Loric The Iron Hand

Lorric was an orphan, one who could scarcely remember his parents. Well, that was not strictly true, he could vaguely remember a large bald heavily muscled man, who had taught him the rudiments of fighting, how to punch, how to kick, and how to move and evade a blow. These lessons it seemed, had rooted themselves far more deeply into his consciousness than had the tutor, how he believed to have been his father. Of his mother, Lorric could remember nothing.

Alone and homeless, Lorric sought shelter wherever he could find it, and food wherever he could steal it easily. Unfortunately for him though, some merchants were protected by thieves guilds, who they paid heavily for this protection, and it was not long before the unwitting Lorric had fallen afoul of more than one such organisation. It only took one of them to catch him though, and soon Lorric was living in a new world, albeit the squalid one, of child gladiators. The guild, seeing no other way for the boy to repay his dues, and realising he was likely to keep stealing to feed himself, decided that perhaps he would make some money back for them in the ring. Which, ultimately, he would.

Training now began in earnest; boys were given weapons and even some tuition in how to use them. It was noted that Lorric was not keen to use weapons, and most of the time, when given a longsword, or a trident, or whatever else was handy, he would wave the weapon in a threatening manner, and then simply punch or kick his opponent. In the end, they stopped bothering to give him a weapon, and he refused armour anyway, claiming it slowed him down.

Fights for the younger boys were rarely to the death, but as Lorric grew, growing into the heavily muscled, power house of a man he would become, so the ante increased. He had built a reputation for not being defeated in the ring, despite using no weapons and wearing no armour, and as he grew older, so the numbers of disgruntled people who had bet against him in the past. As you may imagine, the sort of people who bet on child gladiators are not the most savoury of characters, and many of them longed for Lorric’s demise, preferably at the hands of whoever they were betting.

As his reputation grew, so too did the list of challengers wishing to fight him, and the bouts grew more and more brutal. As often happens with such martial contests, the contenders are given nicknames, and Lorric was no different. During a particularly brutal match with a half-orc boy who dwarfed Lorric, the lightning fast Lorric had dashed past the clumsy swing of his opponent’s greataxe, leapt into the air, and as he came down punched his opponent hard in the side of the head, crushing his skull even through his battered iron helmet, leaving a fist shaped dent in both helmet and opponent.

The battered helmet was ripped from the corpse of the loser, and soon the announcer was lifting Lorric’s hand in victory, whilst in his other hand, showing the dented helmet to the crowd. In honeyed tones the announcer told the crowd, “Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Lorric, the Iron Fist!” quickly the chant was taken up, and the legend of Lorric, the Iron Fist was begun.

Soon though, Lorric’s fame became too much, and it became difficult to find opponents for the boy, but he was not yet judged ready to take part in adult bouts. Ever watchful to make the most of their investments, the guild decided upon a final, grand bout, with Lorric granted his freedom should he win.

Of course, they were not expecting Lorric to win, but everyone else was. So having poisoned his food, the guild bet against him, expecting to collect a princely sum. Whether the poisoner miscalculated his dosage, or simply did not factor in Lorric’s cast iron constitution remains unclear. What is clear however, is that Lorric pummelled his opponent to pieces in short order, to the adulation of the crowd.

The guild, needless to say, were far from pleased, and various individuals within the organisation wanted to simply kill Lorric for costing them so much money. This suggestion was vetoed from further up the chain; someone had obviously taken a liking to Lorric. And he was released, their thinking being that having kept their word, Lorric would trust them again, should they ever have need of him. After all, he had been well trained, well fed and watered whilst in their care; they even gave him a few coins upon his leaving.

The poisoner however, was not so fortunate. For such failure demands a scapegoat, and it was he rather than Lorric, who was floating in the canal a short while later.

Lorric meanwhile began to wander, rarely staying in one place for long, perhaps in case his past caught up with him, or perhaps trying to catch up with his pre-gladiatorial past. His new freedom also brought with it a new love of revelry, perhaps due to the years of childhood lost to fighting, he had a great desire for good food, good drink and, in all fairness, cheap women as he rarely had much money.

On his travels he had also seen a band of monks practicing what they called drunken boxing, and when he had enquired about tuition, he was told that he must first master drinking. Already a lover of fine ale, Lorric resolved to master the art further, and that he would seek out the drunken monks at a later date.

At length, his wanders led him to the Willow, who after admiring his tales, and his love of revelry invited him to join their number, and his training continued. He worked hard, attaining the title of Disciple of the Willow in short order.

And here the legend of the Iron Fist begins in earnest.

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