Name: Orotoshi Haig
Age: Born, 967, Deceased, 990, Age of Men (Approximately 42)
Description: Haig is a monstrous beast of rotting flesh held together by black magic, yet both his body and his bearing carry some mark of the officer he once was. His features are gaunt and withered; milky white eyes are fixed in an unblinking glare, with thin lips curled into a snarl and a thin wisp of hair all that remains of a once well-kept beard. Haig keeps his body well groomed and tightly bound, as if to keep inside what is left of his former self.
Clothing: Haig favours unassuming clothing that allows him to escape notice and cover his features. Few notice the Takeda insignia stitched into the folds with a seasoned hand.
· To serve Lady Evi for the rest of his unlife
· To locate Katsuyori Takeda and convince him to return to Higashi-Rei.
Dreams and Ambitions: Haig does not dare to imagine a future where he has been stripped of his undead curse, and knows that even in such a world his crimes would be unforgivable. Haig wishes to see Evi return home, to lay down her arms in a world at peace, before submitting himself to an honourable death.
Personality: Haig is a grim and humourless creature that strives to uphold a sense of honour and duty despite the outward shell of a monster. The ghoul would prefer to remain Evitaerc’s silent guardian, but as his mistress grows more and more withdrawn, he has been forced to speak up. Since his resurrection Haig has only known life as a slave, his harsh, gravelly voice speaks only in the stiff courtesies of a servant; niceties and compassion seem beyond him. He carries out his duty as Evi’s bodyguard with a dangerous zeal, cursing himself as her injured leg seems to pain her more each day. He would not fail her again. Backstory:
The ghoul knows nothing of his past aside from the haunting flashes of blood and battle. His countrymen dying in droves on the spikes and scythes of Kaneda’s demonic army, the haunting sounds of their death throes and screams and his own final hours, a wretch shattered by fear and loss, waiting for a death that would not take him…
The ghoul awakened and fell in line. Chattel for the Lords of the Black Lands, he and the other fallen were marched through the Sanmyaku Pass, into the Schwarzlund itself. In the Black Lands, Haig served under many masters; the drider-king Faelion, the Howling Dukes of the Screaming Citadel, even serving under the Dread Pirate Grimshaw upon the Frothing Sea. Haig spent seven long years as a thrall in the northern reaches of the Black Lands, before, separated from the hordes of the drider-king by a vampire attack, the wretched creature wandered the Black Lands in solitude, on the very edge of sanity, trapped between the monstrous undead to the south, the Felgard to the north, and the Topaz Knights westward. After being driven back countless times, the bestial creature could not believe his luck as he caught the scent; a hapless Malicite trapped in an abandoned ruin. Creeping up behind him, he lept at his prey, only to find his limbs lock up and his body suspended in mid-air. The necromancer observed him for some time, warded from his attacks by powerful magic, and Haig heard the first human speech he had in seven long years. “[Necromancer, smiling] Yes. Excellent. You will do rather nicely. I was certain a Hide from Undead spell was a needless precaution… Do try to stay still, my dear fellow. The shackles are only a precaution...”
The necromancer was one Xavier Dalhand, a mage tailor situated well-beyond the seemingly impenetrable border of the Black Lands, in a small tailor shop in Malus City. It took no small degree of ingenuity to smuggle the ghoul past the Felgard sentinels and across the Malus border, but Xavier smuggled his prize into the heart of the city. It would be some time until Haig saw the light of day again. A harsh taskmaster, Xavier employed numerous undead to produce his wares, shackled in his underground workshop well out of sight. But the man seemed delighted at Haig’s quick grasp of speech, and over the next two years moulded the ghoul into his manservant and bodyguard, protecting his master from his numerous debtors and becoming versed in the stiff formalities of the servant.
Haig managed a relatively peaceful existence in the heart of Malus City for some time, knowing nothing of his past. But that would change when his master received a visitor, one of the Gnhitemos shinobi-clan, and but a glimpse of her clan’s insignia tattooed onto her arm sent a spark through the ghoul, as memories flooded back into his head. Memories of banners and bannermen rallied in the great courtyards of Shiroishi, of the lush plains of Ozu and the mountain air of his homeland, of the weight and feel of his ancestral armour... A name, Orotoshi. The memories of a soldier flooded back into him as the ghoul watched the woman with fascination. The woman and her companions were swept up in the budding revolution, and Haig and his master aided the Eldritch Freedom Force in liberating the cities mages from the oppressive Whitechapel regime. As success was nigh, the Black Order detonated an arcane warhead in the Western quarter. The streets were consumed with arcane fire that separated him from his master and the Topaz Knights swept the streets. The ghoul frantically fled through the streets as a primal fear took hold of him, and was quickly cornered by the Order’s troops and sentenced to execution; until the mysterious Rei-jin woman came to his rescue.
Recognising him as one of her kinsman and overcome with pity, Evi saved the ghoul from his fate, vouching for the ghoul and shielding him from his attackers. Overcome with gratitude, Haig swore an oath of fealty to her, vowing to protect her as she had protected him, the words appearing in the dark and hollow spaces of his mind, the same oath he had sworn to his Emperor decades before. “[Haig, kneeling] By the ancestor spirits before whom I swear this oath, I will to Evitaerc of clan Gnithemos be faithful and true. I am her man from this day henceforth, by my life and all of my worldly honour. I shall love all that she loves, shun all that she shuns, and fight by her side for as long as she holds me. I shall protect her, serve her and honour her in all that I do, until my… dying breath. This I swear.”
Her companions did not trust him, yet time and time again his mistress vouched for him. They marched northward to the city of Heim with a contingent of Topaz Knights, marching against the forces of the usurper Sirius Durlond in the Battle for Garamsythe. Fighting with a newfound ferocity at his lady’s side, the ghoul was a decisive force in their victory. Impressed with the pair, Gen, Free Agent of the Black Order, offered Evi a position as a Free-Agent of HOST. Her companion, the sprite Cael, abandoned her side in disgust.
Haig and his mistress made their way to Blackhost where they would stay for some time, meeting the Order’s Supreme Archon – Ankou Morrigan. Evi is inducted into the Black Order as a free agent, but Haig is afforded no such honours. The pain of her friends leaving one by one wore heavily on his mistress, and Haig learned little of her past journeys. She did, however, teach Haig much about his homeland, of the ancestor spirits, the great cities and of the Kaneda campaign, tales which Haig eagerly immersed himself in. Haig remains ambivalent toward the Black Order who were to put him to the sword, seeing much to admire in their methods and in their faith. The two travelled across Godsward, dealing with undead menaces across the nation, Haig’s memories of the Undead Lords used to strike many blows against them.
While hunting a necromancer, Balthazar Praxis, the pair were tracked down by a ninja of Evi’s scattered clan, Satomi. Her kinswoman brings urgent news, summoning her back to Higashi-Rei and presenting a piece of rare magic, a Seal of Recall. Although Evi was reluctant, she agreed at Haig’s encouragement, a testament to the close bond the two forged over their months among the Order. The trio were transported to the Iron Citadel of Shiroishi Castle, where they encountered the oracle Michael, the Young King. Haig could scarcely hide his amazement as they fought their way through redcaps and worse to reach the heart of the citadel. “[Michael] This is a place full of history. Your childhood home, was it not, Lady Evi? And you would know, most of all, Orotoshi Haig, you who died at these very walls.”
The oracle showed them the truth of the Siege of Shiroishi: that the late Emperor Katsuyori Takeda survived, escaping to the distant city of Aldebaran with the Imperial Seal in tow. A ship awaited them in Sozomiru, they were told, and an old friend in Minato. They parted ways with Satomi and Michael and the pair crossed the lands of Higashi-Rei by foot, travelling across the Great Battlefield to the land of Elbon and the city of Yoshiro-Dono, then southward to Minato. Haig saw the vast devastation of the Great Battlefield, Kagutsuchi apon his smouldering throne of Mount Avon, he saw the towering cities of the Hojo and warriors in gleaming armour. His journey delighted him, but stirred no memories of his past life. The pair found the shapeshifter Fishy Joe awaiting them in Minato, Evi’s companion long thought dead. Haig is suspicious of the man’s motives, but the three board a ship in Sozomiru to the city of Aldebaran, across the Sahuagin sea.
Here, the trio chase leads to find the Imperial Seal, but are frustrated when they find little of value. They encounter the enchantress, Lucia de la Cruz, and agree to work together as rivals with a common cause. The shapeshifter Joe disappears, and Haig bitterly notes another ally abandoning his mistress, watching as she becomes more and more morose. They learn that local crimelord Farouq Nazari has information on the Seal’s whereabouts, but before they can track the man down he is shot through the throat by his former right-hand man, Usman, but thanks to Lucia’s wiles they discover a name. “[Farouq, dying]Filipe Cortez…”
Haig aroused the suspicions of Captain Husam, and was forced to cut a guardsman down in the streets as they attempted to infiltrate the sewers with Siraj, an ensorcelled thug previously under the employ of Farouq, and Usman, freed from imprisonment by Lucia, in tow. Here they are attacked by a magically-enhanced crocodile, and Haig’s strength was not enough to protect his mistress. They dispatch the monster, but Evi Is seriously injured, her leg crippled, and Haig himself nearly torn apart.
The group successfully infiltrate the Palace District and find Cortez’ home. After nearly coming to blows, they settle down to talk, and Cortez invites the group to join his caravan in an attempt to locate the man who held the Seal; one Katsuyori Takeda. The caravan sets out deep into the desert, and Haig nurtures a mutual mistrust of the growing crowd around him: the capricious enchantress and the criminals among her, Cortez and his small army of mercenaries… His failure in the sewers bears heavily on his mind, the desert sun stings his eyes, and his hunger gnaws at him. Haig’s temper grows ever more violent as the Seal seems further and further away with every step, and he has become increasingly sullen and hostile. Thousands of sleepless nights have taught him to spot ill-omens in the stars, and one looms over the caravan each step it takes into the vast Sandsea.