“Listen to me, Antares, there comes a time in a man’s life where he must choose what the path of Rhalgr means to him. Is it a path that leads to the destruction of all who would oppose him? Is a path of the destruction of the threats that would stand in the way of his and his own’s happiness? Nary a thought is shed by those who would walk the path for strength, but know in your chest beats the blood of Rhalgr. Don’t waste it, no matter what you make of yourself.”
-Iskander Steelfist, 1561 of the Sixth Astral Era before succumbing to Red Throat
Antares Armstrong is a mature character. The themes within his story are intended for a mature audience capable of handling extreme violence, questionable and realistic tropes, and graphic situations.
Carrying a dark complexion was something that set him apart from many other Hyur as prolonged exposure to the scalding sun of Thanalan often left him looking far more crisp than he would have otherwise appeared, making the broad and muscular man rather easy to spot in a crowd. Adding to this ease of noticeability, there is a level of classical Gyr Abanian handsomeness to his features that are broad, stern, and chiseled like the mountain tops that Ala Mhigo itself was built upon. Draping from the crown of the man’s head flows a healthy mass of disheveled brown and peppered locks that provide some layer of protection from the sun’s tyranny as the lack of tan lines around his face showcased a certain disdain for wearing a helmet. If his classical features were not enough to lend towards his pure Ala Mhigan heritage, his ritualistically shaved eyebrows only did more to add to it, not letting them grow bushy or painting them on as other Highlander men would do. Beneath a generous brow bone sat twin orbs of a dark brown, matching with his rather bland and typical hair color, carrying with it specks of gold to showcase that intelligence laying behind his boorish and brash facade. When the man was younger in his years, he felt his particularly pronounced nose was something to be embarrassed of, feeling it too large for his face but as his face caught up with his nose, everything seemed to fall into place leaving that centerpiece upon his features looking right at home.
Laying siege to the man’s expressionable features were a series of scars and thick facial hair that only enhanced the combatant’s tested mettle. Slashing across the expanse of his prominent nose is a straight slash caught by the tip of a blade, accompanied by another that appeared its brother having just barely slashed through his right eye, leaving a permanent off-set coloring within the sea of white. On the man’s left cheek, just above his thick beard was a thin stab wound that appeared to have come from something akin to a punch-dagger. Unlike his ritualistically shaved eyebrows, the man maintains a firm belief that his beard adds to his own masculinity and definition to his gruff features. The ever-fluctuating thickness of his beard remains tied to that of his travels, where long treks often accompany a thicker beard and extended periods of time in the bounty of Ul’dah offer something more tidy. Regardless of the shift of this beard, a day does not go by where the man does not shave his eyebrows in the morning when he first awakes.
In typical Highlander fashion, Antares earned his name by bouts of strength and proving himself in some way and while the story is surely to be saved for something akin to a tavern’s screaming braggarts, Antares’ physique tells quite the tale of how he earned the name Armstrong. Highlanders themselves are known for their incredibly powerful and strong builds, but Antares takes this a step further in the overall mountainous form of his grand arms. Where others might struggle to find their momentum with even some of the heftiest of axes, Antares’ considerable strength allows him to wield even some of the mightiest weapons with a single hand, turning what was once a greataxe into a handaxe.
Adorning the man’s robust physique, much like his face, are a swath of scars that cut and cleave their way throughout nearly every twist and turn of his figure. While the majority of the scarring lies upon the front of the man, there are more than enough puncture wounds upon his back be it from arrow or dagger. As well, there appears to be a discoloration of his skin near his left kidney, as if he were the target of a particularly nasty spell that he wasn’t quite fast enough to dodge out of the way for.
Tempered by the Fist of Rhalgr, the fervent religion burned out the impurities in the man’s mettle, leaving behind the steeled mind of unclouded judgment and walking a path paved by his own two feet. Where other Ala Mhigans would engage in pointless bouts of strength simply for showing off or for their wounded egos, Antares had a knack for picking and choosing his battles, showing off only when he stood to gain something from it and even then he proved a humble victor over his adversaries in the belief that any who would stand beside him as a combatant - weak or strong - was worth some glimmer of respect.
A professional by all ways to sing the word, Antares is night and day by the time he claims a job for his own and when he is kicking back in a tavern. When working a particular job, he devotes everything to his work, capable of forgetting weeks at a time when all's said and done just for the sake of completing the task assigned to him for the pride of a job well done and bulging pockets of gil. However, when it comes time to kick off the boots and relax, Antares proves to be a rather boorish and crude drinking partner, able to sing with the saltiest of sailors and bring an unconventional smile to even the sternest of Ishgardian knights. The man is of pure courage and confidence, undaunted in the face of tomorrow’s threats and trials.
Nothing in the world is quicker to light the man’s fire than injustice and corruption within one’s position. Whether it be someone far above his own station or one of his peers, Antares struggles to remain silent in the face of those who would abuse their professional status to further their own ends rather than striving to further their ends through a job well done. This particularly resonates loudly with him when he views Sultansworn, Temple Knights, or other peacekeepers stamping upon refugees or the impoverished. While Antares is far from being that of a White Knight, he simply views it as an affront against all and the teachings of Rhalgr to pointlessly strike out against those who are so far beneath you. By that point, it is wanton destruction and ruthless, drunken abandon that drives a man rather than his own honor.
Some of the rumors herein are grossly over-exaggerated and could be outright false. Feel free to add your own in the PC Rumors.
Common Rumors (Easily overheard)
- ”I remember him! He was one of them Sultansworn, nary a worry to be had when he would walk the Steps. Even off duty, he’d sooner put a coin in a pickpocket’s pocket than watch them run off with some folk’s bread.” - Dunesfolk Merchant
- ”Aye, I bore him a couple rounds through La Noscea. Quicker by boat, don’t be trusting them Chocobo Keepers! The good lad broke up a fight ‘tween me mates. Next time, fare’s on me.” -La Noscean Ferryman
Moderate Rumors (Moderately difficult to overhear)
- ”A ruffian! He walks around flexing his muscles behind that damned Kukupora! I won’t be intimidated again, I tell you! I won’t!” - Mor Dhonan Price Gouger
- ”Ever seen a man crush rocks with a flex? Because I have!” - Ala Mhigan Boy
Rare Rumors (Very difficult or rarely overheard)
- ”A shame corruption does things like that. The Sultansworn are worse off without the lad. I hope he finds what he’s looking for somewhere else.” - Sultansworn (Uncorrupted) Elite
PC Rumors (Rumors from the character's of other players)
- Ala Mhigans
- Hearty meals
- Conversing with those of similar trade
- Bouts of strength
- Talking about Carteneau
Born to two of Rhalgr's faithful, Iskander and Cynwese, Antares was brought up beside many other children of the passionate Ala Mhigan monks with absolutely no shortage of friendships to be made or company to keep. The temple represented something of a playground for the child of an aging member of the clergy, rampaging around and misunderstanding his father's wisdom up until he came of age to be deemed able to learn. Tutorship by the Monks of Rhaglr was not something to be taken lightly nor a path for the faint of heart. Just because his parents were both members of the temple did not mean that Antares inherently had his place among them, as an Ala Mhigan makes his own path and proves his own destiny beyond the successes of his forebears. While not originally taking to the wisdom and channeled self-empowerment that the Fist of Rhalgr were selling, he eventually found his way after utilizing a rather basic technique of channeling his Aether through his own body to prevent a brick from falling upon one of his peers. The overwhelming sensation and second-nature action that it roused within him made everything click, something that both his mentors within the temple and his own parents had been preaching for nearly a year before that point.
After the incident of safeguarding his peer, Antares took to the rigid and structured mindset of the Fists of Rhalgr, incorporating their day-to-day activities into his lifestyle in a borderline fanatical nature. Where others of his own age were off uselessly trying to prove which of them were the strongest and getting into fights with one another, Antares poured over scripture and sought ways of his own enlightenment in the Way of Rhalgr, always setting some goal in front of him to break. It was always something tangible and right in front of his grasp, but out of reach. While others proclaimed that they would become Rhalgr, made flesh, Antares scoffed at those of his peers who made such wild claims and sought to honor the God of Destruction by proving his own self-worth and inner-strength to himself.
Such trials and trainings encompassed the greater part of Antares' youth, leaving him to begin study in several types of weaponry to employ against his enemies and those who would challenge him. Even as young as ten, Antares set out to rival those of his kin who were years ahead of him due to the studious nature of his training and the zealous craze that overtook him, much to the pride of his mother and father.
The pride of both Iskander and his own rival and brother by honor, Bodvar, was the friendship between their two children that encompassed much of the two's free time, always shoving one another to break the next barrier or risk the forked tongue of the other. When one couldn't manage to reach that top shelf, the other would try to do so even harder, simply for the sake of having a minor advantage over the other. For well over three years the two went back and forth with this childish competition regardless of Antares being five years the girl's senior. He felt some kind of rueful pride that he had found his equal among his peers, but it had been someone younger than him rather than someone older.
Throughout much of the years following his tenth age, Iskander traveled throughout much of Gyr Abania alongside Antares, introducing him to great and horrible sites of battle that were rife with aetherical presence. It was in these areas that the young Student of Rhalgr learned to attune to his own chakras and listen to his own internal-power. Each time a new door opened and a new barrier was broken, four more appeared and it became harder to keep up. Simply attaining the chakras was not enough to be satisfied for the boy, as he had to then go and learn how to master maintaining the state of power and the incredible strain it put upon his body. By the time he opened the second chakra, Iskander began passing down techniques from the Fist of Rhalgr and their own life of monks that had perfected their own abilities, passed down through their line for generations.
As it was Iskander who was far more specialized in the unlocking of chakras, this grew some sort of tension between Pyrrha and Antares, bringing most of their competing to a close in the wake of this fanatical training that had taken Antares to even greater heights. With this unlocked potential, Antares began showing his own potential and inner-strength in bouts with his peers, going so far as being challenged to smashing rocks within their hands. Antares, sure of his own abilities, took it a step further and began crushing rocks with his biceps as he flexed against them in the bend of his arm. With a hearty laugh of his fellows and their betters, Antares earned the moniker of Armstrong, adopting the name as his own.
With word of King Theodoric's encroaching grip upon Ala Mhigo turning crazed and the grim reality of some of the elders of the Fist of Rhalgr being imprisoned, it left Iskander with a very difficult choice to be had. While he was privy to the secrets of the sect, he had more than that to worry about. However, he felt alone in his worry for his own child in that even his wife continued to fervently disregard his pleas to flee from the Temple of Rhalgr and escape from Ala Mhigo, lest they invite the ire of the Crown. With a heavy heart and abandoned pride, Iskander flew from Ala Mhigo nearly a week before the razing of the Temple of Rhalgr by griffon-back, carrying with him both his own son and the child of his honor-brother. Under the cover of night, Iskander flew the children from the peaks of Ala Mhigo, fighting his own demons every step of the way. Every inch of his religious fervor cried out to return to the site in which he had left behind his wife and his best friend, but his duty as a father called him to a greater responsibility.
Flying as far as he could possibly drive the griffin, the three were forced to make to Gridania by way of feet, being stopped at the entrance of the Black Shroud. While foreign to the area himself, Iskander was well-read enough to know of the Black Shroud and the powerful Elementals that called it home. To the surprise of the Wood-Wailers, the exhausted Ala Mhigan fell to his knees and pleaded for safe-passage through the Black Shroud, offering his own life as tribute if he were to betray the trust of the Elementals. Moved by the action, the Wood-Wailers allowed them passage, not bothering to warn them of what it would mean should they betray their word. However, their trek through the Shroud was not one that left them lingering, as the three made what few stops they required on their path, searching for a place that was more welcoming to travelers such as they.
As the weeks of travel lingered on into months, the three had long-since entered the harsh terrain of Thanalan, sweating buckets and treading upon bleeding feet, the three were truly tested - as Iskander put it - by Rhalgr himself. However, the few travelers that the monks encountered were worthwhile friends and made the trip survivable and manageable. Each time they met with merchant caravans or other travelers, they were told wondrous stories of Ul'dah and the amount of opportunity that laid within the treasure chest of Thanalan. As their travels through the unforgiving sun of Thanalan continued, they earned the friendship of a Dunesfolk merchant by the name of Lelenabu. Astride a great ox, the Dunesfolk merchant offered them all manner of food, clothing, shelter, and water if only they would work with him and ensure his goods reached Ul'dah. With heightened spirits, the three Ala Mhigans offered the Dunesfolk that which he asked, fending off everything from wolves, peistes, and even daring raiders who wanted to try their hand at an "easy" target. In fact, by the second week of travel beside the Dunesfolk, he had offered Iskander a permanent position as his protector and in return he would see that the two children were set up in fortunate homes and with good lives ahead of them come time to reach Ul'dah.
Unable to deny such a promising twist of fate, Iskander threw his lot in with Lelenabu and upon their reaching Ul'dah, Pyrrha, young as she was was sent off to the Thamauturge's Guild to aid in daily duties such as cleaning the building, aiding in the preparing of a body for a funeral, and all sort of other tasks that those of the Thaumaturges could think to make her do. While the work was not always the most gratifying, it was no doubt rewarding from the deep pockets of Ul'dah's esteemed Thaumaturges. On the reverse side of the coin, Antares was shoved off at the ripe age of sixteen to begin training in the honored position as a Sultansworn. Having little experience with a sword and shield, he started from the basics during his time as a Sworn, following every command and thought that his mentor offered, seeking to make his father proud in their new home while maintaining his adoration for Rhalgr on his own time. Before the sun's rise, Antares would awaken and preform rites in the honor of Rhalgr while also practicing his own flow of aether throughout his body, giving him an edge against those of his peers regardless of his recent introduction to the craft of Ul'dahn swordplay.
Zealotry and devotion were rewarded as Antares drew the attention of his betters, earning a spot beside an Elite Sultansworn by the name of Rororochi Wawarochi. With a firm hand, Rororochi guided Antares through what it meant to be a Paladin, bestowing upon him a Soul Crystal when he was ready, proving that he had earned his position as a Sultansworn. While he remained a junior member, Rororochi was accused of favoritism and bias when dealing with the Ala Mhigan boy, but at every turn and accusation, Antares strove to prove them wrong and to show that he had earned his place among them.
Well into his service as a full-fledged Sultansworn, Antares' heart broke with the news of Ala Mhigo's bending of knee to the Garlean Empire and the flood of refugees pouring out of Gyr Abania in any way they possibly could. Beseeching his betters, Antares was given special privilege to go and help with the refugee effort, ensuring that those coming south had a place to settle, and feel at home. Traveling back and forth between those of the refugees making their way towards Ul'dah and the Treasure of Thanalan, he offered as much aid as he could on behalf of the Sultanate, unintentionally being used for a political statement by one of the Ul'dahn nobles that he had traditionally served and guarded. Even in the wake of several Ala Mhigans being unable to adapt to Ul'dahn life and their relocation to the southern reaches of Thanalan bordering the Sagoli Desert, Antares worked tirelessly to see those of his kin that had come south for a new chance at life would find their comfort in some way, shape, or form. During this time, the already straining relationship between Pyrrha and Antares continued to grow more distant as the two went about their own duties wholly ignorant of the other for the most part. It was only on the rare occasions that Antares returned to Ul'dah and had earned an early night that he would seek the growing woman out, and even then he did not often find her company. By this point, Iskander, had finished his tenure of service beside his Dunesfolk benefactor, traveling south much to the chagrin of Antares and finding his place within the newly dubbed Little Ala Mhigo.
Regardless of his own displeasure, Antares had sworn an oath and intended to see it through until he was released from his duties to the Sultanate. Following a year after the mass exodus of Ala Mhigan refugees fleeing from the Garlean colony, Antares earned his place among the Elite Sultansworn, taking for himself a student of his own to begin teaching and inspiring to lead a life similar to his own. While he had one particular pupil, he worked with several Sworn at once and guided them through the day-to-day life of what it meant to be a loyal and honorable Sultansworn. The boy in question that he took as his own apprentice happened to be an Ala Mhigan refugee, much like himself. He saw some of his own fear and wonder within the young boy and sought to mold him into something that he, himself, could be proud of when it came time for him to take the trials. The group of Sworn that apprenticed under Antares were met with a harsh training regiment that was unlike what many of the others were put through, however, there was a certain fairness in the training that they were put through as Antares himself went through it just the same.
Unknown to Antares, his teaching was being undermined by another Elite Sultansworn, leading those Antares thought to be minds of honor and hearts to ensure the protection of the Sultanate - in his own naivete - down a path of tyranny, cruelty, and delinquency as they abused those beneath them and those of Ul'dah's citizenry. Ewald Cartwright was the primary conspirator of the group, suggesting into more years than just those beneath Antares that there was little point in sticking to the rules and obligations of the Sultansworn when they were given so little in return for their dutiful practice. Naive, but not stupid, Antares eventually caught on to the corruption within their midst and his stomach turned and twisted with the revelation, understanding that even Ewald was not the final link in the chain that wrapped its way through the greater part of the Sultansworn. Word came down to him of Sultansworn even stealing from the citizenry and the more daring from the Sultanate themselves. Wishing not to be a part of this heresy and outright treason, Antares resigned and bequeathed his shield to the member of the Sultana's family that he had guarded the most often as a token of his valor and gratitude from serving him so.
However, resigning did not solve the Ala Mhigan's problems, as he became under siege by the watchful glances of his previous comrades, curious to see why exactly someone like him had resigned without any purpose or word on the matter. It was more out of paranoia that they looked over and kept tabs upon the Ex-Sultansworn who felt a curtain of shame upon him in result of the treason he had witnessed at the hands of his peers. Rather than voice his disdain and stand up for the true image of the Sultansworn, and no doubt get himself killed, Antares set out into Ul'dah to find another way of life, living off of the plump pockets he had obtained from his service of Ul'dah's elite.
In the wake of his resignation from the Sultansworn, Antares drifted through employers in Ul'dah for several months, doing work for various merchants and caravans until he happened upon an Immortal Flames training site. The way that the men were working together and laughing with one another made Antares' heart bleed of the camaraderie he had hoped to gain out of the Sultansworn and desperately sought. By this point, it was either serve with the Immortal Flames or flee south to Little Ala Mhigo. Not one to give up in the face of adversity, Antares signed his name to a recruitment form and became a recruit. While the rank surely did not suit the previous Sultansworn, it soon made itself known when they returned from the eastern reaches of Thanalan and to Ul'dah proper. For his duty in service to the Sultanate, the rank of Flame Corporal was bestowed upon him, leaving him more respected by his peers who now knew him for more than just a random sod who thought to throw in his blade with the Flames. Rather than simply employing typical Sultansworn techniques and being resistant to the changes that were offered to him, he began meshing his Sultansworn techniques to that of the Immortal Flames' more brutish and straightforward skills.
As his efforts beside the Immortal Flames allowed for further freedom, he was soon reunited with his companion Pyrrha, surprised to find that she had taken the name Iskander in honor of his father who had saved them from what could have been their death or their subjugation to the Garlean Empire. When not using his down time to spend time with his companion who now worked alongside a peculiar Dunesfolk by the name of Kukupora Gugubora. The enigmatic Sharlayan magician spoke troves of his work alongside his companion and her innate talent at the art, having saved her from a lifetime of toiling at the behest of the Thaumaturges of Ul'dah. While he was proud of Pyrrha to have freed herself from the clutches of that which she was left to by Lelenabu, he was wary of the man she had thrown her lot in with as they spoke of their adventures and her own delving into the art of Summoning magic. When Pyrrha was not accompanying Kukupora far and wide throughout their travels of Eorzea, the two of them met in early mornings to practice as they did as children, giving pride to Antares' spirit to see that the girl he had grown up beside was becoming a woman while still maintaining her faith in the Fist of Rhalgr.
There was something to be enjoyed about the freedom that existed within his service to the Immortal Flames, as Antares learned what it meant to be beside true allies and brothers-in-arms. This is not to say that everything was easy and not without its own trials, as serving alongside the Immortal Flames brought its own fair share of conflicts throughout Thanalan such as combating the Amal'jaa and ensuring the safety of those within the harsh region. During this time, Antares tasted what true combat felt like when fighting for his life amidst the Amal'jaa and their vicious, beast-like forms. Furthermore, as the Immortal Flames continued to combat the beastmen, more and more of their comrades continued to fall to the sway of their Tempering and brainwashing. The entire unit in which Antares served fell to the sway of this magical brainwashing, but it was only by the good graces of some miracle that Antares himself resisted the sway, hearing the Echo of Hydaelyn. As this gift continued to remain unknown to him, Antares managed his way out of the confinement and struggled his way back towards the rest of his unit stationed beside Little Ala Mhigo.
It was during his recovery in Little Ala Mhigo that he found his father Iskander rotting away, suffering from Red Throat. Rather than returning to duty or even tending to his own wounds, Antares stayed beside his father as he slowly spat up his blood and rotted away from the inside. With what wisdom he had to give his son before he departed, Iskander blessed his son with words of pride and finally abandoned his mortal coil. This set the tone for the entirety of Antares' continued service with the Immortal Flames, once again losing the sensation of camaraderie alongside his Tempered allies and the death of his father. In something of blind service to the Immortal Flames, Antares mourned quietly and contained his own grief behind a thin veil of duty and honor.
This same veil continued within Antares, not giving himself a time to grieve throughout the entirety of his active service, up until the horrifying Battle of Carteneau. Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with his comrades of the three Grand Companies, ready to stand against the encroaching horrors of the Garlean war machine. As the battle broke out, Antares abandoned himself to the senses of his instincts, brandishing sword and shield while slipping into his own chakra state to give him an edge against his adversaries. While his skills learned as a member of the Fist of Rhalgr were waning and completely lax by their original height, he still managed some struggled grasp upon his chakra, bashing through gunblade-toting Garleans without prejudice. He continued to fight ever-onward, dodging out of the way of energy blasts flying through the air and using his shield to weather the tide of bullets screaming through the air. It wasn't until the descending of Dalamud that he stood frozen in place, experiencing a wash of emotions that had been building beneath the surface and breaking at that moment. In truth, he felt the truest of fears, causing the otherwise stoic fighter to turn tail and run as fast as he could alongside those of his allies.
When Dalamud itself exploded and sent explosions rumbling throughout the landscape accompanying the massive Flares breaking through the horizon, Antares prayed as much as he ran, calling out for Rhalgr's protection in the face of such wanton and pitiless destruction, believing this to be something in direct defiance of the ways of Rhalgr. As he ran for his life, he came to terms with that which he had been holding back since his near-Tempering, stopping whenever a comrade of his was buffeted by the blasts or the ensuing winds, doing whatever he could to lift them from the ground and encourage them to keep running. No matter the cost, Antares sought to ensure the protection of as many of his brothers in arms as he could manage all while ensuring he made it out alive.
Taking several months to himself in the wake of Carteneau, hiding away as the world itself seemed to roil in response to the Calamity, the buffeted Antares eventually found himself back to Ul'dah upon tired and bleeding feet, where he was reunited once again with Pyrrha and Kukupora. As he was reunited with the last link he had to his home, he realized what was most important in his life and with an understanding tone but a rueful acceptance, Antares navigated himself from the active roster of Immortal Flames soldiers and earned his spot among the reservists. In honor of his service in Carteneau and all that came before it, even among the Flames' reservists, Antares earned the rank of Sergeant First-Class. While he did not remain among the standing forces, Antares often returned to provide support to the operations of the Immortal Flames in whatever he could possibly manage, working with what was left of his unit from before the battle of Carteneau, and those who had been crazy enough - like him - to remain among the Flames even after the Calamity.
With a foggy memory of the events that transpired with the heroes that saved them that day, Antares stood beside Pyrrha, encouraging her on her training and understanding of the Summoning arts, accompanying her on her adventures throughout Eorzea, following where she dared to tread upon the guidance of Kukupora and his talk of Trance-like magic that had been lost to the ages. While Antares didn't particularly buy into the art, his sword and shield were paramount to protecting the spellcasters throughout those journeys that took them into the deepest regions of beastmen territory. It was over these adventures that much of what Antares initially thought of Kukupora was dispelled, and while he believed him to be a formidable magician, he did not believe him to be innately malignant. After all, it was by the suggestion of the Sharlayan Lalafell that he - instead of work purely for that of the Immortal Flames - take up arms for causes and jobs that he believed worth his blade for the fact that if he were going to risk his life, it might as well be worth something important to him.
Understandably, the bond between Kukupora and Antares never truly became anything of true kinship during their travels together, but the Ala Mhigan would be lying if he did not believe some ounce of truth to be had within his words. He believed wholeheartedly in the message and actions of the Immortal Flames, but for all of his effort and the outrageous danger that came with the work, he hardly saw anything as a reward to that labor. So, upon returning to Ul'dah, Antares began branching out from simply seeking work from the Immortal Flames, doing odd-jobs from various merchants, caravans, wanted posters, and so on with the intention of enjoying himself rather than for the money that came along with it. The longer he remained upon the road and traveled throughout the city-states of Eorzea, the more his fighting style became lax when compared to that of the Sultansworn and became far more comparable to that of the Gladiators of Ul'dah, albeit with a significant flair and learned grace. When the title of Free-Paladin began to begin gathering its circulation, he fancied the title and wore it himself as he considered himself something of a free agent in the world of Eorzea for the first time.
No m atter what horrors sprouted up in Eorzea, no matter what difficulties he may have had in aiding the campaign against the ever-encroaching darkness that loomed over the horizon, Antares continued to seek out the forces of good as a Free-Paladin and aid their cause whether it be within Thanalan, The Shroud, La Noscea, or even among those of the Doman refugees taking up home in the budding Mor Dhona. He did everything that was necessary to earn something of a name for himself, standing out above many of his sellsword peers to their disdain due to this willingness to help, even if the jobs weren't able to truly pay up. The truth behind his service as a mercenary was not for the added bonus of the money, but instead for the sensation of doing what he thought was right when he thought it was right, regardless of the politics that may have been going on.
As of recent, Antares took to a relief effort sent by the Immortal Flames to help with supplies, uprisings, and simply establishing a dialogue between their people after the Ishgardians rejoined the Grand Companies of Eorzea. However, as he witnessed the horrors of what the Holy See truly was beneath the beautiful scripture and tall, daunting buildings, he was disgusted with what was to be found, a mere shade of what once stood in its stead. Where beautiful towers once stood peerless in every way, they were crumbling due to dragon attacks. Where statues might have adorned several structures' tops, instead mighty Dragon-Killers threatened the skies for any who would dare try to strike out against the faithful of Halone.
While those of his kin dealt with the reason they were sent to Ishgard to begin with, Antares struck out into the Brume and the lower levels of Foundation, doing what he could to help the citizenry in the wake of the tumultuous events currently sending the faithful city into upheaval. As he continued to help and continued to listen, he continued to learn of the tyranny of the Temple Knights and how their abuse of power was something akin to that of the Sultansworn of Ul'dah. Sickened and upset by this fact, he tried to do as he would to protect those of the citizens, failing at every turn no matter the dialogue he would seek to open with those of Ishgard's knights. He struggled to remain with his spirits alight, asking himself time and time again what the Monks of Rhalgr would do in his shoes, knowing full well that they would have banded together to take on the tyrants of Halone and reestablish a level of equality in Ishgard, much like they planned to do with the Mad King's reign.
What he did not expect, however, was the presence of fearless figures carrying ridiculously sized swords, chopping through the oppressors of the weak and down-trodden as if they were butter. Flowing around these individuals was a power that he had unseen, even among the faithful of others devout to the Twelve. He stood in awe, rather than helping those of the Brume evacuate the area of combat, watching the two Dark Knights - as he would learn that they were called - battling with the never-ending wave of Temple Knights crashing against them, until they turned tail and fled from the scene. He stood before them with his sword in his hand and his shield strapped to his arm, both slackened in some manner of awe that overtook him, believing he saw what the Twelve had meant for him to find throughout his travels and his tribulations. Offering to buy the figures a drink, they retreated to some seedy, broken shanty in the Brume where they discussed exactly what the state of Ishgard was, tossing words back and forth until it became completely apparent that these Dark Knights - these defenders of the weak - were antagonists just the same as the Temple Knights. While the Dark Knights stood against those who would have taken advantage of the weak, they antagonized all the same in a never-ending power struggle.
As the weeks turned to a month, he continued to meet with these Dark Knights, Saewynn Stone and Erreux Claipohant, discussing what exactly they were capable of and no doubt showcasing his interest, regardless of his own personal opinions about their methods and the ways that they went about circumventing tyranny and oppression, as it reminded him similarly of the Fist of Rhalgr that refused to buckle or bend knee in the face of it. By the end of his stay there in Ishgard, returning back to Ul'dah, he carried with him the Soul Stone of their original mentor, bestowed upon them as they hoped he would lose some of that idealistic edge he had gained throughout his recent years as a Free-Paladin.
In the coming months, it might have been only because of the upbringing within the Temple of Rhalgr that saved him from losing himself completely to the locked away sensations and feelings that he refused to address. Even after having speaking of what had ailed him, he had never truly moved past the death of his father in such a weak state nor the horrifying Battle of Carteneau. Those two fonts of powerful, negative emotions fueled his abilities and took them to heights that he should have shied away from in such early stages of his combat. However, it was because of these powerful emotions that the Soul Crystal he carried roused from its state and began to impart its knowledge upon Antares the more he ventured throughout the land, beginning to notice the striking difference he made with his sword now as compared to when he carried with him sword and shield.
As Eorzea continues to grow ever-more tumultuous with Primals awakening and villains climbing up from every avenue to stand in the way of the dawn rising over the horizon once again, Antares roams the continent with newfound purpose and strength within his grip, brandishing dark magics of his own birthing, turning that venom and bile within his stomach, that disgust for the tyrannical "protectors of justice" meant to uphold oaths and creeds like the Sultansworn and Temple Knights, and the exhaustion that came from a never-ending conflict that never truly found resolution into the powerful and horrifying manifestation of his Darkness. While never having surrendered to the power of his own creation, he kept himself in check by relying heavily upon the teachings of his birth, ensuring that every morning he preformed rites and meditations in the way that he would have in the temple of his birth. Ritualistically keeping himself behind bars of self-control, Antares mete out justice as he believed was necessary, striking down the foes of the weak and the citizenry without any hesitation as he cut through beastmen and fleeing criminal alike on the roads, reigniting that minor fame that he had garnered as a Free-Paladin and instead haunting the pathways and roads of Eorzea as a Dark Knight.
When time comes to be called upon by the Immortal Flames once again, whether it be for combat or aiding the people of Eorzea in some restoration effort, Antares stands primed and ready to do what is necessary but the patience and stomach for simply observing the tyranny of powerful men abusing those beneath them has run thin.
♥ Romantic Interest ♥ Platonic Love ● Good Standing ● Neutral ● Poor Standing
♥ Sexual tension ☠ Deceased
|●♥ Pyrrha Iskander||"If I only knew of her honoring my father with her chosen name, I would need to know nothing else."|
|While they are nearly half a decade apart in age, it is due to the kinship between their parents that Antares and Pyrrha were brought together within the Temple of Rhalgr. Regardless of this forced closeness, it has done nothing to sour the relationship between the two Ala Mhigans, fostering an unbreakable bond that has withstood the test of several horrific trials on both sides of their lives.|
Antares Armstrong and I are completely different entities. I do my best to never blur the lines of RP and try to keep the people I RP and interact with held to that same standard.
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