An Empty Throne
Aric stands just a finger above six feet in height, his rather handsome face is complimented by shoulder-length dark brown hair and a goatee often joined by days of unshaven facial hair. His ethnicity is difficult to place based on his appearance alone, and his odd accent further confounds any attempts to identify his homeland. His tightly wound muscles are clearly built for action more than show, and his overall appearance and natural quickness are evocative of a man who was literally bred for combat.
When working, he typically wears a suit of studded leather armor that appears to have seen significant action but shows little sign of wear and tear. On his feet is a pair of well-worn travelling boots whose original color is completely indistinguishable due to years activity and countless layers of dust from his travels in the Frontier. When there is even a hint of the possibility of trouble he wears a pair of brown leather gloves with a stylized ball of flame etched onto each of the palms. His weapon of choice is generally a longsword, although he’s been known to use anything from the leg of a stool to a shovel in a pinch.
While rarely visible, at least in its entirety, his most distinguishing characteristic is a large tattoo that encompasses most of his back and wraps around his torso. The tattoo is in the irezumi style of the of the Yashima and depicts a mythical two-headed hydra. The body of the hydra covers his back from just below the shoulder blades to the small of his back and is colored with black and dark purple inks. One neck comes over his right shoulder and circles around his arm a couple of times with the head resting on his forearm and visible. The neck and head are fully colored in with deep reds, greens, and blues, and has two horns protruding from the skull. Another neck wraps around to his front, just above his hipbone, with the head ending over his heart. There is some preliminary coloring in blue, but the head and neck are not nearly as detailed as the other. The tattoo is exceptionally beautiful and quite detailed, obviously the work of a master artist.
During his time on the Frontier, Aric has earned a reputation as an effective and ruthless sellsword and occasional bounty hunter. A significant part of this reputation holds that he is a dirty, or at least not an honorable, though quite effetive fighter. He’ll use whatever advantage or unorthodox maneuver to deal with whomever he’s fighting. He is absolutely not concerned with honor. If he’s thrown to the ground, you can bet he’ll be grabbing some dirt to throw in his opponent’s eye. If the angle of the sun cooperates, he’ll position his blade to cause the glint to blind his opponent for just a moment. He’ll trip and disarm his foe, and then run them through even if they’re unarmed. While it’s unlikely that all of the rumors surrounding his exploits are true, there is enough truth in them to keep them flowing. Some of these rumors are…
“hey, that’s the guy who knocked out a raging greataxe wielding ogrun with nothing more than a tankard and a barstool leg.”
“He decapitated an occultist before the vile arcanist could utter the final words of his demonic summoning ritual.”
“An imperial knight challenged him to duel after a disagreement and he beat the knight to death with his sword while it was still sheathed in its scabbard.”
“He slammed a tankard full of ale on a guy’s hand so hard that it completely crushed the man’s ring and pinky finger, just because he took too long to deal the cards in a game of Three-Dragon Ante. And then he had the guts to make the man buy him another ale because he spilled his in the process!”
Book 1: Learning to Fight
Aric never speaks about this part of his part, and will become quite angry and possibly violent if pressed about it. His style is somewhat unorthodox, quite violent, and he shows no quarter.
Book 2: On the Seven Seas
Aric is “recruited” to join the crew of The One-Eyed Imp, a pirate ship under the command of a swarthy yutoni named Varani. He was a passable sailor, but really earned his keep as a marine, fighting as a member of boarding parties and defending the crew and supplies while in dock.
Book 3: Sellsword
Aric eventually bought his way out of his indentured servitude and entered into the Frontier. He made his way as a sellsword and bounty hunter, rarely staying too long in any one city or village. He has remained a “grey-shield” throughout this time, selling his sword and skills to those whose purse and intentions he deems acceptable. This is the book in which his reputation was formed.