Verik Vancaskerkin was a member of the Vancaskerkin family, a Varisian criminal clan, who became involved in the turmoil that gripped the city of Korvosa following the death of King Eodred Arabasti II.
Verik Vancaskerkin was born in Riddleport as the son of Saul Vancaskerkin, a local crime boss. He had several brothers, but was particularly close to his elder sibling Orik. When Orik killed a local alchemist and fled town Saul tried to get Verik to help him cover up key evidence of the murder. However Verik had become disgusted with his father's criminal activities and abandoned Riddleport.1
He eventually settled in Korvosa, where he joined the Korvosan Guard. Verik became the lover of Vimanda Arkona, a member of the influential House Arkona of Old Korvosa, whose patronage allowed him to quickly rise through the ranks of the Guard to become a sergeant. Unknown to Verik, this was part of a plan on Vimanda's part to create a network of contacts to use if an occasion arose for her and her family to benefit. Verik, as someone who could rise high enough to wield a degree of influence, but not high enough to be closely watched by the city, served her purposes.2
After King Eodred's death, Korvosa entered a period of significant civil unrest due to the city's dislike of their new queen, Ileosa Arabasti. Vimanda decided to use this as a chance to topple Korvosa's monarchy and place the Arkonas in power. To this end, she convinced Verik to gather a group of guards loyal to him, desert the Guard and seize control of a butcher's shop named All the World's Meat in preparation for Korvosa's unrest making food deliveries difficult and intermittent. Naming themselves the Cow Hammer Boys, Verik and his followers began to deliver free meat to citizens of the neighborhoods surrounding their new base and quickly gathered a significant following, which Vimanda planned to use as an army with which to seize power.2 Unknown to Verik and Vimanda, however, Verik's fellow deserters also began to hire themselves out as thugs, delivering beatings in exchange for gold. These beatings often proved fatal, resulting in bodies that the Cow Hammer Boys disposed of by butchering and handing out to unsuspecting locals.3
- Greg A. Vaughan. (2008). Shadow in the Sky. Shadow in the Sky, p. 20. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-115-2
- Nicolas Logue. (2008). Edge of Anarchy. Edge of Anarchy, p. 27–28. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-088-9
- Nicolas Logue. (2008). Edge of Anarchy. Edge of Anarchy, p. 29. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-088-9