by J.C. Shaner
A brief character backstory for a Dungeons and Dragons character I've played
|Tale of the Bloodrager
With browning of leaves and the chill of the first autumnal wind, so too come the cheers and roars of the Brute Ring. The most savage fighters from across the realm compete here, traveling from city to city under the watchful eye of their merchant lord masters. Little more than slaves, these gladiators are pitted against both man and beast. Survival is their only concern. Yet two nameless champions refused to adhere to the singular, violent fate that the Brute Ring offered.
A mated pair of nagaji from a faraway conclave had found themselves in the Ring's clutches. their bond unnoticed by the slavemasters seeking strong warriors, the pair soon found themselves with child. The scaled babe was discovered, exiled along with his mother into the wild as the Brute Ring left them behind. In a strange, undiscernable language, the Nagaji male called out to any who would listen, begging for the life of his mate and son to be spared. After they were separated, the male refused to fight. The demoralized Nagaji met an unceremonious end, being of no use to the Brute Ring.
Seven years passed before the Brute Ring returned to the area. Local rumors swirled of a monster in the swamps nearby, and, having met with decreasing prospects, the head of the Brute Ring sent scouts forth to investigate a potential contestant for the ring. Those scouts did not return. The head of the Ring, a half orc named Barax, ventured into the swamp for himself. He found his men, or what was left of them. Whatever creature lurked in the swamp had slain his men, and partially devoured their remains. Barax found the creature, a scaled humanoid the size of a child. He recognized the creature as a Nagaji, though this one was different. It's fingers were more than scaled digits; each one ended in black claws that came to a fine, lethal point. The youngling's eyes shone a deep, venomous green, as opposed to the typical gold. Despite being a child, the creature's gaze unnerved Barax. He recognized the potential of this creature, knowing it had slain two of his men and now seeing it for himself.
After embellishing the tale of its capture, Barax had his latest wonder of the Brute Ring. The young Nagaji was raised in the arena's sand, nurtured only by the song of steel clashing against steel. For ten years he fought, acquiring titles and renown as his master once again found his fortune. Yet as Barax's wonder grew stronger, so too did he become wise. The Nagaji began to take notice of the enslavement of the Brute Ring's contestant's. The games were less of a contest, more of a slaughter for the sick pleasure of the crowd. The Nagaji realized that he was dissatisfied with the blood on his hands.
During an eagerly anticipated match, the Nagaji slew what would be his final opponent. As the cheers of the crowd died down, he rose from the customary victor's kneel and spoke to Barax in the stands above. Having learned the common tongue, he told his master that he refused to fight. He would not be partial to slaughter. Barax, enraged, commanded the Brute Ring's contestants to slay the obstinate Nagaji. Yet they were soundly beaten, no match for the strength of one free of his chains. Having no other choice, Barax himself entered the arena.
The fight was brutal, the arena's sand taking on a sanguine hue. The fighters were evenly matched, yet Barax was more deceptive. He scored a deep wound on the Nagaji, and the creature fell. Yet as Barax began to gloat, his opponent rose. That venomous look had returned to the creature's eyes. Barax once more felt that intimidating chill creep up his spine. The Nagaji lunged at him, seemingly ignoring the blood running freely from his wounds. It seemed as if the creature fought with strength, ferocity, blood not his own. After a brutal barrage of attacks, Barax fell under the Nagaji's dagger-like claws.
The Nagaji knelt over his former master, bleeding out in the sand. He met Barax's gaze with those piercing, venomous eyes. Being sure it was the last thing the half orc would ever see, the Nagaji raised one claw each and liberated the slave master of his eyes. He then fled the arena, sprinting away until the exclamations of horror had faded. Losing himself in the forests, the Nagaji found himself once again in the swamp of his youth. He sank to his knees in the brine, his wounds and fatigue catching up with him. He expected to meet his end, yet he felt a reserve of strength. The same reserve he had found in the arena, that otherworldly power. That fury more monstrous than his own. He held to that monstrous strength, avoiding contact with humanoids and hunting wild game. The Nagaji honed his senses, refined his strength, learned to live with the fury in his veins. After so doing, he returned to civilization, easily finding mercenary work. He went by the name Saraviss, a common name in his native tongue. The fighting was easy, the gold piling higher. However, on an assignment guarding a merchant caravan, Saraviss' life changed once more.
The merchant was transporting lifestock to another village. Saraviss was intended to protect the caravan against threats such as bandits and wolves, though the caravan encountered an enemy beyond even the Nagaji's ferocious skill. A juvenile green dragon had happened upon the caravan of lifestock, seeing an easy meal below him. Swooping down and strafing the helpless humanoids with acid, the dragon made short work of the creatures below.
As the dragon finally landed to enjoy its meal, it spotted the sole survivor of its wrath and ruin. The Nagaji stumbled forward, somehow staying upright with falchion in hand. The acid burns on this creature were not as extreme as those on the merchant and his precious cargo. Upon examining the approaching fool, the dragon noticed the Nagaji's eyes. The vibrant green of the creature's gaze was not unlike his own, nor was the rage and power behind them. The dragon was amused by the nature of this mortal.
“Wyrmvein,” was all the dragon spoke to the strange being before him. The creature appeared to understand him. The dragon, amused yet not in any danger, finished its meal before carrying off an additional horse for later.
Wyrmvein echoed in the Nagaji's head as he stubbornly continued down the dirt path to the next town. He continued repeating the word to himself as he approached Sandpoint, feeling as he did so that ever-present bloody strength to keep him going.