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RedKnightV13
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26 years old
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Born July-19-1991
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RedKnightV13

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30 Jun 2009
OOC: I'm not sure what I should be doing, so I'm gonna cop out and say Baldur's unconscious. I'll wake him up once the story progresses.
24 May 2009
Name: Baldur Armani
Nation: Crimea
Age: Approx 75, appears mid-twenties
Race: Branded (Bear)
Affinity: Light

Appearance:
Standing a few inches over 6 feet, with broad, powerful shoulders and thick, corded muscles and weighing in a bit over 200 pounds, Baldur is an intimidating man by appearance alone. Add to that his near-perpetual scowl, an expression formed of habit rather than an actual reflection of his immediate mood, and his vaguely bestial facial features and slightly longer canine teeth, he can actually cause people to cringe in fear at the sight of him. His deep natural tan complements his dark brown hair, which he keeps short and roughly combed, his neatly trimmed goatee, and equally dark eyes.

Being a Branded, Baldur's skin in covered in markings. His chest and back predominately bear them, with sharp lines and corners forming chaotic and savage shapes separately, but when looked at together meld into a surreal symmetrical and hypnotic pattern. The lines trail off down his arms legs, coming to an end just above his elbows and knees.

Baldur still wears his crimson Temple Guard vestments and armor so as to never forget his past, and out of sentiment for his mother he knows he'll never see again. Composed of a tunic, pants, a cloak, and a full suit of light armor, Baldur erased all marks of the Church from his gear so as to mark him apart. He keeps the colors, though, because of the psychological effect it has one his opponents; the vibrant color stokes the fires of anger in men, not just bulls, and causes his enemies to become less cautious in their attacks.

Personality:
Contrary to his savage appearance, Baldur is a gentle soul, kind and giving by nature. He tells the truth whenever possible, and does all he can to end the suffering of others, defending the weak and standing in the front line of any conflict. His idealism is not, however, a sign of weakness or naivete. His hard eyes shine with wisdom and insight, and he has a deep understanding of the human psyche. As such, he is quickly able to spot a person's flaws, which tends to aggravate the people around him when he so accurately punches holes in their egos. He's blunt and direct about everything, and is rather quiet and introverted most of the time, but when the situation calls for it, or he's in a particularly good mood, he can be undeniably charming and tactful. He tends to be rather moody, and his sudden shifts in disposition can be confusing to people who have just met him, but after becoming comfortable with someone Baldur is a very enjoyable companion with a playfully sarcastic and charmingly witty and dry sense of humor. He enjoys simple pleasures, like music, dancing, and drinking; he actively tries to hold a good mood whenever his attention is not drawn elsewhere.
He most enjoys practicing his swordplay; he holds no love for violence and death, but of all the dances in the world, none is more intoxicating and beautiful to him than the dance of combat, the step and counter-step, attack and counter-attack. When caught in the throws of the dance, his blades seem to whistle a song as he steps and strikes to his own beat. When in combat, Baldur will actually start to smile as the battle wears on, not out of arrogance, or as a ploy to intimidate, but rather out of the sheer joy of it. His smile is tempered, however, with the vague guilt each death he causes places on his powerful shoulders.

Biography:
Baldur was born and raised in the Church of Ashera in Begnion by his mother Edina, a high-ranking Cleric in the Church. His mother, a Beorc, had had an illicit affair with a bear Laguz named Aric Armani, and when they found out she was pregnant, they knew they could no longer be together. Knowing that she would be severely punished for her elopement with Aric, they told the hierarchs that Aric had raped her, and so Aric fled north to Crimea to escape his likely execution. For most of his childhood, Baldur knew none of this, and grew up as an accepted part of the community. But things would not stay that way for long, for his heritage eventually came to the fore in his slow aging and the shadows of the Brands that tinted parts of his skin. People began to mock him and shun him. His old life slowly rotting around him, Baldur turned to his Mother for guidance, and she offered him a place in the Church. Grateful for any escape from the hell his old life was becoming, Baldur accepted. He was an impatient and impetuous boy, though, ill-suited for a life of study, and so the hierarchs signed him on for the Temple Guard, the armed militia the Church used for protection. With his prodigal strength and imposing size even at his young age, Baldur quickly proved himself capable at arms, and he even took unexpectedly well to his accompanying studies. He still, however, couldn't escape the curse of racism, as many of the other recruits ridiculed him for his heritage. None dared back up their words, though, when he challenged them.

After his years of training, Baldur was sent on his first mission, and ultimately his last. The Church received word that a wayward Priest had been caught up in a Laguz slave uprising, and the Temple Guard was requested to assist him. Baldur and his platoon were first on the scene, finding the village where the Priest was supposedly in trouble to be perfectly peaceful and secure. They found the Priest in question in the town square, along with a very large crowd of villagers crowded around a score of Laguz slaves whom were bound and kneeling before the town well. The situation apparently under control, the majority of the platoon was sent home, while Baldur and two others were left behind to fully assess the damages and see to the proper punishment of the suspects. The Priest explained what had happened, saying that the Laguz had "brutally attacked" a group of villagers who were simply "exercising their rights over their property." One of the Laguz bound before the well managed to work the gag out of his mouth and shouted back that the villagers in question had been beating them with clubs and switches, and the Laguz defended themselves by subduing the attackers, not harming any of them in any significant way. The villager watching over them cuffed the Laguz on the side of the head and stuffed the gag back in his mouth.

Baldur didn't know what to believe; apparently there were no witnesses, and it was the word of the slaves against the word of the villagers who were attacked. The Priest called for the execution of the slaves, and the other two Guardsmen unanimously agreed. The first stepped up and grabbed the Laguz who had spoken out by the front of his shirt and dragged him forward while the second stepped behind him and drew a dagger from his belt. Baldur stared in stunned silence and watched the Guardsmen wrestle the struggling slave to the ground. Finally, they managed to pin him and the second man raised the dagger above his head. Baldur cried out for them to stop, and all eyes turned on him quizzically. He turned to the Priest and asked him to give these slaves a trial, asked him for proof of the accusations lain against them, and for time to find proof if the slave's story was true, but the Priest would have none of it.

"I am a Priest of Ashara, and I say it is Ashara's will," he explained, as if that should be proof enough. In response, the Guardsmen pulled the slave back up to his knees and drove the dagger into his neck. Baldur screamed in protest, but the deed was done and the Laguz slave slumped to the floor, dying. Cold fury flooded through Baldur's mind as he stared helplessly at the poor dying slave, and his icy glare slowly turned on the two Guardsmen who had just killed him. Realizing his intent, the Guardsmen stood and warily drew their swords, eyeing him dangerously.

"You actually sympathize for these beasts?" the first one asked, spitting on the floor in disgust. "You're no better than they are, Branded freak!"

With that, Baldur's rage boiled over and he drew his sword with a snarl and charged. The Guardsmen responded with practiced efficiency, swinging around to either side to flank him. Time slowed for Baldur as he watched them approach; all sound fell away but the crunch of his booted feet on the dirt ground and he charged, and the pounding of his heart as adrenaline coursed through his veins. Cold fury sharpening his focus and reflexes, Bladur cut to the right and fell upon the first Guardsman with surprising speed for one his size, quickly overwhelming him with the unexpectedly bold attack. With a single heavy slash, Baldur sent his opponent's sword clattering to the floor and brought his blade back in, slicing across his opponent's neck and nearly decapitating him. Hearing the approach of the other Guardsman behind him, Baldur fell into a crouch and spun around, raising his sword above his head to block the expected attack. It came with astounding force, hammering Baldur down and forcing him to his knees. The attacks kept coming, keeping him low, and Baldur knew he couldn't stay this way or his arm would eventually tire and his guard would fail. He saw his downed opponent's sword lying next to him, and his quickly snatched it up in his free hand and swiped it low at his attacker's feet. The Guardsman's grieves saved his leg from being cleaved off, but the blow had enough force to sweep him off his feet. The Guardsman landed on his back with a thud, the air quickly whooshing out of his lungs, and Baldur was atop him before he could bring his guard to bear, driving his other sword into his neck with a savage snarl.

All of the sudden, the sound flooded back and he heard... nothing. All around him, the villagers stared in stunned silence at the massacre they had just witnessed, men and women gawking in surprise, mothers holding their children close and covering their eyes. And standing above them all was the Priest, trembling in fear as Baldur's terrible gaze fell on him. With slow and deliberate movements, Baldur stood and turned toward the Priest, stalking in with bloody blades held in white-knuckled hands. The Priest cried out for help, shouting at the villagers to do something, protect him, kill Baldur. But they did nothing, for what could they do? Baldur slowly stalked up to the Priest and in one swift motion stabbed both blades through his chest.

"Is this Ashara's will as well?" he asked, his voice devoid of emotion. Staring into Baldur's eyes, the Priest slumped to the floor, dead. Baldur withdrew his swords from the dead Priest's cooling corpse and turned to the villagers.

"I'm not going to kill you," he said, the crowd letting out a breath they hadn't known they were holding. "I'm setting these Laguz free. Bury the Guardsmen and the Priest, and then go on with your lives, without your slaves."

The villagers, cowed, slowly dispersed, dragging the bodies of the Guardsmen and the Priest with them. Baldur turned to the bound slaves, whom were staring at him with tears of joy in their eyes, and cut them free. Amidst the muttered thanks and bows, one of the Laguz stepped forward, his eyes studying Baldur intently.

"What's your name, boy?" he asked.

"Baldur. Baldur Armani."

The Laguz slowly smiled and nodded, holding out a hand for Baldur to shake, and said, "I've much to tell you, young Baldur. My name is Gatz. I knew your father."

After retrieving the body of the murdered Laguz slave and burying him in a secluded field, Gatz told Baldur about the story of his parent's affair, and his father's subsequent banishment. Knowing that he could never return to Begnion, Baldur decided to flee with the newly liberated slaves to Crimea, where Gatz had told him he might find his father.

Mercenary Level 10

Weapon Levels: Sword - C
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Approved by IB!
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