Sean Murdoch ProFile

Posted: November 1, 1998 in Writing
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Sean Murdoch was born a true Scotsman, one of three sons of a soldier, who was the son of a soldier, whose father was a soldier before him. The first child of Gordon and Diane Murdoch, Sean was a strapping youth who always ate his brussel sprouts. At six, he received his first weapon: a leather sling, which he proceeded to make use of, thumping the neighborhood dogs mercilessly until his accuracy was legendary in the small hamlet Briarstrough, North of Edinburgh, where he grew up.

At eight years of age, he was bringing quivers of arrows to his Uncle James Doohan when he was trampled in the Hobgoblin Wars of lower Loch Ness, Yulestide, 1243. Sean inherited the weapons of his Uncle, who bequeathed them to him as he was being blessed on his deathbed by the Priest; Sean was found halfway home under the incredible burden of a suit of plate mail, a footman’s mace and, of course, his uncle’s shortbow and quiver. A neighbor, Gregory Mac Cain, saw the determination of the youth and assisted him home to his proud father and mother.

At 10, Sean was proficient in his Uncle’s shortbow, and the neighborhood dogs had much more to fear than a sound beating from the eldest of the Murdoch boys. His two younger brothers, Michael and Kyle, were also following in their father’s footsteps. In the schoolhouse of Briarstrough, the boys learned their lessons well, including Greek, Latin and a smattering of the Humanoid tongues, reading, writing, arithmetic and history, of which there wasn’t much of but wars. On the playgrounds, they learned the use of their feet and their fists. Sean would brook no blemish on the family name, and would fight like a wild Pict, even if he lost the battle. The honor of showing up seemed to be more important than who won.

Sean adored his two younger brothers, so he routinely beat the crap out of them in good Scottish humor. It was his twelfth birthday when they lured him out to the barn and ganged up on him, finally besting him by combining their youthful energy, Sean so admired their simple but effective use of strategy, he began to study it on his own, sitting in on the Councils behind his father and listening attentively to the strong Gaelic accents thrusting and parrying over the olde oaken table. His twelfth year was filled with experiences, including miserable bagpipe lessons, what his father rued as “ye only weapon me boy canna wield”. It was this same twelfth year that saw his first service to his Country, in the Grugashelm Troll Hunting of 1247. Wearing a suit of studded leather loaned to him by his Irish Uncle Stephan MacDaddy, and carrying his prized 12th birthday present, a real shortsword, he was part of the volunteer group of soldiers that his father presented to William Bruce, Lord of the Scots, to assist the tracking and destruction of the band of marauding Trolls.

Sean was fourteen when his father came home on a pallet, and died three days later in his wife’s arms, after the terrible Sahuagin Uprising of 1249. Sean was a lieutenant in the service and had been instrumental in leading several groups of Highlanders against a contingent of Hobgoblin clans that swore that they were the true Scots of the island. Sean burned the kilt right off of the leader, and that night started his journey home upon receiving the news that his father was gravely wounded. Arriving the evening of the third day, he was in time to lay his father to rest. Gordon’s last words to Sean were ones he would always remember: he said to take care of his mother and his brothers, look after the livestock, always keep his sword sharp and handy, to make him proud, and that

“If it was noot Scottish, it’s crrap!”

Sean was finally face-to-face with a problem that his schooling nor his soldiering could solve; he left the homestead, vowing not to return until he had found an answer. After three weeks of wandering loch and lee, he found it in a Dwarf named Angus MacFlugin. MacFlugin was passing him as he was sitting by the wayside of the road, and handed him a Bible.

“I goot it from ye Gideons inna last Inn I passed through, laddie,” said MacFlugin, “And iffa carry it mooch langer, I’m gonna be damned by me bonny wife — she’s an atheist an’ has eyes inna back o’ her head!”

Reading the Bible brought some comfort to Sean, and he found wisdom in the Word of the Lord. Returning to his father’s grave, he found his father’s restless spirit. “Ye are special, Sean, the first o’ me boys,” spoke his father’s Ghost, “I give ye the years that I was supoosed to have lived so that ye make a real impression upon Scotland in the name o’ tha Murdochs!”

Sean returned home and assumed the position of the head of his household, leaving his days as a soldier behind. But the family was not the same. Diane died of heartbreak in less than a year, and was laid to rest next to her belovéd husband in the Scottish peat. Sean performed the ceremony himself, and the village Priest was heard to remark that “The lad said it better than I coulda meself”. The Murdoch boys had choices to make, and all went their separate ways, Kyle went to Edinburgh as the lead bagpiper in the Hall of the MacDonalds, and Michael to Ireland, where he stayed with Uncle MacDaddy, studying to be a poet. Sean, seeing that his remaining family had their work to do, turned to his, and became a professional soldier.

Angus MacFlugin hired him as an archer and scout for his Dwarven Dragoons as soon as he saw the lad in the Fourth Light Pike Brigade in 1251. From there, he learned his trade, serving in virtually every soldiering capacity available to a Scotsman, both on and off of a horse. Cormac Mac Cain, son of Gregory Mac Cain, the neighbor who brought him home, had come to some power of his own, and gave him his own Legion to command, with which Sean virtually rid Scotland of Humanoid and Englishman alike by the use of the strength of his arms, and by the strategies he had learned around the Council table from his father. He was a born leader, having an uncanny inspirational charisma due to his determination and his faith in God. Some soldiers even claimed that evil couldn’t touch him, that he could smell wrongdoing from sixty paces, and that he healed with his hands. Sean gave no heed to these stories, saying only that “Imagination is not a crime in Scotland.”

The bagpipe was still the only weapon he couldn’t use well, though he preferred the footman’s military pick over almost any other. And the bagpipe would always slip under his guard whenever he would hear its lonely strains over the moors, and bring a thought of his mother and father to mind and a solitary tear to his eye.

For nigh forty years he fought in every major battle and skirmish on the Isle of Scotland (never mind what those foppish English sassenachs said). Refusing decoration and promotion alike, Sean swore never to rank higher than his father ever did, and he became renowned as a leader and a fighter. After Sean disobeyed his superiors and committed his Legion to the support of William Wallace on the field in defiance of the English, and their subsequent trouncing at the Battle of Glenfiddich, William Bruce finally forced the title of Myrmidon on him, and knighted him a Defender of Scotland, the highest honor a soldier can achieve. Sean still refused to wear the appropriate trappings, and said “titles are for Englishmen; to me, they’re crrap”.

The plate mail he wears to this day is the armor his uncle Angus bequeathed him, permanently tinted green with the countless swamps and forests he has tramped through. His hand-and-a-half sword is his father’s, the Murdoch broadsword of olde. He, too, is olde, but still carries his armor well, including the shortbow and the footman’s mace, and, upon special occasion, he will carry his lucern hammer, the pole arm given to him as a symbol of his Knighthood. Sean has grown fond of fishing, reading his Bible, and smoking a good bowl of Halfling cavendish. He travels quite a bit now, though always homesick for the fog and brussel sprouts of Scotland, and has had many an adventure after his Knighting with the likes of Angus MacFlugin the Dwarf, Cormac Mac Cain the Ranger, and Joffrey Marcus the Blacksmith.

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