Forgotten Realms: Cauldron
Merlo "Dog-Friend" Bouldermoulder
Shield Dwarf, Male, Cleric of Marthammor Duin
Merlo “Dog Friend” BouldermolderIt was 1372 DR “The Year of Wild Magic”; Merlo Bouldermolder was standing upon his vineyard outside the Giant’s Run Mountains tasting a new batch of his red wine, which now is only known as Wonder Wine. Merlo contemplated the wines excellent taste while he pondered the latest tragedy his clan experienced. The Axebiter Clan had been pushed out for the last time, they had been fighting an evil clan of Stone Giant’s for years that dwelled in the Underdark beneath there clan hold. The giant’s gained a new chieftain that some say was an undead abomination to be reckoned with. The new chieftain wielded dark rune powers that turned the tide of the long war. Now Merlo’s clan mates are wanderers and refugees with-out a true clan hold to call home. This particular tragedy was in a vision Merlo had seen years prior, it actually is what helped him make his decision to leave the clan and start a vineyard on the surface outside the mountains along the Dragon Coast. Merlo found a plot of land that was fertile, with warm sea air off the coast and good sun year round. The only downside was it was to near the Giant’s Run Mountains and was sure to bring enemy some day. Merlo planted some grapes that year and became an over night success. His wine has been in high demand since the first season, he has not the clue why he became so successful at first, but now he thinks he can point his success to the soil. Merlo came to the conclusion his grapes are growing on a small pocket of wild magic. He knows this only because the minimal divine spells he has casted while tending his farm have resulted in outlandish results, and he had a sage test some of the silver shards he had found in the soil while digging. The sage said the shards were some sort of latent energy due to wild magic cast down from Mystra herself. The sage said the shards were not of value, but Merlo was not so certain. Merlo’s success also became his downfall, which leads to how he later found himself in the town of Cauldron; it was 1376 DR “The Year of the Bent Blade” and Merlo was away on a business trip in the town of Elversult. The trip went sour when the associates did not show up as planned and wasted not only his time but his money as well. Well, Merlo later found out the missing associates were actually planning to ambush him all along and the plan they put together was all in place as he found himself on the road back to his vineyard. Merlo never thought his Wonder Wines popularity would come to this. Merlo was taken by surprise while sitting at a fire happy to have found a way finders stop. I guess it did not help he was half tanked tasting his product he had planned on selling. Merlo was sure he had broken a few noses and stomped on a few toes, but he had never been known for his fighting prowess, eventually they knocked him out. It was days later when Merlo found himself recovering from the drugs they shot him up on. He now sat in dirty straw with nothing but the clothes on his back and a plate of stale bread and some unknown mushy swill. His cell was small, but things could have been worse. Merlo was treated horribly and fed awful fare, but none of it broke him. The jailors tortured him, trying to find out what was the special ingredient that made Wonder Wine act the way it did. Merlo had made his mind up that he would rather die then give his jailors the reasoning behind his Wonder Wine. Merlo later found out that the people that accosted him were some sort of sinister Triad in the city of Westgate that dealt in illicit trade such as narcotics, poison, etc. He was not sure why they were so interested in his wine; it was harmless to drink, unless you get one of the magical batches that sprout up once in a while, and then you’re in for some fun. I guess the evil merchants were tired of trying to get Merlo to talk so they decided to dispose of him. Merlo was brought to a deep dark pit and unceremoniously thrown in. Merlo fell hard broke a few ribs and knocked the wind out of him real bad, but he was always one to heal quickly and always thought of himself as a survivor. Merlo shook the stars from his vision as he heard the distant sounds of growling and barking. Suddenly Merlo was surrounded by several two headed Death Dogs, and they looked to be quite hungry. Merlo stood stoic thinking he was a goner then the strangest thing happened; one of the dogs came close and sniffed his hand then began licking him, soon all the dogs were licking him. Merlo never could understand it until later; he found that the Wonder Wine must have changed his chemistry to smell good to canines, because every dog he encounters seems to be smitten with him. The encounter with the Death Dogs lead Merlo to his escape; the dogs actually helped him find an exit from the pit that was miles from the prison cell he had spent days in. Merlo traveled for many months trying to distance himself from his past; he did not know what happened to his vineyard but the rumors he heard while being jailed sound as if he had lost everything to the evil triad. Merlo thought of using his limited divine talents to help the needy, or start up a church dedicated to Mathammor Duin, but he never could sit in one spot. Merlo felt he was struck with wanderlust until one night when he had a powerful vision. The vision showed him a city within a cauldron that experienced an awful disaster. He was not sure if it was the past or in the future, but the vision made him want to seek out this town. The last part of the vision showed him sitting on a stone bench overlooking a vineyard with a sign above that said “Merlo’s Wonder Wine”. It appeared he started over in this vision and the vineyard had a large cauldron in the backdrop. So now here he was on the road in search of this town within a Cauldron. Merlo was nearly to his destination when he came upon a sorry sight, it appeared a small caravan had been marauded by Gnolls or such. Merlo slid off the back of his pony patted his mule as he grabbed his heavy mace and began to search the wreckage. Merlo was nearly done when he came upon a poor dog whimpering and close to death. The dog was a muscular breed, and had barding on it, so he assumed it was a guard dog. Merlo approached the dog and found it had taken an arrow through the chest. Merlo calmed the animal and began to treat the wound then called upon his divine healing to fully heal the dog. After closer inspection he found the dog had a spiked collar with the name Taga engraved into it. The dog jumped up, wagged its tail and began licking Merlo’s face. Taga instantly became Merlo’s new friend; they traveled the remainder of the trip to Cauldron together. It is now 1378 DR “The Year of the Cauldron” which Merlo thought must have had some portent to his vision. Merlo stabled his war pony and mule and had Taga follow him into the Drunken Morkoth Inn. Merlo seated himself, and Taga rest at his feet. A meal and glass of wine was ordered and the rest is still to be written of Merlo “Dog Friend” Bouldermolder…….