Hoard of the Dragon Queen - MN
Male, Half-Orc Paladin of Hephaestus
Defenses and Vitals
- Animal Handling
- All Armor
- All Shields
- Simple Weapons
- Martial Weapons
Swalgar. That was the name given to him by his parents. An unusual circumstance had him, this half-orc, growing up in a town full of humans. His father had been off to war and had bedded a mistress. She was a curiously good-looker, for an orc, but she knew she wouldn’t be a suitable parent. When Swalgar was born, he appeared on his father’s doorstep. His father and step-mother lived in Veritas, a simple farmer’s village. His step-mother and father were both kind people, and gave him sound advice as he grew older, teaching him to continue in their footsteps and be kind to others. They taught him that it isn’t okay to be hurtful, but it is okay to defend oneself if necessary.
To give up, they used to tell him, was to admit defeat and allow yourself to be pushed around by those who sought power, or worse, those who abused it. Power ultimately leads to corruption, they said. You must never act on your own ill will. Swalgar saw many bad people during his days in the village, but nothing stuck out to him more than the time he had just reached adulthood.
He was 19, and the farmers who tended the lands had been robbed for months – if not physically robbed, then most certainly economically. Swalgar often asked the farmers why they didn’t stand up for themselves, and often got responses that they didn’t have the money to buy proper weapons to defend themselves and that they wouldn’t dare stand up to Lord Renault, lest they lose the farm their forefathers had worked so hard to attain. Knowing this, Swalgar swore to himself that he would help these people – they were defenseless and their limited resources prevented them from doing what was right.
Rite of Passage
He sought out the local blacksmith and became his apprentice, learning how to forge the metal into usable objects – horseshoes, arrowheads, blades and axeheads, shields and armor. He found chain mail armor to be particularly fascinating with the way that each link intertwined with the others – it was different than ring mail or plate. After working for several months with the blacksmith, he decided that he would part ways, thanking the smithy for the knowledge that he had been so kind to share. Armed with this new skill, Swalgar returned to the farmers and offered to show them how to turn their ordinary farm equipment into weapons that could be used to defend the farm.
More notably, he not only taught the farmhands new skills, but also provided training and even defended one of the farms when some of Lord Renault’s hired hands decided that it was time to pay tithes to their lord for the second time this week – something which, while unusual in most other nearby towns, was not uncommon in Veritas. Swalgar stood up to the men, and swore to them that he himself would offer his own life to stop their poor treatment of the farmers if it came to that. The 3 men began to attack him, but against all odds, Swalgar was swift and overpowered them quickly. The men apologized profusely, although Swalgar asked them to bear message to Lord Renault: “The acts that have been committed in Veritas for the past 3 years end here. And if they do not, then I personally will see to it that Renault is forcibly removed from his throne. He has abused his power far too long, and it is time somebody chose to stand up and fight against his unjust rule over these lands. Go now, and report that back to your cowardly employer.”
Sworn to Justice
From that day, Swalgar knew that things had changed. He took a stand, for a cause greater than himself. He demonstrated that he was not afraid to fight for the respect and dignity that he felt these farmhands had earned. The townsfolk of Veritas loved him for this; he freed from the oppressive rule of a man who had valued himself more than his people. But there was one man who did not share this feeling – the blacksmith, who had originally taken Swalgar under his wing. He betrayed Swalgar by showing Renault’s mercenaries where he lived, and Swalgar was taken in the night. Although he was beaten nearly to death, he eventually escaped captivity. When he found out who assigned him this fate, Swalgar lost his ability to trust anyone who had been close to him. He did not realize the consequences that his actions had wrought, but he did realize that some people, despite his own beliefs, did not agree with him on what is right, wrong or just in this world.
It has been 3 years since that day, but there is not a single day that goes by that Swalgar does not remember the events. He has grown fond of Greenest and the townsfolk who inhabit it, working as one of the blacksmiths since he arrived. However, he has noticed that lately, things have been changing. The people are on edge, nervous about the next time their village is visited by strangers. People aren’t just being robbed, but are kidnapped, killed and tortured as well. People who are completely defenseless, and who have no experience in the battlefield. People who deserve better – who have earned better because of their lifestyle. For the sake of the village, Swalgar knows what he must do, and he can only hope that he will be able to defend them all until the attacks cease – even if it means his death. Even if it means that he will face exile from his new home once more.
The Liberation of Veritas
As he entered the first years of his adult life, Swalgar grew to appreciate the art of blacksmithing. Metal, an otherwise unyielding object, could be shaped into forms that would allow protection, and destruction. Many had forged such armor and weapons for good and evil. These days, Swalgar knew that he was setting himself on a path from which there was no returning. He was committed to a cause, one that meant something to him and would eventually mean something to the people of Veritas as well. He began his apprenticeship with Harold Farguson, the town’s blacksmith and quickly learned the skills and techniques required to shape the metal into weapons, armor, horseshoes, and farming equipment.
Then, the day came. Lord Leonard Renault, the noble overseeing the farming lands of Veritas, had once again sent his thugs. They were here, collecting yet another tithe to the noble lord, for the second time this week. He sent his treasurer, Marcus Thormgard and his trusted bodyguard, William Hemson, in addition to a few hired hands, to collect on the debts owed to him by the farmhands. Swalgar, having heard from one of the farmers earlier that day, knew that the men were in town and collecting. He made a point to confront them, and he had decided that this day, even if it would cost him his life, he would make an example of this noble’s closest council. He wore chainmail, which he had meticulously crafted himself, and was armed with a flail.
The hired thugs tried to best Swalgar, but the orc’s tall frame, and the strength that he possessed from a lifetime of farming, and now as a blacksmith, allowed him to overpower the men. He threatened Marcus and William, stating that he would see to it himself that Renault would be overthrown. Renault’s men left Veritas shortly after the encounter with Swalgar, shaken up by the fact that somebody had not only stood up to them, but bested them. When he heard the news, Renault ordered this unruly orc be detained. It was Swalgar’s own trusted colleague, Harold, who turned him in. But before he was taken away, Swalgar managed to train a couple of the farmers and taught them how to defend themselves. Among them were Arthur and Thomas Darrington, brothers who tended to their family’s large farmland. The Darringtons were ultimately responsible for freeing Swalgar, who was inspired by the bravery and led the revolt against Lord Renault. Renault fled west toward the coast, and Veritas and the surrounding villages were plagued by this noble no more.