#DnD character concept: Henry Cardigan

As he does so often Henry Cardigan sits in a quiet corner of a rundown tavern. The kind where conversations are whispered, tempers flare hot and the beer is served warm.

  • di. 8 okt. 2019 06:30:00
  • Meuk

Artwork by Maoshan Zhan

So. I play Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) with a group of friends. It's fun! I especially like the storytelling and acting out characters. Every now and then I get all hyped by a character idea/concept/name/whatever. I decided to write down some of these ideas, for fun and writing practice. I write these in English, mainly because most of the Dungeons and Dragons related stuff we do is in English.

If you like the short story below, you may also like my story about Rogen Thunderkeg. Want to know more about D&D? Read my Introduction to Dungeons and Dragons (dutch).

Music suggestion: Shape of my Heart by Sting

Without further ado, let's meet Henry, his is a sad story.

As he does so often Henry Cardigan sits in a quiet corner of a rundown tavern. The kind where conversations are whispered, tempers flare hot and the beer is served warm.

He shuffles his deck of cards and starts sorting them on the grimy table in front of him. From left to right he goes 2, 3, 4, all the way up to queen, king, ace. And from top to bottom he places spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs. He does this sorting suprisingly fast, his hands turning into a blur of motions dropping cards on the table.

As soon as he's done he looks at the sorted cards. He smiles. A sad smile. The smile one has when remembering good days that will never return. Henry looks at the cards, some are missing. He touches the empty spots in his sorted deck and sighs.

His dark red blouse, dark overcoat with golden trimmings, large brimmed dark hat and ornate walking stick make him a noticeable figure. He is of noble descent, so much is clear. His overcoat is fraying at the edges, betraying he's been on the road a while.

Cards did often get him into trouble. Henry never lost, you see. Not because he cheated, or because he was exceptionally skilled. He just never lost. As soon as he started playing cards he just knew how they fell. Always. He had been able to since he found his first deck of cards, somewhere in a tower in his parent's castle.

Henry has been on the road since his lord father kicked him out of the castle. After going out into the city, winning too much, drinking too much, ending in a tavernbrawl somewhere and coming back home having lost a fortune his father decided he had had enough. Henry was kicked out of the castle, family and fortune the same night. Never to enter again. In all fairness, it wasn't the first time. He had been warned. Plenty.

Always winning it seemed was quite different from never losing.

Since then he's been from city to city, tavern to tavern, cardgame to cardgame. Never staying long.

People always suspected him of using tricks. As they should. You can't just win every hand for hours on end and not have even the slowest drunken nitwit starting to ask questions. More than once Henry found himself face to face with a group of angry losers. The type of men that have had a few beers and are prone to anger even when sober. He had learned the hard way that it was often best to just return his winnings. He could fight. But he could also be killed in his sleep, returning his winnings or leaving town was the sensible option.

His always winning was one thing. He had more tricks. The kind one would rightly assume are magic. He had learned the hard way to keep these tricks secret. Last night he had been forced to use them in a fight. The jack of spades he threw knocked back the two guys walking angrily towards him. The tavern had silenced. The five of hearts blew a hole in the wall, allowing him to escape. Running again, into the dark, this had been the third night in a row where Henry was forced to flee a tavern. At least this time he had gotten away with most of his winnings.

Back to his cards. Five of them are missing now. Seven of hearts, three of clubs, jack of spades, five of hearts and two of diamonds. He looks at the empty spots before him and smiles. The three of clubs did really knock out that city guard, didn't it? He should find a new deck soon, before he would run out again.

Sometimes people would ask him why he doesn't pick up the thrown cards. He always shrugs. He doesn't really know why. You just don't pick up the cards you've thrown, ever. He had done so, once, when he was still living at home. A seven of hearts it was, he had thrown it at a big burly looking fellow, knocked him straight out. Afterwards he shuffled the card back into his deck. He wasn't able to do his tricks for weeks, until he got rid of the seven of hearts once more. Never pick up your cards. That's what he learned.

Some say a devil posesses his cards, that his soul is forfeit in an infernal contract granting him his abilities. He smiles. They are wrong ofcourse. If only they would feel the cards the same way he does. Well, they might be right. But who cares?

A few men walk in. Their gait betrays they have had a few to drink. Henry smiles. Ah, maybe tonight would be different. He would win back his fortune and his parents would allow him back.

If only he could win enough to return back home.

If only he would be able to stop just before the patrons got angry.

If only tonight was different.

If only.

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