When the Sil family died in a landslide twenty years ago, with no apparent heirs, Red Jade Canyon was thrown into upheaval. The citizens knew that the Guild or the Realm would quickly appoint a new leader if none stepped forward, and one less well-inclined to the canyon’s inhabitants. Anxious for stability and dreaming of self-determination, the respected elders of the canyon had their prayers answered when young Rendan was unexpectedly chosen by the Earth Dragon.
“The Realm will never take a fellow Dragon-Blood out of power,” they thought, “and the Guild will be too afraid to cross the Chosen. This is our chance.” They appointed the 15-year-old boy as the ruler of the canyon and appointed themselves as an advisory council. Their ploy was only partially effective. The Dragon-Blooded left the child in power when they next came, but they killed the council, seeing where the power behind the throne truly was. Rendan was left ruling on his own.
During the first five years Rendan struggled for respect. Slowly, grudgingly, the other families of the canyon came to see his leadership potential. He planned well, protecting his people in times of drought and famine. He fought alongside the townsfolk against strange creatures that came out of the sands. He learned to treat with the spirits that had guided and harried the people of the canyon for years. Eventually they stopped seeing him as an unfortunate choice and started coming to him with their problems. That was when he knew he had been accepted. Ieska‘s grudging approval put the seal on this.
Still, some lingering resentment can be seen amongst the people of Red Jade Canyon. They know that Rendanishak will rule here long after they, their children, and their grandchildren have passed on. That his union with Koturo the coppersmith can produce no heir is of little consolation. Rendan’s rule is a reminder to many that their families lost their elders to the cruelty of the dragons on an ash-filled night twenty years ago.
Rendani is tall and dark-skinned, with steady brown eyes. He keeps his hair close-cut (he started going bald early) and wears a well-trimmed beard. Those who see him out of the corner of their eyes may notice a slight aura of dust and haze, an indication of the earth dragon’s blessing.
Rendanishak is quick to compliment others on a job well-done, quick to correct them when they make mistakes, and almost never angers. When about his official duties, Rendanishak has an air of authority and command about him. At the same time, he’s personable and friendly – not so much that it undermines his air of authority, but enough to win over most newcomers. He doesn’t try to actively draw anyone’s attention. Instead, you start paying attention to him when you realize everyone else is already doing so.
At other times, he still feels very alone. Rendan has no family other than Koturo’s, and even their adoptive warmth is up against more than twenty years of isolation. When Rendan finally rests, he always sends others away and recuperates on his own.
The accident in the mines last year weighs heavily upon Rendan at this time. He knows that there will be no joy when the Dragon-Blooded arrive. He knows there’s no solid evidence against Damash, but needed to take some kind of action or risk someone getting lynched.
Intimacies: “I will defend the people of the canyon” (Defining), “My partner” (Major), “Uncover hidden stories” (Positive), “Don’t disturb my quiet time” (Negative) “Hear both sides”
After twenty years in Red Jade Canyon, Rendanishak is an expert leader and administrator, at least in these surroundings. He knows his territory, its people, and its gods extremely well. On the other hand, he’s not worldly, and has only rarely left the canyon. He enjoys sculpting, though he doesn’t often get the chance. He also has a half-written history of the canyon that he’ll probably never finish. He turned his mind to engineering for a few years and knows exactly how his mines are constructed and maintained. Rendan learned to fight with spear and shield when the sand creatures attacked, and he keeps in practice in case they return. He wields a red jade direlance forged from the canyon’s jade long ago, and given to a long-dead ruler of the canyon as a symbolic gift from the Realm.
Rendan’s essence does not flow easily or smoothly from him. He has put in hard work to coax it out. The dragon’s greatest gifts to him are internal: a stubbornness that he can turn and off on like a switch, a keen sense for tremors and vibrations, and a sturdy body resistant to damage and illness. He can stay awake for days, and lift prodigious amounts of earth and stone. He can turn his eye to bureaucratic matters and memorization, but it takes more effort. He has never had luck influencing the hearts and minds of others with his essence, but he does have an instinctive feel for how terrain and conditions will affect a group of warriors.
It is this last gift that tells him that the people of the canyon stand no chance against Lady Shafallika‘s riders.
- Koturobo, skilled coppersmith and Rendan’s husband of three years. Kind, tentative, happy.
- Kodanamilala, Koturo’s mother, who dotes on Rendan and worries over him. Compassionate, bustling, unsubtle.
- Sotasheltaki, head maid and mistress of the household staff. Officious, secretive, suspicious.
- Kathambhalando, new mine foreman. Prompt, meticulous, ashamed.
- How will Rendan react to Lady Shafallika’s appearance and the news of demons in his canyon?
- What powers are hidden in the red jade direlance? What did the canyon’s ancient ruler do that the Realm saw fit to reward him or her with an artifact? Was this an ancestor of Rendan’s?