Alexandre, Hero of Aerthen (Al-ex-an-dur)
SummaryBorn in the coastal fishing town of Balenna on the southwestern shores of the Barrier Sea, Alexandre's family were proud seawomen, and immigrants from Sa-kemet. Having lived on a merchant fleet that traversed the Shimmering Ocean, they chose to settle in Aerthen when Alexandre's mother had a surprise pregnancy. Though they came to Aerthen quite poor, his parents were diligent and hardworking. Balenna's ideal position on the Barrier Sea meant frequent and plentiful fishing, without any of the terrifying ocean weather other settlements usually faced. As he grew up, Alexandre found himself put to work regularly, doubly so as his sisters and brothers sprung up after him. Being the eldest entailed all kinds of responsibilities and burdens, some he never wished for, but all he endured for his family's sake. For Alexandre, who grew upon his mother's fantastical tales, staying in Balenna was the farthest thing from his mind. Torn between familial loyalty and his own wishes, Alexandre could only day dream of what lay out in the world. He would one day catch wind of adventurers passing through Balenna; folk that lived and thrived in Veltrona's wild unknown. Unable to contain himself, Alexandre pestered them for all sorts of stories or tales of what they'd encountered. Their fanciful recollections only served to enamor him. When his siblings came of age and could help the family business properly, Alexandre broached adventuring to his parents. Despite the tense emotions and terrible words spoken, they ultimately agreed to help him as best they could. So it came to be, Alexandre shipped out as a porter to a local adventurer group by the name of the Leafy Arrows. A party of mostly semi-retired adventurers, they handled odd but safe tasks in Balenna's surrounding lands. Safety, however, is a luxury that can be hard to come by. Over the next few years, Alexandre got a taste of what Veltrona would ever offer. Weather, sickness and disease, famine, and the Relentless Herds and Packs all visited upon him. Those hard times became the whetstone by which Alexandre truly learned the wilds, and how to survive them. By the end of his tenure with the Leafy Arrows, those who remained decided to fully retire. For his part, much of Alexandre's earnings went back home, while he himself left to adventure westward. A flame had ignited within him that, despite all the hardship, spurred him onward. To confront the unknown, to challenge his own limits, and reach ever higher. A life far more exciting and, to him, fulfilling than any that would be in Balenna. There is much to see upon Veltrona, and Alexandre spared no time in signing up with new groups to work with. Delving into ancient ruins of bygone times, hunting exotic beasts, searching for treasures, or dealing with villainous evils, he faced them all. It would be the different people he met along the way, though, that truly captivated his attention. The small families, the lonesome mothers or fathers, the lost siblings, and more that he felt compelled to aide. A perilous, everchanging task that he took on again and again; triumphing often, but ever reminded of life's tragic conclusions. Some years later, when he reached the western end of Aerthen, he encountered a muurun from Immensio by the name of Kosark. Hearing of his plight to send off the burial effigies of his siblings, Alexandre offered to take him up on a pro-bono journey to the east. A homecoming for himself just as much as a means of helping Kosark to finally find some measure of peace. The two ended up going together to the corner of southeastern Aerthen, gazing upon the Shinespark Ocean. There, Kosark left his siblings to venture across the glimmering waters. It took some convincing, but he and Kosark signed up together as an adventurer party proper. Alexandre, who needed reliable allies to work with, and Kosark, who needed a new purpose in his life, got along quite well. For want of a name, and not very good with doing so, Alexandre called their party the Fearless Ananpae. After a brief homecoming in Balenna for Alexandre, they headed northward to the city of Nudael. Knowing their line up needed rounding out for the hardships they'd face, Alexandre scoured the local adventurers and hires. One caught his eye, Favré Ferborne, a warrior-priest of Volapaws looking to go abroad. Together, the Fearless Ananpae struck out, heading farther north by northwest, into deeper Federation territory. There would be no end of interesting problems or mysteries, even in 'well-developed' lands, for them. One such colorful problem, however, would find its way to him. Coming across a destroyed caravan, the people there spoke of a baarham who ransacked them. After she finished with them, she went westward, toward the research outpost the caravan worked for. Alexandre and the Fearless Ananpae chased after immediately. The tiny, fortress-like outpost had been built ontop of an excavation site for some ancient ruins. Already reduced half to rubble by the time they arrived, the baarham was nowhere to be found. The second-in-command of the research expedition explained what happened: a baarham anktorlas, Yrlanna zahd Starwatcher, arrived suddenly, demanding access to their records. When the expedition leader refused and told her to leave, she assaulted them. In the chaotic fighting afterward, she destroyed much of the base and then seemingly vanished. Alexandre double-checked the ruins just incase, but there really wasn't a trace of her left. He helped the expedition evacuate, double checking for clues just in case. One minute detail did bother him when he noticed it. In both incidents, nothing of value had been taken, and only the expedition leader had died. The research guild, the Cryptlurkers, thanked Alexandre profusely for his help. Without any leads to follow up, however, there wasn't anything to do about the baarham. It would be some months later when Alexandre received word from the Cryptlurkers. Another one of their dig sites had been attacked, and they hoped to hire his professional help. Wanting justice and eying their sizable pay rate, he gladly obliged, and set off in pursuit. Chasing after Yrlanna proved a troublesome affair in itself, often with few to no leads for weeks or months. When there were, she had attacked all sorts of expedition sites owned or affilated to the Cryptlurkers. When pinned to a map, though, her pattern didn't make any sense. Yrlanna struck at seemingly random locations, passing over others that were plainly nearby. Some Cryptlurker expeditions were even completely ignored, so it wasn't as if it was a vendetta against them in particular. Even more disconcerting to him was how nothing at all was stolen. On top of that, there were barely any fatalities in her 'attacks'. For an anktorlas who obviously wielded incredible power, being so particular just didn't make sense to him. Something was up, and Alexandre couldn't figure it out. Recognizing he needed far more help to keep up, Alexandre reached out at different cities along the way. His efforts in turn drew the attention of Minben Zai, and her escort, Suhla Black-Rope. Fascinated by the quandary at hand, Zai (and Suhla by extension) elected to join the Fearless Ananpae for the thrill of it. Their respective magical and hunting talents gave Alexandre just what he needed to hunt down Yrlanna. They eventually tracked her to another set of ruins, overseen by an emptied out encampment. In confronting her, however, Alexandre and the rest were handedly flattened to the ground. By the time he woke up again, Yrlanna was long gone. For some years, his futile struggle continued. Wherever Yrlanna went, Alexandre soon followed, trying in a vain to stop her bizarre attacks. They collided, the Fearless Ananpae were defeated, and the chase began again. The Cryptlurkers financed them well throughout it all, helping to keep them hot after Yrlanna. Things finally came to a head when it was them who would be confronted by Yrlanna herself. Having grown tired of their endless interference, she sought to be rid of them once and for all. To her great surprise, however, Alexandre held his own against her. The burning desire to overcome such a worthy adversary had become his driving force over the years. His determination impressed Yrlanna enough she deigned to answer some of his 'inane' questions. She revealed her purpose to be that of an artifact hunt for something from the old baarham Dominion. It was experimental machkin technology created by the order of Sorcerer King Ghown himself, and named the Star Core. Her family, zahd Starwatchers, were responsible for the project, but when the Dominion collapsed, it was presumed lost. The problem was not only had it possibly resurfaced somewhere in Aerthen, an evil cabal was in pursuit of it. By legacy and right, it fell to her to see the Star Core recovered, and the cabal punished for their transgressions. The Cryptlurkers guild was simply a finger of the cabal itself, its leadership their puppets overseeing the ignorant organization. Those she bothered to kill were cabal agents in disguise, and Alexandre had become too problematic in serving them. The stunning reveal blindsided him in a humbling experience. An anktorlas of her stature and venerable age had little reason to lie about such an affair; certainly nothing his vanishing doubt could justify. In a very awkward moment, he sheepishly offered to help her in her mission, and hopefully save the innocent Cryptlurkers guild members. The audacity of it all made Yrlanna laugh like crazy. In the end they would work together, but she refused to join his group because of its 'stupid name'. Hence, the unofficial sixth member of the Fearless Ananpae would be Yrlanna Starwatcher. Between Yrlanna's frightening abilities and Alexandre's resourcefulness, they swept through the Cryptlurkers like wildfire. Not only did they expunge the cabal's agents, they found vital clues to the cabal's headquarters in western Aerthen. The Fearless Ananpae set off quickly, racing across Aerthen before the cabal could possibly escape. Their target laid somewhere in the region of Fornaldom, but as they drew nearer, something horrifying had happened. Fornaldom rebelled against the Federation, throwing the region into a civil war. By the time the Fearless Ananpae neared the Federation border, the rebels and Federation armies had been devoured by the Forsaken Undead. Nothing in Fornaldom had been spared, and the ravenous swarm swept eastward. The Fearless Ananpae gathered their wits in the city of Applegrove, the last stop before the warzone around the trade-city of Jalken. Alexandre discovered that Corentine Durand, Crown Princess of the Federation and her Imperial Army were also in the city of Applegrove, about to head to the warfront. He approached the princess, asking to help, and she in turn recruited not only him, but every able-bodied adventure that'd answer her call. They all headed westward, reinforcing the trade-city of Jalken as it was besieged by the nekrokin Heartkill Fleshtearer. The battle, brutal as it was, ultimately ended with the undead being vanquished. Their victory, however, proved short-lived. Heartkill wasn't the mistress behind the swarm's emergence, only some lieutenant. Not even two weeks later, a Grave Queen marched toward Jalken: Vorhein, Of the Endless Hunger. If Jalken fell, the Federation's entire western flank would be exposed to a ravenous tide that would sweep countless cities away. Knowing the success of their first try, Princess Corentine had Alexandre and his adventurers assassinate the Grave Queen herself. A daunting prospect, even moreso when the horizon-spanning tide finally bore down upon Jalken. The fighting proved savage in ways Alexandre never experienced before. Still, with allies at his sides and sheer determination, they cut through Vorhein's tides. Slaying undead, then her own lieutenants, they finally drew the Grave Queen to them proper. Their clash tore up the veltron, innumerable forsaken perishing alongside adventurers. By the end of it all, Alexandre himself overpowered and killed Vorhein, breaking the ravenous tide for good. It took weeks to clean up Jalken, but by the end of it, Alexandre and the Fearless Ananpae in particular found themselves in Fleursowurm. Their accomplishments in the war earned Imperial regard, and even personal acknowledgement from Emperor Josara Durand himself. Of the six, Alexandre received the most acclaim for personally slaying Vorhein. An event that, once his Imperial recognition became wider known, triggered a massive write-in. For all his and the Fearless Ananpae's work over the years, countless people wrote (or even visited Fleursowurm) upon his behalf. Nearly two decades of service to the people of Aerthen, taking upon tasks many others wouldn't, and his selfless acts had made him an unspoken legend. The Emperor, astonished at his innumerable deeds, made a rare move of bestowing a title. He dubbed Alexandre the Hero of Aerthen, and bestowing noble status for his meritocratic service. Atop a wave of recognition, acclaim, and reward, Alexandre soon found himself being hired by Princess Corentine. A political move as much as a friendly one, she scooped him up into her faction immediately before other nobles might. In shielding him from politics he didn't wish to engage, he'd do jobs on her behalf while still retaining his adventurer lifestyle. So long as the agreement was maintained, Alexandre would be glad to lend her his sword. With Durand Imperial backing, he found himself thrown into ever more dangerous situations and complicated matters. Even divorced of court politics, his renown and influence spread across the Federation and Aerthen at large. Coming to terms with his titanic responsibilities, and the impact he can inadvertently wield, has become one of his greatest burdens. A conflicting one, especially with his desire to push himself further still. One matter remained unresolved, however. The cabal was never properly accounted for, and the Star Core remained missing. Imperial backing or not, it'd be an incredibly difficult thing to find, if it still existed. Furthermore, there was even scarce evidence the cabal had a hand instigating the Traitors' War in some capacity. A suspicion that has endlessly infuriated Alexandre, for however little he's been able to track them down. Still, his promise to help Yrlanna endeared him greatly to her, and the two got on together much better than either expected. Or, rather, much better than Alexandre thought; at least until Yrlanna demanded he marry her. Something that didn't surprise any of the people around him in the slightest.
Though born poor, through hardwork and bountiful opportunities, Alexandre grew well on a healthy diet and capable lifestyle. Through life's trials and hardships, he carved himself upon such challenges, excelling even further. He acquired a hardy physique, one of exemplary health, and a prime example of a human man in peak performance. Muscular, and overall with sturdy frame, he leans closer to the 'athletic' spectrum than 'burly', as he is a combination of strength and dexterity alike. A solid torso leads into the slightest of large hips in combination force of his powerful, central trunk. Alexandre's shoulders are a touch broad compared to his proportions, but it's not noticeable unless one really takes a gander. Smooth but distinct callouses dot his hands, the result of hard training and work in his lifestyle. Magical medicine has helped lessen their severity, but they're noticeable if one looks or shakes hands. He takes care of his head hair in particular, but the rest of his body is essentially stripped clean. Whether from a combination of genetics or the incredible amount of damage he's taken over his life, there just isn't anything. A few minute scars dot him, principally upon his thighs, upper arms, and backside. His overall complexion is rich and full, showing no real signs of age or undue care.
Alexandre has a bit rounded of a face with a tapering toward the chin, cutting between 'tear drop' and 'rounded'. His prominent facial features portray an animated, expressive look, carried by his round eyes, smooth and somewhat broad nose, and full lips. Strong symmetrical features and a hint of a youthful, 'handsome boy' visage adorns his mature features. It could be said he's in that pleasant spot of having some youthful vigor that compliments his adult handsomeness. Even at a resting state, he appears pleasant and amiable, lacking any real hard aura or unwelcoming presence. How he styles his hair comes to greatly influence his appearance as a result. Alexandre's working hair style–that of tightly wound, protectively woven rows into braids–helps confer a serious or business-like appearance, and one he is most well-known for. When his hair is unbraided and styled into a more flowing, black curtain of a mane, his playful handsomeness shines on full blast. In some respects, especially with the right clothes, he can wear the appearance of nobility better than most natural-born nobles could.
Given his height, exemplary physique, and great looks, Alexandre can stand out in a crowd, even when he's dressing to hide his status. If by some measure he's not recognized as the Hero of Aerthen, he'll draw eyeballs all the same. His popularity has made his hair style much more common, especially among working folk who like the protectiveness. As a result, it's triggered a more resurgent popularity, and it's not uniquely specific to Sa-kemet immigrants as it used to be.
Swordsmaster – He is at home with the sword, having trained his whole life on a variety of them both great and small. His talent is as much academic as it is practical, having been successful against both the living and undead in war. Heroism – It is in those moments of true adversity and hardship, where others would crumble or retreat to safety, that a hero advances. Not for glory, or acclaim, or stories; but to shoulder the burdens and dangers themself, so that no other has to. True selflessness, in the name of all that is good, because they cannot live any other way. Many claim and aspire to this lofty ideal, but few truly embody it. Powerful – Constantly pushing himself forward and striving to become stronger, and all his accomplishments on top of that, have made Alexandre physically powerful even by human standards.
Apparel & Accessories
Alexandre's under layer consists of rachtoh silk underwear, floofy long-sleeved shirt, and baggy pants. Made for comfort and some durability, the white silk protects his skin from the heavier clothing and armor he wears on top. A simple, brown leather vest covers his torso, acting as the foundation for a two-piece mana-steel breastplate. It's fastened down with leather side buckles that can allow for quick-removal if needed. Similarly, brown leather padding adorns his upper arms, thighs, and lower legs, being the attachment points for mana-steel armor. The armor itself is somewhat thin, as it's meant to be worn underneath outer wear clothing as a concealed form of protection. A second layer of a red shirt and dark navy pants is worn on top, each more heavily padded and meant to act as a defensive barrier. This is what usually is seen through openings in the outerwear layer, if anything at all. The area between his shoulder and elbow has large, poofy definition, a stylistic feature in itself. The sleeves end in large, folded back cuffs about half the length of his forearm. Mana-steel vambraces protect his forearms, and white, fingerless gloves protect the bulk of his hands and knuckles. His outerlayer consists on several parts working in tandem. A large surcoat protects his torso, fashioned out of a dominantly red fabric, outlined in gold threading, and accented by navy-blue pieces where needed. It is open down his chest's front, where instead of a stylish floofy necktie, Alexandre has a tapestry of interwoven beads. Their golds, yellows, browns, and other veltrony colors are reminscient of his mother's land, and was something she herself made for him. The surcoat extends up into a half-collar, protective of his neck. Shoulder pads branch off from the collar, and both are made from a fundamental black fabric that is stylized with gold. Here too Alexandre uniquely adds layers of beads to the attire, rather than embroidery styles. This aesthetic shows his Aerthen Imperial attire, as well as maintains his ethnic heritage he proudly remembers. A white sash belt wraps around his lower waistline, keeping the surcoat snug to his frame and accenting its powerful colors. Mounting points in the sash let it functionally carry pouches or other things as he needs. A short, plainly dark red half-cape extends down his backside, secured at fixed points off his shoulder pads. It's adorned in a design of Princess Corentine's political faction. The surcoat itself extends down in an assymmetrical skirt, with more covering his rear side than his front. It accents his legs and the lower end of his shirts which hang past his waistline in a sort of 'mini-skirt' idea. His boots are functionally simplistic, favoring round, protective leather with the inflexible portions covered by mana-steel. While not a proper platemail boot, it is meant to endure serious punishment (mostly from him) when he needs it. The soles are a contrasting black material, as anyone who knows anything about shoes knows soles need replacing a lot. The boot itself extends up to just below his knee, fanning open slightly at the collar.
DauntlessAlexandre's custom-made sword is a terrifying weapon in its size and make. It's two-edged mana-steel blade is reinforced along its fuller by a lightly blue, solid, and smooth piece of crysium. The crossguard is a thick, crescent-shape, meant to help catch blades that try running through. The handle itself is a solid, textured thing with slight indents meant to make it easier to hold firmly. Its pommel is a triangular, sharp edged wedge of metal designed to puncture through a target if jabbed. Dauntless itself was made for Alexandre when he joined Princess Corentine's political faction. A dragon-made weapon, which isn't to be confused with dragon-forged. The former means it is built to endure a dragon's legendary strength, the latter means to be literally forged by a dragon personally. For him, and his nigh-superhuman strength, such a weapon was vitally needed. He otherwise ended up wearing or outright breaking most other weapons when trying to utilize them.
Nameless DaggerA flawlessly made dagger belied by its humble simplicity, it has a leather-wrapped handle, and a straight cross-guard. Its blade is seemingly made of iron, but with a tiny glimmer of silver, and seems to be an alloy of some kind that defies common convention. Tactful engravings in large, looping circles and nonsensical lines covered the blade from base-to-tip. Handedly useful in its myriad applications, Alexandre came across the dagger as a gift from a small, urni-like person named Badu. Trying to help Badu move their tiny, heavily overloaded cart out of a ditch, he received the dagger at Badu's insistence. Given that the dagger is, apparently, indestructible and can survive Alexandre's incredible strength, he's been glad to keep it around.
Having never received a formalized education in his early life, Alexandre's appetite for learning fed upon the worldly smarts and wisened knowledge others passed to him. Combined with a hearty willingness to theorize and put his ideas to work, he had a capable readiness to tackle all sorts of problems. Something that gave him a lot more trouble early on than later, as he had to spend a great deal grinding through problems to find viable solutions. When he gained enough funding, he bought books and private tutoring lessons on various subject matters. Most concerned 'esoteric' subjects, things like cultural history or material nuance that he wouldn't readily run into first hand. In doing so, he learned more about the various ways of people who lived on Aerthen; both as a pragmatic means, and genuine interest. Of course, Alexandre spared plenty of attention to the likes of armaments, military tactics, and other martial matters an adventurer would need. It would be later in his life, when he received noble status and employment by the Crown Princess herself, he had to study much more. While his generalized knowledge worked quite well, the intricacies of court politics was a world unto itself. He had to know how to navigate the big families, balance the controlling factions of the Federation, and translate powerful influence into useful ways for common people. A duty he has come to take seriously even if the lifestyle it entails is something he (quietly) despises.
He's a bit skittish with the undead and being thrust into a war against Vorhein more than once has left him with a few recurring nightmares.
Coming from humble origins, Alexandre is a down-to-earth sort of man, paying his due respects to his fellow people, and being mindful of the ways of the land. He is, however, unrelenting about his convictions, and has come into conflict with despots and other malevolent nobles before. While this has made him popular amongst peasants and the working class, nobility as a whole tends to feel quite sore around him. His excellence on the battlefield is his greatest strength, as he is a capable fighter and commander. Thus, while he tends to be strict, he knows what needs to be done, and he comes down hard when it has to get done. Similarly, he knows when to relax and cut loose, making the soldier's (and later, hero's) life quite fine for him.
Morality & Philosophy
The fundamentals of Alexandre's being are defined by his desire to help his fellow people, and to overcome hardship. To, in some way, improve their lives and his own; indeed, for him, he cannot live well knowing others yet suffer. This deep, intrinsic kindness has been with him since birth, and something that has not always helped him. The harsh and unforgiving reality of people can breed a cruel and vicious disregard, even when no malice is intended. His youth taught him this more than anything else, and it is something he has consciously chosen to snub. For him, it is a matter of life to aide when he can. Alexandre understands, though, that help can come in a myriad number of ways, and not all of them are something he personally can do. In embracing this, he developed a love for pushing himself, and excelling at his work. To push himself further and harder, become more, and do more as a result. The mysteries of the world are endless in their possibilities, and he cannot help but to chase after them. These two forces became the duality of his existence, often at odds with each other as much as complimentary. The pursuit of excellence is, itself, one rife with dangers. Living up to his own moral standards is a challenging prospect, and he is often cruelly unfair to himself to do so. Self-sacrificing in a way that can concern others, for Alexandre is too willing to pay that price if it is him who would pay it. All the more so if he would pay it so that others do not have to. For those unaware, it appears to be truly heroic behavior, but those familiar to him are ever concerned about his well being.
Honorary & Occupational Titles
Entitled by the Emperor of the Federation personally, Alexandre won acclaim both in the Traitors' War and for a lifetime of virtuous service to the people of Aerthen. As an adventurer, he went far and wide, helping many as much for coin as out of the kindness of his heart. Taking only what he needed, and going beyond duty's call as best he could, all served as the makings of a genuine hero.
Year of Birth
2395 TD 40 Years old
Round, protruding eyes; ocean blue iris, white sclera, round pupil
Black, thick hair styled into defined rows; well-kept braids reach down to his upper back, usually bundled loosely in a pony tail.