In the White Shadows
Behrtogg (pronounced bair-tawg)
Goliath barbarian, nomad of Witherspine Pass, and traveler of Kildengaard wastes
Born a twin into the nomadic Goliath tribe upon the Witherspine Pass, Behrtogg rose alongside his brother as a brute among the tribe. Fiercely competitive, Behrtogg outpaced all others except for his twin, until nature reclaimed his better half. How this happened led to the beginnings of a legend. ~
Behrtogg was originally known as Ahj Armtwister Gathakanathi, “Armtwister” a punishing sobriquet bestowed by the tribal chieftain on the account of Ahj’s bullish behavior to coerce his mates into unfavorable situations for the upper hand. His brother, Koj Sharpsight Gathakanathi, had demonstrated great aptitude as a fighter who harnessed more than mere brawn to claim the tribe’s dragon-tooth necklace; a symbol of the next tribal battle leader. As the duo neared adulthood, Ahj pressured Koj into escalating danger, as his lust for competition and his jealousy for the dragon-tooth necklace began to consume his brotherly goodwill.
It happened after scaling the lower cliff sides of Witherspine, the duo exerting impressive acrobatics across the rocky outcroppings where forest met stone. A grizzly bear, 500 pounds and 7 feet tall, alerted the twins to its presence with a guttural growl. Rather than turning to leave, jealousy consumed Ahj. He knew the bear would strike the weaker first, and seizing the opportunity to outmatch Koj’s sheer force, pushed his brother toward the beast. Landing upon all fours, the bear sprinted forward, knocking over Koj and grabbing him, lacerating his body with dagger-like claws.
Ahj relished the moment, watching blood splash from his brother, romancing the primal power of the grizzly.
Until the screams stifled. The bear pawed Koj’s lifeless corpse.
Ahj’s trance shattered. He was unsure if seconds or minutes had passed. He immediately charged the bear with more force than he had ever known. Ahj knocked the bear backward and wrestled the animal to its side. Spittle from the bear’s maw covered Ahj’s face as his ears fell deaf under the feral growls of the raging beast. Ahj pinned the bear, and in that moment, enveloped by rage, crushed a rib on the creature, splintering it directly through the beast’s heart.
A weakened cry echoed from between the bear’s razor sharp teeth as its body shuddered and fell limp.
The commotion attracted others from the tribe, who appeared on scene, witness to the still body of Koj. Ahj lied. He said that the bear attacked them both, that is was unavoidable, that he had done everything he could to save his brother…
Upon returning to the tribe, Ahj was celebrated as the survivor. The superior strength he demonstrated was attributed to the power of his brother, fallen upon the forces of nature. And in a tribal ceremony, Ahj received a new namesake: Behrtogg. Literally, the name translates to “Victor over Bear.” The dragon-tooth necklace was given to him.
But his brother’s death at his hands gnawed at him. Behrtogg was a cheater, a liar, a disgrace. The rage that allowed him to pin the bear resurfaced in him causing him to lash out, scrambling his judgement, diluted in floods of fear and jealousy. Weakened from the inexorable grief, Behrtogg could no longer stand to stay among his tribe. Leaving the dragon-tooth necklace behind, he exiled himself from the tribe, into the wastelands of Kildengaard.
In exile and disgraced, Behrtogg wandered… until a choice meeting with a particularly interesting dwarf, who offered a path of redemption. Behrtogg, knowledgeable of dwarven aptitude for weapon crafting, eyed the dwarf from afar. Clearly he was not a warrior, perhaps more akin to a shaman or druid as Behrtogg was familiar. Nevertheless, the eager dwarf appeared to be entering into a deceptive trap——
However, this is a story best shared among friends, especially during the long trek from Mezzo to Kievstal… Let us tell you how Behrtogg and Faustus first met, and how we ended up with you damn fools escorting this mute prisoner…