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Oliver Bernuetz
Richard Fenner
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Mark Galeotti
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Wesley Quadros
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Mark Galeotti

 

 

Eorkan and Ohiterèa

This is essentially just some back-story for Eorkan. It may end up having some role in the campaign, it may not…

Late one afternoon in Earth Season, 1609, Eorkan No-Tribe was travelling through Tarsh, heading for Furthest. He was desperately trying to unload some Exile stoneware he had thought - wrongly - he could sell as antiques and curios. The more he looked at them, 'rustic' came to look all the more like 'cheap, shoddy counterfeit.' The sad truth of it was that this really was the height of Exile fashion. What he needed, perhaps, was a collector of rich education but poor taste. His morose train of thoughts was interrupted by the sight of a small group of lunars gathered around a closed palanquin, draped in rich red cloth and bound with ceremonial cords sealed with copper sigils. By the palanquin was a mule, clearly near death.

As Eorkan approached, one of the lunars, a dowdy middle-age acolyte of some lunar cult, rushed to his side. It transpired that they were taking an 'Eldest Sister' to Furthest for her 'Final Immersion', with appropriate offerings on the mule. An unfortunate encounter with an irate snake had left the mule dying and beyond help. With four bearers for the palanquin and one cleric ('with a terrible bad backside' she said in her halting Sartarite - Eorkan presumed she meant 'back', although a glance at her dumpy form left the question open), they were debating how to get both Eldest Sister and treasures to Furthest before nightfall.

Silently pledging Issaries an offering for this stroke of good fortune, Eorkan quickly agreed to help, but glumly told the lunar that he would have to ditch his load of 'collector's quality stoneware' so that his mule could take their flagons and caskets. Of course, he added with a small sigh, he was happy to help, but he hoped that the lunars would be able to see their way clear to covering his losses, so that he would not reach Furthest with a clear conscience but an empty purse. The frantic lunar hurriedly agreed, and Eorkan, seeing the splendour of the palanquin and the ease with which she agreed, mentally doubled the figure he was about to demand. After all, from the sound of it, this was some senior priestess on her way to her last rites - surely not an occasion for the lunars to be engaged in grubby haggling like, well, like an Issaries trader…

Suddenly a melodic voice came from within the palanquin. It was muffled by the wood and wrappings and in some sing-song language Eorkan had never heard, but somehow he understood it perfectly. 'Fair dealing is your Issaries way, is it not? Then by your god's name shall you give the fair value of your loss and in our goddess's name shall we meet it.' Inwardly cursing the thrice-damned lunar who knew to invoke the name of Issaries at a time like this, Eorkan smoothly agreed. For the next hour, as they silently marched to Furthest, he was torn between anger at losing such a deal and curiosity about the occupant of the palanquin. Once back on the way, the acolyte and the four bearers proved dour travelling-partners.

Furthest proved an awesome sight, making even proud Aldachur ('the biggest city in the world', Eorkan's late father had called it, but then he was known as Bjorni Windmouth) seem the squalid provincial hovel that, come to think of it, it was. Desperately mustering all his savoir faire, Eorkan tried to pass himself off as a cosmopolitan man of the world as he stepped underneath the huge vaulting Barbarians' Gate. The temple of Selven Hara, the cult these lunars served, was right by the gate, a functional building as much like a large inn as a church. Once in the central courtyard, as junior acolytes flocked to relieve his mule of its burdens, he made a decision: even if it meant waiving his fee (which was a first for him) and making a fuss (which wasn't), he'd found out who was in that Palanquin.

And that was how Eorkan met the Holayan devotee Ohiterèa na Kelempraxos. Of course he was not to know that an 'Elder Sister' was an acolyte about to be inducted into the priestesshood, through the 'Final Immersion' in which she symbolically washed away her old life. Nor was he to know that, surprisingly, he was going to fall head-over-heels in love with this lunar priestess nor that, even more surprisingly, she would come to reciprocate his feelings (although not before an unfortunate misunderstanding and the discovery of a novel use for tallow and goose-down). Nor, of course, that after a year's progression from heated debate, through wary courtship to amorous liaison, ultimately a prince, a vision and an over-ripe halibut would tear their lives apart. But those, of course, are other stories entirely…




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January 18, 2002

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