|Barkus 'The Witch's Bastard' Jeshua|
Appearance and Personality Edit
Barkus was tall and beefy even as a boy. His snoring often keeps his brothers awake at night. He would often make them laugh with a joke or an uncanny imitation of one of the masters
He excelled at unarmed combat, his large frame best suited to soaking up the punishment, he seemed impervious to pain. Though he was poor with throwing knives.
Barkus seems to have a Dark affinity for metal. When he was young he excelled as a blacksmith, hardly needing to be taught at all. When he was ten, he made a knife in secret as a present for his father. However, when his father saw the skill with which it was made, he feared that his son was influenced by the Dark, and threw it in the river. He was taken to a horse breeder to learn the horse trade instead. Barkus decided to really show his father what he could do, and snuck into the smithy, and made a sun vane. His father was horrified, and told him to pack his bags, that he was being taken to the Sixth Order.
Barkus was born in Nilsael, where his father was a blacksmith. Barkus helped at the forge from a young age making knives, plough blades, many horseshoes, and weather vanes until his father took him to the Sixth Order, after becoming disturbed by his Dark gift with metalwork.
Blood Song Edit
Barkus joins the Sixth Order in the same group as Vaelin Al Sorna, Nortah Al Sendahl, Dentos, Caenis Al Nysa, and many others under the tutelage of Master Sollis. Barkus was well liked; he would often make the other boys laugh with a joke or an uncanny imitation of one of the masters. He was their most prolific thief, especially when it came to food, until Frentis joined the Order.
In the Test of the Run, Barkus comes second after Dentos. He was shocked to hear of Mikehl’s death, the two often playing tricks together; like putting pepper into one of the feed bags in the stable.
In the Test of the Wild, Barkus returns late. He is silent, with tears in his eyes, and can only says “Jennis is dead”. He had found him during the Test frozen to a tree dead, but was so hungry, he just searched through his pockets for food.
When the brothers take on the task of helping Dentos pass the Test of Knowledge, Barkus helped, tending to stick to the humorous tales. The Test left Barkus depressed and monosyllabic, like most of the boys.
When the brothers forge their swords, Barkus’s skill is obvious to Master Jestin. However, Barkus is reluctant to discuss his past, and shows no joy in his work, no satisfaction. When Jestin offers him a place in the smithy, Barkus turns him down.
Barkus goes with the other boys to the Summertide Fair, where it is revealed Nortah’s father the First Minister is to be hanged for corruption. He, Caenis and Dentos overhear the commotion of Nortah and Vaelin with the Black Hawks, and leap to their aid. As things seem on the verge of turning ugly, Prince Malcius Al Nieren arrives, having witnesses the confrontation, and allows the brothers to leave unharmed.
The Test of the Melee ends with Barkus as one of only ten who are able to remain standing after the brawl, though he gains a deep cut across his back, which would scare him for the rest of his life. Barkus helps the barely conscious Dentos to the infirmary.
In the week long exchange with brothers and sisters from different Orders, Barkus with Dentos chose the safe option of the Fourth Order. He played no role in defeating the aspect massacre, though was enraged when he heard of Vaelin’s injury. Later, Barkus fared well in the Test of the Horse, while proved only adequate in the Test of the Bow.
During Frentis’ Test of the Wild, when he doesn’t return, Barkus joins Vaelin, Nortah, Caenis and Dentos to find and rescue him. They track him to tunnels under an inn, thanks to Scratch, the Volarian slave-hounds. The structure seems to be some kind of temple to the mysterious and supposedly defunct Seventh Order of the Faith, the Order of the Dark. Behind a hidden door, they find Frentis tied to a frame, with his torso tattooed with scars. The outlaw One Eye makes a wall of fire, but Caenis recognises it as fake, and leaps through the flame and kills him.
The five friends graduate as full brothers of the Sixth Order, after succeeding in the Test of the Sword. Barkus endured a prolonged contest of several minutes, before being victorious.
Barkus and the others head to the Cumbraelin campaign against unfaithful fanatics hiding in the forests, where Barkus find treasonous letters on the body of the man known as Black Arrow. He is also involved in the subsequent campaign against Fief Lord Hentes Mustor, the True Blade; in fact it is Barkus who kills Mustor, not realising he is about to surrender. Between the campaigns he forges a two-bladed battle-axe that he calls Brenda, which Vaelin’s blood-song finds disturbing.
Later war breaks out with the invasion of the Alpiran Empire. Barkus commands a company of the Wolf Runners. He is in the middle of the melee during the battle of the Bloody Hill, where Vaelin kills The Hope, the heir to the Empire. Vaelin’s forces with Barkus are assigned to take and hold the key city of Linesh, which they succeed in doing. The other key cities the Unified Realm hold, Untesh and Marbellis, eventually fall to the Alpirans. The Empire eventually sues for the peaceful surrender of the city of Linesh, provided Vaelin gives himself up as their prisoner, although this is not revealed until Barkus and Caenis and the rest of the force have embarked.
Vaelin leaves Linesh, and sets up camp nearby to await the Empires forces. Barkus jumps off of the ship and swims back to shore where he meets Vaelin. Vaelin is completely unsurprised at Barkus' arrival and is in fact, awaiting him. Prior to the departure of Bren Antesh and his Cumbraelin archers, Antesh presumably reveals to Vaelin that he was once known as Black Arrow, and he tells him the truth about the note Barkus found on a dead Cumbraelin's body, which started the war in Cumbrael. It is revealed that Barkus was taken by a servant of the One Who Waits, the Witch’s Bastard, during the Test of the Wild years ago when he found Jennis’s body. The two fight, and Vaelin kills him thanks to Scratch, his Volarian slave-hound. As Barkus dies he says “Perhaps the next time you kill me, I’ll be wearing the face of someone you love even more”.