Article written by Doug Niles
Jaymes Markham (b. 387 AC) is descended of common blood and unknown ancestors, yet he has advanced himself through the ranks of the Solamnic Knighthood to unprecedented heights. Beginning as an apprentice, he became a Knight of the Sword, a sergeant, then captain of guards for a famed Rose Lord. Following an interval as an outlaw, he reappeared to lead as a general and, in 425 AC, attained the newly created post of high command, the Lord Marshal of Solamnic Armies. He is a man of great ambition, and at the present time it seems likely that he may rise to even loftier levels before his star flames out.
While Jaymes is noncommittal about his genealogy, his accent suggests roots in the western plains, near the roots of the Vingaard Mountains. He is known to favor the food and drink of Coastlund, which may be a clue as to his home. Tall and sturdy, somewhat swarthy of coloring, he bears the physical features of these doughty herders and hunters. It may be assumed that there is little or no trace of nobility represented in his family tree.
He first appears on the rosters of the knighthood as an apprentice in 404 AC. Of course, the records from this chaotic era, when the Dragon Overlords ruled supreme, are scattered and incomplete, but it is clear that Markham served under Sir Cedric of Caergoth for several years. Jaymes attained Knight of the Sword status in 410 AC.
Cedric was one of many Solamnics who remembered the Oath and the Measure even in those terrible days, and worked hard to protect the pacific weak from the martial strong. Cedric perished during the days when Beryllinthranox was driving the dwarves of Thorbardin into their mountain fastness. At this point Jaymes was 25 years old. While he obviously escaped Cedric's fate, he vanishes from the records for the next seven years.
War of Souls and Aftermath
We know that Jaymes Markham was a sergeant in the First Caergoth Regiment, commanded by the Lord Lankford Lorimar of the Rose, at the time of the Great Storm. Lorimar was the bearer of the legendary sword, Giantsmiter, and led his regiment from the front lines. Markham served with distinction, earning several awards for valor during the Siege of Sanction and the eventual liberation of that city and victory in the war. Lord Tasgall himself commended the knight and promoted him to captain. Now Lord Lorimar's most trusted aide, he departed for Solamnia with his leader the very night that the gods returned to Krynn. They went to Lorimar's ancestral estates, near the great Kingsbridge crossing of the Garnet River.
On the plains, matters were tumultuous, as the resurgent Solamnics fought to reclaim their homelands from the Knights of Neraka. Ruthless lords established fiefdoms in Caergoth, Thelgaard, and Solanthus, while Lorimar remained a steadfast advocate for the common people. His most capable captain, Sir Jaymes Markham, was commander of Lorimar's household guards, and chief protector of his noble liege. At the same time, Jaymes was the object of affection to Lorimar's young daughter, Dara Lorimar. All of seventeen, she adored the handsome, yet mysterious, knight. Jaymes response to this youthful crush as an impeccable gentleman, and Lord Lorimar made it clear that he favored an eventual match.
Matters were overtaken by events when Lorimar was assassinated. His daughter was also slain, and his great manor partially burned. Captain of the Guard Jaymes Markham was elsewhere at the time; his whereabouts have never been incontrovertibly ascertained. Lorimar's great weapon, Giantsmiter, disappeared the night of the attack. (Later, it would become even more famous as the blade of Jaymes Markham.)
The Rise of Solamnia
Following the assassination of Lord Lorimar, Jaymes Markham vanished into the wilds of Solamnia. Sometime during these months he made the acquaintance of his boon companion, Dram Feldspar, in the foothills of the Garnet Range. For at least a year the pair lived as outlaws/bounty hunters in that massif of snowy mountains. A number of petty lords, from Garnet to Solanthus, were willing to pay for Goblin ears during this period, and the dwarf and knight sharpened their skills at this grisly task. Reports have claimed that they collected bounty from the ears of no less than four hundred goblins during the course of little more than a year.
Also during this period, Jaymes made the acquaintance of the powerful—and young and beautiful—wizard Coryn the White. They kept their alliance secret, but aided each other in attaining their goals. There is a strong suspicion that the two were also romantically involved.
Despite his outlawry, it is clear now that Markham never abandoned the thought of a greater Solamnia. Known far and wide as the Assassin of Lorimar, he avoided knightly forces even as he traveled the plains and mountains of that ancient realm. In addition to his goblin hunting, he actively sought the secret of a powerful explosive compound that he had come to believe in. This secret was the invention of a Gnome (of course!). The original inventor was killed by an accident, but Jaymes located the inventor's three children, each of whom retained a part of the secret formula. Putting the gnomes to work together, Jaymes was able to channel their creativity and ultimately establish production of the explosive powder at a secret factory compound in the Vingaard Mountains.
At this time the Solamnic plains were subjected to a barbarian invasion as a horde of attackers, including goblins, ogres, and many former Dark Knights, poured out of the Garnet Range to sweep the fractious armies of the knighthood off of the plains. Led by a half-giant calling himself Ankhar the Truth, these invaders overwhelmed the cities of Garnet and Thelgaard, laid siege to Solanthus, and destroyed every Solamnic force that tried to stand in their path.
Jaymes was merely an observer during the early months of this campaign as, at this time, he was engaged in hunting down and confronting several Solamnic lords, each of who was a suspect in Lord Lorimar's death. Jaymes faced the notable swordsman, Lord Nathias Rathskell of Solanthus, and killed him while Rathskell was trying to smuggle his vast hoard of jewels out of his city. Jaymes took the treasure for himself, and continued to use it to fund his activities.
Finally, only the Rose Army of the Duke of Caergoth stood in Ankhar's path. Jaymes and Coryn watching that great army go down in defeat and flee from the field. Finally, Jaymes Markham rejoined the knightly ranks. Together with a captain of Caergoth, he halted the route, and conducted a skillful withdrawal over the Kingsbridge. The explosive compound allowed him to destroy the bridge, and save the army.
Within Caergoth, Jaymes confronted duke who he believed responsible for Lorimar's assassination. In that ultimate confrontation, he learned the true identity of the assassin, and gained control of all the knightly forces currently under arms. Raising a banner that mixed all sigils of the Solamnic Orders, he became known as the Lord of No Sign, and rallied the troops to his leadership. Jaymes created for himself the title "Lord Marshal of the Solamnic Armies", and finally led his great force into the field to challenge Ankhar—and to overthrow many hallowed traditions of the Solamnic Knights.
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