Character Sketch - Rô'an

“The road is good for wanderers and landless men. There is quenching of thirst on the grey paths of the winds, and the flying clouds to still the sting of lost dreams.”
Robert E. Howard

"You would what I recommend of my cousin, Archivist? He is of our kind, e'en though he is not wholly of my blood - a fact my father thanks Eheral and my aunt's spread legs for daily, as her appetites saw her exiled to the trade caravans while he lay claim to the family warehouse, contracts & holds within Aerelous's walls - for all his seeming' poet's heart he's a mind of questions. 'Tis not enough that he know the 'how' of the wilds but that he seek after the 'why.' He cares not for the cost of the pelts he traffics but can name the glen and glade and foraging habits of the animal each season that make it shine so, and he has made himself a study of the hinterlands and hills for simple want of knowing what lay off the wagon-rutted tracks of his upbringing. Tomb, mountain, dale or dwell it matters not so long as it is to him as yet unseen. To one who would know for the simple sake of knowing, how could he not find Our Lady's favor?

Yes, I would recommend him for the expedition. What he knows he knows well and what he doesn't he would learn, and he's wit enough to know the difference. He also wants - his appetites are no more bounded than his mother and sire, tho they run a different course. If you would his aid, simply ask and he will delve this ruin gladly. If you would have his loyalty, offer him magic, if you can. He would walk the 'lands entire if it would bend the pettiest of dweomers to his ken."

-A'lyth Spen-Ser, Acolyte, Temple of Emirikel, Aereolus

***

Born of a mead-soaked and lotus perfumed tryst between V'ness Spen-Ser, lesser daughter of an Aereolean merchant house and Sh'ale Gray Iron, third son of the Gray Iron mining hold of Ar'Ethmet Rô'an is considered, in turns, an unfortunate embarrassment, a lovable mistake and abomination in the sight of his kin. His birth was the catalyst of the reshuffling of several lines of financial succession, one hostile takeover, two broken betrothals and one hastily drafted marriage. He is, by all accounts, human and dwarven, a freak of a thing that should not be.

And for it all neither he, nor his sires, give so much as a tinkers damn.

Not that his parents are some sort of lovematch; their marriage is largely a legal fiction that extricated their associated mercantile families from a costly mistake and persists due to the panacea of tariff relief on the goods the families exchange along the Great Traderoad between Aerelous, Telluria and Monarch of the Mines. There is a residual fondness, borne of the winters shared in shelter and honed by the absences of the caravan circuit come spring and summer, but little else and Rô'an's upbringing was split between the Gray Iron Hold in the Myceum Hills and the wagons, roadside inns and urban warehouses of the Traderoad. Their lives, since his birthing, have been separate ventures and his raising was traded between them upon their own convenience. Far from being to young Rô'an's detriment, however, the arrangement instilled a like-minded independence and restlessness at a young age.

It was these traits - combined with his atypical parentage and their regrettable ties to Aereloean money - that saw his conscription under Ar'Ethmet's banner truncated to bandit chasing patrols and mining surveys of the Myceum Hills and southern Gloomrim; years spent in the wilds tracking, chasing and learning the lands on the other side of every hill. What his natural curiosity and wanderlust had not taught him upon the roads he learned there, in the hills, subject not to a service which cared little for him but rather to the needs of the landscape itself. It is telling that despite some minor martial prowess Rô'an never took to the sword, preferring instead implements of more mutable purpose - axes for wood, hammers for stone, slings and bolts for the hunt …

After his service ended in Rô'an's declination of an invitation to take the Q'Ahrtas' Fence that was never offered, he returned to the traderoads, serving as guard and scout for the Spen-Ser caravans rather than as the camp follower of his childhood. The years that followed saw the shift of adult life to Aerelous when he was not ranging afield with the 'van or working upon his own contract as a tracker, finder or blade-hand. 'Tis this later work that has become Rô'an's livehood proper - with the death of the family patriarch and his mother's loss of standing to her brother within the household Rô'an's already tenebrous association with his blood-kin grew ever thinner: there has been some small occasion for a bit of night work that they had preferred to keep within the family but aside from such deniable activities he is no longer upon the rolls of the merchant company that bears his mother's name. It is an arrangement that serves the interests of all involved.

Personality

Independent, resourceful and inquisitive Rô'an has all the passion of parents tempered by a dwarven pragmatism; he would resent, deeply, being labeled a dreamer but he is, after his own way. His mind vaults at the unknown horizon like any true poet but in the same breath he turns his feet to get there and attends his gaze to the path of safety, or, at least, managed risk. He has a fondness for incongruity, borne of a lifetime spent being one in the eyes of his peers; the mysteries, questions and improbabilities of those things that don't which he finds terribly compelling.

And the best thing is that for every question answered, every oddity explored there is another behind it - it is an unending chain of intellectual and physical motion that keeps him upon the path of his own making.

There is vein of discontent in his pursuits, however, borne of both shame and insecurity. For all his self possession as to who and what he is he is at once obsessed with and at a loss when dealing with the arcane. Rô'an has ever been fascinated by and with mages and spells but his upbringing in Ar'Ethmet and perpetual stigma that backward land places upon the arcane arts made the intrest a source of shame for much of his youth … a shame which is felt more keenly for the bone deep knowledge (or perhaps, fear) that by the right of his Dwarven blood it is a pursuit ever to be denied him. That the few circle mages who have interviewed him have refused to put him to magical examination on the basis of his dwarfish stock has only reinforced this belief.

Religion

Rô'an was spared a lifetime of Clovis worship and the Ar'Ethmet faith by dint of an inquisitive mind and many leagues of travel … travel which included many miles of the Leopold Ways in which his merchant kin were figurative and literally shat upon by the sluiceways of the High Ways and the chosen of Clovis that walked them. That he fell to Emirikel is considered unfortunate by the Gray Iron hold but wholly unsurprising for the Spen-Sers as their household - V'ness' flirtations with Tarim aside - holds a small household shrine to goddess for select members of the family1 and produces acolytes in her service roughly every other generation. Household lore suggests this is in repayment to some past debt, a loan which bankrolled the family business in the long long ago in exchange for eyes an ears upon the traderoads of the lands. Such tall tales are likely apocryphal and lean heavily on Emirikel's legend as a spymaster in the telling, for, the family thinking goes, who better to be spies than merchants who are by nature everywhere at once but tied to none?

For Rô'an's own part he holds more to Emirikel as a guiding principle than a goddess - the pursuit of knowledge as it's own end, the slow accumulation of unanswered questions like scars - offering no prayers save his own curiosity and no devotions save his own finding. She and he have never spoken and are unlike to, despite his kinship to her temple. Some within her Aereolean clergy see this as a lack of piety and point to it as grounds for him to remain but a lay member of her cult, while others suggest, thoughtfully, that his performance of the tenants of Her faith recommend him and that Her favor is shown in his deeds, not his words.

Quirks, Facts & Habits

  • Keeps a notebook on hand at all times; in addition to the normal recordkeeping and journaling as typical of a Emirikel worshipper it is filled, in part, with maps of places Rô'an has never been; fragmentary sketches based on descriptions overheard from travelers or gleaned from the Grand Archive.
  • Rô'an is enamored of the ocean but has never been on a boat and cannot swim.
  • Rô'an's frequently engages in drinking contests: as a youth it was a way to prove his dwarfishness in the clan hold and as an adult he finds it a nonlethal way to handle whatever trouble his mixed blood might stir in the more close-minded bar patrons. He rarely looses (Alchol save of 18)
  • Was briefly (3 months) oathsworn/married to a half-elven navigator from the Islands; her ship (the Beltis) was - rightly - charged with piracy and fled to the southland seas. He has not seen her since (~5697).
  • Has a patchwork collection of scars on hands and arms from ill fated attempts at "taming" animals in the wild.
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