A handsome man with a smooth shaven face and bright eyes that are a peculiar shade of teal that is not quite blue nor green. He is strong and lean, well accustomed to regular practice with his swords and from his work at the forges making them. Yakaw is average as far as noblemen go, not at the cutting edge of court politics or a fashion horse, but not one who is the subject of the harpy’s gossip. Most know him as the quiet spoken man.
Yakaw’s crest is a two-headed lion clutching at crossed swords on a field split into a red upper portion and a blue lower portion. The lion device and swords are generally white outlined in black.
The Line of Yakaw is considered middling nobility, tracing their roots back to blacksmiths turned knights, a motley band of men who fixed their own armor and weapons as they rode against the orcs and goblins during the Kindling Wars that ran amok across much of the Midlands. In the present day most of the Yakaw nobles are almost anonymous in the ranks of nobility, most often filling lowre court positions, barons and such. The Duchy of the Yakaws, Kerashaw, is a valuable duchy with ample reserves of timber and several iron mines. This is limited by the difficult terrain of the region as well as the limited population for exploiting these resources.
Novanod stood as a second son of the then ruling Duke of Kerashaw, likely to spend his life as a retainer or Baron under his elder brother. He found a different path, leaving the nobility to become an armorerer and bladesmith for the local Temple of the Goddess of War. Well proportioned, keen of intellect and more than willing to apply himself to the arts of hammering steel as well as foes, he quickly found a place in the Temple.
His apprenticeship was shortened by a wave of hostility with the tribes of orcs, gnolls, ogres and trolls who migrated through parts of Kerashaw Duchy. The High Priest of the Temple called for the Devoted to take up arms and defend the temple from the raiders. These desperate foes came in great number seeking to loot the arsenal of the Goddess to make war on their foes, goblinoid and human alike. Novanod stood at the front of the battle, fighting with two heavy falchions he had crafted himself, each consecrated to the Goddess.
The Once and Future Prince
Blooded in defence of the temple, Novanod was ceremonially granted the rank of Champion of War, one of the highest recognitions bequeathed by the Temples of the Goddess. So decorated, he returned to his home in time to participate in a series of rebellions. In each of the battles against orcs, orc sympathizers, and other foes of the rightful lords, he rode at the front of battle, carrying the standard of both the King and the Goddess. It was in these battles that the Prince proved himself to many of people while his elder brother commanded levies of troops to support his hellbent sibling.
Many of the people called for Novanod to be the next Duke when his father died, but he declined, leaving his older brother as the heir. He claimed that he had been reckless in battle, and it was the careful planning of his sibling, the logistics provided and other considerations that allowed him to carry the day. To take his place would have been a disservice to the Duchy as well as to his sibling.
A Taste of Fire
Novonod’s skills were further challenged when he tutored himself to a canny mage well versed in the arts of creating magical weapons and the like. He took the lessons of magic to heart, applying them to making new and superior weapons. With this newfound skill, he created many magical blades, each consectrated to the Goddess of War. The mage was dissapointed when Novanod ended his apprenticeship to begin his own temple to the Goddess.
Back at his home he raised a forge, recalling the source of his family’s claim to nobility. The forge was consectrated to the Goddess and became as much a temple as an arsenal and a forge. He knew his time had not yet come for in his sleep he could hear the Goddess whisper to him, her voice hot and lush in his ear, filling him with a fire that could only be quenched with the ringing of the hammer and paens to the Goddess. The tie for glorious battle would be soon, and he needed to be ready, his skills sharp as the swords he crafted, crafted for the hands of men who would ride with him, face death, and carry through the day…
Special Equipment and Followers
EquiNox - Yakaw’s black horse, also consecrated to the Goddess of War, the beast appeared one day when he was riding, and Yakaw accepted the black mare as his mount. She is as ferocious as any stallion yet gentle, bordering on meek with Yakaw.
Orexis Blindeye - as a sorcerer of some skill, Yakaw summoned orexis as his familiar. The minor demon yielded to the Prince and took the form of a nightwind bat. If need be, Orexis can assume a human form and cast low to moderate level black magics. His favorites include sapping the strength of foes, causing blindness, poison spells, and animating corpses.
Cuirasse of Steel’s Shadow - This clinging steel armor that is easily worn under fine clothing. Moderate magical enchantment granting damage reduction and improved protection over standard chainmail.
Harness of Dancing Swords - this fine leather harness is able to accomodate a large number of carried swords, generally one on each side of the body, plus another 4 carried in a X pattern on the back. The real magic of the harness comes from the temporary enchantment that it bestows on any magical weapon. Once drawn and used for a turn, the sword can be released, where it will dance, floating and jumping in the air to parry attacks and perform attacks of opportunity. After 4 rounds the sword slides back into its given scabbard.
Oriflamme of the Goddess - This standard of battle is never raised in jest. It came from the temple where Novanod trained and has ridden into battle with him many times. It improves the morale of the troops who ride with him, as well as demoralizing those who see it’s blood red icon of the Goddess on a field of white, trailing red streamers behind it in the wind.
Novanod Yakaw is essentially a paladin of the Goddess of War, a champion of her ideals in the mortal world. As such he has the typical paladin powers of healing others by laying on hands (typically a small amount of health restored) as well as being able to call upon a smattering of holy magics of the war variety. His status as a paladin is secure so long as he does not flee from battle. While he can retreat, he cannot show cowardice. To do so is to loose the favor of the Goddess. Yakaw is also an anagram of Yet Another Kick Ass Weapon, so thanks to Muro for that one.