Spartan Silverblade, played by Robert Taylor, was a character in my high school Advanced Dungeons & Dragons campaign that featured prominently as one of the five heroes who saved the world of Welstar in my novel, The Well of Stars.
Spartan Silverblade was originally a simple farmer, growing up in an idyllic lifestyle, working hard and earning his keep, milking cows and tending crops. Much of Spartan’s young life was untouched by strife or conflict. That was all to end.
Spartan did not know his mother. Kateri Shadowborn was a courageous and valorous warrior, a shining member of Knights of the Gryphon. When she nearly died in combat against a demon while she was pregnant, her husband was furious with her, fearful that she and his unborn child would die at the hands of Hel. Upon Spartan’s birth, they parted ways. Kateri branded Azlaer as a coward.
Spartan’s father, Azlaer, had kept the dark secret of his grandfather’s quest from the young Silverblade for decades. He was determined to not let Spartan suffer the same fate as his grandfather. But it was not to be. Fearful of what Fedifensor might do to him, Fenrir sent his demonic minions to deal with Azlaer and his kin. They had been searching for the blade for years.
Spartan found his father dead, the victim of a strange accident, and the blade that had hung over the family hearth was missing. Amidst his grief, Spartan had a vision. A barn owl hung over the place where his father lay, hooting at a book. That book was the Chronicles of Fedifensor, a long list of the great deeds of his bloodline, and of the curse that had been laid upon the Silverblade line. Spartan chose to interpret the owl’s presence as an omen to follow the goddess Vor.
Because Spartan’s father had shared a womb with three other demonkin, he was cursed with horrible luck, to be continued throughout the family line. Five birthmarks were on Spartan’s hand, one on each knuckle. Just as Azlaer had on his hand, the birthmarks represented the five children of Kerzit. Until they were destroyed, Spartan and all his future progeny could never be assured.
Unfortunately, Azlaer’s luck extended to farming as well, and the farm Spartan had inherited was barely able to produce enough to sustain the both of them. Spartan left the town in the care of the villagers of Gydnia and sallied forth to face his five aunts and uncles. Thus started his career as a paladin of Vor.
Despite a long and arduous trial, Spartan was successful. Over time, he honed his body and his soul, her strengthened his virtues, and perhaps most ignominiously, he died. A lot. Spartan’s ability to recover from hardship became legendary, his courage unparalleled. He was also known for being a very straightforward and loyal person.
Upon defeating the five demonkin, Spartan learned of the whereabouts of Fedifensor. The greater pegasus known as Sleipner sprang forth from the last demon’s blood, and it would prove to be Spartan’s loyal mount and companion for many years. The curse on his family was lifted. Or so he thought.
Committed to retrieving his family heirloom, Spartan met Fenrir on his own terms, battling him on his home plane. He narrowly escaped with his life and Fedifensor, leaving behind him a seething Fenrir who vowed revenge.
It was also during his travels that Spartan met Caramel Andrigson, a Knight of the Gryphon. They met only briefly, and during that time they did not get along.
It was then that the five Dark Gods made their move, striking at the goddess Vor. Blinded in one eye, Vor was forced to flee to recuperate as well as to bear a child, the progeny of Cyrn. This child would be known as Sikkar, and his birth was concealed in a human child. Cyrn chose Jarax Glorisaegis’ son as the vessel into which his son would be born.
With Vor withdrawing her support to her worshippers on Welstar, Spartan’s powers waned. He fell into a deep depression, abandoned by his own goddess. Destitute, desperate, and with little will to live, Spartan’s travels eventually brought him to Chapor.
It was there, in Chapor, that Spartan helped Ko La Ko achieve greatness. It was there too, that Spartan encountered Hu Sen, the Mad Monkey god. Recognizing Spartan’s promise, Hu Sen offered Spartan a new patronage and another opportunity at greatness. Succeeding where others failed, Spartan became a disciple of Hu Sen and learned Mad Monkey Fu. He proved his skill in combat by destroying the leader of the Dragon Claw Clan.
Spartan received another vision, this one informing him of the avatar of Sikkar. Returning to Welstar, he appointed himself guardian and protector of the child until he was ready to ascend godhood.
Having achieved new glory and prestige, Spartan was accepted back into the ranks of other knights. Finally, he was able to join the Knights of the Gryphon. He met Caramel again, and this time their relationship progressed.
What Spartan did not realize is that the curse had not been lifted. Spartan was cursed with lycanthropy. He had become a varulfur. Christopher Ashman was the first to witness his transformation. Christopher battles Spartan and the Knights of the Gryphon arrive to find Spartan unconscious at the hands of Christopher. Christopher Ashman was sentenced to six years in the gladiatorial arena in Calximus City.
Spartan’s respite was short-lived. He transformed again, this time before the entire Order of the Gryphon. He was banished from the Order. Disgraced, Spartan vowed to find a way to remove his curse.
His travels led him deep into the jungles of Chapor again. It was here that he battled another martial-arts cult, the ulfhednar. Spartan discovers that his acts have brought him the divine attention of the Freyja, god of felines. It is through her intervention that Calximus was saved from a plague.
One of the Darklord’s initial tactics is to bring a plague to the people of Calximus by giving it to ticks, who bite both rats and humans. The rats would carry the plague into the hearts of Calximus Empire’s cities. Freyja attempts to help by luring cats to the location to destroy the rats. However, the royalty of Calximus respond only to the most immediate effect, and pass a royal edict to destroy all cats on sight within Calximus City’s walls. Only through Spartan’s careful maneuvering is he able to avoid disaster by having the edict repealed and allowing the cat’s to do their work. Pleased, Freyja finally removes Spartan’s curse once and for all.
Spartan’s heroic efforts earned him renewal in the Order of the Gryphon. It was during this time that Spartan began to combine his moralistic ideas and philosophies of Sikkar with his martial arts skill.
Spartan’s personal conflicts with other beings of great power are legendary. He was among the five who brought the Pentacate low. He fought Dukgash, leader of the Uruks, in single combat, and lost. It was he who battled Cutter Gyrdant in an epic battle of martial arts conflict, pitting hard vs. soft style. Spartan won.
Spartan married Caramel and had two children, Faith and Hope. Their third child, an adopted stone giant named Lit, was forced into hiding. Transformed into a different gender and less obvious form, Lit was lost during the Darkwar and ended up being separated from her family and mentors. She eventually resurfaced, but never chosen to reunite with her foster parents.
Spartan went on to found a school dedicated to battling demons with martial arts skill and spiritual piety. His students are legendary amongst the minions of Hel.
You can read more about Spartan in my novel, The Well of Stars, and on the Multi-User Dungeon, RetroMUD.