Judge Jredthys (16th Sun of the 5th Astral Moon) is a towering behemoth of an individual whose actual appearance is forever shrouded in a suit of ancient, rune-etched plate that seems almost like it is bolted to his flesh. He travels throughout Eorzea, serving the role of Judge - hearing cases and pronouncing Judgements under the apparent auspices of the leaders of the three cities. His black-and-white view on all things is rather polarizing, and his utter distaste of muddled or gray morality, thought, or lifestyle even more so. However, one can be assured that his verdicts will never be biased, and so he is still called upon time and time again to handle a variety of matters.
HE ALSO HAS A VERY IDENTIFIABLE MANNER OF SPEAKING.
Very little is publicly known about the mysterious, dark-armored Judge. His age, his actual appearance, where he came from, where he is going, all unknowns. What little information there is on him is derived solely from his looks and actions.
He is never seen without his armor in public, not even removing it to partake of food and drink - instead merely lifting the visor to take in his nourishment. Given his size and penchant for always remaining armored, he could easily be compared to the Dullahans - animated suits of armor that are rumored to be either a variety of ancient golem or lingering spirits unnaturally attached to their armaments. However, a careful eye would reveal that there is definitely something underneath the layers of black-hued steel, even if that something is unknown.
The Judge's actions are based almost completely on a black-and-white belief on what is "proper" that borders on zealous. Things are to be done a certain way, and people are to behave in a certain manner. While this clear-cut view on things makes him an excellent choice to oversee a court case, the fact that this belief bleeds so heavily into every other aspect of his life makes dealing with him a very unique, and sometimes obnoxious, experience. Past that, though, one might be able to find enclosed in that armor a soul that has seen many things over the years and lost much in the process... possibly even some (or most) of his own sanity.
Those able to sense aether might see another side of Jredthys as well. While he makes no visible display of being able to use magic in any form, his aetheric aura is sizable. In fact, one might even say it should belong to something even bigger than his already substantial seven-fulm frame. The more astute might also be able to gauge that it's old, very very old. Almost suspiciously so.
His companions are few and far between. The only constant one is the equally massive warhorse Bench that he is always seen astride when assisting Warren Castille at the Grindstone. The dark-haired, armored steed is of surprisingly sturdy temperament and seems to take its patrols around the various matches in stride despite all the chaos and combat - perhaps a fine showing of its training and lineage. Exactly how long this horse has lived, or if it is but the latest of a long line of Benches, is not known but it seems in good health and well tended to.
Appearance & Personality
- Very exacting and UNIQUE manner of speech. Often refers to things as "Recommended" or "Forbidden."
- Always sits up straight. Always. And sleeps flat on the bed, arms folded over his chest like a very disapproving corpse.
- His view of proper is... rather skewed. For example, it's the "proper" thing for a cutpurse to rob someone of their gil. However, it is also "proper" that they understand that they will be punished if they are caught.
- Will arbitrarily set rules in various situations if allowed to do so. This can include simple conversation or even in the preparation of his food. Breaking of even these oddball rules will upset him, with the severity resulting in differing levels of Judge Card.
- Years and years of combat knowledge and general wisdom, though the latter is often questionable.
- Physically strong and durable, almost inhumanly so.
- Never takes sides, and approaches all cases from a perfectly neutral position.
- Unshakable in his resolve and belief.
- Predictable. Horribly, horribly predictable. His "proper" approach means that one can easily figure out his thought processes and how he will react to situations given enough study.
- Utter garbage at being reassuring or comforting. He might try to console someone if it seems the proper thing to do, but his monotone statements don't really help much.
- Socially incompetent, as one might expect of someone of his personality. If he were interesting in finding himself a mate, let alone making friends, he would certainly be hard-pressed to do so.
- A very angry drunk. While his tolerance is quite high, Judge getting plastered can result in a lot of shouting, violence, or likely both.
- THE FOLLOWING BIOGRAPHY CONTAINS MASSIVE SPOILERS FOR JUDGE AS A CHARACTER.
- THEY HAVE BEEN PLACED UNDER SPOILER TAGS AND SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED READILY AVAILABLE INFORMATION.
The "Early" Years
- THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS SPOILERS FROM HEAVENSWARD.
- Ordsormr ("Word Serpent") joined with his companions at the start of the Dragonsong War 1000 years ago, after the treachery of the Ishgardian king Thordan resulted in the death of Ratatoskr and the blinding of Nidhogg, sending the great wyrm into a vengeful rage against the Elezen nation. Younger than most, he made up for his size in his unique combative ability. He had the not-uncommon ability speak in the tongue of his race, but make the Sons of Man hear the meaning of his words in their head. However, his voice possessed a strange power to it and - with training - he was quickly able to use his hypnotic tone to implant suggestions in the minds of those who "heard" it. These "Command Words" weakened in strength with relation to the number of people he sought to affect, but it made him quite the threat to small strike teams and high-priority targets.
- Forever at his side was a female Elezen by the name of Auflonne Rielaut, her magical prowess aiding Ordsormr in his missions. Like Hraesvelgr before him 200 years prior, Ordsormr had fallen for one of the shorter-lived races and taken her as a mate. They had spent naught but a couple decades in each other's company before the flames of war engulfed Coerthas and the Dravanian lands. However, when the lines were drawn, Auflonne turned against her brethren and sided with Ordsormr and his kin.
- All the more tragic, then, when the order came out from on high in Ishgard to have Ordsormr and his powerful Words removed from the equation. Well aware of the Word Serpent's powers, the Ishgardian soldiers came prepared with ears stuffed with gauze and gilded helmets meant to keep his strange magicks from affecting them. Using a highly-trained series of gestures to overcome their lack of hearing, they assaulted Ordsormr's group - which crumbled easily after having relied so much on his Words to sow confusion and weaken the Ishgardian forces. They might have all perished that sun if not for the quick thinking of one of Ordsormr's elders, who took up Auflonne in his talons and used her as a hostage. One might think such a tactic wouldn't work, but the war was yet young at that time and many Ishgardians held not the well-ingrained hatred of "heretics" that they possess now.
- As such, the remnants of Ordsormr's group was able to take flight and escape under the sudden confusion that followed. However, all was not well - the Word Serpent himself was furious at his kin for using his mate so brashly and threatening her already brief life with such tactics. He confronted the older and larger Dravanian, but was easily overpowered since his strength lay almost entirely with his Words - which had little to no effect on his own kin. Dangling the struggling Elezen woman in front of her mate, the elder Dravanian made his opinions known in the most visceral of ways.
- "The Elezen have betrayed us," he snarled, his taloned grip tightening on Auflonne. "How much longer until your little flower turns against us as well? Or has she already and simply uses your emotions against you!? Tis best to rip the weed from the ground before it has chance to further take root."
- And, before Ord's eyes, the elder Dravanian crushed Auflonne in his grip. In a rage, Ordsormr lashed out at his kin with renewed vigor and ferocity that surprised the larger Dravanian. They clawed and bit and spat flame as they tumbled over the rocky ground, but Ordsormr had neither the size nor the power of his elder, and might have been returned to the aether alongside his mate if the Ishgardian unit hadn't caught up to them. With no hostage to use against them, the Elezen quickly slaughtered the distracted Dravanians. The surprise attack offered a brief moment of distraction, and in that moment Ordsormr ripped open his elder's throat in blind vengeance for his fallen mate.
- With the taste of his kin's blood still fresh in his mouth, Ordsormr turned to find his flight all but wiped out and the Ishgardians moving to add his head to their count. The other Dravanians were already scattering, taking to the air in a desperate attempt to survive. Ordsormr hesitated only long enough to gather up the remains of Auflonne before seeking to join them. However, he would find no respite with his kin, who both blamed him for the effectiveness of the attack and decried his slaying of his fellow Dravanian. Battered and weary, with tempers on edge, they sought to take his own life - so Ordsormr did the only thing he could.
- He ran.
- As the war raged, Ordsormr spent his time fleeing from refuge to refuge, seeking to hide from both Dravanians and Ishgardians who sought his life. Cowering in caves and other nooks, all he had to dwell upon was the remains of the fallen Auflonne and the taste of his kin's blood that seemed forever infused to his tongue. Again and again the events of that sun would play out in his mind, the fearful wyrm trying to make sense of what had happened and what had caused things to turn out this way. What could have been done differently, what should have been done differently. His mind became fixed upon this quandry, even long after he had done as Hraesvelgr had and consumed his mate - though in grief rather than in an expression of love.
- END OF SPOILERS.
- Eventually, Ordsormr's desperate flight took him far south from Abalathia's Spine and the blood-soaked lands of Coerthas into the heart of Eorzea proper. The assaults upon him grew fewer as both forces became too entrenched in their war with each other to continue fruitlessly sending headhunters after a lone outlier. But even though the Word Serpent had managed to escape the wrath of both factions, his situation improved little. Cycles upon cycles of frantic life on the lamb and countless bells of demented self-reflection had done little for his mind. He had ultimately come to the conclusion that it was entirely his fault - that he should not have fallen for Auflonne in the first place, that he should not have chosen her over his own kin. What he had done had not been right, it had not been... "proper."
- Ordsormr realized he had to atone for his sins, but was uncertain how to go about doing it. His own life was not nearly enough for the blood of his kin on his hands - not to mention Auflonne's for leading her to her own destruction - yet that would likely be the result should her return to the land of his birth. His weight was far heavier than that, and required a greater penance. Yet what could he do? The wyrm remained stymied by that quandary until he cast his gaze down upon the land from his mountain refuge.
- Beneath him, on the rocky expanse of Northern Thanalan, was a pair of villages - seemingly placed there by the hand of a divine being. Resources being as few as they are on the fringes of a great desert, the two were constantly at odds for every drop of water and scrap of meat. To Ordsormr's addled mind, he saw but a microcosm of the war he had fled and a purpose. To descend upon the two villages and set things straight between them, to have them act as they aught. That they do what is "proper."
- And so the Word Serpent appeared before both villages and, using his powerful Words to enforce obedience and order, became unto a tyrant to the people that lived there. He set forth laws and punishments, many strange and seemingly arbitrary - wrought from a mind unhinged - and the citizenry lived in fear of the great beast from atop the mountain. It should come as no surprise, then, that the two villages eventually bound together in opposition to the draconic dictator and sought to overthrow him. Strange yet fitting, that their quarrels would be put aside in the face of a foreign threat such as Ordsormr.
- Led by a strong and courageous Elezen woman, the joined villages amassed their strongest hunters and warriors and assaulted Ordsormr's lair high above their homes. And, while the Word Serpent's might would have been enough to quell such a shoddy uprising, the sight of the woman leading them stayed his hand. In her, he was starkly reminded of his long-dead mate Auflonne, and Ordsormr's Words caught in his throat. Seeing what seemed to be Auflonne's spiritual successor raising arms against him was too much for the wyrm to bear, and he again fled. The two villages celebrated and feasted over the rout of Ordsormr, and would become as one village for many moons to come.
- As for Ordsormr, his thoughts twisted inward once more as he sought a new shelter away from the villages and their strange champion. He wondered deeply upon the identity of the woman, and why she reminded him so much of his lost love. He dwelt upon the reasons why she might have appeared before him as she had, and why she had defied the Order he sought to bring to the warring villages. The Word Serpent had, in his mind, only sought to ensure they did what was "right," what was "proper." To keep them from suffering the divine retribution he had for violating the Natural Order of Things, and to atone for what he had done to his kin and to Auflonne.
- So why did she defy him, deny his attempts at penance for what he had done? Was it as his elder had said all those cycles ago - that she was as treacherous as the rest of her kin? That her love for him had been false and shallow and little more than a ruse to partake of his power, and to remove him when he become troublesome? The questions continued to gnaw and assail his already fragile mental state, and he spent many cycles twisting upon himself in the depths of his new-found lair in the mountains of Southern Thanalan.
The "Proper" Way
- It was just before he completely fell off the precipice into madness that Ordsormr came to a realization. It came as a voice from within - a voice both long forgotten and equally unforgettable - telling him that what had transpired was not in stark opposition of his goals, but merely a warning and an awakening. While it was not wrong in and of itself to desire that others do what was right and proper, it was not something that could be so brutally forced upon them through his might and his Words. Such things could only truly take root - the voice of Auflonne told him gently - if they themselves wanted it, needed it. He himself had approached the matter improperly, so it was only "proper" that the people rise up to overthrow the tyrant that was oppressing them.
- If he truly wanted to aid them, to guide them along the path of what was "proper," it would have to be by their terms. Seek change through their own Ways and using their own Rules, Auflonne's voice impressed upon him. Partake of their Laws, enforce them through their Methods, and in that way he would ensure the people did as they aught. Rather than being a dictator, he should serve more as a judge - taking the cases brought before him and passing verdict through the letter of the laws as written by the people. Yes, she insisted, become not a Tyrant but a Judge.
- And so, Ordsormr woke from his manic dreams, and found clarity.
- However, it was not simply a matter of taking up the new mantle and beginning his penance in earnest. The Word Serpent's form was strange and frightening to the peoples of Eorzea, the villagers had been afraid of him even before he made his first utterances. And so, struggling to recall the magicks of his kin long since left unused, he sought to take on a more palpable shape. However, his strength was in his Words more than his Dravanian magic, and his new form was naught but a strange mix of Dravanian and Man. This scale-and-flesh visage he shrouded further in a suit of dark armor, upon which he etched his Words to further suppress his heritage from the eyes of the suspicious.
- Along with the new form, Ordsormr took on a new name to mark the momentous change in his life. No longer would he be known as the Word Serpent - in fact, he swore to avoid using his Words except in cases most dire - but a name more fitting for a Judge of Men. He thought long and hard upon this, and when he finally stepped into a settlement, he introduced himself as Jredthys. Judge Jredthys.
- What followed was many, many cycles of wandering amongst villages and towns, learning of their laws and seeking to do what he could to set people upon the "proper" paths. As Jredthys traveled and accumulated more and more laws for all matters, some began to bleed into each other into a sort of strange amalgam of Natural Law. When allowed the freedom to do so, the Judge would impose these Laws - which to many seemed naught but inane and even silly. Yet, despite his eccentricities, he always sought to provide swift and concise judgement on all cases brought under his purview. And so, while he never became overtly famous for his deeds, word spread enough of a strange man in Black Armor who would hear any and all cases and provide an unbiased verdict.
- As cycles passed, Jredthys slowly managed to acquire official sanctions from the city-states to pass his judgements. Disputes settled between pirates gained him clout in Limsa Lominsa, handling matters of coin and ownership bought him a place in Ul'dah, and serving as mediator between the denizens of the Twelveswood and the Gridanians on a few rare occasions planted seeds of support there. Many of these decrees were made granting him such status for as long as he lived, with the expectation that he would not live that long at all given his profession and the enemies he would surely make in it. Jredthys instead outlived many of those who gave the sanctions and still carries the official paperwork penned by men and women who have long since returned to the aether.
- He was not there are Carteneau, for he had not been asked to be there and the memories of his involvement in the Dragonsong War left him loathe to return to the field of battle in either case. However, its aftermath still served as further impetus for him - even though he himself did not witness the Elder Primal Bahamut nor feel the scorching heat of his angry flames. Instead, he saw that Eorzea - and perhaps Hydaelyn as a whole - had been broken and reshaped by the events that had happened there. Now, more than ever, he believed that a Judge was needed to help reinstate Order and set things back onto the path of what was right and proper. And so he redoubled his efforts, wandering from place to place and seeking to ply his trade.
- These wanderings ultimately brought him back to Ul'dah, wherein he happened to observe the Grindstone for the very first time. A proper, orderly way for the Sons of Man to hone their martial skills without a loss of life. It called out to something deep within that heavy black armor, and... for once... Jredthys felt something akin to belonging. He sought out the leader of the event, the Arbiter, and offered his assistance in overseeing the event, and was quite pleased when the Highlander assented to his request. Perhaps aiding in managing this strange manner of orderly combat could help mend the scars of the war that still lingered beneath the armor, and beneath the flesh that was encased within it.