Camet, once an officer, never a gentleman

Camet is a solider through and through, trained and educated to be one, carrying out his duty for years. He is also a shameless criminal. He performed his duty to his country, Amlia, as best he could, a capable officer, albeit an average swordsman. But his main intent while in the army was to reap as many rewards as possible. He did. He got caught and so now lives among the criminals, and it took little adjustment for him to adapt to his new community. He had already committed acts of theft, murder and deceit while in the army. As a criminal, he now gets to flaunt his full range of skills.

Camet is amoral, sly, ruthless and without a shred of honour or decency. These are things for the nobles of Amla to concern themselves with. He knows he is among his true kind now – a criminal and a damn good one. He knows how to trade slaves, smuggle precious gems and how to undermine authority. He knows the mindset and routines of many militias. He can watch a patrol and tell you how well those men will fight, or if they will take a bribe. He met many types of people while in Amlia’s army, and has met many more since. He knows people. He can catch a thief or aid one in entering a secure building. He has many abilities and tricks up his sleeve. He needs them.

Being good at a job has its benefits, and it also pays not to be too threatening. Others like Bane or Elatia or Drem carry a personal reputation that makes others want them yet fear having anything to do with them. Camet is more amiable. He just wants his pay, also to make anything he can on the side, and to walk away from the mess. He isn’t interested in professional pride or revenge. He isn’t an intimidating killer. He just knows how to make things work. He has enough contacts among nobles and gang-lords and merchants to get things done. He can be a very useful tool in a number of ways for someone with ambition. But he isn’t a threat either, and he wants people to know that.

Camet’s reputation is built on being useful. Give him a bunch of thugs and he can train them to be a solid, fighting unit. Show him a place to attack and he can figure out a sensible way to take the building. He is intelligent and experienced – qualities not in over abundant supply in the crime world. He won’t be leading the attack, that’s for damn sure, but his men will go in with a thought-out plan and disciplined organisation.

They say if you want someone dead, hire Drem. If you want someone ruined, hire Bane. If you want to win a gang war, hire Camet. He has welded his military experience with his knowledge of criminal warfare to perfect training methods and strategies that enable lesser gangs to win wars. Not just win, but Camet tries to ensure the victor – his employer – comes out of the conflict in a better condition than when it began. No use fighting a war just to break yourself. No use helping someone win only to see them be overthrown before Camet gets paid and gets out of town.

Camet is damn good at what he does and he knows it. He also knows one day he will have to walk away from this life. For that, he wants a good retirement set up. Working in Callascino with the elite should guarantee it. If not, he’ll have to see what extra he can make, although he dare not cross any of his colleagues in the process.


Klie’van, the tracker none can escape

Klie’van is the best tracker in the world. There is no dispute on this. Elatia and Tulk are superb hunters, Bane and Valtar too, but everyone knows that Klie’van is at his own level. Some believe his ability to be mystical, and much of that comes from the way his people are perceived. He does nothing to dissuade that view, of course. Let the weak minded prejudices of other races serve his own end. In reality, his ability is nothing more than years of tracking experience founded upon talent. He has keen eyes, an attention to detail most people would be amazed by, and a strong sense of direction. There were mystics among his people and he can imitate them a little, yet he has no magic power to call on. He doesn’t need it.

As a Kan’julapian, Klie’van knows what it is to be deemed a nothing. His people are seen as the filth of the world, found in many places they shouldn’t be, engineering their way into means of business, information and smuggling, and wrestling management. He has travelled far, always finding a home among his own somewhere and getting by as best he can. Despite what others think, the people of Kan’julapia are not one, but in fact several nationalities long ago forced into union by various conquests, and more invasions later either drove or took many of their number abroad. His people are diverse within their own group, and yet the prejudice of all other races means they keep together, help each other and work as one as best they can. They keep their secrets from the rest too, but when you’re the best tracker around, not even the Kan’julapians can keep that for themselves.

So Klie’van knows what it is to be a nothing, and he also knows what it is to be someone of fame and worth. Only one other Kan’julapian can make that claim – the Mad Axeman of Ashtaroth – so he stands in elite company. Klie’van’s ability is great enough that outsiders want to hire him whenever they need something found, because they know he will always find it. Of course, his race means that even his ability cannot keep him in such high esteem for long. Klie’van’s life is one of hire and fire; he is sought out, hired at cost (although it is clear he would be paid far more if he were another race) and praised at success, and then he is sent away with his pay, off to whenever the nearest Kan’julapian community is.

Over the years, Klie’van has learned how to play both sides. He is a proud Kan’julapian when among his own, and then a hired hunter when the pay is right. He takes work over nationality when the offer is made, and he brings to his own any information, gossip or secrets he can. He lives by his skills, wits and pay, and yet he wants to be more.

Klie’van is a skilled martial artist and killer as well a hunter. He is a dangerous man, cunning and knowledgable about places and people. He should be a name to be feared and revered. He isn’t. He would blame it on being Kan’julapian completely but the Mad Axeman is feared and revered – the top killer along with Bane and Drem, many argue. No, Klie’van is a hunter, the one who finds the prey, not the one who kills it. He is a skilled fighter who has killed, yes, but he is not anywhere near the likes of Rugal or Elatia, or even lesser knowns such as Zashe and Fujorky.

As a hunter, Klie’van is without equal. He should be revered for that alone. He knows he is devalued due to his nationality. He knows he is seen as a means to an end, not the complete package. He wants to be reckoned with. He wants to be rated among the best, and given the rewards due that rank.

Klie’van is in Callascino and yet not among the elite. He feels he should be. He resents his exclusion, he is jealous over their fame and pay, and he is ready to join them in an instant.

Lallomar and Dallomar, the hateful brothers

When you come from a people who have never been conquered then you have a right to believe in your own national strength. The Saecens, inhabitants of a vast and hot desert, are a strong people who once ruled a mighty empire across the continent of Una, and have good reason to see themselves as a superior people. Perhaps they are. Either way, Lallomar and his younger brother, Dallomar, are not about to let anyone forget it.

In essence, they are strong men who despise weakness, and for them that weakness lies in not being black. Black is the strongest race, and not just any black – they are the very dark skinned who fear neither the heat of the sun nor the ferocity of battle. People from Paxos, another nation of black people, are weak, diluted filth in comparison. Nothing compares to the purity of the Saecen black. Nothing matters to the Lomar brothers than the strength of their own kind.

Both men are fighters, raised to be so by their strong and nationalistic father, along with other brothers. Lallomar is the one who made his name alone, a fierce brawler and killer, a man who embraces putting other races down for any reason. Of course, Lallomar would kill his own kind if needed, but he enjoys defeating those of the other races, and even more so to kill them. He despises them all and every victory is not only one less inferior bastard or bitch in the world, but another moment of proof that his kind is the greatest.

Lallomar left his homeland years ago, making his name as a bodyguard and thug, and then more so as an enforcer, and so he remains. He is especially talented with the mace and chain weapon, which he wields with adept savagery, exploding heads with precise power. He is an experienced gangster, well known for being as tough as they come, a veteran of street fights and alley melees. If you can afford hiring Lallomar for a gang war then you would certainly do so. His racist retorts are worth the cost of having him punish your enemies.

Dallomar is the more skillful fighter, slightly taller, somewhat more athletic. Lallomar prefers to smash straight in and use his stocky, strong frame to put opponents on the back foot. Lallomar is direct in action and also speech, and Dallomar is ever ready to back his hateful remarks. As a younger brother, Dallomar idolises the sibling who left home and forged a reputation among the world’s fighters, and sees it as solid evidence of the Saecen superiority. He seeks to replicate Lallomar’s success, having quickly proven his worth as a fighter on his own, but he much prefers working with his big brother, watching each other’s back among the vermin and leeches of the world.

Together again in Callascino, a melting pot of races and cultures, the Lomar Brothers are more than ready to prove themselves, and eager to hurt a lot of people.

Palos, the swordsman of faith and death

Death is a sacred blessing and Palos is the one who administers it. He is called psychopath, murderer, criminal and worse, yet he knows he is the most holy of all. He is on a crusade, bestowing a better life on those who need it, showing them their delusion as they cling to a false existence.

It cannot be claimed that Palos is a lone thinker in this way. Many of varying religions have discussed an eternal haven for those who follow the right path, some daring to proclaim that this is the life to be lived, to urge others to find it and go to it. There have been death cults and suicide pacts. But Palos is a unique figure. He walks alone and kills as he can, belonging to no radical group. He sees himself as a chosen one, and he may be right.

For all his fanatical belief, there is something more remarkable about Palos. His swordsmanship. Many would say he is the best swordsmanship in the world. He makes no such claim, finding bragging abhorrent, yet there is no doubt that if he isn’t the best, he is among the finest there can be. His skill is extraordinary, as is his poise and composure. He has been witnessed multiple times amidst gangs of thugs, cutting them down one by one with his two blades, never faltering, never missing, a whirlwind of deadly perfection.

This comes as less of a surprise considering his home. Palos comes from a nation that has little to do with the rest of the world, yet is famous for two things – a strong religion that believes in peace, and a powerful military that ensures that peace. Palos follows the faith of his land yet on another course, seeing the others as misguided. But he is clearly the product of the martial society he comes from, possibly trained with swords since a child. The truth of Palos’s upbringing will never be known, nor why he left his homeland. He will not speak of anything about himself other than proclaim his holy mission. His people will not acknowledge him, not that they are forthcoming on any information about themselves either.

So Palos is remarkable. The only one of his people who travels the world, and he brings death to many in the form of his superbly crafted swords. There are no tales of anyone ever defeating him, even wounding him. He is a terrifying figure of relentless intent, unshakeable in his conviction, unmatched at duelling, unknown to any personal degree. He is hated, despised and feared. He has no friends or even acquaintances. He believes he has no enemies either, for he kills without animosity. He kills to deliver people from the burden of life. He is their saviour, and it vexes him how so few see this the same way.

Of course, many question how such a devout man of faith has become so immersed in the criminal world, although few dare say anything to Palos’ face. He is openly disgusted by the licentiousness of those around him. Murderers and gangsters make people fear death, which is at odds with Palos and his goal. He would love nothing more than to slaughter them all. So why does he work among them? Why is he one of them? Palos counters that he isn’t one. He insists he is a holy warrior. For him, that is excuse enough, but he is also a mere man who needs pay, which he won’t admit.

Still, some accuse Palos of being a bloodthirsty killer who needs to twist the ideology he was raised in to excuse his actions. That he is a hired thug with exceptional skills. No more. He works among criminals because he is one. This never concerns Palos. He knows what he is. He is a divine warrior rescuing people from a blighted existence. He will never stop doing so and there are few in the world who would even try.

Marko, the performer who became a punisher

Marko knows violence intimately. He is a physical powerhouse who spent years breaking men apart to the cheers of crowds. He has travelled to many places, performed before many people, and they all wanted to see him destroy his opponent. So he did. Wrestling has rules, but breaking them made the fans love him more, so extreme violence became his speciality. For Marko, shattering bones, making others scream in pain, twisting limbs until they come out of joints – these are simple things he has done many times for glory, and now for pay. When violence is your way, you keep to it.

Marko had been the highest rated wrestler in the world at one time, yet all athletes fall from their pedestals eventually, and when he had, he plummeted without money or influence. So he took the first work he could get as soon as he could, and that involved beating the hell out of others for pay. Marko is a simple man in truth, coming from an island where he wanted for nothing until he was lured away to become a wrestler, and he followed that career without question, quickly becoming enraptured by adulation and fame, never taking time to look at records or contracts. He went the same way as an enforcer. His reputation and imposing size meant many wanted to hire him to collect debts or smash up a gambling den, and he had no qualms carrying these orders out. Marko never hesitates at brutality. He is very good at it, he knows how to hurt people, and in truth at some level he enjoys it.

There is a difference between beating people up and killing them, but Marko crossed that line long ago and adapted to this as he had all previous acts of violence. The more he got into the crime world, the more fights and risks he faced, and so killing thugs was the next practical step. For Marko, if you want to put up a fight, you deserve whatever happens. Best choice is to let him break your arm and promise to do as you’re told from then on. Unless his contract specifies death. Then he kills without hesitation. Unless a slow, painful death is called for. Then he batters and wrenches without flinching.

A life of violence takes its own toll and Marko wears his scars of battle on his face. He has suffered in wrestling and crime and never seeks pity, so he offers none. He is an experienced enforcer who can lead a squad of thugs into a fight and demand they give their all or answer to him, or he can act alone, a one-man destroyer, skilled in combat, athletic and ruthless. He enjoys a good fight, never backs down from one, has made his name crushing enemies as a performance but also for real. He is less famous as a killer than as a wrestler, but his name is renowned for his history of brutality and he is respected and feared among criminals.

The roar of the crowd is still something he hungers for, however. He fights, he kills, he gets paid, going through all the motions of a top enforcer, adjusted to the life of a career fighter. But the height of his wrestling fame haunts him. He is too practical to chase dreams, more than set in his criminal ways now, used to his life of maiming and killing for reward. Still, if ever the chance came to reclaim some of his former glory, there’s no question Marko would be sorely tempted. Until then, he is a man to be feared. Not a psychopath like certain others he is now with, yet as formidable a close combat fighter as there can be, with a path of broken bodies and ruined forms strewn out behind him.

Valtar, the noble turned criminal

Valtar loves life, and with good reason. To him, everything is there for the taking and the tasting. Born into a rich, powerful family from the prosperous nation of Paxos, Valtar grew up being given everything he wanted. His parents were decadent people who would rather have their son educated by professionals than bother with him themselves, and so it should be no surprise that he knows nothing of real relationships with other people. Valtar sees people as toys or pets. He wanted for nothing for so long, having no use for anyone, that he cannot change. Valtar has lost his riches and power, but he still prowls through the world, seeking pleasure and entertainment, and death.

Valtar has a natural liking for hunting, previously partaking in it often as a nobleman, but it now pays off as he hunts people down for money. He was exiled from Paxos years ago by his political enemies. At first, all he could think of was revenge. Valtar is a clever man, if arrogant, and he had resources available after his exile, so he was able to hunt down those who wronged him. After that, Valtar had to live a new life, so he simply continued doing what he had begun – hunting and killing people as work. He enjoys it, a lot, but Valtar needs the pay to get by in life. He is now a highly rated and so costly killer, yet his lifestyle means he rarely keeps hold of the money he earns. Valtar hunts, kills, earns and enjoys, and then has to do it all again. Of course, for him, that isn’t a problem. Hunting and killing people isn’t really work for him. He would rather spend most of his time in bed with paid professionals, yet hunting is a mixture of thrill and effort that he can easily live with.

As much as he is a vain and perverse individual, there is no question as to Valtar’s ability with the crossbow. His own device is a superior make to most weapons used in the criminal world, with a smoother action and surer sighting, but Valtar is still a deadly shot, usually composed, almost casual, amongst violence as he lines up his target. He is also known as an excellent tracker. If you discover that Valtar has been hired to hunt you down, the chances are he will find you in time. Run and he will chase you. Hide and he will find you. Resist and he will shoot you down, unless you can surprise him or get in close. Valtar is no fighter, nor is he reckless. He hunts from distance as much as he can because it suits him and lessens the risks. He will run if he is threatened, but then he will come back after you. His pride wouldn’t allow things to end that way, even if his contract might.

There is another important factor to Valtar’s life concerning something he has now and once took for granted. Power. He had it, with servants and serfs obeying any request he made, and then he lost it. Wealth gives a power and he was able to live on that for a while, yet over the time he has made his name as an expert huntsman, Valtar has learned the taste of power again. He is feared. His name makes known killers turn tail and flee rather than try to face him down. Common people bow and mumble their compliance. Rich merchants flatter and pander to him in order to gain his service. Valtar has a new kind of power, one that an inherited title could never grant him. His deeds and skills elicit dread and admiration. As such, he has power over others.

Valtar left Paxos long ago, but he has never lost the taste for a life of luxury and hedonism. He hunts and kills, he spends and partakes, and he relishes the fawning of others weaker than himself, and so he wants more. He wants all the pleasures and decadence that life could possibly grant him. He once thought he would live out his life satisfying himself continuously. Then he lost his status and lifestyle, so that now, he finds it all the more intensely exciting to be who he is. In Callascino, with the other elite, Valtar strides among supposed equals to hunt at his pleasure and to gain a fortune that will ensure his dreams come true.