Adler in the Citrine Eagle
Dean of the Bard's College
Anita Lasalle (Mother)
- 1 Born 5 LC (Lothorian Calendar) / 1109 KA (Kingdom of Alterac) / -7 AA (After Alterac)
- 2 The Second War :: 12-13 LC / 1115-16 KA / -1-0 AA
- 3 Lordaeron :: 13-15 LC / 1116-1118 KA / 0-2 AA
- 4 School Days :: 15-25 LC / 1118-1128 KA / 2-12 AA
- 5 Homecoming :: 25 LC / 1128 KA / 12 AA
- 6 Ringleader :: 25-30 LC / 1128-1133 KA / 12-17 AA
- 7 Captured :: 30 LC / 1133 KA / 17 AA
- 8 A Way Out :: 30-31 LC / 1133-1134 KA / 17-18 AA
- 9 War and Peace :: 31-32 LC / 1134-1135 KA / 18-19 AA
Born 5 LC (Lothorian Calendar) / 1109 KA (Kingdom of Alterac) / -7 AA (After Alterac)
Adler Dufaud, born Claudio Lasalle, came from most humble beginnings. His birth wasn’t something that was celebrated, or would be celebrated for years to come. On a pleasantly warm spring evening, his mother safely delivered him into life. Anita Lasalle wasn’t an outstanding beauty, what with her plain, round features and unkept straw like blonde hair pulled back, but she had a submissiveness that often left her vulnerable to the advances of men. Claudio never learned who his father was.
The two lived in a hovel, practically a stable if it weren’t so small, on the edge of Strahnbrad in lower Alterac. By day, Anita would work in the apple orchard of Baron Gregory Calland, a minor country noble, alongside his eldest son Garrett and other farmhands. Claudio was usually left alone or looked in by an elderly acquaintance.
The Second War :: 12-13 LC / 1115-16 KA / -1-0 AA
By the time Claudio was old enough to recognize time, he was old enough to recognize the effects of war. Soldiers returning from fighting, looking stricken and sickly, whispering of vague horrors and monstrous creatures. Being so young, he was as captivated by the stories as he was frightened. Within a few months, his mother insisted they needed to move to the capital city, as the outlying villages were no longer safe.
This proved to be an error, as it seemed like they had only been in the city for a few days when Alliance soldiers stormed the town and overthrew King Aiden Perenolde. The city was mostly ransacked and looted, and Claudio observed for the first time the cruelty of men when his mother fell victim to the greed of Stromgarde knights. Claudio was seven years old.
Lordaeron :: 13-15 LC / 1116-1118 KA / 0-2 AA
Claudio and his mother recovered what little they could, and moved with an exodus of Alteraci people to the country of Lordaeron. The pair made the journey slowly, stopping by the occasional farm to try and earn enough food to keep going. The pair arrived in mostly decent shape, though Anita struggled to secure work, as Alteraci people were typically viewed as treasonous and conniving people by the general populace. Though this bias objectively made sense, Claudio’s heart swelled with hurt, then anger. Mother and son eventually rebuilt their meager housing in the Lordaeron countryside, and lived somewhat peacefully. Though Lordaeron had mostly rebuilt and reclaimed many of the Alterac’s former holdings in the Hillsbrad Foothills, the two had not opted to return to Strahnbrad. It was during this time, Claudio met three people that would significantly shape his life. The first, Donovan Myles, was the son of a local farmer that often employed Anita as a farm hand. The pair were nearly the same age, and had all the makings of best friends. Hours of play, wrestling, and stick-sword fighting orcs would fill their days. When other boys would ask Claudio if he meant to be killing other humans instead of orcs, Donovan would silence their snickering with protests that they were in fact knights of the Alliance, and give them the stick beating of a lifetime.
The second, would be the new Baron Calland. With his elderly father’s passing, Anita had been overjoyed upon hearing that he would be visiting Capital City from his acreage outside Strahnbrad, and had done what she could do to make herself presentable for him. When his retinue of knights and footmen passed, she waved from the roadside and flagged his captain down. She introduced herself and Claudio, and the captain smugly opened the carriage door for them. Garrett Calland looked out and stared curiously at the woman and boy. Anita explained that she had spent many days, and nights it seemed, on his property. Calland took great offense, and assumed she was making an unsightly accusation against his piety, and ordered the pair removed from his presence. Anita cried for weeks, and wasn’t ever exactly the same afterwards. Claudio, for his part, never forgot the incident.
Lastly, when Claudio was just shy of being nine years old, he had found that he could be met with a hot meal for himself and his mother by performing oddjobs around a wayside tavern not terribly far from their home. Mostly mopping blood and vomit from the floors of a morning, and occasionally helping in the kitchen. One morning, when he was emptying a slop bucket out for the tavern’s hogs, one of the few patrons followed him out. An older, slender man with weathered features and skin, and crisp white hair neatly pulled back with a single pointed goatee adorning his chin. He was dressed in a suit of darkened leathers, with a sabre sheathed at his side.
He introduced himself as Rasp, ‘or the Rasp, if you prefer.’ And proceeded to spend most of the day asking Claudio about himself, where he came from, and how he felt. Rasp, it turned out, had also came from Alterac, and had endured a great deal of hurt from other grown ups. But he was tired of being hurt, and he had made some new friends that wanted to change things. He thought, perhaps, Claudio could be his friend too. He would be leaving the next morning for Menethil Harbor, then out to Kezan before coming back to Alterac.
Claudio wasn’t sure, but he felt excited when he heard these things. He could come back, with his new friends, and they could make the other boys be nicer. He could give Donovan a real sword, and be real knights because that’s what Rasp was probably. And then he could hurt Garrett Calland. And Rasp assured him that his mother would be fine with it, because she loved Alterac too, and that he could write her as often as he wanted.
With a weary heart but a full stomach, Claudio left with the stranger for Menethil Harbor.
School Days :: 15-25 LC / 1118-1128 KA / 2-12 AA
Claudio didn’t really understand what Kezan was, other than it was different than what he was accustomed to. However, the young boy adapted fairly quickly to the new world around him. A brief stop in Booty Bay picked up a few more passengers before they finally arrived. The Undermine was an interesting place to grow up being equally parts savage and sophisticated. Immediately after leaving the Eastern Kingdoms, the once inviting Rasp had become quite strict, harsh, and unforgiving, forcing the young Claudio into a variety of tasks both menial and dignified. Dutifully focused on his goals, Claudio did not complain and worked twice as hard as things he didn’t naturally excel at. Though, he wasn’t sure how copying documents and climbing things would help. The friends of Rasp were equally demanding of the boy, claiming that it was the lowborn’s lot in life to fight in service of the nobility, and that would be rewarded later in life for restoring their lands to them.
Weeks turned to months, months to years. The boy became a young man, and had grown out his hair like his mentor’s; long, and tied back with miserable path of hair that he considered a goatee. He had become strong, athletic, and a handsome youth. Combined, these traits created an inflated sense of confidence had replaced the quiet child. Over several years, he had traveled to many places with Rasp; most notably between Kezan, Booty Bay, and Tanaris. In these travels, he had come to master several disciplines including forgery, sleight of hand, marksmanship, and fencing. He also developed incredible skill with instruments and songcraft, something that would become a lifelong habit.
Homecoming :: 25 LC / 1128 KA / 12 AA
With the Kingdom of Lordaeron in ruin from the undead Scourge, the time was right to exact his revenge. The fate of his mother was unknown to him, but after ten years he had grown very callous. Though he had intended to someday return, and take his mother back to Alterac, he had come to accept her likely demise as just another victim. But he had made a promise, and would not be denied that. There were no real guards left to protect Strahnbrad, and the few men loyal to House Calland were few indeed. Syndicate assassins came quickly in the night and more or less had suppressed the town under their thumb in a few hours. Claudio, on the other hand, stormed the Calland manor. What resistance he met was easily dispatched, as his years spent in the South Seas had honed his swordplay beyond his young nineteen years.
Calland himself attempted to duel the rogue, and found himself at a disadvantage even a vastly superior weapon. An ornate, gilded rapier passed down for a few generations at least. Inscribed with various symbols of the Light and scripture, it hadn’t spent much time in actual combat but was indeed an exceptionally crafted weapon. Claudio had studied everyday in wielding such a sword, because it would be his trophy. And took it he did, but not before he took Calland’s head.
Daybreak freshly sheathed at his hip, Claudio stared hard at the House Calland sigil carved into the large, wooden table in the drawing room where he ended the bloodline; a massive, branching apple tree. Drawing out the dagger on his hip, he hacked at the wood until all that was left was the defiled image of a barren tree, a symbol Claudio Lasalle would take as his own for years to come.
Ringleader :: 25-30 LC / 1128-1133 KA / 12-17 AA
The Heyday of the Alterac Syndicate. With the Scourge mostly inhabiting the northernmost reaches of humankind, the former lords and ladies of Alterac stepped forward from the shadows in a big way, or so they thought. Claudio had become significantly bored with his superior’s power grabs, often challenging the few he did speak to openly. His defiant nature often kept him from the good graces of other Syndicate cells but he did command a great loyalty from the few around him. Men and women from all walks of life found their way to him over several years, sometimes his band numbered in the dozens, sometimes as few as a handful.
Raiding isolated caravans and travellers for supplies and treasures was irksome though, so more often than not, he would handpick a group of his most trusted allies and venture into cities and villages as a traveling musical troupe. While on these trips, they would leave a trail of crime behind them. From petty thefts to murders, they eliminated what blocked their path and made off with what they could. This group was tight knit, and soon Claudio came to love each of them dearly.
Despite the affiliation with the main Syndicate, Claudio began to think of the gang around him as his own. Under his protection, mothers bore their children and the elderly rested weary bones. Despite the atrocities he committed during this time, Claudio looked to the good he managed to do for the rest of his days.
Captured :: 30 LC / 1133 KA / 17 AA
On a routine visit to Khaz Modan, Adler’s band of bards were caught after an ill fated tavern stay. It had seemed strange to Claudio that the dwarven innkeeper insisted that he and the three musicians with him stay in the nicest, coziest room downstairs as a reward for their performance. This sort of thing never usually happened, and against his instincts, the foursome descended into the basement only to find themselves barricaded in. By morning, the four were pulled down after a brief struggle and chained by Ironforge mountaineers and led outside to a wagon travelling south.
Weeks passed and it had become clear that no one was coming to ambush the caravan and rescue them, and by the time their wagon reached Stormwind, they had practically given up on resisting their captors. Within a few hours, they were all positively identified and imprisoned in the Stockades, sentenced to be hanged.
A Way Out :: 30-31 LC / 1133-1134 KA / 17-18 AA
A twisted form of punishment, Claudio was forced to watch as his three companions were hanged before him, faces covered with burlap. Their deaths weren’t proud or merciful, Claudio whispering words of apology and reassurance to each as their forms ceased to twitch after dropping. When it was finally his turn, Claudio had quietly approached the gallows and stood to await his fate. He wondered at that time, what would become of his followers back in the north, and what had become of his mother.
Before he had time to chastise himself for his failure, he felt the platform beneath him vanish. He winced as he fell and gagged hard as the rope bit deep into the soft flesh of his neck. He twisted and thrashed in the rope’s grasp, and as he began to choke, the interwoven twines broke. Collapsing to the cold, hard floor, Claudio greedily breathed in air but found this to be very painful as his neck swelled and throbbed. His jailors merely chuckled and casually suggested that he should be thankful to live another day but promised they would return in the morning, this time with a chain instead of a rope.
Hands still bound, Claudio had dragged himself to a corner, daring not to swallow or breathe too hard. At some point, from either exhaustion or pain, he passed out only to be awoken by a friendly voice, and the smell of hot, herbal tea. When his eyes opened and adjusted to the soft candle light, Claudio saw the form of an armored man. Dark of hair, broad of shoulder, and reluctant, sad eyes that betrayed the hopeful smile on his face.
“Donny..” was all Claudio could manage to speak, recognizing his boyhood friend instantly even after so many years. With a soft touch and aided by the soothing liquid, Donovan placed his hands onto Claudio and his grievous neck wound began to heal. With an apology, Donovan said that the scar would probably never leave its place, but that Claudio could leave his place here. Having taken a decidedly different path in life, Donovan had enlisted with the Argent Dawn, and later the Crusade as they prepared for the war in Northrend. With a few words, Donovan convinced Claudio that a pardon could be arranged for him should he decide to fight alongside them.
War and Peace :: 31-32 LC / 1134-1135 KA / 18-19 AA
With a haircut and new identity, the man named Adler Dufaud sailed north with the armies of the Alliance. While not particularly pleased with his hasty bargain, he rationalized that he could make due with it for the time being and return to his old ways in time. For now, he resigned himself to the soldier’s life. Ever a talented tactician and cunning strategist, he found a knack for handling various logistical needs for the brigade he served with. The work was boring and never ending, but even though his true identity was concealed from the masses, the few commanders that knew forbade him from serving with a weapon at large.
This burden didn’t trouble him however, as he did find it to be a bit more safe than what he could be doing. In a few weeks, he began to have a sense of camaraderie with the men and women around him. And, as more and more began to fall in combat, he began to feel helpless to aid them. Sure, they had enough food and supplies but he could have done so much more with a sword. As the war waged on, the Crusade made headway and Adler’s despair only seemed to grow. With the Lich King’s army on their heels, the combined forces of Stormwind and Orgrimmar forced themselves into a tragic event that finally broke Adler’s resolve: The Wrathgate. Around him, Adler watched his friends and comrades succumb to the effects of the plague gas around them. Gathering with the few survivors he could, he turned away from the conflict and retreated.
For the rest of the war, Adler resisted returning to the front lines and opted out of every assignment that he could, often using his charm to convince others to volunteer in his place. When the battle was finally won, and word spread of the Lich King’s fall, Adler slipped quietly into Alliance headquarters and forged documentation of his demise before stowing away onto a ship headed south to Stormwind.