Mild-mannered engineer turned temperamental fighter on a quest to reunite with his lost family.
Were it not for his cold demeanor and steel glare, Dreggs might be considered a handsome 28 year old human male. At 6’3", his muscular shoulders, chiseled features, and dark hair cause him to stand out, even in crowds of other humans.
Agile for a man his size, he wields a pair of flails with precision that is dazzling. A holdover from his work as a lictor, he prefers to intimidate and humble adversaries by tripping or hobbling them rather than simply beating them senseless. When not using his flails, Dreggs punishes opponents with his spiked gauntlets or longbow.
He polishes his scale mail armor and weapons to a pristine shine, and he has learned to use this mirrored finish to gain an edge in combat.
The path Dreggs now walks is darker and rougher than any he could have imagined even 5 years earlier.
Born Dreggaseul Haskos Peabody III, he grew up to become third in a line of able-minded engineers and civil planners. Much of Colam Isti’s recent growth and success is due to the ingenuity of Dreggs’ grandfather and father, men of honest and reserved character who preferred to let others receive the public praise for the fruition of their ideas. Stout men with sharp minds and strong bodies, the Peabody’s were well renowned in the city, but rarely used their status for political influence or financial advantage. A quiet life, well lived with family and quality work was reward enough.
Dreggs grew to embrace these ideals himself as he followed in his father’s footsteps, designing buildings, walls, and basic machines for Colam Isti’s citizens. After his grandfather’s untimely death in a construction accident, Dreggs became a full partner in the family business at the age of 17. Peabody Designs flourished as did the rest of Colam Isti, and a few years later Dreggs found himself in a well-built but humble home, happily married and with a child on the way.
Dreggs was content with his situation and station, his mind honed by his work and his heart warmed by his happy family. He was at ease, serving his purpose to his fullest, the perfection of an object’s function, fully realized.
Then came the Cataclysm.
As Colam Isti began to suffer from crippling food and supply shortages, Peabody Designs did its best to meet the increasing needs of its ailing neighbors, often at reduced or no cost. They designed and built the defensive wall system. When the city’s water supply diminished, Dreggs and his father designed and built a deep-auger to plumb the depths for a fresh well. This new well lasted no more than 4 months, however, before it too started to dry.
It was during this time that Dregg’s mother became ill with an unknown sickness. Constantly thirsty and in a cold sweat, she would occasionally slip into fits of hallucinations or tremors. Though many remedies were tried, nothing worked. The Emergency Council had banned travel outside the city walls without expressed permission, and they refused to grant permission for Dreggs or his father to leave to look for a cure. Peabody Designs was too valuable to the city.
When Dreggs’ mother spent more time hallucinating than present and Dreggs’ 5 year old son also started showing symptoms of the illness, it was more than the Peabody’s could bear. Leaving Dreggs behind to look after the business, the rest of the family snuck out of the city walls with rations donated by neighbors, desperately setting out to find a cure for the mysterious malady.
Peabody Designs didn’t last two months following their departure. Orders were already becoming rare, but Dreggs found himself unable to focus on what little work he had. Then his father returned to Colam Isti alone and jibbering, crawling on his hands and knees. Speaking only in seemingly nonsensical phrases, he was emaciated and shabby—a husk of his former self. He died less than a week after returning home.
Upon burying his father, Dreggs’ life was broken like a wax seal. The same day he laid his father to rest, he applied to the Emergency Council for work as a city guard. Dreggs figured he could use his size and strength as a new asset, since his keen mind no longer had an outlet. Upon considering his intelligence, strength, and reputation, the Council fast-tracked him into a lictor. In this role as bodyguard and enforcer, the more Dreggs was asked to strongarm his former neighbors and friends, the more he lost sight of the world as he used to know it. He became a new kind of machine: unfamiliar, clunky, but strong and effective. The joys of his life gone, he instead pursued his obligations, finding bland comfort only from the satisfaction of being effective at whatever aggressive task he was given.
What duty or dignity remains, when all hope is lost?
Those weeks ago when the Council held a town meeting and asked for volunteers to aid the city in finding provisions outside the protective walls, Dreggs had found himself standing with his hand raised before the Commissioner had even finished the request. He was not mindful in that moment of his duties as a lictor, nor of his loyalty to his town and council. Something else had washed over him in that instant, something full of breath and light yet somehow awkward and out of place, compelling him to act. It felt distant—but powerful—like a single star’s light on an otherwise gloomy night. It was the faintest glimmer of hope: the hope that his wife, young son, or mother might still be alive—having somehow found a refuge of safety outside Colam Isti despite the world of barren, choking thorns.
For nearly two years he had been trying not to think of them, focusing on his work instead. The grim tasks of the present—despite whatever privileges they earned him from the Council—were a meal of dry bones when compared to the rich life of love and happiness he had shared with his family. In the moment he stood there with his hand raised in the assembly room, he had remembered them before he could tell himself to forget: his wife, Adrastea, her dark blonde hair and bronze skin shimmering golden in the sunlight; little Dreggs the Fourth, leading his younger cousins on grand adventures of imagination; and his mother, Brynna, a hearty woman bringing a hearty lunch of lentil stew for Dreggs, his father, and their workers at a build site.
But that was before the Cataclysm. Before the Emergency Council. Before the famines, before the rations, and the dust, and the walls. Before the fever and hallucinations that took his mother and son. Before his father was reduced by the sickness to a withered specter of his former strength and intelligence. The seemingly random phrases his father had so desperately repeated during his last days of life were etched into Dreggs’ memory, though they made little sense.
Dreggs had hoped to find clues on his journey that would water the tiny seed of hope: evidence that there were places in the world untouched by the Calaclysm, a safe haven his family might have escaped to, some clarity for his father’s deathbed ramblings…or simply evidence of what befell his loved ones after they left Colam Isti.
Instead, he found more of the starved depravity he had hoped to leave in Colam Isti. He saw cults prey upon the fears of Cataclysm survivors. He saw officials secretly keeping and slaughtering human slaves for food, as though they were livestock. He saw a city of aimless refugees, forced out of their homes by terrible demons and devils: unable to defeat the evil which haunts them, they preyed upon each other with senseless taxes and class separation.
The days slip by for Dreggs, one barely distinguishable from the next. Dangers lurk in every shadow, but he is beginning to believe there isn’t enough light left in the world to defeat them. Were it not for his quiet hope, he would have given in to his despair days or weeks ago. Yet even as he clutches the tiny white flower of his family’s memory, he watches it wither with each dark, passing day. As each petal falls into shadow, Dreggs finds himself dreaming more uneasily, thinking more desperately…living more dangerously.