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Joque Noir

“If we aint rockin’, caulkin’, or pool stick chalkin’, I ain’t interested!”


Bad-assery is a quality possessed by few. It requires a peculiar attitude that is equal parts ‘I am radical’ and ‘I don’t need you to know I’m radical’ that often collapses as the radical person in question is admired by many. To be bad-ass, it seems, is to be radical for its own virtue.


Joque Noir is in many ways a badass. He is proficient in the musical ways of rock and wields an arcane guitar that is as formidable an instrument as it is a weapon. The Treble Maker, he calls it, is both a magical guitar and a magical weapon (Ax). He is a frequent pilgrim to taverns all across the land and makes his living betting on and winning games of billiards  – which he can do with his eyes closed and somebody else’s arm tied behind his back. Whenever he is in town, crowds fit for a king gather in the hopes he can be convinced to put on a show of either brilliant tunes or menacing combat – he can grace a theater or an arena.


This massive man of many musings walks on cloven hooved feet but strums with humanoid arms and fingers. He sports a large snout that he leverages to his advantage any time he hungers for steak and potatoes, which is all the time. He is a Hogrin (currently an Orc reskin) from The Mudslide Lands but unlike his kin he has no tribe and never intends to join one.


When he was young, his people – as they are now – were part of a violent war. Every member of his community was thrust into the front lines of combat  at an early age and it was fight or die fighting. Where was the room for expression, Joque questioned in those early years, what are we fighting for? 


His answer came to him on the eve of the most violent battle of which he would ever be a part, the battle for Clayvein Chasm between his people and the dreaded warforged lich, GearBane, who sought to strip the land of its precious metals and minerals, and enslave the Hogrin people.


“You will do as you are told!” Joques father – who was also the aged warchief of the Hogrin – was built out of scars and held together by tattoos and barbed wire. He would not allow his son to leave the battlefield under any circumstances, especially those Joque tried to explain.


“Father, I have seen a new way! There are better ways to heal the world.”


“You would have us play pithy music? And what, hope our enemies dance themselves to an early grave?”


“The power of music is not what it can do to your foes, it is what it can do for your friends! I do not ask to flee from battle, let me follow the vision I have seen, the Goddess of Rock Zeplina has sent me to quest for a powerful artifact, an axe of every right.” Joque, a veteran combatant even at this young age, stood tall and met his father’s gaze. 


He had hoped the man who claimed to love him, to protect him, to trust him, could do all these things now and let him seek a new way to change the world – a way not defined by what it destroys but by what it creates!


 In the end, his father, stubborn and pigheaded, refused the request and had his son sent to prepare for the next day’s combat locked in his barracks. Joque was distraught. He pleaded with Zeplina to send him aid, but to no avail. 


Her first and only vision to him, sent by the sing-song of birds overhead in a language Joque alone seemed to understand where his peers only heard chirping, was clear that he must venture to the axe on his own and ‘let none but old age kill this dream’. 


He shed many tears and bloodied his fist as he attacked the locked doors and firm walls of his temporary prison. He folded to the ground in defeat, when his father peered at him through a window in the door.


“Be calm, you foolish youth. You know not the ways of the world – your lack of age blinds you as if it were a lack of sight.”


Joque was silent.


“My efforts are far from dramatic. I need every last Hogrin on the battlefield tomorrow. The forces of change, when all is lost and hope is fleeted, can rest in the hands of a single hero.” Joque’s father whipped his cape at the door – a dismissive gesture – and walked away.


“You are correct,” Joque said to himself. “The world is changed, sometimes, by the deeds of one.”


The young warrior Joque escaped his imprisonment in the dark of night. Instead of brute force, which was his father’s way, he lured birds to him with rations he’d been given. Wrapped in their talons, these birds bright twigs and sticks that the Hogrin prince used to pick the locks of his barracks.


He traveled, following the sound of radical music, of sweet riffs and powerful chords. It wasn’t until mid-day that he found the cavern he sought. At the same time, he heard the swell of combat in the distance and thought of how furious his father must have been to have learned of his escape. 


Inside the cavern, stalactites and stalagmites crowded the stone interior like teeth, but one jutted out with peculiar shape. A stone star, one with four points, was held aloft by a long, stone neck at the end of which another, lesser stone star held taught strange threads of unknown material. Below the following inscription read:


Be you righteous, thee who seek this artifact,

Be you minded to change whole the very world,

Be you nimble and deft of tunes and digits,

Be you radical in the ways of joyous song,

Be you of kind, of faithful and noble stock,

Be you brave and rebellious, then you shall rock!


Joque trembled as he reached for the rock instrument – rock in both style and material. He wished, for a moment, to turn back and fight. What happened next, in that cavern, could be written only in song -- and that song ought to be played on Joque's new instrument, The Treble Maker.


Joque’s father had fallen in battle by the time he returned to the warzone. Though this weighed heavy on his heart, Joque did not let it deter him from his quest. 


He ended the battle that day in under three minutes. His mastery of music – and a few timely swings of the ax against GearBane’s technological monstrosities – inspired his army to greatness and cast out the wicked warforged’s forces – sent running to a soundtrack.


Today, Joque travels the world inspiring people. He knows great battles will befall the world, and he will raise the axe if he must, but before then, he will fill hearts instead of ripping them out, and lift spirits instead of sending them to rest.


Joque goes about his righteous mission with only one friend, a like minded plasmoid named Keel Plasma who, together, forms a world-renown band known as Persistent G!



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