A character I created for D&D 5th edition: Kaitla, female dwarf soldier turned fighter
Born as a humble farmer's daughter, it was clear from a very young age that Kaitla would not fit into the village's life: she was always bigger and stronger then most others of her age, and although never shining for her wits, her teachers always liked her for her motivation and discipline. Sadly most of the other children - or villagers at large - didn't agree with the teachers, and mocked and bullied her. Kaitla's father decided that it would be best for her to leave the village and seek a better life, and so she left the village at the tender age of 16 to go and join a local militia. It was clear pretty quickly that her physical capabilities, her motivation and discipline, her perseverance and her stubbornness would make an excellent soldier of her, and so she was sent off to enroll in the Fearless Legion.
The youngest dwarf to ever be accepted in the Fearless Legion hitherto was Oskar the Bearrider, who joined at the age of 26. Kaitla wasn't even 17 when she attempted the harsh admission selection, and not only did she get accepted, she helped others through the tests too, proving to have the instincts of a great leader. Her performance didn't stay unnoticed, and she got assigned to the best teachers to make the most out of her possibilities.
After a few years of training ,she got assigned to the infantry, and her first war experience was at the battle of the sea turtles. That's where Kaitla first started making a name for herself: not only did she keep focused and effective during the whole battle, she chased after the orcish invaders, knocking several of them unconscious with her bare hands, her axes already deep in a troll's head. She got awarded a medal of courage, and got highest praise from her superiors. Kaitla hoped to be promoted soon, but another of her comrades got promoted instead, and she had a bit of a personal crisis because of this. She started to be very confrontational with her superiors, she disobeyed orders and finally left the fort she was stationed at - her home, the place where she finally felt she belonged - without permission and without intention to return.
During this time she started drinking a lot, and her life derailed into a spiral of alcohol, gambling and barfights. Being attractive above average she attracted attention from all racers and genders, and she had a series of lovers she quickly forgot about again. She continued to wander around from village to village, without purpose and lots of anger. It all came to an end after she met Ilaria - what started out as just another nameless lover turned into the relationship that brought Kaitla's life back on track. The beautiful elf was the owner of a small craft brewery, and taught Kaitla everything there is to know about beer. They lived together in a small hut near the brewery, and for a few years it looked as if Kaitla would spend the rest of her days crafting beer with Ilaria - but sadly, her fate was another.
One day, while traveling through an area which seemed vaguely familiar, Kaitla noticed smoke at the horizon. After a few seconds her old instincts kicked in and, after hiding her wagon in some nearby bushes, she ran towards the smoke, seeing if she could help with anything. After a few minutes of traversing the forest, she climbed a big boulder, and she couldn't believe her eyes: before here was a big plain, the fortress she used to be stationed at at the horizon, burning. The plain was filled with thousands of orcs, more then she ever saw. Without hesitation she descended from the builder, and sneaking from behind she managed to overwhelm a group of 4 orcs scouting in the forest. She took their weapons, and armor, and raging with a fury she never experienced before, all her anger pouring out with every slash, every thrust, every smash, she started fighting her way through the lines of orcs form behind, towards the fortress. her simple green clothing was heavy from all the blood it was drenched in, but she didn't stop. The hordes of attackers started noticing this force of nature killing her way through their army, and more and more orcs started to turn to attack her. She didn't let this bother her, on the contrary: switching out weapons every time she could, because the old ones were so dented in the meantime, she killed tens, hundreds, even more orcs. The whole left flank of the attack was destabilised, and started turning towards Kaitla. This was the opening the few surviving defenders of the fortress were praying for. Volley after volley of crossbow bolts descendent upon the orcs,allowing her to speed up. A group of cavallery, flanked by infantry on both sides, suddenly exited form the fortresses main gates, and making use of the confusion started cutting through the orcish army. Suddenly the situation was turned, with the orcs scrambling to retreat, and the Fearless Legion's soldiers going after them, killing them off one by one. Kaitla grinned as she was close enough to the fortress to recognise her old comrades, then she fell unconscious, exhausted.
She woke up in her old superior's tent, surrounded by the highest ranking officers on the Legion in this region. She got offered her position as a soldier back, with a promotion, and free choice of soldiers to join an elite squad she was supposed to head. The offer was tempting, but Kaitla couldn't stop thinking of Ilaria. After explaining that she had to think about it, she left to go back to the brewery. As she reached it, Ilaria ran out to her: bards already spread the tales of her accomplishments, but rumors had it that Kaitla died in her heroic action. Only then did Ilaria notice Kaitla's wounds: it was clear she wouldn't be able to accomplish such a feat ever again, or at least not for tens of years. There was no part of her body not completely covered with wounds, bruises and cuts - all covered by bandages, but Ilaria could see enough.
During the next few days Kaitla and Ilaria talked about the offer Katila got, and what they were going to do about it. During one of these discussions Ilaria presented a plan: She would go follow her dream, open a brewery in Kyr, and Kaitla would go fulfil her destiny in the Fearless Legion. And once every year they would meet, and decide if they should retire together or keep on for one more year. It was a tough decision, but in the end the two of them agreed to this plan. They agreed to send each other letters regularly, and to keep each other updated in whatever means possible. Kaitla wrote a letter to her father, telling him about Ilaria, and explaining that if he ever felt the need to leave his village, he should go to her in Kyr. while Kaitla was setting up all of this, Ilaria went off to fetch ... something. The only thing she told Kaitla was to brew one last batch of beer. After a few days Ilaria came back with a big chest, but she didn't show what was inside. She brew an own batch of beer, and the dwarf and the elf didn't leave each others side for the weeks it took for the beer to be ready. When it finally was, Ilaria opened the chest, and there were two hip flasks inside. She mixed her beer with Kaitla's, and filled both flasks with it. She then placed the flasks in the chest, and closed it with a key. She exclaimed that the chest would only be opened when they finished drinking all of the beer they brew. It took 7 days to achieve the task, but as soon as the feat was done the chest sprang open by itself. Ilaria explained this had just been a ritual to create two never-ending flasks. They both contained their combined beer now, and would refill it by themselves when empty. Each one of them grabbed a flask, and with all their courage and discipline they went their separate ways.
Back at the fortress, Kaitla got what was promised to her: a promotion, and her own squad. Together they hunted orcs all across the land, and soon they were feared by all invaders. Kaitla never forgot the years of despair she had, and get very cynical, strict and intimidating. At the same time her hatred for orcs grew every day, and each time one of her subordinates died by their hand she got more efficient in her hunt for more invaders. This incredibly drive to achieve more paved to road for a great career for Kaitla, who quickly outranked all the soldiers she started out with. Her sense of honor and of duty intensified every day, and she only felt two obligations: protect the defenseless, and provide for those she loved. This meant risking her life on a nearly daily basis to protect her comrades, and going above and beyond to ensure everyone was safe. Kaitla started fighting with a glaive, an unusual choice, but oen she made very consciously. Most have never faced a glaive in comabt, and she bacem incredibly skilled with this deadly weapon. She was still occasionally using her axes and warhammers, especially in closed spaces. She took great pride in being able to hit a coin from 30 meter with her crossbow. She trained how to best use a shield to defend herself and others. She was a war machine.
Once a year she met with Ilaria, who owned a nice brewery in Kyr by now, which she manned with Kaitla's father and some urchins they were trying to give a new opportunity in life. And every year they decided to keep going for one more year.
After a few years the orcs knew Kaitla pretty well and there had been multiple attempts to kill her - none of which succeeded. Then, one night, she woke up with a sense of unease: they were on the east coast, sleeping in tents in a pretty well defensible harbor, with two soldiers stationed as guards. But Kaitla couldn't hear them . nor anything else. She still had her eyes closed, and started reaching for her warhammer, as she realised she couldn't move. She tried opening her eyes - nothing. One word immediately came to her mind: poison! She thought relaxed her whole body, trying to focus her energy. She had been trained for this, she knew how to overcome it. The only question was: would it be fast enough? She silently counted to 100 then with all her force she opened her eyes. No luck, but the act of force made her ears pop, and she slowly started regaining her hearing. She heard steps approaching - very softly. While counting to 100 again she tried to figure out what was happening.Orcs didn't use such poisons - they wouldn't have been able to. She knew some humans joined the orcs, but .. well, it seemed like the only possibility. The steps were coming closer, so she counted faster. As she reached 100 again, she opened her eyes. She could only see a figure in a dark robe above her, with a golden dagger in their hand, rich in decorations and symbold she didn't recognise. From the pose it was clear the figure was about to stab Kaitla in the head. She could feel the adrenaline surging in her body, It all took jsut a few milliseconds, but it was enough. The dagger came down, and Kaitla moved her head just a few centimeters to the side, but not enough. The dagger smashed into Kaitla's open eye, inflicting a pain so harsh Kaitla never felt anything like it. The pain was enough to dim the effect of the poison, and Kaitla reflectively grabbed the warhammer and smashed the figure. It fell to the ground, but blind with rage and pain Kaitla started hitting it over and over, until there was nothing left but a bloody pulp. Only now did Kaitla notice the dagger on the ground, her right eye still impaled on the tip of it. She felt blood running down her face, and dripping to the floor. As she stumbled outside to look for her squad, her biggest horror turned out to be true: everyone was dead. Every single one. Kaitla felt numb - and it was not only the poison.
After a few days she reached the nearest fort, and was immediately attended by the best doctors and healers. She took the dagger with her, but nobody had ever seen anything like it. Even with the dagger present, nobody could do anything: the eye was lost. At the same time, the poison reduced her to a shadow of her former self: while still retaining some of her physical capabilities, she felt... incapacitated, as if she would have to learn everything from scratch again. In the weeks she spent getting medicated, she thought about the future. She failed at everything she wanted to achieve. She couldn't keep on with this. The Fearless Legion offered her to take her time, re-select a new squad, there was even talk of a promotion to a position without enemy contact. But the fact that she couldn't protect her comrades, that she failed.. it wouldn't let her go. And so she penned a letter to Ilara, containing just three words: "Farwell, I love".
She resigned from the legion, she couldn't have kept on there, she didn't want to if she wouldn't be able to protect those she loved. She was recovering fairly quickly, but still...
She decided to try to look for honor and spread justice on her own, and is roaming the lands looking for honor, glory, justice and vengeance now. More then once she thought about starting a career as a gladiator. Who knows what the future might bring...