Gendin’s Journal – Red Owl
a page from the journal of Gendin, son of Arissa and Temone of the dwarven Clan Gilderlo
July, 1443 AWR
The line of Gisine, daughter of Meselda and Thorin of the Clan Gilderlo, led Red Owl for thirteen hundred and twenty years. Mostly the organization prospered, especially during the five hundred years the five wars with the Empire of Mathailda took place. War is good for business.
Generally the mantle of Master passed gracefully from one generation to the next, although occasionally one seized power through coercion and violence. At other times a Master was removed by a son or brother or father because of incompetence. The fragment of the Clan Gilderlo that lived in Sathea prospered.
The twenty years of war with the bandit who styled himself Talon took a heavy toll on Red Owl. As a child he was called Gimper, a name he hated. This drove him to succeed, destroying his detractors and forming the Black Eagles to rival Red Owl. As an adult I called him Fundament, a name he hated more than Gimper, possibly because I called him that. I was the Assassin of Sathea, and Fundament envied me to the point of madness.
Tactically, the man was genius. In the short term he out-thought most of his enemies, which made him victorious. In a matter of five years he had destroyed or ingested every criminal organization in Sathea — except Red Owl. This was no small feat, as Red Owl had been adversaries with some organizations, especially the gold elves, for centuries.
Strategically? Fundament’s successes made him arrogant and he failed to capitalize on those successes. His arrogance and self-delusion, bolstered by lieutenants who flattered him, caused him to make grandiose plans that had no chance of succeeding. He repeatedly over-extended his forces and got too many killed. But the dead were all peons and the slums were filled with replacements who firmly believed they could succeed and survive where their brothers and cousins did not.
All other groups gone, Fundament started the war on Red Owl in earnest. He lost greater numbers than we did, but humans are ready to fight at age fifteen; dwarves at forty-three. Our numbers were not replaced as quickly, and through mere attrition he was winning. During this period he managed to kill all my brothers and sisters except Milo. When he killed Arissa, my mother, I thought my father would snap a twig. I countered that with an offensive that drove Fundament out of Sathea, along with most of his forces. I followed him and allowed all to believe I had been killed, so that fool would not realize it was I who was after his blood.
Two years later I returned to Sathea, chasing Fundament who had acquired an item of foul, eldritch power. He killed my father and very nearly my brother, but I drove him out of Sathea and slaughtered the forces he had brought with him. I chased him out of Sathea and gave him the death he earned, but that is a tale for another day.
Milo was too young and I had no interest in assuming the mangle of Master of Red Owl. All the senior members were dead or crippled, so unable to vie for the position. A succession of the unworthy grasped the mantle and died for their efforts. Open fighting in the streets invoked the city guard and the local militia, and the remnants of Red Owl were killed or scattered. So ended my great great and then some grandmother’s crowning glory.