Ixar, Priestess of Chaos

Background

Ixar, witch-woman of the villages. Ixar, sage of chaos and voice of the Fair Folk. Ixar, who sold her second name for power. Her title is whispered in many places throughout the Shores, though never in front of the royal family. Let people go to their local barbers and witch-doctors when they need a poultice or a love potion. Ixar provides respect. Ixar provides power. Ixar gives you revenge.

As a young woman, some sixty years ago, Ixar’s family came the the Shores from an island deep in the Dreaming Sea. Her consciousness had been touched by the Wyld during the journey, and was open to its influence still. As she laid sick in her bed, Wyld-born Serranos waited no time opening the gate in her mind. He whispered to her of the glory and beauty of the Fair Folk, and his voice near wept as he told her of the wonders that could be hers. Still sick from her passage, harried by memories of the Wyld and lured by a honeyed voice, young Ixar reached for glory.

Since then, Ixar has brought many into the secret worship of the Fair Folk, and of Serranos in particular. She has received nothing but wonder, beauty, and influence from Serranos over the years, and if there had been pain and madness at some time, those were merely more memories to sell to him. She is his high priestess. He is her mad, beautiful god.

Ixar does request certain actions of her cult members. Most of them serve to weaken Creation in various ways. She presumes that this will allow Serranos the Fair to someday manifest his glory in Creation. That may or may not be true.

Recently, Yatna the Yellow introduced Ixar to Shimmering Hope, with the goal of empowering Hope to stand against Alimar Valna. Ixar was glad to comply, imbuing Hope with power from Serranos. Yatna assumed that the price for such empowerment would be paid in mere money. This will not turn out to be the case.

Appearance

Ixar

Ixar seems to be a beautiful young woman with fair skin and golden hair. Her eyes have the appearance and shimmer of of mother-of-pearl. She is confident of her beauty, and enjoys teasing others with it or pretending to modesty.

Demeanor

Most people think that the person they meet is not actually Ixar. Ixar, the witch who has served the Shores for threescore years, could not be this beautiful, exotic young woman. Surely this enchanting, clear-voiced maiden could never wield such power. This one must be a go-between. She only works the front counter. Ixar must be a warted crone the back room.

Ixar does little to disabuse them of this notion, referring to “Ixar the great” and “all-powerful Ixar” as if she were a different person. Her mind is a house of a thousand rooms, and she lives in one while entertaining guests in another. In a closet, somewhere, the woman she once was weeps.

When she walks the Shores, Ixar is a social chameleon. She mimics those around her to blend in, often taking on a servile or deferential role. She never mentions her true work. When stressed or confronted, her persona slams into place all the more firmly, and she looks for a scapegoat. She is not above pretending at helplessness, crying to escape and laughing about it later.

Ixar’s relationship with Serranos is dysfunctional as best.

Intimatices: “Fools deserve to have someone take advantage of them” (Major), “They’re all fools” (Negative), “There is no morality save power” (Defining), “The Fair Folk are the rightful rulers of Creation” (Positive)

Abilities

Ixar is an intelligent, crafty cult leader. She has little charisma, but a great sense of showmanship. A little smoke, a few mirrors, and her beauty does the rest. She does have some knowledge of herbs and the nature of the elements, but she has relied on Serranos’ gifts so long that this knowledge is rusty.

Ixar has bargained much of herself and her soul away to Serranos. (He, who could give his gifts for free, laughs at this in his quiet hours.) In return she has many endowments that others would envy. Her body will be young and beautiful until the day she dies, and that day is far off. She can hear the influence of creatures and powers from beyond Creation, such as ghosts and the Fair Folk. She can smell blood, and thus living beings, at great distances. When threatened (or merely insulted) she can call forth pyre-flame from her gullet and burn the offending individuals to ash.

Supporting Characters

  • Jekk Ironmind, magical assistant and unsubtle spy. Shifty, belligerent, silent.
  • Terais Broken-reed, the leader of Ixar’s cult in Phaedros. Worldly, high-class, deceptive.
  • Raethos the Boatman, who ferries Ixar about in the evenings. Strong, reliable, mute.
  • Inkos Longstride, who has infiltrated the Phaedros guards. Observant, loyal, needy.

Questions

  • What might make Ixar turn on Serranos?
  • How many people has Ixar gifted with Serranos’ power?
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Serranos, the Ancient Evil

Background

Here on the shores of the Dreaming Sea, the Fair Folk invasion rewrote the fabric of the world like a tide. In its advancing and receding, the Wyld left pools behind. It was then, after the victory of the Scarlet Empress, as these last touches of chaos left the land and drifted back toward the Dreaming Sea, that Serranos rose to power among the Fair Folk of the Shores.

Power-hungry, charismatic, and desperate, Serranos led his people to a crafty assault on the Shores. Dozens of Fair Folk infiltrated the local population, taking on the form of refugees from distant lands. Within days they struck, murdering thousands and leaving hundreds more as dreamless drones before they were finally routed by local forces.

Serranos himself escaped… but he escaped alone. He lived, if one could call it that, huddled in a tiny pocket of Wyld beneath a broken manse in the northern Shores, too weak to survive on his own, too terrified of his ancient kinfolk to brave the Dreaming Sea. He created pale, weak shapes that were the shadows of those he had known before, and treated them as compatriots, the way a child might speak to a puppet.

Five years ago, Serranos made another bid to conquer the Shores, driving his puppets before him as if they were a great war-host. They were not. The effort was doomed to failure from the first; he may even have known that. Amilar Valna and her consort Ilsadoth scattered his pathetic forces and put an end to him in a shadowlands, and that was that.

Or it should have been.

Serranos’ shade rose five days later in the underworld. He struggled – oh, how his existence has been defined by strife and struggle – but his struggle has borne fruit. Ixar leads a cult that funnels him essence and the goods of the grave. He has followers and supplicants, such as Shimmering Hope, who allow his dark essence upon their souls all unknowing. Victory is all but assured. Now he need only watch from his lair beneath a crumbled manse and wait for the Shores to come tumbling down.

Appearance

Serranos

Serranos wears a silver mask with elaborate engravings that draw the eye. Some of his clothing is black; the rest displays all the range of a colorful bruise. His hair, constantly in motion, flies out wildly from behind the mask.

Demeanor

Serranos is, at heart, a walking stereotype. He is the cackling villain: plotting, pacing, ranting, lashing out. Those who would secretly observe him in his home would see a monster in human form. He cares for nothing but power over others, and it shows in how he treats those who serve him.

However, before Ixar, his other cultists, and any whom he feels might be a threat, he is a portrait of magnanimous reason. Soft yet firm, daring yet reasonable. He reveals his madness only when he grants power to his followers, a strange anima flaring around him and echoing his mad laughter. For this reason, he does this only in private, or when surrounded by loyal servants.

Serranos cannot abide mention of Ilsadoth by name. In his particular religion, that despised ruler is The Repulsive One, and his consort in the land of the living is The Murderess.

Intimatices: “I will rule Creation from a throne of pain” (Defining), “Ilsadoth and Amilar Valna shall be my slaves” (Negative), “None must know my of coming before I am ready” (Major), “Reward fools; they are easier to control” (Positive)

Abilities

Serranos is a master manipulator. His soft words and canny observations worm their way into his targets’ minds without the need for essence. He is physically weak and has little to no skill in combat, relying on his followers extensively for travel and protection. He believes that he understands much about the underworld, but in truth he has only power, not knowledge.

That power is enough, though. Serranos can “gift” individuals – both living and dead – with powerful mutations to their bodies and minds. Gifting power leaves Serranos weakened for an hour or so. Those whom he makes grow strong and swift often have visible manifestations of this power, such as bulging muscles and shimmering dark outlines behind them as they move. Those who are granted more esoteric capabilities, such as control over the elements of death (blood, bone, ash, pyre-flame, and void), show only the slightest physical indications of their new-found glory. Instead, the power twists their minds, letting Serranos nudge them in subtle ways, and eventually take over their minds in total. Even with Ixar he is far from this level of command, but only because she does not yet feel worthy to join with her god.

Serranos is not truly a ghost. Necromancy, at least at its lowest rank, has no hold on him. He is still more of the Wyld than of the underworld, though that may change in time if his existence continues.

Supporting Characters

  • Jun and Sav, the interchangeable footmen who carry him about on his litter. Silent, stoic, suicidally brave.
  • Kra, an undead raiton with a glimmer of human intelligence, who advises Serranos from atop his throne. Loud, sarcastic, cowardly.
  • Fu Efa, ash-breathing bodyguard. Suspicious, needy, brutal.
  • Zeni, swift ghostly messenger who brings Serranos’ word across the Shores. Confident, clever, laughing.

Questions

  • Where does the power than Serranos grants come from? Is he as powerful as he believes, or is he someone else’s puppet?
  • Is Ixar the only priestess of Serranos, or does he command others?
  • What treasures and artifacts has Serranos obtained from his cults?

Otar Vaspasian, Chosen of the Sun

Background

The Vaspasian family is famous in certain regions of the South as merchants, traveling along the southern edge of the Dreaming Sea and out toward the endless dunes. They trade cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and a wide variety of other spices, but they also trade in slaves.

Otar and his brother Tavar found this distasteful; all the more so as they grew older. Perhaps it was their stepfather’s influence, brought to the family from a distant land. Perhaps it was their friendship with a child they later saw sold. Regardless of the source of the feeling, the two of them agreed that they could not be part of this – they would leave their family as soon as they were able. Otar’s brother left four years ago across the Dreaming Sea. This past year, Otar followed his path, hoping to find him.

The passage was nearly complete, and land just within sight. The Lord of the Tides appeared, a sign of good luck, to guide them to the shore. Suddenly a terrible beast leapt from the depths, snapping at the vessel and demanding tribute. It was at that very moment that Otar was chosen by the Sun. Blazing with solar glory, he defeated the serpent with nothing more than his bare fist and a harpoon that had been left on the deck. The battle terrified and exhilarated him as he remembered snatches of strategy from past lives. Realizing the peril he was in when he reached shore, Otar swore the sailors to secrecy. Terrified, they agreed.

Now Otar is in Phaedros, seeking his lost brother, and hoping that the sailors do not talk too much when they’re drunk. His hopes are not high. He has heard rumors of a “Shining Hope,” and wonders if she might be Solar as he is. He has also heard of ruined manses to the north, and is considering traveling there, in the hopes that he will find something to point toward Tavar… or toward the legacy that now burns in Otar’s mind.

Appearance

Otar Vaspasian

Otar is a young, slim man with brown skin and short-cropped hair. He wears simple clothing, tending toward off-white pants and an open shirt. His left arm ends in a stump at his wrist, and has since his birth.

Demeanor

Otar is naturally friendly and enjoys jesting. When he has his leisure, Otar can be both carefree and careless.

However, right now Otar is on the run and trying to hide. He’s awful at it. He hangs out in shady bars, where he sticks out badly. He tries to cover his face, then ends up with his hat brim so low that he can’t see where he’s going. He would have been robbed blind the day he arrived if not for a strange instinct that guides his hands to slap away pickpockets. He’s polite, bumbling, overwhelmed, and barely holding together. He’s never sure whose words will come out of his mouth – his, or that of an older self. He’ll avoid just about any social situation. Naturally, that isn’t helping him track down his brother.

Don’t try to defend cruelty or slavery in front of him, though. He remembers enough of that from this life, and the memories from the First Age just cement how he already feels. If a loud sermon is all you get, consider yourself lucky.

Intimacies: “Darkness must be purged” (Defining), “Slavery is wrong” (Negative), “I will find my brother” (Positive), “I will understand what’s happening to me” (Major)

Limit Trigger: Hearing others defend injustice – even something that Otar himself did wrong – and being either unable to change their mind or unwilling to take the time to argue.
Typical Virtue Flaw: Belligerent Argument. Otar will turn to violence to “win” the argument. He won’t kill intentionally, but he will use potentially dangerous force and channel his essence in ways that can draw unwanted attention.

Abilities

Otar’s upbringing taught him to read, write, do figures, dance, and trade. He’s resilient and stalwart. He’s perceptive, if not overly clever. He and his brother learned how to fight from the family bodyguard.

Otar is also a Dawn-caste Solar, and his awakened essence guides him in a multitude of ways. He can deflect blades and teeth with his hands and wrestle wild animals. He can speak with captivating energy. Supernatural coercion has little hold on him, especially when he pursues his beliefs. Finally, Otar is able to see patterns in mercantile or criminal behavior, especially when it’s directed toward him.

He will become stronger quickly as time goes on, and the personalities of his prior incarnations will meld more smoothly into his present self. Until then, he’s still a little confused. He’s much better when operating on instinct than when he tries to puzzle things through.

Supporting Characters

  • Rhanod White-eyes, an old man who has given Otar a room in exchange for work. Kindly, slow, stubborn.
  • Perra Waterfoot, a young woman who makes nets on the dock and has eyes for Otar. Diligent, outgoing, poor.
  • Gapha the Minstrel, whom Otar pays for news each morning. Flashy, garrulous, mercenary.
  • Ibiqa Resha, a fellow southern traveler who came on the boat. Brash, clever, worried.

Questions

  • Who will recruit Otar first? Will someone else change his mind?
  • Is the sea serpent that he fought still out there waiting for him?
  • Who has Otar’s family hired to track him down?
  • Who and what was Otar in his past life? Does he remember being hunted down by the Wyld Hunt during prior incarnations?

Longface, the Explorer

Background

In the hills nearby live the Tall Folk. To the people of the Shores they are beings of legend – giants, silent and watchful, frightening and distant. They appear in fairy tales and childrens’ stories as creatures of stone and wood. In truth, the Tall Folk do live in those hills, and have since before the downfall of the Primordials. While the legends exaggerate on many fronts, they are more truth than fabrication.

Longface is a rarity amongst her people: an explorer. Most of the Tall Folk keep to their own people in the hills and mountains north of the Shores, far from the Soft People. They live in villages carved into the stone centuries ago. Longface walks the hills and forests, finding the secret pathways that connect the ancient ruined manses, noting each leaning obelisk and fallen statue.

Two things have been particularly interesting for Longface in the past year. First, she has seen a creature of darkness, with crimson claws and wild eyes, traveling through the woods from one Soft People village to another. She has seen it kill without hesitation or mercy, and is greatly frightened of it. Her people fear ghosts, for they have no defense against them.

Second, she met Chennai Sharpnose. Chennai has been investigating the ruined manses north of the Shores, so it’s inevitable that the two would meet. Longface values Chennai’s company, and Chennai seems to find Longface valuable in her own way, so the two have traveled together often recently.

Appearance

Longface

Longface seems to be made partly of wood and partly of clay, with bark-like skin. She is slim and athletic, with large, prominent eyes and a face that matches her name. Longface is about seven feet tall.

Demeanor

Patient, quiet, contemplative, at one with nature. Longface found her home in the wilderness, and loves every bit of it. She is as comfortable under a downpour as she is at a campfire. Her smile has worn lines in her face from years of comfort in the wild.

Longface rarely interacts with the Soft People. When she does, it is usually to rescue a badly injured traveler or share a bit of food, and she prefers to do these under cover of darkness.

Chennai brings out a different side of Longface. She was never talkative, but having someone around who speaks even less than she has made Longface practically gregarious by comparison. Longface has found that she values Chennai’s company greatly, and wishes that the Tall Folk could interact with the Soft People without fear.

Intimacies: “I will gain recognition and respect for my people” (Major), “I will watch over the secret paths of the Shores” (Defining), “Keep careful records”, “My feet are bound to travel” (Positive), “I fear and avoid the dead” (Negative)

Abilities

Longface is a skilled tracker, hunter, scavenger, and mapper. She has an encyclopedic knowledge of local flora and fauna. She is a passable poet. Longface is also an excellent shot with a thrown rock or a sling. Her eyes are sharp, though her hearing is not. While her stony, bark-like skin can turn blows, she does still bleed if wounded. She is a slow but tireless runner.

In a satchel around her waist Longface carries a handful of useful items she has discovered over the years – an orb that glows when she sings, a compass that points to an unknown location in the northeast, a folding box with two separate interiors, a knife so sharp she keeps it in a scabbard of rock. She has no control over her essence, and so has seen a dozen artifacts without ever being able to activate one of them.

Longface has explored the land north of the Shores this for many dozens of years, and may do so for hundreds more. Her people are long-lived and resilient. She speaks only a heavily accented form of Old Realm.

Supporting Characters

  • Volonthos Ghostbane, a would-be hero who went to explore the northern manses last year and was saved by Longface when he broke his leg. Acerbic, disillusioned, grateful.
  • Benbin One-Tooth, an old hermit who saw Longface a few years back and thinks he knows where she might live. Talkative, humorous, malodorous.
  • Siltwalker, Longface’s distant cousin and closest friend. Reclusive, thoughtful, concerned.

Questions

  • How many people in the Shores know that the Tall Folk are real? Would they accept them or hunt them down? What would Valna’s reaction be?
  • What will Longface do to safeguard her people?
  • Do the Tall Folk even want recognition, or do they want to remain hidden?

Chennai Sharpnose, Chosen of the Moon

Background

Six years ago, Chennai Valwood was an adventurous young woman traveling down the Yellow River. Several unsavory folk attempted to fleece her of her earnings, hoping to use her debt against her later on. Unexpectedly, she suddenly found herself able to hear their whispers, see the small signs they made to one another, and smell their intent on them. She ended up duping all of them, sneaking off the boat, and impressing a more experienced Lunar who had expected that he would need to rescue her. Three months of mentorship later, Chennai took the name “Sharpnose” to indicate her new status as a member of the Silver Pact.

Then she was nearly killed by the Wyld Hunt.

She, her mentor Nokura the Grey, and three other Lunars had gathered in the wilderness south of Nexus as a sort of makeshift moot, to honor her elevation to full member of the Pact. Five dragon-blooded and their soldiers swept in, including a pair of Immaculates. Chennai herself was nearly killed, drowned in her own blood. Nokura the Grey was driven into hibernation by horrible wounds left by a blade of fire. The five of them barely escaped with their lives.

Since then Chennai has been brave but careful. She and her packmates restored Nokura to health, traveled the southeastern lakes in search of a lost tribe of pelagials, and denied the hated Scum of Heaven a foothold along the Dreaming Sea. Recently they have gone their separate ways for a year, each pursuing their own interests, and Chennai has been exploring on her own.

Chennai wants safety, but she also loves exploration too much to ignore that. She wants, in animal terms, a safe burrow from which she can explore the world, and to which she can return in case of danger. This brings her to the Shores, and to the abandoned manses in the mountains to the north. For more on Chennai’s current exploits, see the entry for her new ally Longface.

Appearance

Chennai Sharpnose 500

Chennai is light-skinned and brown-haired, with blue-green eyes. She wears rugged traveler’s clothing in a variety of colors. Many mistake the markings on her face for odd makeup, or for simple dirt and smudging from her long time in the wilderness.

Demeanor

Chennai enjoys exploration. It’s not easy to see on her face, but she loves finding new places and uncovering their secrets. From hidden mountain caves to lost manses, from concealed rooms to the invisible flows of essence, Chennai delights in the world’s secrets. She also has an excellent memory for them, and picks up both lore and languages easily. When another brings up her favorite subject it is difficult for her to stop talking about her discoveries, even if it would be beneficial for her to keep them to herself.

She’s also very literal-minded, and despite her Charm set, has poor intuition for what other people might do. She often misses subtle communication and gestures. She has accepted occasional misunderstandings as a part of her life. Others are not always as forgiving, so she rarely settles down in one place for long. When she is nervous she rubs her index fingers against her thumbs to soothe herself. Her previous pack helped her find more of her inner self, and she misses them.

Chennai rarely makes eye contact when speaking, but tries not to mumble, at least when speaking to others. She mutters to herself fairly often.

Intimacies: “I must have a safe home” (Major), “Allies are more trustworthy than friends” (Positive), “The Realm is my enemy” (Negative), “Uncover secrets” (Defining)

Abilities

Chennai is a No-Moon Lunar. Her totem animal is the marten.

As an experienced adventurer, Chennai knows how to stay fed and healthy in the wilderness, as well as how to read the weather and the land. She can hunt with a bow and snares, and is a fair hand at sailing.

Chennai’s essence allows her to sharpen her senses, both physical and mystical. She can see the flow of essence, tap out secret doors, smell emotions, feel her way in the dark by wind currents. Some day this may become more instinctual for her, but at the moment she must focus her intent in order to do so. She can also bolster her resistance to magical influence, such as that of the Fair Folk, and can help others heal their wounds more quickly. She is a novice sorceress, concentrating on countermagic and the summoning of elementals.

Chennai was taught how to fight by a grizzly bear and a wolverine, and while she didn’t take to all the lessons, she still knows how to send people and animals recoiling in fear. Her war-form is equipped with ferocious claws and long, sharp teeth. She moves quickly and aggressively in battle, counting on her supernal healing abilities to let her strike, retreat, heal, and come back to finish the job.

Supporting Characters

  • Wolsung, her contact within the Silver Pact. Towering, soft-hearted, slow to anger.
  • Ilia Ramsherd, a shepherd who took in Chennai and treated her well for a time. Sheltered, kind-hearted, industrious.
  • Shellturner, a beach spirit who has been following Chennai for a few weeks. Talkative, fascinated, quick to hide.

Questions

  • How will Chennai react to Iselsi Umon‘s presence?
  • How close is Chennai to rebuilding or reactivating the broken manses of the Shores?
  • What will Chennai do once she has a home? If allowed to settle in the Shores, what will her next move be?
  • Are Chennai’s pack members following her here? Are other members of the Wyld Hunt tracking her?

Alambor the Tide Lord

Background

Mighty lord of the tides, Alambor of the Dreaming Sea was raised to his current position after the Fair Folk were driven back from Threshold. As a major figure in the local spirit courts, every god in the Shores knows the story of his mortal child and their mutual rise to influence.

Alambor’s time has been fairly uneventful save when his life touched the lives of mortals. Such is the way of many gods. The most recent time that his life was joyously complicated was thirty years ago, when he fell in love with a mortal woman. She came out to watch the sea every day, and he felt the power of her gaze upon him. When he stepped from the waves on the night of the full moon to meet her, he found the kindest and most beautiful soul he had ever seen.

As lord of ebb and flow, marriage was not his way, but he returned every month to his beloved. The people of her city noticed, of course, and some objected quietly, but none could gainsay him – too many fishermen relied on him for their livelihoods. His sunken riches took good care of her, and provided for the inevitable child as well: Kellen Sky-Eyes.

Alambor was the first god to meet with Amilar Valna when she arrived at the Shores – or at least the first to treat her with respect. Her sailors readily agreed to pay Alambor the respect he was due in exchange for swift and safe travel. By this time his son, greedy as always for his father’s attention, was old enough to court Valna’s affections. To Alambor’s surprise, Kellen was successful. In the past few years Alambor has gracefully stepped down his involvement in Valna’s court and politics to give his son a little more room to grow. As has often been the case, Kellen refused to grow.

Most recently, Alambor met a ship approaching the Shores to warn them of a dangerous Wyld-born serpent beneath the waves, one beyond his power. His warning was not enough, and the creature attacked the ship. Before Alambor’s very eyes one of the travelers aboard, Otar Vaspasian, was chosen by the Sun and defeated the beast in a furious battle with his single hand. The sailors swore to keep Otar’s secret, but Alambor did not, and now he debates whether he should tell Valna of this young Chosen in her city.

Appearance

Alambor

Alambor has taken on the appearance of his primary worshippers, the sailors and fishermen who ply the Shores. He appears most often as a well-muscled, rough-shaven man with a confident air and a faint blue aura – though this can change with the time of day (see Abilities below). He has also sometimes appeared as a seagull, a giant sunfish, or a sea turtle.

Demeanor

Alambor is steady in some ways and changeable in others. He believes in tradition and duty. His spirit court is better kept than most, and sees to their duties with only a minimum of bribes. He cares for his family and watches over them. In these ways, he is as reliable as the sea itself.

From day to day, however, and even over the course of half an hour, Alambor can go from being calm and talkative to wrathful and tempestuous. If one weathers his storm, he will surely return to a calmer and more polite countenance. Do not expect an apology for the change – this is the way of his people. He is often unaware of the change. Whatever his reaction to someone, he takes it as merely temporary.

When it comes to his son Kellen, Alambor tries to be patient, but visibly finds it difficult. He often begins a conversation attempting to emulate a good father that he saw recently, and ends it by storming off. Of all the people of Creation, Alambor apologizes only to Kellen and Kellen’s mother.

Intimacies: “I will raise my son well” (Major), “My court will be the pride of the Dreaming Sea” (Defining), “I repay those who worship me”, “Be true to yourself and do not pretend to be otherwise” (Negative), “Eritha Sea-holder” (Positive)

Abilities

As the Tide Lord, Alambor has control over the movement of the ocean. Its currents and its ebb and flow are all his to control. He can dredge material from the bottom of the sea, find people on the beach and in the water, and travel quickly along his domain. If driven into battle, he will rely more on physical power than magical power, though the black jade trident of his office provides him with an unbreakable magical weapon. When overmatched he can easily escape by diving into any body of water that connects to the sea.

All of his magical might applies only within the boundary of the Shores, and within sight of land. The sailors, fishermen, and traders at the Shores worship him each time they enter and leave port, and their belief gives him power. If he travels beyond that range, he can control only the water within his gaze, which can still be enough to sink small ships and drown swimmers. He will need to ride a ship or walk along the shore like any mortal.

Alambor’s power and visage vary with the tides. At high tide his body swells with muscle and sinew; the kelp that wraps his body tightens and appears as bands of leather armor. He becomes strong as an ox and swift as a riptide. When the tide is low, he has the strength and visage of a shrunken old man, and the kelp seems but poor rags. His magical power is unaffected by this change.

Unlike the potential that his son holds, Alambor’s power is purely literal – he has no influence over metaphorical tides.

Supporting Characters

  • T’emayara, Lady of Winds, who herds the clouds and gathers the storms. Quick-witted, mercurial, magnanimous.
  • Jereth Maize-King, who calls the fields to grow with his multi-colored horn. Observant, family-oriented, tedious.
  • Petra Unfilled, goddess of the rivers and deltas of the Shores. Languid, sensual, perpetually displeased.
  • Zallanastrammakannisti Sand-Sultan, god of the seashore and its creatures. Jovial, powerful, scatterbrained.

Questions

  • Who was Alambor before he became the Lord of Tides?
  • What other children does Alambor have?
  • What is Alambor’s agreement with Valna?

Ilsadoth, Consort in Shadow

Background

Ilsadoth is a ghost. It has been over one hundred years since his death, and still he clings to the land where he lived. He was about forty-five years old when he died, murdered by Serranos during a bid to take over the Shores and bring it into the Wyld during Calibration. Ilsadoth’s victory over Serranos and his forces five years ago (with Valna‘s aid) is one of the proudest moments of his existence, and not just for the sweet taste of revenge.

Between his death and Valna’s arrival at the Shores, Ilsadoth made a reputation for himself by uniting the scattered ghosts who lived in the area. He was more chieftain than king, and more advisor than chieftain, but he was respected, and his words carried weight. He settled disputes both petty and weighty. He organized scouts and messengers to warn his citizens about dangerous hungry ghosts.

His people watched Amilar Valna for some time before deciding to reveal themselves. Necromancy gives even the weak initiates tremendous power over the dead, and Valna was no mere initiate. Ilsadoth eventually overruled his counselors, who would have preferred to hide themselves and their loved ones from her until she passed from the world. He approached Valna and offered the services of his network in exchange for the protection of ancestor-worship in the Shores. She agreed to that and more.

Now Ilsadoth serves at Valna’s left hand where Kellen should be her right. He has only minimal influence in Creation, but has a more-than-equal share of their rulership in the underworld.

Appearance

Ilsadoth 500

Ilsadoth is a rugged-faced, dark-skinned man with several scars. His eyes are lions-mane gold. He dresses primarily in the somber robes that were common when he died decades ago.

Demeanor

Ilsadoth on the throne is everything one would expect from a ruler of the dead: impassive and wise, a bringer of justice. He is compassionate, but unafraid of difficult solutions. He defers to Valna’s rulership, but she defers to his judgement in matters of death.

When he takes off his crown of pearls, Ilsadoth is a softer man. He sees himself as a guide to the “restless departed,” as he puts it. He’s patient, compassionate, and persistent, with a great deal of empathy for those who have recently arrived in the underworld. He remembers being angrier and more passionate in life, but prefers the calmer, quieter self that he became after his death. He’s done mourning for his old self.

That’s what he’d like to believe, at least. His anger dwells within him still. Serranos brought that out when he reappeared. Ilsadoth believes that this was merely a relapse of sorts, but secretly he knows that the mindless rage of the hun soul is something he’s still capable of.

Intimacies: “My Queen is my love” (Positive), “Speak quietly until the time for rage is come” (Major), “Reincarnation is the true path – the dead should seek it eventually”, “The restless dead have unfinished business – they should finish it” (Defining), “Kellen Sky-Eyes” (Negative)

Abilities

Ilsadoth knows the pathways of the underworld, its people and customs, and how to read its stars. His role over the last century gives him an unmatched network of allies, messengers, and ghostly warriors, which he has made an ally to the Shores.

Comfortable in his own essence, Ilsadoth can float softly through the air, manipulate shadow and sound, and see in the deepest darkness. He can see both the living world and the underworld, and manifest in the living world at night. He can even track, repel, and tame hungry ghosts, though he knows not to underestimate their power. Ilsadoth has not learned necromancy – he associates its use among ghosts with the influence of the Neverborn, and worries what their whispers might do to his mind and soul.

Supporting Characters

  • Kheroth, his chamberlain and confidante. Stuffy, clever, kind.
  • Old Huno, one of the Contagion Dead, oldest ghost in the Shores and occasional advisor to Ilsadoth. Canny, earnest, unhinged.
  • Oraisa Dark-Eyes, ghost-talker and medicine woman, Ilsadoth’s link to the mortal world before Valna arrived. Busy, talkative, disappointed.
  • Phrassa the Inquisitive, leader of Ilsadoth’s many scouts and messengers. Reserved, grumpy, anything but curious.

Questions

  • Ilsadoth knows much about the underworld and its workings, more than he could have learned from simple observation. Where did he learn this?
  • What does Valna see in Ilsadoth? Why did she take him as consort?
  • What is Ilsadoth’s plan if Valna turns on his people? Does she have a plan if he decides to betray her?
  • Who was Ilsadoth before his death? Why did he cling to existence?