Player: Jeff Mork
Character: Fiendskap Darkcackle
Born: Fiendskap Darkcackle of Pack Darkcackle of Clan Stormjarl
Birth Year: 231
Xenophobic. “They’re animals you know, they don’t have souls…”: Fiendskap is able to work with other races, but does not like it. He recognizes that the other races are intelligent, but does not see them as sentient beings. To him, their value is only in the services they can provide. His view is that the Ulven are the only race worthy of partaking in the afterlife. He would think no more of killing a Human or Syndar traveling companion that has proved itself untrustworthy, then of putting down a lamed barn cat. Probably less, he may have liked the cat.
Extremely hesitant to kill Ulven: Fiendskap is highly focused on the afterlife, and how his actions will affect his name. While he feels no hesitation at killing “animals”, like the Humans, Syndar, Mordok, or Undead, he feels that wrongly taking the life of an Ulven is a crime he would be committing against his very soul.
If you want to understand Fiendskap Darkcackle and aren’t willing to ask him yourself, your best bet is to ask his Uncle and former Chieftain, Agnor Darkcackle of Clan Stormjarl. Agnor will tell you all about Fiendskap. He will tell you that Fiendskap was born in the eastern forests of Clan Stormjarl’s territory, just like all of the other Darkcackle. That he grew up on his family’s farm, just like all of the other Darkcackle. That as a boy he learned to laugh instead of cry when he was hurt in addition to when he was amused, until he could not tell the difference, just like all of the other Darkcackle. That he learned his father’s trade (carpentry in Fiendskap’s case) and how to hunt and farm, just like all of the other Darkcackle. He will tell you how Fiendskap is just like all of the other Darkcackle until you give up in disgust, or get angry enough to draw your sword. Then (if Agnor doesn’t think he can take you), and only then, will he tell you something different.
Agnor will tell you that the Mordok attack that took Fiendskap’s family was unexpected. Pack Darkcackle is located in the eastern part of Clan Stormjarl lands (currently under Grimward occupation) in the great forest just north of the Yurnai River’s delta. They are almost as far as you can get from the Dirge Swamp, even further southwest than Clan Grimward (who provide a ferocious shield). Members of Pack Darkcackle are content to live their lives away from outsiders, far away from any settlement worthy of the name. They don’t even carry weapons except for hunting or practice. Perhaps that was why the Mordok found them. Perhaps they stumbled upon Fiendskap’s home while seeking invisibility in the forest that provided Pack Darkcackle its seclusion. Perhaps they were foraging for food on their long trek south to “softer” targets. Perhaps the Mordok were lost. In the end, it didn’t really matter why. After the attack, Fiendskap asked if he could travel north to help Pack Longfang near the Dirge Swamp, Agnor agreed. What more could you possibly want to know?
What Agnor won’t tell you about, regardless of how hard you press him; is the laughter.
It was the laughter that first caused Agnor to turn down the path towards Fiendskap’s farm. Although he now turns from the sound of laughter in the day, he turns towards it every night in his dreams. After all, it’s uncommon to hear such sustained laughter from a solitary adult. He walks quickly, looking ahead for signs of danger, until he spies it hidden in the ferns off to the side of the path. Agnor was so perplexed by the suffocating stench of rotting meat that he had failed to recognize the scent of Mordok. The foul odor is forcing itself down his throat now though. He notices the boot, pierced through the sole by the primary punji sticks now erupting cleanly through the top, held in place by the secondary sticks the Mordok didn’t even realize till it tried to remove its mangled foot. Agnor could read the ground as well as his own lore book. The uneven scores in the blood drenched ground told of the frantic slashing with sword till the leg was free of foot. The bent and crushed grass in multiple directions, of the crawl to escape. The thicker blood and matted grass, of where the creature stopped and expired. The grass evenly smothered, as with the drag trail of game. Unwillingly, he grabs a fallen branch and starts to run, his muscles already knotting in anticipation of what his mind cannot yet remember. He burst into the clearing as the laughter suddenly ends.
In it he finds a scene that he still actively denies.
Fiendskap is sitting on a stump near the fire. He turns quickly as he starts at Agnor’s arrival, dropping his food and fluidly nocking an arrow. Fiendskap is only half a heartbeat from loosing the arrow as he recognizes his Chieftain, and freezes for entirely too long before releasing the tension. It’s at this point when Agnor usually becomes aware of his dreaming, but that only makes it worse as he continues to watch without his consent. His mind free to languish in the details he missed the first time around.
His focus widens from the tip of the gleaming broadhead to take in the sights of the yard. The two dark hides, scraped and stretched in their frames. The neatly stacked pile of meat festering in the sun. The discarded, toothless, tongueless severed heads near it. There was an even smaller scattering of Mordok fangs that might have made the rune for forgiveness. At least they might have before the majority of them were savagely kicked into the not so small fire. A fire that Agnor now recognized as the remnants of a funeral pyre.
“They’re animals you know, they don’t have a soul…” was the first thing Fiendskap said while seeming to look directly through Agnor’s. “I know the Daughters will say the Mordok I have killed will tell the Great Wolf my name, but they are wrong. Dead wrong. These ones certainly won’t, I made sure of it.”
“When I came back from the hunt I found them. They were eating my family. People don’t do that, people have souls. They may think, they may be intelligent, but the Mordok are NOT people… People have souls.” Followed by a sudden giggle.
“You know, my Father always told me that I would never need to train for war. That a Mordok, a Syndar, or a Man. They would all die the same as an animal… That I should focus on hunting. That I should kill two birds with one stone. He was wrong…
A Mordok doesn’t die the same as an animal. I can’t honestly say about a Syndar or a Man, but I suspect they are the same.”
“When you shoot an animal, if you don’t kill it outright that is; it will keep running. Even if it’s dead on its feet, it will run until it dies standing and falls to the ground. Not a Mordok. A Mordok knows when it’s beaten. All you have to do is give it a mortal wound and it lays down. It will scream in pain. It will curse at you. It will wish its foul deeds upon you and yours. And it will lie down. Only when its words have no effect and you are still calmly watching it die, will it show any spirit. It will realize that you will not leave, that you refuse to finish it.”
“That is when the Mordok thinks it might still have a chance to live. It will call to its fellow to kill you. It will call to its fellow to heal it. But, its fellow can’t come. Not if you’ve already killed it. It’s not the Mordok’s fault. So you try to help, you wear the skin of its comrade’s hands, and bandage it’s leg. But it runs away no matter how you try to help.”
“It is too stupid to heed your warnings, and stumbles into your trap. When it finally frees itself, it does something so stupidly profane that you can’t excuse it… You need to end it.”
“Then you are left with yourself… Alone… All alone… Without anyone… No matter how hard you try, you can’t laugh anymore.”
That is when Agnor wonders as he does every night why the laughter is so loud in the dead silence, until he blessedly awakens to realize that the laughter is his.
Even if you were there next to him as he woke at his weakest, Agnor would never tell why he is laughing. That he failed to discover the courage to ask Fiendskap what he was eating. Just like all of the other Darkcackle.