'Ware the Moloch
Ferocity at Its Finest
The daughter of a talented blacksmith, Ayrikka Rokanski was always around all manner of weaponry and soldiers. In her teens she became practiced with a blade herself, testing the balance of weapons for her father and sparring with the occasional soldier. As her ability grew, she took to two-weapon fighting, a sword in each hand, favoring speed and grace. In her later teen years, she joined the guard of Ludovician Keep. Through her rigorous training in the guard, she gained significant combat prowess. Upon the battlefield, her skill manifested as elegant and graceful fury, amidst whirlwinds of blood. It is for this artful dance of death paired with extremely aggressive tactics that she became known as “Ferocity at Its Finest”.
Eventually she met a man, Kayandes Althanar, with whom she fell so deeply in love. He was the captain of the Crimson Tempest, the Viscount’s elite strike team. Kayandes favored the greatsword as his weapon, opting for raw power, and the stylistic differences were something he and Ayrikka argued over many a time, though dueling could prove no victor. It was one dark day, when his second in command Trusiel Whisperleaf returned from a mission with Kayandes’ shattered greatsword in tow. When she asked Trusiel how Kayandes fell, she was told that had been bested by an Orc lord, but defiant to the last, called for no help from a deity, just smirked and nodded as the Orc’s final blow brought his end.
Distraught and overwhelmed with grief, she took a temporary leave of the Guard. Going to her ailing father’s side, she felt selfish seeking comfort from him in his final days. A father’s love in unending however, and with more energy than he ought have left, he melted down the remnants of Kayandes’ greatsword, and with some additional ingredients, forged the fullblade Sentinel. Her father died in his chair next to his anvil that night, where any lifelong blacksmith ought fade away. A whisper of final thanks to her father upon the wind, Ayrikka diligently engraved into Sentinel the words of a poem Kayandes once wrote her. A poem that sounded hauntingly beautiful when spoken in the Giant tongue. The engravings of Giant upon the blade would also forever acknowledge the Orc lord who managed to best her lover in combat. Ayrikka spent the coming year pushing sorrow away and training so vehemently to add the muscle and skill required to wield such a behemoth of a blade as Sentinel with proficiency. Upon her return to the guard, she began earning her way up the ranks to eventually become Captain of the Crimson Tempest.
She doesn’t speak much outside of combat, she’s not even particularly keen on strategy, preferring instead to tackle any battle in the moment. Talking is for Lords, she figures. She can usually be found standing nearby a conversation, in the shadows, outside of obvious view. There she’ll lean against a pillar or wall, in her crimson scale armor, idly twirling a dagger or using it to trim her fingernails or refastens the crimson leather strap that holds her silver hair in a ponytail as she’s lost in thought. Constantly haunted by her sadness for her lost love, constantly in agonizing torment. Sentinel, an always-present reminder hanging heavily from its thick leather strap across her back.
When it’s time for battle, however, she becomes intensely focused. Combat is the only place she is free. Free from sorrow. Free from torment. Free from agonizing memory. The battlefield is the only place her mind is sharp and unclouded. Amidst the resounding roars of war cries and the clash of steel is in the only place she can find a moment’s peace. She doesn’t think twice about the souls she’s rent from their fleshy sheathes, but nor does she have a need to kill. Her need is to do battle, to chase another brief glimpse of serenity so that she might endure another day – alone.
One does not simply become commander of an elite strike force. Blood is required, in buckets and across many uniforms. While Aryikka began as a soldier, it was not long before she led the breach of a fallen Duke’s defenses. The noble in question had offended the wrong Duchess, and her own indiscretions were lost in the clouds of mortar dust and smokepowder that signaled his demise.
Though their conversations often turned to hurled cutlery—and occasionally blows—Ayrikka and Gretchen Pfaff became fast friends on the battlefield. As they hacked and hewed their way through the Duke’s forces, the pair compared kill counts and spoils. The end of the conflict was bittersweet, as the two parted ways for their respective destinies; each was eager for the future but bitter about their abandoned past.
More bitter still was their shared memory of an attempt to capture a nearly naked man who had wandered, blood-soaked, from the adjoining desert on the third night of the siege. He’d left three broken spines, a dozen shattered limbs, and two corpses behind him as he danced through the soldiers attempting to bar his way. Ayrikka and Gretchen referred to him, over drinks, as the Blood Zephyr.