Hey, I looked around but there wasn't really any official place to put this. I've been itching to put on my writing hat for a while and since making a few Pathfinder characters for play (check out http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/fg2pfs/ for where I play and some great society games) just thought I'd dive in and start writing the backstories for some of my favourites. All so far are remakes of original characters that I first made years ago in the scarred Lands online Fangsfall Chat but fit very well in Pathfinder and thankfully the rules mean that twists and fleshing out can also be represented mechanically which I would have killed for years ago! Posting so that they have a place for any potential players and DMs have somehwere to look up my character's stories as well as someplace to store my scribblings.
|Walter Sheppard Venture-Captain, Washington—Eastern Washington aka WalterGM|
Haematite (Half Orc Monk)
A spiritual man suffers greatly from life in Golarion, mused Cirrus, his feet constantly reminding him of plight as they moved over rubble with only the simple fabric and leather of his sandals to protect him from pain. As a wandering monk his travels by their nature placed great demands on his endurance but even the many years of practice did not diminish this familiar ache as it seems old age could magnify it. He had beared witness to more than 60 winters and his body would not let him forget it. Already another would be on the way soon as he looked over his surroundings with more than a little longing for a warm bed.
The hamlet was in bad shape, wooden repairs and makeshift buildings scattered amoung the larger ones that had escaped a sacking of almost military proportions that seemed less than a year old. The town hall now rustled with the sounds of congregated voices and the smell of hot food and ale that Cirrus suspected it now served the function of tavern and inn. Pushing open the door with his gnarled walking stick the old man stepped inside with only a few lowering their voices to gaze on the traveller, but being unremarkable in most regards he was not afforded many gazes. Seating himself at a table the man he waited for a server to notice him and with the last of his coppers appropiated the evening meal and some water. Relaxing into examining the inhabitants and reflecte dthe facets of human interactions was old habit but he felt little need for involvement this evening. A half hour conversing with a love-sick young man determined to sell his mother's farm for an engagement ring resulted in a promise of more measured actions, while from a carpenter near his own age he gleaned the talk of the town that didn't seem to stir him to remain more than this night. About to retire or ask for the benefit of the common room for rest, Cirrus was surprised to hear what appeared to be the cries of a woman that could only come from within the tavern. Looking around he seemed to hear another; upstairs, yet the patrons did not appear concerned!. Shuffling to the bartender Cirrus politely enquired the sound above.
"We've a lass heavy with child upstairs, poor girl probably won't make it through the night. None of the crone's will go near her and we've no physician to help her through it. Damn shame if we lose 'em both. Not enough I paid for a grave for the babe already at the urging of the missus."
Cirrus tried to hide the callous and casual remarks to the situation, but far from being in any position to lecture this stranger about acts to his fellow man he quickly professed that he was a student of the natural sciences and could help the delvery in exchange for accomadation. With a grunt in the affirmative the old man was shown upstairs but his server from earlier wouldn't go near the door. Wondering if his conversations had ommitted some local superstition, Cirrus entered the small room.
The scene was not one unfamiliar, he had delivered children before though he noted the poor girl was alone. In any small hamlet any woman of middle age would be the de facto midwive for births, and where was the child's father? Soothing the young woman with his voice he quickly assembled some hot water and blankets and went about the steps to ease a child into the world, though from the woman's condition he had little time to do so.
"Please sir, just don't leave, I can't..." her speech was cut off with a cry and Cirrus could only aid as the birth entered it's final stage. The baby had a full head of black hair and as the monk pulled the baby free his mind raced with a sudden understanding. The male infant was big for a newborn and squinted in the dim candle-light before starting to cry. The flickering light could not disguise the pigment of his skin was beyond that of human flesh but had a green tint, which along with the bone structure of his face marked him as having an orc parent. Suddenly the disrepair of the hamlet made sense as well as the uncaring nature of the villagers. Cirrus wrapped the child in a blanket but could not rest as the birth had been difficult on the mother and it was only with a few prayers and his ministrations that she would awaken the next day. But fortune smiled on Cirrus and all three of them survived to see the dawn.
The monk extended his stay to three days, playing the role of pox doctor that he was only barely proficient with but his primary reason was to stay near the mother and the new infant. She could not hide from him the revulsion she felt for her son, an ambivalence for the memories of his conception warred with her maternal instinct. The rest of the village would not associate with either of them and it took long talks to convince her that she should keep the child, despite the horror that went through him when he considered the possibility that this innocent creature be subject to an abandonement tantamount to murder. Perhaps it was in his pleadings and talks that he found himself talking of all the opportunities that lay further south.
"Where the raids are less frequent men havn't learnt to attack blindly those that look like him, and they have encountered others that grow and learn to be human, with our sense of right, he won't be seen as a beast but a useful member of society. My own church for example strive to not judge by his parentage, we strive for a perfection, a self betterment that transcends any starting imperfections."
"Oh, you will take him there then Cirrus? You'll take him away from this place?" The question loaded but Cirrus answered quickly, unable to stop the answer springing forth.
"Of course, soon as he's old enough to travel." Cirrus hid the shock his sudden claim of adoption had prmpted within himself, but he was well aware that without the time a mind needs to create a mire the just answer often flies from a mans lips. So he stood by his statement and resumed his travels with a promise to return 2 years hence when he thought the boy might be strong enough to come on the road...
Cirrus returned tp the hamlet as promised as was greeted by the tavern owner from before who was expecting his return. He had returned in the summer and things had markedly improved in both the demeanour of the villagers as well as the state of the buildings. The old man had often thought to what he was exactly to do at his age with such a young charge but these concerns disappeared when he quickly spotted the child following his mother who delivered bread to various homes. A human infant would be stumbling, having not long learned to walk and constantly asking for attention that was commonly given by affectionate parents. The child looked nearly twice his age, he strode with heavy steps and was quiet, he already developed a fierce glare that was set upon the children of various ages that seemed to have a private dare between them to how close they could get to him. A small pack that wouldn't look out of place on a halfling fit him quite well and was attached to another bread basket that he seemd to not even notice though it brimmed with baked goods. Cirrus coughed to announce himself and the mother saw him; breaking out with a warm smile and welcomed him with open arms. Over a drink he was caught up with the child's rate of growth, in hindsight not surprising given the much quicker development of orcs, and already the monk noted that he would probably grow to immense proportions. He heavily favoured his father's race, since his birth his features grew more along orcish lines than human, though his eyes were unmistakenly the chestnut brown of his mother's and not the small black-red orbs he had sometimes seen on fallen orcs. He was also unsurprised that he had quickly developed a temper and was prone to sulking. The one striking surprise Cirrus found was that teh child had no name.
"You never named him! Why ever not child?"
"No name ever struck me, i couldn't bear to name him something of orc origin, if I could even fathom such a thing, but no suggestion of more civilized names seemed to be appropiate for him. My father also forbids him to have our family name, he's merely known as Boy amoung those of us that speak of him"
"Well my dear" spoke Cirrus in a soft voice. "My order venerates the natural world as we seek perfection and it is common practice for us to rename ourselves to a part of nature when we embark down our path. If he is to travel with me by necessity he must walk down the same roads I do. With your permission I will call him Haematite. It is a mineral not dissimilar to iron ore and I think will serve him well in allusion to the strength he will inherit."
"It's certainly true he's a strong boy, I'm not sure; it seems quite grown up. But sir, forgive me but with his temper shouldn't he be named after a fiery thing rather than the element of earth?" Cirrus smiled at this and patted her shoulder.
"True that will come easy for him. But Irori reminds us that what comes to us of greatness and worth is never easy to attain."
The old man was quietly pleased to see the regret shown at the child's parting but promised his underlying care and the child was strangely compliant with being sent away, almost as if he had expected such a thing. The unlikely pair began their jounrey south, the newly named Haematite looking back at his mother and a hundred questions racing through is mind that would kee Cirrus thoroughly occupied for many years...
((More to follow I'll edit the post as I write more))
"Balance Kohigh! Keep those heels off the ground!" There was a thunderous crash that echoed through the marble corridors of the temple as the half-orc youth landed heavily amidst the clatter of a broken water-jug. Cirrus tutted and heaved himself to his feet, leaning heavily on the wooden staff. Haematite got up quickly and assumed a ready stance in front of the old man.
"Don't be sorry Kohigh every fall you learn. But I would wish you learned a little better. We're monks of the Four Winds, we don't neglect any. You'll always be blessed with the endurance and strenght of stone and the ferocity of the flames of passion. But if I can make you feel light as a feather on the breeze and your movements flow like the fountain out front, THEN you'll be on the right path. Recognize and use your strengths, but don't neglect the purging of your flaws. Now lets try once more before we head over to the orphanage." Cirrus motioned and let his student again assume the position he was in before balancing on one foot, his torso half bent. Carefully he picked up a rounded portion of the broken jug and placed it on the underside of his suspended foot, before returning to his seat. Nursing his creaking bones he critically analysed his student.
The boy was now almost 10 years old but probably wouldn't grow much more, or if he did it would put at a size that would dwarf any man he had witnessed. Already taller than himself the half-orc possessed bulk and muscle to equal his great height. The long years on the road had tanned his skin to a green the hue of an ocean before the storm and along with his proportions had for several years now been mistaken for a full blooded orc, his human features still barely noticeable. He had decided to mitigate this with strategically cutting his hair fine and both made efforts that he was always presentable, thus they had escaped the wrath of ignorant authorities. His brow was currently creased in concentration as he sought to control the fine motor skills and balance that his teacher demanded of him. There were wobbles and the remains of the jug did finalyl fall but Haematite kept his feet this time. Signalling the end, Cirrus asked for assistance in standing and they exited the temple of Irori in Absolom.
The sun was a little past noon and the acolytes nodded in respect to the old monk as the two left it's confines. Haematite had been here several times before and if anywhere could have been called his home it would be here. The monks and clerics were familair with the various teaching of the order that drew blank stares or skepticism elsewhere and by now were more than used to his presence during morning calisthenics or meditations. Outside though was another matter. Half-orcs in general drew a few looks of unease in the great melting pot that was Absolom the walk from the temple in the Ascendent Court into the Coins District meant that many saw the imposing figure. Not realising his half blood nature he usualyl couldn't go out long before a gasp or a scream and even when stares took in his full figure there was only bewilderment, some wondering if they were a circus procession or merely foreign adventurers with odd fashion sense. Cirrus did his best to occupy the mind of Haematite during these excursions, though his method only made it worse to Haematite.
"It means slave. Klorn urk Bishnak. The slave cleans the hut"
"Partly. But elongate the N, Klornn. It's a slave of high value, picked out for use they've probably been slaves for years and if killed the owner usually asks for compensation"
"Sensei, why must I learn my father's language, it's cruel and debasing to speak like everyone expects me to, I can't imagine it's use." The boy sighed loudly, more of a snort, but a look from Cirrus quietened him, his ears twitching flatter against his head"
"You learn Kohigh because you cannot imagine the use of appearing to be exactly what you seem. Imagine if you had to rescue a poor suffering old man from a full blooded orc and your only chance lay in deception? Acting one way doesn't make you that way, until you forget it's acting. Besides young man denying your heritage is like denying the nose in front of your face, a phrase from my own mentor that is particularly apt for yourself. I'm giving your mind as many tools as you're body, you must learn them all."
"Hai. Perhaps another book on orc speech might help.." Haematite's voice trailed off and the old man instantly recognised the now familiar stalling of their destination.
"Haem, you know well as i do that few bother to write down such things. We all at the temple agree it's important you spend time with others your age, so do me a favour and tire those sprogs out so they can stomach the soup I'll be cooking."
"Children my age come up to my navel and stay far away from me, it's the others I have to face off against Sensei, they'll be men in less than a year." The boy's face clearly showed discomfort at the thought even as the corner was rounded and the faded stonework of the orphanage took form. The sound of playing children was now audible and Cirrus rung the corded bell that hung from the entrance. He patted his charge on the shoulder in sympathy"
"I know. I'd like to give you some truly pleasurable experiences with the many people of this world but they'll be few and far between. You'll find prejudice, you'll find fear. I hope the man you'll be one day will help fight it but in the meantime learning to control yourself is much more useful right now, so just remember that!" Cirrus seemed likely to say more but at that point the door opened and at the sight of the two there erupted squeals and screams from the children. They had all seen Haematite many times and delighted in pretending to run away, the next hour to be filled with heroics imagined of fighting or outwitting orcish invaders amoung the children. With whispered fond greeting to the matron of the house the old man instructed that the groceries Haematite carried were unloaded at the kitchen. After this was done he looked around the yard trying to guess the day this would be. A group of boys around 17 years of age seemed to dominate one corner where they chatted or flicked stones or hid each other to take drags from a smuggled smoke. They had had numerous run ins with the half-orc but from the harsh lessons of Cirrus they had no practical experience top justify any fear of him.
He was about to sit down and start rehearsing his vocab when a tug on his robe had him looking down at a redheaded girl about 5 years old.
"Haem! You flying with us today?" Her frizzy hair was already breaking out of it's pigtails and she looked up with one finger in her mouth swaying from side to side with that shyness and excitement of young children. A grin escaped from the boy's lips and he knelt down to ruffle her hair.
"That depends, think you can lift me today to fly?" He knew the reaction this would get as she made a pretense of rolling up her sleeves and heaving on his leg, unable to even get her arms all the way around it. He gave her a second before pretending to be lifted and toppled down next to her.
"Almost! You're so strong Izz! How about my turn?" The claps from the girl were all he needed and wrapping both hands around her small frame he proceeded to lift her high up from the ground, and with swooping gestures had her rise and fall; dipping close to her friends who screamed in delight before running away, then high to where she could almost see over the wall of the orphanage. This was practiced and Haematite was about to suggest she come down to the 'mere mortals' when a coil seemed to close about his foot and he stumbled. He was glad of the morning's lesson and he managed to twist his body enough to keep the girl from injury as they both wound up on the dusty ground. Cackles of laughter erupted from the corner of the older boys, where a frayed rope trailed.
"Good shot Rix! Knew you could rope 'im!"
"Dummy thinks he can dance with the girlies. Hey freak! You gonna roast her over the fire next?" Haematite spared a second to check Izz was alright but she dusted herself off with a look of apprehension at the larger boys and ran off to her friends. Drawing himself up to his full height the half-orc marched up them, the noose still around his ankle. With a straining pull and a snap he ripped it from his foot to toss it before them.
"You could have hurt her, that was a bad idea." More laughter erupted from the youths and the taller boy stepped forward to give him a shove.
"Think you can tell me what to do savage? Me brother's got a necklace made from orc ears, he probably got yer dad's on there!" The shove was telegraphed and even by barely planting his feet it moved Haematite back less than an inch. "Reckon I get one with yours when i join up with him next year, what yer say about that huh?"
There was utter silence across the yard now as the two squared off and Cirrus looking out from the window could see only the back of his student. Humming to himself he carried on peeling as he watched the proceedings. Haematite stood perfectly still but he could easily recognise the readied stance from just this morning and could guess with a smile the look on his face as his keen ears picked up the response.
"That's also...a bad idea. You'll never even lay a hand on me" The response lacked wit and intimidation and made several of the children snicker, but Rix only huffed and threw a punch at the face of the half-orc, face twisted in adolescent rage at the infuriating thing in front him. Even at this stage in his training the blow was easy to avoid and with a sway of the shoulders the fist went by his head easily. Sliding one foot forward Haematite entered into a well practiced maneuver before even stopping to think. One hand grabbing the boy wrist and another his shoulder in the space of a short windmilling motion Rix was hoisted off his feet to fall in a heap on the ground with a loud thud. His friends helped him up but seemed to lack the conviction to attack themselves, several instead backing away. Covered in dust Rix shoved his friends away from him and tried again with a shove of both hands at his opponent's chest. Haematite's strong hands clapped over those of Rix and with a twisting motion his locked arms were forced outwards joined by a cry of angered pain. The half-orc shook, barely containing his rage. This puny man, this cruel boy was actually attacking him, trying to do him harm! His vision went cloudy, an almost red mist descending. He could feel Rix's wrist, his arms. The bones felt frail, he knew he could snap them right now, he could almsot feel his muscles responding to the urge. He breathed out harshly and it felt like his lungs were expelling flame. he necessary breath in however brougth with it a stabbing coolness just enough to help him regain a measure of control and he used that instant to release his grip, a moment of icy fear at what he could have done and the shame for himself and his Sensei. What would Cirrus think! The rage vanished and taking a step back he saw the boy for what he really was, a child lashing out, wanting something to beat out his frustration of his life. A familiar hand on his shoulder helped ease the last of the tension from his body.
"It's ok Kohigh, let's be on our way. You did just fine." With just these words his student nodded and the two of them made for the way out, leaving a stunned crowd of children. As they departed several crowded from the boy who was trying to avoid sobbing, his arms bright red and what looked like a heat burn forming in the shape of the massive hands that had gripped him.