About Jean Whitemane
Eye color: Deep Blue
Hair color: Snow white
Jean is not a large man and although he is not as young as he used to be, his presence is still known. He stands about an average height of 5'11, his hair is white as his namesake states. He bears the face of one who has seen and experienced much over the years, his deep blue eyes are piercing and full of haunted experiences. He carries himself as one would expect of a hunter; calm, calculating, and ever watchful of his surroundings.
He is a stern man and his serious demeanor follows over into his line of work. He dresses in plain, but sturdy clothing fit for long term travel and almost never travels unarmed.
When prepared for battle he looks like a knight of old tales ready to battle the darkness. A dark cloak hangs over his armor; a breastplate emblazoned by his houses sigil, a roaring lion with a white mane. Both of his gauntlets are made of silver with spikes and have locking attachments. His Finely crafted, alchemically silvered Longsword, simple but well used war-hammer and well worn buckler hang at his side for close combat. A bandolier hangs across his chest often filled with holy water or alchemists fire for ease of access. His most prized possession however, is Vanquish. A well crafted Long-bow made from a rare wood known as Dark-Wood. It was tailored to Jeans specifics to utilize his strength and given to him on his 18th name day.
Born the 3rd son of the Whitemane Family of the last generation, Jean's duty, not only to his family but to the country as a whole, was well ingrained into him. He was given no special title and was not given any family heirlooms to keep either. Instead, as was custom of the 3rd son, he was sent to study the worlds knowledge's and contemplate the spiritual aspects of life at a temple of Pharasma.
Many years of his youth were spent studying various religious scripts and speaking with scholars to better learn how to hunt down and destroy the monsters that plagued the land. Though mostly, it was the Undead that fascinated him. He was not a true scholar however. Though he had learned both wisdom and presence within the temple, his mind was slower than most and often wandered to the lands he ought to be traveling using his knowledge to defeat the foul creatures. Years went by and eventually Jean decided he could no longer learn more from books and teachings. He compiled his knowledge into several thick tomes before sending them to his home with a letter of explanation to his family. He knew he had always been a man of actions more than words, and now he had to exercise his knowledge.
He spent the next set of years in his life training himself in the art of battle as he traveled the lands. His family name and influence still held some sway in the more civilized lands so he was received well in most communities. His time in the temple during his crucial years of growth had limited his ability to become strong but he had always been naturally dexterous and graceful, so he took to ranged combat more readily and found he favored the Longbow. He tested himself time and again against various monstrosities, each time he used his knowledge to gain an edge and win out. Silver and fire became his weapons of choice.
As they say however, "Every action has a consequence." Jean was eventually noticed by an informant of the Whitemane house, and soon found himself summoned home by his father. He had not been pleased to hear that his son had so brazenly left the temple of Pharasma in the middle of his studies and he scolded Jean for his actions. Jean argued that his father had left him there to be forgotten about and instead made a case for himself by stating that the sum of his learning's would only be useful by another in the future, and only if they were practiced. He then took to the training yard and showed his father the fruits of his own labor.
His father however remained stoically unimpressed and gave very little away on his true thoughts. So, Jean was forced to show him all of what he had learned, training sessions became study sessions all to see what he recalled. Eventually, he had spent several months at his home before his father finally declared his true feelings. He was satisfied that his son had at least become a warrior and had not misused his family's name. Jean's father begrudgingly named his son a "protector of the land," while muttering something about being Jean being a "tradition breaking lout," giving his blessing as well as a surprisingly well made bow before sending Jean to travel the land.
Sometime later his wanderings took him to a village which had been increasingly plagued by banditry and undeath. Jean fell into a trap with bandits pretending to be frightened villagers who threw him to a pit with Ghouls and an intelligent Ghast. His battle with the Ghast and both it's Ghoul minions nearly took his life. Thanks largely to his training and knowledge of the Undead he quickly dispatched both the Ghouls before either the Ghast or the bandits could believe what was happening. When they had recovered Jean was already swinging his blade at the Ghast and fortunately the bandits were ineffectually firing arrows at him as he fought for his life. He was wounded rather severely by the Ghast before he managed to take it down and then returned fire at the bandits by hitting two of them with Alchemists flame and driving them off. His actions saved a fair number of lives that night and the townsfolk had finally mustered enough courage to see what the commotion was all about. They drove off the bandits and when they saw Jean barely standing over the slain bodies of the ghouls they tossed him a rope and hauled him out proclaiming him a hero. He was shaken to the core that living beings and Undead monstrosities would actively work together. He refused to be tricked like that ever again and he has learned to be more careful since.
Not long afterward, he was approached by Professor Petros Lorrimor who came to him and was fascinated by his experience. The two of them struck up a correspondence with one another and kept in regular contact over the following years through letters. Jean continued to train and learned all he could from the inquisitive professor. During his travels he began to make regular intervals to meet Professor Lorrimor, usually during the winter or summer season. The correspondence eventually became a friendship and Jean became a familiar sight in Ravengro.
It had been several long years for Jean, for unknown reasons the darkness that had receded somewhat from the land began to stir once again. He had been wounded during one of his missionss and had missed his last few meetings at the Professors as he'd been laid up for a while and then trouble had always seemed to appear on the horizon before he could make his journey to professor Lorrimor's home. Finally, he received another letter from the Professor. He was glad to have news of his friend after the last months of no contact. The news however, was grim and told of the professors untimely death. Saddened by his colleagues passing, he traveled north towards Ravengro to attend the funeral.
Darkness, Fire, and the Whitemane Way:
"The wild beasts and creatures of the night will use the darkness to their advantage. Even the unintelligent ones instinctively know that we are at a disadvantage without the suns light. It is why we have harnessed fire. With its aid, we keep them back. Though there are times fire cannot be brought to bear, the trick is to not fear the darkness but to learn to endure it."
Jean had just turned 12 when he had been taken in for aptitude testing. One of the first things he had been tested for was his tolerance of pain. His trainer was known for his effectiveness, but not his kindness. In retrospect, Jean had found experience was never kind. His father had seen to that.
"It seems you won't ever be truly strong Jean. Let's see if your body's resilience can make up for it's weakness. Marakov, he's yours. I'll return next season."
That year was a new kind of hell for Jean. He had never been terribly strong in body but that didn't stop his trainer from constantly pushing him to exhaustion and nearly driving him to death on long runs. He thought about quitting, he thought about just running away but he was always so tired he knew he would never get far, he even considered just falling down and not getting back up at times. But somewhere deep in his mind he knew his father was expecting him to fail, was wanting to here that his son had just given up. He was not like his older brothers everything had come so easily to them. He had to work hard for anything and that gave him strength. He persevered through sheer force of will. By the 5th month he had finally gotten used to the harsh training and he began to get stronger all the while counting down the months till his father arrived. Somehow he managed to survive the year and his father returned.
"Hmm, not bad Marakov. You've turned Jean from a boy to a man. Come Jean, the next phase of your training will begin when we've returned home."
Training with Allen:
Jean stood balancing on the high beams above the ground. The cool autumn air blew leaves on the ground and the quarterstaff shook in his hands, he hurt all over. He had managed only to fall twice that day after being beaten by Allen. His eldest brother laughed as Jean nearly lost his balance again. Jean had been naturally talented when it came to keeping his balance, but he had never mastered it like his brother had. Jean managed to hold his balance and began making his way over to his brother. Allen lazily watched as Jean drew closer and moved further away, drawing Jean higher.
"Come now little brother. Why don't you just give up? We've been here all day and you know you won't win." Allen had positioned himself against the setting sun, so all Jean could see was a silhouette.
Jean tried to move to the side so the brightness wouldn't completely blind him but had little luck. Jean's frustration took hold and he charged his brother. He saw the silhouette tense and Jean brought the quarterstaff up and over his head to try and hit Allen down. Unfortunately instead of jumping up and hitting down as he had earlier, Allen had lunged forward and hit Jean in the face with his knee. Jean's vision whirled and he fell back into the tips of the polls.
Jean lay for some time. His right eye was swollen and his mouth was filled with blood. He could feel his nose was broken and he also thought he may have had a broken rib. Allen stood over Jean looking down at him.
Allen sighed. "Not much in life is fair, Jean. We've all got our part to play and you'll be leaving here for the temple next spring. Enjoy the time you have, rest and study. More martial training won't do you much good where you're going."
"That life's no' fer me. I'll be back... next week."
Pharasma's Temple & Lillith:
The rain pounded the outside of the temple and somewhere in the distance Jean could hear the methodical ringing of metal on metal as the blacksmith Borston worked his forge. The disused library's room was small and the books and scrolls were dusty, making Jean sneeze occasionally. It had been raining for 5 days now and Jean was starting to feel like he was losing his mind. Master Horace had insisted that Jean be the one to rewrite the older scrolls. He had said that it might teach Jean some patience and give him a better appreciation of the Clerical stresses. Jean had never been a good student, and the Masters dislike of him had made things far more unpleasant.
Jean looked at the stack of scrolls in front of him. This section of the library had not been well taken care of and most of the scrolls were old and yellowed, a few had tears and one looked like it had either wine or blood spilled on it.
"Who writes all of this?!"Jean was exasperated and pounded a fist on the table before putting his head down. The candles flickered and Jean rubbed at his eyes. He wished he had a lantern instead, but Master Horace had said that it was winter and oil had become too expensive to waste on such a trivial task. Jean hadn't argued with him, he didn't try to argue very much these days.
There was footsteps outside the room and a moment later the door opened up to let in... Lilith. She had been an initiate here, like Jean when he'd first arrived at the age of 15. She had been studying at the temple for over a year and had been the first one to make him feel welcomed. That was 3 years ago. She was 18 now and had already taken the cloth to become a priestess of Pharasma.
Jean smiled and looked up as she shut the door behind her. "Jean, I've been looking all over for you.
"Come to try and convert me again, have you?" Jean was half joking, half serious about his question.
"Why are you so negative about worshiping Pharasma? Also, why is it so dark in here? You'll ruin your eyesight in this dim light." She moved over to the table and blew out the candles.
"Horace... said that the Temple doesn't have the funds to waste on oil apparently." Jean heard Lillith murmur a pray and a moment later the candle was emitting a bright light.
"There, that's better. Well Jean, maybe Master Horace wouldn't be so hard on you if you studied harder and called him by his proper title."
"Oh yes, well I think he'd prefer it in the opposite order. Besides, you know he's never liked me."
Lilith put her arms on her hips and looked down at him. "And maybe Jean, if you acted like you actually wanted to be here things wouldn't be so bad for you."
It was more than he could handle. Jean was frustrated with his treatment by the masters, frustrated with the way things were done around the temple and he was frustrated by the way everyone seemed to look down at him when he didn't do exactly as he was told by everyone else.
Lilith stood there, shocked, she didn't seem to know what to say to him.
He looked at her, sadness entering his tone. "I'm sorry Lilith, but I can't stay here anymore. I'm leaving."