Rise of Nations
Has Terrible Taste in Employers
Markard was once part of the Corpse Howlers gang in Mivon but was forced to flee the city after getting into an ideological disagreement with Ailmon. He then fell into the employ of the Stag Lord, but the party spared his life on the condition that he repent his banditry and pledge himself to their service. He agreed readily enough, seeing as how the alternative was death. His first mission as part of Rallo’s incipient spy network was to return to Mivon and ferret out the fate of Rallo’s siblings. It took him a couple months of leaning on his contacts and former comrades but at last he tracked Ailmon’s slave operations to Harrowstone Manor, a supposedly abandoned estate on Mivon’s northern border. The party seemed quite satisfied with his work and sent him northward next, into Brevoy, to investigate Lymon Medvyed, a nobleman of some standing with whom Pavel had a longstanding grievance. Markard did not find it difficult to get himself hired as a member of the household guard, but it took him some time to earn Lymon’s trust. His seeming moral flexibility, however, eventually convinced Lymon that he could be asset to the man’s smuggling operations and Markard became a part of a small circle of men that Lymon relied upon to help him run contraband. His skill at piloting small watercraft, gained as a result of navigating Mivon’s myriad waterways in his youth, also served to further impress Lymon.
The couple years he spent in Lymon’s household and employ were, in truth, not bad ones; he was well-paid and comfortably boarded, and having been involved in criminal activities nearly his whole life, he found it easy to slip back into old behaviors. And yet, Markard never lost sight of the real reason he was there: to find damning evidence— proof enough to ruin the man for good— of Lymon’s iniquities. He did not mind the grit and ugliness of his undercover work, but he discovered within himself a desire to be a better person, to work for a higher goal than simple self-gratification. Perhaps it was this impulse that prompted him to shield Maris from discovery, to look past the mousy persona she projected to see the determination driving her actions. Whatever the reason, he made an ally of her, a second pair of eyes and ears to snoop around the manor, and a new perspective to bounce theories and ideas off of. Together, they managed to piece together that Lymon had contacted (or was contacted by) a cult of Norgorber and made some sort of deal with them. The exact nature of this arrangement was unknown, but given the recent trials and ill luck of a number of his most prominent rivals and competitors, there was no doubt he was profiting handsomely off of it. The tricky part was finding proof and Lymon had been very, very careful in covering his tracks. By a stroke of luck, Maris had managed to witness Lymon hiding a strange metal plate behind a secret panel in the upstairs gallery and made a rubbing of it, though neither of them could make heads or tails of it. And Markard was able to get a good look at the accounting ledger Lymon kept detailing his smuggling enterprise. Though it was written in Lymon’s personal shorthand, Markard was familiar enough with the operations to notice several hidden shipments piggy-backing on others, all marked with a small black shield. Unfortunately, it seemed he wasn’t circumspect enough. One night, he nearly died of poison and it was only through Maris’ surreptitious help and Satinder’s intervention that he survived. Deciding that he had collected what he could, and that getting these crumbs of information to the party was more important than staying and finding out more, he grabbed Maris and fled. Though he was successful in contacting Pavel for a meeting, he was assassinated by a hidden sniper before he could divulge much of what he and Maris had discovered, leaving the halfling to explain things on her own.