Toriel Karganok (Demi-God)
Human Barbarian of the Bear Clan
A human man standing just over 6 and a half feet tall. Toriel is a huge, mountain of a man, rippling with muscle. Much of his body is covered in intricate woad tattoos. His skin is that of one who has spent much of his life outdoors, rough and lightly tanned. Long, messy brown hair is kept in a braid. He typically wears the regalia of his people, the pelt of the bear he fought bare handed as part of his initiation into the warrior clan. He wears it as a shawl with the head of the bear as the hood. He wears long fur gloves made of the bear’s paws, and uses the claws as his primary weapons. He never wears shoes, as is easily evidenced by his dirt blackened and calloused feet.
The Swiftclaw tribe of the World Pillar mountains was divided into three clans. The Elk Clan were the spiritual heart of the tribe, where the druids and elders passed down the wisdom of their ancestors from generation to generation. They were the healers, the mediators, and the wise ones. The Jaguar clan were the providers. From their ranks came some of the best hunters the world has ever known. They ensured the tribe had food, and that every part of their kills went to use. They were also the craftsman who made all of the tools and materials the tribe needed from the bones and skins of their prey. The Bear clan was the warriors. They were the ones charged with protecting the tribe from any threats be they natural or man made. The Swiftclaw tribe lived in relative peace within the mountains for many years, and occasionally even had dealings with the dwarves who lived beneath the mountains and the humans who would travel the road through the mountains.
Toriel was of the Bear clan. Their creed was a strong belief in the idea that nothing you attain means anything if you lack the strength to defend it. Although they were warriors, they were not war-like people. They did not believe in the idea of war for war’s sake or fighting without reason and they appreciated the fact that there are other pursuits beyond war that are just as noble and worthwhile. They followed the example of their totem matron – the mother bear. Content to live and let live lest you threaten her cubs. Toriel was naturally gifted in the arts of the warrior, but he lacked the focus of the other warriors of his clan. He often would run off to play with children of the other clans, and to meet with their elders and learn their arts. This was not necessarily forbidden, but was odd, and he was constantly being told that he was born to be a warrior, he needed to focus on that. The clans had a division of responsibilities for a reason, they had survived that way for centuries, and he should not lose his focus.
He would listen to the lectures and give half-hearted apologies and promises to do what was asked, but would frequently go right back to it. It wasn’t until the eve of his 20th birthday that that all changed. He had sneaked out to meet with a friend from the Jaguar clan, but while she and he were out in the woods, the Bear clan was attacked by a coven of vampires. When Toriel returned to find his clan all dead, he ran off in a rage to find the attackers, only to be jumped by a vampire straggler and left for dead.
He only wished he’d been dead. He awoke later to find that his tribe was destroyed, either all dead or scattered, and that he had an insatiable thirst. For months, he lived in shame and isolation in the mountains, feeding on animals to sate the vampire’s thirst. He eventually thought he would venture inland to the city-dwelling folk and search for a cure.
It was one night near the road through the mountains, he was feeding on an elk when he was found by a half-elf and a few armed and armored guards. Already in the midst of feeding, Toriel’s vampire instincts kicked in and he attacked the guards. Mid-way through the fight, Toriel managed to regain control and laid down his guard, waiting for the guards to kill him, but instead the half-elf interrupted and told the guards to spare him. Toriel was confused, but later found out the half-elf’s name was Girard and he had received a vision from the Angel Auriel, telling him to spare Toriel’s life, and that he was destined for more than this. Toriel reluctantly went with Girard at first, hoping that perhaps this would be his chance to find a cure. For months, Toriel traveled with the caravan, Girard all along trying to help him learn to control his thirst.
Eventually, Toriel became frustrated with the whole process and decided he was beyond redemption and no cure was in sight. He got up very early before the dawn one day and went off to go see his last sunrise. But shortly before the sun came up, Girard came to find him and attempted to convince him to come back. Before Toriel could argue, suddenly Girard went silent, his body went rigid, his eyes glowed and everything exploded in brilliant white light. To this day, neither Toriel nor Girard are entirely sure what happened in that moment, but when the sun came up, Toriel did not burn… and the thirst was gone. Since that time, Toriel has stayed on with the caravan at Girard’s side, seeking both to repay Girard for his help in removing the vampirism and to find means for redemption. Toriel knows he will never do enough good to make up for all the evils he committed as a vampire, but he wants to try. He also holds out some small hope that some of his tribe may also have escaped that night and that he will find them some day.