Why Do You Wander?
A well traveled snow leopard mercenary, Rizé is quiet and often pensive.
- 4 Strength
- 5 Vigor
- 6 Agility
- 6 Dexterity
- 3 Essence
- 4 Perception
- 4 Wit
- 6 Will
- 6 Presence
ABILITIES and TALENTS
- Body Armor
- Great Leap
- Natural Weaponry
- Night Vision
- Tracking Scent
- Natural Leader
- Fast Relfexes
ADVANTAGES and DRAWBACKS
SKILLS (italics means free skill)
- 3 Concealment
- 3 Disguise
- 3 Intrigue
- 2 Knowledge (World Cultures)
- 2 Knowledge (Poisons)
- 2 Knowledge (Cultural Traditions)
- 2 Language (Native Tongue Sustrumi)
- 2 Language (Tishnian)
- 8 Martial Arts
- 5 Missle Combat
- 2 Profession (Mercenary)
- 3 Riding (Land Mounts)
- 3 Shadowing
- 3 Stealth
- 3 Streetwise
- 5 Throw
GEAR and POSSESSIONS
Tanto style sword from New Year Celebration (+1d to roll when used)
Crystal Sword (From Arjuna)
The temple village of Malnanga sits high in the distant south-eastern mountains, sheltered by craggy peaks and veiled by rolling clouds. It is home to a noble clan of Snow Leopards who have hunted, trained and prayed there for 24 generations.
The village has shared a bitter history with the neighboring plains city of Tor. Both cultures survive the unforgiving mountain life leaning on a fragile symbiosis. While Malnangans thrive on the flying cliff insects for meats and carapace materials, it is Tor’s skilled craftsmen that work the tough shells into the armor and weapons that Malnangan warriors use.
After a great earthquake split a new pass through the mountains, a new trade route to Tor opened and Torens found a dwindling need for Malnangan goods. As the people of Tor prospered, the Malnangans found winters crueler and trade harsher. A resentment began between the two neighbors.
Conflict spread as greed in Tor rose in the form of crime, theft and petty land grabs. It is speculated that the stresses of the changing city were too much for the last of the Toren kings who passed away without a suitable heir. Without a leader, Tor was crumbling while the House of Toren Stewards became corrupt. The newly formed city council became desperate for law and order.
After years of bitter relations, the Council of Tor bridged a dialogue with Malnanga by employing their temple warriors to act as the Toren Guard. Yet, despite the best intentions of the city elders, the Toren Stewards became xenophobic and spiteful to their long standing mountain neighbors. In a selfish attempt for land and power, the stewardship began a tax on all of it’s neighboring villages with open trade routes to Tor and a heavy tariff on Malnangan goods.
It was another edgy move by a stewardship who had been posturing for real power. Many of their members had been corrupted by bribery and greed and each feeling more worthy than the next to claim leadership over a failing city council. The Toren Council became wary that the stewardship would use Malnanga’s desperation and employ the temple warriors to overthrow the council completely.
Unknown to the House of Stewards, a tense secret negotiation between the Prime Matriarchal Family of Malnanga and the Council of Tor came to a peaceful agreement. The daughter of the Prime Matriarch would wed the Council Prime Chancellor unifying both Malnanga and Tor under a single banner. It was an arrangement that left a bitter taste in the mouths of both parties but necessary if the cities were to prosper.
The daughter of the Prime Matriarch, mal-Rega was a popular temple maiden well known in the city for not only her beauty but her tactful diplomacy. Being the daughter of the Prime Matriarch afforded her the elite training from top handmaidens necessary to become a perfect model of her future role as a balanced ruler.
As a child, mal-Rega and a young temple fighter named mal-Rizé had played in the alpine meadows outside the Malnangan city gates. They often skipped temple duties to hunt together and pick violet meadow berries in the fall before the first frosts.
Even though mal-Rega’s future had been decided for her, she and mal-Rizé had fallen in love. For many years, they would meet privately in their childhood meadows, ignoring the inevitable future all while lost in the passion they shared for each other.
mal-Rizé had trained to become a spy for the Matriarcal Family hoping it would bring him closer to mal-Rega. He devoted every effort to perfecting his knowledge of foreign customs, relations and mannerisms to blend with the elite members of the Toren Council. mal-Rizé was an exceptional social chameleon but also an adept close combat fighter. Over the years, mal-Rizé had worked tirelessly to end the hostilities between Malnanga and Tor in way that would not end in a forced marriage for mal-Rega. Yet, as the days closed in on mal-Rega’s 20th birth year, it became obvious that there were to be no alternate solutions.
On the eve of mal-Rega’s bonding ceremony, they had agreed to meet for a last time as lovers near the broken rock that stood like a lonely behemoth in the meadow where they expressed their love many times before. mal-Rizé had waited under the watch of the twilight moons for an hour before worry consumed his thoughts. mal-Rega had never been late and often teased him for his consistent tardiness.
When he returned to the city, a great dread ran its icy fingers along his body when he saw the temple healers desperately performing their rituals on a failing mal-Rega. He had only heard several muffled words from the gathered spectators before spinning on his heels. “Poisoned?” “She had met with the Stewards only a few hours ago…” “What will the council think?” Not a single Malnangan would utter it aloud, but mal-Rizé knew the House of Stewards had poisoned mal-Rega during the ceremony in order to prevent the rise of a ruling class.
mal-Rizé made haste across the plains, through the Blue Wood to Tor. He donned his councilman’s vest and bangles and entered the city gate without hesitation. Fighting the urge to make haste, he took his time to gesture and bow to Torens who recognized his authoritative attire. He remained calm to prevent suspicion despite the growing fiery knot of hatred burning his throat.
He had often seen the private chambers of the House of Stewards while serving the Toren Council. The wealthiest of them had an affinity for rare baubles and curiosities from foreign lands. He stepped lightly on his paw pads moving silently into a large room with many chests and wardrobes. He moved carefully around the crystal flooring avoiding plate traps hidden to would be intruders.
A small flask with an aging cork sat alone in a clear cabinet and as mal-Rizé drew near, the label’s small lettering became clear in the low light. He held his breath in anticipation, cradling the bottle in his palm and wiping dust from the label with his thumb. As he examined it, he recalled the last time he had seen this small round bottle. He made note of the conversation that the owner proclaim to a friend while setting into the curio cabinet: “You ought never have poison if not also the antidote.” The two of them laughed as if the wisdom were the ramblings of an old crack pot but tonight this statement sung true and clear in mal-Rizé’s mind.
He brought the flask to his forehead and closed his eyes in a small silent prayer before quickly tucking the antidote into his hip bag. He disappeared into the shadows quickly traveling back to Malnanga.
When word reached Tor that the temple maiden mal-Rega had made a mysterious recovery, the stewards immediately became suspicious of a spy. As accusations flew, negotiations melted and any talks of peace quickly ceased as even the Toren Council became distrustful of the Prime Matriarch. When pressed for answers, the leaders of Malnanga had no choice but to offer mal-Rizé to Tor.
mal-Rega balanced the well of tears in her eyes as she watched her lover and savior marched out the front gates of Malnanga into the custody of Toren guards. Not a word was uttered or accusation thrown regarding the poisoning in fear that it would increase hostilities.
Under a flat gray sky and silence, the Malnangans watched as guards from both cities ordered mal-Rizé to kneel while they stripped his family crest and bond with his birth city. His temple garments were cut from his body and replaced with a black cloak with a lining of white feathers along the cowl. A tall high council member stepped forward with a glowing hot temple knife and roughly grabbed mal-Rizé’s left ear. With a slow twist, he began to notch it. As the blade burned flesh and the stink of burned fur whirled about his face, mal-Rizé remained stoic hiding the pain in order to carry the burden of punishment emotionlessly as to not betray his customs.
The high council member directed him to rise, no longer mal-Rizé Son of the West Moon but as Rizé the Wanderer. With his banishment official, he stood slowly and met the eyes of the high council member before bowing gracefully. He held his tongue firmly between his teeth tasting the blood as he fought the urge to call out the corruption and madness that was rotting his homelands from the inside out. The high councilman stepped to the side to allow passage and the crowd lowered their gazes. mal-Rizé took the open path between the gathering toward the Blue Wood. He felt the pain settle in his stomach when he heard a nearly inaudible choke of tears that betrayed mal-Rega’s otherwise emotionless gaze. mal-Rizé hesitated only for a moment mid step before moving on, never looking back at the home he would never return to and a lover’s embrace he would never know again.
The fate of Malnanga and Tor would become the dream of some other life to Rizé and love was a distant idea.