Free Irregulars (Kesten's Men)
The four soldiers under Kesten’s command are Dhavik, Gael, Marcus, and Harris. They refer to themselves as the Free Irregulars – a reference both to Kesten’s fairly loose discipline, and the fact that they do not report directly to any higher authority with any real frequency. All carry fairly standard gear when on duty, with some deviation: Scale mail, a longsword and buckler, a longspear, a sap in case they need to subdue a foe, and a light crossbow for ranged engagement – although with the exception of Marcus they are not very good shots. Each also carries a potion of cure light wounds for emergencies, and a thunderstone for sounding an alarm.
Dhavik is unusual in that he is the only non-human in the group – he is a half-orc. He forgoes the usual longsword and longspear for a massive falchion, a traditionally orcish weapon. Although he carries a light crossbow because Kesten requires it, he loathes using it, preferring the thrill of melee combat. He is the newest member of the Free Irregulars, but has been quickly accepted by the rest for his good humor and outgoing attitude. He always has an unlikely but entertaining tale to tell regarding the orcish barbarians he claims to have been raised by – although Gael insists that Dhavik’s life story changes wildly each time he tells it.
Gael is the oldest member of the Irregulars – older even than Kesten – and is approaching his (very) late 30s. Despite this he is as sharp as a hawk – the most observent of Kesten’s crew, Gael is the first to notice something amiss or to see through a lie. He constantly berates Dhavik for telling tall tales… but only after letting him finish. The others look up to Gael out of respect for his age, and Marcus especially sees him as a mentor. Despite this, Gael knows he will have to retire soon – a few more years, and he’ll no longer have the physique for the soldier’s life. A close friend of Kesten’s, Gael implies that he knows something about the commander’s past – something that consumes Kesten to this day – but he is reluctant to speak about it.
Marcus is the youngest of Kesten’s crew, despite having served under Kesten longer than anyone other than Gael. Although he is not as physically strong as the others, he more than pulls his weight in the group and is a crack shot with a crossbow. He can usually be found patrolling the upper rampart, occasionally taking pot shots at animals that wander too close the fort – and rarely missing. A somewhat conflicted individual, Marcus finds that his youthful optimism often clashes with the more realistic view his experience as a soldier teaches him. He looks up to Gael, and always goes to him for advice or someone to confide in.
Harris is the group’s scout – he likes to call himself the “most free of the Free Irregulars”, and he spends much of his time exploring the area around the fort. Naturally quick of foot, Harris can outrun almost anyone who cares to challenge him and wears a lightweight chain shirt instead of the usual scale mail to better take advantage of his speed. Something of a daydreamer, Harris can get lost for hours just wandering around a place of particular natural beauty – or just somewhere that catches his eye. He also has a particular weakness for gambling and risk-taking, and is constantly challenging the others to dice games, making bets on unimportant things, or pulling dare devilish stunts. While this would land most people quickly in trouble, Harris seems to have a lucky streak a mile wide and has so far come out of it all unscathed.