The Coming of the Zioth

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Ramzi

Description

The first thought that crosses people's minds when they see Ramzi is “that man exudes violence”. He is not an especially large man – about 6', 190 lbs – but he has oversized hands, and thick forearms bearing all manner of scars, and all one can think about is how easily those arms could be used to hurt people. He also moves with a grace that belies his size, and there is sense of taut readiness about him, as if he is a coiled serpent, ready to strike. His olive skin has the perpetual tan of a man who spends most of his time outdoors. He wears plain, unadorned clothing, in order to attract as little attention as possible. Whenever he can get away with it, he wears a hood to obscure his face, and gloves to hide the tattoo on the back of his right had. His face is usually covered in several days worth of stubble, which shows signs of the same premature grey that is starting to infiltrate his close cropped, dark brown hair. His green eyes bear a haunted look that says to most who gaze into them, “I have seen things you do not want to ask about.”

Biography

Appears in turns 172.

Ramzi's first memories are of blood. At age four, he watched helplessly as his father was savagely beaten to death for a few diyars. It wasn't personal–it was just the reality of life on the streets of Darnien. The muggers didn't know that Ramzi's mother had died during childbirth, and that their murder was leaving him an orphan, nor would they have cared if they did know. The child wasn't even an afterthought for them. Just a piece of background scenery on the way to their next bit of bread and ale.

Ramzi easily could have followed his father into the grave. But harsh times had left the city littered with orphans, and Ramzi fell in with a gang of them. Alone, none of them would've lasted long, but together they were able to eke out a bare existence, surviving on a combination of scavenging, begging, and petty thievery. The gang wasn't much of a family, but it was all Ramzi had. He soon learned that in this family, the only things that mattered were strength and action. Those who were willing to go the farthest and and push the hardest were ones with the respect and the power. The early beatings hardened Ramzi and taught him that he could never back down. This lesson led to him to his first kill, at the tender age of six. A couple of the older boys had jumped Ramzi in an alleyway and taken away a moldy piece of bread he had stolen. It was the first food he had seen in two days. Ramzi did not cry. He quietly located a small, broken piece of staff that had been thrown away. The tip was jagged and sharp. Ramzi steadily approached one of his attackers, who was now sitting with his friends, enjoying a mouthful of moldy bread. The boy saw Ramzi coming, and started to break into a cocky grin, but his smile was quickly transformed into a look of horror, as in one fluid motion Ramzi drove the point of the broken staff upwards under his chin as hard as a six year old possibly could. Ramzi snatched the remains of his bread from the boy's hand as he went into seizures, and ate it right there over him as he died. No one ever stole from Ramzi again.

With his quick wits, wiry strength, and utter fearlessness, Ramzi rose to positions of power within the gang as he aged. And even though the street gang culture was primed to produce misanthropes, a funny thing happened to Ramzi–he discovered a moral compass. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say a moral compass discovered him. Around age 12, Ramzi began to suffer from strange headaches. They felt as if his head was on fire. After a while, he began to realize the headaches were associated with the times he witnessed injustices. But not just any injustice–only the kind he had the ability to influence. If one of the weaker members of the gang were being taken advantage of, or they were targeting a mark who was a good, hardworking citizen, the headaches would kick in. And then, if Ramzi intervened to rectify the situation, they would go away. It was almost as if he was being sent messages.

Eventually, Ramzi learned to listen to what he eventually thought of as his “Guide”, and began to influence the gang in positive ways. For the first time in his life he had some purpose beyond mere survival, and he felt like he was emerging from the dark. Little did he know he was about to be swept up in a darkness he never imagined.

At age 16, Ramzi was the de facto leader of his street gang. Under his strong and fair leadership, many rival gangs had seen their members defect, and their strength diminished. One day, a few of leaders from a rival gang picked off a young member of Ramzi's troop and were beating him without mercy when Ramzi came on the scene. His Guide flared up wildly and he flew at them with a rage he had rarely felt before. He singlehandedly destroyed four boys as if he was some kind of supernatural whirlwind made of elbows and knees. He breathed heavily as he watched them dragging their mangled bodies away from the scene, and that was the last thing he saw before the black hood fell over his eyes.

The rival gang had set him up to be kidnapped by the Order of the Fallen. The Fallen were one of the most notorious mercenary companies in Kingdom of Rangplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigThe Kingdom of Rang

Overview

Rang is a huge kingdom, covering more than a million square miles, and extending from the Great Sea to the Ice Sea. It dominates the area politically, militarily and religiously. Rang is a monarchy, led by King Diure LXIV, but its immense size weakens the central government. Most feudal lords manage their lands independently, and only answer to the king in the loosest sense. The king does have several pockets of power, such as in Huerten, which allow him to maintai…
. Wherever some coin could be found for swinging a sword, the Fallen were there. One of the primary ways they added new “recruits” was by kidnapping tough street kids or taking young criminals off the hands of local law enforcement. These were children who wouldn't be missed. The first order of business was to break the new recruits down, and train them in obedience. This was done by various methods that could fairly be described as torture. Some recruits took longer to break than others. Ramzi took a long time. But in the end, they all learn their place, and Ramzi was no exception. Once broken, recruits were trained in all matters military. Ramzi excelled and soon graduated to soldier status. On the day of his graduation, the back of his sword hand was branded with a tattoo marking him as one of the Fallen for all to see.

As a Fallen Soldier, Ramzi traveled widely throughout Rangplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigThe Kingdom of Rang

Overview

Rang is a huge kingdom, covering more than a million square miles, and extending from the Great Sea to the Ice Sea. It dominates the area politically, militarily and religiously. Rang is a monarchy, led by King Diure LXIV, but its immense size weakens the central government. Most feudal lords manage their lands independently, and only answer to the king in the loosest sense. The king does have several pockets of power, such as in Huerten, which allow him to maintai…
for years, fighting in more battles and killing more people than he could count. His Guide was always with him. The Fallen would fight for anyone who held purse strings. Sometimes Ramzi could fight and his guide would remain silent. But many times his head blazed with the fire of a thousand suns as he went into battle. On these occasions, he knew they were fighting in an unjust cause. But there could be no disobedience among the Fallen. So Ramzi fought two battles in these instances–one against external combatants, and another against his own spirit which protested his actions. Afterwards, he always hated himself for winning both fights.

And then, one day, he lost. Ramzi's company was hired by a petty lord to put down a town in rebellion. But when they came to the town in question, Ramzi saw it was nothing more than hardscrabble peasants, too poor to pay their taxes. His head burned so hot he was genuinely afraid his hair might catch fire. He knew he could not slaughter these people. But he also knew talking to the Captain would be an exercise in futility. That man cared for nothing so long as he got paid in the end. But Ramzi had made up his mind, and he was always dangerous in that state. The night before they were to raid the town, Ramzi slipped past the night watchmen and waited for the hard drinking Captain to leave his tent in the middle of the night and empty his bladder. As the Captain was relieving himself, Ramzi cut his throat. He then hobbled all of the horses save his own with a rapid series of slashes to the back of the beasts' legs, and rode into the night. By the time they sorted out the chain of command, and found new mounts, Ramzi knew would be able to escape. But he was escaping into a life of the hunted.

The penalty for desertion from the Fallen was always death. And the Fallen were willing to pay for information leading to deserters (or for their actual bodies–alive or dead). Ramzi was constantly on the move, never daring to stay in one place too long. He thought of cutting off the skin where his tattoo marked him, but he figured a huge scar covering the back of his sword hand was almost as telling as the tattoo itself. So mainly he wore gloves. He found work wherever a strong back was needed, and occasionally even picked up small mercenary jobs (after all, it's what he was good at) but only when his Guide did not put forth an argument. But he was always looking over his shoulder.

For a while, Ramzi managed to hide out in the town of Dunweigplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigYunim / Dunweig

by Arnell, edited by the DM

Yunim

Yunim is (in the year 577) a cosmopolitan trade center in the region of Meheiral, run by the Orithoran religion, led centrally from the great Temple of Justice. It is on the edge of Yunim Lake, making fishing one of its principal industries. The
. It was there that he heard about the old gods of the Orithoransplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigThe Orithorans

This religion, dead for five hundred years, states that all gods bow to the god of justice, and are so far beneath him that they are as the lowest of servants of a king. The Orithory, a deeply carved quarter-sphere of stone that often weighs over a thousand pounds, symbolizes justice, and is thus their primary symbol. The center of the Orithoran religion was in a region they called
, and how they sometimes still chose humans to represent them. In his whimsical moments, he sometimes wondered if he could be one of these “Abandoned Children”. But mostly, after everything he had seen, Ramzi didn't believe there were any gods at all, old or new.

After two years on the run, the weight of being a constant fugitive wore Ramzi down, and his 25 years on this world felt more like 100. He was desperate to find a place where he could settle down feel safe. The more he learned about Maelbourgplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigMaelbourg

[This map is obviously missing a lot. There aren't huge open spaces in Maelbourg.]

Maelbourg is a walled town in the Barony of Huerten, with a population of approximately six thousand. Its primary exports are textiles, wool and coal, the last of which it acquires from deposits in the nearby hills. The land on which the town sits was added to maelbourg index
, the more it seemed like it could be that place. The Morenthiansplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigMorenth

Morenth's theology revolves around the simple idea that the entire universe belongs to him, and humanity is barely worthy to bask in his radiant presence. Those who refuse to acknowledge this simple, self-evident fact heretics, and deserve punishment or death. There is no repentance for heretics
were shunned, you couldn't pay most Andithrans to set foot in the town. That sounded wonderful to Ramzi. While working in a merchant's stables in Grenzig, Ramzi saw that Balban's army was preparing to march on Maelbourgplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigMaelbourg

[This map is obviously missing a lot. There aren't huge open spaces in Maelbourg.]

Maelbourg is a walled town in the Barony of Huerten, with a population of approximately six thousand. Its primary exports are textiles, wool and coal, the last of which it acquires from deposits in the nearby hills. The land on which the town sits was added to maelbourg index
, and realized this was the perfect opportunity for him. He never had any trouble passing for a soldier, so he volunteered for a lowly infantry position, and kept to himself as much as possible on the march. During the attack on Maelbourgplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigMaelbourg

[This map is obviously missing a lot. There aren't huge open spaces in Maelbourg.]

Maelbourg is a walled town in the Barony of Huerten, with a population of approximately six thousand. Its primary exports are textiles, wool and coal, the last of which it acquires from deposits in the nearby hills. The land on which the town sits was added to maelbourg index
, he managed to slip away in the chaos of battle, shed his uniform as quickly as possible, and went about the work of establishing a low profile. Since then, he has been working odd jobs, making just enough to scrape by, primarily geting hired for heavy labor. Ramzi has never been afraid of hard work, and no job is too menial for him. All he desires is food in his belly, a roof over his head when possible, and an escape from his violent past. But of course, the past has a way of catching up with all of us…

Personality

Ramzi is the kind of man who keeps to himself, which is a prudent trait in a fugitive with a death mark on his head. His life as an orphan, and general exposure to the underbelly of life, has taught him to be mistrustful of others. He generally tries to avoid emotional entanglements, both to protect himself and others, since he can rarely afford to stay in one place for long. He is hardworking and thorough, and no one who ever hired him, no matter how menial the task, ever felt like they didn't get their money's worth. He is not particularly lawful (indeed most of his life has been spent on the wrong side of the law), but he is highly moral–this is more or less enforced by his “Guide”.

Ramzi is generally suspicious of religion. He considers himself an agnostic, but if asked, will identify as Andithran, just to avoid attracting attention. He has a special interest the Orithoranplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigThe Orithorans

This religion, dead for five hundred years, states that all gods bow to the god of justice, and are so far beneath him that they are as the lowest of servants of a king. The Orithory, a deeply carved quarter-sphere of stone that often weighs over a thousand pounds, symbolizes justice, and is thus their primary symbol. The center of the Orithoran religion was in a region they called
religion, because he wonders if he can learn more about his Guide from their ancient teachings.

He thinks magic is possible–indeed he wonders if his Guide is a kind of magic–but he has had little real world exposure to it. Those he has know who have claimed to be conjurors, have always turned out to be charlatans.

He imagines the Zioth is just an old wives tale, but in his darker moods, he thinks it might be a good thing if it were true, as the world could use a rebuilding.

Religion

He was not raised with much religion due to his being orphaned at four, but if asked, he will say he is Andithran. In reality, he considers himself a skeptic of all religions, but wonders if there might some truth to the ancient Orithoranplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_bigThe Orithorans

This religion, dead for five hundred years, states that all gods bow to the god of justice, and are so far beneath him that they are as the lowest of servants of a king. The Orithory, a deeply carved quarter-sphere of stone that often weighs over a thousand pounds, symbolizes justice, and is thus their primary symbol. The center of the Orithoran religion was in a region they called
traditions.