For a Few Gold Pieces More
Mel Rudren stands about 2’ 11”, weighing around 33 pounds. Like most halflings, Mel is lithe and lean in frame, though due to his endurance training, he is solidly built – overall, he is of an athletic build. Mel’s skin is healthily ruddy, a sign that he spends a great deal out in the sun. His long hair is as black as ebony, and is tied into a ponytail, presented in a business-like manner – Mel took a personal oath, that he would never cut his hair so long as he lives, and is insulted when someone suggests trimming it. His eyes are a dark green, which always seem to be scanning his surroundings in a calculating manner.
Mel’s clothing is relatively common looking enough; wearing a loose shirt, fitted breeches, and shoes.
While it depends on whom he is addressing, Mel’s attitude can best be described as in between surly and reticent – he will casually correct or make a remark on someone’s speech or grammar, yet maintain it in a non-aggressive (however insulting) manner. It is hard for an outsider to tell whether this is just part of his nature or he gets some amusement out of it [he believes that this can show a person’s character – how easily they can be bent out of shape]; however, he is intelligent and perceptive, and never lets this trait get out of hand.
Mel doesn’t really care a great deal about other people’s problems so long as (a) it does not involve him and (b) there is a great injustice to be corrected; while hardly altruistic, he may help someone he doesn’t know, though he often has ulterior motives or may request that a service be done to him in return (though he is reasonable with the latter).
Mel grew up on Lubber’s Loop in the Azure district of Sassarine, along with Milo and Verna, his mother and father. Milo and Mel worked at the docks, doing odd jobs for the sailors (cleaning the bilge, scraping off barnacles, etc) while Verna worked at Nate’s Nets, repairing lines. While their living was far from luxurious, they got by.
Upon reaching adolescence around 19, Mel realized (with prodding by his mother) that he a gift of intelligence; indeed, he came to the realization that such a gift should not be squandered living at the docks. He then approached the Azure Cathedral, requesting that, in return for his devoted service, he could learn all there was to be learned – whether through reading scrolls or personal experience. The church agreed, and he was placed with a tutor who represented Osprem, the deity of sea travel. Learning theology, exotic martial combat prowess, and relying on one’s self to achieve goals, he became an acolyte for Osprem. Mel also places religious importance upon Urogalan (uur-roh-gah-lan), the halfling god of death and judgment, though the church of Opsrem didn’t take exception (both are Lawful Neutral deities).
After about six years of training – physically, mentally, and spiritually – Mel completed his training (though he was told his learning was far from over). Now an acolyte, Mel was instructed to take a voyage onto the sea, and that all would be explained in time. While Mel thought the instructions somewhat cryptic, he nonetheless accepted his mission.
‘Rush of the Beating Wave’: Due to his size and strength, Mel had difficulty mastering some of the rapid-fire attacks of other students – he found that he failed to hit the target more often than not. Discouraged that he would fall behind in skill, he tried to find solace. After meditating by a river, he noted how water could, after time, wear away even rocks; if he could imitate this, his enemies would eventually fall, given patience. Instead of throwing a flurry of punches, he gracefully rushes at an opponent, allowing his momentum to carry his fist into a soft spot; one strike will never be enough, so he must make ready to continue the task upon completion. this is a replacement of ‘flurry of blows’, and instead receives skirmish ability (Races of the Wild).