Arlen grew up in Tibbet's Brook, unknowing of anything outside the hamlet and the farm owned by his father, Jeph Bales. He never had many friends and were bullied by the other children (especially by Cobie Fisher). His mother,Silvy Bales, frequently shouted at him for fighting. One day he was tired of being bullied and brought a stick, determined to fight back. It didn't get him any new friends, but stopped them from bullying him any more.
One day Ragen Messenger arrived in Tibbet's Brook with Keerin the Jongleur, giving Arlen the idea that he wanted to be a Messenger. As night fell, his mother failed to reach the safety of the wards around their house in time and was attacked, Arlen's father only standing and watching without the courage to leave the wards. Arlen left the safety of the wards and went to help his mother, spending the night with her under a trough in one of the warded animal pens. With a new view of his father they left in the morning to reach the town Herb Gatherer, Coline Trigg, because of Silvy's deep demon-inflicted wounds. Coline didn't know how to save her and they instead left to get the help of the Herb Gatherer in Sunny Pasture. Jeph Bales didn't think they would make it in time so begged succour at the Tanner Farm on the way. Arlen's father promised him to the youngest of the Tanner children, Renna Tanner. Early the next morning, they continued their journey to the healer but they couldn't reach her soon enough and Arlen's mother passed away on the road. Arlen and his father argued resulting in Arlen running away with the wish of being a Messenger like Ragen.
On the road
Arlen, always being a good warder, managed to get a long way before he noticed that if he was going to Sunny Pasture, he was on the wrong path. Therefore he decided to try to reach the the Free City of Miln. On the way there he managed to cut off the arm of a giant rock demon and met Ragen and Keerin again. He got a ride from them the rest of the way to Fort Miln.
A new life
Reaching Fort Miln he accepted an apprenticeship with Cob Warder living at Ragen's Mansion with Ragen, Elissa and their daughter, Marya. He also got involved with Mery, the daughter of the librarian, Tender Ronnel. Mery didn't want Arlen to be a Messenger but Arlen was stubborn and didn't give up his wish. He also got his first friend in the city, Jaik Miller, who wanted to be a Jongleur. Unfortunately, he didn't spend enough time practicing and didn't become a Jongleur, deciding to be an miller like his father instead. Arlen trained every day to be an Messenger and suddenly left for Fort Lakton one day, only saying goodbye to his friend Jaik.
After spending years as a Messenger, and after being to all forts, towns and almost every hamlet, plus a lot of ruins, he decided to ask the Krasian leader if he could fight with them in the maze. Ahmann Jardir, the leader, let him do it and they did, after some time, become good friends. Arlen came back often to fight with the Krasians and sell goods from the north to Abban.
One day he traded with a khaffit in the Bazaar in Fort Krasia, and got a map to the Ruins of Anoch Sun. He left for the ruin and found a spear with fighting wards. He went back to Fort Krasia to share the fighting wards with them. But sharing was not enough for Jardir and he stole the spear, leaving Arlen in the desert to die. Miraculously, he made it to the Oasis of Dawn. There, he decided to paint wards at his flesh after an experiment in which he begun with wards painted only on his palms, and became the Painted Man.
After a few years of having being the Painted Man, he finally meets up with Leesha Paper and Rojer Inn who are running from the night and failing to create a ward circle. Later saving them and revealing his identity he agrees to escort them to Cutter's Hollow. Upon arriving they gaze at the destruction that has taken Cutter's Hollow and plead the Painted Man to help in protecting the town. The Painted Man agreed and provided warded weapons and fortified the Holy House while awaiting nightfall. After the battle was done and gone the Painted Man stayed to teach more to the people of Cutter's Hollow how to further defend themselves against corelings. Later on, the hamlet Cutter's Hollow changed its name to the Deliverer's Hollow in his honour, despite his repeated denials of being the Deliverer.
Powers and abilities
Strength - Through the warding of his skin, consumption of demon meat, and full knowledge of his true potential, Arlen's strength is greatly augmented, to the level where he can challenge a rock demon in a contest of strength
Speed - Arlen is swifter than even a field demon or a wind demon, being able to easily counter these with the simplest of moves. He can also run as fast as a mighty Krasian mustang for over a day without stopping.
Magic - By inscribing wards in the air, Arlen can create a massive number and variety of effects, from dispelling demons, to setting things alight, to destroying an entire cliff face. At night time, when magic is at it's most powerful, and literally wells up from the ground, Arlen can summon it to himself, displacing fatigue, and lending him superb endurance
Teleportation - One of Arlen's more used abilities, he can travel either long or short distances by slipping below the surface of the earth, to the upper circles of the Core, and riding magical currents to his destination.
Intangibility - By dispersing himself into a mist-like form, Arlen can render himself untouchable. As this is the same technique the demons use to enter and exit the Core, Arlen can not only do this, but can also touch demons whilst they are slipping back into the Core, and pull them back to the surface to make them burn in the sunlight. Through complete knowledge of this, he now claims that he can't be killed if he sees the hit coming.
Healing factor - Arlen can heal from any injury short of dismemberment instantaneously.