Eye Color: Blue-gray
Hair Color: Black
Weight: 155 pounds
Place of Origin: Jarra, a small village near Amadicia
Brief History: Despite the name, he really didn't have an iron fist. Born to Roland Ironfist and Catherine Arindrel, he was neither very bright nor very strong, but he always tried hard at things he wanted to learn.
When he was 7, his father Roland taught him the basics of hunting, tracking, archery and using swords and axes. Though he was neither a good tracker nor stalker, when he went on the monthly hunts with his father, he came home more times with a dead trophy then empty handed.
Archibald loved training with his sword and axe, and got reasonably good at using them, enough to cause damage to an enemy and not himself.
Not missing an opportunity to train his skills, he sparred with the guards of any merchant wagon that stopped off in Jarra, and furthered his skills. Though he still was a piece of cake for a real swordsman, bandits and ruffians would most certainly have a hard time lightening his purse.
Archibald also tried using Long and Short Bows alike, but he did not have a knack for archery at all. When he tried out a traveler’s crossbow at the archery targets, he found that he was slightly better with a crossbow (as it was easier to use) rather then a bow. He saved up his money, and bought a crossbow when a merchant's guard had a new one made for him, and was selling his old one.
Then, when he was 13, came the fateful day when his father Roland was killed by a bear, during their monthly hunt.
It was winter; an unusually harsh one. Roland and Archibald were out hunting, and they knew they would go hungry if they did not bring in a few kills....
Roland found a well-used deer trail with fresh tracks, and they followed it to a clearing. Selecting a good hiding place between some rocks, Roland kept his bow at the ready and kept his eyes peeled for deer. Archibald did the same.
They concentrated so hard on sighting deer; they never noticed the cave near their hiding place, and the mother bear with her cubs, who felt that her cave was being intruded upon.
It happened in a flash; one second Roland and Archibald were looking for deer, and the next, Roland was grappling with the bear. Archibald took aim, and, when a clear shot arose, shot the bear straight between the eyes with his crossbow. The bear died instantly, but Roland was severely wounded, and coughing blood; the bear had stabbed him in the chest with her claws.
Gathering, and killing, the mother bear's cubs, Archibald cursed all bears. He gathered the dead bears, and put them in the sack, which he slung over his shoulder. He helped his father to his feet, and they walked slowly back to Jarra through the woods. At least they would not go hungry this winter; the mother and cubs were quite big.
His father had suffered an internal injury, and the village Wisdom could do nothing to save him. He died before the day ended. Archibald and his mother Catherine were grief-stricken; they did not know how life would go on without Roland.
But, life moves on. When Archibald turned 17, he built his own house, close to his mother's. They continued their lives, but they never forgot the gaping hole Roland's death left in their hearts.
The Whitecloaks attacked during the night, soon after Archibald had his own house. Though the village night watch was on patrol, they never stood a chance against 500 Whitecloaks.
Soon Jarra was captured by the Whitecloaks, and the entire village proclaimed Darkfriends. They were taken to the Fortress Of Light in Amador as Darkfriend prisoners....
When Archibald's front door was kicked open by a Whitecloak, he immediately reached for the first weapon he could see, which was his battle axe.
Though he fought better than most of the village youths, he knew he was being played with by the Whitecloak. With a casual flick, the Whitecloak sent Archibald's axe spinning. He then said "Die at Child Dairen's hands, you Darkfriend scum!" and swung his sword. Hard.
Archibald dropped to the ground, and as the Whitecloak swung his sword over his head and got overbalanced, he charged and knocked them both down, kicking the Whitecloak in the shins and trying to choke him to death. The Whitecloak's sword went flying.
Though Archibald was by no means strong, adrenalin had taken him over as he choked the Whitecloak to death with his hands. With a final gurgle, the Whitecloak "Child Dairen" died.
Archibald was in shock. He had killed someone. It was a horrible Whitecloak, but that didn't make it any easier. He reeled, and looked up. Just in time to see a Whitecloak bringing a cudgel down on his head. He saw bright lights in front of his eyes, then blackness.
He woke up a few hours later, in the dusty basement of the town inn. There was only him in this room, and 2 Whitecloaks conversing with each other. He caught one of them saying "1 Casualty and few minor wounds was all we suffered, Mazim. The scum you're guarding was the killer."
The one who was Mazim looked over to Archibald, and noticed that Archibald was awake. Mazim came over, spat at Archibald, and said "Darkfriend, your time is up. You are going to the Questioners!"
Before dawn came, the Whitecloaks were on the move to Amador, taking their prisoners. Most of the villagers had been left behind, those who hadn't fought or resisted. Since they had only a few spare horses, few prisoners (the ones that were going to the Questioners to die the most painfully) were on horseback. The rest were pulled by leashes behind the horses, running to keep up. Within 2 days, all the prisoners not or horseback died of exhaustion. Archibald was one of the unlucky ones on horseback, to die the most gruesome death.
In a week, they were at the Fortress Of Light in Amador. Archibald had taken numerous beatings already, for he killed a Whitecloak. He was in a sorry state by the time he was handed to the Questioners, who grinned evilly at him. His torture was about to begin.
It was 10 days later; it seemed like years to Archibald. He had been tortured in ingenious ways he wouldn't have been able to think of; everything from hot iron claws to hours of switching, and others which were too gruesome to mention.
Yet he had not admitted to being a Darkfriend; his resolve was iron-hard about something like that. He knew he would never say he was a Darkfriend, even if it killed him!
As they escorted him back to his cell, he wondered if he could ever hold a sword again; today his arms were broken, and burned by hot iron. He was thrown into his cell like a rag doll, and crumpled to the floor. His cellmate, a man who called himself Barthemius, got up painfully, and walked over to him, helping him get up and on his bed. Barthemius himself was badly injured, but they had not taken it very hard on him. He had merely insulted a Whitecloak, not killed one.
Later, a Whitecloak guard came to their cell with their pitiful dinner. As he opened the door, Barthemius suddenly sprang up, and punched the Whitecloak straight between the eyes. The Whitecloak crumpled to the ground, unconscious. Barthemius winced. "They hurt my legs today, but my arms are fine. They haven't started on those yet." Barthemius said, grinning at the bruised, gaping face of Archibald. Barthemius bent down and retrieved the guard’s keys and sword, and put on the Whitecloaks clothes, cloak and all. He hobbled over to Archibald and helped him to his feet, and then supported him as they walked out of the cell. They passed by more cells, unlocking all the ones with prisoners.
Barthemius pretended to be a Whitecloak escorting a lowly prisoner to the Questioners, but really they get closer and closer to an exit from the Fortress Of Light. Suddenly an alarm is raised. Prisoners are somehow escaping their cells! A rushing Whitecloak runs by, calling to Barthemius "Come brother! After you escort the scum to wherever he has to go, help us round up the escaping prisoners!" Barthemius nodded. Archibald fought hard to suppress laughing.
They made their way out the exit, passing the guards at the door, who enquired why a prisoner was being let out, and why Barthemius was hobbling. Barthemius said "This prisoner has been cleared of guilt, after evidence was found. I will escort him back to his village, as he will be unable to get home on his own. Some foolish Child was waving his cudgel in one of the corridors yesterday, and hit me in the shins. That is why I hobble." They continued on to the stables, without being harassed. "Can you ride in this state?" Barthemius asked Archibald. Archibald shook his head. "You have to anyway ... We cannot be near here when they realize we are missing! I shall lash you to one of the ready horses, if I must, so that if you fall unconcious, you will not fall." Archibald nodded, and painfully got onto the saddle of a ready horse. Barthemius lashed him to it, and climbed onto another horse, then tied Archibald's horse to his. "And now we ride!" Barthemius exclaimed. They prodded their horses, and set off into the night slowly, towards the west, leaving The Fortress Of Light behind.
They had ridden all night; Archibald was unconcious for the most part, as the pain was unbearable. Barthemius seemed on the point of unconsciousness too, but he doggedly stayed awake and led the horses at a slow trot. They reached a nearby village called Varrock soon after sunrise. Barthemius, practically carrying Archibald, soon knocked on the door of the village wisdom, a woman named Augustia.
As she opened the door, Barthemius winked, and Augustia exclaimed "Barthemius! How good to see you and your ... erm ... friend!”. She mutters "Is he turned?" to Barthemius. Barthemius shakes his head, and Augustia rubs her hands. "Then we have work to do" she says. She helps Archibald up the stairs, Barthemius following in her wake. They take Archibald to a bedroom, and put him down gently. Augustia puts her hands on Archibald's forehead, and Archibald gasps, suddenly wide awake. He feels himself, but finds no marks or bruises. He stutters "B-b-but .... H-h-h-how???" and Augustia gently says "I can channel". Archibald stares. Barthemius clears his throat. "Ah, how can I forget my good friend!" Augustia says jovially, and puts her hands to Barthemius's forehead. All the marks on Barthemius's face disappear, and he grins. "God, it hurt riding injured!" he says, grimacing. "Time to turn our friend here" he mutters to Augustia, who nods.
"Would you like to have your revenge against those horrible Whitecloaks? Would you like to be immortal, and have limitless power? Do you want people who would grovel before you, and obey every word of your command? Do you want glory and greatness?" Augustia asks Archibald, a feverish glint in her eyes. Archibald's eyes light up. "Yes! Oh yes! I want those things, especially revenge against those torturing Whitecloaks!" he says fervently. "Then join the Dark One, Archibald Ironfist, join the Dark Lord for your revenge, power and glory!" Augustia says, and Archibald, horrified, shouts “No! I will never join you dark scum! Get away from me!”
Augustia quickly took hold of Air and held him in his place. She had been expecting this. She then leaned over to Archibald and said quietly “Now that you know we are Darkfriends, you cannot leave us. Join us, or die like a dog at my hands! You know I can kill you in an instant with Saidar! But I would not allow you that luxury. I would torture you to death, worse than the Questioners! Besides, what has the Creator ever done for you? He handed you to the Questioners to die! The Dark One saved you!”
As Archibald listened, he was sickened to realize that what she said was true. He nodded, and she released him from the Air that held him. He said, in a low voice, “I acknowledge the truth in your words. The Creator left me to die, and the Dark One saved me! To repay my debt, I shall serve the Dark One till I die! I join you in your cause!”
Barthemius smiled; another Darkfriend, turned by him and Augustia! This would bring them up a notch in the Darkfriend circles.
When his loyalty to the dark was assured, Archibald was given instructions by Augustia and Barthemius, which included learning how to fight. Archibald could not think of a better place than the Warder's Yard, in Tar Valon, which is where he went.
Besides, they also told him the names of some people who also worked for the same cause as him in the White Tower....