Sporting a short, thick black mohawk, a huge greataxe, and (more often than not) a wide grin, Vilhelm Valdemar stands at 6’9", 310 lbs, a hulking mass of muscle and chest hair. In battle, he wears a suit of chain mail with leather boots and gauntlets, his head bare, exposing his love of the fight. Otherwise, he can be found shirtless more often than not, sitting in a tavern in the middle of a city, in a tent in a campsite, or at a kitchen table, arm-wrestling, chatting, or telling stories.
Family & Childhood – The third of four children, Vilhelm is the only son of the Valdemars, an artisan-class family in Longfall. His mother, Irene, runs a small tailoring business out of the family home. His father, Jorma, owns a nearby blacksmithing business jointly with his two brothers.
From the time he could speak, Vilhelm displayed a love of stories, song, and theater, cherishing his bedtime stories and the tales told on holidays. His favorites were the tales of legendary warriors and their deeds: swinging blades, harrowing danger, the moment of tension where the hero almost falls before rallying for the victory. For as long as he can remember, Vilhelm has wanted to become the figure in those stories.
He first achieved this goal through the theater, playing the roles of heroes in festivals or in small self-made productions in the family home, saving his sisters from danger in costumes crafted by his mother, wielding prop weapons shaped by his father.
- Elisabet – His oldest sister loves him dearly, but hates that he fights for a living. She refuses to attend his events if they’re violent in nature, but will often sit up late awaiting a visit when he’s in town, hoping to chat with him over a meal.
- Jessika – His middle sister thinks him a buffoon and resents the attention he gets.
- Alma – His younger sister idolizes him and emulates his acting and fighting careers. Though he voices support to her outwardly, inwardly he fears that she’ll get hurt trying to do what he does.
Adolescence – Always tall for his age, Vilhelm shot up even further (and wider) as he entered his teenage years, standing 6’1" and 220 lbs by age 14. He quickly caught the eye of many groups both based in and traveling through Longfall: military commanders, labor foremen, leaders of various illicit organizations, even the Knights in Sheep’s Clothing. Vilhelm tried out several of these groups throughout his adolescence, but each one felt wrong in some way: the military was too rigid and disciplined, the labor too boring, the crime too, well, evil most of the time, and the Sheep Knights, as he calls them, too secretive; through all of this, Vilhelm discovered that in order to be happy, he needed to be able to perform, which came to mean working on his own.
Adulthood – Now 28, 6’9", 310 lbs, and self-employed, Vilhelm is a traveler, moving from city to town to village performing, protecting, and hunting foes worthy of legend. He performs feats of strength, wrestles bears, boxes, brawls, and battles. Where there is room for a proper production, he acts in theatrical performances, and where there isn’t, he sometimes adopts one of his alter-egos for days at a time, living in town as the character, often to the delight and amusement of its residents.
Even combat is a performance for Vilhelm. He views each battlefield as a stage on which he is the star, attempting to add his flair to even the most dire circumstances.
Legendary Status – Having grown up in the theater, Vilhelm has always had a deep appreciation for stories, particularly the legends which are told year after year. He loves holidays and festivals and the mythos surrounding them, and longs to one day be immortalized in the same way. He see leaving Bouvet as a great opportunity to develop his legend.
Art Exposure – Also due to his love of legends, Vilhelm wants to learn the legends of other cultures, whether through theater, oral tradition, or song. His difficult with reading makes written legends a notable exception to these interests.
Fear of Stagnation – While his characters and acts are known and loved in Bouvet, Vilhelm fears that they’ll eventually become stale, and he worries that he won’t be able to come up with suitable additions to his repertoire without further inspiration, which he hopes to find abroad.
Role-Modeling – Once it was brought to his attention that kids might try to emulate him, Vilhelm grew alarmed and concerned. He realized that his younger sister is on that path, and that other kids might see what he’s doing and get hurt trying to do the same. While this isn’t enough to stop him from living his life as he pleases, it does weigh on his mind at times.
Disability – Vilhelm’s life is his body, which he considers second-to-none. Though he suffers injuries here and there, he recovers quickly and has never suffered a long-term or permanent injury. Foes or circumstances which can challenge his bodily health and mobility will frighten him greatly, particularly those which use magical means. That is, a giant spider wouldn’t scare him, since he understands how it works, but he would be cautious/fearful against a wizard or the like who can magically Paralyze him. Finally, a lasting or permanent injury would fix centrally in Vilhelm’s mind, occupying his motivations with coping with or curing the injury.
Loose Gender Definitions – Despite his appearance of pure masculinity, Vilhelm objects to the idea of the traditional “man’s man” and refuses to engage with those who do. Most of his unsanctioned barroom brawls have come as a result of drunkards crossing Vilhelm’s line of intolerance on this issue.
Path to Happiness – Vilhelm believes that the most important thing a person can do is find what makes them happy and then stick to it. His idea of good and evil is largely centered around Those Who Help People Find Happiness vs. Those Who Stop People From Finding Happiness.
Alter-Egos – As an actor and performer, Vilhelm enjoys trying on new personas, spending a good portion of his earnings on new clothes, jewelry, wigs, etc. and supplementing them with his Disguise Kit. He abandons most personas within a couple of weeks, exchanging or altering the accompanying costumes for new supplies, but on rare occasions invents one that he enjoys too much to part with. Two mainstays are:
- Esmeralda Kross – Vilhelm’s favorite, he plays her as a high-elf woman with a cobalt blue dress, a large lapis lazuli necklace, and silver earrings. Esmeralda is a noblewoman in name only, fumbling every social situation through her clumsiness, tactlessness, or ignorance. She always apologizes for her missteps, but makes them regularly all the same. Vilhelm is far too large for the dress he wears, and extremely masculine looking, but he plays the role earnestly.
- Captain Aleksandr Kelpskin – A grizzled, bearded, drunken captain of a fishing vessel, The Sea’s Bounty, who, to his immense displeasure, somehow takes his crew into one rollicking adventure after the next.
Weapon Collection – Vilhelm loves to perform, even on the battlefield, and is always on the lookout for the flashiest (often most impractical) weapons that he can find. What he can’t find, he creates with his father’s help, always looking to bring something new and exciting to his gladiatorial performances.