Div/Rank: Scout Private
Physical Appearance: Not too tall. Not too dark. Not too handsome. Layneden had thanked the light enough times for his appearance that he knew it's effect on people. At and inch or so under a span tall he would appear tall next to cairhiernan and short compared to a borderlander or one of the two rivers folk. His hair was barely groomed, hanging in lank tufts around his ears and ragged about his shoulders. He cared little how much he had to sweep it out of his eyes. In his line of work anonymity was all. His eyes, dark and rich, did not sparkle like some, did not glisten with nobility or possessed the hard edge of a soldier. His worn features would only look out of place in a palace or noble house, and with no scars nor discerning marks he could walk by people safe in the knowledge that most would not recognise him if he did it ten times a day. He was neither handsome nor ugly, a face in a sea of faces. And that was how he liked it. Of course he played up to his best attribute, covering his agile but well muscled body in drab greys and neutral blues, shunning hoods and other deceptive tools that might bring attention. He could hide in forgotten faces better than most men could hide in the shadows.
Weapon of choice: Bladed Staff
Secondary weapon: Bow
It all started as necessity. Parents named as Darkfriends and butchered by Whitecloaks he had barely managed to flee the small town he had called home for a dozen years before his genealogy put him in a grave alongside his younger brothers. Begging and filching food and shelter night after night brought little reward, What work he could get was either the worst available or long and poorly paid, he stayed in one place seldom, still filled with fear that the Whitecloaks would seek him out. As he grew older and wiser he finally landed a job as a stable boy in a large village far from the mountains, brushing shoulders with the forgotten borders of Andor. But he kept himself mainly isolated, as little known to the populace as possible. And after lonely years of labour it all started.
Maybe it was only because of his non-descript looks, or perhaps some hidden will took pity upon him, though more likely because they didn't care whether he lived or died. But one night, curled in the hayloft of the barn. A man came under the cloak of darkness and started him from his sleep. Hooded and steeped in shadow, he delivered his offer and threat in the same speech. A small deed, he said, and Layne would receive a good payment for it due to its slightly illicit nature. And it sounded simple too; to place a letter upon the washstand of a local merchant. That was all, though the warning was that should he go to the authorities he would find himself killed in the dark. To a seventeen-year-old boy the choice was simple. That night he stole into the mans home, steps light as a feather, and placed the single white envelope next to the sleeping mans head before disappearing into the night.
That was how it began. Needing food and shelter he began taking the strange offers he could complete, refuting those too difficult for his skills, and being rewarded with gold. He cared not for the illegal nature of these deeds at first, mainly they were only secret messages to be hidden in wardrobes and kitchens, or stealing items from those far better off than him. It also taught him many of the skills he possessed today, for a young man with money in his purse was always the target of footpads and cutthroats after a cheap score. He learnt how to lose pursuers, hide his money where the silent blade of a cutpurse could not seek and when all else failed, fight his way ought of trouble. He began carrying round a walking staff when he ventured from his room in the inn. A sword was pointless. Though he was passable at the forms, anyone with any skill to speak of would present a difficult challenge, let alone two or three at once. Slowly he became better equipped to deal with the trickier and more dangerous tasks offered to him, and with that he became no one and everyone.
His journeys took him further and further a field until he took to living almost on the ride, only staying in a town until his work was done then moving on, regardless if he had orders or not. He purchased a special staff, one that consisted of two swords that bolted together to form one staff bladed at both ends, so that he could survive in the wilderness without fear of bandits or over zealous merchant guards. But as his skill grew and his tasks became less petty and delved more into the world of politics and power, so doubt began to flourish.
It was not his passable bladesmanship, nor his assassin like stealth that got him in and out of most of his situations, but his convincing fake personas and ingenuity. Espionage and information trading amongst the lesser lords and nobles of Ghealdan became his primary duties and with that came the feeling he was more and more becoming used in some bigger plot he knew nothing of, and worse of all, with the growth of the shadow and false dragons to the north, no longer did he feel as though his actions only had ramifications within the relatively small towns of Ghealdan but instead were fuelled by a truer evil. That which resided in Shayol Ghul.
He was twenty-three and determined something was going to change, when chance handed him a life-line. The Band of the Red Hand. No sooner had the realisation that a man could flee employers that would not let him leave their service alive by hiding amongst ranks of soldiers.
Pocketing his gold and meagre possessions he put his name on Bands conscript lists, recited his oaths and enlisted their scouts. For a man of his background spending as much time as possible away from the main body of the troops seemed a good idea at the time.
It was time he repaid the Light for the help he had given the Dark in ignorance.