The past that makes us
Stuck up Noble fighter
Jarl Tul'Rath Shalaska
Age: 25 (In Half-elf years)
Description: Pending. Think typical long blonde hair pretty boy with murderously black arms and armor and you've got a good picture.
Shalaska Family Bio: The Noble House of Shalaska had its roots in a mixed human/elf settlement, brought together for survival after their towns were destroyed by marauding goblinoids. Dealing with the goblinoids took many years, and by the time they stopped being a threat the two peoples found that there were benefits to their cooperation and stayed together. They blood mixed so much over the centuries that by the time the country of Kestrel was formed the settlement was practically all Half-elf. Since then, the majority of House Shalaska has always had a majority of Half-elves, even after the settlement was absorbed into a larger city.
Shalaska focused on the craft of tanning and leather work in their early years. Slowly the built up money and power until they were a large merchant presence in Kestral with a court-sanctioned monopoly. Shalaska was elevated to nobility after providing a large amount of leather 'items' to the royal family with no questions asked.
Since then, Shalaska has expanded its influence all over Kestrel. They aren't the most well liked Noble house, though. Towns controlled by them are the most heavily taxed in Kestrel. Their nobles are infamous for their greed and excess. They have had more than their share of scandals and intrigue. They fix prices and charge for ever single thing imaginable.
Even so, House Shalaska has a certain honesty. They have (so far) never intentionally betrayed their kingdom, their allies, or their people. When a crisis arises, they do what is expected of them. Their city guards are well funded and not corrupt. They stay true to the letter and spirit of contracts. And when monsters are at the gate, they field massive private armies to protect their towns. A most of all, the nobles always remember those who have helped them and treat them kindly. The Shalaska take care of their own.
Bio: Jarl was born into House Shalaska to Vincent and Sovrin Shalaska. Like all nobles, Jarl had the silver spoon planted firmly in his mouth and quite possibly down his throat. He lived in utter luxury, only interrupted by instructors who taught him the skills all nobles should have. He was a willful child, a trait that he would never lose. All of his classes bored him, except for the combat arts classes.
Eventually Jarl got sick of all the distractions provided by wealth. His eyes began to wander out into the city where all the commoners lived. There was so much danger and excitement waiting for him. Surely his father was exaggerating about the whole 'nobles were superior to commoners' thing. People were people, right?
So the young man began to sneak out. He found a life full of interesting people and was exposed to things he never would have dreamed of in his noble lifestyle. He made a good friend in a youth called Alec. Vincent tried to dissuade Jarl, then tried to punish him. None of that work, so he just let Jarl have his fun, confident that he'd grow out of it. The youth got to know his streets very well, and found he preferred life down with the commoners. Until one day…
Alec came to Jarl, begging for money. His father had lost his job, you see, and Alec desperately needed money for food. Alec was a good friend, so Jarl had no problems giving him some cash. Alec thanked Jarl profusely, and ran off with his gold.
Later, one of Jarl's contacts told the noble that Alec had not purchased food, but pigs. Lots and lots of live pigs. This seemed strange, so Jarl went off to where Alec's family lived to see what he had down with them. There was squealing and shaking, and Jarl opened the front door…
What exactly he saw is something that Jarl has suppressed (or perhaps, stubbornly refuses to remember), but regardless of what it was, Jarl went running back to his home and his father, now rather certain that Nobles were superior. He was a changed man (many would say for the worst). From then on, he was a tie-dye House Shalaska Noble, arrogant and greedy.
Pleased that his son had finally "Grown out of that phase" Vincent felt Jarl was ready for the next step in royal society; A cushy do-nothing job. Vincent pulled strings to get Jarl a post as a royal guard for Prince Cathak.
Cathak was a free-spirited young man who rarely took anything seriously. He flirted with the maids, played pranks on the guards, and did anything to cause a ruckus. He also occasionally feld the palace to mix with the commoners for sport (rather than for the lifestyle which was Jarl's previous motive). Jarl saw a part of himself in Cathak, and they became fast friends. Though he disapproved of the prince's antics, he always went along with them and even helped Cathak escape a few times. And of course, it was always Jarl who managed to find the Prince drunk in a ditch somewhere while the other guards bumbled about.
Then disaster struck. During a visit to the empire, the Prince and his guards were attacked by unknown forces. Jarl and the other men fought as hard as they could, but they were quickly overcome and butchered. Jarl was the only survivor, though heavily injured.
Being the sole surviving member of the Royal Guard, Jarl took all the blame. It was decided that he wasn't a traitor, just simply incompetent, so he avoided a death sentence. His fate was to be the same as any other noble who screwed up so epically; sent off to the edges of Kestrel with a monthly stipend to keep him from embarrassing his House further.
But that was not what Jarl did. As soon as his wounds healed, the noble took up his glaive and tore off back towards the Empire. He refused suffer this indignity in silence, but most of all, Jarl Shalaska does not forget his friends.