Charles "Chaz the Savior" Barley


An extravagant plume adorns the wide-brimmed hat of this young fellow. His chin is held high, showing off his cleanly styled goatee and sharply pointed mustache. His flamboyant clothing gives the impression of braggadocio, with red silk and white lace, offset by a rich cape of black velvet and gold.

Holding himself with a fencer’s poise, he stands perfectly balanced, his right hand never too far from the pommel of his fine-looking rapier. Across his back he carries an ornate lute, revealing his musical ambitions.

His eyes scour the room, searching for trouble.



Chaz was feeling elated, having just given the performance of his life. He had debuted his new song “The Defenders of Gard” on the main stage at the Heroes Day celebration, and the energy he’d received from the crowd was electrifying. After the performance, he stuck around to mingle with his fans and admirers. But, there was one familiar face that he wasn’t expecting to see. At first, Chaz took no notice of the uniformed quaestor. But when the man came up and spoke, a jolt of recognition shot up Chaz’s spine.

Cousin Jerome. The older relative that Chaz had so long envied, resented, maybe even hated, for only Jerome received the approval and praise from Chaz’s mother, the approval that Chaz had always craved more than anything in the world. Jerome congratulated Chaz – and with no apparent lack of sincerity. He explained he’d been hearing the stories about Chaz’s exploits, but by the time he had an opportunity to stop by The Beautiful Centicore to catch up in person, Chaz had already checked out. Jerome expressed his gratitude on behalf of the city and country, and his pride to have Chaz as family.

A weight was lifted. For the first time in Chaz’s life, he saw Jerome not as the distant, older cousin, or the object of blistering envy, but as a fellow compatriot and a proper kinsman. He actually felt a profound closeness with the cousin he had so long begrudged.

For the first time in a very long time, Chaz slept peacefully that night. Not because the Snake of the Sevens was dead and her syndicate dismantled, and not because all of Gideon City was celebrating his deeds and his songs, but because he was now his own man, freed from constantly measuring himself up against the shadow of his brothers and cousin. He had come into his own, and the whole world seemed new.

Of course, not everything was new. The archmages had proven themselves to be not merely prejudiced, not merely oppressive, not merely traitorous, but genuinely evil. With the Fifth Scroll recovered, and the archmages in rebellion, now was the time to free the Eustacian populace from the shackles of serfdom.

Chaz’s strategy was dual. First, he would secure a commission to lead an elite special operations unit, to track down and kill or capture the most flagrant and dangerous of the wizards of Eustace. Second, he would rouse the smallfolk to arms, spreading the truth about the corruption of the archmages, and holding himself up as an example that even “mundies” can be a potent force to fight against the oppression of the magocracy.

A new day was dawning. And in the new light, the pursuit of fame seemed paltry compared to the potential of what could be won. Oppression would be ended. Gard would be unified. And Chaz would fight until it was done.

A True Hero of the People

by Horatio Twigly

An innocent waif had been snatched from her bed,
The townsfolk knew not what to do.
They didn’t know if she was living or dead,
Kidnapped by Paparoneck goons!
Into the swamp had the Grippli thugs fled,
They needed someone to pursue!
She needed a savior
And that’s what Chaz gave her!
A true hero of the people!!

The townsfolk were stricken with grief,
They wanted the best the land has!
‘Twas a dangerous quest,
And they needed the best,
And that’s why they called upon Chaz!

Off to the swamp with his posse Chaz went,
Into the perilous moor!
The going was treach’rous, and so was the scent!
Worse than the most odious sewer!
They raced against time and so they were hellbent,
Good thing they had Chaz on the oar!
She needed a savior
And that’s what Chaz gave her!
A true hero of the people!!

Surely those Gripplis must pay!
So they sent the best the land has!
To set the score right
This called for a fight,
And that’s why they called upon Chaz!

Even the plants fought against them that day,
They snatched an adventurer whole!
The tree picked him up and lifted him away,
Greedy for a horrible toll!
Chaz let loose a shaft, and it didn’t go stray!
To free the poor knave was his goal!
He shot dead the tree
And set the chap free,
A true hero of the people!!

Chaz tracked down the grippli city,
He proved he was best the land has!
He picked up the slack
And led the attack,
Good thing that they called upon Chaz!

He ambushed their guards and jumped into the fray,
Fighting through enveloping fog.
His goal was rescue but by Gods did he slay
The vicious cruel brutes of that bog!
He rescued the lass and he carried the day
As he fought back the barbarous frogs!
And how that girl did swoon
As he stormed the lagoon!
A true hero of the people!!

The maiden now had her escort,
She knew he was best the land has!
But as soon as they spoke,
They both heard a great croak,
Good thing at her side she had Chaz!

There was one humongous foe that was left,
The crown on his head showed him king!
A giant cruel brute of incredible heft,
But oh, did Chaz’ rapier sing!
Our hero knew he must avenge this vile theft
And towards the great beast did he spring!
For all that was just
With his sword did he thrust
A true hero of the people!!

Now that the king had been slain,
They freed all the slaves the king has!
They returned victorious!
And that’s the glorious
Story about our hero Chaz!

The Farmboy

Growing up on a Eustacian farm is never easy. Feeding the chickens at dawn, hulling barley all morning, a modest dinner of bread and perhaps some meat, and then back to work sowing seed, malting the grains, and fertilizing the fields before a meager supper. And then came harvest time, when the smallfolk worked themselves to exhaustion while the wizards eagerly awaited their share of the crop they had no part in producing.

Charles Barley hated this life. The endlessly repetitive toil, the only goal being to keep enough crop after Salmon’s cut so the family could barely survive the winter. The only good time of the day was after sundown, when Charles and his older brothers Tomas and Robert would each grab their favorite sticks and do their best to wallop each other.

On special occasion, Charles’ parents would permit him to walk the 5 miles to the nearest tavern. Whenever he knew there would be a traveling bard, he would beg to go listen. The stories of great deeds would let him temporarily forget his small place in life, as the words and harmonies carried him to faraway places in his head. As he made the trek home, he would do his best to sing along to the ballads as best as he remembered them, prolonging his cherished reverie.

As Charles grew up, his relatives grew up quicker. His cousin Jerome from a nearby plantation landed a position with the Quaestors, sending the whole community into a tizzy of excitement. Charles’ mother Alice could not have been more enthusiastic. Practically all she could talk about was Jerome, how smart and strong he is, all the good he must be doing in Gideon City, how hard-working he is, and why couldn’t you be more like Jerome? For Charles, the excitement soon turned into envy, and then frustration, and then a deep resentment of the older cousin he barely knew. When Charles was stuck on the plantation, barely being allowed out to the tavern once a week, Jerome was living in Gideon City, the heart of culture, a sword at his side and a uniform that commanded respect, and a city full of adventure around him. No matter what Charles did, his mother never said a kind word about him, only Jerome, Jerome, Jerome.

To make things worse, Tomas, the oldest Barley brother, got an apprenticeship with the local blacksmith. For Charles, this meant more work, longer hours, and even less appreciation, now that his mum had something new to brag about. Robert managed to find a good deal on a colt and a filly, and convinced his father Bruce to spend their savings on this new venture. Robert made it his business to tend to the horses, and eventually breed and sell them.

After years of this interminable toil, it was time for Charles to leave. With Tomas gone, Robert focused on the horses, and his parents aging, more and more burden was falling on Charles’ shoulders. And he hated it. Less trips to the tavern, less time for mock-swordplay, and more labor.

No one wanted Charles to leave. His parents had been grooming him to take over the farm. Robert relied on him to oversee the crops so he could tend and trade horseflesh. And the reeve was always quick to discourage any talk of emigration, spinning tales of the danger and vile conditions that cities offered. Nonetheless, it was all that Charles dreamed of.

Finally, Charles’ day came. He had planned out his escape. He told no one, as news travelled far too fast on a small plantation. He had few enough belongings that packing them up was easy. Then, just wait until mom and dad were busy enough that they wouldn’t notice him grabbing the key to the family chest.

When he opened the box that contained the Barley family life savings, he was pleasantly surprised to count 126 gold pieces. Robert’s good year with the horses was really paying off, apparently. Charles took half of what was there, replaced the key exactly where he found it, and deposited the gold into his pack, which he quickly hid by the side of the house.

Now, again to wait. When supper came, the family gathered to share bread, chicken soup, and some cheese. Charles ate quickly and then excused himself, declaring he had forgotten to feed the chickens. As he hurried outside, he grabbed his pack and ran toward the stable. He picked the horse he knew to be the fastest, in case Robert discovered the theft and tried to follow.

With his pack, the family’s gold, and Robert’s horse, Charles knew there was one thing still missing. So he rode the mare towards the smithy where Tomas was employed. It was common enough that Charles would stop by, asking and sharing the latest news. No one suspected that as he left that day, he would grab the rapier he knew they had just finished.

Charles "Chaz the Savior" Barley

Meier MarkSchwab