HP: 18 Init: +2
Combat Expertise, Improved Disarm, Improved Trip, Combat Reflexes, Weapon Focus: Battle Axe*
Threatening Defender, Indomitable Faith, Heirloom Weapon: Battle Axe (+2 Disarm)
Isegrim's father, Cwichelm, taught him at a young age that the world of men is simple enough to understand: "The world will kill you, if you let it. True strength is the will to live, at all costs." Cwichelm would remind his son of this by showing him the mangled stump of his left arm - lost when Cwichelm had been pinned by a falling tree during a storm. "Lesser men would have died," Cwichelm would say, "because they did not have the will to lose what must be lost, to face the pain of sacrifice." Cwichelm lived, sawing through his own limb with a dagger and staggering to safety. Even with only one arm, Cwichelm was a fearsome and formidable chieftan, skilled in battle and wise in rule. His raids were swift and violent; his friendship, slow but generous; his judgements, harsh but fair.
Isegrim experienced such judgments first hand when his father sent him west as a hostage to the Franks. The decision was simple for Cwichelm: their tribe was newly settled on these lands, and they needed time to order themselves and gather strength; an assurance of peace with the Franks would give them the chance make themselves ready to defend their new home from interlopers. What was the loss of a son compared to the strength and security of their entire tribe?
And so it was that the boy Isegrim was taken west, to be raised amongst his people's bitter enemies. He hated every moment of it - from the thin, pathetic mustaches grown by the Frankish men, to the weak, pathetic prayers offered to their broken, bleeding god. They were a corrupt people who had turned their backs on the old gods, and Isegrim knew that such men could not be trusted.
For five years Isegrim bore the indignity of "honorable captivity," but this time was not spent in idle frustration or impotent rage. Remembering his father's words, Isegrim sacrificed his sole possession: his dignity. He made himself an obedient, even eager servant to his captors, earning their trust and learning their ways. Isegrim spent every moment doing what must be done for the future of their tribe: he hunted, fought, and prayed with the Franks; he mastered their tongue, memorized their prayers, and even came to use (and appreciate) their signature throwing-axe, the francisca. By the time Isegrim had grown into manhood, he was well-versed in Frankish religion, culture, and warfare.
It was Isegrim's great fortune to find that he could return home; Cwichelm had negotiated a new agreement, and soon Isegrim was reunited with his father and elder brother. Though a stranger now to his own people, Isegrim was welcomed back by his family, and was soon given important work befitting his station. It was at this time that Isegrim came to learn of his father's great shame: an heir who lacked the will to master himself.
Both Isegrim and his elder brother Cynewulf idolized their father, but Cynewulf found it hard to follow Cwichelm's example. He was a puissant warrior to be sure, but his drunkenness and mewling pity for enemies were signs of weakness. It was plain to see that Cynewulf, while mighty in battle, would lead his tribe to ruin after his father's death. It pained Cynewulf to know that his heir was unworthy of him, and he often roamed the woods late at night in a silent fury, cursing the gods for their fickleness. On one such night, Isegrim saw his brother, drunk in his hut, and realized what price must be paid for the future of their tribe. Sneaking into Cynewulf's hut, Isegrim quietly strangled his brother, peering deeply into his eyes as he did so - facing the pain and accepting his responsibility for it. When his father returned, Isegrim quietly led him to Cynewulf's corpse. Cwichelm stared at his slain boy for only a moment, and then nodded at Isegrim. What must be lost, must be lost. Drawing forth his own knife, he plunged it into his heart and quietly folded himself around Cynewulf's body, leaving the future of the tribe to his only remaining son.
Since that time, Isegrim has kept the memory of his father and his brother fresh in his heart. As chief, he leads with a ruthlessness that borders on cruelty, yet he does so with no malice to any (save the Franks). Every sacrifice he makes he makes willingly, fully accepting the responsibility for each choice. He rewards good service well, but not extravagantly, and none truly know his mind. His only intimate companion is his dog, Degenwulf; Isegrim has taken no bride yet, choosing to wait for an opportunity to use his marriage to cement an alliance that will benefit his people.
Isegrim's passion rarely shows, but his wrath is difficult to control against the Franks. Clovis and his kingdom are the gravest threat to Isegrim and his people, and he rarely passes up an opportunity to take up arms against them. In all other dealings he is direct and plainspoken, preferring to let his actions, not his rhetoric, persuade his allies and his enemies.
Isegrim is fond of animals, and frequently seeks them out for company; he keeps a small kennel of hounds, but his favorite is a great, gray shaggy dog he calls Degenwulf. Isegrim has been known to foster injured animals and personally nurse them back to health, keeping some as temporary pets and releasing others back into the wild. Isegrim developed this habit during his time as a hostage - as he never allowed himself to befriend any of his captors, he felt compelled to seek out the untroubled companionship of beasts.
Isegrim has nothing but contempt for Christianity, and considers the faith to be a sign of weakness and stupidity. Though he became familiar with Christian practices as a Frankish hostage, Isegrim secretly clung to the old gods of his people, and will no longer suffer insults to them.
Amongst the Franks, Isegrim imitated their styles and fashions, but now that he has returned to his own people, he has adopted his native dress once more. He is noticeably barefaced at the moment, having chosen to shave off his Frankish mustache before growing a full beard, muttering that he won't "profane a Saxon beard with Frankish hairs."
Isegrim is of only moderate height and build amongst the Saxons. This, combined with his bare face, makes him resemble a youth rather than a full-grown man. In battle, he wears both helmet and mail, and carries a heavy wooden shield. He employs a throwing-axe in the Frankish fashion, throwing it at the outset of battle before charging to break the enemy's line (a tactic that he plans on teaching his men).