Vanara Bounty Hunter
Lucien is an 18 year old Vanaran. He stands just under 5 ft tall with broad shoulders and a wiry musculature. He has dense short hair that covers most of his body that is a mix of dark brown and black. He has a number of faded scars on his arms. He has a 3 ft prehensile tail that can lift light objects and be used to provide added stability when in the treetops. He has large hands and oversized feet. He wears no shoes as his toes are longer than average and can firmly grip objects. His face looks human except for the dense light fur that covers all but his nose and mouth. He wears a type of leather armor covered in densely packed bone plates.
In the forested mountains of a land far away, Lucien grew up in a middling size village. While life was not idyllic, it was not bad either. Lucien’s father was the village blacksmith and was able to provide a decent life for his mother, two older sisters and a younger brother. While the village was somewhat isolated, it was on a heavily travelled road. Most of the village was Vanarans, but there were humans, sylvan elves, mountain dwarfs and the odd Halfling. Because of the nature of the area, there was also a camp that catered to druids and their training. Young Lucien would spend his time working for his father and being taught by the druids that came through the area. He enjoyed learning and wanted to explore the world the druids talked about. He also enjoyed exploring the forest and because he was quite agile, he could move through the trees as well as walking on the ground.
As time passed and Lucien grew older, word slowly trickled into the village from passing travelers of wars raging in foreign lands and raiding parties taking slaves for labor and the young for fighting pits and competition in far away places. The villagers thought they would be safe given their location. Unfortunately, word reached the slavers about who and what the Vanarans are.
When Lucien was 10, the raiding party finally came. It was on the new moon. Village sentries were able to give an early warning. Lucien’s father had prepared for this and had provisioned a hidden cave further up the mountain in a secluded glen. When word reached them of the slavers, the family gathered some meager belongings and took off. they kept to the shadows and were well on their way when they ran into a small band of slavers. The slavers were un prepared for the ferocity of the Vanarans and their unusual fighting style that seemed more like some exotic dance than a fighting style. They were almost through when a slaver had a lucky strike knocking Lucien out. The family was able to escape, but Lucien was captured.
When Lucien awoke, he was bound in chains and in a large wagon with bars enclosing it in a long caravan. Over the course of the three weeks it took them to reach a port, Lucien was able to find out that his family had escaped. When the caravan reached the port, Lucien and most of the other Vanaran children were loaded onto a ship and put into cells below decks. Given the circumstances, the children were given adequate care as they were valuable cargo. Except Lucien. The slaver in charge of the captives took some pleasure in Lucien’s lack of resistance. He never laid a hand on Lucien, but tortured him all the same. He spoke of despicable acts he said he committed to Lucien’s mother and sisters. He went into great detail as he explained how he slowly killed Lucien’s family. Lucien thought his family had escaped and was safe. However, he had no way of knowing what the slaver was saying was all lies. The thoughts of his family suffering was an anguish that had no release. The light in Lucien’s being was slowly being replaced by raging anger like the surging like a storm at sea. Lucien never let it show, but the slaver knew he was getting to him. One night the slaver was waxing on about what he had done to Lucien’s mother when a rogue wave broke over the ship, causing it to list and driving the slaver against the bars of Lucien’s cell. In less than an eyeblink, Lucien had his hand around the throat of the slaver. It not for the guards, Lucien might well have been able to choke the life out of the slaver. Let’s just say that the rest of the trip did not go well for Lucien.
After countless days at sea, the ship came into port. The children were hauled off the boat and sold directly on the dock to various individuals as gladiators in training. Through the whole process, Lucien did not show any feeling, offering minimal resistance. He was purchased for a low sum as he was thought to be of poor stock and seemed to lack any spirit. Internally, Lucien was seething in a sea of hate, rage and frustration, all contained behind a façade of indifference. He was carted off to his new owner’s training grounds and began a vigorous training program with other new “recruits”. He carefully maintained his front while taking in the training and learning all the fighting techniques. He was much more proficient with light weapons and close fighting. The more advanced the training became, the less able Lucien was able to contain that which raged within him. His demeanor was calm and cool, but inside, he was as wild as his owner marketed him to be. If his opponents took the time to really look at him and gaze into his eyes, they might have realized that the person they had to fight was someone to be avoided. Each combat was decisive. Lucien channeled his rage. If he was starting to shows signs of losing, he thought of his old life and how much he missed his family and how much he longed for the freedom to do as he pleased. He focused his hatred for the slaver and used it to fuel his combat. he was quick, efficient and gracefully brutal. He fought to win.
His success in the fighting pits did allow him some freedom and modest rewards. As he got older, finding able competition became harder. Opponents went from children his own age at the beginning to hardened fighters and former soldiers of many lands. Opponents tended to underestimate him due to his size and that he was not human. If he faced someone new that knew nothing about him, he would hide his tail and use it to his advantage during combat. This could be as simple as holding a spare knife. When Lucien was 18, he had reached the pinnacle of the fight pits. He was still undefeated. He had only one rule, he would not kill. He broke many a limb. He blinded people, he made them deaf, he even crippled some. Yet, he never killed and he never cheated.
As luck would have it, his final combat was against the slaver who captured him. The poor fellow had been skimming profits and was finally caught. Lucien’s owner, Corbus Marathius, thought this might be the most lucrative fight he would ever promote. Now Corbus was not a cruel man. Most of his fighters were well tended and as long as they won, things went well. He was fair in his dealings and was honest. He just never saw owning people as being morally reprehensible. He also did not like wasting resources. However, he knew the history Lucien had with the slaver. In order to get Lucien to fight, he felt it would be worth it to offer Lucien his freedom if he won. Lucien was told nothing about the match except that it was to be the most important fight ever waged in Corbus’ fighting pits.
On the day of the fight, the pit was split in half with a curtain. Neither fighter knew who they faced. Corbus made the event as melodramatic as he could. There was music and long orations on the abilities of the fighters. No names were used though to build the surprise and tension. While Lucien was known for his prowess and his success, the slaver was know for his deceptive behavior, his flagrant cruelty, his willingness to cheat and an open disregard for honor in combat. He, too, was a very successful fighter.
The crowd was hushed. Word had slowly leaked out about the prior history of the combatants. With a clarion call, the curtain was raised and the opponents saw who they would be fighting. There was a sudden surge in wagers being placed. Corbus walked out and pronounced that the fight would be to the death. He also said that the winner would be set free. Lucien was still as stone carved statue. Only a slight twitch in his left eye betrayed that he was even alive. The former slaver just laughed. It was a sad, yet hysterical laugh. One that made people question the sanity of the person laughing.
Lucien stood there, weapons sheathed. The twitch becoming more pronounced. The slaver drew his sword, still laughing maniacally, and slowly advanced. Lucien’s eyes followed every move made by the slaver, yet did not move. The slaver moved to within 10 feet of Lucien. The laughing stopped. The slaver leaned in and started to speak. He said “Did I ever tell you the story of how your mother begged me….” The twitch in Lucien’s eye suddenly stopped. It was almost imperceptible. Lucien took a step, drawing his weapons. He took another step and smiled. The slaver made to charge Lucien. Lucien took another step and began a slow rhythmic movement that could only be thought of as some type of dance. The slaver stopped his charge and went into a defensive stance. Lucien moved as if his bones were soft and pliable. He brought his sword up in a lunge. The slaver moved to block and Lucien turned unexpectedly. His sword following some hidden pattern that ended with blood appearing on the blade. The slaver screamed as his left ear went flying off into the sand. Lucien pivoted and continued his dancing moves. The slaver dropped his shield and clamped his now free hand to his bleeding ear. Anticipating where Lucien would move, the slaver spun and aimed a killing blow. Lucien’s smile grew. He licked his blade, dropping down to one knee and kicked out the slaver’s leading leg. There was a loud crack as the leg hyper-extended as Lucien deflected the slaver’s swing and brought the flat of his blade down on the slaver’s leg. The slaver fell over on his side howling in pain. Lucien moved off, slowly moving through a series of steps that looked long practiced. The slaver quickly recovered his wits and realized he was seriously disadvantaged. He pushed himself up onto his good leg and took a guarded position. Lucien moved around and stood directly in front of the slaver. They locked eyes. Lucien moved in with an obvious strike the slaver knew he could easily deflect. The slaver grabbed some sand and threw it just as Lucien brought his sword down. Knowing the slaver, Lucien anticipated the treachery and turned his head. His blade went wide and the slaver began to laugh again. Lucien stepped around to regain his composure and wipe the sand from his face. He turned and stopped directly in front of the slaver. His sword was pointed at the slaver. The slaver was still laughing. The rage of all the years finally boiled out and Lucien made a mad charge at the slaver. The slaver began to swing to deflect the incoming blow and counter back with a disemboweling shot. As Lucien swung his sword down in what appeared to be an uncontrolled rage, he stopped short and flicked his left hand out. At that same moment a small blade seemed to sprout from the slaver’s forehead.
The slaver’s laughing stopped as he reached up to feel the blood beginning to drip from his face. It took several seconds for the life to vanish from the slaver’s eyes, never quite realizing what happened. The crowd was silent. No one moved. The battle lasted for all of 10 seconds. Lucien stood there, his head lowered. The crowd started to stir. Clapping was beginning when in a blur, Lucien stepped to the still warm corpse and swung down, cleanly removing the slaver’s head from his neck. The crowd went wild.
Corbus made a lot of money that day. Lucien was given a writ that stated that he was a free man. Corbus gave him his weapons, some supplies, a money pouch and told him he was free. Lucien was not sure what he would do. He left the fighting pits wondering where his steps would take him.