Tulk, the lunatic hunter

Sometimes someone is just insane. There can be reasons for, and not. There can be causes, and not. Sometimes, someone is just not right for their own special reasons, and no one can fix them.

Tulk loves fire. He has since he saw a house burn as a child. He comes from a rural nation where fire is important – a giver of warmth, a lighter of the night, a means of forging – and yet it is also the great threat to life. Tulk has always laughed at religion. To him, he sees no evidence of the deities to be worshipped and feared, yet with fire there is a damn good reason to fear it, and for him, far more reason to worship it. He saw its power that night, saw it reach to the night sky in defiance of the efforts of his people to put it out. After, he had wanted to start fires of his own, yet sharp smacks from his mother taught him otherwise. So Tulk waited, instead writing poetry of his love for the flame, and learning the ways of his people. He became archer and hunter, as was common in Bamalia, even for the women, and then he roamed.

He still roams. Tulk walks a free man among the world. He is this because his skill at tracking people down and shooting them dead earns him fame and money, although he wastes the latter on promoting his poetry. That is because his love of fire burns as brightly as that night. Starting a fire in Bamalia is a great criminal offence for the risks it poses, up there with rape and murder, so he had to wait. But true love is patient. Tulk waited until, as an adult, he could express his passion without fear of reprisal. He started fires, which led to damage and death, but these are the price for glory to be unfurled. To Tulk, burning is a blessing. He saw no harm in what he did, although he did his best to hide the fact he was the one doing it. In time, Bamalia was hunting all over for an arsonist. Tulk had his first taste of fame. This meant he had to leave his homeland and he is still a wanted man there, although he is wanted in many nations by now. Being a famed killer will do that.

Tulk loves fire to the dismissal of all other life. For him, killing a person isn’t worth noting. In fact, Tulk believes all people love being burned, even if they don’t know it. The screams he hears are just ecstatic yells of such joyous intensity they come out as agonised noise. Obviously, burning hurts, but the rapture of knowing such intimacy with fire surpasses that. To Tulk, fire makes everything better. No building is complete unless aflame. No painting is art unless on fire. No life is complete unless the kiss of fire is felt.

His poetry, widespread if mainly ignored, declares fire as a goddess, a lover, a mistress, a queen, a mother and a temptress. He rejoices when he sees the flames rise up. He feels as if this is the one true beauty unleashed in its purest form. Of course, Tulk is not so crazy he wants to be on fire himself. He is the fan, the adulating spectator. He is the disciple, who spreads the wonder as wide as he can. He will dance and recite poetry as he glories in the heat and the light, the smell and the noise. Tulk is besotted, and everything flammable around him is an opportunity to relive his happiest moments.

It irks him a little that he is more famous as a killer than a poet, but his love of fire is well testified to. Many of his targets die screaming as he dances around them. Tulk isn’t stupid, however. He never puts success at risk in order to start a fire. He was patient once, he can be again. But he is well known for boring others by proclaiming the wonders of fire for hours on end or reciting the poetry he continues to write. Fire is his beloved. He will never change. Tulk is just insane. The others of the elite know that, but more important is that people in Callascino are more afraid of fire than usual. Even a madman has his uses.

Saquar, the charming combatant

Saquar has an easy going charm that comes only from being a natural. The things he does in life are the things that come easy to him. He does them not just because he can but because he excels at them. Therefore he has complete confidence in himself and loves to let it show.

He was something of a star in his youth, the best hunter and fighter in his large village. Among the Saecens, physical prowess is to be revered and can cover a multitude of sins, so his love for other males was an open secret. In truth, such lusts were more common among the warriors than any would admit, but Saquar truly loved and saw no reason to hide it. He charmed many a curious young man into his bed, and also intimidated some less eager ones as well. For Saquar, life was here for him to sample, and still is. Fighting and fucking came easily, so he did both. A lot.

Yet he also has a drive in him. A hunger, almost. Saquar excelled so much in his youth that he felt no challenge, no sense of achievement. He became bored.

Then he saw a warlock. Among the Saecens, this archaic term now represents a specialist sect of fighters who live for one thing and one thing only – to kill all other warlocks. It seems mad to anyone else, and in truth it has a madness about it, for the warlocks have been around for centuries and never have they come close to ending, but to Saquar it had an irresistible appeal. Warlocks are superb fighters and seek out conflict to better themselves. They live for bloodshed and challenges, and the more Saquar had learned about this group, the more he desired to be among them.

To be a warlock, you have to kill one. Saquar trained even harder and mentally prepared himself. Either he would win and become what he wanted or he would die. Death did not hold the fear it should have. He would rather end than not find a reason to live.

Saquar encountered a warlock, challenged him and won. It was the hardest fight he had ever known and satisfied him on a level nothing else had before. This was the beginning for him. He now had a purpose. To fight and better himself anywhere he can, for the simple goal of killing other warlocks.

And yet life remains easy for him. Saquar’s mission has made him a highly rated enforcer. He has travelled to many places and killed many people, and that came easy too. The deaths of others have little meaning to him. Saquar feels more emotion over killing a warlock than anything else. He has killed over a dozen so far. Fortunately, there are hundreds more yet to kill.

Saquar has a casual swagger about him that comes from a lifetime of being among the best, if not the best. He has little to fear in life and fully expects to one day die to another warlock – hopefully when he is older and greyer and tired of bedding young men. Anything else would be disappointing. But he also enjoys life that bit more because he knows his place in it. His life is set. Train, fight, kill and one day be killed, and enjoy sex along the way. That is all there is. He isn’t trying to settle anywhere or provide for anyone. He isn’t looking to master new things or start a new path. He walks the path he has always walked and knows where he is headed. He wants little in life and is getting it, so he struts along with a smile on his face, looking forward to his next warlock kill.

Rugal, the pale knifeman

Fear is Rugal’s drug of choice. When he was a young albino kid in the streets of the city Deseel, he found he would rather be an outcast who was feared than ever be accepted by others. He not only embraced the unease his appearance caused but enhanced it as much as possible: wearing all white, selecting the softest footwear, even speaking in a hushed voice constantly. He created and then spread rumours of himself, embracing every uneasy glance, every anxious shudder. Fear gave him power. But more than that, he simply loved it. He still does.

Criminals are feared, skilled killers the most. What is more feared than death? Rugal is a natural killer, drawn to it by impulse. Fortunately for him, his home was riddled with crime, as are all the city states of Central Una. He never lacks for work. His nights of watching street fights and collecting used knives are long behind him. He is an expert assassin, dubbed the Ghost of Death for his all white appearance – a final taunt of terror to his victims. He will always try to cause as much fear in his prey as possible. He just has to taste it.

Rugal is highly skilled, especially when it comes to hunting and duelling. He knows how to hunt people down as well as avoid detection. His ability with knives is known far and wide, whether hurling them accurately with smooth waves of his hands or deftly wielding them in close combat. He deceives too. He is an albino but his eyes are no weaker than any ordinary person, which often surprises. So he wears dark glasses to make others think that isn’t the case, as well as add to his unusual look. He can lure an adept fighter into underestimating him or terrify an opponent into hesitating just a second, which is all he needs. Of course, few underestimate him now, such is his fame, but that just means more fear him. When people glimpse a white figure in the night, they would rather it was a real ghost than Rugal.

He is estimated as one of the best assassins in the world. But for him, he would rather taste the fear of another – man, woman or child – than get the job done. He isn’t killing for the fame or the money anymore, those are just benefits. Rugal lives for fear. He wears white to become a ghost in the nightmares of others, despite the practical risks at night. He still wears the dark glasses for the look, even in a dark room. He never goes for the quick kill unless absolutely necessary. Even then, the temptation is strong. Rugal knows he will never be a popular person. He will never be ordinary. He is a killer by trade but a predator by nature. He accepts this. He enjoys it. Predators are feared. He can never have enough fear. That is the main reason he is among the elite now and about to take part in a highly dangerous gang war. This will not only provide him with fear galore, but he will use this conflict to define himself as the most terrifying thing in the world. He will slip through alleys and kill notorious criminals, and then the infamy of the Ghost of Death will last for ever.

Gregan, the mad monster

Gregan is easy to describe. Brute. Monster. Maniac. He is a simple beast in the eyes of most who know him. Driven by anger and hate, he maims and kills with a savage gratification that even experienced killers find appalling. He is without remorse, nor does he relent when the killing begins. A hulking bastard of a man, he can face down gangs by himself because not only do they know that to fight him will lead to their deaths, but that once he attacks, there will be no escape. Gregan kills all who anger him. He demolishes any who oppose him. He is the most dreaded enforcer the world has known.

Tales of his exploits are widespread. His large, double-headed axe is almost as famous as himself – the weapon that has carved so many people open. But he has killed with his hands often enough, as well as stomped on heads or necks, so his powerful frame is rightly seen as another weapon. Gregan’s fury has led him to being an adaptable fighter, grabbing anything around him to use as he waylays everyone in his path. If Gregan can pick it up, and as strong as he is that is most things, then he can use it. Supposedly, he has smashed men down with a horse and once even clubbed a man to death with his own child.

Gregan is thoroughly unpleasant to be around. He says little, kills for the slightest reason and takes as he wishes. Therefore few work with him and get to know him or want to work with him again. He has turned on his employers more than once. Gregan is sought after because he can win a gang war single-handed, and yet those on his side long for the moment the conflict is over so they can be rid of him. He is a devastating individual and not just to those he is aimed at. To him, all others are enemies, there to be crushed. For these reasons, he is one of the most demonised criminals, up there with Drem and Rugal, an unknowable entity marked by death and mayhem. While those killers are mysterious and subtle, Gregan is daunting in his size, power and murderous manner, so people see a monster and nothing more. When art was created to go with the tales of him, as happened to the most famous killers, he was always depicted as a giant, capable of devouring humans. Such pictures stopped when he encountered an artist with work of him and he ripped his arms off.

Few in the world can take Gregan on. He seems to fear nothing, or at least his hate overpowers any other emotion so he charges into fights. At the same time, a Gregan charge has scattered gangs and militia alike, so perhaps it is a smart move for him. Some suspect Gregan isn’t a simple beast of a man, after all. In his thirties, he certainly has learned enough lessons in the criminal world not to be underestimated. But he remains quick to anger, a destroyer on impulse, choosing to attack head on and kill everything he can, then deal with whatever consequences that come about. If Gregan is a thinker at any level he is a primal one, fashioned by years of bloodshed, a threat to everyone in the world.

Of all the elite, Gregan is the most unstable and the most distrusted. He is also among the most feared and perhaps the most important to win the war. No one can tell how it will go with him. If the war keeps him occupied then that would be enough. If not, there had better be something else to keep his hatred focused or his comrades will have to face the monster themselves.

Bane, the infamous captain of crime

Bane has been forged by the violence of Callascino. Whether it was the violence dished out by his father or that of the gang violence that was all too common, it didn’t matter. Others beat him down. Bane got back up. In time, they hit but he stood strong. Then he was the one to knock them down. When that happened, he put his boot on a throat and didn’t let up until they stopped kicking.

Never let anyone cross you. Never back down. Fight your corner, do anything to win, and make sure the one you beat stays beat. Kill when you have to and don’t lose any sleep over it, because you’ll have to do it again. Don’t trust anyone, just make sure they fear you enough to do as they’re told. Pain isn’t to be feared but it is meant to be avoided. Everyone is a bastard so be worse than anyone you know.

Bane has many creeds that he has picked up along the way. These are just some of them. Others he lives out without thinking, such as enjoying whatever life gives him because for so long it gave him little. He has known poverty and hunger, but he knows what luxury tastes like too, after many years as a highly rated killer. He has spent time in mansions and castles, on hire by aristocrats. More often, he stays in inns, taverns and whorehouses, most often in cities. He is a city person. The more people, the more opportunity.

Bane isn’t just a killer. He is someone who adapts and perhaps is the best at it. When in a gang, he knows the world of the gangs and is among his own kind there. Yet he has been many other things, such as smuggler and thief. Bane is someone who wants things done right, and rarely trusts others, so most often he chooses to enter a new role in order to be certain of success. Sometimes he just sees a chance. Bane hates poverty now, so any chance to make money, he takes, and if that means hurting people to prevail, all the better. He isn’t simply violent out of practice. He enjoys it. He never tries to excuse his nature on the way he was raised. If anything, Bane wishes everyone to acknowledge that he is a self made man, who overcame and accomplished by his own rights.

The name Bane is one he has earned and few know what his real one is. It doesn’t matter. He is someone to be feared, and yet his ability to plan, organise, outwit and profit from crimes means many want him to work for them. He has fought his way up through the crimeworld, having learned many lessons, and even invented a few of his own. He is also a tough fighter and a clever killer, so commands others with ease, sure in his ability to deal with any troublemakers. For all of these reasons, Bane is the most sought after to lead criminals. He isn’t just a hired blade, he is a captain of crime. His understanding of criminal culture is unmatched. To many, hiring Bane means you sit back and wait for when the heist/assassination/gangwar is done. He rarely fails. Even if he does, few would dare make an issue of it.

There is no one better to lead a group of lethal experts in a gangwar. Bane knows this and relishes his role. He is here, back in Callascino, to cause mayhem, to turn this city upside down, but also to get a certain job done. He will. No one will make him back off. He knows the risks, understands what will happen if things go wrong. But this is a chance in a lifetime. If someone else were to try it, he’d laugh and watch their downfall with a grin. But he has the abilities and the experience. Bane is the one to succeed where few others would dare. He will lead, he will kill and he will win out. That’s what he does.