Corporal Darren Nettle (a.k.a. The Needle, Noble Robber, The Traitor)
I will never understand why he did what he did that day in White Wood, but a betrayal is a betrayal no matter the cause, but the worst kind is that of a brother in arms, I only wish that I was the one to kill him for killing my boy and so many others. - Landon Lumbren
A Rebellious ChildMany would say Darren's childhood was not the most peaceful; his family was killed during Roderick's Rebellion, leaving him orphaned and placed under the care the noblemen that ruled over their land. He would become a servant doing whatever was required of them by his master. But the older he became, he began to question things; the main one was who killed his parents, the nobles or the rebels. Though that was the least of his concerns as he became unhappy with the treatment he received from his master, being forced to do whatever he and his family told him like he was a trained monkey. Despite this, he managed to have a decent life through his services. However, this did not set well with young Darren seeing it as unfair despite being constantly told that this was how things were. But what left a mark on him was when he got into a fight with the noblemen’s son, who was harassing him. Instead of the son being punished, he was punished and beaten because of it. Resulting in him hating all things relating to authority and would have no more of this slavery that was forced on him. It caused him to greatly hate the nobility and blame them for his misfortunes and the death of his family. Afterward, he ran away from the only home he knew to live the life he wanted and never look back. Years would pass as Darren wandered across Ardania, doing odd jobs and living off the land to survive. His grand plan for a life of freedom was not ideal, but it was his choice. However, he had no real place to call home, and honest work wasn’t enough to keep him alive. He would often steal to make ends meet where ever he went and find himself affiliating himself with the criminal elements in the places he was staying. Much of what he stole from the nobility may be from pickpocketing or robbery, and he didn’t care about how he got it as long he made them suffer. Soon though, his lifestyle would go but him at the wrong end of the law, and he was constantly on the run, trying to start over until someone recognized his face and moved again. He then concluded that he needed to go on the straight path to living an excellent life and packed up what belonged to him to go where no one would, the Borderlands. He, however, still had trouble setting up a life for himself despite being a strapping young man and ending up being a courier for Gober Family in their smuggling network. It was here that he would change in a different direction after being caught by a squad of Rangers while he was making a delivery. He would be imprisoned at Oaken Tower and interrogated but refused to cooperate and see them as the same as any guard that he met, that was until he met the Warden-Commander, Galas Curts and offered him a chance to join their ranks since he was still a child. While surprised and suspicious, he decided to accept the offer rather than be imprisoned; it would change his life completely.
With The RangersDarren's beginnings in the Forest Guard were met with a lot of discrimination and fighting as he went through training. He didn’t make any friends in those early days, as most saw him as a thief; it did not stop him was training to learn and improve along the way. He did make friends, however, amongst the other recruits, those being Arnold Masterson and Loren Lusca, with the trio being able to help one another through training. It caused him to change his outlook on authority as he learned to keep the police rather than enforce with people around him trying to help with his problems. When his training finally ended, he was changed by this experience and wanted to do good for once in his life rather than hurting others, at least for the commoners, the nobles he still resented. Yet his attitude needed to be adjusted as he got into trouble when people bad-mouthing him, which got him into a fight most of the time. This would change when he was given his first assignment and got on the wrong foot with his commanding officer. It started with him, and the rest of the squad he was joining was assembled, with him being assigned with his friends Arnold and Loren and a second-generation Ranger named Philip Lumbren. While they waited for their sergeant, he spotted a young body that seemed out of place and confronted him about it. The boy was at least twelve or thirteen and was hiding his face looking very suspicious. This resulted in him believing that he was a recruit stealing from him as he noticed a few things that he shouldn't have and tried to convince him to put them back, knowing that he was given a second chance, and so should the boy. He told him off and said he didn't know what he was talking about. He swiped a ranger seal from him to get him to admit what he did, only to realize that his belt was stolen and his pants had fallen with him falling as well. This resulted in him and his new teammates chasing after the boy into the Great Forest, where the boy would outclass them at every turn until they were stopped by Fredrick Lumbren, a Ranger Captain, who revealed the boy that they were chasing was their sergeant all along by the name of Carne. This entire time they conducted a test, they had met his standards to be a part of his squad. This did not set well with Darren as he was this a joke but was ordered by Fredrick to follow his order, and from that point, he and his teammates would be trained even more by Carne through his methods. Darren, after many attempts, tried to beat Carne at his own game, but he failed to do so, always a few steps behind him at every turn. It was not until he saw his action and the several times he saved his and his teammate's lives he began to understand his superior officer was a good man. He would return the favor by saving his life from a pack of Wulver after he used himself as bait to distract them from giving his squad a chance to escape. During that time, he and Canre would grow a strong comradery and friendship as they when on mission after mission with each other. Watching each other's backs and his skills would be honed by Carne as much as he could, and Carne would open up to him about his past, understanding that he never had an easy life just as he did. His training would serve him well when the Wulver Border War broke out, and he would gain the nickname the "Needle" for his accuracy with a bow and killing many Wulver that crossed him. For his leadership and skill, he would be promoted by Carne to Corporal and his second in command. He would also gain fame for beating Alec Craster in a duel, the right hand of the Bandit King, Luthor Edilburg while they were assigned to hunt him. However, he did have simply for Luther since he stuck it to the rich but followed his orders anyway. He would go on many mores missions with his squad to keep the peace that he vowed to keep and was devoured to that task. He was content with the life that he had with his comrades and was proud to do his duty for the people, yet that would change when war arrived.
War and BetrayalDarren and the Grim Hunters would be there at the very beginning of the War of the Raptors when they were assigned to scout out Imperial Legions of the Vatian Empire at the border of the kingdom. They would help capture imperial scouts telling them of an impending attack, leading them to Fort Hightower to warn the defenders. He and the rest of the Grim Hunters would remain outside the castle after being ordered by Carne and Fredrick to do so and leave if trouble came. It would as the empire's legions descended on Fort Hightower and laid siege to it. Rather than doing as ordered, he and his fellow Rangers would conduct raids on the imperials to aid the defenders during the Siege of Fort Hightower by destroying supplies and killing personnel whenever possible, with him going after officers most of the time. After a month of fighting, the defenders would abandon and destroy Fort Hightower. All were relieved that Fredrick and Carne came back alive as they continued operations against the empire for most of the war. For much of the war, Darren and the Grim Hunters would conduct a guerilla war behind enemy lines and gather intelligence on the empire to aid the kingdom, with him being assigned to capture and interrogate imperials for any valuable information by any means. During that time, a new member named would be added to the ranks of the hunters, a fellow Ranger called Emma Weaver. Her wit and charm would captivate Darren, and they would soon be in a relationship for most of the war as they aided each other in achieving assignments and victories against the empire. It was thanks to them that they were able to capture a member of the Imperious Oculus and gained information on the imperial planning of an invasion through the Great Forest during the The Long Night and warned the kingdom. Darren would take part in the Battle of the Dark Forest and spread fear and panic amongst the Legionaries lost in the darkness as he picked them off one by one and was credited for his efforts in the field. However, no one would predict the act that would affect the many lives surrounding him.
During the war's final weeks, the leaders of the Forest Guard would meet in secret at the Whitewood as the kingdom was losing the war and made plans to help turn the conflict in their favor. However, the meeting was not as secretive as they thought, and the empire was informed of the meeting as they prepared to spring a trap for the Ranger's meeting there. However, they would not expect that it could be given to them by one of their own, with Darren giving it to them. No one ever knew the reason for this sudden betrayal by a member of their own. Still, through his effort, he tweaked the security around the village to allow imperial forces to catch everyone by surprise. During that time, he was confronted by Philip for acting suspiciously and stabbed his former comrade, killing him as Carne witnessed the whole event. He would flee, and Carne would pursue him; both would be locked in a fierce duel as the village burned to the ground. While both were equally matched in skill, Carnes burning anger to kill him overpowered him as he was stabbed in his right eye. But rather than being killed quickly, he was kicked into a burning building where he would be burned alive and killed shortly after as the flames consumed him. His actions would result in the deaths of many Rangers, including the man who recruited him, Galas Curts, and crippling Fredrick Lumbren. Many of the Grim Hunters were killed, including his lover Emma, except for Carne, who managed to escape. His betrayal is forever known as the Betrayal of White Wood as many curses his name for such as tragedy.
1504 CA 1528 CA 24 years old
Circumstances of Death
Place of Death
Medium Black Hair
Quotes & Catchphrases
Life is never supposed to be easy; you just have to find a way to make it worth living