The Wavecrest Archipelago has tens of thousands of islands, from the beautiful to the forgettable. Tiny sailing vessels ply the waters between the smallest villages. On a fair day, from a tall cliff, one can almost see more sails than whitecaps.
Jalam Bedai was a first-generation sailor from a more forgettable island. His parents, cowrie diggers, said he must have been left by Mercury herself. As soon as he could balance on a piece of bark he was trying to sail. When he was an adolescent he traded his family’s shells to dozens of tiny ports. As he grew older, he thought himself as a veteran sailor. The hurricane that might have proved him wrong instead led to his exaltation, and he rode it out laughing at the winds.
With the memories from dozens of lives tickling at his mind, Jalam began asking after the Dragon-Blooded – where they lived, who worked for them, their habits and lifestyles. He picked one that was isolated, distant, and despicable: Nellens Badu was at the center of a slave-trading network that spanned the entire West. Jalam wasted no time sailing to his island and crashing through his bedroom window with a knife.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t ready. He could defeat a weak Dynast like Nellens Badu, but not quickly enough, and his guards were too well-trained. He retreated rather than risk his life. The next morning he set sail after them, and tracked Badu’s ships across more than a thousand kilometers of open ocean to Wu Jian.
There, he was captured. He left his ship tied up outside the Red Teeth’s complex when he went into the city to scout. Nikau and his men strung up Jalam’s boat and were searching it when he came back frustrated from the Nellens compound. They didn’t care that he was new in town. He tried to fight, and discovered what an experienced Chosen soldier could do. Though he put up a good fight, Jalam was outclassed and outnumbered. Nikau threw Jalam into his own personal prison.
After stewing in his cell for a few days and reflecting on his failures, Jalam took advantage of a particularly loud thunderstorm to break out. He stole a catamaran and headed back West, uncertain of what to do next. Sadly, he didn’t get the chance to decide. Jalam knows that no natural storm could possibly have blown him all the way back to the island where he ended up. He knows that no mere reef was responsible for his shipwreck. Athanor Isle has his him trapped.
Jalam has dark curly hair, including a full beard and a thin moustache that hints at his youth. His eyes are brown. His skin is brown with red undertones. He wears a simple silver necklace with a single red cowrie bead on it, a gift from his mother. When his anima flares, its pattern resembles a wave map used for navigation in the ancient West.
A few months ago, Jalam could be described as cocky, amiable, and easygoing. He didn’t believe anything his elders had to say about the world. Finding the limits of his power has tempered that. He is still naive, but he’s starting to believe the stores more, and he’s willing to fall in line with someone who seems more worldly. This is probably how he’ll be recruited. He has no strong influence from his past lives, and could easily turn into someone’s pawn here – as long as they manage to keep him in the dark and give him the chance to turn some tables on his enemies.
In addition, Jalam is becoming more and more panicked that his attempts to leave are unsuccessful. He’s never been in a situation he couldn’t sail out of, either metaphorically or literally. He’s likely to snap.
Intimacies: “My only master is the open sea” (Defining), “Nellens Badu must not be allowed to rule again” (Major, Negative), “Nikau is an honorless dog” (Major, Negative), “My family” (Major, Positive), “The Dragon-Blooded killed us all” (Negative)
Jalam is an Eclipse-caste Solar. When he was chosen his newfound power settled into well-worn pathways in his body. His essence flows from him as naturally as breathing. His body was fit; now he can leap trees and wrestle oxen. His eyes were keen; now he can see for miles. He was a friend to animals; now they whisper secrets to him. He was stubborn; now, when he digs in his heels, no one can move him.
What he is best at, however, is sailing. He can turn nothing more than a few sticks, a shirt, and a large piece of bark into a vessel that will take him throughout the West. He can feel storms coming and ride out hurricanes. He knows instinctively how to sail ships of any size, though he is most comfortable in those that are small and fast. He can’t lead a fleet yet, or command sailors, but his tiny vessels are swift and unbreakable. Sail is his Supernal Ability, and it shows.
Despite all this, he still can’t leave the island. It’s not truly the wind and the waves that keep him here – it’s fate, and he doesn’t know it yet. Once he understands, he just might be able to find a way out.
In a fight, Jalam relies on a pair of small knives and his phenomenal durability. So long as his essence holds out, blades fail to penetrate his skin, and his strength drives him forward relentlessly. In the past he has exhausted himself quickly and overcommitted to a fight. He is unlikely to make the same mistake again.
- Manakaleo, his friend from his home island, who wonders what became of him. Relaxed, helpful, cowardly.
- Balatan Demara, a fellow sailor that Jalam met on the waves, and to whom he told his troubles. Talkative, lively, regretful.
- Does Jalam know that the forces of Skullstone took over Nellens’ island after he left?
- Is Jalam merely playing up the “easily manipulated” angle? If so, how far will he take it, and what advantage does he seek to gain?