West Marches: Westmoor
A half-orc monk, fully devoted to war
An open Hand style monk, and acolyte of Gruumsh, god of storms and war. Throkgar has high wisdom and dexterity, with proficiencies in acrobatics and religion.
Throkgar was born in a small orc village. He idolized his father, a powerful warrior, who had quested and mated with a human woman. They would often tell little Throkgar of their many adventures together, he with his powerful spells as a cleric of Gruumsh and her with her blade, striking down any enemies who stood before them.
Unfortunately, Throkgar didn’t think he would ever be as strong as either of his parents. He wasn’t any good at magic, and he didn’t have the brute strength needed for a fighter. He was a wise boy, with a lithe body that never wanted to sit still. His parents still encouraged him to find something he was good at, beating him within an inch of death to try and help him discover what he could do.
A local monk saw this display, and took in little Throkgar from his parents home, telling them that within three months, Throkgar would be a strong and proud half-orc warrior. Throkgar arrived at the temple, not quite sure what to do with himself. He knew of the great One-Eyed God Gruumsh but had never given him much thought. This was the first thing the monk wanted to rectify. He taught Throkgar that Gruumsh is war, and war is life. War weeds out the weak from the strong, and pushes them to be better fighters and better people. Combat is the only way to grow.
Next came the physical lessons. Throkgar was a quick study, learning new techniques each day. He watched his master do a move once, and spent the next two days in the wilderness, using that move on the wildlife that kept attacking him. Unfortunately, this training method would only last a month. After that, none of the animals would approach him. For the month afterwards, Throkgar spent his time getting his lessons pounded into his head by his master. Sometimes, the concussions made learning difficult, but Throkgar persevered.
For the third month, Throkgar went with his master and a platoon of other orc warriors to raid neighbouring villages. In the first battle, Throkgar stood back, watching in glee as the village went up in flames. War had been declared, and Gruumsh did not see fit to leave these weaklings alive. This village had attacked theirs in the past. Throkgar’s home had simply been the stronger of the two, and that’s all there was to it. In the second raid, Throkgar developed a taste for the killing. His job was simply to pick off any stragglers that seemed as if they were about to make it out of the battlefield. To allow cowards to flee this holy sanctuary of violence would be an insult to Gruumsh. Throkgar crushed the bones of anyone who was trying to leave, breaking their legs and making them watch the rest of their village burn. When Throkgar approached one boy running from the pandemonium, he prepared to break the child’s legs as usual. But this boy had the nerve to spit in Throkgar’s face. Throkgar wiped the saliva from his cheek and prepared to kill him, looking the boy in the eyes. Eyes that Throkgar knew all too well, the same eyes that stared him in the mirror before his master came. In that moment, Throkgar had a divine revelation from Gruumsh. This boy was no coward like the rest. He was a boy who would grow up to be a warrior, filled with rage and hatred at his loss. He would be an instrument of violence and war, serving Gruumsh just like Throkgar did. He stood back and allowed the boy to pass. When Throkgar conveyed what had happened to his master, the old man smiled, and told Trhokgar that now the student had glimpsed the true nature of war.
In the next raid, Throkgar was in the thick of it, slaughtering men, women, and children, left and right. He kept murdering everyone in his path, screaming out Gruumsh’s praises all the while, when another scream came from closeby. Throkgar followed the sound to find an infant, left alone in its cradle. As Trhokgar reached out to snuff the child’s life, his master appeared next to him. Whacking Throkgar on the head, he said that warriors do not kill infants. Being a participant of war requires knowledge of what is happening. Babies do not have the ability to choose to fight or flee. They cannot be killed as proud fellow warriors, but they also can’t be killed as punishmnet for their cowardice. Throkgar asked if that meant they save the baby, to which his master only sighed. All they could do is leave the baby in the cradle. What happens next is up to fate.
At the end of the three mongths, Throkgar returned home, where he was welcomed by his parents. It wasn’t quite the welcome he expected though. His father had fallen very ill. It didn’t seem like he would last another month. Throkgar explained to them all of the things he had seen and all that he had learned in his travels. Throkgar asked if he could demonstrate these lessons for them, to which his parents quickly agreed. Throkgar picked up his quarterstaff, and attacked his mother with a well-aimed jab at the back of the head. She was too storng to die from such an attack, but it did knock her unconscious, just as Master had taught him. His father grew enraged and attacked Throkgar. calling down the wrath of the gods on him. When the lightning came down and struck Throkgar, a thought occurred. To most, this would be agony. But to him, it was only the warm embrace of Gruumsh, letting him know he had chosen the correct path. He powered through the attack, and made his way to his father. His mother began to stir. She looked up at her son as he took hold of his father’s skull and crushed it between his fists. She held onto his father’s body, weeping, as Throkgar left his village. He too would grieve that night, like any warrior who had lost a loved one. But he had let his father die in battle, just like a Gruuman should.
Throkgar travelled the country after that, not returning home for almost two years. He had learned much from his teacher, but the world surely had more to offer. Durin that time, he expanded his horizons, learning about other cultures and their ways of warfare. He learned of other gods and all of the ways they were inferior to Gruumsh. Most of all, he honed his fighting technique with monks in temples far and wide. He left everyone in and around these temples alive, showing the courtesy and respect one should have for the domain of his teachers. Throkgar returned home, his blood boiling and pulse racing, eager to see his mother back in peak condition, secretly hoping for her to either try to kill him for revenge, or to join him in his next battle. It did not matter ot Throkgar. Either of these would serve war well enough.
But when he walked into his old home andfound a mother, he was disturbed by what he found. A plump woman, smiling at her son. She told him to come in, and explained to him everything that had transpired in the last two years. The elves had come into the village, and brought with them their “culture” and "wisdom: His mother explained that nobody here thought like a savage anymore, instead they had all been enlightened. She reached out a hand to him, and held his cheek. Crying, she apologized for everything she and his father had done to Trhokgar as a child, how all of the beatings must have hurt him so much and they were wrong to do it. How they never should have let him go with that war-mongering monk. How none of what he did was really his fault, and she forgave him.
Throkgar cried like his mother in that conversation. Tears of regret and rage. “Where is Master now?”
“Oh, he left a while ago, when pacifism began to heal our broken ways. He said it was wrong, but he didn’t have the energy to fight it anymore, so he packed up and left. Now we’re the village you see before you. Full of happy, kind, loving, and peaceful people. Please join us son.” She reached up to his cheek and wiped away his tears.
Throkgar reached up and help her hand. Then proceeded to break her wrist. “Fight me mother!”
She looked surprised for a moment, but then just looked at him with pity and sadness. “I thought you might do that. I’ve given up violence. Kill me if you want, but I’ve washed my hands of it all. I only hope that you learn to renounce that filthy Gruumsh and follow the path of love and peace.”
Throkgar walked away from the woman he thought he knew. A part of him wanted to go to the converted temple and attack everyone there, make them see the payments their pacifism held for them. But that wouldn’t be enough. He needed to save their souls for Gruumsh, which he couldn’t do as long as they stuck to their pacifism. To save his village, he would need to be wiser, more experienced, and strong enough to lead his village back on the right path. He would take the pacifists, crush their ideals, and transform them from kind, peaceful, loving weaklings into an engine of unfathomable war. To attain this goal, Gruumsh headed out west, leaving his village behind with a promise that he would one day return to reclaim their souls.