Jaecor "Ironhand" Armerson (844 b.S.-820 b.S.), before his fame commonly known as "Jaek of Weyring", was a well-known Erpheronian knight, member of the Order of Armeros, war hero and - last, but not least - an irresistible attraction to dozens of ladies of the nobility in his time. Eventually he gained the status of a true legend among his tribe, remembered even in a monument dedicated to him in the Great Hall of Heroes in Voldar - a rare honour which was only awarded to a handful of others. Aside from successes on the battlefield Jaecor's fame was mainly founded in his overnight rise to a celebrity and the fact that he was the only person of all times to have ever triumphed three times in a row in the Armerenda Festival dedicated to the God of War, Armeros. Thus he gained the posthumous title "Armerson" (short for "Son of Armeros"), making him near-immortal among his people. Undisputedly his early death caused by an unfortunate accident also played its part in adding an aura of heroism, just as the saying goes: "True heroes are honoured by meeting the Swordlord earlier."
Picture description. A portrait of the legendary Erpheronian hero Jaecor "Ironhand" Armerson, the only person to have triumphed trice at the Armeranda tournaments. Picture drawn by Bard Judith.
The looks of one of Voldar's most prominent
knights, Jaecor Armerson, can only be described as "striking". Well, he was
"striking" in any sense of the word some might say, taking into account that he
was famous for his proficiency in swordsmanship,
a trait which is lifetime title "Ironhand" reflected. But back to his striking
looks: Jaecor was considered handsome already before his "discovery" as one of
greatest heroes at the age of nineteen. According to hearsay, reports tell us
that his long, brunette flowing hair in combination with the dreamy hazel-coloured eyes and his smooth face had been the talk among the girls of his age
for quite a while - long before the famous incident that would pave his way for
an unparalleled career in the
military. Yet his loner nature, which he more and more developed when he grew
older, made Jaek a difficult, even inapproachable person at times. This became
especially true as soon as Jaek became a youth and he was on his own in a
Jaecor was below average in stature in Erpheronian terms, smaller than most of his companions. He was slim, but very muscular and agile, efficient and precise in all of his movements, a "true artist with the sword, creative, and determinedly so, and his opponents were the means to assist him in order to work towards his own perfection" as another famous contemporary knight put it. Most often depictions show Jaecor Armerson in full plate mail with his characteristic smirk on his lips that can be interpreted in many ways: while it makes females usually yearn, members of other tribes often see in it the Erpheronian hubris shining through. Maybe there's some truth in that, as Jaecor was cunning, even sly, when it came to achieving an advantage in a fight. Indeed he was a danger to any adversary who had to face him, be it on the battlefield or in a tournament, which he dominated so brilliantly. His good looks and unspectacular size often made his foes underestimate his actual prowess, and in a way he seemed more human and approachable in the eyes of many, yet it was difficult to penetrate the strong shell of his complex personality, and he made only few friends.
Personality. Jaecor Armerson was a difficult person to perceive and interpret. He was described as moody, as self-centered and withdrawn by some, as vulnerable, sensitive and understanding by others, as focused, determined and straight-forward by a third group. These discrepancies in his character might result from the fact that he had to deal with a very difficult childhood, where he acted rebellious, only to be confronted with the death of his mother and the fact that the problems with his father couldn't be mended anymore.
When he was on his own later Jaecor often probably didn't know whom to trust except for himself, which led to an even more stubborn determination to follow his ambitions. Jaek had only few friends, but none that he would have considered essential for his life. When it came to major decisions he would only follow his own conviction and people to whom he was considered close with sometimes spoke of him using them as mere tools for his own interest. Maybe it was a natural behaviour to him, he hadn't learned it any other way. Thus one of Erpheronia's greatest heroes in a way was forged mainly by the great problems he was confronted with and the hardships he had to suffer from. It were problems he was forced to deal with on his very own, a fact that made him more resolute and focussed towards his goals, yet he was seen as excentric and inapproachable as a cause of this by many. How Jaek saw himself or would have liked to be seen by others remains a mystery however until this day.
Biography. The Early Years (844 b.S.-835 b.S.). Jaecor, or "Jaek" as he used to be called as well, was the only child of the commoners Vaeth and Myrtai Bakersbe of Weyring. Jaek had trouble at home most of the time in his childhood as he didn't want to spend his life like his father, a humble baker in a small Weyring breadshop.
His mother seemed to understand his ambitions much better than his father; yet still there more and more developed a rift between young Jaek and his parents. Ignoring his father's orders, he used to slip into the backyard of a nearby Graven's mansion and play with the nobleman's children whenever he could. As the noble's sons were raised in the typical Erpheronian military fashion, Jaecor also learned from them how to train the body properly and picked up the first technical knowledge on swordplay. Of course the weapons used in such "fights" were mere dull wooden swords and the shields improvised bucklers made out of anything the lads could lay their hands on. Staying away from his parents most of the time, Jaek became a loner, more occupied with practising the skills in combat than in helping to bake rolls.
Death of Jaecor's Mother (835 b.S.). In 835 b.S., with Jaecor having just reached nine cycles, tragedy hit the family. Jaek's mother, Myrtai, after a short, but futile fight, succumbed to what the commoners call the "Undead Disease" (Miaelian Disease). This gruesaome illness first shows in a lack of motivation, then results in a mottled look of most parts of the body and eventually culminates in severe bleedings. The disease being rare and the cause unknown, even the Dalorin priests who were called in couldn't help in time. After a few weeks of desperate fighting, Myrtai died, leaving Jaecor and his father alone at the bakery.
Things didn't get any better after Myrtai's death - quite the contrary. Jaek, who until his mother's illness cared little for his parents, discovered that he had after all loved her and that he was even more alone now than he had ever been. The constant problems with his father increased as Vaeth desperately tried to make ends meet, but Jaek was of little help to provide the necessary income. Overstrained with his responsibilities his father finally made the decision to give Jaek into the hands of a distant relative at a farm near Voldar, where he would be raised among other children and help as a farm hand. Reluctantly Jaek left his only friends in Weyring, never to return again.
Jaek made no effort to keep in contact with his father. In fact, Vaeth would not live to see his only son rise to legendary fame, only a few years later. At the age of fifteen the young man learned that his father had died a drunkard, continuing unable to manage the bakery and finally losing all but enough to drown his sorrows.
A New Beginning in Voldar (835 b.S.-826 b.S.). Voldar was a whole new territory for young Jaecor, and out of necessity he somewhat grew into the farm community and the turmoil of his life settled down. Nevertheless he pursued sword practicing whenever he could with some new acquaintances, buying his own equipment with the scarce money he earned, hoping to eventually join the military ranks and begin a career worthy of a Proudman. At the farm he learned to ride and he taught himself how to use a bow. A complaint was registered with the Voldarian authorities, reported by other farm hands, that he used to shoot at apples in the trees they were about to harvest, which sometimes decimated the collected fruits severely. However, Jaek was liked by most people, especially as he turned into an extraordinarily handsome young man, but still he kept his distance to many and followed his own call. All in all, life became quieter for Jaek until he reached his 18th cycle, and that memorable day that should change everything completely.
The Damsel in Distress (826 b.S.). On the 14th day of Singing Bird 826 b.S. Jaecor was busy in town running some errands in Voldar, when he became witness to the spectacle a rampaging quaerash lizard. A group of these mighty draft beasts had been led through a remote market area that was too full of people for the animals to cope with. Feeling irritated and intimidated, one of the quaerash got loose and stamped through the streets, smashing its heavy load and causing several casualties. Some town guards who were escorting a carriage of the Markgraven's daughter to a wedding came to help but were run over. The carriage itself was about to be trampled when Jaek saw his opportunity; he seized a dropped sword and charged the beast, diverting it. He then engaged its attention until it bled to death there on the street, saving the life of the Markgraven's daughter: Farm hand Jaecor of Weyring had become a hero.
In response to the happenings Markgraven Calachrin of Keep Kaersenith, delighted by the braveness of the simple farm boy, invited Jaecor to his keep and vowed to fulfill any wish the young hero had in mind. Being a proud Erpheronian, Jaek asked for work in the garrison of the Armourwain temple, in order to be close to the famous Erpheronian knights he worshipped so much. It is said that Markgraven Calachrin saw the glittering in the youth's eyes when he spoke about his idols, and appreciated the determination he showed as well as his proficiency with the sword, which was excellent for a mere farm boy and which the Markgraven considered should not be wasted. Thus he made Jaecor squire of one of his best knights, and gave him the opportunity to train himself with the best warriors available Voldar had to offer. That not enough, the Markgraven insisted that next year's Armerenda feast shouldn't be held without Jaecor as a participating guest of honour.
The Triumph at the Armerenda (825 b.S.). So it happened that Jaek was in the midst of the highest military elite during the Days of Armeros, the days where the Erpheronians traditionally celebrate their military prowess and hold tournaments in tribute to the Armourlord in order to determine the best knight of the year. Having gotten the opportunity to participate, of course Jaecor's ambition was endless. Throughout the year he had available to prepare himself he worked diligently and sometimes to the point where others would have said that he more tortured his body than trained it.
But to everyone's surprise, including his own, the young squire outmatched every opponent in the local
qualification rounds of the Armerenda in Voldar
and was admitted to the Seagorn Garrison in
Nyermersys to compete in the final tournament with the kingdom's best
knights. There as well, in a memorable sequence of skill tests and fights, Jaek improved from
event to event and eventually succeeded, even throwing the legendary Oan
Silverwing off his horse in the decisive
jousting duel, gaining the black ceremonial two-handed
sword, the Splitter, as the trophy for his
victory. This was a feat that had been considered impossible, yet this nineteen year-old
youth had managed to defeat the kingdom's finest knights. When the Splitter was awarded by King Erdolomin,
the new champion Jaecor was first knighted with it, as the rules of the Armerenda
dictate and he received the official personal title "Ironhand". It was the
first time that the tournament was won by someone who hadn't received knighthood
yet, but the crowds cheered him more than any other victor before - and the
noble families already began planning to whom to marry the newborn hero.
At the Crossways: Joining of the Order (824 b.S.-823 b.S.). The coming years would bear the mark of appreciation and desperation at the same time for the new celebrity. Having received a title, land and honour, the youthful knight had become widely-known overnight and was handed from one noble to the next. Parties and whole festivals were dedicated to Jaek, and the saying goes that all the commitment he had put into training and restraining himself was let go for a while. Many young ladies were after him, and while he didn't know how to deal with the situation of suddenly being in the center of attention of people to whom he had to look up to before, he enjoyed every lady's company - in the one way or the other. In the following two years he indulged himself in Etherian excesses, involving ladies and men alike as people say. Similar scandalous rumours spread in all corners of the kingdom; whether they were true or just created by envious adversaries, remains unclear until this very day.
What we do know, however, is that Jaek fell in love with the daughter of a minor Graven of Istharin and that his feelings were returned, but that his beloved after several months decided to marry a longterm friend of hers. In the midst of his fame, Jaek felt misunderstood, hurt, used and alone. Confronted with allegations of seducing girls and dropping them, and also of bedding men and letting Etherus' longings ruin the proud life of a declared Erpheronian hero, he decided to finally become a dedicated member of the Order of Armeros and spend his life merely on the battlefield, wherever his God's call might lead him.
The Return of the Champion (823 b.S.). When Jaecor Ironhand, as he was called back then, returned to Nyermersys in 823 b.S. to defend the Splitter in the next Armerenda, his fame had already waned to a great degree. The rumours surrounding him had gotten the upper hand and done a lot of damage. But he surprised the masses even more, as he was underestimated once again. Not knowing of the Caltharian invasion into Erpheronian territories, which intentionally was started during the time of the Armerenda in Awakening Earth, Jaek defended the Splitter courageously as no one had ever done, proving his critics wrong and turning the public opinion back in his favour.
A few hours after the feast and Jaek's reconciliation with the people however, King Erdolomin already gathered his forces to counter the Caltharian invasion - and the confirmed champion left the celebrations dedicated to him and instead went into war.
The War for Ancyros (823 b.S.-822 b.S.). The following year Jaek spent mostly on the battlefield fighting Caltharian forces. He also participated in the decisive Battle of Salazar in 822 b.S. and his field commander explicitly mentions his "distinguished and exemplary behaviour" in battle. While not confirmed, it is also an often-told story that Jaek witnessed the Massacre at the Silvershire, where parts of an Erpheronian division killed neutral halflings for helping wounded Caltharian warriors. While the commander of that division tried to sell the incident to the king as something the Caltharians had committed, other sources, among them presumably Jaek Ironhand, convinced the king to state an example and execute the vile commander. - At any rate bringing Commander Khizaar to justice was also partly attributed to Jaek, and the hero that had once fallen from grace was everybody's darling once more.
The Final Triumph (821 b.S.). In 821 b.S. when peace reigned the lands again, Jaecor Ironhand, now aged 23, set out to defend his Armerenda title one last time. Upon his arrival he received a welcome that was truly worthy of a war hero and double champion, unlike at his prior appearance. Jaek also didn't disappoint the crowds, and won a third time, convincing the last doubting spectators that his skills were uncompared and that they watched the greatest knight Erpheronia had ever seen until this time. The feast was loud, merry and colourful, and it is said that Jaecor celebrated with everyone as if there were no tomorrow.
But within the next days Jaecor was gone, leaving the Erpheronian kingdom on ship and with it the few friends he had made there behind, not mentioning his voyage to anyone. He left for Raevalem, a colonial city of Erpheronia, located at the Peninsula of Aden in Northwestern Sarvonia, which still had a rough time to defend itself from the constant and fierce orcish attacks. Possibly Jaecor figured that this was a place his help would be needed most. He had become very pious since he had been accepted as a member of the Order of Armeros, and maybe it was the call of Armeros he sensed that he needed to follow. Maybe he also left because nobody really understood him, as he never seemed to have encountered someone who loved or valued him for the person he was. Adan was dangerous, deadly terrain, and a historian of his time commented on his leaving: "The whole kingdom gasped when they heard that Jaecor had left the motherland. Nobody wanted to speak it out aloud, but the generals felt as if Jaek was picking himself a suicide mission."
A Hero's Death (820 b.S.). Indeed, only a few months after Jaek Ironhand's arrival on Adan, a casket with his corpse returned to Erpheronia to be greeted by a grieving populace that felt betrayed to have lost 'the kingdom's greatest son', as popular ballads were soon to hail him. Jaek did not die by the hand of an orc, however, though he had participated in many a mission and was crucial in their success. No - and this might sound ironic to many who had put their hopes in him as Erpheronia's greatest warrior - Jaecor Ironhand died the way he had gained his fame, in an accident. It is reported that a cart carrying logs was pulled up on an unsecured street climbing up a hill near the coast when a rope burst, so that the whole load rolled down uncontrollably and struck the unsuspecting knight.
There are writers who claim that the world had not deserved such a noble character as Jaecor... that his death reflects such a spiritual truth... that it was divine intervention that he left Caelereth so soon again. Others say that nobody really took the time to understand the complex person he really was, or his natural simplicity, depending how one looks at it. These latter people claim that Seyella deliberately relieved him from his pain.
Jaek Ironhand was buried at the Temple of Queprur in Nyermersys, at the Shrine of Heroes and a monument was dedicated to him in the Great Hall of Heroes in Voldar. Posthumously he was awarded his final title "Armerson" (Son of Armeros), which he shares with only a few selected Erpheronians. The succeeding Armerenda was held in Jaek's remembrance, and it was declared at the opening that from that day on no champion should participate in the tournament a third time he has already won twice. While this decision was driven as well by practical reasons (in order to pave the way for new talents), it also was a consequence of Jaek's triumphs, and the new restriction would contribute to Jaek's immortality by making his record unattainable.
Importance. Jaecor Armerson has been an idol for many generations of aspiring young Erpheronians ever since he received his first merits by rescuing a damsel in distress from rampaging tuskdiggers. His life's story is full with bravery, valour, but also rebellion and romance, and bears emotional abysses in it and the ceaseless search to follow his stern God's call, the God of Justice and Balance. It developed because of an unexpected rise to fame - with all its side effects - and resulted in a tragic end, seemingly as accidental as his sudden popularity. This is the stuff from which legends are made, which drives the ladies to tears and the which young warriors still long to listen, in order to follow in such a great man's footsteps. Thus regardless of Jaecor's short life span there are still new tales springing up everywhere dealing with Knight Ironhand and his adventures. Many of those of course have little to do with the real Jaecor living in the 9th century b.S. and emphasize his heroism and not his emotional turmoil.
Nevertheless, in any case Jaecor Armerson, as a shining representative of his tribe's virtues, has remained an Erpheronian icon until this very day. Many a person pays a visit to the Great Hall of Heroes in the Armourwain in Voldar to pray at his statue: be they fighters on their way to an important mission, men seeking guidance from an icon of Armeros, or people who feel left alone and misunderstood. Many a damsel can be seen at the statue, perhaps hoping for some kind of distress and a saviour (more inspiring than the over-imbibing lout next door) to rescue her from it.
Whomever comes, Jaecor's stone face is there for all to interpret; the ambiguity of his smile may help one to find an answer to a silent question, inspire to action, or even provide some comfort.