The Four Winds
CC is gruff and stoic, with an air of efficiency and effectiveness. He is a soldierly type, and enough of a loner to be happy in the close and small family of the Ranger corps. After leaving the Army, he developed a good friendship with an adventuring company.
CC used to be a complete antisocial asshole, but time and experience has slightly mellowed that behavior. Now he’s normally bearable, but definitely has his moments where he slips back into the dour glum Jack-ass mule he used to be. (For support and reference, refer to Damien Modichi)
Cedar Cinnamon’s Background
(aka CC, aka Cedar, aka CedarCin, aka Ranger Spice…)
Birth of a Child
Not long ago, a group of Elves was traveling toward another land. This caravan was waylaid by Human Bandits, who viciously killed the elven men and raped the elven women. Cedar’s mother, known as Luna, was one of those elven women raped by the humans. To her shame, she became pregnant. The elven women were rescued … and the survivors resumed their long trek.
Months later, the pregnancy still advancing, the Elves were entering the mountains. This terrain was difficult for a pregnant woman, and at the last settlement village she dropped out of the caravan. Luna was accepted by the stoic villagers and worked for her keep, contributing to the village as best she knew how.
The moon was full the night the child was born, and the shamanistic midwife of the village said the signs and portents were exceptionally favorable. The midwife cared for the child as best she could. The mom could not afford fancy clothes, and thus wove bed linens for the child from strips of fragrant cedar bark sprinkled with cinnamon spice. This gift of bed linens and blankets is the last thing Luna ever gave to her child… and she left him and the settlement to resume her journey to another place and time.
A child of original sin, born under auspicious portents, swaddled in fragrant Cedar Cinnamon shavings… a Half Elf, given his name by a human shaman, with a mother too ashamed to give him an Elven name. No wonder he never fit in.
Youth and Folly
Cedar wandered around the town throughout his childhood. The townsfolk accepted his presence, but did not normally welcome him. He had friends at times, and he was part of the town… but he never fit in, and almost never slept in the house. During fair weather, he often slept outdoors, and when the cold and wet seasons came about he would be given refuge in the barn or a shed. He was never a freeloader, always leaving the space cleaner than he found it, and tending animals exceptionally well.
At the age of 14, Cedar worked extra hard and saved up enough coin to buy a flint and a good knife… then he set out to wander far across the mountains and forest. Disappearing from town for months at a time, he survived on the land. Without coin to buy goods, or even a town to go shopping in, Cedar made all of his belongings. Clothes, shoes, shelter and food were all provided by skinning pelts, weaving sinew, thatching grasses, and hunting. Little did he know, or care, but Cedar had gone wild, and it showed.
It was during this time alone, that Cedar first encountered Orcs. He was checking his snares and was happy to see a rabbit caught up ahead on the path. As he approached, something seemed awry, and his senses warned him just in the nick of time as an Orc shot an arrow at him. Cedar later figured out that the Orc had noticed the snare, and then laid in wait to kill whoever had laid it. Without thought, Cedar fled… and the Orc scout gave chase. For days this continued… the Orc playing games with the small child and deliberately staying just close enough to scare him but not actually catching up. In this way, the Orc outsmarted the young child and Cedar found himself traveling in unfamiliar country with more and more orc signs evident every day. Having grown overly confident in his hunt, the Orc Scout was surprised when the trap hit his foot and arm. Hobbled by the stakes, the Orc was angry enough to catch up to the fleeing boy. Realizing that Flight was no longer an option, Cedar turned to face the orc… drew his dagger… and charged with a scream. The orc died before the echoes of the scream faded from the valley.
War comes to Cormir
For months afterward, Cedar explored new terrain, not returning to the village. He was in Orc country now and was constantly vigilant against the creatures. He would occasionally watch and learn about their ways and customs when he could… but generally he learned how to avoid them, and how to follow them.
Months stretched into years, and the boundaries Cedar explored continued to expand. When he was about 19 years old, on a rare visit near a road, Cedar saw a large group of armed men marching to toward the north. He watched them pass and then saw the horde of followers and helpers and peasants who followed the army. On a whim, he quietly joined the throng of people… slipping in unnoticed in the dark of night. From the first few stares he realized he didn’t fit in, and quickly stole a large hooded cloak to cover his features and belongings. Having never been in or around this many people was a new experience for Cedar, and he found it uncomfortable, yet he remained and started listening to the conversations around him.
War, they said. War, in Cormir. War, with the Warlock Lord. War, coming from the Wildlands. Soldiers, to protect us. Soldiers to save towns. Soldiers, to be heroes.
In those first few minutes, listening to the terrified descriptions of the war, and the complete adoration toward the common soldier… Cedar decided to try soldierng. That night he quietly approached the pickets and asked the guard sentry if he could join the soldiers. With a curt but not unkind laugh, the guard sent him along to talk to the duty sergeant.
The sergeant initially saw a dirty peasant child who was slight of body and not well spoken and was about to dismiss him out of hand. However, Cedar blurted out that he had killed Orcs, and the sergeant listened with a new ear. Cedar was forced to give up all his crudely hand made possessions, but was allowed to keep his knife… The sergeant recorded his name as CC in the book of soldiers… and thus Cedar was known in the Army
Dressed in uncomfortable and itchy pants, forced to haul sludge and supplies for the troops, Cedar’s first weeks of being a soldier were miserable. It was only the memories of the peasants behind him that prevented him from slipping off and leaving the army behind. The threats from the sergeant about deserters held no weight with Cedar, and certainly the food was not keeping him here.
It was a long and lonely year for Cedar. He did reasonably well at the drills and training, but he was the target of more than his share of ridicule and persecution. His human peers were taller and stronger, and he was constantly slighted in little ways. None of the soldiers wanted to partner with Cedar. The battles were horrible, and the work was never fun, but Cedar was constantly challenged and valued the skills he was learning.
Yet again put on the graveyard watch, alone… Cedar was standing guard. This night proved to be different though, as Cedar spotted a slow shadow moving toward the camp. Raising the alarm, he rushed forward to confront the shadowed figure. Two blinks later, with a boot still firmly planted in his gut, Cedar found himself looking up from the ground at a man in forest green clothing with an army badge plainly visible on his shoulder.. The alarm quickly died down, but the man continued to stare at Cedar with uncanny piercing eyes.
The officer introduced himself as Vavek as he helped Cedar up, and asked his name. Cedar muttered a reply and escorted the man to the Captains tent before returning to his place on the guard lines.
Two hours later, in the hour before dawn, Cedar turned a saw Vavek, 50 feet away and once more sneaking toward him. This time Vavek stood up, pushed back his hood and smiled as he approached. He handed Cedar a rolled parchment and waited expectantly… Cedar admitted he could not read and asked Vavek what it said.
“You’ve been re-assigned, my boy… get your gear, we leave immediately!” said Vavek. When Cedar asked why, Vavek replied that nobody else has ever caught him moving through the lines… and that sort of talent shouldn’t be wasted as a mere soldier. Cedar smiled, a rare event this last year, and in less than 2 minutes he explained he had no gear that he wasn’t already carrying, roused the next guard and walked out of camp with Vavek.
Happiness… and Acceptence… this is what Cedar wanted most of all. When they arrived at the Ranger’s camp, it was immediately obvious that this place would offer both. The other rangers were all quiet and apart but not aloof or superior. They shared learning and advice without being scornful or insulting. This was a brotherhood, a truly impressive example of teamwork and skill. Although there were only 20 rangers, they produced results equal in overall effectiveness to the entire army of 6,000 soldiers.
Vavek worked with Cedar personally much of the time. He was incredibly demanding but also very rewarding and the two quickly developed a strong friendship. Cedar learned skills, and how to read and write several languages. Learning elven from a human teacher was ironic, and left cedar with a bit of an accent, but he was glad to finally learn something of his heritage. Learning additional weapon skills and woodsman skills never ended in the Rangers. Any day that they were not out on assignment, they were in drills.
The war was intense. The battles were ferocious. Rangers cleared the way and led the way at all times. Soldiers complained at a march, and the Rangers smirked knowing that for every step a soldier took, the ranger would take 5 steps… faster, and quieter steps… without being seen by enemy scouts.
The enemy was strange… outlandish creatures of all sorts. Demonic heritage and corrupted animals intermixed with dark magic and tainted by experimentation. Such monsters soon became second nature to Cedar, and he quickly learned to adapt tactics and adjust to the situation at hand. Winning Battles and Losing Battles started to merge. The fights came more frequently, and the news was becoming quite dire. As a Ranger, Cedar was aware of the overall outlook of the war… Rangers frequently carried messages to and from Army commanders and captains. The news that the Warlock Lord was nearing this area was alarming… Nobody had ever beaten the Warlack Lord in battle. Winning the battles and beating his Army was only possible when he was elsewhere.
The commander of their forces called a forced march into the land controlled by the Zhentarem and met in haste and stealth with their leaders. Cedar heard rumors that Manshoon the wizard leader, and Vizul the priest leader came into camp themselves. The Zhentarem is a band of assassins and mercenaries with a reputation for being greedy and working for the highest bidder. The Warlock Lord must have pissed them off, because they arrived in force to fight in the next battle. After 2 ½ years of victories, the Zhentarem delivered the first loss of the war to the Warlock Lord. The tides had turned…
Having admitted that defeat, the Warlock Lord moved his remaining armies in a different direction. Still a horrible force to be reckoned with, the rangers kept track of their movements and helped select favorable sites to engage the enemy.
Shadowdale itself was just a name on the map to Cedar, who did not know the history of the place or the people who lived there. Vavek and Cedar were on patrol in the area when they picked up traces of the enemy near by. Quietly looking about, neither ranger was prepared for the sight that came next…
Six creatures in one, the Warlock Lord himself stepped out of the shadows and noticed the two rangers. He was hideously transformed by the evil he had embraced… with octopus tentacles, a scorpion body, werewolf arms, and a backpack. Vavek pushed me down and to the side as he drew and charged the enemy. Never even having a wisp of a chance, Vavek’s light was extinguished without thought or effort. After the warlock lord left, Cedar collected the remains and gruesomely hacked off the hands and feet of his friend and mentor to avoid having him raise and serve the enemies army.
Grief and rage poured through Cedar. Never before had he lost someone so close or loved. Shortly afterward, sounds of explosions and high magic were heard coming from not too far away. Grabbing Vavek’s sword and his own, Cedar plunged into the darkness… moving at breakneck speeds toward the sounds, with no heed toward safety or stealth.
Bursting into a clearing lit only with the crackle and sparks of mages battling with arcane energy, Cedar took only and instant to take in the whole scene. Seeing the Warlock Lord engaged, Cedar charged the field and plunged both swords into the both of his enemy. The swords may or may not have caused any harm… Cedar will never know… for the scorpion stinger leapt out and the poison coursing into his veins caused Cedar to scream in agony.
The remaining flashes were vague and surreal… the old man fighting the Warlock Lord turned out to be none other than Elminster, of Shadowdale. He backed up the Warlock Lord and administered a potion to counteract the poison… then he stood near me and meteors showered down from the heavens, shattering the earth as they fell. Finally after all that, he cut his own hand and bled silver into my wounds to cure them. Satisfied with his handiwork, the wizard turned his attention back to the opponent at hand…
They fought on for a long time… Stalemated… Good vs Evil… Wizard vs Warlock. Somehow the balance shifted and the Warlock sensed he was losing. Cedar vaguely saw images of an Arabian lamp being pulled from a backpack… the Warlock Lord talking to a misty figure, and then disappearing altogether. Elminster himself then spoke with the same misty figure and he summoned and spoke to a small weasel… noticed by Cedar only because it was so out of place in this devastated hillside.
Cedar struggled to his feet and picked up the sword hilts he had dropped. The blades of both weapons were gone… both shattered and melted by the being they had tried to wound. Elminster observed Cedar, noticed the anger and hatred and came over to offer a bit of wisdom. “Don’t let Hate own you…” was all he said before Cedar passed out.
When he was finally able to return and report in, the leadership of the Rangers gave Cedar numerous accolades for bravery and valor. Cedar declined the medals, and thus the deeds were never recorded outside of the Rangers HQ Logs… and they do not appear in the official Army books.
Despite his best efforts, the Ranger leadership promoted Cedar to an officer, and thus he found himself leading a group of 50 soldiers to track down fragments of the Warlock Lord’s disbanded Army.
Numerous battles later, Cedar’s troupe was tracking a large band of orcs, estimated around 80 in number. The report came in that the Orcs were about to attack a village, and the whole troupe of soldiers was force marched to engage. Arriving too late for any strategy or tactics, the soldiers found themselves in a wild melee among 80 orcs and the remains of 160 villagers. The lighting was poor, and the soldier’s reliance on their battlefield tactics was a hindrance to this style of skirmish fighting. Unexpectedly, Cedar found himself alone facing Orc after Orc… wet with their blood he continued until he collapsed… unaware of the grievous wounds he had suffered.
The soldiers defeated the orcs, but the battle left too many injured, and Cedar himself was unable to move. He stayed in the village as the soldiers left, and was nursed back to health by the remaining village women. Perhaps it was her beauty, or perhaps he felt like she saved his life… but Cedar fell truly in love with his healer… Kayana.
After he could move again, Cedar started to court Kayana. He stayed in the town and helped rebuild the village as best he could. Basic necessities first, and then he worked with the villagers design and construct alarm bells and defensive structures in case they were ever attacked again. Despite his obviously dramatic contributions to the village, when Cedar approached Kayana’s father to request her hand in marriage… his request was denied. Angry at the obvious racial discriminations, Cedar convinced his love to elope with him, and they fled the village to an even smaller mountain settlement… further out in the mountains, the smallest possible sort of village.
There they created a home… several years went by and they were happy, self sufficient, and intimately in love. Cedar gave up his Soldier name of CC to once again be called by his childhood name… a softer name… but this time accepted and respected by the village.
Cedar continued to travel, and his journeys helped keep the village supplied with essentials they could not produce themselves. He also ranged far and wide during his hunts, so as not to burden any one portion of the forest with his presence. It was after one of these journeys that he found himself distressed as he returned home. He was not clear why, but he knew he had to hurry and return…
As he approached, the signs were all wrong… his gut told him it was bad before he could ever have explained what he felt. Approaching his settlement, the signs of Orcs were everywhere. Broken weapons proved the villagers had fought bravely… but bloody corpses proved they had all lost… every man woman and child in the village was massacred. Cedar was crushed as he found his wife and child among the corpses… with blacking tar scarred wounds across their bodies. Evil magic had tainted the blade that made these wounds, and Cedar knew it to be in the hands of Orcs. Cedar buried his wife and child… and burned the rest of the bodies… before leaving to track the Orcs.
Once again, he had nothing but himself and his knife….