Owl bear crew
Merrak mos Ilka
The Travelling Bastard Half-Orc Fighter
Merrak is very large for a Half-Orc. He stands at six-feet ten-inches tall, and weighs approximately 340 pounds, almost all of which is muscle. Merrak is 25 years old and has spent most of his life honing his fighting abilities, primarily in the forms of swordplay and wrestling. His weapon of choice is the greatsword which, due to his formidable strength, he is able to swing ad infinitum, though he is also proficient in hand to hand combat, as well as throwing projectiles such as axes and spears. Through his travels he has amassed a wealth of knowledge in a very short period of time, primarily in engineering, dungeoneering, and baking.
Merrak mos Ilka (Son of Ilka) is the bastard child of the famed Human barbarian Ilka da Krazed and Orc warmaiden Mog Lagakh. He was born in the South Eastern corner of the Hold of Belkzen, in a small village near the Western tip of the Kestrel River, North of Trunau. His family and tribe were semi-nomadic, so Merrak knew no home other than where his family was at that moment. From an early age Merrak's father taught him the way of the warrior, training him in the finer arts of the greatsword; while his mother, a reputable combatant herself, instructed him in throwing weapons. As is the case with many Orc cultures, roughousing was the norm between all age groups, and Merrak would routinely wrestle with the other children of his tribe, learning valuable techniques from the tribal elders.
Ilka was the only Human within the tribe, though due to his renown as a fighter and pillager, the tribe accepted him as one of their own. Depsite this, Merrak still sufferred a fair amount of bigotry for being the only half-breed within the group, predominantly from the other children who pointed him out as being different than them; he felt relief only when his father was home with the tribe (which wasn't very often) from his far rangings with the other warriors of the village.
Merrak was large from the get go, being an Orc (who are naturally large) and from Human stock believed to be intermixed with that of the Giants (Ilka himself was almost seven-feet tall), he nearly killed his mother at birth. Another difference was that of his skin tone; his tribe was fairly green skinned for Orcs, and due to his mixed heritage Merrak was significantly more pale, and also had smaller tusks than his compatriots. These factors of difference proved to be more points of teasing from the other younglings, eventually giving rise to the only event of significant and superfluous violence in Merrak's early childhood.
At the ripe young age of nine, Merrak, already standing at a lanky five-feet eight-inches, was taking part in his daily wrestling practice; except today's practice would result much differently than any other. Ulmug Yatur, the chief's second in command's son and official thorn in Merrak's side, decided that he would deliver Merrak a nasty surprise when their turn to wrestle came up. Because of his large size, Merrak would routinely overwhelm his competitors with ease, especially Ulmug. However, today Ulmug had a plan to avenge his many defeats, as he snuck a stone into his trousers and had the intention of pelting Merrak in his soft spots to deliver him a quick and nasty blow. Their match began, and Merrak could tell that something was awry with his rival, there was an unnaturally malevolent glow in his eyes, like he wanted to cause pain. Ulmug lunged forward and the two grappled, Merrak clearly held the upper hand, but when the two shifted and Ulmug was out of site of the instructor, he struck Merrak with the stone in the vulnerable part of his ribs. Merrak fell to a knee and Ulmug attempted to choke out Merrak from behind, only to be tossed out in front as Merrak reached behind and caught Ulmug by the scruff. Once they both recovered, Ulmug quickly charged again, attempting to get another blow into Merrak's ribs. Only this time Merrak caught sight of the stone out of the corner of his eye. Reflex got the better of him, and all of his parent's combat training came in to play. Without thinking, Merrak ducked under the furious and uncontrolled charge and struck out with his leg, a strictly non wrestling move, tripping Ulmug, and forcing him headlong into a stump where he promptly broke his neck and died.
Merrak does not remember much from the immediate fall out of this situation as he was in total shock. Though he disliked Ulmug, he was still a member of the tribe and therefore family. Completely wracked with guilt and dismay, young Merrak was brought before the elders and Chief Krothu, where a furious Durbag Yatur, Ulmag's father, was propsing they go as far as carrying out Shurdak Maksha, the most severe and humiliating punishment in Orc culture where they remove the tusks of the offender, but Chief Krothu quickly threw down the suggestions as it was too severe for a youngling. After a quick trial, where his mother Mog was not allowed in the tent (Ilka was away on a raid), and in which he was too shaken up to speak, they sentenced Merrak to undergo "The Trials of the Great Wolf", where an Orc is forced into the wilderness to attempt to survive for a fortnight by themselves. This ritual is traditionally a coming of age trial, to be carried out on an Orc's 15th birthday. However, due to his young age, the tribe leadership believed this to be a suitable form of punishment for using an illegal wrestling move, regardless of the fact that it was self defence.
Merrak packed his things quickly and left the tribe, not even being allowed to say goodbye to his mother. He was only allowed to bring a small hatchet, a water skin, and a cloak. Merrak, entirely dismayed with his situation, ventured East into the Ghostlight Marsh. Being a fit and smart youth, Merrak actually found living by himself somewhat unchallenging, as he was able to find water, food, and shelter with ease, even in the sparse lands of the Marshes. On the 9th day, Merrak awoke to the sound of footsteps slopping through the damp marshland. He drew his hatchet and awaited his visitor, who rounded the corner of his shelter surprised Merrak entirely, it was his father.
Ilka explained that when he returned to the village from his raid, three days after Ulmag's death, he was furious about the situation and demanded an apology from the tribal leaders, which he did not receive. Later that night, Ilka was alone with Mog and they agreed that Ilka should track down Merrak and ensure his safe return, and since he was not bound by Orc tradition he was legally allowed to do so.
Merrak and Ilka then traveled the wildlands for four more days where they spent their time hunting, foraging, and practicing combat. On the 13th day of his trial, Merrak's life was permanently and crucially changed.
Having let their guard down, both Merrak and Ilka were unaware of where they tread, until Merrak stepped in pile of freshly rendered bones, the snap of which shattered the silence and brought Ilka to a dead stop. The eery quiet that followed almost drove Merrak mad, as his father slowly unsheathed his great sword. Several moments passed, and Ilka was almost ready to let his guard down. Then, out of the blue a group of ogres crashed through the bracken and attempted to overwhelm Ilka and his son. The ogres were foul and monstrous creatures, armed with primitive clubs and spears. Ilka managed to toss Merrak out of the way, and drew the attention of the ogres by furiously slashing into them with his greatsword. He had known that his father was a skilled fighter, but never before had Merrak seen such a dazzling display of swordsmanship and ferocity. Ilka da Krazed must have slain four ogres when Merrak realized that his father did not notice a fifth beast coming up from behind him, as he was busy dealing with a number of the creatures in front of him. Without hesitation Merrak unsheathed his hatchet and lobbed it at the ambushing ogre. The blade from the small axe implanted itself neatly into the side of the ogre's skull, unfortunately, this did little more than inconvenience the giant brute, it did however distract it, and changed its target from Ilka to the now weaponless young Merrak. Frozen in place, Merrak began to wonder if this was his last moment on Golarion. The ogre rose its club and readied to strike. Merrak thought about how much he still had left to see of the world… A cry rose out as the ogre began to swing his arm down, "VALLIM VALLEEE!" A bright flash swung through the ogre's right shoulder and cut him through diagonally. A rush of blood and gore fell onto Merrak, but through stained eyes he could see the powerful figure of his father, standing defiantly in the face of death, greatsword dripping with carnage. Then the worst day of Merrak's life truly began…
As Ilka reached down to help his son to his feet, a great knobby hand grasped his ankle and pulled him to the ground. The freshly bisected ogre was in its death throes and had managed to find the strength and latch onto Ilka's leg before dying. Its vice-like grip unrelenting, his sword dropped out of his hand, and with an ever increasing number of ogres coming into the clearing, Ilka knew his time had come. Merrak managed to pick up his father's sword and was all but ready to charge to his side when Ilka yelled out "No Merrak! Get back to the camp, I'll hold them off as long as I can!" Merrak begrudingly turned and ran, looking back just in time to see the first of the ogres reach his father's trapped body, where Ilka had managed to produce a knife from some hidden place, and had begun to slash at the ogre's weak points, but eventually he was overwhelmed. Merrak began to sprint in the opposite direction, an instant later he heard a mighty yell in the distance "VALLIIIIMMM VALLLLEEE-" then a deafening silence, followed by the crunching…
With his father's sword in hand, Merrak ran constantly, halting only a few times for breath and water. Two days straight of cross-country and he finally saw the morning campfires from his tribe. Caked with blood and exhausted beyond belief, the young Half-Orc made it back to his tribe. He explained the events that had transpired, about how his father had slain several giant ogres to defend his son before being slain himself. After receiving treatment for his minor wounds and eating only enough to take the edge off his hunger, Merrak had no choice but to fall asleep. The dreams he had were awful, filled only with the dreadful images of his father being torn asunder by the ogres, and the screaming, first one voice, and then many. Men, women, children, all screaming. Merrak awoke in a cold sweat, but the screaming didn't stop… The ogres had followed him home.
Merrak rushed out of his tent, his father's sword slung across his back, the tip of which was very nearly touching the ground. He tried to take in his surroundings, but there was so much smoke, all he could make our were the screams of his fellow tribespeople, and the grunting and horrible laughing of the ogres. A few large fires sprung up as tents caught ablaze, and Merrak was able to see the grotesque shadows of the ogres murdering his family. He needed to find his Mother. He turned and ran into the heart of the action, dodging the grasping hands of the ogres, until he made it to the other side of the camp's centre near the camp's smithy, his mother's last known location. He tore open the flap of the tent and found Mog rummaging for her two favourite throwing axes. Rushing to her side, Merrak beseeched his mother to run away, for there was nothing they could do against such wreckless brutality. She looked into her nine year old son's eyes and knew she had to take him away to a safe place. Holstering her axes, Mog grabbed Merrak by the arm and dragged him out of the tent, pulling him to the edge of the campsite, which was now completely engulfed in flames, where she hoped there was a chariot remaining for them to use for their escape. Rounding the last tent that was now little more than a smoldering pile of wood and canvas, Mog and Merrak saw that there was indeed one remaining and functional chariot with two horses attached. Hopping into the carriage, the mother and son locked eyes, desperate and sad, but relieved that they were about to make their escape, when a shearing sound changed Mog's eyes into that of pain. Both of them looked down to see the now bloody tip of a long-knife sticking through Mog's midsection. Without having time to process the situation, a mailed backhand caught Merrak in the side of the head and he was thrown from the chariot.
Winded, startled, and dazed, Merrak looked up just in time to see Durbag Yatur ride away in the last chariot, the one that was supposed to be for him and his mother… Anger and confusion melted away into concern. Merrak rushed to his mother's side. Blood was pooling at her lips and her eyes were fixed on Merrak. She managed to pull her belt off and offered it to Merrak, telling him to take her axes and get himself away from the village, far away, and find a new life. With that, Mog Lagakh passed into the next world.
Merrak peeled himself away from his mother's body, his body went into survival mode, his conscious mind shutting off completely. Eventually he had made his way down to the river and fell onto a log which carried him swiftly downstream. He recalled the faint cackling of the ogres who had pursued him down to the river fading away and he distanced himself from his home.
After he eventually washed ashore somewhere dozens of miles away from his homeland, somewhere along the shores of Lake Encarthan, the young and now orphaned Half-Orc began his journey to becoming one of the most fearsome warriors the Inner Sea region had ever seen.
The adventures were many, and the experiences priceless. Due to his large size, Merrak was able to pose as someone much older than he actually was. After making his way to Caliphas, he quickly got picked up by a band of travelling merchants looking for protection. The large and well armed boy seemed to be a decent fit, and he travelled with that band of merchants for many years. Pulling aside in towns all over the Western part of the world, where he grew in size as well as skill. He gathered knowledge about engineering, dungeoneering, and, because it was the one time he could truly relax, baking.
He continued to travel the world, and his wounds healed to a degree, but he never forgot the devastation that befell his tribe, nor the betrayal of the coward Durbag. Soon he would return home to the Hold of Belkzen, and avenge his tribe.
On the eve of his 23rd birthday, Merrak's band of merchants, of which he now owned a majority share, pulled into a small port town of very little importance. Settling his caravan in at their lodgings, Merrak made his way down to the local inn to rectuit some additional security, as their recent adventure through the Mwangi Expanse had taken its toll on his guard forces. After chatting with a few people at the bar, Merrak realized a couple things. Firstly, the stock from which he could draft appeared to be slim, and secondly, he was by far the largest person in the crowd. He grabbed the freshly poured ale placed in front of him, put his lips to the cup, and immediately blacked out. Awakening what he could only imagine was several hours later, Merrak tried to get his bearings, but it was dark, cold, and damp, and he felt as if he was rocking. He was on a ship…