The Price of Freedom
An unassuming man in his early thirties, Rigel has a rage behind his eyes that he contantly fights to control.
Rigel ran a rough glove across his sweat covered brow. Hours of plowing and turnover had showed him the rich soil he hoped was still there. It had been three summers since he had returned to his father’s overgrown farm. After his father had passed, Rigel had dreaded the thought of taking the small plot over. It had once been so fertile, so full of life and crops. Many of his memories took place in the gardens here, running and playing in the immense greenery that had once been trim and neat. Briarthorn now covered the small cottage, and berrybush had grown over the surrounding fields.
Rigel surveyed the land, and although he had only made it a very small way in the fields so far, he was happy with the work. It satisfied him more than he thought it would, the hard work, the soreness and ache in his arms and back. He grinned at the long grooved trenches disappearing behind him back toward the house. Planting would need to be done soon, perhaps maize, it would grow fast enough, it had good turn around. He took another swipe with a large rag from his vest pocket and placed the drenched rag on the handle of his hoe and used it to cushion his hands. His body fought him, but he got back to work, chopping the soil and pulling up roots.
Each day for him brought similar challenges, similar enlightenments. Days turned to weeks, weeks to seasons, and he brought the farm back to it’s former glory. The farm yielded crops, and he brought in the harvest.
It was his farms’ third winter when the war found him. He saw the flickering torches in the dark, as a large group of soldiers broke through the thicket of the forest into his tomatoes. Many collapsed as soon as their feet had touched his soil. The others moved around them, it was hard to tell from his cottage, but it looked like they were hurt. He lit a lantern and took it out with him. He didn’t hear the howls until he was almost across the field. One by one, the soldiers were drug back into the dark, bloody-curdling screams and the sounds of wet gore echoed across the crops in the starless night. As the last few disappeared, grasping at the ground, Rigel halted in his tracks. Everything was happening so quickly, Rigel was stunned.
The spear…Rigel remembered his father’s spear. It was old and rusted, but it was the only weapon he had on the farm. Rigel dropped the lantern and ran back toward his house. The small light in his window winked at him as he ran, and stumbled over the rough uneven ground. He could hear a handful of somethings break out from the woods. They howled behind him and fear took his heart. He pushed himself harder, his lungs burning, and tears began to run down his face. The winking light seemed to hover in front of him. Just out of his reach. The sounds were getting closer behind him, but he didn’t want to look back. He didn’t want to see what they were.
The sudden and horrific realization came to him within a cart’s length from the door. He wasn’t going to make it. He felt a sudden and surging pain as pain wracked his right shoulder. A furry maw had driven him to the ground. He heard screams escape his lips, but the pain pushed him so far away. He looked in horror at the large lupine form, it still had his shoulder, and it was going to eat him. Another large form strode up, its glowing red eyes staring down at him with malice and evil.“Keep him. He will make a great weapon against the others in these lands.” The large monster growled. It showed its teeth and Rigel’s mind spun. The pain in his shoulder doubled and he slipped into darkness.
The evil started crawling in from that bite. He could feel it trying to take over. Like a beast lying in wait, he could feel it stalking his morals and ethics, trying to snuff out everything that had made him human. Everything that had made him who he was. Every time he stepped up against the encroaching evils, a little more of him fell away. He knew it was the others that were trying to convert him to their dark army. He also knew that he wouldn’t be able to fight it on his own. Soon, he would become like them, a hunter of men, and he would be forced to watch as his body, his mind, slowly eroded away. He had never been a man of faith, but he found his faith that day. The pantheon opened to him, and he found himself praying to the hunt-father for help.
Each day, the burning evil lessened. He tried to focus on the nature around him, the plants and trees that had sprung up outside his small cage. Each day, his mind healed a little, until he felt as if he could control the evil impulses.
Then they came for him. They had captured some of the other farmers in the area, and brought them to him as his first slaughter, his first act of evil. In their minds it would be the seal that damned him to their fate. He refused. In their shock, they struck out at him, and he slaughtered most of them. In his blood rage, he slaughtered everyone equally. Farmers, friends, enemies, all were the same to the angry wolf. He barely survived the attack. They locked him back in his cage, and left him there, alone in the darkness, alone with his thoughts. Alone with the guilt.
The slavers found him then, men of such dark and evil thoughts, that they saw him immediately as a fallen. They could have taken him to a priest, a healer, or a mender of the cursed. Instead, they took him to the city. Caged and paraded. The animal. The wolf in a cage of man. The freedom-less. He was sold for almost nothing, and has been living deep beneath the arena ever since. Dreaming of a day he can earn his freedom. Yearning for a day when he can make amends to the families he destroyed.
Rigel is a young man, barely cresting his early thirties. His body is lean, but tan and dirty. He has scars that cover much of his back, and violent animal bite-scars around his shoulder. His eyes are a crisp blue, and his hair is kept short. He keeps a beard, but it is kept trimmed and short as well. He wears almost nothing when not fighting, and when he is fighting, he wears a thick set of leathers. For trade with a few of the guards, he has been able to acquire the Flame Spear. It is a magical spear his father once used. It was taken by the slavers, but they sold it to the guards for a fair price, and it found its way to the armory. It is Rigel’s favored weapon, but it doesn’t work for him as it did his father. Rigel believes that this is because he hasn’t proven his worth.
Rigel has recently found that he can summon an otherworldy wolf. This wolf comes to him at night, and sometimes, the other prisoners can hear strange whispers and conversations coming from his cell. They sound dark in nature, and the wolf is always gone by morning.
Flame Spear – Aftershock Weapon
This weapon has been passed down through Rigel’s family from an ancestor who was an adventurer. In the past, when proven worthy, the spear has been able to light aflame and burn it’s enemies. This is not the true case however. The Flame Spear actually attunes to it’s user, and grants the user a magical property that will assist them.