Tales of Halaster's Heroes
Though it may be hard to believe, Jareth Nimblebottom was born on a farmstead on the Unicorn Run, outside of Secomber. Jarel Nimblebottom, Jareth’s father, was a farmer who was known for the ale he brewed with the grain his land produced. The youngest of the four children born to Jarel and Maereth Nimblebottom, Jareth was not interested in the life of a farmer. Maereth saw that her youngest son’s talents would not flower on the family farm and through quiet sacrifice arranged for Jareth to study in Berdusk. Jareth did his mother proud during his years in Berdusk, and each time he visited the farm, the pride and joy which filled her heart only increased.
Finally he returned to the farm and he didn’t recognize it. Though repairs had been made, the damage wrought with fire and blade was still obvious. The warm homecoming he had expected was not to be. His father, who had ever been a robust and boisterous halfling, was silent and heartbroken and confined to his bed through his injuries. His eldest sister Marel was there caring for him, with her new husband Nindal Swiftfoot working to repair the damage to the farmstead. There had been orc raids in the past, but Jarel had long ago convinced the orcs to spare the farm by leaving out ale for the raiders and reminding them that there would be no more ale were his family or farm to be harmed! Jareth’s mother, his sister Miril, and his brother Jared were nowhere to be found, and it took some time before Jareth could get the tale of what had occurred from anyone.
Raiders had come: gnolls. The filthy beasts made orcs seem downright civilized. The creatures were upon them before the family had known that they were in danger. Maereth had died in the attack, as had Jared. Miril was carried off by the gnolls, as had several human and halfling girls from other nearby farmsteads. A party from Secomber and the outlying farms was gathered to pursue the band of gnolls, but were ambushed at the edge of the High Forest, returning with some dead and many more seriously injured, Jarel Nimblebottom among them.
Jareth stayed on the farm long enough to help finish repairs to the farm and help the family get back on its feet while his father healed. The farmstead, however, was now a place of sorrow to Jareth. Once the farm was set to rights, and his father restored to health, Jareth bid farewell to his family and took to the road to rediscover his own joy by spreading joy to the world through his music! His mother would never have wished him to deny the world his talent!
Setting off on the back of his pony, Jareth’s first stop on the road was Daggerford. Stabling his pony at the local livery stable, and convinced Fulbar Hardcheese, owner of the Happy Cow Tavern, to provide dinner and food and drink the road and a night’s lodging in a spare room for a few songs for the patrons. The local farmers who are the patrons of the Happy Cow enjoyed the surprise entertainment, and Jareth’s jack was never empty that night. After helping Fulbar close up and clean the tavern, Jareth went to sleep, with his pack as his pillow. When he awoke, he was no longer in the Happy Cow, but in a dungeon which he would later find to be called Undermountain, far below the streets of Waterdeep.
Awaking in Undermountain with five new companions (Alibaba, Ella, Liu Kang, Thope, and Solus), Jareth was soon fighting (and singing) for his life. In an adventure which his songs would soon make legendary within the City of Waterdeep, Jareth and his companions survived the deadly first level of Undermountain with a lot of aid from a wand of wonder that he found. With liberal use of the wand, which lesser men would tremble in fear at, Jareth and his companions not only escaped, but rescued a moon elf girl from drow sacrifice. But their lives came at a price. The wand of wonder transformed Jareth into a sun elf. Perhaps because of this transformation, another use of the wand in the process of rescuing the moon elf maiden from the drow attracted the attention of Corellon Larethian, the high god of the elves. Corellon gifted Jareth with his own blade with which to fight the Drow, laughing merrily at Jareth’s protestations of halflinghood.