Place of Origin: Tear
Appearance: Armand has no hair. His scalp is bald and scarred after an 'incident' and he wears a ridiculously large hat. He has a handle-bar moustache; his nose has been broken numerous times and his cheek bones also look to have taken repeated strikes. He has a rope-burn scar around his throat. His body is covered by numerous scars, evidence that he learnt to use weapons the old fashioned way; but nowhere is it more apparent than the thick ridges of scar tissue running down his right knuckles. He is also missing a finger on that hand, or half of one. His eyes are so deeply set that they appear almost black but are brown. He is heavily built and average height.
Armand was born into nobility. The son of the upper crust, he spent his days drinking, gambling and wasting his copious stipend. Belonging to the privileged class he was given tutelage in weapons and warfare, which he mostly forgot. He did, however, come to find the mechanics of the bow to his liking and dedicated his martial pursuits to 'mastery' of this weapon, using this skill to win himself bets and entertain his guests.
His father became fed up with his son's profligate ways and decided to withhold the stipend indefinitely until Armand pretended to be useful for a change. In response, Armand decided that he didn't need a stupid stipend, nor a stupid father. They were, in a sense, cramping his style and he'd be much better without them. His father was more than happy to see his son go into the real world, hoping that a little reality might teach him how lucky he was to be born with such a pedigree and would soon come home with his 'tail between his legs.'
This did not happen.
Armand had but one skill, Archery and he was good at it, very good. He used it to earn his bread while travelling, duping naive farmers or tradesman out of their coin. For a while life really was as care-free and easy as he believed it would be without his father around to yell and scream at him all the time about being lazy. You know, and I know, that things would change very soon for young Armand.
He was approached and offered some ad-hoc protection work: protecting a farmer's cattle from preying wolves bent on thinning his flock. The job was relatively easy and Armand even managed to injure some of the wolves by firing upon them. To the best of his knowledge they never returned and he was paid well. He liked this and more protection work came his way. Small things like protecting stalls that were often victims of vandals. Protection work was good to him. Real good.
He caught the attention of a passing, mixed-gender mercenary band who offered him a permanent position after witnessing first hand his abilities with the bow. Deciding to try his hand he agreed and was soon travelling with them. He was a very long way from home before he began to understand the type of crowd he had fallen into. Rape, pillage and plunder were their main motivations and Armand balked at the thought of killing another person as well as stealing maidenhood.
He was, of course, expected to on both counts to earn his 'stripes' if you will. By now he was deeply involved in the company and owed them for coin, meals, and providing him with the basic comforts of life while he learnt his way around actual combat. He relented and allowed himself to be talked into murder, but spent many weeks after that nauseous whenever he touched his bow.
To the other he refused ultimately. Naturally, when those with whom he associated learnt this they decided that if he was not to enjoy, along with them, the boons of their occupation he couldn't really be trusted and he was excused from duty. By this I mean he was caught unaware in the night, beaten unto unconsciousness and his hair was braided to the tail of his horse, what was then smacked sharply on the rump and sent galloping into the wilderness.
Luck was on his side, a copse of trees stopped his mad flight, busting his ribs, breaking his knee, but ensuring that his head would not strike a stone. Unfortunately his scalp was not so lucky and a galloping horse applied of a lot of force. Not only his hair, but much of his scalp was removed in the process, but he survived.
Fallen from grace he took to the drink and opted for small stints as a hired bully. His rough appearance was enough in most cases to reinforce demands without incident but at times he was called upon to get physical. Projecting his own self-loathing onto those he was charged with battering leant him a certain desperate strength and he always seemed to come out better off, if barely. As time wore on and received more and more injuries he was confronted less and less, which was a shame because by that time he was something of the adept. He still put his bow to work, of course, but was now even less picky over the contracts he accepted.
At times he thought of returning home but was too ashamed of what he had done and what he had become to do so. His hair never did grow again and he fantasised from time to time of bloody vengeance but new he was too much the coward to make good. The drink was a very good companion in these times.
Mercenaries know other mercenaries; this is how the game works. At times he worked with one and at other times he was on the opposing sides. Contracts were limited and competition was rough, but this is a fact of mercenary life. You get used to murdering someone who only weeks ago you were sharing a drink with, or fighting alongside.
A Taraboner named Fakhir became his nemesis. The Wheel would have it that they never worked in any capacity other than opposing sides in any given conflict and they often clashed. It was a strange relationship, thoroughly professional and impersonal. Armand found that he often sought the other out for conflict when he saw him; it gave him a sense of stability, despite the over-bearing fact that they were trying to kill each-other.
In one instance he managed to shave off part of the other mercenary's ear, at another he caught him in the chest with one of his arrows. In response when he was eventually caught by the side he was working against, Fakhir was there to run a blade deep into his nocking-hand, cutting most of his fingers to the bone and one off at the first knuckle. Thus deprived of his inability to draw a string, Armand slipped from the mercenary circuit, keeping to protection and menacing where he was still capable.
Of course now that he was unable to defend himself it was only natural that he should run into his old 'crew' who recognized him quickly and organized an informal lynching. Strangulation was nothing something he enjoyed, but thankfully the city watch was alerted and again he evaded death, though this time by but the whisper of the watchman's knife cutting through his impromptu noose. The mercenary band scattered.
This time, Armand found the will for vengeance.
In secret he found them, or more specifically one of them, a female, alone. He beat her, raped her, and otherwise left her unharmed. This was the humiliation he had been crippled for not administering and it was only fear that she experienced it first hand. It was satisfying in one way and horrifying in another, but the arrogant and naive Armand had ceased to exist a long time ago.
After that he wandered, heading West and plying his trade for survival. As he travelled he heard rumours of a gathering army. With nothing better to do he decided to learn more about it. There was no way it could be worse than what he was doing now . . . could it?