30/20 speed (unarmored/armored)
Born to Keesna and Thresh, Zaltas found himself an orphan at an early age. As an oddity, a lizardfolk in a human village, few were kind to the child and many treated him with open prejudice. Plagued by grief and abandonment the small town he called home quickly came to regard him as a menace. Being small, quick and daring he could cause no end of mayhem and seemed intent and becoming the towns youngest convict.
After three years of nonstop trouble and just before his ninth birthday the only person he thought of as a friend and protector, the blacksmith’s wife, contracted a horrific disease. After a painful though short battle she succumbed, ripping open the grief that she had only just begun healing within Zaltas. Raw sorrow and a renewed passion for trouble promised to consume his future when he found a partner in his sorrow. Unbeknownst to him, the Blacksmith promised his wife, on her deathbed, to watch after the young lizardfolk. Neither had much inclination to let someone else into their life but the Blacksmith wasn’t about to let his beloved’s final wish go unanswered and Zaltas soon found smashing lumps of metal a better release for frustration and grief than mischief ever was. Quickly the two were as close as father and son.
Zaltas, though small for his age while young, began to grow at a prodigious rate, but even more quickly mastered everything the Blacksmith could teach him about his art. Spending long hours in the shop together, the Blacksmith taught him more than the craft of metalwork. While below average in his master of letters and numbers he was a quick study with with weightier matters and grew to understand the state of the world. The blacksmith, who learned his skill in the army, had seen enough of the evil the sentient races could offer and did his utmost to impress upon Zaltas the power of goodness.
Days in front of the forge, bathed in heat, sweat, ash and iron, oddly changed Zaltas natural green coloring to resemble a reddish dark iron, giving him an intimidatingly dark appearance offset only by his vivid blue eyes. Despite his formidable stature and coloring, the locals, and any travelers who struck up a conversation with the curiosity, found him kind, though quiet, generous and eager to help in any way, big or small. Any who thought to take advantage of his kindness and somewhat slow wit quickly learned that the skills of a Blacksmith were not the only craft taught him by his foster father. Blessed with natural and learned strength he was a favorite amongst children, who loved to climb on and be tossed by him, and a scourge to all who preyed upon the weak.
Just as Zaltas was finishing his master piece that would mark the end of his apprenticeship, the crafting of his own set of blacksmith’s tools and anvil as was tradition, the blacksmith fell ill. Ravaged by sickness and old age the blacksmith’s final words to his apprentice were of praise and pride. He explained how Zaltas had not only overcome his own grief but helped the blacksmith find joy in living. What’s more, through his kindness and generosity, he had brought greater happiness, friendship and unity to the entirety of the village that was beginning to spread even further. “The town will flourish now. I know you’ve always wanted to travel the world as I once did but the military is not for you. You can be a beacon of hope to those who feel the sorrow and hate that you had to overcome. Go, if you will, and make the world better,” were his dying words to Zaltas.
While it was rightfully his, Zaltas passed the blacksmith’s shop and equipment to his sibling apprentice and procured a promise from the neighboring town’s blacksmith to finish the boys training. Spending only enough time to formally finish his own apprenticeship, though modifying the anvil for travel, Zaltas bade farewell to his home and set out to fulfill his master’s hope.