Rise of the Runelords
Tarbat Winter Bear
Tarbat is of the Shriikirri Quah (Hawk Clan)
Tarbat’s mother died when he was 6 years old. His father was an outrider for the tribe and as such, was often out and about.
Due to the social structure of the tribe, Tarbat did not have to worry about going hungry or sleeping in the cold. The women of the tribe took care of him and made sure his needs were met when his father was away from the village. However, his status made it easy for other children of the tribe to bully him and make him the butt of jokes.
When his father was home he would work on training Tarbat, showing him how to fight and live out in the wilderness.
As Tarbat got a bit older and became more confident in the survival skills his father taught him, he would often sleep out in the wilderness (but close to the tribe) and wander about, enhancing and reinforcing the lessons from his father. He had an affinity with animals and would sit for hours, hidden, watching a wolf teaching its pups how to hunt or a hawk catching rodents. A prairie dog colony would provide hours of interest for Tarbat.
When Tarbat was 12 his father came home with a horse which he gave to Tarbat. Tarbat gave the horse the name Losha. With Losha to ride he expanded his exploration of the plains.
It was about this time that Tarbat also became friends with Morkab, a boy his own age. The two of them would often be found together, sparring or just ranging about the countryside, pretending to be outriders for the tribe and looking for intruders (these imaginary foes were usually demon-spawned Chelaxians, hordes of whom died under the hammers of the two boys).
Morkab’s father was a hard man who thought that the Shoanti were the most exceptional people in the world, superior and stronger than any other race. His son was taught this and it rubbed off on Tarbat through association over the years.
When Tarbat and Morkab turned 16 they went through their initiation ceremonies and became warriors of the tribe, though they would have to actually kill an enemy to be full-fledged warriors.
Both were very eager to do this, but the elders of the Shriikirri-Quah were soft and peace lovers, choosing to make alliances with the invaders from the south rather than drive them off. As a result, a year passed and neither of the young men had been blooded yet.
One morning they were woken by Morkab’s father, who motioned for them to keep quiet, gather their gear and follow him. They went to the Quah’s horse corral and lead their horses away from camp. Eventually they met up with a group of other Shoanti, but these were strangers to the boys, men of the Sklar-Quah, the Sun clan. Fierce warriors who fought the Chelaxians constantly. Morkab’s father told the boys that these men had agreed to allow the two unblooded youngsters to accompany them on a raid against a Tshamek village several days ride to the south.
Something happened on this raid that eventually led Tarbat to be shorn of his hair and forced to leave his clan an head for the town of Sandpoint. Whether to seek his fortune or his fate remains to be seen.