Monday, August 25, 2008

Malak "The Destroyer"

As related to Gregor Immilus, to whose memory this publication is dedicated. Gregor had, shall we say, an "accident" when his torso accidentally ran into a two-handed sword. One witness of the event would like to remind the readers that this "accident" might have been avoided had Gregor not made some unfortunate "editorial" comments about the subject of this history. Without further ado...

History of the Tribes of Khanduras

Not much of the history is known of the barbarians of Khanduras. All that is known is they have been there since the Kingdom of Westmarch has started its records. What is known is that the barbarians are grouped into 12 big tribes that are part nomadic and part settled in villages. The villages seem to be around sources of food, water, and material. Normally these tribes are at war with each other and if they are not warring on each other they are raiding the nearby villages in Westmarch. There is no written language among the barbarians at all. What has been found is that the barbarians use hand signals and symbols to communicate with one another. It is guessed that these hand signals and symbols differ from tribe to tribe.

One tribe of note is the one known as the Harrogath, their leader is Gallar the Great, who while searching for a source of food stumbled upon an iron vein and developed a village in order to produce steel. Steel was of great signifigance to the Harrogath due to their god, Crom who is the god of steel and war. They were the first tribe on record to start producing steel and implementing it into their weapons and armor. It was this vein that led them to believe that Crom had led them here to it so they could vanquish their rival tribes. A problem quickly arose with the producing of steel and where this tribe had built the village. It was not near many resources to help produce this valuable metal to them. This led them to continually raid other tribal villages or Westmarch to appease their god and to find resources to help produce steel.

Life in the Harrogath tribe is very brutal, using their standard age of 5 winters old they would start their training. The boys are taken from their families to a master trainer and are in contact with them once a year. The girls however stay with their families and learn to harvest food, produce goods, and mend the barbarian warriors. However, the girls are taught to defend if they need to with the same weapons as the boys. The boys are taught from the early age how to use and craft several different weapons such as swords, axes, and bows. They are taught skills in physical training, tracking, living off of nature, and training animals. After 10 more winters the boys who are now 15 put their survival skills to the test. They are sent to raid a nearby rival village and bring back the heads of their kills. If they are successful in returning with a certain number of heads they are allowed to join the barbarian army, which is more of a militia. Those who make it back but have none or don’t have enough are relegated to returning to their villages to become craftsmen.

One point of great significance to note in recent history of the barbarians is that of the tribe Harrogath. There were two rival tribes Arreat and Cimmerian who grew weary of the vein that the Harrogath was in control of and allied with each other. They planned an attack on that village which was under the control of Gallar the Great, who at that time had two sons Harak and Darius. When the attack happened the Harrogath barbarians were completely caught by surprise and received heavy losses including, Gallar. If not for the heroics of Harak and Darius the village would have been completely lost to the rival barbarians. After the battle both were herald as heroes and given titles, Darius the Vanquisher and Harak the Executioner.

The two brothers both vowed to unite the 12 tribes under one banner to avoid debacles like these in the future and to strengthen the barbarian race. After establishing his leadership of the tribe Harak took the purest sample of iron and had and crafted into a great two handed sword. In honor of the battle he called the sword Kurast and it became a feared weapon among his foes. After taking control of the tribe’s milita army; Harak and Darius went out to conquer the neighboring tribes.

Enter the Destroyer

It was about 24 years ago that a most important barbarian was born to Darius. He was the third child of seven to be born and his name was Malak. Everyone noticed very early that he was going to be a great warrior. He was strong at very early age and showed great aggressiveness towards other people. When he left for his training to begin at age 5 he was put with the older kids after a few months since that was more to his strength and size. He showed great sense in his physical prowess of climbing, jumping, and swimming. He was very in touch with nature especially wild animals; he found special kinship with wolves raising and domesticating them. As for weapons he showed skill in all them but none more so than two handed swords, combined with his strength he could cleave a human in half by the time he was 15 winters old.

His uncle took great pride in seeing his nephew Malak grow up over those 10 years. He would often visit the camp and help train him and see to his grooming as a warrior. Harak always felt there was something special in Malak, like an untapped power that had yet to be showed to all. Harak not having any sons planned for when the time came Malak to take over the role of leader of the Harrogath tribe. Darius seeing that his brother had taken a special intrest in his son grew jealous of his brother for that. He also began to hate his son for the respect and love he had for his uncle.

The time came for him to go out for survival test. Harak and Darius were there to handpick where Malak’s group would go, Darius blinded by his jealousy hand picked a village he knew to be heavily defended by the Arreat tribe. When Malak’s group began its raid on the village they took heavy losses. Malak seeing his brothers in arms that’d he grown close to over the years fall before him went berserk tapping into a power within himself. He gave over to his anger and everything went white to him.

When he came to all the villagers, men, women, and children had been killed. He was the only surviving Harrogathian to make it back to camp, with his body covered part in his blood and blood of the villagers. The trainers sent scouts to the village and when they returned they confirmed what Malak had told them. This greatly disturbed Harak a bit knowing that his nephew had this power in him at such a young age. Darius meanwhile saw his chance at seizing power with this boy all he need to do is wait.

Soon after his trial of survival they gave him the name of Malak the Destroyer and he lived up to his name in the following years. By this time all but two tribes had been conquered in the north. They were the Arreat and Cimerian tribes. Harak wanting to put his nephew in a favorable position put him in command of his armies to subdue these tribes and complete the unification of the barbarians.

Malak, who was now 23 by this point and who had now established a great following from the barbarian warriors, led them against both tribes. In a years time both had been subdued and Malak returned to the village a hero to the Harrogath tribes. It was at this village that Malak brought back the leaders of both the Arreat and Cimmerian tribes so they can receive their punishment for their attack 26 years earlier. Harak wasted no time in pulling out Kurast and beheading both of the leaders and keeping them on pikes in front of his hut.

Malak was hailed a hero and his uncle welcomed warmly into his hut where they began to plan for the future of their now one tribe. Darius and his two older sons meanwhile stood back and brooded at what had now become the heir apparent to the Harrogath tribe.

The Exile of Malak

A year had passed since the unification of the tribes of Khanduras by Harak and Malak. The kingdom of Westmarch began to feel a little uneasy with the fact that now they had a single enemy in the north instead of many that could be dispensable and dealt with at a time. They began to send emissaries to Harak seeing if he would form an alliance with the Kingdom in exchange for new materials and supplies from the civilized world. Harak seeing this as a sign of weakness began immediately to plan an attack against Westmarch.
He called a meeting of all his chief advisors at that time, which included Darius, Malak, and his two older brothers.

It was at this time that Darius and his two older sons, Kroll and Doruk put their plan into action to move against Harak and Malak. Some of the other advisors at this time disliked Malak as well since he was Harak’s favorite. While in a counsel between Harak and the advisors about moving against Westmarch, they subdued Malak and Kroll pulled his sword and stabbed Harak multiple times. Leaving him for dead they quickly went and got Harak’s personal guards to show what had happened.

When Malak came to he had been shackled to a tree, his father “told” him that to commit such an act against the tribe would be punishable by death. Before they would kill him though they made him watch as they killed his family and any advisor that had supported Harak or Malak. This sent Malak into a white rage and he began to try and break the binds that held him. Believing that Malak would not be a problem any more Darius and the sons left the executioner to carry out his work with Kurast.

Malak now had tapped into that power again, that he had so many times before, but this time it felt different. Using all of his strength and how the chains held him he cracked the tree in half. This setting him loose he quickly killed the guards by smashing their heads and then killing the executioner by ripping out his throat. As he brought himself out of “berserking” he saw his uncle’s sword and picked it up and fled. He ran as far as he could for as long as he could until he could not run anymore. It was there that he collapsed and began to weep for those he had lost. He fell into a deep sleep in which he imagined a big Thor like figure approaching him. He then showed him a land to the south with jungles and a group of people that looked and acted like him. When he awoke he knew that his time here was at an end for now but one day he would return with this new army and seek his vengeance on his family. He then strapped Kurast to his back and began to head south in search of this new barbarian clan…


Lord Bolt said...

OJ's backstory is sweet, but one of the things that I really liked about Dan's story was the potential crossover (Lost-style character interrelation) between our characters. OJ or Brian, do your dudes have anything in their background connecting them to one thing or another? I was about to draw up a sweet little "character flowchart" illustrating who knew who when, but it doesn't seem quite as applicable now.

Lord Bolt said...

btw, my previous comment might not have illustrated this point: OJ, your backstory was tight. you def. have to focus on some type of Rage move in your character development so that Malak can get unruly on our enemies.

Taran said...

I also enjoyed OJ's backstory very much. Good work Malak. You can also see I made a little note at the top, and I made a corresponding note at the end of OJ's previous "story," so go check that out.

As for tie-in's, I am a big fan as well. It was tough because I could only make a very oblique reference (so as not to restrict Lord Bolt in his own story-telling), but now that we've heard most of the stories, we can add some things in to tie it together.

For example, I told Bethany that it would be cool if she was a part of the minstrel troupe that sheltered me when I was a child. I was also thinking, now that we have Lotheryn's story, Bethany could have been childhood friends with Lotheryn, and was actually inspired by Lotheryn's mother to take up a life of singing and performing.

I could foresee a cool tie-in with Moonglum and Malak, whereby Moonglum has essentially "hired" Malak as muscle to help him track down some elusive arcane spellbook in return for Moonglum's promise to help him marshall forces to retake his homeland. Or something like this is fun.

Taran said...

Or it's possible that Moonglum's family/tribe or whatever could have financed Darius's hostile takeover, since the gnomes desire a cut of the iron ore (for various spell materials and magic contraptions) the Harrogath are sitting on. That could make things VERY interesting between Malak and Moonglum.

Taran said...

Even better, Ranzmalkin's family financed the takeover, so Moonglum and Malak are actually allies in a common cause against Ranzmalkin. I like it...

Moonglum said...

My original intent was to have Ranzmalkin's father involved with some Barbarians that OJ knew. Either OJ and I could be allies because Ranzmalkin's father had allied with some of OJ's enemies or maybe some dudes had double crossed OJ and suddenly he would find that his own tribe had allied with someone evil. Remember, I wrote this before I had read OJ's backstory. I could maybe change things around now that I know more about Malak.

Taran said...

Oh I forgot this earlier:

Russell Crowe approves of this story.

Taran said...

And this: