Head Title: The Standing One
Other titles: Salavaine (Sal the Heroic Human) The Verdant Knight, The Steadfast Warrior, The One who Said No, Rondi’s Most Courteous Knight
Relevant Faction(s): Zealand Frog Clan (Hunter), The Knights of Rondi (The Verdant Knight)
Age: 7 at the time of Upright
Height: 89 cm
Weight: 34 kg
Original series: The Verdant Banner
Primary Magics and Abilities: Sal is a frog, and despite all the legends of him being the “truest and purest” conduit of the fabled “magic of honor,” his abilities as a warrior can only be considered “lackluster” in comparison to the massive backdrop of myths that he is associated with.
First of all: magicless – unless you count the magic of a heart of gold.
Don’t be too hard on him, the other 9 knights present Sal with quite the high bar to pass over. Arguably the next lowest of the knights in combat, Ywn, is still capable of leveling castles and destroying armies by his inventiveness and proclivity toward tactics. Salavaine is just Salavaine. Despite his adventures in Upright, his emergent superiority over his environment is instantly toppled the moment he crosses the boundary into Atland, where it’s quite apparent that he is the one that will be doing the learning again.
But something Sal does have is an excellent, excellent attitude, the kind that can create anything out of thin air if given enough time.
As a result from his rather unique upbringing, he has taken on the bravery to both deny society’s rules like the majority of Rondi’s knights, while also tempering the wisdom to listen to his betters.
He’s not proud in the slightest, and had learned with an open heart the core magics of friendship, honor, and camaraderie. One might even argue he’s the only “true” Knight out of Rondi’s entire flock, but some might ask: what good is a knight that cannot slay dragons?
Our friend Sal is a capable and fit frog (whatever that is, if we’re being honest) and owns a utilitarian and practical style to solving problems, martial or otherwise. He’s not against brute force or finesse, ranged or close-quarters resolutions. He’s even been known to use his unnervingly prehensile tongue to save himself in tight spots… or just whenever Effie’s nearby, bless her heart.
Personality and Life:
In the annals of the Holy Verses and its maximized scope of life and legends, it is perhaps Sal the “Frog” that holds the title of “most unlikely legend” when it comes to the naturalized interdimensional canon of culture and history – at least, among those legends that are true.
Sal’s life started prior to the creation of most ancient civilizations, but still in the midst of things. His birthplace, the now entirely obliterated Zealand, had only recently fallen to the armies of the half-dragons. It couldn’t have been more than a few decades between his rearing as a Frog Clan hunter in the nearby shoal swamps, and the grand battle of Zealand’s legendary “Order of the Dragon Slayers” against the unending realm-crossing hordes of the dragon-kin.
Hopping about the dense Zealander forests proved to be a demanding but satisfying life for the young frog, learning the ropes and daily patterns of the hunt from his elders. By day he hunted, swam about, and generally made a mockery of the woods he called home with his quickly increasing skills. At night he enjoyed long regalings of stories about heroic frogs saving their honorable and righteous clan from the hideous and detestable evils of the neighboring clans, monstrous killers of the snake, bird, and boar. One clan was more hated than any other: the demon clan, said to be invincible upright creatures who would kill and kill with an unquenchable bloodthirst – truly evil animals that used teeth and claws made from mountains.
In his heart stoked the flame of a hero, and one day it all the hunting and dreaming came to a head.
On the holiday of the firefly festival, Sal and the clan went out to swim in the rivers for the annual festival race. One of the younger hunters caught themselves in the wrong branch and began slipping down towards a waterfall.
Sal and the other frogs all saw it happen. He immediately leapt (swam) to action, risking his own life to save his friend. If he and enough of his fellow hunters could make a chain, they could kick their way back to a nearby tree. All Sal needed was three more frogs and they could easily reel back and save him from the fall.
Quickly grasping the young frog, Sal turned back to grab the next frog’s hand.
No one else came with him.
As he and the youth peeled over the edge of the waterfall, Sal stared straight at the dozens of gazes looking back at him from the relative safety of the river entry.
They fell, but only one made it out unscathed.
Sal pulled his friend from the thresh, the little frog torn against the sharpened rocked at the bottom of the fall. All they could do was sit by the stream bank and exchange their passing graces before his passing:
…“Out of everyone, I knew I’d see you last,” the young hunter said.
“Because I… knew you’d… be there.”
And at that simple exchange, Sal is left with out a friend in the world, having lost one in body, and the others in spirit.
He returned to the encampment with the young hunter’s body as a changed frog. The clan leader applauded his bravery, but it was apparent to everyone that Sal’s opinion of them all had changed for good.
Sal refused to believe in a society that would preach virtues and bravery, only for them to flounder when it mattered most.
That night, despite the festival and the clan leader’s daughter awaiting him at the pad of honor, Sal gathered up his things and left in the dark of the night. He knew he could not help them unless they wanted to be helped – he would have to find a way for them to listen to him.
“If the Demon Clan is so villainized by these hypocrites,” he thought, “perhaps they are also the ones with the answer to how to live a life of integrity.”
Leaving behind his clan, his position, and the likely hand of the head’s daughter in union, Sal hopped off in search of an answer that he was not sure existed.
He did find his answer, but he found much, much more with it: traveling down the ruins of the massive castles and cathedrals, he finds someone unexpected– a man who held out for decades against the backdrop of his degrading kingdom.
Sal knew of his people as the Demon Clan, but the man called himself Zealand’s very last knight.
And the rest of that tale is for the book, thank you very much.
Hobbies and Interests:
-Knights, Knighthood, and a life of Service
-Honor and awesome armor
-God and Country
–Eating small flying things, sassy attitude in-tact or not
-Ree loves him, not on account of her usual reasons (she claims her blood tastes “swampy”) but more so the fact that she considers him to be outrageously cute. Invariably this leads into a high energy and uncommonly light-hearted relationship between two of Rondi’s Knights. They’re not the closest that Knights have gotten to one another (Ywn, you sly fox,) but they’re certainly in the running.
-Effie despises him, and by proxy Mort’s not a fan either.
-He has an unusually candid relationship with Oidhche. The little frog is perhaps the only person he’ll drop his guard on.
-Xingah has taken quite a shining to him for some reason – it’s not apparent why.
-On generally good terms with all the Knights save Ywn, who considers him dull, childish, and unrealistic in his optimism.
Top art by Rainu
Other art and covers:
Reference sheet and cover by Kiabugboy
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