He’s a man-headed rodent of unusual size armed with hooks instead of claws. Originally the spawn of a young sorcerer’s dabbling, discarded as too ugly for a familiar, Mole Man turned feral. As one might expect, he gets cranky and hungry, often at the same time. A century later, he is still confined by spells within the catacombs of Arevol’s Abyss.
Murk was a lowly bog troll, foraging for clams and fowl in the peat moss near Jurandi. As a youngster in his village, he was often sent out deeper into the swirling mists than the rest. One day, as he was sliding through the moss toward a roosting grossin, his fin brushed a metal disk. The ensuing flash startled troll and grossin, visions of a princess in captivity, a bark of orders in a mystic tongue. Murk’s family noticed their rather dim relation acting different after that. One day he took his father’s trihook and scale mail, his older brother’s satchel, and his aunt’s hat, and struck out for the dry lands and adventure.
When Murk reached the town of Jurandi, he found the human peasants in consternation. He did not understand why until that night, when an animated corpse attacked him. The town was under attack, several died. At the end of that week, a man in black and white appeared, and began to cast away the animated corpses—for a healthy fee. Soon peasants wanted this anti-necrologist for town protector, commending him to the lord as a knight. Every now and then, a corpse would be sighted, convincing many that the protector was a necessity.
Murk, ever the bumbler, was on his way out of town when he passed the ancient burial mounds and saw the anti-necrologist casting spells over one of the graves as bony hands emerged from the earth. Murk nodded and smiled. The town protector was doing his job.
At the next inn, none approached Murk save a dark figure with a yellow lantern. “You’ve come from Jurandi town, troll? What be afoot their?” Murk, encouraged by a promise of a chicken, recounted everything he did in Jurandi. The dark man picked up his yellow light and his giant axe and headed off to Jurandi.
On the road to Gaeolaet, Murk encountered a knife thrower named Jake. Murk, as was becoming his custom, told his tale from the beginning. While Jake took no interest in the walking corpses or the Yellow Lantern, he perked up at the mention of a captive princess and the asked in particular about the amulet Murk found. Once the troll had answered every question, Jake grinned. “I’ll be traveling with you, my odiferous friend,” he swore. Murk gurgled happily.
At the Gaeolaetian border, Murk and Jake stopped at a flea market. The knife thrower slunk off to the tavern, muttering something about the latest gossip and a pint. Murk flopped about the stalls, plucking a few feathers from a grouse or a peahen and stuffing them into his knapsack with the chicken bones and a rat he’d plucked from the gutter. He was so busy watching the ants scuttling about with crumbs that he bumped into a blind man. Or was he an elf, his sharp nose and chin giving him away. “Oops,” Murk mumbled, attempting to wipe the muck of his mail off the elf’s finery. “Off with you, beggar slug. Before I mince you!”
“Do you not know who I am? I am the infamous mercenary Illyar of Raylliand.” Out came the elf’s blade. Murk smiled apologetically and handed the elf his new pet rat.
“For you, Liar of Rayliland.”
The blind elf cursed and raised his blade. Murk raised his polearm. A knife sprouted from Illyar’s neck, dropping him to the cobbles.
“Good thing I only had one pint,” Jake quipped as he strolled over.
Murk shrugged. “We find princess now.”