Monday, June 28, 2010

Character: Berserker

The men who tell the stories say that Rredhen Oasis was nearly dry during the summer that the assassins came for Prince Eqhben al Kharin of Eshedhal. The Prince was yet a young man on the occasion of his father's death, unexperienced in the ways of the world, and his father's enemies saw the opportunity to seize power for themselves. Time after time, the Prince's royal guards foiled the attempts of the enemy agents, but at a terrible cost, for the Knight Protectors of the court fell one by one to assassin blades, until only there were only the rabble of slave-soldiers, the men with the crescent moon mark in their right palm, left between the young king and those who would take his life. And on the last day of the summer, the army of assassins finally descended upon the Oasis city, intent on wiping out the Kharin dynasty forever.

Many summers passed between that day and the bitter, hot night on the shores of the Insea as the companions of Greyglade pulled the old ship up onto the sand, their exhausted muscles straining under the weight. On their way south back from Mylis, the warriors had hoped for a time of rest and peace to give Ser Kneefers and Artemas, the newly reunited brothers, to learn to trust each other. But it was not to be, for that very night a band of brigands led by the vengeful Gylk of Agrix, bitter that the Trewan crown had disposed of him after he had outlived his usefulness as a traitor and spy, ambushed the small group of companions at the shore.

However, at the most desperate moment, a huge man suddenly burst from the grey forest, two mismatched flails whirling in his hands. He tore into the ambushers, careless for his own safety and roaring odd battle cries with fearsome savagery, and it wasn't long before Gylk the traitor himself lay dead upon the sand.

After the battle, Ser Kneefers and Artemas were so impressed by the greatness and bravery the old warrior had shown during the battle that they asked him to join their band of warriors. No matter how they asked, however, he refused to reveal his name. They could tell by the way he fought that he was a skillfully trained warrior. After hearing their story, he agreed to become part of the band and pledge his loyalty to the House of Greyglade.

The brothers tried for years to discover the name of their loyal warrior. In battle after battle, the big brawler fought like a madman, never caring for his own safety, just for the safety of his companions, and eventually came to be known simply as Berserker. But while traveling to the west part of the kingdom, the companions of Greyglade were camping out at the Rredhen Oasis in the Nevermeadow Desert, and an old shaman told them a story about a great warrior who was assigned to protect a king. The king’s slave soldier protector never left the side of his lord, and even during the brutal summer of the assassins, and had single-handedly foiled countless attempts to kill the king while his fellow protectors fell all around him.

At the climax of the story, when the assassins invaded the Oasis, the king's entire slave army perished, leaving the lone protector standing in the doorway to the king's room, twin flails in his hands. According to the legend, the protector faced down and defeated unimaginable odds, using the advantage of the narrow opening to defeat over twenty men. It is said that years later, the King, on his deathbad from a wasting disease, freed the protector from his oath, and carved the letter “L” onto the warrior’s right wrist so all could see that the warrior's fierce spirit and unending devotion were his to direct as he chose...

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