swinging wildly and a battle cry on his lips, but it died in his throat as one of the trolls let the axe sink right in, and laughing, ripped his arms off; it beat him to death with them. Zilba tried to flee, screaming and crying in terror as he ran past Ceelia’s lifeless body, but he could not outmatch a troll for speed or length of stride, and soon it was upon him. It broke both of his legs so he couldn’t flee, and then began eating parts of him while he yet lived. While the trolls were distracted killing his companions, Talbot found just enough of his wits to flee for his life. The last thing he heard was Zilba’s dying screams…
He stumbled through the wilderness for days in a fog, by sheer luck avoiding any more immediate dangers, but badly starved and dehydrated. Feeling on the verge of expiration, he lay down next to a stream and passed out. Waking what seemed like moments later, he saw the face of a beautiful woman looking down at him with concern.
“Who are you?” He said.
“I am Liliana, who are you? How come you to be here, in this state? Answer quickly and with truth, for you need my aid, but these are dark times and I must be sure I can trust you.”
Talbot immediately set into his tale, and it wasn’t long before Liliana realized he was no danger to her and began healing him. After she had given him some food and drink and gotten the rest of his tale from him, she informed him that she was a cleric of the Church of Mystra, sent on a mission from Waterdeep to an orphanage in Longsaddle to investigate an outbreak of disease. She had found him near expiration by this stream in the forest, whilst looking for a certain herb which would aid the sickened children. Taking him back to Longsaddle with her, Talbot spent the next few days recovering while she tended to the sick and brought them back to full health.
When the time came for her to leave, Talbot asked if he could come with her; though he could never share with anyone his secret shame, his cowardice at the onslaught of the trolls which killed his friends, he knew also that he was no adventurer. Waterdeep was the only home he had ever known, and though he had no idea how he would face his parents, he wished to return there.
Along the way, Liliana explained to him her faith in the Goddess Mystra and the Weave, the threads of Magic coursing through all things. Talbot had been deeply affected by the death of his friends, and though his mind could not yet articulate the thought on a conscious level, he had a deep, deep desire to spend the rest of his life doing penance for his cowardice. To his way of thinking, a life of cloistered study didn’t seem like such a bad way to go about this, as he believed in that moment that he must find the good within himself, and cultivate it. Liliana served Mystra, and Liliana had saved his life, so he too would serve Mystra as a payment in gratitude to her, and a path to forgiveness for himself.
Upon return to Waterdeep he requested admittance as an Acolyte of the Church immediately, and was accepted. He sent a letter to his parents, explaining to them that he had experienced deepest shame on his journey and could not in good conscience return as their son. He told them of his whereabouts and that he would be OK, but begged them not to come see him, for he couldn’t stand to have them turned away but even less, to look them in the eye. They sent letter after letter for weeks on end, and even tried to come to him at the Church, but the guards at the door would grant them no admittance, and he gave them no reply, and finally, heartbroken, they gave up.
And so Talbot entered a long decade of seclusion, and study, of reflection and introspection. Over the next few years he discovered many secrets in the hundreds upon hundreds of dusty old volumes stowed away in the vaults beneath the church, and soon his reputation began to spread throughout the city and even the Sword Coast as an authority on the Seven Mounting Heavens of Celestia, and the Celestial Hebdomad itself. Talbot had come to firmly believe that his soul needed to be purified, and that only through the rigorous path of enlightenment leading to the Seven Heavens could this be done. And yet as the years went by, he could never attain the secret. He learned of Sacred Vows which must be taken, and take them he did. He came to believe that his body must be a pure vessel for his soul, and so swore never to partake in any form of drink or intoxicant. He swore in his heart of hearts to serve the Will of the Hebdomad, and yet never did he feel the burden of his guilt lift for even a moment from around his shoulders. He came to feel that the weight of it must inevitably come to crush him, that one day his heart would simply give out, cry mercy and beg to be released from the arena. It was at this time that a summons came to him from the head of his order, Meleghost Starseer, with orders to come at once to his office for a private conference.
Upon arrival, he was ordered to sit, and unceremoniously debriefed on the situation of our party of heroes.
“These meddling fools are quickly becoming a thorn in my side, and more’s the pity, I see them growing into the apple of our dear Lord Piergieron’s eye. ”/characters/xale-of-the-starry-glen" class=“wiki-content-link”>Xale of the Starry Glenn has gone missing, and I have business with him which cannot risk others getting to him first. I have heard that their cleric, Smuggles or Smiggins or something like that, was recently slain…they will be needing a healer. That is what you do, is it not Mercy?"
Talbot nodded distractedly, as if in a haze; he’d been on the verge of giving up, and none of this seemed real to him. Meleghost went on to explain that he was ordering him to join this party as their cleric, follow along with them on their mission, and begin gathering information with orders to report back periodically. Further, if ANY news of Xale were to come to light, he must immediately find a way to report back. Meleghost made it clear as Cormyrian Crystal that he wanted Xale for himself.
At this time, and against Naneatha’s wishes,Talbot was forcibly introduced into the adventuring party by Meleghost Starseer as a means to find Xale, whom Meleghost holds responsible for the destruction of the House of Wonder.
Though at first conscious of his mission, there is never a time where it sits right in his heart or his mind. He is no spy, and he is not one for deception. Though terrified at first that should they meet danger, his cowardice of old would resurface, Talbot soon came to find that he could face a threat not only without fear, but with the courage of a seasoned veteran.
And suddenly, it came clear to him: only days into his adventures with our heroes, the bonds of blood and brotherhood which tied Pippy, Arius, Tiarmus and Faenor together were at the heart and soul of what he had been trying to find all along. He realized that his soul had never been impure to begin with, that he had never done anything to be ashamed of. He realized that he’d been a child in over his head, and he’d seen a horrible thing and suffered a horrible loss, but that none of that had been his fault. He realized that now, he had a chance to get out and do real and lasting good, to pour his life’s blood, his sweat and his toil, into righting the wrongs of the world. He could do it side be side with true friends, selflessly putting his life on the line for theirs, as they did for him, time and again.
He realized then that his ascent had already begun, and that he would never follow the order Meleghost had given him. And in the days and weeks that followed he forged the very bonds he had dreamed of with his newfound brothers, and when the time came he stood up in front of Meleghost and with eyes as clear as a sunrise refused to be his lackey.
Now taking steps every day on his new spiritual path, and having just recently sworn an Oath of Fealty to Piergieron Paladinson and The City of Waterdeep, Talbot is clear in his purpose and well on his way to fulfilling what he now believes is his true destiny, to become an Ambassador of The Seven Heavens here on the Prime Material plane.