Oh, you need a Champion! Ye’ve got gold, I reckon?

I was a kid when I was made a “Sir.” Noble blood? Pshaw! Me da’ was a butcher. Some say I’m not far off.

Ye know of Sir Merryll, the man they called the Gryphon Knight? He challenged my Lord Barstow. Trial by combat. If you’re gonna bed another man’s wife, best not pick a man three decades your junior.

What a fight that would have been! Barstow, old and slow and gouty and drunk -- against Ser Merryll of Callis, the Talon Blade!

Barstow saw me -- big as an ox and twice as stubborn – and knighted me on the spot.

Once I snapped the good knight’s little sword, he weren't so tough. Tried to bite me, like a mangy alley cat. I ripped out his tongue.

Divine Justice, eh? Far as I can tell, the gods spit on the righteous and the sinners ‘bout the same. I win because I’m stronger, and I’m willing to do what other men won’t.

What did ye say ye’ve been accused of, again?

Y’know what? Never mind, it matters not. Ye look innocent to me.

An’ I got an eye for these things.

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The warrior vaults the low wall and drops to the floor of the arena with the subtlety of a boulder tumbling off a mountain. His Giant blood is obvious as he looms over his opponent, a metal-plated tower of muscle and bone. He chuckles, juggling his massive axe from one hand to the other and plants his first blow.

The front rank of the assembled army splits, and a rider strides forward – a Centaur noblewoman, glorious in her shining mail and silver hair, a blood-red pennant streaming from the upward end of her tilting lance. She canters to the center of the field, levels the spear and stops, eager to face the best challenger the opposing army has to offer.

With a massive shrug, the Dwarf lifts the great hammer and shrugs it across his shoulder. He marches down the corridor, a shower of dirt and leaves in his wake, then plants himself at the mouth of the cave. He settles there, soundless and still, like a statue set to guard the passage until the end of time.

Mercenaries, protectors, conquerors and warlords – the title of Champion is given only to warriors who, both literally and figuratively, rise above the rest and to become the best of their kind. Hailing for a variety of cultures and professions, all great Champions share one common trait: they shine in their ability to face others in one-on-one combat and emerge victorious. In death, Champions are often chosen to fight for the gods, carrying on in the afterlife much as they did while living: fighting for a cause, noble or otherwise, and leaving a trail of bodies in their wake.

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