"Quick of wit and hand, mind in prime condition, devout in belief. All these things are the hallmark of a soldier. The ultimate soldier, that ideal which any man of sword and shield accepts as his goal. There is no room for anything less than your best, there is no tolerance for failure, hesitation and uncertainty can only bring on Death."
This mantra was literally etched into a bronze placard at the home of the Soen clan. A tangible reminder of what the family believed with every fiber of their being.
Tarras' father, fomer mercenary, renown craftsman of fangstaves, and a highly touted head-instructor of staves and tactics felt more than blessed on his son's birth. He felt it was a sign from above, that his legacy was finally continued. Not only that, but now there was someone to whom he could impart all his knowledge to, as he did not feel comfortable confiding in his underlings.
Tarras grew to be a spitting image of his father, although his own desire for knowledge and his prowess in combat surpassed the elder Soen remarkably. Tarras could move deftly and strike at any angle, mastering all the teachings of his father, and even improved upon some of them. He seemed to be that ideal soldier the bronze placard described. If there was one short-coming, Tarras was not one to hold a sustained fight, he needed to strike quickly and decisively while the momentum was his, otherwise he could be over-taken.
When the day came, Tarras was quick to enter the Army and do his family and countrymen proud. He served first as a front-line grunt, but as his understanding of tactics manifested, he rose to command a small team of scouts. It was with these scouts that he saw the world. He lead them bravely, and they followed them right into the mouth of Hell and back. But even the greatest leader cannot control Fate.
It was following a heavy storm, as they were leading a monk and his followers to a plateau. They saw no obvious enemies lying in wait, there was nothing to give this plateau the earmark of Death. But suddenly, something descended upon the band. It was invisible at first, moving faster than anyone could strike upon it. Then it took shape. The men charged at it, but it killed them with no more than a wave of its wrist. Left standing were the monk and his aide and Tarras. Tarras drew his staff and showed no fear. But the apparition had assumed some new form, one that stopped Tarras where he stood. It appeared as his father. The recognition of his father's face upon such a demon turned the hair on Tarras' head ghostly white. And as the demon mocked him, calling him a coward and a whelp, the monk began to speak to the demon, calling upon the holiest of powers. But the demon killed the monk and almost killed his follower, had Tarras not stepped in its path. But the demon took off as quickly as it came, leaving Tarras and a wounded priest.
Tarras returned to his commanding officer and told the story, with the injured monk giving corroborating testimony. The officer wanted no part of a 'ghost story', calling Tarras a failure and ordering an immediate court martial. Tarras was dismissed from the Army before the sun set.
He returned home, hoping that his father would accept the son that could not live up to the ideals that were ingrained within him. Reaching his home, he saw only his mother, sitting under a tree sobbing. He went to her, asked what had happened and got terrible news. One afternoon, his father was approached by two men, regally dressed, who requested that the best fangstave be crafted and be ready by two weeks. His father set upon the task that night, and spent each successive day honing and crafting it. Finally the men returned, only this time with a garrison of soldiers. His father asked who this fangstave was for, and then one of the men grabbed it and killed the elder Soen. His mother entered the room, screamed at the sight of her dead husband, but was quickly subdued by a soldier as the others looted and sacked the household and grounds. With no reason given, the Soens had everything taken, even the bronze placard. One of the men said that they could remain on the land and keep the home as long as every thirty days, two hundred fangstaves were ready and waiting. For a long time, this blackmail was continued. But the day Tarras returned was the last day the grounds had enough able saplings. It would be winter and many months before a good harvest could be had. And in the cold, they would not last long without a home.
Tarras sent his mother to live with her sister, and from the Soen family home, he scoured the area for vestiges of equipment. He stocked himself well and headed off for town. He offered his services to anyone that could pay, regardless of the task. His first job was as a barkeep's bouncer, keeping the numerous drunks off the locals and the ladies. But as he grew tired of the drudgery, he was quickly picked up by a man who offered large amounts of money as well as potential for more. Considering that half his pay was going home to his mother, more money would be welcome. Tarras accepted and his unfortunate life of crime began. It was brief as his own moral compass didn't feel right taking money from innocent folk nor burglarizing their homes. He kept silent for a while, as the money was good. But one night, he was sent to an Inn to loot from a rich traveller. He kicked in the door, and it was his mother and aunt. He could no longer stay silent. He went to the constable and asked if there was a reward for the mysterious burglar who employed him. Hearing that there was, Tarras dragged his half-dead former employer to the constable's feet at the bar. With legitimately earned money in hand, Tarras Soen sought out another criminal, then another, doing the work the constabulary could not. He earned a reputation for being good on his word, and preserving honor and justice above all. He was offered a position in the constabulary, but the thought of working under someone no longer appealled. He was a mercenary, as his father was before him. With the saved money, his mother and aunt bought back his familial land and have restored it.
He has since moved to Iridine, hearing that it is in need of justice and capable men, and knowing that within its walls there must be available employment. Should you see him, be polite, he'll be no less to you. While he might not carry much upon him, nor look that outstanding, know that his word is good and if he says he'll pay you back, you will be. It may be in cash, in barter or with blood, but you'll get what is owed.