Beast Handlers of Odes
If you want a beast, and no-one else can help you, and if you can find them, maybe you could hire the Beast Handlers!
The Beast Handlers are an order which have lived and worked in Odes for centuries with even the oldest members of the community knowing about their skills and exploits. They make their living, dealing with problems, meeting needs and indulging the nobility in their desires. They are not lovers of animals, they are exploiters of the beasts. Very little is known of the power of the Beast Handlers. Some say that they are possessed with the power to speak to animals, others that they are just persevere month after month to train the animals through the use of treats or punishments. They can be viewed with suspicion in some of the less civilised areas of Odes with the primitive folk believing that they were once animals in a former life. This is completely believable since many beast handlers often tend to become more similar to their chosen beast. No matter where you think or believe that a beast handler gains its power from, they are an order which commands respect since it would not just be the handler which you would be answering to, but their companion as well. The order has no set location which they call their home, roaming the countryside with their wagons of beasts, setting up home outside city walls and making a living charging the local populous to view their captured beats. Is that really a hell hound underneath that covered wagon? or is it just a large dog – you will never know until you have paid the 1sp entrance fee. But do not be mistaken into thinking that they are glorified zookeepers since their skills are far greater than this. They have a natural affinity to beasts being able to train even the most stubborn or vicious. Members of their order have the ability to calm the most rampant stallion, train the most vicious hound and even make falcons pluck escaping messenger pigeons from the air. Some of the order are somewhat anti-beasts and spend their time accepting contracts to rid the countryside of marauding wild animals, from great bears to even fiery dragons. Tales of their exploits are often sung about in local taverns and indeed, many of their caravans are accompanied by their own personal minstrels to encourage the exchange of coinage. All beast handlers specialise in their chosen beast whether that be falcons, horses or even rats. As they progress through the ranks they develop their knowledge and expertise with this animal. This might not be how to train these beasts to accompany them in battle, it might be how to track them or to look after them, or even how to kill them. Many of the older wiser beast handlers take apprentices to teach them their trade and skills so within each wagon there might be several ‘sub groups’ of handlers living in their own community of wagons. Most of the beast handlers specialise in the ‘normal’ animals – dogs, horse, falcons – although there are a few who attempt, in order to make their name in the order, to specialise to the more unusual beasts. It has been known to see beast handlers being accompanied by boars straining on thick leather leashes or even mythical beasts such as centaurs tugging at their collars. The degree of their success can be measured by the number of them which remain…
Recognising any beast handler is easy despite the fact that their appearance can differ greatly. You are always able to recognise a member of the order by their accompanied beast or the multitude of animal parts which adore their belts and backpacks. Being loving and caring to animals is definitely not a pre-requisite to joining the order. Weapons and armour vary greatly from furs, hides and spears to armour constructed out of the chitin of shells. Skills such as tracking, traps, training and sometimes musicianship (is the only way to train a snake by music?). Each wagon is lead by its own leader, with individual members of the order roaming the through Odes trying to make their living. The leader of the order, Cullen Jones, travels with the largest of the caravans in Odes accompanied by his huge wolf who, if you believe the stories, he raised from birth after killing the cub’s mother after she was savaging the local countryside. Both are old now and there is constantly rivalry within the order to name his successor.
Beast Handlers of renown-