Ianterea (Old Ones)
A half-orc raider who has vowed never again to serve humankind.
Male Half-Orc Ninja 7
CG Medium Humanoid (human, orc)
Init 7 armor, 14); psychic healing
Fort 4 vs. hot or cold environments and to resist damage from suffocation), Ref 2/19-20/x2) and
Special Attacks ki attack speed, sneak attack 20 to move through threatened squares, 5 to resist nonlethal damage from exhaustion); Racial Modifiers +2 Intimidate, ki jump (running start), no trace +2
Languages Common, Orc
SQ compression, ki movement, ki pool, ki stealth, poison use, tough skinned
Combat Gear Deliquescent gloves, Potion of cure light wounds (2); Other Gear +3 Mithral Chain shirt, +2 Shortsword, Shortsword, Amulet of natural armor +1, Belt of the weasel, Cloak of elvenkind, Daredevil Softpaws (10 rounds/day), Grappling hook, Rope, Thieves’ tools, Waterskin, 2684 GP
Clairvoyant(Ps) Targus has uncontrolled moments of psychic clarity.
Compression (Belt of the weasel) (Ex) Move through areas 1/4 normal space without squeezing or 1/8 while squeeze.
Darkvision (60 feet) You can see in the dark (black and white vision only).
Deliquescent gloves +1d6 acid dam to touch/weapon att. Natural/unarmed att is immune to ooze acid & doesn’t split.
Endurance (Tough Skinned) +4 to a variety of fort saves, skill and ability checks. Sleep in L/M armor with no fatigue.
Getaway Artist (Ex) +2 bonus on driving checks.
Ki Attack Speed (Su) By spending 1 point from her ki pool, a ninja can make one additional attack at her highest attack bonus, but she can do so only when making a full attack.
Ki Jump (Running Start) (Su) Jumping is always counted as being at a running start.
Ki Movement A Ninja can spend 1 point to increase her speed by 20 feet for 1 round.
Ki Pool (Su) You have a ki pool equal to 1/2 your monk level + your Charisma modifier.
Ki Stealth A ninja can spend 1 point from her ki pool to give herself a +4 insight bonus on Stealth skill checks for 1 round.
Light Steps (Ex) When moving up to twice your normal movement, you may ignore difficult terrain and can move over any surface.
No Trace +2 (Ex) Survival DCs to track you are at +2, gain +2 to Stealth when you are stationary and not acting.
Poison Use You do not risk poisoning yourself accidentally while poisoning a weapon.
Psychic Healing (Sp) Targus can cast Cure Light Wounds on himself once per day.
Shadow Clone (Su) The ninja can create 1d4 shadowy duplicates of herself that conceal her true location. This ability functions as mirror image, using the ninja’s level as her caster level. Using this ability is a standard action that uses up 1 ki point.
Sneak Attack +4d6 +4d6 damage if you flank your target or your target is flat-footed.
Tough Skinned Gain Endurance instead of Ferocity.
Uncanny Dodge (Ex) Retain Dex bonus to AC when flat-footed.
Vanishing Trick (Su) As a swift action, the ninja can disappear for 1 round per level. This ability functions as invisibility. Using this ability uses up 1 ki point.
Misc Notes: Targus’ mom: Agryle Rutstuck
There are some who spend their whole lives unaware of the possibilities, of the lives they could have lived, the lives they deserved, if life was fair. They never know and if they did, maybe they wouldn’t be able to handle it.
Targus Cassidus knows.
A mass of trained, tight muscle, Targus’ battlescarred and brutish body belies the calculating and clever intellect that sparkles in his eyes. The half-Orc is born from blood of high status on both sides of his family, he could have been a high human lord or a great Orc chieftain, and instead, he is accepted as neither.
Left alone to fend for himself, denied his status, and constantly mistreated, Targus has grown wayward, rebellious, self-contained, and enraged at the society that has stolen everything from him. Targus is clever, strong, and capable of greatness, but is denied his status because of his blood, his temper, and the strange and sometimes terrifying prescience he sometimes seems to display. He knows. Somehow he’s always just seemed to know things. He knows about the brutal ways of the world.
Somewhere inside Targus is a mighty revolutionary, one that longs to dismantle the chaos and corruption that serves as foundation to the mighty societies and systems that exist throughout the world. He could be a leader of a new world, but that seed lies crushed and buried under a lifetime of damage from systems that are just too strong. In the last several years he has buried this seed of potential under the life, thoughts, and action of pointless acts of bestial aggression.
Targus’ father, Henrik Cassidus, projected himself every bit a respectable high lord of Anathal. Proper, clever, clean-cut and handsome, the public often spoke of Henrik as an exemplar of the upper class. And if there were rumors of underworld connections, a predilection for prostitutes and vile sexual deviancy, and a nasty gambling addiction that sapped the majority of the lord’s fortune, well, those were just rumors, and that were to be expected of political rivals. There was no solid proof of these misdeeds.
Until a baby half-Orc was left mewling in distress at the high lord’s mansion doorstep.
Henrik knew the child monster was his, and knew what its existence could do to his status and reputation. It didn’t take more than a second’s hesitation; Rumors didn’t matter. Proof did. The child had to go. He swept the child up, donned his cloak, and ventured deep into the wilderness beyond his estate. He hiked until a wolf howl startled him, uncomfortably close, hungry, and loud. With a jolt of adrenaline, he lowered the baby to the ground, tightened his cloak, and made his way back home. ‘Nature will take care of the rest,’ he muttered to himself.
And nature would. As the little grey baby squirmed and cried, two red eyes presently appeared from the darkness beyond. Low slung, glinting with predatory hunger. A massive dire wolf emerged from the shadows, with lips drawn back into a drooling leer. The baby, this helpless alien, was an easy snack. Its otherly, weak little cries were a Pavlovian dinner chime.
And suddenly, something happened.
Maybe it was because the baby was smiled upon by some god, or maybe the baby possessed a mutation, a gift from the mixing of royal bloods. Maybe it had to do with the fact that his grandmother was a powerful oracle of an Orcish clan. Whatever it was, it happened in that moment. The crying baby suddenly went stone quiet and opened his eyes, staring at apparently nothing, and his expression suddenly flooded with… awareness.
As the wolf drew within striking distance, the baby suddenly sat up, locked eyes with the beast in a fierce, unwavering glare, pulled back his lips to reveal little Orcish tusks, and growled.
It was a little growl. But it was enough. The baby suddenly seemed not so simple, not so otherly. Maybe another wolf’s baby? Could be trouble. Enough to find food somewhere else. The wolf quietly melted back into the shadows.
And so it was for the first few years of Targus’ life. The Orcling made it, guided now and then by flashes of awareness, to get out of the weather, to find a bush of healthy berries, to avoid or stare down predators. He grew quickly and his body toughened. At three, the orcling toddler was a feral creature, naked and smudged brown and black with leaves and dirt, living within the trees and bushes. He discovered there another strange aspect of his mind: when he quieted his thoughts and focused on his wounds, he could make them feel better. They would bleed less, resist infection, even in some cases close up.
When Targus was six, he had grown into a capable little scavenger of a child, but the wild was never a comfortable home, and Targus longed to find something better. He grew up close to the city, and one day, decided to try his luck on its streets.
The city was not accepting. The dirty orcling was chased and shooed regularly. He slinked from alley to alley, looking for food, but was only ignored in the best of cases. But Targus was not the only child on the streets. The little orc saw other kids. Kids who worked together to steal bread, kids who squabbled and fought, who ran plays on the adults to score greater bounties. For days, Targus kept to the shadows, watching. The kids didn’t operate alone. They were in gangs. They worked together.
But the kids fought each other, too. A lot of them were nasty. Bullies. Confrontations between kids in dark allies would leave tiny, bloodspattered corpses. It was a brutal life, and Targus had to be careful to make the right choices. He kept to himself, until he saw two human kids who didn’t make the hairs on the back of his neck bristle—there was something less violent about them. Something nicer. He watched as one, a thin one with sandy colored hair, backflipped onto the street, singing in a lovely, youthful tenor. Before long a crowd of adults had stopped and were listening to the little performer. There was laughter and clapping. They dropped a few coins into the boy’s hat. The coins were a paltry offering, of course, but from the shadows Targus saw what happened when the adults put away their coinpurses. As the sandy haired boy amped up his performance, another child, cloaked in black, moved like a shadow. He had been watching the audience, watching where they kept their purses. Like a breath of air he melted under and through the crowd. Any glint of light from his dagger, any ‘snict snict’ of a cut pursestring was muffled by the sight and sound of the performer. Soon after, the presentation ended with one final high note and a handstand. The adults went on with their business. The sandy haired kid picked up his meager offerings—and the cloaked human came out from the shadows, holding in his lean arms as many purses as he could carry. With white smiles shining through their dirty faces, they raced towards an alleyway—and found them face to face with a new kid. A kid that Targus didn’t like the look of. The kid was twice as old and twice as big. 12, maybe. He held a wickedly bent piece of metal.
“Give it all here,” the boy said. He was missing teeth. “Then maybe you can run off and I don’t kill you. Kill lots of little ‘uns like you.”
Targus moved before he thought about it. He stepped from the shadows and took his side next to the two younger kids. The orcling knew a thing or two about staring down predators, and when he locked his eyes on the bully, there was nothing in his stare but a feral dare. The bully had never seen this grey-skinned, dirty, tusked thing. He went white.
With only a moment’s pause, the sandy-haired performer, wide-eyed, looked from Targus to the bully and said, “How about now? Maybe we three kill a bigg’un this time?”
The bully ran.
Sandy-hair’s name was Mark Threepwood. The shadow went by Jaime. And as they split the coins three ways, they gave Targus his first name.
“I like it. It’s tough, like you,” Mark grinned. The Orc child liked it too.
For the next few years, Targus, Mark, and Jaime worked well together. The human children taught the orcling basic Common, and introduced him to the fundamental trappings of civilization. Using each other’s gifts, they were able to make greater and greater scores—enough to catch attention. Antoine Callows had his eyes and ears spread all about the city of Anathal, able to pull strings and manipulate the movements of the underworld…when he wasn’t preaching as a High Priest of one of the biggest churches in Anathal; a church worshiping the great human god, Mingog. The crime lord had been aware of the ripples caused by the young trio, and it did not take long for him to use his men to track them down, and with one move, have them cornered.
“Unguided acts of theft are parasitic,” Antoine lectured, towering above the three kids in front of a majestic, stained glass window. “They distract the people. They distract our Holy Mingog. They serve no purpose.” He leaned down, closer. He was so tall. “But you can learn to work for Him, not distract Him. There is so much you can do for us. Do, and you will eat food you never have before. Sleep in a real bed. Don’t, and Mingog will take his recompense right here, right now, in your blood.” The crime lord smiled too widely. Targus’ throat was dry.
Targus worked for Antoine for many years. He no longer saw his old friends—they had different duties, Antoine had said. Targus heard that they did not stay long in the priest’s employ. But Targus was different. He was chosen. He got in deep. The priest delivered sermons into Targus’ ear every night, shaping his developing thoughts. Targus came to believe devoutly in Mingog. He wore at all times about his neck a simple medallion that bore Mingog’s symbol. Though Targus’ blood was tainted with the brutish, primordial blood of the Orc, Targus had human blood as well, and as such, he could be allowed to live and serve Mingog as his lowest servant. But only in secret. “No human will ever accept you, only me,” Antoine would whisper. Thus, in the dead of night, when something would break, when a wagon would be attacked, and someone ferocious would be there, ripping its wheels off, chasing people away and disappearing with goods, that would be Targus serving Mingog’s will.
Targus trusted the crime lord, and listened to him. He had no one else, no other connections in the city, that he was aware of. He didn’t know his father was living only one block down from the church Targus lived under. He didn’t know—until he did.
The knowledge came like it always did, randomly and unbidden. Targus stopped in the middle of his work, he dropped a heavy sack, and stared blankly at the wall, until finally dropping to his knees. Targus knew suddenly, absolutely, who his father was, and what his father had done to him. He felt his mighty fists clench with rage.
He told his patron all about it. “Mingog has sent you a vision,” Antoine said solemnly. “It is time for your final test, a test of your love and devotion. “ He slowly paced in front of the alter, thinking. “It is known that Henrik Cassidus owns a scimitar that is worth a great deal of wealth—“ and then in a mutter—“if the gambling cur has managed to hold on to it.” He turned and laid his yellow eyes on the Orc. “That should be—our sword. It is given to every first-born of the Cassidus clan. Targus Cassidus, go, take your retribution, become Mingog’s hand and punish your father for his misdeeds. Take your birthright—and kill him with it.”
With a fierce glint in his eyes, Targus bowed his head. “Yes, my lord.”
There are few sights like that of a rampaging Orc. Henrik’s front door exploded without so much as a shudder, sending pieces of splinters and wood flying about the room. In the suddenly empty doorframe, Targus stood, tall, thickly muscled, a striking and terrifying figure cut against the darkness of the night behind. Sounds of combat were abruptly audible. Henrik’s guards were under attack by Antoine’s men.
“Stay back,” Henrik yelled, falling backwards in his chair. Two guards rushed from the diningroom and lurched at Targus with a cry. The orcish warrior stepped calmly out of the way of a sword strike, stepped past the range of the other and sunk his fist into the man’s stomach. There was a glint of steel and the orc plunged a dagger into the thigh of the first guard, then knocked him with a quick trip to the ground. Then, still moving fluidly, Targus blocked a blow, locked the second guard into an arm lock, and smashed his head into a large display case above an ornate fireplace. The guard dropped amongst raining glass. The room was suddenly quiet, and Targus found himself looking at the scimitar. His scimitar.
“J-Just take what you want and get out,” his father said with a snarl. Targus could hear him breathing measuredly.
“Take what I want, father?” Targus boomed. His deep orcish voice filled the room. He whirled around, glinting scimitar in hand. “Like you did, sixteen years ago? You took what you want, from whoever you want, and left what you didn’t want?” Henrik suddenly pulled from his jacket a long dagger, but Targus was astride him suddenly. He knocked away the dagger with a contemptuous swat and placed one strong foot on the man’s chest. “Left me to die,” Targus cried, and lifted his scimitar.
And he breathed. He heard Henrik breathing.
And he dropped to his knees. “Father,” he whispered, face contorted with wild rage and pain, at the ground. The scimitar clattered to the floor. Targus was only half aware as he heard guards come in from the outside and file around him, pointing swords and spears at him.
The trial was open and shut. Targus was arrested for burglary and assault, and sentenced to six years of imprisonment. Antoine the high priest was nowhere to be seen in relation to the event. Targus felt betrayed, but also understood. He had failed his master, he had failed Mingog.
On the night of his incarceration, Targus was told he had a visitor. He was escorted into a large room and in front of a stone table, each arm chained to the floor. The door in front of him opened, and in walked his father.
“Father—“ Targus started, but Henrik interrupted, speaking to a guard:
“I have nothing to say to it. Quiet it.”
Targus felt a blade on his back, tingling right against his spine. He arched his back to lean away from it.
“Burglars and common thugs get simple sentences. They get to live it down. So naturally I exerted some influence to make sure that you were a different case.” His father leaned over the table and gazed at the Orc intensely. “You have now been charged as a pirate who has broken the accords. Your term has been doubled.” With that, he turned to go, then stopped. “Oh, and of course—“ he turned around again, holding a long, metal prod, with a white-hot, circular pirate brand at the end.
“NO—” Targus had time to shout, but the spear cut into his spine, forcing the Orc to bare his chest to his father. His father thrust it forward and pressed it into Targus’ skin. Targus saw only white. He heard his skin sizzling and bubbling. Pain rocketed through him, screaming through him, he arched his back, threw back his head, and the Orcish roar that he let loose was heard throughout the prison.
In the quiet that followed, his father bent down to Targus’ limp head and whispered, “You’ll see that mark forever, so you won’t ever forget what you’ve done.”
Time moved quickly in the prison system. Targus continued to grow, and faced the threats and challenges of prison life with an icy strength. Ironically, the punitive environment was not half as savage as the forest of his infancy or the streets of his childhood. Targus had to at times assert his authority, but with a red-scarred pirate brand on his mighty, orc frame, it wasn’t hard. Still, in the quiet, limited prison world, Targus had time to reflect on how he had gotten there. Over time, the fanatic shame he felt gave way to betrayal and anger. He had been a tool. Thrust on the lowest cast, thrust into the shadows, treated like nothing, as he served this unjust god. Within that cell the vowed to never serve humans—or their god—again.
Exactly one year after his arrest, Targus was called in to a hearing. It went as quickly as the hearing of his incarceration. Words were bandied about such as good behavior and overpopulation, there was a mention of something his father had done. After a verbal admonishment, Targus was escorted to the entrance to the prison then let go, free. Blinking in the sudden sunlight, Targus stood outside for a moment before realizing that he was holding something. It was a bundle—his possessions. He unwrapped it to find, first, his temple robes. Without expression he let them tumble to the dusty ground at his feet. Next, his holy symbol of Mingog. He clutched his fist around it as if to crush it, and pulled his lip back into a snarl. But he pocketed the symbol anyway. And then, his eyes widened. He slowly pulled out his father’s scimitar. It glimmered blinding in the sun. There was a small note attached to it. Written in his father’s clipped handwriting:
I believe this rightfully belongs to you. I haven’t forgotten what you’ve done, either.
Once free, Targus had to get away from his father and his patron. He stowed away with a trade ship For some time, and found himself finally in the streets of the great human-run city of Mingog. Targus got by, keeping to himself and keeping to the shadows. He was horrified with what he saw. The rich with full power. Golems patrolling the streets. The marginalized forced to the fringes, given nothing. Targus embraced the darkness and was able to blend into the crowds, trying to keep contact to a minimum.
Until he saw a familiar face.
Drawn by cheery music in a local Tavern, Targus drew up his cloak and pressed in to the warm room and found himself hit almost tangibly with laughter and music. The welcoming, cosy environment was almost entirely alien to him. He made his way through the crowd and chose a table. Only then did he notice who was playing. He was older, of course, he had grown devilishly handsome, but still had the boyish, sandy hair. With fingers dancing across his lute and his lovely voice filling the room, Mark beamed at his audience.
And Targus knew immediately what was going on. The more things change…
He sat back, and let the music wash over him. He closed his eyes and focused, slowly drawing his awareness back from Mark’s captivating performance, back into his body, his awareness, he waited…and when he felt that ever so slight, spiderweb thin tug on his coinpurse, he didn’t even open his eyes as his hand snapped out and grabbed the thief’s wrist, locking it in a fierce, orc-vise grip. “Not this time,” he growled under his breath, and then turned, letting the shadow thief see his face. Targus spoke again, letting a deep smile take over, “Not this time, my old friend.” He enjoyed watching Jaime’s expression move from terror to surprise to a joyous grin.
“Still at the old game,” Targus laughed, kicking back a sloshing pint of grog. It was deep into the night now, and none but a few patrons remained. Targus, Mark, and Jaime sat around a table, relaxed.
“Well, yes,” Mark grinned, making a pile of coins and keeping a quiet count with two digits from his left hand. “We gotta pay the bills and all, but it’s not easy here. Not safe to do this. Definitely not in the streets. But anyway, that’s not all we’re doing.”
“Oh?” Targus raised a dark eyebrow.
“See we’ve been at these meetings this last year,” Jaime said, twirling a dagger on his finger. “You ever hear, Targus,” his voice suddenly dropped to a silky whisper, “bout people talking about the uprising?”
Targus was quiet as he took another long drink from his pitcher. Then, with a slow-creeping grin, simply said, “Tell me more.”
Night time. The streets of Mingog were quiet, save the soft whirring sounds of golems
making their paces. None noticed the shadowy figure as it leapt from one rooftop to
the next, landing firmly and softly, crouched, cloaked. Targus’ blue eyes glittered from
behind his hood as he surveyed the ground below. And then, with a sudden bellow:
Like an explosion, a chorus of cries erupted from buildings and alleys. People poured
out like water, holding pitchforks, torches. They swarmed over and around the
sentinels like a crashing wave. As they fell, the shadowclad half-Orc was in the air,
surveying the ground ahead.
The meetings were about revolution. Passionate speakers railed on the injustices of
system and the status quo. They rallied for change. They spoke with conviction and
passion, and insisted: with enough interest, with enough commitment and passion,
change was possible.
Targus was transfixed from the first meeting. He had been bullied and marginalized by
authorities his entire life. He could imagine the potentials of a changed world. Targus
listened. And then, in later meetings, he spoke. But he was afraid that the crowds,
many of them humans, would not listen to a ‘brutish’ Orc. He clad himself in a black
cloak, and lectured with his face hidden in blackness. Thus Targus became a faceless
leader of the crowds, the cloaked voice of the minority. In meeting after meeting,
Targus spoke, and lead, and soon he was known in corners throughout all of Mingog as
he Black Cloak.
And now the Black Cloak was leading a revolution. “NOW!” Again he bellowed, and
again another wave of freedom fighters exploded from hiding places, windows, doors.
“TO THE PALACE!” They roared, they swarmed, pouring down the streets, moving,
thriving, and then,
A wall of golems stood in the road. A blockade. It had taken time, but now they were
organized. The mob stopped, hesitating. The line of golems stepped forward in perfect
unison. From the rooftop, the Black Cloak was silent. Down below, Jaime, hidden in an
alley, made eye contact with Targus. He gave a single shake of his head. Don’t do it.
But they were so close, and so strong.
Targus made the call.
The crowd crashed against the line. But this time, it was like the ocean against a cliff
face. The line stood.
The next minutes were horrific blurs, terrible images. A golem holding up a man by his
neck, crushing his throat effortlessly. An explosion of fire. Screaming bodies running
in different directions. And the golems. Quiet, immovable, in perfect concert with each
other. Blood on the walls.
When the sun rose over Mingog, order had been restored. Many were dead. Some,
including Jaime and Mark, were exiled. Targus himself was never caught, but the Black
Cloak was defeated, and everyone knew it. Targus couldn’t stay there.
He took what he could, and melted out of the city, content to roam the lands on his own.
He had his vision a few days into his aimless journey. This time, Targus was made
aware of his mother. An Orc tribe. Wild and feral, nomadic. But Targus knew where
they were. So he left the human world, giving up on them, setting out to see how he
would fare in the world of the Orcs.
They took him in, but reluctantly. Suddenly, Targus was the nonbrute of his world, the
civilized one. Not as big. Not as strong. It was only with the support of his mother, and
the obvious demonstration of Targus’ passion and cleverness, that he was accepted at
all. But the orcs could smell the ferocity in his blood and the determination in his eyes.
Targus threw himself into the world of the beast with a wild abandon. He covered up
his human heritage and fully embraced the beast. Fueled by his rage at the human
systems and by a desire to prove himself to his full-Orc brothers, Targus became wild.
When the orcs attacked a human settlement, Targus was there, fighting alongside. He
He opened his eyes and he was standing in the middle of a town. It was on fire.
Screams of women and children. Orcs chasing them down. He was standing over two
humans. Guards. Their blood dripped from his blades.
It was too much.
When the Orcish raiding party came back to their camp, flushed and happy from the
brutal raid, Targus wasn’t with him.
Broken, lost. Targus was lost. Wherever he was, he was out there alone.