The Weight of Rubies
Torei's leader, Maeva's father, Antazos's former slave
A. General Background.
Arkus was born into hereditary debt servitude in Sa’iph, the son of humans indebted to Dembrosio Shal Antazos, a powerful nobleman sworn to the Sajeem. Arkus was trained from his earliest days as a warrior in service to the Shal, used by Antazos as part of the Sajeem’s military. After years of service, Arkus was assigned to fight along the southern border with Torei, the upstart nation founded forty years before by debt-marked escaped from Sa’iph, who themselves fought under a series of short-reigning leaders.
In time, though, like many debt-marked stationed across the border, Arkus was swayed to the other side. Many debt-marked families were known to slip across the border to leave their children among ancient standing stones. Ordered to track, capture and return those parents for execution, Arkus instead worked to ensure their safety—and the freedom of their children. About twenty years have now passed since Arkus himself fled Sa’iph forever, joined Torei and rose after two years to take control of the disorganized Torei forces. Arkus has spent the last two decades consolidating control of Torei, and attempting to establish the country’s security not only against Sa’iph in the north, but also the predominantly Shal League city Visaiyain in the southwest.
B. Relationship With the Temple of Hamal.
Arkus’s relationship with the leaders of the Temple of Hamal is an uneasy one. The Temple has been an invaluable ally ministering to the poor, providing support for refugees, and even in providing trained and powerful fighters. However, Arkus has no desire to allow Torei to become a church-state, and must carefully handle the High Archpater’s desire for greater input into secular affairs.
C. Relationship With the High Council and the Halveetian League.
In the past five years, Arkus’s government has focused on developing better relationships with the High Council and the Halveetian League, attempting to gain their recognition of Torei’s independence from Sa’iph and an acknowledgment of the freedom of any debt-marked citizens of Torei from servitude to their Shal owners in Sa’iph. Those efforts are, behind the scenes, going well in the League, helped along by an agreement reached two years ago between Torei and the Jotunn in Farolan to open a shipyard in Hatham and to build a commercial fleet for Torei.
That compact, however, has complicated efforts to gain the support of the High Council, where the long-standing Shal dominance and historical position of the Sajeem remains strong. Sa’iph claims the Jotunn shipyard is in fact being used to design and construct warships that would allow Torei to attack Sa’iph’s own shipping fleets and coastal towns. A Sa’iph-influenced faction on the Council insists that in order to gain any support from the Council, Torei must first agree not to build any military ships of any sort.
D. The Freeman.
The first trading ship launched from Hatham was The Freeman, captained by the Jotunn mariner Delmar. Archmater Retta Pierce, lead brewmaster of the Temple of Hamal’s Storico – the Temple’s historians – was aboard as well. Aware that he lives and rules in a nest of potential vipers, Arkus also placed his 12-year-old daughter Maeva on the ship, to be delivered by Pierce to the protection of an old friend, Daned Thand in Halveet. The loss of The Freeman to Antazos, and the subsequent rescue of Maeva by the PCs was the opening adventure in the campaign.
DM’s Note: This photograph used under Creative Commons license.