An aging Ecclesiarchy Confessor with a love for the commonfolk and chip on his shoulder
Valon is fifty-eight years old but remarkably well-preserved. He stands 6’0 tall, a valetudinarian of the body as well as the mind. He has gray hair which varies in length depending on whether or not he is in town. He attempts to keep it to the short tonsure demanded by his faith, but it often grows quite long in his treks across the jungles and forests of Nova Primus. He is olive skinned, made darker by his days on the road with gray eyes surrounded by laugh lines. His features are strong, even angular, but he is a man of easy smiles and mischievous sideglances that belie a gentle spirit. He wears a beard and mustache which is trimmed into a neat van dyke when he is in civilized lands.
In his youth he was a tower of strength, with a muscular build and formidable physique. Now he tends towards lean and fit rather than out and out muscular, but the legacy of a life of good health is quite visible. He bears a scar from his right shoulder down to just below his ribs on the left side of his body—the remnant of an orcish blade that nearly killed him sixteen years ago.
Valon Sarqhardt was born Valon Sarker 58 years ago to criminally poor serfs and sometimes foragers who moved across Vaar lands. They had no permanent home and resorted to poaching or smuggling when farmwork and odd jobs were not enough to make ends meet. Eventually they were caught by House Vaar authorities and summarily executed for their crimes. When it was later discovered they had a six year old son, orphaned by House Vaar justice, the boy was given to the Church and Valon Sarqhardt was born in truth.
Valon was given a rigorous Ecclesiarchical education in Hadram Cathedral in the heart of House Darren lands. He excelled at gardening, agriculture and art and was certainly a better physical specimen than many of the priests but was always considered a bit soft when it came to the subjects of intolerance and the evils of the heretic, alien, mutant and daemon. Nevertheless, at the age 21 he was granted the parish of Jonbri in neighboring House Darhel’s territory, with the expectation that his faith, compassion and zeal might one day make him important in the Church.
These predictions never really panned out however. Valon was, by all accounts, an excellent preacher and he became quite beloved in his parish. But the ambition to move on never really caught hold. Preacher Valon had found his home and the dangled political gains of the Ecclesiarchy could not compel him to leave it.
Nature, and some might say, the capricious whims of the Empyrean, achieved what the church could not, however. When more military minded parishes to the south of Jonbri fell to the Orkish menace, the small fishing parish found itself in the path of an oncoming Waaagh. Preacher Valon called out to the local Darry knight and implored the Ecclesiarchy to send relief for some weeks but the aide never came. The massacre of Jonbri was brief and terrible. Valon attempted to organize a mass exodus of his parishioners along with the local reeves days before the green hammer fell, but it was too little too late. With no military to defend them, the stragglers were caught in full retreat and only a dozen or so parishioners survived the attack.
Valon himself was wounded horribly, taking an orkish blade to the chest. He was recovered by a Darry army – come at last – but his wound seemed not to heal. Well-meaning pilgrims escorted him to the Spire, hoping for a miracle. Along the way they spread the tale of the preacher who had taken an un-healable wound from a sword infused with fell alien magic as he single-handedly held off the greenskin horde. Valon arrived at the Spire delirious and half dead from the treacherous ascent, the unwitting hero of a great mob of pilgrims – an orphaned foundling once more even in the midst of the throng. His wound took a full year to heal, during which his stature among the pilgrims at the Spire grew of its own accord.
Valon could never get the full story of why no one had come to rescue Jonbri, though he harried his betters as hard as convention dared. In truth, something died in his spirit. A fundamental trust in the goodwill of the men who ran his church was rent along with his body and, though he was lauded for his “heroics” and offered all manner of compensation for his losses, he could not put his faith in the people who left his flock to the wolves. In the end, he accepted a promotion to confessor from the cardinal himself, a job that allowed him freedom from Ecclesiarchical scrutiny without formally withdrawing from church service.
For sixteen years, now, he has wandered Darry and Vaar lands, ministering to the hamlets and villages he encountered in his circuit and harboring a growing distrust for the men who run his church. His faith has not wavered in that time. If anything it has grown stronger and, on the count of the Alien, his intolerance has bubbled into something that the church would approve of whole-heartily. Confessor Sarqhardt is not a revolutionary: he is a man who believes reformation comes from a change in personnel, not dogma. He keeps these beliefs largely to himself, but if any watched him closely they would certainly notice a small strain of peasant empowerment running through his preaching of the Imperial Creed. He seeks, not to topple the feudal order, but to make sure the small-folk are treated well within their role as serfs. He sees what happened to him in Jonbri as a failure, not of the system, but of the craven church and Darrymen who did not fulfill their duty to their people. Many of the townships that know him now think of him less as a representative of the church and more as a benevolent fix-it man. He donates his horses and donkeys to struggling towns, helps farmers with their crops, administers funerary, marriage and birth rites when needed and sees to it, in the smallest of ways that his people are provided for.