Order of the Red Band
Strength and Rage guide my greataxe!
Pel is stout humanoid with the ash grey skin often earned by a lifetime spent underground in deep, dirty and dark mines. Although taller than almost any of his dwarven peers can remember seeing, his long unkempt dirty brown beard is the envy of many dwarfs around him and almost hides deep set brown eyes and chiseled, angular features. What truly sets Pel apart from the pack are his obvious muscles and significant upper body strength. A long many years spent swinging a hammer to rock and lifting enormous stones has given Pel a truly impressive physique. Easily able to heft and swing a great axe as his preferred weapon, many fear Pel for his muscles, despite his outwardly mild and affable demeanor when he occasionally socializes.
Buried as deeply as the precious gems and metals that the dwarves of Janderhoff seek out so intently, Pel tried to keep his rage and frustration buried deep inside himself as he grew up near the famed Crystalrock in the Mindspring Mountains. Pel was taught to keep things inside from his first memories as a young boy at the heels of his mother as she worked in the kitchen of a mine preparing food for the brave souls who entered the caves around the Crystalrock. Of his father, Pel has no memories. Those around him watched Pel grow up into a strapping lad, probably due to being fed so well, and gave him a hammer to swing as soon as he could grow a chin hair. Even at that young age, Pel had the grey skin that most around him took years of hard work in the mines to gain, perhaps a sign he was truly meant to mine the depths of Crystalrock. Pel grew up working long days and spending nearly every other moment with his reclusive mother, and he grew both in dimension and reputation as the strongest person folk could recall in a generation in their mining town. Without any question, there was no finer hammerer in all of the mines than Pel, not just for his brute strength, but an almost preternatural connection he seemingly had with the very rocks and earth around them.
Despite being the most popular person to have on a mining crew, Pel rarely socialized and with his mother’s urging did not develop many close bonds with his peers. As his mother grew older, she became more insistent that Pel never let others see what he felt, and let on that he might have anger because he was special and would easily frighten others with his strength. Pel always took this advice the best that he could, but he felt imprisoned to never allow his feelings to show, especially when angry at being stereotyped the dumb strongman…although Pel knew he was no mage, he hated the hurtful words. The bolder miners would sometimes get drunk and taunt Pel a bit about his father, or make comments about his strange mother, knowing that Pel had never responded and always backed down. The occasional ones bold enough counted on Pel to hold it in, just as much as his mother who told him so several times a day.
Year after year the pent up anger and frustration of feeling stuck in a lifetime of just being one thing, just a big muscular freak, made Pel nearly break several times when taunted. Although he could feel the rage inside himself welling up like a surge ready to be let out, he steadfastly thought of his mother each time and politely nodded and walked away…emboldening the drunken miners.
Ultimately time caught up with Pel’s mother, and as she lay dying she made him promise to be the Pel she taught him to be, and gave him one last gift. All that she had left of his father, a curious oblong stone of grey, polished to a natural sheen with an odd symbol etched on one side. It was a token given to her by his father many years ago, before he left to go on a doomed deep mine expedition to Crystalrock. She could only tell Pel that like everybody around, she only knew him briefly before his fatal task, but long enough to know he was a brave but mysterious soul, a wanderer, probably with children spread across the mountains of Varisia given his charm. She claimed that the rock marked her as special, and the words that she passed on to Pel about never exposing your true rage for fear of the results were words that his father used to whisper to her after she told him of her pregnancy, as if instructions to pass on. Pass on she did, leaving Pel all alone, feeling twice as angry and frustrated as ever, but bound to his promise to keep it buried inside. When Pel would hold his father’s stone, a very piece of the earth he both loved and hated, he undeniably felt a connection to the stone and all others.
Two years later, Pel and his unit uncovered a major vein of silver, and to celebrate his crew insisted Pel go out to drink and eat with them. Feeling lonely and isolated, Pel reluctantly agreed and after that first mug or two of ale, he began to feel good. Pel began to feel looser in his joints and some of the pesky thoughts that seemed to run through his head went away, or grew silent for awhile. Driven by his supposed friends, Pel drank more than many thought possible that night, but in doing so he also became obnoxious and abrasive towards the end. Tragically, three of the miners in the bar picked the wrong night to be bold and taunt Pel, and began to needle him about missing his mommy. Predictably, Pel became upset, and looked to his crew to calm him, but the drunken fools merely egged him on by pouring him another drink and telling him to stand up for himself.
In his head, Pel could suddenly hear both the taunts of the drunken patrons and his mother’s sweet voice telling him to be calm, to be nice. To keep his promise. Clutching the now empty again mug in his hand, Pel heard the taunts become louder and louder, and his mother’s voice become more faint. Pel began to feel a new warmth spread across his chest. Not the ale this time, no it was his old, secret companion….rage. Pel crushed the mug in his hand like an egg and much later, remembers a moment in time where he made a mental choice to give in. Give in to the rage, the anger that he felt, damn the consequences. What happened next was a gruesome set of beatings that Pel to this day cannot remember the specifics of. His only recollection is a feeling of satisfaction and release that appealed to him, but scared him at the same time.
Ultimately Pel had broken the legs and arms of two of the drunken miners, and the third was kicked so savagely his wits might not return. The law demanded that Pel serve hard time, but to Pel ,what was the difference between swinging a heavy rock hammer sixteen hours a day for a job, or in a prison mine? At least there, others might think twice about bothering him given his muscles and new reputation.
For seven long years Pel swung that hammer, got three square meals a day and oddly enough, made friends with a curious Halfling named Tymm who was imprisoned for stealing. After his term, Pel faced a decision, one made very easy when his new friend Tymm told Pel that a man of his strength should seek out his fortune and do whatever he pleases. For the first time in his life, Pel felt free to do what he pleased and not tied down to a life under the earth, mining for the dwarves of Janderhoff Inc.
Pel and Tymm set out, and Tymm suggested that they head to Riddleport, and Pel easily agreed. While traveling west, and camping 3 days from Sandpoint where they hoped to catch a boat to their destination, a party of goblins set on Pel and Tymm while sleeping. Before he even knew what was happening, the goblins had snatched up Tymm by the feet and were about to shove a spear through him as Pel gave a mighty roar. Rising to his feet, Pel instantly felt the heat spread through his chest and gave in willingly and gladly to his well of rage inside. As Pel cracked together the skulls of two goblins, he heard Tymm’s scream as he was dropped on his head and one of the goblins holding him charged Pel. As Pel prepared to face the goblin, he could see past the onrushing green foe to where Tymm was being thrust at by the spear carrying goblin, rolling from side to side to avoid it. Instantly beginning to run towards them all, Pel had no plan just seething rage as the onrushing goblin raised an axe to strike a deadly blow. Pel accelerated at the last moment and caught the goblin in a hear hug, the goblin’s arms and axe uselessly pinned above his head as Pel squeezed the life from him. In the six seconds that it took to crack ribs, rupture organs and end the goblin’s life, Pel watched as Tymm was pinned face down to the ground by the spear through the very center of his torso. Tymm had tried to roll inside the goblin’s range to strike and misjudged very badly and now the goblin stood above his body snickering.
Pel felt a second wave of rage engulf him, and before the goblin could even remove his spear to defend himself, Pel has descended upon him in a whirlwind of arms and rage and perhaps teeth, the end result being the torso of the goblin ending up several feet from it’s head and even further away a leg could be seen. As Pel felt the rage dwindle, he gently took the corpse of his friend Tymm and buried it, weeping and cursing the world at the same time.
Days later, Pel found his way to Sandpoint, and quickly got a temporary job at the mercantile unloading wagons, but after just a week in town, Pel is restless, but lacks any real idea of what to do next. Holding his father’s stone at night and speaking to both his mother and father, separately, he asks for forgiveness for what he has done to her, but to his father, he promises to learn how to use his rage, and to find out more about his heritage. Lastly he speaks to himself, and promises to make his own way in the world, not be stuck swinging a hammer until his back fails him.