Jaros Byrne (born Jaros Doggett) is a member of House Byrne, a family of landed knights in service to House Enthor. He is the bastard son of the current head of the House, Lord Haldar Byrne.
Aliases: Jaros Doggett, Byrne’s Bastard, Jaros the Giant, The Towering Tiger
Allegiances: House Byrne, House Enthor, The Fist of Valour
Born: 598CY (Age 38)
Jaros is a large, heavily-muscled middle-aged human man. He has thin, ginger hair and a beard peppered with specks of silver. Though balding, he is swarthy and very hairy. He is an imposing figure in spite of his receding hairline.
Jaros was born in Deepmere to a common prostitute, Alys Doggett, three years into the Dwarven War. His father is Lord Haldar Byrne, head of House Byrne. Jaros was raised by his mother and the women of the brothel. Jaros began to work from an early age to support his mother. He joined a street gang called the Gutter Rats as legitimate work was scarce. Though mostly comprised of children, the Gutter Rats were notorious thieves and thugs. Even as a young boy, Jaros’s immense size made him a natural fit for life on the streets.
At the age of fourteen, Jaros led a raid on a convoy of mithral due for House Enthor’s armourer. The convoy was heavily guarded by men of St. Cuthbert, who had little trouble chasing down and subduing the thieves. Confessions extracted from the younger boys led to the remainder of the Gutter Rats being caught in a matter of weeks, and the gang was put to a magistrate’s trial.
The sentence passed was that all of the boys served in Deepmere’s army – even those not of fighting age. The girls were sentenced to servitude in House Enthor. Delamar Gaandal, a paladin of the Fist of Valour, asked that the magistrates release Jaros into the Church of Heironeous’s care, claiming that he saw in the boy the potential for greater service. Delamar was, in fact, acting under Haldar Byrne’s wishes. Following the death of his eldest son in the Dwarven War, Haldar wanted to save his bastard—at the time his only male heir—from an ignomious end on the front lines.
The Fist of Valour
Jaros was given menial work in the Deepmere chapter of the Fist of Valour. He acted as a squire for the paladins of the Fist, though without the promise of paladinhood if he served well.
Jaros was indoctrinated in the beliefs in the church of Heironeous. He was a poor student as he was raised illiterate with no appreciation for scripture, but he came to believe in the greater meaning of Heironeous’s teachings, if not the finer points. The Fist of Valour became Jaros’s family, and he came to idolise the paladins of the Church and the knights of the City.
Knighthood and Legitimacy
Drunk on the Church’s tales of valour, Jaros saved his meagre wage and commissioned a suit of ill-fitting armour. He competed as a mystery knight at the Tourney at Deepmere celebrating King Thaddius Enthor’s birthday and the end of the Dwarven War. The crowd laughed at the over-sized youth in the under-sized plate and tourney officials moved to remove Jaros from the field, but King Thaddius allowed the mystery knight to compete. Jaros was immediately eliminated from archery and the joust, but he took the prize in both the mêlée and single combat, besting Oswin Hightower, the King’s Champion, in the finals. Going against chivalric tradition, King Thaddius asked for Jaros to reveal his face and take his winnings.
Lord Haldar Byrne declared that Jaros was his bastard son, and allowed him to take the family name. Jaros was then raised as a member of House Byrne and trained in its chivalric traditions, leaving the simple service of the church for the heady depths of court. Due largely to his father’s political influence, Jaros was named a Knight of the Realm at the age of 21. He also became a tourney knight of great renown, often besting all challengers in single combat.
Though he took well to the martial aspects of knighthood, Jaros was ill-suited to noble life. He squandered his new-found wealth on expensive drink and women. He wrecked taverns in his nightly revelry, and paid for the damages with his father’s coin. He was a braggart and a glory-hound in field training, which earned him the ire of the knightly houses. For all his strength, Jaros was of little use in times of peace. The Bastard of Byrne was a frequent cause of embarrassment to House Byrne.
The Tiger and the Lioness
Jaros’s knighthood was short-lived. Serra Hayford—a Gutter Rat sentenced to servitude to House Enthor—was accused of stealing from the King’s treasury. Having no proof of her innocence, Serra demanded a trial by combat and Jaros stepped forward as her champion. Oswin Hightower named himself the crown’s champion, seeing an opportunity to avenge the humiliation he suffered at the King’s Tourney six year’s prior. Oswin was killed in the duel, and in the eyes of the King and the gods, Serra was declared innocent of any wrongdoing. That same night, Jaros gave Serra all the coin he had and charted her a ship to far-off lands. Jaros was himself uncertain as to her innocence or guilt.
Jaros defending a thief’s honour was the last insult Haldar would tolerate, and so he arranged for Delamar Gaandal to fully initiate his son into the Fist of Valour. Though unwilling to volunteer, Jaros was roundly humiliated by his father in front of the assembled house, and told that he would no longer be his son until he was worthy. In taking his new vows, Jaros was commanded to forsake his titles, land, and already-tenuous claim to his family seat. Haldar Byrne believed himself to be finally rid of his greatest failing.
“…If I had known you were so lacking in intelligence and ambition, I would have left you to die on the end of a dwarven spear. Leave these halls! Do not tarnish them again until you have learned what it means to be a Byrne!”
- Haldar Byrne
Jaros then engaged in increasingly self-destructive behaviour. Rather than living by church dogma Jaros attended brothels and frequently drank himself into a stupor. Like his father before him, Jaros sired a child, Nyna, through a prostitute he had grown too fond of. Haldar was furious when he learned of an illegitimate granddaughter through his spymaster, and arranged to have the mother and daughter secreted away in the middle of the night. Haldar told Jaros that he had them taken somewhere far away, where they would be kept safe from those who wished harm upon his family. Jaros gave most of his meagre wage to his father, which he was told went towards supporting the child he would never see.
In 14 years of sworn service, Jaros has never been considered for promotion past the rank of Soldier-At-Arms. Delamar Gaandal grew tired of Jaros’s inability to serve and palmed him off onto the Deepmere City Watch. Jaros is unaware that he has kept his church affiliation only to please his father.