Donal Darkbane / Bolan Ironedge
The dark genius of Richard Pinder.
APPEARANCE: Donal is a big, rough-looking man. His face is largely hidden beneath a thick and grizzly black beard, his hair is shoulder-length, unkempt, tangled and wild. A heavy gut hangs over his belt; thick, beefy arms and muscular legs; cold, dark eyes and almost bestial appearance make Donal a very intimidating man.
Donal carries a dirty satchel and wears filthy animal hides. His skin, where it can be seen beneath all the hair and dirt, is sickly-looking, pallid and white with thin blue veins visible beneath the skin.
HISTORY: Donal was once a human barbarian named Bolan.
Bolan was born on the 18th Harvester 564 to tribe of Flan Humans who lived in the Gnarley Forest. He was the first born son of the Chief, a fearsome berserker who might have one day handed over the mantle of leadership to Bolan. But, Lady Fate had other plans for young Bolan.
Usurpers sought to kill Chief Ironedge and steal the rulership of the tribe. As was their way, the contender challenged the Chief to trial by combat. The battle was long and bloody and resulted in the deaths of both berserkers. With no clear succession, the tribe should have fallen to the toddler Bolan, but his father’s enemies would hear nothing of it. Bolan’s mother recognized the danger and sent her son away to safety.
Bolan, a mere six years old, was taken to an old friend of his fathers; a retired gnome adventurer who lived just outside of the Free City of Verbobonc. The old gnome now ran a home for wayward boys and it was here that Bolan grew up. The old gnome raised the boys as warriors and prepared them for a harsh life. It was in this home that Bolan met his childhood friend Angriff Vardis and together the boys became men.
When they were both 22, Bolan and Angriff decided to gather an adventuring company together and investigate the dark rumors coming out of Hommlet and the nearby hills. It was a fateful decision that led them on the path to glory. In little more than a year, Bolan was a Hero of the Temple and he stood victorious over the defeated forces of the Demoness Zuggtmoy.
Soon after his success in the Temple, Bolan followed his new companions Thoric Ironboot and Jehnna Windrow into the darklands of Ravenloft. The shadows of that dark land changed Bolan forever. Time is difficult to judge in the misty darkness and many years passed in Ravenloft, when only seasons rolled by at home in the real world.
Bolan was 25 years old when he died. Donal Darkbane now walked.
When Donal learned that his old companion, Michael Torgrim, was planning to kill Iuz the Evil, the vampire feared for the knight’s life. For some time, he had struggled with his conscience, and Donal had been searching for a way to make good on some of the evil he had done – he wanted repentance.
The only way that he could see to save Michael was to betray the knight to the Old One – if Iuz were aware of the attempt on his life, Michael would have to call everything off. But Donal was unsure and lacked the confidence to follow through with his decision. He prayed to Beory and Istus and asked for their guidance. Who knows whether Lady Fate heard? But Beory, Mother Goddess was unaccustomed to prayers from vampires and she paid attention.
For this very reason that Donal was Chosen as a Child of Johydee and granted the vision of a man who could help. That man was the Man of the Cranes.
Accompanied by his loyal friend, the necromancer Mort, Donal found the Man of the Cranes and asked him for guidance. The Man of the Cranes told Donal that his destiny lay as a part of the crazy mission, and not as an adversary to it… …when Donal was later killed during the attack on the Soul Husks, it was the Man of the Cranes (unseen by any others) who arrived to claim Donal’s body and to see that “the Balance be served.”
The Man of the Cranes then worked some very powerful chronomancy to throw the fang of the nosferatu nearly seven thousand years backwards in time. The fang was found by a Dwarven Prince and Prophet, who resurrected Donal and renamed him Ustnar Urdang, the “Child of Chaos.”
And the rest became history…