The Ravenloft Files: Dead of the Night
Human Inquisitor of Ezra/Gunslinger
Homeland: Port-a-Lucine, Dementlieu
Redwald Marek was born on the third day of April in the year 721 BC, the fourth of five children, in the city of Port-a-Lucine in the domain of Dementlieu. The son of a traveling caretaker, Redwald’s upbringing was strict and without extravagance but his parents were dutiful to their children and made what sacrifices were necessary to provide a sound home. This was a point of honor for Redwald’s father, Osred, whose own father was given to abdicating the burdens of fatherhood in favor of drink and the company of disreputable women, finally disappearing from the lives of his family when Osred was 11. This was a defining moment in Osred’s life. Seeing the destruction his father’s lechery had wrought in the life of his mother and siblings his character was galvanized at a young age. Owing to his mother seeking comfort and redemption in the temple of Ezra, Osred spent much of his youth engaged in the activities associated with his mother’s faith. Sometimes earning a few coins doing menial work, tending horses and mending the odd pieces of broken furniture, masonry and the like, his near constant presence in and around the temple as well as his skill patching nearly anything evolved into the means by which he would eventually provide for his family. While Osred did not have the natural gifts nor the education to join the clergy he was taken on first as a caretaker for the temple grounds in Port-a-Lucine and later as a travelling caretaker tending to the buildings, grounds and statuary of outlying congregations too small to warrant permanent keepers. It was in one of these outlying settlements that he would meet his eventual wife, and Redwald’s mother, Ceolwenne.
In recognition of Osred’s tireless service and his, as well as Ceolwenne’s, devotion to the faith the temple took on the burden of educating the Marek children. Without this incalculable gift it is likely the Marek children would not have received an education as Osred’s wages were sufficient to provide the necessities for his family but allowed for very little beyond that. Unfortunately for Redwald this opportunity did not come without a price. Apart from the labor that he and his siblings were expected to perform before and after lessons as part of their tuition, they were the object of much unwanted attention from many of the other children in the district. Being devotees of a sect of Ezra that was not predominant in Dementlieu and dwelling in a district of the city that was somewhat less than tolerant of such transgressions Redwald was subjected to a great deal of mockery, harrassment and even an occasional battering. As a consequence of this abuse Redwald, steeped in the faith of his father and drawing on his convictions in the face of adversity, learned to stand strong and to fight back despite the odds. It was during this time that Redwald’s character and natural gifts came to the attention of the clergy in the person of Ragnaldus, a highly placed member of the priesthood. In the course of his duties Ragnaldus was returning from administering last rites to a departed member of the faithful when he witnessed Redwald in the throes of a struggle with three other boys. Despite suffering a sound beating and repeated taunts aimed at his faith the boy bloodied all three of his attackers and walked away battered but not broken.
It was as a result of this display that Ragnaldus took Redwald into his tutelage and this arrangement was to last a number of years. But after a time it became clear that the boy would not be deterred from going his own direction. While he never wavered in his faith to Ezra he had his own ideas about inspiring piety in the flock as well as meting out justice to the wayward. Believing that Redwald’s seemingly rash and impulsive methods were the product of his youth, Ragnaldus sought to instill in him temperance on a pilgrimage to proselytize among the lawless Darkonese. And so it was that in the early months of 743 that Ragnaldus set out for Darkon to win converts and, hopefully, to inculcate in his protege the value of restraint.