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Hengkot Kingsbane

- by Mark Galeotti

An Orlanth the Warrior Hero Cult

Mythos and History

The tales of Hengkot vary surprisingly from time to time, from tula to tula. Many clans claim his as their own, but the stories, while all sharing the same basic outline, never seem to have the same times, names and places. Perhaps that is the whole point: Hengkot is a hero in the shadows, ready to come to the assistance of any Heortlings when a king or chief abuses his power and thus Orlanth's trust. Some have even described his as 'Orlanth's spirit of retribution against bad kings'. His cult tends to lies dormant for generations, remembered only in tales and on occasional holy days, before becoming the focus for resistance to such a tyrant. Once the natural Orlanthi order has been returned, though, the cult will again return to the fringes.

The story is that Hengkot was an Orlanthi warrior, never the strongest, nor the cleverest, but burning with an inner passion for Justice. When a Bad King came to power, the strong thanes were wooed with honeyed words, the clever ones cowed with drawn blades, but Hengkot would not bow his head as he saw laws flouted, steads burned and families torn apart. He was seized, and for seven days and seven nights beaten, cajoled and condemned, but he would not submit. Then some carls secretly freed him and fled with him into the wilderness. He set about rebellion with a will, gathering an army from all those who would fight the Bad King, men and women, cottars, carls and thanes. In the towns and villages, his agents spread rumours of risings, in the countryside his guerrilla bands killed the Bad King's tax collectors and returned their ill-gotten gains to the people. Eventually, as it became increasingly clear that the rebels has Orlanth on their side, the Bad King was forced to challenge Hengkot to single combat to show his worthiness to rule. The Bad King was, of course, Bad, and so he cheated, imbuing his sword with dark magics of secret murder. Though Hengkot fought with passion and fury, the Bad King's flickering black blade finally cut him, and he was mortally wounded. With his final breath, though, Hengkot delivered a stirring and noble rebuke to the Bad King for his impious and unjust acts which turned his thanes against him. As one they rushed the despot and cut him to pieces, before joining in a song of mourning for the noble Hengkot, in which they pledged never to let another ruler lead them from Orlanth's path.

Entry Requirements: Be a worshipper of Orlanth

Physical Skills: Withstand Punishment

Mental Skills: Mythology of Hengkot, Oratory, Judge Character, Guerrilla Tactics

Rebel (Stirring Speeches, Noble Defiance, Grand Gesture)

Secret: Noble Death (On dying, can carry out one automatically successful feat)

Worshippers: Varies tremendously, depending on the political situation. Under normal circumstances, Hengkot is regarded as an important and stirring figure within Orlanthi mythology, but worshipped only by a few dissatisfied souls. Adherents will begin to flock to the cult, though, when a chief or king usurps or abuses power and the usual checks and balances do not seem to be working.

Other Side: Hengkot is one of Orlanth's lesser thanes, with a place at his Stead.

Other Connections: The other Lightbringers respect Hengkot's integrity, with Vinga a particular ally.

Disadvantages: To suspicious chiefs and kings, proclaiming allegiance to Hengkot can be seen as tantamount to a challenge.

July 15, 2000

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