The Freehold of the Shaded Wing
Brutal Monster with a heart of stone... Don't piss him off!
About 6’6", 220 lbs, in very good shape. He’s got short blond hair and blue eyes and dresses in t-shirts and jeans, unless he’s at the gym where he wears gym shorts. Because he’s so large and muscular, he can be a bit intimidating, but he carries himself in a friendly manner. He is a pretty typical-looking Scandinavian gym bunny.
About 7’, 300 lbs, with an old Norse quality to him, like a giant aged viking. His hair is grayer and his eyes show signs of weariness. Barry wears a hedge-spun leather jerkin and leggings and has a second hedge-spun outfit for when he works out. On the back of his neck are a series of Old Norse runes with a flaming sword piercing them horizontally:
The area around Barry is filled with heat waves, as though looking at a mirage.
In 1945, Russel Steeles was born to Robert and Melissa Steeles, in the Township of North
York. His family was one of the first to move into the Don Mills community. Russel grew
up a normal kid, taking the more athletic route through life. In high school and college he
participated in Track and Field. Russel was popular enough in school and had his share of
dates, but usually ended up avoiding long-term relationships, lest they get in the way of his
In the 1970s, Russel decided that he was going to join Team Canada in the Olympics and
started training for it. A small local paper, the Hedge picked up the story of Russels dream
to compete and his training, collecting a few local fans. It also brought the attention of a
Coach with an offer Russel couldn’t refuse. The Coach promised that he would get Russel
into the qualifiers, but Russel would have to adhere to his strict training and would further
have to win. Russel jumped at the opportunity to get the chance to achieve his dream, in
no way sensing the threads of fate tying a noose around his neck.
In 1975, Russel was finally given a chance to try and qualify for the 1976 Summer Olympic
Games. Russel gave the competition his all and had one of the best times of all the
competitors, he was on cloud nine. However, everything came crashing down on him when
he was suddenly disqualified for drug use. Russel argued that he had never taken any
drugs in his life, but it was his word against the tests. He was heartbroken. And worse yet,
he had no idea how he would break the news to his Coach and his family and all the people
who were pulling for him.
Needless to say, the Coach was furious at Russel for not following through on his promise
and told him that if he wanted even the slightest chance at competing in anything ever
again, they were going to go on a training retreat immediately. Russel reluctantly agreed
and the two went up north to Algonquin Park for special training. While jogging one of the
paths of the park, he found himself curiously looking down a smaller path that just seemed
to be calling to him. Curiosity getting the better of him, Russel started jogging down the
smaller path finding himself deeper and deeper in dense foliage. As the foliage got harder
to move through, he found himself getting pricked by thorn bushes. He finally decided that
this path was a mistake and that he should return to the main path, but as he turned, a
hand grabbed his wrist. “You’re not getting away that easily, oath-breaker,” he heard as
the hand pulled with an inhuman strength and started to yank him through the plants. The
last thing he remembered was the sharp thorns ripping into him.
Russel woke up in a cell, surrounded by others who seemed human, like him, but… off.
They explained to him that he was the newest competitor for their Keeper’s games, that
there was no escape, and the rules were compete or perish. And compete he did; he
fought long and hard, racing, challenging, and even fighting others who were kept here,
some of whom seemed to be terrible monsters – giants, animals, and other things he could
not even describe at first. But as the monsters, no changelings, beat him down and the
torturous punishments left him wish he was dead, he realized that each day he woke up,
he felt bigger and stronger than the day before. Before he knew it he was taken from the
cell, it being too small for him, and was put in a bigger cell with others like him – Ogres, or
more specifically Gargantuans. He understood that he was day-by-day turning into one of
these changelings, that he was no longer the man he was before, and it grew a fury in him
that empowered him in these Fae Olympic games. There were rumors that winning for a
hundred years would allow one to sit as an observer with his Coach, no the Keeper that
kept him here – the Keeper that had poisoned his blood so that he would fail, the Keeper
that would one day find the tables being turned. Russel wasn’t going to sit here for 100
years, he’d find a way to free himself and escape, he told himself. But until then he would
bide his time and fight. The other Gargantuans called him “Smalls” for being the newest of
the Kith, a title that Russel decided to adopt for himself, knowing that as long as he was the
smallest, there were no new ones.
Finally, Russel’s chance came, 10 years after his capture. One day while in his cell,
the bars of all the cells shattered and all of the Changelings started to rush for the exits.
Russel knew that this was the time to escape and felt something in his heart leading him,
knowing where he had to run. But there were so many others; it was getting harder to
run quickly as other Changelings flooded the dense forests around the arena. In anger
and frustration, Russel realized that it was either him or them, and he was not going to get
captured again. He started to kill those that got in his way. It was his mercy for those who
seemed to know not where they were running, it was release from their inhuman form. And
he kept running, feeling the thorns ripping away at him. He felt memories come and go as
he charged through the Hedge. Even his own memories, like that of the day he was taken
were ripped from him. But it didn’t matter. He would make it home, and there would be no
others taken if he had anything to say about it – no more monsters like him.
Russel continued to run for what seemed like a lifetime. In his heart he seemed to know
where he had to go, but he felt lost and alone. His arms were covered in his own blood,
and his hands were covered in the blood of others. But he kept moving. To stop was
to be taken back, or worse. He had to go home and protect his family and friends and
everyone else from the uncaring menace of Arcadia. And suddenly he could hear the
wings – the sound of flocks of birds flying. He followed the sound and was greeted by the
sight of the Hedge opening up and numerous black birds flying around. The tug on his
heart strengthened and he knew again where he had to run, and run he did – right through
a large archway, and into a wall. He looked around and found himself inside a decrepit
urban building. He looked behind him and saw the dark doorway behind him. By instinct,
he smashed the door frame, letting the door collapse in a cloud of dust. Finally he left
the building and found himself looking up at an almost familiar landmark. In the distance
before him was a tall building that could only be the CN Tower that was still being built
when he was last here. He was home. But the city had definitely grown in his absence.
He wandered through the city, dumbstruck at the change, not really noticing that nobody
seemed to mind his appearance. He found a newspaper stand and looked at the date on
the paper. It was August 1987, 12 years since he had disappeared.
- Barry Smalls: 1/2011
- Barry Smalls: 2/2011
- Barry Smalls: 3/2011
- Barry Smalls: 4/2011
- Barry Smalls: 5/2011
- Barry Smalls: 6/2011
Its sad really, every night you are just back in the gym. Every night you think its sad. Every night you come back. It has its advantages though. No one else around being key among em. And the bags. Petty, really, but it gets the job done you suppose. New ones to make tonight. New idiots. You form em up, line em up with the others, and get to work. Always good to get your frustrations out this way. Helps keep you from doing . . . this. . . in. . . real. . . life. . . Ah. . . gotta go find the head now damnit. At least you got Isaacs’ damn smirk right, as you pull him up by the hair and carry it back over. But you notice something when you do. Hoyles bag. So many stitches across it now it barely looks like him anymore, but goddamn if there isn’t something new. On his finger. His porcelain fucking finger. How the shit did that even get in here? You know yourself well enough, shouldn’t be anything you don’t want, not in this spot. But there it is, winking in the fluorescents like a black gash.
XP remaining: 10
1) Freehold Oath
2) Motley Oath until end of Winter with all PCs – Will go Blind until end of Winter if not kept
3) Oath to protect newbies until end of Winter with Mr Window – Don’t forget what happens if it fails
4) Oath to help Bob if Bob asks for help and he will help me if I ask for help – No time limit or bad stuff specified