Nickname: Ven

Full Name: Venner

Species: Fox

Gender: Male

Age: 21 in human years

Description:

Venner is small. He's several inches shorter than most beasts, and though he's not particularly bitter about the fact and will laugh at the odd short joke at his expense, he doesn't appreciate constant ribbing on the subject, and it's a quick way to curry disfavor by him if you press the subject too much. Ven is not all that muscular, and is outmatched in the strength department by most real warriors, but tries to make up for it with speed and strategy. His speed isn't all that great, to be blunt, but he's quick enough on his footpaws to get by, and he can still give the runaround to larger and more cumbersome beasts, such as Badgers. He does not slouch, tends to walk confidently, with shoulders straight and his chin up, always has a smug little know it all smile on his face, and tends to wave his paws around dramatically when he's speaking, in order to emphasise whatever it is he's trying to say.

His fur is a creamy light brown sort of a color, with silver undertones. He has scars, sure, mostly on his paws and torso, from sword practice and play fighting, but nothing particularly major. His only overtly noticable scar (when he's dressed, that is) is a mostly healed cut on his left cheek from several seasons ago, when during a playful scuffle with his siblings, Venner managed to prove the old addage of “It's all fun and games until somebeast manages to stab themself in the face with a sharpened stick.” Ven is not particularly good looking, but neither is he particularly ugly. He's just sort of… Bland. On a scale of one to ten in regards to looks, ten being the highest, one being the lowest, he'd probably score around a four.

Clothes-wise, Venner dresses rather conservatively. A black tunic with a white silk belt, a dark blue cloak (which he refuses to wear while fighting, for fear of getting it snagged on something,) a sword on his hip, and a bright yellow hat with a floppy brim. He has a sturdy oaken walking staff which he always drags around with him, he doesn't fight with it, Ven simply thinks such a staff is useful for things such as knocking stuff out of trees and the like. Plus, it does make it a little easier to walk uphill.

Possessions:

Venner only carries three items that could really be considered weapons. Firstly is his walking staff, which, while technically a weapon, he will not fight with it, except in play fight or training scenarios. This is mostly because he has yet to be properly trained in its use, and Venner has a strong belief that states that using a weapon that you do not know how to use is worse than simply fighting unarmed. Secondly is his dagger. It's a functional item with a steel blade of about four inches. Venner also doesn't like to use his dagger in any actual combat situations, it's more something he uses for cutting his food and such, but he does know how to use it if he's forced, and admits that sometimes a weapon with a shorter reach is much preferred to his paw-and-a-half sword, which I will now describe.

Venner's paw-and-a-half sword is, as the name suggests, is a blade that was smithed with the intention of it being able to be weilded with either one or two paws. Venner uses it with two paws, never with one, but if a creature did wish to use it with one paw, it could be done. This blade is ugly, no doubt about it, and it was obviously made with little or no fanfare in regards to its looks. That being said, it does its job extrordinarily well. It keeps an edge well, it is ballanced quite nicely. The blade is made of fine steel, it has a simple, inelegant straight hilt, the grip is made of a coarse black cloth, and the pommel is a simple, unadorned steel ball.

Venner doesn't wear any jewelry. He doesn't have any rings, no necklaces. The main reason for this is because they're a bit of a liability in combat. A necklace simply gives your opponent something to grab onto, and that something just happens to be around your neck. Not a good thing. For other items, Venner is nearly always seen with his absurd yellow hat, which he feels has become a sort of... trademark item, if you will. He wears this ugly yellow hat with pride. Everywhere. There's a long story behind it, and that story can come later.

He also carries with him a velvet green coinpurse which he hangs from the back of his belt (and, as such, is usually hidden by his cloak, in order to stop any would-be cutpurses) and while it's technically a coinpurse, he carries more than just coins in it. The bag also contains things like a thread and needle, so he can fix his clothes if he needs to, a pair of dice, all sorts of the lighter odds and ends. The heavier things, though, he keeps in his pack. It's a sturdy bag made from sailcloth, which he's had for quite a few seasons. It mostly contains things like food and such, but he'll also use it to carry the heavier loot, or whatever he can stuff into it when he's stealing.

Strengths:

Loyalty. Venner's family is very pack oriented, and from a young age, he was instilled with a strong sense of loyalty. Ven will nearly always stand by his friends and allies, and they can count on him if things turn sour.

Swordsmanship. Venner has been training in combat for many seasons, first when he was younger, playing with his siblings, and then as he grew older, with the village warriors. He's been out in the world for several seasons now, and that has further improved his skills with a blade, as he has come out of more and more scuffles alive and intact.

Strategy. Venner has always been good at one on one (or one on three) strategies. He's not as good at army strategies, but he feels he can always outwit his enemy just enough to gain the upper paw in any situation.

Charisma. Venner's always been likable. He thinks that he can charm pretty much any beast into being his friend or trusting him, and quite frankly, he's usually right.

Weaknesses

Loyalty. Venner's family is very pack oriented, and from a young age, he was instilled with a strong sense of loyalty. Ven will nearly always stand by his friends and allies, and they can count on him if things turn sour. As such, he's always entering into bad situations, and would probably be far better off if he'd just back off a bit instead.

Overconfidence. Venner is pretty sure he will always succeed in anything he does. This has led to a lack of caution, and has gotten him into trouble more than once.

Ranged weapons. Venner believes that any sort of weapon that strikes a target at range is both cowardly and dishonorable, and to quote Venner himself, “You're not allowed to be both cowardly and dishonorable at the same time. It's either one or the other. Make a choice.” As such, he has no idea how to shoot a bow, throw a knife, etc, and probably never will. (Side note, he has a bit of disdain for any creature who proudly uses a bow, and gets a certain amount of joy from charging archers down and attacking them at close range, where they can't shoot him. He thinks that it's proper punishment for their dishonor.)

Contingency planning. While Venner makes up some pretty good strategies, when they fail, he never seems to be able to recover from it, and always seems to have to scramble to save par, to use a golf analogy. With his overconfidence, he simply can't see how his 'brilliant' plan could possibly fail, and when it does, the best he can usually come up with tends to involve running for his life. He's ended up in more than his fair share of situations in which he only made it out thanks to sheer luck, but that hasn't changed his inability to plan for failure.

Strength. While Venner isn't exactly a weakling, he's fairly outclassed in the strength department by most real warriors, and will almost always have to make up for it with speed, skill and strategy. Which is why he trains as much as he does.

Good looks. He does not have them.

The Desert Fox. Venner was born and raised in the dunes. He doesn't know how to act, or, for that matter, fight in Mossflower's thick trees and foliage. He often feels slightly clausterphobic and constricted in the woods, and is much more at home in the open sands of, well, home.

Background

Venner was born on a bright spring morn, the second – and smallest – of a litter of five. Yep. That's right. He was the runt. Ven had two brothers and two sisters, and while they fought plenty, as siblings are wont to do, they were also the best friends a growing fox could have asked for. He did, of course, gain more friends from outside of his family as the seasons went on, but he was more or less inseperable from his siblings. The five of them would always compete, struggling to be the strongest, fastest, most skilled at whatever it is they were striving to be the best at in that very moment. His siblings all had the size and strength advantage on little Venner, and so he compensated. As the seasons passed, he learned to defeat them with brains and strategy when he couldn't manage it with force.

The village Venner was born in was of medium size, they had a number of families, the occasional travelling merchant, and more than a few shops and stalls. It was here that he learned to cut the strings of a coinpurse without the victim noticing the change in weight, how to fight, how to lay in the sand so that an approaching target won't see you until it's too late, as well as many other useful survival skills that would serve him well in the seasons to come.

It's fair to say that Venner had a happy childhood. But childhood, like all other things, must eventually come to an end. It was not that the village was attacked or his family died, but as he grew older and his siblings took professions, Venner began to wonder what his place in life would be. He had never really thought about it. He did enjoy fighting, but he'd never had the strength or size – he felt – to be a soldier. He got a certain thrill from being a cutpurse, but he'd never been great at it, and the risk tended to outweigh the reward. Plus, it didn't offer much of a lifestyle. But all of his life, he'd heard of great adventures, battles to be fought, lands to be seen, oceans to be crossed, stories to be told!

But none of those things could be done by sitting at home.

So, as young adults, Venner and his sister Lucia decided to venture out into the world and find their fortunes. They spent weeks preparing their trip. Lucia – an archer by trade - put in a large order for almost sixty arrows, her reasoning being that they might need them, and she expected more than a few to break or be lost during practice. Venner, on the other paw, scrounged up what coins he could, and decided to buy himself a nice steel dagger from the local smithy. He desperately wished he could afford a real sword, but he couldn't, and the smith refused to lower the price for him.

So, after about three weeks of planning and preparing, Lucia and Ven were just about ready to leave the town they had known their entire life and make their way into the world. There was just one thing they needed to do. So, just before the sun had risen, they packed their things, finished preparing, and quietly snuck over to the smithy. They would slip inside, Venner would take his pick of the weapons there, they would slip back out, and ditch town before the sun was up. That was the plan. The plan, as plans so often do, went south. When they slipped in, the smithy was already awake and moving about, and he spotted them right quickly. The old rat didn't bother asking – or even telling – them to leave the building. He darted for the nearest knife, and then ran at them.

Lucia and Venner hadn't been prepared for him actually being there. Lucia drew her knife and got into a defensive stance while Ven just sort of... wobbled at the rat. The fight, for what it was, only lasted around three seconds. Lucia was able to disarm the smith, and then Ven grabbed the rat from behind and knock him on the ground. The three struggled on the ground for a moment, but Venner and Lucia were able to overpower the rat. Lucia hit the smith on the back of the head so that he wouldn't get up again any time soon, and Venner got up off the ground and started to search the room.

He settled on a paw-and-a-half sword. He had trained with them before, so it was a familiar weapon to him, and time was of the essence, as they needed to get out before the old rat awoke again. They ran. They ran from the building, and then from the town, laughing as they moved. They ran out into the sands of the dunes that surrounded the village, and they headed westward, keeping the rising sun to their backs. They didn't stop running until noon, or thereabouts. Exhausted, the pair collapsed into the sand and rested. They made lunch, laughed in disbeleif at the events of the day, and plotted their next move. After some deliberation, they decided to continue west. Stories told that in the west, there were places where you couldn't see anything but trees, where all manner of strange creatures frequented, and even tales of a giant red castle of sorts! Yes, that was where they would go.

And so they walked.

Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into a season. It was well into that fall by the time the pair had made it to Mossflower, and when they made it, they stood in awe of its towering trees, and it was colder here, as well. They'd had many adventures in that season, seen new places, met interesting beasts, and then robbed most of them. The pair of them, in that time, had perfected their methods of theivery. Lucia would distract their mark, asking a for directions or something of that sort, while Venner would sneak up from behind and use his dagger to cut the strings from their victim's purse.

They entered the woods, and hadn't been in them for more than three weeks when they ran into a village. Eight or so small homes built up haphazardly in a grassy little clearing, an old cemetary, an apple orchard, and a little stream that sepreated the homes from the orchard. It was all very picturesque. Venner and Lucia easily hopped over the rotting old fence that surrounded the village, and waved their paws at the inhabitants of the town, while shouting out cheerful greetings to them.

Their greetings were met with screams of terror.

The mice of the little village paniced upon seeing the foxes. Some of them ran for the woods, some tried to herd dibbuns inside, the rest grabbed weapons and attacked. Venner barely had his sword drawn when they reached him. He didn't particularly want to hurt the mice, but they were obviously trying to kill him. And so he swung his blade. He didn't mean to kill the mouse! Honest! But you have to be prepared for these sorts of things when you're carrying a weapon... Venner wasn't prepared. He'd never killed a beast before... Ven stood, stunned... And then something blunt connected with his mouth, hard, and then connected against the side of his head, harder. He dropped his sword and fell to his knees. The two remaining mice set upon him as if they were ferral, and it seemed to Venner that their only goal was to cause him as much pain as possible before they killed him.

Which they never did.

Lucia had barely managed to fend off the two mice that had attacked her, killing them both. She had taken a nasty gash to her leg in the mean time, though. Seeing the peril her brother was still in, though, Lucia took her bow, quickly strung it, notched an arrow, and sent Venner's surviving attackers to the Dark Forest. She then limped over slowly, carefully placing each step, and reacing Ven, helped him to his footpaws. Venner had lost two teeth, but was basically okay – if not in a great deal of pain. Lucia's cut looked bad... They would need to keep an eye on it, but neither of them were healers, and even if they were, the plants of Mossflower were foriegn to them. They quickly came up with a plan. The two of them refused to let these fowl creatures harm any more beasts.

They set the village aflame. Venner gathered water from the creek to keep the fire from spreading to the woods, while Lucia used her bow to deal with any of the mice that attempted to flee. Venner, at first, thought that this action was a bit overkill... And then he remembered what they'd been doing to him a few minutes before. Nope. This wasn't overkill at all.

The next three days were spent digging and laying the mice to rest. Venner couldn't exactly feel sorry for them... It's very hard to feel sorry for a beast that tried to beat you to death, after all. After the work was done, though, Ven and Lucia decided to stay in what was left of the village. They'd found tremendous amounts of food stores in the basement rooms of some of the burned out houses, and the cool water of the stream nearby would provide them with all they needed to drink. So they decided to stay until Lucia's leg had healed properly.

Which never happened. The cut itself healed, sort of, but Lucia became quite sick afterwards. She was always tired, always too warm. Venner tried to help her as much as he could, but as previously stated, he was not a healer, and these plants were foreign to him. But even with Venner's tireless aid, Lucia was slipping more and more. Each day became harder for her, and each night became a little easier. And then, one morning in early winter, just a few days after Venner had gotten to see snow for the first time, Lucia did not wake at all.

Venner felt colder than he ever had in his life, and the ground was hard with frost, but Venner dug furiously. He had chosen a lovely spot just underneath the largest tree in the orchard, and by the time the sun was setting, the hole was dug. That night, he laid his sister to rest, and buried her with her bow. When it was done, and he had said his goodbyes, Venner marked the spot where she lay with the largest stone he could find.

More snow fell over the next weeks. Venner wanted to go home. He was cold, he was depressed, lonely, he missed the sands of home, his family, his sister. And he was really, really cold. He was alone now, and the snow was too deep to try to make it back home, he knew that if he wanted to survive – which he wasn't sure if he did or not at this point – he would have to stay the winter. Alone.

Venner probably wouldn't have made it through that winter if the village hadn't been happened upon by a band of maurading vermin. There were four of them – two rats, a ferret and a stoat. At first, Venner wondered (but didn't particularly care at this point) if they were going to kill him or not. But it turned out that the answer was that they were not. The group took pity on him, nursed him to health again, taught Venner how to survive the cold, if not be comfortable in it, and by the time the snow was melting, Venner felt that he had reason to live again. The beasts who had taken care of him had become close friends with him, he enjoyed their company, and they enjoyed his. And so, when spring had officially started, they asked Venner to join their band, and he happily accepted. They formed a plan. They would reside in the village, and use is as a base, from which they could strike travellers along the river to the south.

Seasons have passed since then. The vermin troupe has waxed and wained in numbers as time has passed, and Venner and the stoat are the only remaining members of the original band. They've even had a couple of goodbeast members! Though neither of them are with them anymore. So if you ever run into Venner and his friends, they will always have a meal to share, a glass of mead for you, and a song to be sung.

And when you finish eating, they'll probably rob you blind.

Thoughts? Constructive criticism? Etc?

Hey, wow.  As far as I am concerned, it is awesome.   Venner kind of reminds me of a P.G. Wodehouse character, which for me is a huge plus.

As far as Ven's background story goes…  I really liked it because it was different from most of the char histories that you see today.  His family wasn't killed with him being the sole survivor, just a young infant left to survive in the cruel forest... Not that that is at all bad, it's just nice to see something new and different.  I liked that Venner had a pleasant childhood and good relationships with his family.  How refreshing when the heroes of EVERY novel written these days are from dysfunctional families...

As for the story of Venner's troubled few seasons and The Wild Mice Incident, it was believable.  Good enough for me.  Probably wouldn't happen to everyone, but what the heck.

Also, I really hate mead.  BLEEGHGHGH   :P"

Topping!

Wow, I think that is officailly the second-longest post on the forum. 🙂
    I appreciate your commitment to developing your characters, Venn. I'll read through this and give constructive critiscism next time I get on.

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