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Crushing Soul of Bronze


Crushing Soul of Bronze is a mercenary. He is descended from several generations of professional soldiers from the city of Yane, none of outstanding merit. His mother died when he was three, his father passed away when he was eight. He was instructed in the disciplines of swordplay and military tactics until his father’s death, and after a few weeks of living on the streets, was picked up by the Red Fangs, the mercenary group with which he spent most of his life.

The circumstances of his acceptance into the Red Fangs are especially noteworthy. One of the two arms specialists in the band noticed the young boy staring at the sword at his belt. After condescendingly letting him heft it, the arms specialist was shocked by Crushing Soul of Bronze’s reaction: “The balance is kinda off. I thought it was a better sword, you can take it back.” Intrigued by the child’s knowledge of weapons, the arms specialist questioned the boy and, after uncovering his circumstances, took him back to the Red Fang’s lodgings.

As is to be expected, there were complaints about taking in a mere child, but the second-in-command of the band spoke in favor of accepting the new recruit. This is what he said in Crushing Soul of Bronze’s defense: “I recognize that he wouldn’t immediately be a useful addition to the Red Fangs, and will, for some time, be only slightly better than a drain on our resources, but I urge you to consider the longer term. I’m not going to attempt to sway you with his sad state of affairs, but will instead tell you why taking on a child as a recruit is at least as profitable as recruiting an adult. A child eats less than a fully grown man, and it is therefore cheaper to feed during his training period. Children are also widely known to learn faster than adults, and this child already has some knowledge of our skills. Furthermore, being raised by us would lead to a much firmer sense of loyalty and dedication to the Red Fangs, an important factor in combat. And at least at an early age, he will not be overly worried about pay, only about food and friendship, so we will not be expending too much capital. Think about it. If we hired an adult, even one already skilled in combat, we would spend much more money in initial recruitment costs and in his cut of the pay. So the child is both economical and will probably turn out to be a better warrior than any adult we could hire, being intimately trained in combat almost from birth.” And after this speech, few refused to accept the orphan into their band. So much for that.

He fought in his first battle, a small skirmish with bandits, at the age of twelve, and continued to serve honorably with the Red Fangs up until his exaltation at the age of 28. What follows is the details surrounding his exaltation. As an aside, it is important to note that the chief rivals of the Red Fangs in the area were a band of mercenaries known as the Shadow Hand. Said rivals were camped a day’s march away from the Red Fang’s current location, on a similar defensive mission, protecting a large trading caravan. Crushing Soul of Bronze, now in a high position in the company, proposed an attack on the Shadow Hand.

“Why should we sit here and watch those who have done us such wrong in the past as they make profit? We could easily catch them by surprise and strike a decisive blow against our long-standing foe. In doing so, we could earn fame as the strongest band in this part of the world. This would in turn lead to better, more profitable assignments in the future. Also, I know that the Shadow Hand’s patrons are heading in the same direction as ours, so we could take on their business as well as our own, making double the profit in a single run. By attacking just before dawn and encircling our enemy, we could easily retreat if the battle began to go badly for us, while our enemies have no such chance. They will not be expecting us, so we can catch them without their armor on, and just waking up, and to minimize casualties I recommend beginning the attack with bows and javelins before drawing swords. If you adopt this plan, we have a high probability of success with little risk of failure, and minimal problems should we fail. Chances like this don’t appear frequently, and so we should take advantage of what is put in front of us.”

The leader of the company rebuffed Crushing Soul of Bronze’s idea. “He wants us to take time away from our mission to lead an attack on the Shadow Hand. This is not as beneficial as he would have you believe. Taking several days out of our schedule to fight an unnecessary battle loses us fees from our client, which may or may not be recovered by any victory we achieve. Why fight a battle we don’t have to? Why risk our own lives by putting them into combat and into the hands of the gods? Is it not known that men will fight more valiantly when pressed harder? If so, then a major attack on the Shadow Hand is likely to end in failure, for they are fighting for their very survival, whereas we would be fighting for insubstantial concepts such as ‘fame’ and ‘reputation.’ No, it is better to let each of us continue with our duties without interruption.”

After a large majority of the Red Fang sided with their leader, Crushing Soul of Bronze, in a fit of rage, left the camp. He walked alone into the wilderness for several hours before lying on the ground and staring dejectedly at the sky. It was then that he sensed a presence. Standing up quickly, he glanced around, then immediately fell back to his knees, for he had looked into the face of the Unconquered Sun himself, and was struck down with awe. The god said only, “Do you want power?” Crushing Soul of Bronze recovered immediately and answered simply “Yes.” The Unconquered Sun pulled an orichalcum grand daiklave from his back and thrust it into the ground in front of him, then abruptly vanished. Upon gripping the handle of the sword, Crushing Soul of Bronze was filled with awesomeness. His first act as an Exalted was to single-handedly slay the entire Shadow Hand company in a fit of rage. He remembers little about the incident other than the feel of the sword in his hands and vague memories of blood. When this proved uninteresting and definitely not something worthy of his new station in life, he ceased to fight anything he didn’t consider a challenge. Since then, he has been following the Red Fang, looking for either a worthy battle or a purpose. They tacitly recognize that he is Anathema, but out of a combination of fear, obligation, and respect, leave him be. Many of his old friends still occasionally chat with him, but he is no longer considered part of the company.


He cares little about anyone and doesn’t easily become attached to other people. This comes from his short but intense experiences as a street orphan and growing up in a community where sudden death is accepted as a normal part of life. He believes almost solely in the right of any worthy individual (especially himself) to seek more power, but isn’t easily willing to part with the familiar. He is naturally curious about anyone else with power.

He is rarely surprised by anything anymore, and is often withdrawn, but is not lacking in cynicism or sarcasm when the situation calls for either. His worldview is fairly small-minded, and he is not horribly interested in most non-military affairs, whether social or political.