Stark the Blaze
A young Human Bard hailing from Waterdeep, arriving at the frozen north at the behest of his bardic master.
Standing six feet tall and of slender build, Stark moves through crowds with steady, proud steps. His long, red hair reaches the arch of his back and appears like flame in the wind – lending credence to his self-proclaimed stage name, “The Blaze”.
His eyes appear jet black upon his pale skin, and his appearance is made up by various accessories – a small trinket around his neck, or a black line accenting the outer arc of his eyes. His tall nose ends at a small point just above his thin lips, while his ears are average and usually just hidden from view by his hair. A dangling earring, on occasion, makes itself apparent on his left ear at the touch of a breeze.
Stark seeks renown more than anything else, and will naturally make himself or his companions look great in the eyes of others, truthfully or otherwise. While he knows that he is still young and inexperienced in the ways of the world, he believes in the adage that whatever one says, if one says it often enough, will become true. In his spare time, he would spread
lies songs about his and his party’s exploits – the time when they slew a baby dragon in the exploded tunnel in the Targos dock warehouse (and how Emma Moonblade was dancing naked in there, which he saves for the more drunken audiences), for instance, or the time when they slew a frost giant by having Findar carry SkyClad, Daemon Frost throwing Findar, Findar throwing SkyClad, and SkyClad tossing a little dagger into the Frost Giant’s nose hole, which went straight into its brain.
It is also his way of endearing himself to his party, by making them look good in the eyes of others. He has never experienced a full family, and his separation from his own makes him long for one just like how the lure of wandering comes time and again. Daemon and Clytie remind him of his parents sometimes (though just on the fact that they’re man and woman, and Daemon has a beard and Clytie
has breasts is a sorcerer). Findar seems like the dependable elder brother and he sees SkyClad like a kid brother whom he would like to tease but knows might be the best of all of them in secret.
Stark (19 years) is a wandering bard from Waterdeep. He was a boy of nobility and little renown some years past, which he thought to resolve by abandoning his father’s house (and his title, consequently) and then adventuring for fame and glory.
His travels brought him to various towns along the Sword Coast, and even once to Icewind Dale, having hitched along a tribe of barbarians that had thought him the reincarnation of a fire god due to his bright red hair.
He later encountered a bardic college set up along the outskirts of Neverwinter and approached them with some curiosity. In truth, he had run out of funds and needed a roof under his head for the night. For the bard masters camping there, however, they thought to make Stark into one of their own. It would be there that Stark would learn the arts and discover his fondness for the lute. His teachers and peers grew fond of him because of his jokes and witty remarks.
As the teachers one by one succumbed to their own wanderlusts, the college drifted and finally disappeared. The bards went their own ways, yet one of Stark’s teachers had taken a liking to him and asked him to join her and her troupe to Waterdeep. Stark acquiesced, interested in seeing how his home has fared since he saw it last.
Back in Waterdeep, the troupe performed in various bars and city squares, the assorted group showcasing their different talents and completing a circus ensemble on their own. This was the image that Stark saw for the most part, until his master had invited him to perform at a nobleman’s party.
There was no incident in the populated event, and Stark merely went through the motions of performing as he noted the personalities coming and going… until he realized that his master seemed to be watching out for something.
He thought he saw the glint of a dagger, then. Even before he could think to stop his performance, his master was already there by the assassin. She did not draw attention to the weapon nor the assassin by causing a scandal, but with trained flair, only flicked a scarf to expose a shoulder and leaned to show cleavage, accompanied by some muttered words that distracted the attacker and the victim long enough for the hunter to lose interest in its prey.
When Stark confronted his master later, she confessed that she had brought him to see what had transpired as her way of inducting him into her trusted circle. They were a small troupe of bards that operated as spies for the Lords of Waterdeep, Ahghairon in particular. They were tasked to ensure the peace among the Masked Lords, and snuff out any intrigue that purported to betrayal. They had no real loyalty to the Lords, of course, his master would say. The game of intrigue was exciting and allowed them the chance to have a hand in how fate might play.
“The Circle of the Branded Mask” was their handle, so named because of how only their masks held their loyalty, leaving their sense of freedom unmarred. The Brands would be among one of the parties that informed Ahghairon of Kerrigan’s treachery against the the Lords, though they were not able to prevent the murder of three Lords prior to Kerrigan’s capture.
In Episode 5, Stark dies when he goes with the task force to drive the remaining humanoids from Bremen.