The Shackled City
A grizzled vetern of the Planes Wars, Argyle now seeks to defened his family and Avenge the lost.
Argyle Berseles – The Fury of Kord
“There will be a reckoning.”
“Soldiers are already dead; it is only left to us to choose our way of dying.”
“When the child that just watched his mother brutally murdered prays for vengeance – it is me they are praying to.”
Argyle, it was said, was born under a bad sign. In the superstitious village where he and his younger brother Hector were raised for the beginning years of their lives, the villagers believed that any child born a blood crescent moon was destined to be hard man of violent ways. Argyle spent the rest of his life proving those back country folk’s wives tales had merit after all.
During his yearly teen years as other children attended to their chores or apprenticeships, he would often venture off. His favorite pass time was sneaking into the crossroads tavern near town to listen to the stories of heroics and adventures from the grizzled war veterans there. There was something about his frank manner, bold brashness, and honest love for bloody stories that allowed for acceptance into the place. By the time he was fourteen, he was drinking pints with the old men and absorbing all the details of warfare they had to offer. Argyle’s father would often be furious with him for wasting his life away, and would scold him to focus and to learn something of a trade in which to employ himself. By now, his brother Hector had been accepted into the church of Pelor as an incense barer and acolyte in training. The most productive thing Argyle had managed to accomplish was the vicious beating of a man twice his age that had been beating his wife outside of the tavern one night.
Argyle’s father feared that the blood of their ancestors – Celestial warriors of Kord stretching back in generations to Kord himself – was too strong in his oldest son. His father knew that he heard the voices of the Celestial Warriors of Kord calling to him, even though he was too young to understand what it meant. For Argyle if the calling was too strong that he would give into a world of perpetual war and violence that his father had sought so hard to shelter him from.
A few days before his sixteenth birthday, a traveling merchant passed through town. This was not the most honest of merchants, and being a crafty, dealer he set his sights on some of the old veterans of the local tavern on which to apply his cons and shoddy merchandise. Barnabus was a favorite of Argyle’s, being one of the first to accept the youngster into their midst, and buying the boy his first pint of nutty brown ale. The merchant, no one can even remember his name, decided that old Barnabus was in need of a potion to cure his milky eye and restore his sight. The concoction did not have the desired effect; it did however trigger a stroke that left the old man paralyzed on his right side and unable to speak. As Argyle stood there watching expectantly for his old friend to see again, only to be rewarded by watching him have a fit and shite himself, something broke inside of him. For the first time in his life he heard the full battle song of Kord rage through his veins like fire. Screaming incoherently in celestial and glowing as bright as the noonday sun, Argyle proceeded to beat the merchant to death with an empty wine bottle in a scene so brutal and vicious that even the scarred veterans in the tavern were repulsed and taken back.
Argyle’s saving grace was the fact that the merchant had cripple Barnabus, and this fact alone probably saved him from hanging. Although other darker whispers suggested that the local constabulary was flat out afraid to try and arrest him. However he was exiled from the village. His father arranged for him to attend a Monastery in the mountains several spans to the north of town. His father hoped that since preventing his son from a violent future was likely out of the question that the monks would be able to at least provide a level of discipline that would contain his more ferocious outbursts.
Shai-lon was a hard, but fair task master and took young Argyle under his tutelage in the martial arts and the ways of war. For three years Argyle studied not only the disciplined styles of the dragon and the snake, but also the philosophies and tactics of warfare. His mornings were spent in rigorous physical activity, his afternoons in martial training, and his evenings reading tomes of the great war-masters of the past. For three years Argyle toiled to learn and grow, yet his savage instincts still plagued him. He would often train alone with Shai-lon for the safety of the other students, as Argyle’s temper would flare and rage when engaged in battle. At night he would hear the siren call of the war songs of the battle lords of Kord; during the day he would sing them loudly in sparring unnerving even stalwart opponents.
Shai-lon had taught many members of the barbarian tribes of the northwest, but Argyle perplexed him. While savage and brutal in combat – Argyle remained cold and deliberate. He was not the fire of the northern berserkers and barbarians, his was an ice cold savagery of brutal intent. When Argyle reached his third year at the monastery Shai-lon pronounced that there was nothing more he could learn in his present level of life experience, and that he should take a wander journey of personal enlightenment in order to prepare his soul for the next stage in his journey.
Argyle set out for the north countries to see if the barbarian tribes would be a more welcoming place for him where he could find likeminded individuals with which he could brawl, drink, and make merry. He gathered his few belongings, and set out with nary a glance back at the life of the monks. For Argyle he had learned what he needed at the Monastery – study prepares the iron, but battle forges the blade.
On the windswept frozen tundra of the north Argyle battled giants and frost worms – cave bears and other tribes. His abilities as a savage warrior grew and he began to develop a name for himself as a ferocious warrior. He spent the next few years of his life on the tundra drifting from tribe to tribe never able to escape the battle songs and visions of wars in celestial realms that seemed to endlessly plague him.
It was during a particularly nasty fight with a pair frost worms that Argyle first discovered that his bloodline had more power than he had imagined. He was about to deliver the death stroke a large male worm, when the beast’s mate erupted from the ice on his feet and caught him unaware. Pinned beneath her chilly talons, Argyle reached out with his will and felt the fabric between the mortal plane and the realms of Kord tear. From the fissure he called out and was answered by a great cave lion of ferocious strength. Slamming into the worm the lion turned the tide of the battle and Argyle was victorious. That night while feasting on broiled worm meat with the tribe he was staying with, Argyle spoke with an old shaman of the tribe. The shaman explained to him that there were those who fought for Kord who were known as battle callers, warriors who had the ability to reach through the planes and call to their side celestial beast of war to fight with them. This was considered a sacred honor among the tribes, and that there had not been a true battle caller of Kord in several generations. The shaman suggested that Argyle take a spirit quest and to discover what Kord had in store for him. Drinking a strange and bitter brew that the shaman concocted for him, Argyle fell into a deep sleep.
When his eyes flashed open after a few hours, he announced to the tribe that he had seen his calling, and he was to join the battle in the celestial heavens with the warriors of Kord. The tribe was taken aback in disbelief, and questioned the truth of this claim as Argyle gathered his belongings. Much to their shock, they soon learned that Argyle was telling the truth, as a pair of titans stepped into camp from the Celestial Realms, gathered Arygle, and stepped back into the Heavens.
Argyle then spent time fighting the wars of Kord, learning to summon creatures to his aide, but always his strongest ally was Thoram the great cave lion. It is hard to say how many years Argyle spend in the heavens fighting the wars of Kord as time often worked differently in the heavenly places. He became a vindicator of the weak and tormented, he was not a defender of the weak; he was the vengeful retribution of the wronged. It was his lot in life not to protect the innocent, merely to balance the scales of justice. These battles took their toll on Argyle as he watched countless atrocities come and go, his soul becoming hardened and scarred.
Then came the battle that changed Argyle’s life forever. A band of Demonic cultists attacked the village where he was born, killing his father and mother. The battle was one of the most brutal he had ever fought, and all the more dire as for once he had arrived in time to save the innocent, his brother Hector. Calling forth Celestial beasts, he entered the fray with Thoram at his side. Together they battled back the cultists, and their summoned demons. Back and forth the battle waged, but Argyle’s beasts could not match the numbers of demons that were being pulled forth. At last he found himself bloodied and near defeat, Thoram limping close by at the point of exhaustion. As Argyle streatched out his hand to reach thoram to bind his wounds, something unexpected happened. Instead of binding Thoram’s wounds, a powerful surge of celestial magic bore through the two of them, fusing their both their spirits and bodies. Their wounds closed, their energy surged, and the battle was renewed. Their new form was potent, and far more powerful than any mere summoning that Argyle had ever witnessed before. He had transcended from being a battle caller of Kord to something else, an avatar warrior of brutal and deliberate savagery. The spells of the cultists ran off of his new form like rain water, and roaring and pouncing he tore into the cultists like a hurricane. Soon the few cultists that survived were scattered and on the run, calling up minor demons to shield their escape.
With his mother and father dead, Argyle gathered his wounded brother and fled to the nearby city of sand harbor where he took his brother to the church of Pelor. Leaving a bagful of gold to cover the expenses of care, he left Hector there and began to hunt down the dirty followers of We-Jas who had taken the lives of their parents.
Argyle moved into a period of his life that seemed an endless cycle of hunting the wicked only to be faced with more tragedy that needed avenging. During these years he would visit with Hector often and watched as his brother grew in the priesthood of Pelor, and married a young girl named Silia. Soon Argyle was an uncle to two young boys, Victor and Dominic. Argyle would often laugh about how it seemed he and his brother were born again, as Victor was hot headed and interested in brawling while Dominic was mild-mannered and seemed more bent for the healing arts of the priesthood. These were the quite peaceful times for Argyle, and the few moments of true respite he had in life.
It was nine years after his brother married when word reached Argyle through a celestial messenger. He was in a backwater hamlet hunting down a murderer who had slaughter a group of female acolytes. The messenger had dire news – Hector and Silia had been abducted and the boys left to fend for themselves.
Arriving in Sand Harbor he sought out the boys and made sure they were safe. After making sure they were ok he sought out the high priest of Pelor to arrange for their care while he hunted for his brother. Gavin was not too keen on the idea of keeping the boys, especially with cultists and demons stalking the family. Argyle however informed Gavin that should he shirk from his duty or not care for the boys until they were fourteen and not a day earlier, he would personally return and rend Gavin from arse to nose and wear his entrails as cloak while he sacked the temple, burned it to the ground, then shat in the ashes as he left. This argument proved effective and Gavin gave his word to watch over the boys until they became men.
Often Argyle would come by to look in on the boys and bring them treats and tell them stories of war. Victor seemed especially interested in all of the gory details. Argyle became very attached to the boys, as he saw in Victor a younger version of himself, and in Dominic he saw that which his father always wished Argyle could have been.
Argyle spent years hunting for his brother and sister-in-law, but to no avail. When word reached him by celestial messenger that We-jas had claimed the life of Dominic, Argyle set out immediately for Cauldron. He was not sure what was going on or what had happened, but he was sure of one thing – there would be a reckoning.