"Into the LeafWild"
A human ranger from the plains of Karrat, who loves ale and longs for glory.
Lock typically uses a longbow in battle, or a javelin. But he is very excited about the recent acquisition of a Wand of Wonder, and finds a reason to use it as often as possible.
In the predominantly elven kingdom of Elaras, humans and mixed races are not trusted. Lock Bastion, being a pure-bred human, is one of those cast out of popular society. He survives and thrives with a nomadic group of human and human mixes, called the Bastions. The Bastions are a century-old nomadic group founded as a refuge for outlander humans and half-races amid the rise of elves and other magical races. Outcasts, humans, and human-mixes of “the new age” banded together to form a society in which everyone was trusted and treated as equals. As the years passed, the guild gained popularity among the merchants and members of secret trading societies, also referred to as the shadow market. The Bastions are popularly referred to as a Nomadic Merchant Guild.
Many of the members of the Bastions are descendants of the original eleven Founders that formed the Bastions. Elrich, the only half-elf among the Founders, was named Grandfather Bastion after decades of loyalty and leadership. He was the last living Founder of the eleven after approximately 100 years. Elves are known for their long lifespan, but being only half-elf, Elrich was slowly dying. Elrich had had no children; he considered all the Bastions his family, so he was a revered father figure.
On a particularly gloomy day at the market, Elrich saw an infant boy, who looked to be around eighteen months old, being sold on the shadow market. Knowing that the boy would most likely be sold to orcs as a slave, or worse, Elrich bought the boy and named him Lock, inspired by the tattoo on his right arm. Elrich taught Lock all he knew about speechcraft. By the young age of five, Lock was already buying and selling things for deals that no one could have guessed came from a five-year-old. After Lock turned ten, he had refined and perfected his skills in speechcraft, and even the odd mix of code and gibberish known as Thieves’ Cant. Craving even more knowledge from Grandfather about the market, he followed him and a group of other trade-speakers, into a tent that read, “Better Loot At Krafty Kit’s." Upon further inspection of the group of men, Lock discovered their shadier trade: Bounty Hunters.
In the years after Lock’s discovery, Elrich began teaching Lock the ways of the ranger: using simple tools to survive and reading the wilderness to track and capture his quarry, animal or otherwise. When Lock reached manhood at eighteen, Elrich assured him that he had indeed learned all that Elrich knew. Lock wasn’t so sure, the night before Elrich passed into legend. Around the Bastion fire, Elrich told his last tale of the days of the Founders that night, an odd legend about the first half-elves, graceful and wise as their elf cousins, but cast out for their human sentiments and ambitions. As Elrich spoke, Lock understood just how much wisdom Elrich had achieved in his long life, and how much he himself had yet to learn about the wide world he was entering. When Elrich finished, he called Lock to the fore and the Bastions honored him as a man, a full member of the Bastions, with full rights and privileges in council meetings. Just as their tribute to Lock was finished, Elrich collapsed in a fit of wracking coughs and a fever that lasted all night and most of the next day. Lock stood by Elrich’s bed throughout his final hours, and witnessed his final breaths. In a brief moment of final clarity, Elrich came to his senses at the end, saw Lock, and brokenly said to him, “L-Lock…money and manners aren’t everything…trust your wits, son…” And Elrich breathed his last. That night was the burning of Elrich, and the night-long farewell that is custom among the Bastions for their own.
Lock continued to practice what Elrich taught him, become more and more proficient in his craft and trade. At one particularly raucous festival, a small group of well-dressed, well-mannered humans overheard Lock boasting about a bounty that only took him a matter of minutes to collect. The men goaded Lock into helping them capture the beautiful Ariah, the daughter of the regional governor, for a ransom of 1000 gold pieces, to be split evenly among them. Lock, more interested in preserving his pride than in pocketing the reward, agreed. Lock made his way to the palace of the Silverwood family, and charmed his way into an urgent audience with the Lady Ariah. Lock appealed to her pity, tricking the young and innocent elven beauty into leaving her family’s manor in the dark of night, supposedly to bring a bag of gold to a poor and starving family whose farm had been overrun with brigands. Ariah quickly collects a bag of gold, a traveling cloak, and sets out with Lock, suspecting nothing. Against his better judgment, Lock led Lady Ariah right into the ransomers’ arms, delivering them the girl and the gold before midnight. The men, giddy with their success, congratulated Lock that his reputation was well-deserved, but revealed their true nature as bandits and short-changed Lock his promised fee, choosing to throw him only Ariah’s own bag of gold. The laughing bandits left with the girl screaming for help. As Lock stood in the cold night weighing Ariah’s bag in his hands, his heart felt the burden of the consequences of his poor judgment, feeling that he had let down Elrich like never before. Lock quickly thought up a plan to get her back. Returning to the Bastions, Lock concocted a smooth story about the girl’s capture, and showed them the 50gp as an advance payment from the girl’s family for her safe and swift return. With the help of three other Bastions, Lock managed to corner the bandits, attack them, free the girl, and keep the gold. Ariah is of course terrified of Lock, but the Bastions think nothing of this as they bring her back to the Silverwood family palace. It isn’t until the Bastions ask Lord and Lady Silverwood for the other half of the gold they supposedly promised, that they see Lock did not tell them the truth of the matter. Outraged, Lord Silverwood outlaws all Bastions from his lands, giving them one night to clear out. Lady Silverwood calms her daughter Ariah enough that the girl finally manages to tell the whole story, and accuse Lock of greed, lying, and extortion. They return the 50 gold, and flee the palace, rounding up the remaining Bastions in the area, and hastily set out from the Silverwoods’ domain. Once a safe distance away from their border, the Bastions haul Lock out for a public trial. Lock is so shaken by the night’s events that he readily tells his family of outcasts the truth.
Having betrayed the trust of the Bastions — one of their founding principles — and having endangered their safety and restricted their movements, the council has no option but to banish Lock from their company.
Coming to terms with the fitting consequences of his poor judgment, Lock relies on his own wits and ample survival-craft to get by. Over the next couple years, Lock travels city to city, collecting bounties that he senses to be just or deserved, and selling goods stolen from said criminals. Having learned that trust is hard-won and easily broken, Lock chooses not to let anyone close to him. He works hard to overcome his shady past, doing good as he can. He does keep the name Bastion, however, to honor Elrich, who he owes so much. It isn’t until he receives a letter of summons from the wizard Grennet Grimbrow in Elaras that Lock is faced again with the decision to place his life in the hands of others, and take on their problems as his own. He is still undecided, but the memory of Elrich’s last words guides Lock to at least hear the wizard’s dilemma.