“Heifous Bronclad, I hereby bestow upon you the honour of the Kelthar Vanguard. The Vanguards are the spearhead of our army, the first into battle, the greatest in fights and the most feared when our enemies decide to cross swords with the Kelthar Empire. By entering the ranks of the Vanguard, you are deemed one of the bravest, one of the strongest, and thus, one of the best in Kelthar.”
The man looked up from where he knelt as he humbly received the finely and beautifully honed sword from the General of the Kelthar Army. It was one of those days that even the wild personality of Heifous Bronclad was subdued, and no less than the great honour that only a handful could achieve in the entire kingdom of Kelthar. After the Kelthar Vanguard, the Black Rose Royal Guards was next. Rumours have spread, however, and it seemed to have tarnished his name and destroyed his chances of becoming one of the Emperor’s personal entourage.
As a child, Heifous had always been one who communicated with fists. Engaging in fights ever so frequently, his name spread amongst the villages as one violent but strong child. Once, in his village, a tournament was held amongst the children and teenagers. It was unofficial and secret, of course, and Heifous was there as well. Some of the children had picked up sword skills or barehanded techniques or were just plain strong. Up against Heifous, however, they all fell, even the bully from three villages away who sported muscles and a wide girth from wood chopping. The spectators commented that he had great skills and asked what kind of barehanded techniques he used and where he learned to fight. He gave them a curious stare, “Technique? What’s that supposed to be? If my opponent has an opening, I punch him; if he drops his guard, I kick him. That’s all there is to how I fight.”
Surprisingly, Heifous never really had any enemies. In the worst cases, he would have a rival who sought him in a bid to improve his fighting skills, or the people would look upon him with disgust. Heifous fought not because he needed attention nor was he always so short-tempered. He fought because he enjoyed it. Before a fight, he encourages his opponent to give his all; during the fight, he used no names, made no insults nor boasted about his strength; after a fight, he does not look upon his defeat opponent with mockery, only with an expression of joy of having been given a worthy opponent. Should the opponent be too weak, Heifous would bluntly comment so, and his opponent would flare up, not with malice, but with rivalry.
Growing into an adult, he learned that some things would require tools to aid him in battle. He was unfortunate (in Heifous’s opinion, fortunate) to come across a wild bear and he had to spar with it barehanded as always. There was talk of how some of the greatest fighters trained in the mountains sparring against bears, but such talks ended with such fighters never returning home. Heifous had his tale told in the same way. With his left arm dislocated when the bear smashed him against the cave wall and the tendons of his right foot scratched, the Heifous could not escape. Merely punching it to death would be impossible if he is to be crushed underneath the bear’s great weight.
His right hand felt a loose rock. Shaped flat and elongated, thrusting it into the bear’s heart would be a simple feat. Heifous was not skilled in the use of weapons, however. His first slashes tore the fur off the bear’s hide or made gashes in its arms. Getting used to handling the rock, Heifous was able to keep the bear at bay and sped up his attacks, all the while tearing flesh off. The bloodlust developed in Heifous that day, and it grew, urging him to fight more. Seeing how the rock was highly efficient in his fights, unlike an unwieldy sword that takes too long to swing or a bow that takes far too long to reload, the dagger was fast and sharp, and his strength added the extra blow. Still nobody hated the man, though, but there would be people who commented he was like a berserker, in polite terms – behind his back, they called him a beast.