A Murder of Crows
Tiefling Paladin, a Roving Lawman Equipped with a Peacemaker
Decription: Gaius is tall, even for a tiefling, standing at a full height of a little over six feet stretched across a wiry, somewhat gaunt frame. His demonic heritage is evident in several ways: the sclera of his eyes are black, the irises red. On his forehead, at the hairline, he has two small horns, each about the size of the topmost joint of his thumbs. His skin is a pale white, almost violet, though on its own its unnatural hue is easily mistaken for illness or an other-than-demonic racial expression that, at the least, marks him as not a pure-blooded human. His nails come to distinct points if left on their own, though Gaius keeps them well-groomed and flat. And lastly, he has a tail, similar to that of a rat or monkey, albeit hairless, and extending roughly three feet. Gaius has command over this appendage, though like most of his demonic traits, he sees it as a source of minor shame. His hair is black, long, straight, and stringy, and frequently in need of a wash, and he usually wears a van dyke-style mustache and goatee. Cleaned up, in nice clothing, and presented to one who either overlooked or didn’t mind his demonic heritage, he would be rather handsome.
Much of Gaius’ life is spent outdoors, in travel, or generally away from settlements, and his dress and the state of his clothing and equipment reflects this. While he takes care to maintain good hygiene when visiting the barracks frequently, he is just as often in need of a bath when traveling abroad, and his clothes are commonly dirty, threadbare, torn, stained, or generally shabby-looking. On the common occurrence that he isn’t cleaned up for church or a function that demands impeccable grooming, he wears a broad-brimmed hat, poncho, gentleman’s shirt and trousers, riding boots, and gloves, all without embellishments and in shades of brown to black. His armor is a dyed-black suit of studded leather armor, and he wears the holy symbol of his deity proudly around his neck in plain view. While some see his dress as unbecoming of a paladin, Gaius wears what he does to conceal his appearance for the sake of others, hiding his horns and eyes under the brim of his hat, and covering his skin as much as possible. The selection of color is ideological, and symbolic; the darkness on his back is the same darkness he hopes to carry away from the lives of those he meets.
In person, Gaius is genteel, courteous, and attempts always to comport himself with kindness to his fellow man and respect even for his enemies. A strong believer that “to know all is to forgive all”, he tries not to judge others too harshly and assumes the best about people while nevertheless shoring up his defenses against treachery. He is reserved in conversation, never giving too much away, and tries to keep a tight rein on his emotions, fearful as he is of his own passions running away with him to places he dare not go. He is plain spoken, sincere, methodical, and slow to anger or violence, electing to cause harm only as a last resort, and only insofar as is needed to neutralize an imminent threat.
Biography: Gaius doesn’t know his parents, though he calls the members of the church of the Legionnaire his family. His earliest memories are of the church where he was orphaned as a boy, spared from death by a world-wise and unbelievably kind priest: world-wise, as he recognized the child for what he was, and kind, for he believed that his destiny need not be determined by his heritage. Taking on the homeless child as a personal project intended to prove that nurture could overcome nature, the priest, Father Vega Diego, was principally in charge of Gaius’ upbringing from the age of five.
Father Diego was a man who had, for years past, been locking horns with the Commander of his barrack, a man named Schroeder, on the subject of nature, and what bearing it had on a creature’s life; if wicked creatures were bad from birth, or a product of their upbringing and culture, for example. It was in this orphaned child that Father Deigo believed he could make a most persuasive argument as well as serve the ultimate good of the child. Most of Gaius’ childhood was spent within the church, in cloister, so as to protect him from those who might seek to harm him based on his appearance. He was brought up in the ways of the church, educated, made literate, and for several years of his childhood enjoyed an enviable and carefree – if humble – life.
During his mid-adolescence, Gaius ws permitted to sometimes leave the church grounds – the ‘Barracks’ of the Legionnaire – and it was during these excursions that he first experienced injustice and strife as anything other than academic concepts. While many of the people of his town clearly did not trust him, his association with the church afforded him a begrudging tolerance from even the staunchest racist. Most others were not so fortunate, however: all around him, peaceful creatures were judged, excluded, harmed, and even killed not because of who they were, but because of what they were. This enraged Gaius’ sense of justice and fairness, and as a young teen, he devoted much of his free time to attempting to help those that others passed by. His efforts were freshman; his victories paltry; but he felt as though he was making a difference. For a very few, he was.
At the age of sixteen, Gaius’ adopted father, Vega Diego, suffered from a medical complaint that ended his life. The attitude within the church about Gaius’ continued presence was split: many thought that the boy was an obvious choice for a new acolyte, but there was an equally ardent minority within the church – among them Commander Schroeder, who remained unconvinced of Diego’s success with his orphaned demon-child – that claimed having a tiefling in the church would disturb the community and sow seeds of distrust between the people and the church. It was for these ugly, political reasons that it was eventually decided that Gaius would have to leave the church. Devastated to find himself a stranger in the only home he’d ever known, Gaius left with the well-meaning but ultimately hollow promise from his family that he would always be welcome to “visit”.
While he was no warrior, the discipline, discretion, and courtesy he learned as a boy served him well at the task of getting by on his own. Gaius wandered the plains for a period, remaining true to his beliefs and his faith. Even if his brothers had momentarily lost the path, he reasoned, he would not abandon it, himself, out of scorn or spite, and he loved them, regardless, and hoped that eventually he could show them their fault. Most of his efforts to blend in or defend others ended in despair, as he found that – not accounting for the places he was outright banned from – most places and people whom he met treated him with varying degrees of fear, revulsion, and scorn, and so it was that in defense, be began to hide his appearance, crafting a bulwark against detection and a fearsome countenance with which to speak and be heard. His travels took him as far as he could manage, and as he went, he would do what he could to settle disputes, bring peace and accord, and mend relationships; sometimes successfully, frequently not.
It was then that another mentor stepped into Gaius’ life: a dwarven Paladin of the Legionnaire, a man named Kaskus Gunnarson. Kaskus was a former adventurer, and an old man when Gaius met him, who had, during his travels and adventures throughout the land, been the best of friends with an orc. The old dwarf sensed in the young man an eager and sincere student, and having long since disposed of his own sense of racial prejudice, took the young tiefling in and taught him how to use the strength of his convictions to help the weak and to oppose the wicked. The tool Kaskus used for the job – the tool that he taught Gaius to use, in turn – was a pistol, of the kind made by Kaskus’ clan.
One year past, and Gaius has left the side of his mentor, newly empowered to make a difference in the world and eager to find that which is wrong with the world and make it right.