Geruul Ra'tesh (3.5e NPC)
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History and Background
Born into poverty and abandonment, Geruul began life with the name Sorhel'ak; given to him in the form of a small, almost illiterately written note tied to his arm as an infant. Found crying in the slums of a withering kingdom within the Material Plane, Sorhel'ak was raised by a poor azer man nearing the end of his life; an act of compassion which was only prompted by the man's ambitions of training Sorhel'ak to regain the fortune he had lost ages prior. Growing up as little more than a pawn-in-training, the young rakshasa boy began his path of the fighter at the ripe age of 16 under his foster father's commanding eye; a path the old man would quickly come to regret.
Upon reaching the age of 18, the azer felt that Sorhel'ak was prepared to finally prove his worth by using the skills he had obtained thusfar in order to gain the trust of a well-respected druid boy by the name of Leafsinger who lived a short distance from their kingdom; Sorhel'ak, upon befriending the boy, was then ordered to eviscerate him in cold blood. Despite his willingness to obey the man who he called father whilst being subjected to brutalizing training sessions, murder of an innocent youngster was so far beyond Sorhel'ak's capacities that he instead flew into a fit of rage and destroyed the old man's shanty, setting it ablaze and crushing his foster father under smoldering debris. Unaware of what had happened to provoke such an outburst -which was then seen as murder- the king's guard attempted to capture Sorhel'ak for questioning; however, by the time they arrived, the young man vanished into the neighboring woodlands.
Becoming Ashborn and Life Since
Crackling of flame, splintering of wood, and the putrid stench of boiling flesh haunted every second of Sorhel'ak's existence afterward; forcing him to build a new life on his own under the chosen name Geruul Ra'tesh. Assuming a fresh identity and crafting a solid reputation as a competent bounty hunter, Geruul sought solace from his agonizing memories which he could not drown out through food, drink, or pleasurable company. This search eventually led him to rumors of odd individuals who called themselves ashborn; those who had abandoned deities, civilized life, and the comfort of company in the pursuit of decay and solitude. Such a lonesome, hollow existence to so many others had piqued what little interest Geruul could muster from his intoxicated stupor; so much so that, between bounties, he would research this group of walking plagues of fire until he had at last discovered not only their purpose, but also that the means of beginning an ashborn life appeared to be tailored specifically to exactly what he needed to wash away his past: the Oath of the Ashborn. Taking time to find a serene forest clearing, Geruul meditated, lost in the oceans of thoughts and feelings which inundated the words he needed to complete his oath; until finally, the thought became clear.
Transfixed by his profound message, Geruul sat motionless for several moments, staring blankly into a sea of trees before him; slowly but surely, the words escaped his lips. "The past has passed, and so I have learned. All who oppress me shall surely be burned. And never again will I have family; though through trials aplenty, my trust shall be earned." He spoke in a hush that seemed to echo through an endless, unseen corridor; and in an instant, surges of evolution coursed though his numb veins. While every muscle in Geruul's body visibly shrank to meek versions of their former selves, a renewing burst of strength pulsed throughout as his eyes began to morph as well. The whites of his eyes shifted to a soul-shivering black; and where his formerly vibrant, golden eyes once rested, abyss-like orbs with nearly white rings now called home. It was this precise moment when Geruul Ra'tesh was truly born, free of the past's burdens; yet somehow anchored by his vow, an urge to corrode all who would profess themselves his his master flourished. Where he went from this point on is a story for another day.
Preferred Battle Strategy
Thanks to numerous years as a seasoned bounty hunter, Geruul tends toward a mildly-stealthy approach toward hunting less intelligent targets; however, if his target is clearly capable of reasoning, he will graciously use his surprisingly charismatic disposition in order to talk the individual into surrendering peacefully. If such an opportunity fails, or if the target immediately attacks, Geruul will not hesitate to utilized the terrifying nature of the ashborn in order to incapacitate his victim long enough to capture or finish them off. Greatly preferring scythes, Geruul's melee combat is often quite grisly yet effective; he therefore will only use his Ashen Breath, Rusting Touch, etc. as supplemental tactics.
Despite approaching his profession with a unique sense of honor and respect, Geruul will also use any means necessary to subdue or kill his enemies; this includes dirty tactics and gruesome displays meant to demoralize or horrify, such as using decaying limbs as projectiles. Further, he will gladly use any items in his disposal in a variety of ways -including unintended methods- in order to escape danger or weaken pray; this includes, but is not limited to, hiding inside a bag of holding which he placed amongst a pile of loot in order to attract enemies for an unorthodox sneak attack.