|Behind the Mask|
Rellik looks as beaten up and damaged as his gear. The left side of his face is badly scarred where it has been struck by a powerful blow, pulling his top lip up into a permanent sneer. The right side of his face is burned near the back. His ear has melted and his hair is very patchy were the scalp has been burned down on the lower part of the right side on his. His dark brown hair is thin, brushed back and flat to his head. His eyes are an electric blue colour.
Rellik’s body is stocky and he wears leather armour, with metal shin guards and gauntlets. Over his leather jack he wears a very battered and scarred plate chest-piece. It has been broken and patched up numerous times. However, despite that (or maybe in spite of that), its quality is of sound make. The left side has a shoulder pad that was previously his helmet. When it was smashed up during a job, he re-purposed it as an addition to his chest-piece.
- Shield: The shape of the shield is a sloping rectangular shape, being narrower at the bottom and getting wider higher up. On the narrow end, the corners have two triangles of metal protruding from them to help attack by piercing armour. It also adds to the viciousness of Rellik’s overall appearance. When not in use he has it slung over his back, giving his blindside added protection against anyone who would stab him in the back.
- Sword: This sword is mostly unremarkable, although rather wicked looking. It is heavier at the tip than most swords to help increase its swinging power.
- Throwing Axes: Balanced axes that can be used in close combat, but are used mainly as projectile weapons. Rellik possesses a pair of these, one strapped to each leg.
- Dirk: A short, steel dagger. This is mainly used in combat when he cannot draw or swing his sword, such as in an enclosed space. Alternatively it can be used in conjunction with his sword in his off-hand at times when his shield is inaccessible or impractical.
- Other: Rellik keeps a bunch of small game snares on his belt to use to catch animals for food as well as improvised bindings to tie people up. He wears a band of iron on his left ring finger that was given to him by his wife in an addition to a plain locket of steel around his neck and under his clothes which contains a lock of his departed wife's hair. The hair seems slightly charred, as if it had been in a fire.
Fighting and killing since he was sixteen, Rellik has seen more than his fair share of death and destruction and it has not left him unscarred, physically as well as mentally. Fighting has become as natural to him as breathing and he cannot think of a life without it anymore. He uses the heat of battle and the resulting adrenaline high as a way of escaping the pain of losing his wife, since when he is fighting everything else drops away, with only the need to kill the foe remaining. As a result, there are very few enemies that can cause him pause.
While he dislikes people who talk overly much, he does enjoy a good conversation and often lapses back into memories of previous jobs he has been hired to do, especially when he has had a couple of drinks. No matter what terrible things he describes while speaking, he finds most of these memories very amusing in retrospect. The only ones he does not find funny are ones that he does not speak of.
He also has a bad habit of losing his money as quickly as he earns it and has no sense of financial responsibility. What he does not spend on drinking or gambling he uses on maintaining his gear and he often finds himself the target of swift-handed thieves. The ones that he catches usually meet rather grizzly ends.
Rellik has an amoral attitude, often saying that ‘it pays to be morally flexible’. So long as he gets paid and a decent fight out of it, he does not have many qualms about jobs he takes on. While he often claims he lacks intellectual skills, he commonly shows a cunning that counters this. He is a cynical and sarcastic man, but he can summon a sense of camaraderie with those who fight alongside him.
Born the bastard son of a mercenary and a whore, Rellik was given up to the Chantry mere moments after his birth. Being raised in a place of worship, one might think that he would become a devoted member of the Chantry. This, however, was very far from the truth. Growing up, Rellik revealed himself jaded beyond his years and never held any stock with the faith the sisters tried to instil in him. At the age of sixteen, Rellik abandoned the Chantry and fled the city, looking for his fortune.
In the wilderness, Rellik nearly came to an early end when he was set upon by a massive, rabid wolf. He was lucky however and the wolf had been the focus of a hunt from a mercenary. The sword-for-hire shot the animal down with his crossbow and took the wolf's corpse for skinning, leaving the boy behind after the boy requested to be taken with him, calling him 'dead weight'. Rellik followed the man until he returned to the rest of his small band of sell swords, much to the mercenary’s annoyance.
They tried to see the child off, not wanting him to hang around and slow them down. But since he kept following them, they decided to put him to some use with menial tasks. The mercenaries where very hard on the young boy in the hopes of getting rid of him; making him carry loads that he found difficult to lift, having him fix their clothes and beating him when he did a bad job and so on. Any time he complained, the mercenaries told him that unless he pulled his weight and provided some useful service then they would just wait for him to fall asleep and abandon him in the wilds, a fate that would end in his demise.
After a month or so of this treatment, the group lost a few men and the mercenaries decided that Rellik would be more use to them with a sword in his hand than a needle. They took him under their wing, teaching him how to fight so that he could turn a profit for them. They started him off using his bare hands and when they reckoned he was ready, put a sword in his grasp. After a few weeks of hard training, the group formally inducted the young boy into their band and put him to work as a mercenary instead of a task mule. They also taught him how to survive in the wilds, such as how to fish, catch small game and set traps as well as tracking, so that he could assist in finding targets in addition to bigger game.
Rellik travelled with these soldiers of fortune until he was almost twenty, earning his place in their band with his sweat and blood. One night, while they were protecting a caravan that had hired them, the mercenaries and their charges were ambushed by bandits. It was a slaughter on both sides, the battle hardened mercenaries unarmoured but disciplined against a greater number of armed amateurs. In the end, only a few men survived, most of who were the people who had hired Rellik's group, of which there were only two survivors. Finishing the job they had started, the young mercenary began his career of solo work after the other remaining sell-sword stole the payment and ran off.
Several years passed on, with Rellik becoming somewhat well known as a competent mercenary who was able to get the job done. He was eventually hired for a delicate job; a templar had helped free several apostate mages and had fled the Tower. The templars were in a tight spot. They had to chase the rogue mages down, but they would have to inform the officials how one of their own number had been involved in the break out, which would make the Chantry look very bad. So they hired an outsider to deal with the rogue templar whilst they hunted down the mages under the cover of training exercises, thus eliminating any need for the higher ups to know that one of the templars had been corrupted. After paying him a considerable sum in advance, Rellik set out to hunt down the templar.
The man was playing it very smart, abandoning his clothes and armour for more peasant looking gear and sticking only to the outskirts of civilisation. It took Rellik the best part of two weeks chasing the rumour of him until he gained some luck. He saw a man in clothes more ragged than even those of the backwater village's residents, as if he had been moving through rough terrain. On a hunch he approached him, making sure that he would see the mercenary closing on him. The templar saw him getting closer, his eyes set firmly upon him and panicked, fleeing with Rellik in hot pursuit.
After an hour of chasing, the templar finally stood his ground near a big lake. Rellik drew his sword and the templar took a mace out. This would not usually make the mercenary pause, but when the mace's head burst into flames he was somewhat taken aback. The two fought for several minutes, with Rellik realizing that the templar was far more of an accomplished fighter than he. Quickly tiring, the mercenary slipped near the edge of the lake. The templar wasted no time in bringing his mace down on the sword-for-hire's face.
His sword skittered off away from him and he collapsed at the templar's feet. Rellik's opponent gloated before raising his weapon to finish the job. To his surprise however, he found the mercenary's dagger embedded in his gut. The mace's impact had been robbed of its killing force by Rellik's helmet, which had collapsed into the left side of the man's face, breaking his cheekbone and scarring his face but leaving him alive. It had dazed him for a second, but he was able to force his body back into movement. Twisting the knife, Rellik shouldered the templar off his blade and into the lake, where his corpse went straight to the bottom. Recovering the weapon, one of the conditions for the second half of his payment, Rellik moved on.
Exhausted, pain beginning to creep up to him with the adrenaline wearing off, Rellik headed off to the nearest village. There, he paid the residents to patch his face up as best as they could before he made his way back to the Tower and claiming his reward. Happy that the situation had been resolved and the weapon recovered, the templars paid up as promised and even had some mages take care of his wounded face (claiming that he was the brother of one of the templars as a cover). Unfortunately, it had taken too long for Rellik to return and could not be healed properly, the face remaining badly scarred. The mercenary kept the broken helmet, paying a smith to fix it to the shoulder of his armour as a pauldron.
For the next seven years Rellik fought all over Ferelden. He made quite the name for himself, going toe to toe with men, dwarves, elves and many strange creatures and managing to survive, sometimes just barely and not always victoriously. He got a few new scars, saw more comrades die, killed his fair share of rivals and he loved every moment of it. It was at this time that he met Jessica, his future wife.
Rellik had just finished up a mission when he came across a group of men and women under attack from a few outlaws. Looking for some light entertainment and a chance to scavenge what they were looting, the mercenary ambushed them from the flank under the cover of the tree-line, using a throwing axe to take out the first one as he charged. Drawing his sword, he managed to cleave the head of a second before the others noticed him, so busy were they with their attack on the travellers and the looting of one caravan they had. Seeing the second one fall, they turned towards the new foe, several more appearing from behind the caravan. Realizing that there were more of them then he had seen, Rellik retreated back into the woods with the five bandits in hot pursuit.
Rellik hoped to lose them in the woods, using the woodcraft he had learned in his youth with the mercenaries but the bandits kept close on his tail. He was only keeping a few seconds ahead of them occasionally vanishing from view for a couple of seconds. Rellik was so focussed on running and finding better ground that he almost went straight off a cliff, the dip hidden by a thick lining of trees and shrubbery. Thinking quickly, the mercenary doubled back and hid behind a tree, waiting for the bandits and hoping they made the same mistake he did. As he predicted, one of the thugs went straight over the edge, the second stopping in time but getting knocked off by the man behind him.
The three remaining men turned in time to see Rellik smash into the rearmost of the group, tipping them over in a domino style way. Another fell from the cliff edge while one toppled to the ground. Rellik engaged the other bandit that had managed to stay on his feet and was able to dispatch him while the last bandit struggled to his feet. Seeing that he was the only one left, the thug fled. Tired from the chase and the fight, Rellik let him go and returned to the ambush sight.
Kneeling down to inspect one of the dead bodies for valuables, he heard someone shifting around. Going to inspect the noise, he saw a young woman maybe a few years his junior stirring from unconsciousness. Standing over her and checking for wounds, she awoke to find his scarred, ugly face hovering above her. She did not cry out at the sight, or stare in horror. She simply blinked, then looked over at the butchered remains of her travelling companions and silently wept. Uncomfortable being around an emotional person, Rellik offered his services to protect her on her way at least up to Denerim, which was where he was headed. She nodded, and then rummaged in the one cart that had been the target of the bandits. Grabbing the cask inside, she poured it over the remains of her friends and lit it, setting fire to the road and the corpses. Rellik offered no words of consolation, knowing that there was nothing he could say. He shrugged his backpack to rest more comfortably on his shoulders and set off with his new found companion.
The two spent most of their time without speaking, she being too busy grieving for her friends to converse. But Rellik caught himself watching her several times while they walked. He did not understand why. He had known far more beautiful women and they never usually got more than a casual glance from him. So why could he not stop staring at her? He watched her walk, watched her sleep, watched her drink and eat. Rellik urged them forwards faster towards Denerim. He did not like this feeling and the quicker they parted ways, the better. When they got to city, they said their goodbyes at the gates walking away in different directions. Rellik made sure he did not turn around but if he had, he would have seen her watching him until he was no longer visible in the crowd.
The next few years were relatively uneventful. Rellik join a few groups, killed off a whole bunch of competition. He travelled through the Frostback Mountains and almost died in the freezing conditions after an avalanche of snow buried him. He even made his way up to the Free Marshes, although he had to leave swiftly after he failed to carry out a job properly and turned on his employer. In the end he made his way back to Denerim, where he once again unexpectedly bumped into Jessica.
Rellik's armour had been seriously damaged in a fight, so much so that he needed someone to fix it again. Walking into a smithy, he saw an elf at the forge and a young woman behind the till. Not believing his eyes, he came up to her to see if she would remember him. As it was she recalled his face well (it was not a face easily forgotten after all) and was quite happy to see him. It turned out that some of the gangs in the city were trying to extort money out of her and her business partner for 'protection' and they needed someone to straighten them out. Rellik was all too happy to do it, for the right price. The next time the gang members came around, the mercenary saw them off. He did not even have to hurt them. His presence and menacing words of warning were enough to stop their visits permanently.
After that Rellik stuck around, acting as a bouncer in case anyone else decided to try and take advantage of the store. Over the passing months, he and Jessica grew closer. The elf, a woman named Wesana, found such a matching amusing because of their flattery that the other found them attractive. More time passed and the two eventually married, Rellik leaving behind the life of a mercenary forever to be with the woman he loved, living in the shop with her. A few years passed in a peace that Rellik had never experienced before. Through Jessica, he even managed to gain a circle of friends that accepted him as one of their own. She even announced that she was pregnant and that Rellik would soon become a father. But men of war rarely lead lives of contentment.
One day, Rellik was returning from shopping to find Wesana being assaulted by a group of armed men. He intervened, disarming and knocking back the thugs using the dagger he kept on him. Humiliated, the sell-swords fled with anger burning in their hearts. But they did not stay away for long, coming back later that night with torches. The shop was soon on fire with the married couple still inside. Rellik, with a lifetime of experience guiding him, leapt into action. Grabbing his wife and his sword (which he hung in the room), he carried her to the entrance of the house as some debris fell in front of the door. He just managed to throw Jessica outside before the portal became blocked.
However, what would have been a courageous act of sacrifice quickly turned out to be an out of the frying pan and into the fire situation. The thugs, seeing a sooty figure on the floor and not knowing that Rellik did not live alone attacked Jessica and killed her, mistaking her for the former mercenary. Seeing his wife die and his future wither away in front of his eyes, Rellik roared a cry of fury that made even the hardened criminals’ blood freeze. With strength born of fury, the vengeful husband broke through the fiery debris blocking his exit and charged the men that killed his wife, his sword drawn.
What happened next, Rellik could not remember. He knew only that when he awoke he was chained to a bed, pain echoing up his right hand side from where he smashed through the rubble and several Chantry sisters standing around him chanting softly while men in the livery of the city guard looked on. Seeing that he was awake, the guards told him that he was under the arrest for the murders of several people. Rellik gave no reply, his eyes gazing into space. Later that night, he found that only one guard was standing watch over him. With a powerful strike to the base of the neck, Rellik took the key off the man's unconscious body and unchained himself, fleeing the house of worship.
Finding his wife's body was not easy but he was able to do so, managing to cut off a lock of her burned hair in time before the city guard could find him. Rellik once again left Denerim stopping only to recover his old equipment, the memories of his dead wife and unborn child haunting him from that day forwards.
Rellik joined up with a mercenary group called the Blackstone Irregulars for a while after that and was in the same group as a dwarven warrior named Fardin. Seeing the rage in how he fought, the dwarf offered him a way to use it more effectively in battle. The offer was not made out of generosity; Fardin was concerned that Rellik would do something stupid and end up getting all of them killed. So the mercenary learned the way of the Berserkers, learning to harness the rage in his heart to make him a formidable force on the battlefield. He took to the art quickly, finding an affinity for channelling his fury into a weapon for crushing his foes and keeping him on his feet.
When the Darkspawn invasion began the Blackstone Irregulars were employed alongside many others to assist in the fighting. Rellik fought under their orders until the Wardens were able to slay the Archdemon. He was inside Denerim as it burned; taking great pleasure in the sight of the city that had taken everything from him turn to ash before his eyes. During that time, Rellik found that the mercenary company were getting to political instead of violent and so left to carry on his work solo. Moving away from Ferelden and all the bad memories there, he made his way to the Free Marches once more. It had been a while since he had last entered the city, but unless things had changed drastically in a short time, he knew that he would find a decent fight waiting for him.
Somebody always wants violence to be done, after all.