Name: Rigar Fallenwood of CLan Irontree
Alias: Rigar the Red
Race: Skinwalker (coldborn)
Class: Unchained Barbarian
Rigar the Red was born into the Fallenwood family. His mother was a young woman, Jora of the Fallenwood family, seventeen at the time she chose a mate. Rigar’s father was older than her by four years; he was a quiet and brooding man, Dregrix the Raven of the Mosstower family. He was called the Raven for both his jet-black hair and for his often gloomy mood. At birth it was said that Rigar’s orange-red hair burned brighter than a summer fire. He was the only red-haired Coldborn in the last four generations of Clan Irontree, the others of the clan all being some shade of blonde, brown, or sometimes black. He was his mother’s firstborn and she named him for her grandfather, Rigar the Mammoth of the Brokenbranch family. The Mammoth towered over all other Coldborn of his day, a massive man with a short temper. Rumors said he was 10 feet tall and just as wide, although that may have only been true of his bear-form. Rigar the Red lacked his great-grandfathers height, standing just shy of 6 feet tall in human-form, but Rigar the Red more than made up for it in strength and muscle.
When Rigar was four years old Dregrix returned for the Sunwane and by the age of five Rigar had a little brother. Like Rigar, Jofi Fallenwood was unlike his kin. Jofi was unusual for reasons very different than Rigar though; Jofi was small, thin, and weak. Jofi was never able to control his transformations either; he would shift between human and bear-form without any warning. As a child he was often sick for days at a time and would not be able to get out of bed. Dregrix returned for the Sunwane of the year of Jofi’s birth but after seeing Jofi once Dregrix would never return again. Jora never chose another mate and never birthed another child. Rigar never knew why Dregrix did not return though he always assumed that his father had abandoned them out of shame and contempt for his weaker brother. Rigar became Jofi’s protector, looking out for him and caring for him at all times. On the days that Jofi was weak, Rigar would fashion a sling from Jofi’s favorite wool blanket and carry Jofi on his back wrapped in the red and green plaid of Clan Irontree.
When Rigar was sixteen, Jofi badly injured his foot. Within weeks, gangrene had begun to take over the wound. A shaman from the Sunkenroot family removed Jofi’s leg from the knee down. Crippled and weak, Jofi had no place in Clan Irontree. He could not fight, hunt, forage, or do any of the work required by the clan. Jora knew what needed to be done but she did not have the heart to do it. She asked Rigar to end his brother’s suffering but Rigar could not do it either.
Later that year when the Sunwane festival arrived, Rigar was selected by the men as ready to leave the Irontree. The Matrons and other elders showered him with praise; he had dominated the wrestling tournament so handily that no other boy was recognized as ready to venture out. He had made them all look like toddlers; truthfully, Rigar had been strong enough to leave for at least two years. Rigar, fearing for the health and safety of Jofi, did not want to leave. He asked the four Matrons to grant him permission to stay, if only for another year, to care for his brother. They denied his request, insulted by the insinuation that the women of the Fallenwood family could not properly care for Jofi.
Reluctantly Rigar complied. His sense of duty and responsibility to his clan and the Green compelled him to do as the Matrons asked. Just shy of six months later, the spring equinox was approaching and it was nearly time to return to visit the Irontree. Most of Rigar’s time in the Hoarwood wilds had been solitary. He was lucky in that he did not encounter a single invader. Twice he crossed paths with fellow Irontree Coldborn, both of the Sunkenroot family; neither had word from home nor had heard anything about Jofi’s condition. The dense forestry and deep winter snow of the taiga surrounding the Irontree leant itself well to self-preservation. Outsiders were unlikely to wander far enough into the Hoarwood to find the Irontree’s domain, much less stumble upon one of the wandering Coldborn.
When the equinox arrived and Rigar returned home, it was as he had feared. Jofi was gone. He had passed away not more than a month after Rigar had departed; Jora was convinced that he had simply given up the will to live after Rigar was gone. Rigar blamed himself for abandoning Jofi, just as their father had. Rigar decided on that day that he no longer wanted to take part in the cycle of the Irontree. With his brother gone he felt nothing but emptiness within the hall of the Fallenwood. Having spent a lonely winter in the woods without ever encountering a threat, he felt as though the Irontree men were venturing out for nothing. He wanted no part of it.
Rigar requested council with the four Matrons and his mother. Jora knew what was coming. He told the four Matrons that he intended to leave Clan Irontree’s domain to venture out into the world beyond the forest. The Matrons told him that if he left and abandoned the traditions of Clan Irontree that he would not be welcome to return. His mind was made up; he was leaving with or without their blessing. After the Matrons departed Jora gave Rigar two gifts. First she gave him a massive club made from a piece of the Irontree itself. She said that it had once belonged to Rigar the Mammoth. Then she gave him a newly stitched kilt. She had made it herself using Jofi’s wool blanket for materiel. Rigar said goodbye and they parted ways, he has never seen her since that day.
10 years have passed since Rigar left the Ironwood. He has travelled far and seen much. An outcast and nomad, he never stays in one place for very long. He has earned a living with his strength and prowess serving in positions such as a personal bodyguard, hired muscle for travelling caravans, and once for a short time as a lawman. He often seeks to find work serving as a protector of the weak, seeing himself as a guardian to those who cannot protect themselves. He has gained a dark sense of humor, often self-deprecating. He often uses humor to mask his true feelings and emotions, preferring to laugh at things rather than dwell on them. He typically hides his werebear-kin traits, often blending in with normal humans. He tells strangers that he is a Kellid from the Realm of the Mammoth Lords although wiser travelers would recognize his accent as something else entirely. In moments of anger a keen eye may notice his canine teeth enlarging and nails growing into claws, despite his efforts to suppress his bear-form amongst humans. Since leaving the Hoarwood he has mostly drifted from the traditions of the Green Faith and lives by a simpler motto of “do what you want and harm none that do not seek to harm you”.
Within the Realm of the Mammoth Lords within the eastern edge of the Hoarwood Forest lives a small clan of Coldborn families. The clan is known as Clan Irontree and the four families of the clan are the Brokenbranch, the Fallenwood, the Sunkenroot, and the Mosstower. The clan is named for the great petrified tree whose broken remains make up their homes. The clan is recognizable by their plaid wool clothing and decorations. They use a red field of wool with green woven in as their official colors. They wear the plaid as kilts and cloaks and their wool also serves as curtains and door covers throughout the Irontree. They will often claw a warning symbol on signs near the edge of their domain, a long vertical line topped with a circle and four separate lines extending out of the circle. The vertical line representing the tree itself, the four lines are the four families, and the circle is the clan that unites them. The great Irontree once stood atop a low hill with a small lake to the west side and a clearing in the forest on the east. The largest remains of the tree, immovable by men, are broken into four pieces. The smaller pieces were harvested long ago, the petrified wood being prized for the handles of weapons and tools alike.
Each family is named for the piece of the tree in which their Matron resides. The Brokenbranch inhabit a long hollow tree branch, broken in two places and lying in the shape of a triangle. It is said that the pieces of the branch were moved by a herd of mammoths commanded by Kellid riders but none of the living members of Clan Irontree know if that is true or not. The branch lies on the north face of the hill. The Fallenwood family lives in a piece of the trunk which fell to the bottom of the hill and rolled into the clearing in the east. Lying on its side, the hollowed fallen piece forms a massive open hall, the two ends of which are draped with huge patchwork tapestries and giant swaths of Irontree plaid. The Sunkenroot live in the hollowed roots of the Irontree, their home a maze of tunnels and chambers. The common entrance to their labyrinth is on the south side of the hill but the Sunkenroot family members often appear and disappear from hidden entrances all around the clan’s domain. No one outside of the Sunkenroot family knows how far the roots actually go. The Mosstower family lives in the remainder of the trunk, high above the other families, the petrified shell of the tree is now covered in moss and ivy growing in the sunlight that shines from the eastern clearing.
The families are led by their Matrons, the eldest of their women. Family names are passed down from the mother to all of her children. There is one Matron for each family and a council of elders to advise them, made up of the women too old to give birth. When one Matron passes, the next elder assumes the role. Women of birthing age care for the homes and children, they farm root vegetables and hunt and gather for food. The women of the Irontree are also adapt fighters, charged with protecting their home and children from all invaders.
The men of the tribe wander the surrounding woods, never settling in one place, only returning to the Irontree for the fall and spring equinox celebrations. They pay service to the Green Faith by protecting the trees, vegetation, and smaller creatures of the Hoarwood around the Irontree from outsiders. By protecting the eastern Hoarwood, they protect the Irontree that lay within. They live by these words; “For every living branch snapped, a bone must be broken. For every trunk cleaved, a life must be taken. Harm none but those who seek to harm the Green and its protectors.”
During the fall equinox the members of Clan Irontree have a great celebration that they call the Sunwane. It is during this festival that the women of the clan choose their mates and also the time in which the men decide which boys are strong enough to leave the Irontree. The clan’s boys often have a wrestling tournament to display their strength to the men and to win the favor of the girls their age. The games often last up to a week and when the winners are chosen they and the other men leave to take watch guarding the eastern Hoarwood.