Charles Hurley is a tall, physically imposing man. Apart from his broad shoulders and his stocky, muscular build however, there is nothing else about him that stands out. His hair is a drab brown, while his face is rather weather-beaten and leathery, with blunt, forgettable features. A thick, rural accent indicates his country origins clearly, while his hands bear numerous calluses that are a testament to the countless hours that he has spent toiling in the wheat fields. All in all, when dressed in the maroon red of the uniform of a palace guard, he appears to be nothing more than a simple farmer who has only recently joined the Royal Palace Guard.
Born in a small farming village, Charles Hurley spent the greater part of his life having an un-eventful childhood among the vast wheat-fields of his native village of Crestwood. His parents, who were simple farmers, obtained a meagre income from growing wheat and rearing pigs. Life was onerous and tough, but it was not unduly unbearable for the young Charles Hurley as he grew up. After paying their customary taxes to the local lord, Charles and his parents were permitted to enjoy the remainder of their harvest and would sell it to the roaming hunters of the local forests in exchange for rare meats like venison and hare.
Their reigning overlord, Baron Richard, for his part, was a reasonable enough man who made no overly harsh exactions on the peasants under his authority. Although he was ruthless when it came to quashing dissent directed against him, Baron Richard always ensured that those tilling his lands never suffered unnecessarily from a lack of food or other vital essentials.
Hence it was that the young Charles and his two younger sisters spent a not unhappy childhood playing in the fields and fishing in the lakes once they had finished their daily tasks. A hardworking boy, Charles was a child of few words, but nevertheless got along well enough with his family and the rest of the village due to his almost incredibly capacity for physically brutal and punishing work. Always a robust boy, his large frame and powerful muscles allowed him a degree of strength that was almost as formidable as that of the two bullocks that dragged his plow. Due in no small part to his great strength, Charless family was able to sow and harvest large amounts of wheat, a fact which marginally increased their prosperity. However, he also possessed a single trait that disconcerted his parents.
Ever since he had been aware of the taxes imposed on his parents by the lord, Charles would sometimes complain that he failed to understand why a man who never contributed anything whatsoever to their efforts to cultivate the crops, was nevertheless entitled to such a large share of their harvest. It was a fact that irked him and he was wont to complain about it in public more than once. Terrified that he would attract the attention of Lord Richards brutal enforcers, his parents would anxiously silence him, hissing at him to hold his tongue until they were safely home where no eavesdropping ears could hear him.
Tragically, this situation was not to endure forever. Shortly after Charles turned sixteen, war broke out in the land. The reigning king had died without naming an heir. Upon the ailing monarchs demise, his eldest son had claimed the throne, only to be challenged by his junior half-brother who insisted that he had had always been his fathers designated heir. Within months of their fathers demise, both princes had promptly declared war against one another in their struggle for the throne. To no ones surprise, the nobility soon begun to throw its support behind either one of the two contending camps. Although these events initially seemed so far away and distant from their daily lives , young Charles and his family would soon feel their impact as well. Having enlisted his support behind the younger prince, Baron Richard soon found himself locked in a bitter struggle against his closest neighbour, Lord Xavier who had chosen to support the bid of the elder prince for the throne.
In a desperate attempt to marshal his forces against the much larger armies of Lord Xavier, Baron Richard resorted to hitherto unknown measures. For the first time in his ten years as a feudal lord, Richard imposed ruthless levies that resulted in his agents confiscating almost the entire harvests of his peasants. In the terrible month that followed the requisitions, Charles watched with a combination of helpless grief and raging anger as his two younger sisters slowly starved before his eyes.
With a murderous rage now suffusing him, Charles swore to himself that the Baron would pay a terrible price for having effectively condemned his sisters to death. Worse however, was yet to come.
As the war against Lord Xavier took a turn for the worse, Lord Richard soon found himself in desperate need of fighting men. With his defeat seemingly imminent, he declared that all males among his tenants aged above fifteen were eligible for conscription into his private army. Soon, following a disastrous battle in which half his army perished, Baron Richard had Charless father drafted into his militia. In the wake of his fathers forced conscription, Charless mother, terrified that a strong young lad like her son might be the next victim of Baron Richards brutal slave drivers, promptly told her son to flee the village.
Deciding that his mother’s advice was rather wise, Charles did as he was told. Acting on some of the tales that he had heard during his flight, he sought the safety of the Gordoan woods. In that dark, forbidding wilderness, scores of young peasants dislocated by the recent outbreak of civil war had gathered there, setting up makeshift refugee camps. So it was that Charles made his way in the direction of the forest, carefully avoiding bandits and militias alike on his journey, wary of being either robbed or conscripted to serve in some noble army or the other. Finally, a few weeks after he had first fled the village, Charles entered the forest and finally located the refugee camp that had been hastily erected there. In happier times, the forest had been shunned by the peasants for fear of the demons that reputedly lurked amid the trees, waiting to prey on unsuspecting travellers and hunters that dared to intrude into the forest. With the recent outbreak of war however, the old taboo had been largely ignore by terrified young men who had decided to brave evil spirits rather than risk being enslaved and sent off to violent deaths at the behest of some stubborn noble.
Surprises awaited Charles there. Although conditions in the refugee camp were rather grim, with there being very little in the shelter from the rain and sanitation being largely non-existent, the escapees were eating well due to the abundance of game in the forest. None of the demoralised apathy and hopelessness that had choked his village was present among the refugees. Warmly accepted into their fold, Charles observed with astonishment that many of them actually seemed downright cheerful and excited. This greatly unnerved him. But soon, his apprehension would be swept away. Among the new denizens of the forest, was a young cleric named Joseph, who had previously been a wandering monk that had sought alms from peasant villages prior to the start of the war. Now, under the terrible conditions brought about by the war, he had proven to be a prophet of a strange kind. Preaching by night to the huddled refuges, the clerics fiery sermons filled them with excitement and hope as he railed against the nobility and the clergy that supported them. God, Joseph insisted, had never intended for one group of men to rule over the rest.
On the contrary, the first prophets of God had intended that all material resources that the earth could offer would be shared among all true believer equally, with no distinction of rank among them. Sadly, corrupt rulers and clerics alike had worked to suppress this divine dictate, condemning innocent and honest men like the ones gathered before him to a life of deprivation and starvation. But that time was now over.
Chosen by God himself, Joseph would now form an army to bring about a kingdom where all material goods were distributed equally among everyone, just has God had commanded. If they joined his cause, he would rid the land of the vile nobles and the feuding princes that had caused such misery with their endless bickering. Awed by his simple and yet powerful rhetoric, Charles immediately offered his allegiance like the hundreds that had done so before him and those who would do so after him. In front of the cheering crowd, he and the others, who, moved by the sermon, had volunteered on the spur of the moment, were knighted by the young cleric who touched their shoulders with his staff and declared them the crusaders of Gods will to purge the land of evil.
With the memory of his sisters’s deaths and his father’s conscription flaring again in his mind, he swore between teeth clenched with rage, to slay every accursed noble that he could reach with a blade.
He soon got a chance to prove his dedication. Once he had amassed a vast amount of followers, Joseph ordered his young warriors to raid military camps in search of weapons. Charles was one of the first to volunteer. Armed with a makeshift blade, he and a few dozen others stormed a small weapons store house, fatally stabbing the three sentries guarding it. That was the first time he took a human life. It wasn’t an easy thing for Charles to do and he spent the next few sleepless nights, praying for the dead mans soul in order to keep his guilt at bay. But with each life he progressively took, killing came more and more easily to him. Finally, when he was assigned to kill the old miller that had always ground the wheat of his parents in exchange for a hefty sum, Charles had become a competent and remorseless killer.
With his only goal being the victory of a revolution that would rid the land of all nobles and their underlings who worked with them against the common folk, there was no place in his heart for moral uncertainly any more. Sneaking into the old mill, he slit the miller’s throat even as the man begged him tearfully for mercy. Death was the only fate that awaited all collaborators who would assist the vile nobility in any way.
As his fervour for the revolution grew stronger, it merged with his burning desire for vengeance and thus consequently drove him to carry out acts of great cruelty. Whenever he and his assassins could ambush and capture noble-born knights, they would set them on fire, laughing with amusement as the burning knights would scream in agony. Eventually, his reputation for savagery earned him a position of some authority. Shortly after this promotion, he soon put his new position to good use following the seizure of a tiny hamlet by his men. When the inhabitants of the hamlet refused to renounce their loyalty to their noble lord, he despaired of liberating this benighted scum and so promptly had the wretches all executed.
However, the very depths of Charles' cruelty were only demonstrated on the day that the hated Baron Richard found himself at the mercy of the revolution. Some of the revolution's agents had finally succeeded in persuading Lord Richard's demoralised army to revolt against him and storm his keep. Once the revolting soldiers had secured the keep and manacled their former master, a senior cadre of the revolution marched into the keep, escorted by Charles Hurley and a few of his other body guards.
While he was pondering over what to do with the now helpless lord and his family, Charles whispered a suggestion into his commanders ear. Delighted at hearing what Charles had to say, the senior cadre promptly raped the lords wife and daughter in front of the barons horrified eyes, before hurling the lords hysterically weeping infant son into a blazing fire. As Baron Richard rushed towards the fire to save his son, Charles beheaded him with his sword, finally carrying out the vengeance he had dedicated his life to.
Unfortunately for Charles and his murderous fellow revolutionaries, their triumphs were not to endure. Alarmed by the rising power of the peasant revolution, the followers of the younger contender for the throne finally chose to abandon their leader, who had proven to be a capricious and childish tyrant. If there had ever been a time for the nobility to unite, it was certainly now.
With both camps now behind him, the newly crowned king despatched a massive army against the cleric whod had the audacity to try and destroy the current ruling order.
Rightly recognising that he could never defeat the combined royal armies of the land, Joseph ordered Charles and his other warriors to put aside their weapons and slink into the civilian population. Charles’s commander instructed him to take on a new identity as a wandering trader and make his way to the largest regional town where he would find shelter with a band of local sympathisers. Assuring a shocked and aghast Charles that the revolution was not over, his commander assured Charles that he would play an instrumental role in removing the arrogant and bloodthirsty king who had wowed to crush an uprising that God himself had sanctioned.
Heartened by these words, Charles immediately procured a horse and made a five day ride to the large market town of Flintshire. When he finally reached it, he found himself amazed by the efficiency of the revolutions intelligence network. With many of the towns numerous peddlers being former peasants that were sympathetic to the revolution, news of Charless imminent arrival had already preceded him. By the time he arrived at the dingy, flea-infested little inn that he was to spend the next few days in, he found a greeting party of local revolutionaries waiting for him at the entrance. Greeting him with the agreed code-words that indicated that were agents of the revolution, they ushered him inside. The inn keeper, himself a reverent supporter of the revolution and its charismatic leader, arranged for them to have a room where they would not be overheard.
In that filthy little room, Charles soon learned that Joseph had hatched an ambitious plot against the crown. He was to play a vital role in this plan. One of the revolutions many followers was a professional soldier who occupied a position of some significance in the royal palace guard. The officer was disgruntled because of the fact that although he was far more competent than the elite generals who commanded the Palace Guard, he would never be promoted to the position that his superiors held, due to his lack of noble blood. It was little surprise then that he was so eager to assist the Revolution in attaining its goal.
If Charles so desired, this officer could arrange for him to be hired as a minor guard working for the palace. In an effort to boost his forces, the king had ordered his generals embark on a massive recruitment spree and triple the size of the palace guard that would be his final line of defence in the event of a successful invasion by his foes, both among the peasant revolution, as well as among the few deluded nobles that still backed his half-brothers claim to the throne. Someone as skilled with a blade as Charles was would have little trouble finding employment with the Palace Guard.
Once he had been given a position as a junior guard serving the Crown , it was up to him to work his way up the hierarchy until he was in a position where he could personally assassinate the King, thereby striking a great victory for the revolution. Upon hearing this proposal, Charles immediately agreed. This was the opportunity that he had being dreaming of since joining the Revolution. If he could somehow impress the leading officers of the Place Guard, they would grant him a position in the Kings personal body guard. Such a position would allow him to sink his knife into the accursed monarch when a suitable moment presented itself.
Yes, posterity would remember him as the hero who struck an important blow for the revolution, thereby ensuring its ultimate victory over the foul aristocracy that had hitherto defied God by oppressing the common people.
Thus it was that Charles spent the following week, lounging about in the inn while, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the military convoy that would take him to the city where the royal court resided. Once he had reached the barracks of the Palace Guard, Charles and the other prospective recruits were subjected to a gruelling physical regimen designed to test their ability to defend the palace in the event of an attempt to storm it by hostile elements.
Over a punishing five day ordeal, Charles demonstrated with his tremendous physical strength that he was more than capable of being an effective palace guard. Once his physical trials were over, he was promptly hired by the sergeant who directly oversaw the junior guards.
Ever since his induction into the Palace Guard, Charles has striven to impress the sergeant with his loyal dedication to his responsibilities. It is essential that he do his best to prove to his superiors that he is indeed worthy of becoming a personal body guard to the king. Although there is some reluctance to promote him due to his obvious rural background, Charles is confident that he can eventually allay lingering fears that he is a murdering peasant with ties to the revolution.
After all, his is a destiny tied with the fate of a movement blessed by God himself. Divine providence will remove all obstacles in his path and the day will finally come when Charles slays his own king, liberating his long oppressed people in the process. He has no doubt at all that the generations to come will revere him as a hero of the revolution.
He carries the short sword that is the standard weapon of the Royal Palace Guard.
Charles is single-minded in his determination to kill the king and other members of the royal family. A fanatic of the worst type, he is completely consumed by his dream of enabling the revolution to purge the land of all ‘‘corrupt’’ elements and in doing so, help to usher in a new era of complete equality for everyone. In order to attain that goal, he tries his best to be the perfect palace guard. Courteous, disciplined and seemingly dedicated to his task, his apparent devotion to his job easily puts the work-ethic of many of his colleagues to shame. For that reason, he is not very popular among the guards, but that hardly bothers him.
During his off days, he spends his time loitering in the main markets, seeking out peasants who have emigrated from the countryside in search of a better life. Despite his savagery towards those he deems enemies of the revolution, Charles is extremely protective of fellow peasants, seeing them as the innocent and untainted children of God, as opposed to the corrupt noble elite and the mercantile classes that it supports. Thus, he spends what little free time he has drinking with emigrants from the countryside and urges them to be wary of the more established city dwellers whom he scorns as greedy parasites . However, he refrains from ever discussing politics with them out of fear that some of the patrons in the taverns that he occasionally visits, might be spies hired by the other guards to set him up as a rebel. As for vices, Charles has none. A religious and God fearing man, he loathes wenching and heavy drinking alike, seeing them as temptations created by the oppressors of the common people to sink ordinary men even further into penury. The only indulgence that he allows himself apart from the infrequent mug of beer is a pull or two on his snuff pipe.
The mole-A senior commander has been informed by his spies that an agent of the revolution has infiltrated the Palace Guard. The PC’s are assigned to track down and unmask this individual.
Assassination-A military parade is being held to honour the king and the PCs are part of His Majesty’s personal guard. Unknown to them, Charles Hurley has recently joined the monarch’s security detail as well, and is planning to kill the king.
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Codex30 Guards ( NPCs ) Extras-Horde - Combative
30 Guards, who in peacetime patrol the Palace and in wartime are the Royal Bodyguards and the King’s last defence.