What Lies Beneath the Rubble
A tibbit spellthief with a ginger coat and an indomitable smirk, Ourienn Lostsea has been scampering the aisles of North College’s Zal-Rudaba library for longer than any of the students and almost half of the faculty, far longer than the two years she’s been officially helping shelve the books would suggest. Having been taken in by the head librarian, an ancient minotaur paladin by the name of Jarkarr Lostsea, when she was a small kit of unknown origins. Jarkarr took the news that his would-be housecat was a sentient being admirably well, bestowing her current name and offering to house her until her parents could be found. Lo and behold, the errant Tibbits never materialized and so the “temporary” living arrangement gradually became de facto adoption while “Ourienn” slowly superceded whatever name had once been hers.
She picked up her spellthieving tricks from a combination of the few books on technical sorcerer magic and her own experimentation. Spellthieving ability came about as the intersection of the ability to channel and direct magic (honed through dogged pestering of her father to lend her spells for practice) without the possessing the ability to generate such energy of her own.
Ourienn divides the world into two categories, work and relaxation. In the public world, she presents herself as the distant and poised librarian’s daughter, cold and aloof… When not poorly concealing mild laughing fits (bluff-check? What’s that!). In a private, relaxed atmosphere, however, she tends to turn cynical and lively, adopting an easygoing sarcasm at most times. She is consistently an organized person, choosing to live surrounded by the restrained neatness and quiet order that a life spent within a paladin’s home and a library makes familiar.
While she might sometimes entertain the question in solitude, toying with possibilities as if they were mice skittering by, Ourienn neither knows nor particularly about her birthparents’ identities or current condition. Outside of her adoptive father, she usually reacts poorly to the topic being broached in conversation, choosing to take it as an implication that she does not already have objectively the best father. And in her eyes, he certainly is the best father possible, respected in his de facto sovereignty over the library and a fair and gentle, if occasionally strict, man in general. For his part, Jarkarr finds Ourienn a constant, loyal, admittedly naïve presence and a gentle reminder that, even now, the world still turns and the young are still young. If they cut an odd pair when put beside each other, they don’t seem to mind.
If mere victory in battle and strength of will were all the Gods asked of minotaur, the Iraklion tribe would have had the broad green belt of plains that ran between the sea cliffs and the tall bluffs just south of Lord City to this day. If that were all the Gods asked, there would still be land to have or an Iraklion tribe to have it. The Iraklion had been a proud people, wearing their glories in careful engravings that spiraled around their horns and reflected (albeit rather obtusely) in their chosen last names, which they carefully selected to reflect their deeds and successes.
Jarkarr was born to the chief’s sister and, as he was unlikely to inherit the leadership of the tribe conventionally, eventually became a fine paladin, working to defend the Iraklion lands from the depredations of monsters and bandits that often roamed the lands as well. However, the Talon dynasty, while it had granted the regions original inhabitants a sort of autonomous status centuries before, had never been overly fond of the eccentricities and factionalism of the internal sub-governments the system created. With the stress of war with the Lonely Continent fast approaching, the Talon empire began to view its autonomous province as more of a liability than a necessary evil, the chief realized that it would take more than words or gold to sway the dynasty from wresting control of the lands… such as a nephew who was a respected tactician and warrior within the Talon army. For all the desperation of the plan however, it came to fruition unexpectedly well; Jarkarr took to the practice of tactics almost preternaturally well and, taking the name “Jarkarr Hawkblade”, quickly found himself advising the great generals of the Talon Empire both in the field and at the war table.
Alas, though the war may have started well for the Talons, it did not remain so. After his battalion was given orders to retreat to the Talon Empire to defend against a potential counterattack, stayed on land to supervise the small group of soldiers chosen to remain on the shore before the force could be removed in its entirety. From there, he watched the destruction of the Talon armada, everyone aware of his presence on shore and most of the supplies and provisions in what would become the Shattered Wastes. After determining that, due to the sudden disparity in relative strength in the area, any attempts at communication with the Talon Empire were overwhelmingly likely to be intercepted and used to determine their position. Instead, they chose to lay low, hoping to rejoin the Talons once they recovered the offensive. They never did.
After the Great Devastation ran its course, Jarkarr and what men he had left and tried to return to the home they had left so long ago only to find it engulfed in the waves. After they had confirmed that nothing was left of their once proud continent, Jarkarr took the name “Lostsea” in sorrow and shame and, upon returning to the Lonely Continent, officially disbanded his unit in what would be the last Talon military ceremony and they separated. Jarkarr wandered the continent for many years, eventually choosing to cut off his left horn about halfway down, just below the carvings denoting his no-longer-extant lineage and homeland. He came to settle in the city of Leech not long before the college library’s founder died of some plague or other and took over the job from him.
Nowadays, Jarkarr has long since lost the tawny fur, hardheaded confidence and slyly caustic tongue of his youth, adopting a snowy, craggy visage, and the long-suffering, ever-so-lightly sarcastic demeanor that often comes with age. His presence in the library is often one of a mostly silent monument to silence and order, effective in its imposing grandeur rather than any active enforcement of proper conduct.
A firey haired and tongued tibbit bard from a small village on the outskirts of Seabronn, Braide, like most creatures existing at the intersection of “Tibbit, bard, chaotic and Capillian-native”, lived a migratory lifestyle throughout his teenage years and into his adult life. * traveling the Lonely Continent and the Capill Islands in search of a living and new story to tell or song to sing. He’d already been working as an adventurer and scavenger for a few different agency, those legal and… less legal (That Capillians hardly possess records at all can be quite the selling point to some clients) when he found himself unusually… invested… in a particular adventuring party, particularly with their tortoiseshell-pelted necromancer, Tessa, operating within the Shattered Wastes.
Despite his long-honed responsibility avoiding senses, he stayed with the party even after his contract had officially expired and he should’ve been gone with the shore beating waves, eventually proposing to Tessa and fathering a daughter born in early Spring, almost three years after he signed the contract they’d presented him with. Unfortunately, the adventurers met with a tragedy which left Braide an only father with a mewling kit, a jagged scar running from just bellow his jaw to his elbow and an extremely estranged family. He traveled back to Leech and, feeling that it would not be possible to adequately care for a child on his own, with the lifestyle he led, left his daughter within the college grounds, hoping she’d be cared for there before setting out for the Capill Islands once more. To this day, he flinches at ginger and tortoiseshell-coated cats, knowing that he made his decision as much from fear of responsibility as from economic and lifestyle considerations.
The Zal-Rudaba Library
Founded perhaps a century and a half after the Great Devastation, the Zal-Rudaba Library is contained within a huge, sandstone and plaster ziggurat decorated extensively with tile mosaic work and accents. The reasons for this tile-work are two-fold, as it both keeps the floors and walls cool during the withering heat of midday and draws moisture away from the books and walls that might otherwise ruin the ancient tomes and scrolls that fill the halls. The library adopted the Simrugh, a mythical creature reputed to possess all knowledge with the body and tail of a peacock, the feet of a lion and the head of a dog, as its symbol soon after its founding and it has since become synonymous with both the library itself and those associated with it (colloquially known as “feathers” after the two-feather design employed on their badge).