[Editor’s note: this character was made for a game that’s set in Pathfinder’s Andoran nation. I’m sure with a little tweaking, he could work anywhere. Also, the first two paragraphs were borrowed from Pathfinder Wiki.]
Andoran prospered as a part of the empire of Cheliax until 4606 AR. The death of the empire’s patron god, Aroden, resulted in a power struggle among the nation’s various noble houses. This civil war ended with House Thrune eventually claiming control of Cheliax.
House Thrune, a noble line dedicated to the service of infernal powers, demanded strict obedience and servitude from the citizens of the empire. Initially, the ruling body of Andoran followed the mandates of Cheliax’s new queen.
The queen and her house worshiped infernal powers. She soon began the arduous task of converting the clergy from various faiths to hers. Sometimes this was done with force, and sometimes this was done with tact. One way of doing this was to reward certain clergy with nobility – in a move that could be seen and heard by many…
As reward for their allegiance, certain priests, clerics, and paladins were knighted, and thus allowed to own lands, wealth, and slaves. Becoming a “Knight Priest” was a very visible promotion to nobility, one meant to help show that allegiance to House Thrune would benefit all of Andoran.
At the age of 16, the poor and orphaned Bale Highwarden had become the youngest to attain the status of Cleric for the church of Iomedae (because by now there were so few of them in Andoran). House Thrune saw this as an opportunity, and quickly granted him knighthood. What a story it made around the commons that a young, orphaned lad had become a noble knight!
The sudden and giant leap in his social status quickly went to his head, and he was soon taking advantage of his new position. For the next few years, booze, women, gambling, and unjust violence became a daily thing. He was untouchable… that is, until he destroyed the orphanage that he was raised in – simply because he wanted to make room for his new house.
Three children perished in that fire. Three. His actions finally caught up with him, and the goddess Iomedae immediately and violently took away his divine powers with extreme prejudice.
Shortly thereafter, Andoran revolted and claimed its independence from the empire, casting aside its own noble class and establishing Common Rule. The newly-established nation abolished the practices of nobility, slavery, and servitude, and embraced the belief that all are equal.
The revolution left no room for knights, and so they were stripped of their nobility, titles, and lands. Most were able to escape persecution by voluntarily handing over their wealth and lands, but others were either exiled or imprisoned for “crimes against the people.” For his crimes, Knight Priest Bale Highwarden was imprisoned, and sentenced to ten years. He knew this was coming, so he buried part of his wealth in the glen.
While in prison, Bale spent the first few years asserting his presence. As a large man, he had no trouble getting what he wanted. Soon, he became the prison’s “Top Dog” and could do as he pleased. He even had guards in his pocket, bringing him contraband and even women of the brothel. However, as he got closer to the end of his sentence, he became more and more reclusive. Eventually, he gave up the position of Top Dog without a fight.
“Something” happened to him, the likes of which he wouldn’t acknowledge.
With six months left of his sentence, he broke out of prison… then returned three months later without explanation. Of course, the guards beat him severely, and more years were added to his sentence.
Over the years he has continued to break out of prison for reasons he won’t discuss, only to return again – and each time he is punished for it. Now in his 60’s, he is coming up on 40 years of a 10-year sentence. At this point, the guards don’t even go looking for him – they know he’ll return. Sure, sometimes he gets a beating when he gets back, but what doesn’t kill him only makes him stronger.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ WHAT HAPPENED? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
As a young knight, Bale fathered a bastard child with a whore. She sent the child to the orphanage, and he was one of the three that perished in the fire. Bale did not find this out until he was in prison as the Top Dog – when he bed the same whore. As an orphan himself, this began to wear on him (a little at first, and then quite heavily). Six months before he was to be released, he left early. He dug up his money and anonymously funded the creation of a new orphanage. He even showed up to help build it. Three months later he returned to prison knowing that he could very well be beaten to death.
He took the beating, and put up absolutely no fight.
Soon after, through sheer force of will, he commanded a divine audience – and made a deal (he *thinks* with Iomedae). He’s seeking redemption, and he has a long way to go (if he can get there at all). He has escaped from prison several times (either to help with a worthy cause, or fight a nasty evil) and he gets beaten down for it every time he returns.
As a Dual-Cursed Battle Oracle, there’s no turning back…
Art by Rhineville, used with permission.