Jackofall, Servant of Cyre
Jack O'Fall is a personable young man with a mission, sent by Prince Oargev to seek out survivors of the Mournlands disaster, and point them toward New Cyre. Because of a lack of financial resources in New Cyre, it was necessary for Servants of Cyre to support themselves, by any honorable means they can devise. Strangely enough, kindly, mild mannered Jack has found work as a "Bouncer". The drunken and rowdy brawlers on Stormreach's waterfront will know of Jack from his work in the Leaky Dinghy Tavern, keeping the peace, and maintaining order. As Hammond is fond of saying, "Breakage, either of customer bones, or of tavern furniture and glass wear, all result in a loss of profit to management... meself!"
He is known by his friends as "Jackofall", playing on "Jack O'Fall Trades", because of his striking abilities in both the realm of the Church, and that of the Rogue. He can battle undead by calling on Divine Powers as if he feared them not, or manipulate the ancient sigils and locks on crypts, to gain access to ghoulish places others feared to go. The nefarious Necromancer watches him warily, and Howling Haunts often seek their eternal rest eagerly, after a visit from his burning aura. Traps and secret doors are frequently revealed in his presence, although he still has much to learn about disabling!
Jack is clean shaven, with short brown hair, and regular features dominated by pale, golden "Dragon" eyes. He is average in size and appearance for a human, about 5' 9" and 160 pounds. His Sacred Battle Armor, and glowing Holy Weapons, show signs of hard use and patchwork repairs. An observant eye might notice the small icon of Olladra, featured inside a Circle Of The Nine emblem, that hangs from a golden bracelet on his left wrist. "From my Mother, for Luck and Plenty", he will tell you, with a goodhearted smile.
While he has never known extensive Plenty, he will admit to more than his share of Luck, and the Blessings of Olladra have carried him far from home with enough to see to his immediate needs as they occurred. For a man, who started out an orphan at five, picking pockets and locks by the age of nine, to rise to his current status as a Cleric and Priest of the Nine, was remarkable. Jack thought it remarkable, even if no one else did.
His background was tainted by the meaner streets of his hometown. That would be the Karrnathi city of Bastion, on the east-west Atur-Teryk Trade Road, between the Karrnwoods to the north, and the Ashen Spires to the south. In truth, his hometown was originally that of a village near Swoz in Cyre, on the border with Karrnath. His parents were Cyrian Refugees, who escaped to Karrlakton with little Jack, and nothing but what they could carry in packs. Offered a small farm per family by the "Benevolent" Dictator and King, the refugees blithely climbed aboard wagons for the trip to Bastion. There, the children were separated from parents, and new members of the King's Undead Legions were created from the parents. The children were put in retched cages, where they escaped to die young, were stolen by the criminals to die a bit older, or grew old enough to become Undead themselves.
So, there was no orphanage in Bastion. There was a secretive society of well organized criminals, that lived like leeches on the wealth that flowed over the Trade Road. That criminal underworld had many uses for the children of those who were forced to join the Undead Skeleton and Zombie Legions of King Kaius III. The orphans became roguish eyes and ears, hands and legs, performing where more valuable adults could not be risked. Orphan children were many, and cheap to train.
Jack was sure he had survived to grow up, only because he had unwisely chosen to dip into the fat purse of a traveling Cleric of the Nine. The Holy Man was faster on the grab, than little Jack was on the dodge. Before he could voice a cry for assistance from near-by adults of the Thief Society, the Cleric had a forearm over his mouth, and whisked the boy into the cart and onto the rough plank floor. A large foot weighing heavily in the small of his back kept him unable to yell, and barely able to breath, until they were well out of town.
The boy did not try to escape. The Holy Man did not beat him for trying to steal his purse. Instead, he fed Jack heavenly food, including real meat, and the juice of the apple, and let him sleep with the first full belly the boy could remember. When he awoke, they sat around a fire, ate more delicious foods. Jack listened closely, while the Cleric spoke of work, and earning, and getting paid for labor in coin, instead of in crusts of moldy bread, thin soup, and beatings. The Holy Man spoke of giving and receiving kindness, where others allowed the exchange; but of striking back at those who would cause you harm, if they did not listen to reason, or respond to a friendly hand with one of their own.
Jack liked what he heard over the next few months, and he admire the manner in which the Holy Man practiced the words by actions, everyday. He lived as he taught, and Jack was witness to the effectiveness of the words put into a lifestyle. The Cleric offered Peace, Comfort, and renewed Hope, sharing the stories of the Nine with all who wanted to hear them. He also offered a bloody mace and bashing shield, to any who would do them wrong, or take that which was not freely given. So the pair traveled, and Jack learned at his Master's knee. Over the next few years, he grew in mind and body, even as he grew in wisdom and spirit. Jack was happy with his new life, serving the simple needs of the man who rescued him from certain death. A Squire, although his friend laughed at the word, stating he was no Knight, only a country preacher, on the road for his Faith.
There came a time, when Jack was alone in camp, and a farmer's wife ran across the field, calling in a panic for help. Her husband had tried to catch a loose calf, and impaled his upper leg on a tine of the pitchfork. He was bleeding badly, and she feared he might be dead when they returned. The woman pointed out the thatched roof of the barnyard in the distance, and Jack took off at a run, leaving her far behind with his desperate burst of speed. On the way, he considered that her story might be a ruse to get him out of camp so it could be looted, but there was no time to question. He prayed to his mother's God, Olladra, to let him help the man, and refused to consider anything but that.
Leaping a split-rail fence, he landed near the barn, and listened. A low moan drew him to a haystack, and the reclining figure of a rustic dressed man, bleeding a wide pool of bright red on the yellow straw. A pitchfork tine stuck upward from beneath his leg, to protrude at an angle near his hip. The pitchfork handle lay out to one side, with the other three tines unseen in the straw, pinned beneath him. Jack rushed to his side, and quickly examined the wound, knowing immediately that this ghastly wound was far beyond his basic bandaging training. It had not just pierced the flesh, it had torn a long gash from the back of the knee almost to the hip. Bone was exposed, as were torn tendons. The farmer would walk on one leg, without a miracle of intervention. That was assuming he lived to walk at all.
Jack reached inside his shirt for a small leather bag on a thong around his neck, and opened it with shaking fingers. He withdrew a thin golden chain with an emblem of the Nine. There, in the center, was the image of Olladra. His mother had put the chain and emblem in the bag, and hung it around his neck, the day they took her and father away. She had warned him to keep it hidden, but smiled tearful assurance that it would bring him luck and plenty, if he would only believe it carried more than her love.
Holding the chain between his teeth, he slowly removed the tine from the farmers leg, only to see fresh spurts of blood shoot skyward! Grimly, he wrapped his cloak around the wound, and then pressed the emblem down as he prayed for strength and healing. He heard the woman behind him crying, and a familiar voice reassuring her. It was his Holy friend, who should be here doing this, not Jack!
"Here! You do this! He will die! Help him!" Jack was angry, and it was making him physically ill.
"He is healed," the calm voice replied, and the wife pushed a stunned Jack aside, to fall beside her wide-eyed husband.
"Healed?" Jack looked at the farmer, and it was so. The woman had unwrapped the cloak, and the leg did not show a scar, or even a bruise, much less a gaping, jagged wound!
"You called on Divine Power of Healing, and so it was given." The words were accompanied with a proud, beaming smile. "You are a Healer, Jack. You are one of the Chosen."
Thus it was, that Jack began wearing his mother's emblem and chain on his wrist, openly accepting Olladra and the Nine. That day began his training on a new path, one that was to prove quite strange, with it's thin line between the Holy and the Roguish.
Their journey took them eventually to New Cyre, where his friend took retirement to teach in the over crowded orphanage there. The position well suited him. Jack was at a loss at first, but Prince Oargev saw a prime candidate for his project, and recognized that the self-sufficient, independent, and footloose youth would serve unsupervised, if given clear instructions. With no roots in Khorvaire, Jack could be one of the first ambassadors sent to Xen'drik as a Servant of Cyre. Cheap labor was hard to find. Competent cheap labor was to be cherished!
Jack enjoyed the journey by slow trader, and all the stops in strange places. It never occurred to him that he had been sent on the cheap, the long way around. He probably would not have cared anyway. His old friend had gifted him with a trunk filled with tomes to read, while the sailing master was a genius with weapons, and bored enough to teach for free. He was a better man when he arrived in Stormreach, than he was when he had walked on board the year before. The voyage would give him many adventure tales to tell his grandchildren, or to tell the orphans in his old age, if that be Olladra's wish.