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Author Topic: Therual Urrio - Human, R'mart - Blacksmith  (Read 2657 times)
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Rual Urrio
Metalworking Wanderer
Approved Character
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Gender: Male
Posts: 44

Human, R'mart


« on: October 26, 2009, 12:25:26 AM »

Just in case anyone wonders why I'm writing such an underdeveloped race that should probably be restricted, the mods have given me the all clear to create a r'unorian ;)


Name
Therual ‘Rual’ Urrio (thee-ROO-ahrl OOH-ree-oh, 'roo' and 'ooh' rhyme with shoe and chew)

Gender
Male

Age
Thirty-Three

Race
Human

Tribe
R’mart, of R’unor.

Occupation
Blacksmith and metalworker

Title
Metalworking Wanderer

Overview
Ask a peasant who’d just encountered him what he thought of Therual Urrio, and he would no doubt reply “Buggr’d if I know. He looked so strange and foreign I was a-staring so much I hardly noticed what he said.”

Ask a middle class chap who’d just shared his company for a few hours and you’d hear: “He was an agreeable sort of fellow. Very amiable. Very pleasant.”

Request a young lady’s opinion and she’d blush and say ”Oh- well- he was- he was- nice. Yes, he was nice, wasn’t he? And, oh- he was handsome!”

And ask someone who’d known him for a good few weeks, and they would probably grin, then frown, then pause, and finally say: “I thought he were lovely when we first met. Such a kind sort, such as you don’t see oft. But… he is strange in his awkwardness, y’see? Tis like a long-limbed lad in a little man’s body. And he is so cheerful- and cheerful all the bloody time! Tis a wonder his face don’t split from smiling.”

Such is Rual, the R’unorian blacksmith.

Appearance

Height
One ped, two fores and two palmspans.

Weight
1 Pygge, 2 Hebs, 1 Hafeb, and 2 Ods

Hair Colour
Pure black.

Eye Colour
Bright, light green.

Physical Appearance
As a handsome man of medium height and wiry build, Therual’s real distinguishing feature to Santharians is not his good looks, but his race. His skin is strikingly dark, and while not the same obsidian black as many of his tribe, it is of a lustrous near-black that appears deep brown wherever light hits. The effect is dazzling, as in strong light his face is often streaked with bars and planes of near-white highlights, as his dark skin shines so brightly. His hair is of an even darker black than his skin, and curls loosely and thick. He normally cuts it to his jaw line, though it often grows down and out, with curls making a low halo around his face. In contrast to his dark colouring are his eyes. They are light, piercing green and glitter bright as jewels.

When you’ve grown used to Rual’s exotic appearance and aren’t staring quite so much at him (for he is almost always stared at by pale Santharian types), his actual face become apparent. He is an undeniably handsome man, with even features, a straight nose, a rounded, long, face, slanting eyes that add more exoticism to his standardly handsome cast of face, and wide and slightly pouting lips a few shades lighter than his skin. This mouth is almost always either tightened to a pale line in concentration as he works, or curving in a sheepish half-smile. When he speaks it is in perfect Tharian with a distinctively northern-Santharian lilt, with only the slightest edges and syllables of a foreign accent.

His work has kept him very lean and thickened his arms, though he is not particularly spectacularly muscled anywhere else. His torso, from chest to navel, is flat and almost hairless, though if in a lull in smithying, or physical activity generally he develops a little fat around his belly. As if to make up for the lack of strongman muscles so many erroneously assume blacksmiths to possess, his shoulders, neck and upper back are encased in a network of traditional R’mart tattoos in a white and pale green ink.

Below his neck, and dominating the web, is a stylized image of the R’unorian turtle in green. Abstract white line patterns gather around the four corners its flippers form. On his left shoulder blade is a man’s profile, representing the R’unorian god of metalworking, H’lf’ik, and on the right, a more androgynous profile representing W'ri'cañe, deity of healing and friendship. Below the turtle, and sloping diagonally inward from the bottom two turtle flippers, to his spine, are two long, segmented shapes that represent the pit worm, the Urrio family’s source of wealth.

In the triangle just above his pelvis nestles what appears at first to be little more a triangle of green curls and lines. After a moment it reveals itself to be a stylized mountain peak surrounded by what is perhaps meant to be swirling mist. Demerualia Urrio, who was a prominent member of the guards council centuries ago, and greatly influential in various matters, and therefore the Urrio’s most exalted ancestor, was said to have a handsome, loyal husband who came from the strange, beautiful, and generally uninhabited Grey Mountains. So, it was only natural they became the Urrio family symbol for males. The turtle, worms, and family crest were inked when Rual was an adolescent, as family custom dictated, the god-symbols chosen by him, later in life.

Far more subtle are the twin designs encasing his calves and heels. He had them inked just before leaving the isles for Sarvonia, and seem to be two vertical sets of rows waving lines, representing the sea’s waves, that end in a tangle of crisscrossing, jumbled lines. He says they represent the god Murlar, who, amongst other things, stands for the deep ocean and the unknown, and as Rual was about to make a long sea voyage to an unknown land, unsure when he would be on R’unorian soil once again, one can imagine for oneself the significance they had for him.

Clothing
Rual’s everyday dress still echoes the clothing of his homeland. His favourite, oldest outfit consists of close fitting breeches of a soft black leather, now covered in a network of hairline creases meshing around his legs. These are held up by a thick belt buckled with a silver R’unorian turtle, its shell inlayed with purple glass. Hooked onto this belt, though concealed by his shirt, is his dagger sheath. His trousers are normally hastily tucked into his old, chunky, sturdy black boots that reach about halfway up his thigh. They are stained and scratched and make a satisfying clump with each step.

Over his torso he wears a loose kind of tunic, cut from a silky material, in the style of his old R’unorian robes, with wide sleeves and a black cloth belt tied about his midriff, helping to hold it shut. He used to proudly wear R’unorian purple, and with him he still carries a purple and lilac tunic robe that drapes across his form. But after realising that, to Santharians, purple was an exotic and expensive colour, and so made him stand out yet further, he put away his purple shirt and has had tailored a deep grass green tunic-robe, trimmed with black and a paler green. It looks ordinary enough, though certainly not shabby, and certainly caters to his rather awkwardly self conscious vanity, as it wonderfully highlights his striking eyes.
In colder climes he wears simple cloth shirts beneath his tunic, and wraps himself in a stained and tattered black leather coat and a cape lined with wolf fur.

Rual very rarely wears jewellery, despite crafting so much of it himself. He thinks it too fancy and fiddly and would rather wear a few suits of well tailored, moderately expensive clothes than have armfuls and earfuls of flashy, cheap trinkets. Very occasionally he puts on a few silver bangles, or a fine chained silver anklet if he feels it will accentuate his dress, but never anything more.

On the very rare occasions when he feels it appropriate, Rual removes his old set of R’unorian robes from his pack. Although they are hardly ever worn, he keeps them neat with religious carefulness, wrapping them in cloth and stowing them in a separate compartment of his bag. They are one of his last direct links to his homeland and by keeping them secure he feels he can still securely call himself R’unorian.

All three of these old robes reach below the knee, and are of light material that shimmer a little and move like water in a breeze when he so much as shifts, and all have elbow length sleeves. Two are a rich R’unorian violet, trimmed with black and silver and tied with black leather belts. One is embroidered on the back with a R’unorian turtle, the other’s cloth patterned with abstract silver lines, and the third is plain save for its trimmings.

Personality
Outwardly, Rual appears to possess a simple, untroubled soul. He is quiet in strange company, though not unfriendly, and will happily chat if someone else engages him in conversation, and is a fair font of exuberant cheerfulness to those he knows best. Over the course of such a conversation with him, one might distinguish a certain awkwardness in this quiet demeanour, which surfaces prominently enough now and then that he is as clumsily self-conscious as any adolescent, twisting his words and speaking as little as he can. This ill-at-ease disposition can generally be drawn out by paying him more attention then he feels he deserves, or showing a little more insight into his inner workings than folk normally glean. Rual has grown comfortable with the idea that he will always be the kind of person who never inspires very much interest in anyone – save perhaps initial wonder at his foreignness, or polite enthusiasm- and is disconcerted when this view is challenged.

Even when gawky, he is endearing. Rual exudes a certain gentle, comforting kindness to everything about him, simply by the way he seems so cheerful and mild, and tries his best to show goodwill to all. This has made many feel instinctively inclined to like him at least a little, in the same way one might find it hard to malign a puppy. He does his best not to offend, and cannot stand to think anyone might not like him, or feel wronged by him. He takes this need to please others a little too far sometimes, trying to keep others so happy his own life is worsened, often choosing to tell a soft, comforting but ultimately destructive lie over a truth, that while it cuts and hurts at first, will heal clean.

This has lead to various situations in which he suffers, not least of which his slight dependence on Queprer’s bane and smokeweed, developed because he felt he couldn’t say no to his companion’s offer of the drug. The one occasion were he did manage to speak up for himself, back in his homeland, took will and energy he has been unable to gather since.

Rual is also undeniably optimistic, at least on the exterior. He is almost never outwardly angry, and even when provoked will show only a kind of sad disappointment. He is always pleasant, if not always bursting with happiness, and will always set to work on something new with plenty of enthusiasm if his previous endear fails.

This optimism is an outward sign of his inner drive. To a casual observer Rual might well seem the sort of vaguely amiable drifter who never quite has the passion to do anything great. This seeming lack of zeal often prevents people from feeling anything more than gentle liking for him, even when it is a somewhat erroneous view. Rual is, in fact, good at getting what he wants, once he has decided exactly what he does want. When he sets his sights on a solid goal he will slowly but certainly pull himself towards it. He does not have the quick passion of some, that washes away obstacles liked a flood, but the slower and steadier drive of eroding water, which can break down mountains.

Yet, this front of simple pleasantness is half real, but half constructed. Rual is a deeply melancholy individual. After years of trying to hide this even from himself, he is finally facing this facet of his character. He desperately longs to belong somewhere, or be truly needed by someone. On the few occasions where he has finally found somewhere he could be content some piece of bad luck has thrown him back to a wandering, lonely life, and he is beginning to feel he will never, really, have a home or a place to belong to. Still, he enjoys his freedom and loves to learn and see new things, and so is not entirely unhappy or disheartened. A small crumb of hope keeps him nearly as cheerful inside as he likes to show others he is on the outside.

Rual’s R’unorian upbringing has not been entirely wiped out by his years learning Santharian ways. Being brought up in a once strictly matriarchal society still rife with sexism, he firmly believes women to be above or at least equal to men in every aspect, unlike many other Santharian men, and is very respecting of females. Many are also a little startled that such a gentle man will frequently talk quite candidly about things as supposedly coarse as sex. He does it with no lecherous vulgarity: simply, he was never brought up to see these more ‘base’ aspects of humanity as anything to be ashamed of: they are just another part of being alive. Indeed, he is still mildly bemused that Santharians are so prudish about something as natural as nudity. Nevertheless, he does try not to be too frank as he quickly learnt from the shock his R’unorian manner created in well-brought up Santharians. From a R’unorian perspective, however, Rual is a little odd, however, as characteristic R’unorian suspicion is weak in him. To a R’unorian he seems overly rash and trusting, but to a Santharian this manifests itself as friendly shyness.

Being used to a lifestyle in R’unor more luxurious than most in Sarvonia keep, Rual enjoys luxuries and creature comforts. While he is more than happy to live rough and wild, he revels in the few small indulgences he can create, such as keeping a neat appearance, or eating well.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths
Smithying skill  Rual has is moderately proficient in many areas of metal crafting. He can do a blacksmith’s job well enough, smithying blades and shoeing horses, but has particular talent in the shaping and engraving of metal into sculptures and trinkets. He generally gets a good source of income from this skill.

Cart and horses are always handy   Having his own cart and ponies might not make travel much quicker for Rual, but it certainly makes it easier. He can also keep all manner of goods and tools necessary to his trade close by that a cart-less wanderer would find impossible to carry.

Literate and educated  Rual can read and write Tharian almost perfectly, and has a good grasp of arithmetic and numeracy generally, which helps him to perform more complicated business transactions, and gain knowledge quickly. Being from a good family in R'unor, he was taught the basic foundations of subjects such as geography and literature, even though he was male. While his knowledge in these subjects pertains almost exclusively to R'unor and is useless in santharia, it has gifted him with a love of learning, and he is quick to pick up new things.


Weaknesses
Deep set loneliness, stored inside   Rual is a very melancholy individual, and finds it nigh impossible to communicate this to anyone. He was brought up to be seen and not heard, and desperately wants some kind of real connection with another human. This can lead to his friendliness taking an unnervingly edgy quality, as he desperately tries to engage with those around him, as well as bouts of awkwardness when actually confronted with someone interested in him, as he has no clue what to do in such a situation. Neither of which are at all helpful in forging the bonds he wants so much.

Artist’s addictions    Rual is prone to abuse addictive substances, a habit he began while staying with a group of artists. Primarily, he smokes Queprur’s Blight, an indulgence he partakes in every few days. Second, he is apt to take rather too much of the herbal medicine Lesrin’mar, or any other similar medicinal substance when he can get hold of it, or is injured or aching enough for it to seem plausible that he needs it, though he is not particularly dependent on these as he is on Queprur's Blight. He suffers severe withdrawal symptoms if without the former of the two for more than three days.These effects first manifest as an inability to concentrate on anything properly and a general lack of drive. This soon develops into feverish chills and shaking, and finally unbearable sharp headaches coupled with insomnia, a combination of which eventually leaves him almost incapacitated. A fair portion of his time, is therefore, spent trying to acquire more Queprur’s Blight in the woods he passes through.

Look, it’s a foreigner!   It would be absolutely impossible for Rual to pass as a native Santharian. His exotic appearance means he can never be anything but conspicus, and is often treated with mistrust by locals. Also, while he does now know a fair deal about the customs and ways of northern Santharia, anywhere else, or in certain situations, he can find himself confronted with ways completely alien to him.

Just say no  Rual is absolutely terrible at standing up to anyone, or turning anything down. He finds it excruciatingly hard to say or do anything that might possibly cause offence to anyone, and is just as bad at lying his way out of tricky affairs as he is afraid of being found out. This trait has landed him in all kinds of situations he would rather not be in, but can’t get out of, over the years. He would no doubt be easy to overpower in a fight, physical or verbal, as he is so unwilling to engage in conflict.

Short of breath   A combination of heavy smoking and many years working around fires or in smoking forges has damaged Rual's breathing somewhat. He becomes short of breath quite easily, especially after moderately exerting physical activity such as running for more than five or ten minutes, or after exacting smithying work hammering blades or armour, or when panicked or startled. When seriously affected, he needs to sit or lie down for some minutes before he can steady his breathing.

History
The birth of Therual Urrio was a thing of little consequence to the people of a little village near the outskirts of Thalon. Eherual Urrio was filled with mother love for her new boy, of course, but as her fourth child, and her third boy, the new baby was hardly celebrated as much as Ruala, the first born Urrio daughter, had been, in the matriarchal R’mart society.

So, for all his childhood, Therual went unnoticed. He grew up with little help or encouragement or pushing. Instead, granted the freedoms that being both of a good family- for the Urrio family ran a business farming worm meat and raising lurker beetles in the nearby black fields-, and being male and therefore a little insignificant, Rual’s early years drifted by without anyone taking any interest in them, though all would agree he was ‘quite the charming little boy, and such a gentleman’, and yet he remained very much in the background: like a pleasant landscape, very much admired, but vague and never actually affecting anything much or coming into contact with anyone.

This detachment was hardly patched up by the three siblings who followed Rual. All were girls, and so all were doted upon and raised with almost as much devotion as Ruala, the family heir. Sandwiched between so many fine females, Rual dwindled ever further from anyone and everyone’s attention.

Yet Rual would never have called his childhood unhappy. The community was pleasant, the landscape astounding, and all were amiable towards him. He was quite content to drift from home to home, often offered bread or tidbits by those he visited respectful of his good family, and often playing quietly with the other boys. But generally he like to wander in the nearby hills and forests, finding the secret ways of the landscape, or sit and chat with whoever would oblige, though no-one ever paid him quite enough attention to give him the proper conversation he craved.

Ten years after his uneventful birth, Rual began to visit the local smithy more regularly than the rest of the community. He asked odd questions of the smith, but was generally quiet. It was a surprise, therefore, to the blacksmiths- a stern woman and her husband assistant- when it became apparent that Rual had picked up all the simple mechanics of the trade, and showed a vague, amiable interest in learning more. So, as with all things in his childhood, Rual drifted placidly into smithying without any pushing save that vague, amiable enthusiasm that still seemed to strangely end in what he wanted.

Of course, being a male of a fairly rich and respected family, Rual was never expected to have much of a career. His interest in the beautiful crafting of the smithy was barely noticed, and thought not much more than a boyish hobby. If he had to work, it would be in something of his parent’s choosing, though they hoped to marry him off when he was of a good age and avoid all that hassle.

Nothing much was made of this predetermined fate until Rual began to grow into a young man. As a child he was generally described as a ‘pretty little thing’ but this changed to ‘rather handsome’ as his legs lengthened and his voice lowered. It was only natural that folk began to whisper what a good match could be made with such a good looking boy.

Rual’s awareness of this grew in the same slow, vague way the rest of his life had progressed, If he was worried, he showed no real sign of it. The time he spent in the smithy increased a little, but no-one really minded that.

Then, when he was seventeen, it began to be whispered that ‘certain things’ were being discussed with a rich family in nearby Thalon, who were closely connected to the Guild of Librarians. It was not at all difficult to make the connections. The family’s youngest daughter, a pretty young lady of twenty-three years, was going to inherit less than Rual, even as a female, but she was still, of course, infinitely more connected and affluent than the worm-handling Urrios.

None of this was ever told to Rual by the family for over a year. At a gathering a few months after his eighteenth birthday, the Urrios and the librarian linked Rukuan family ‘happened’ to meet. Rual was introduced to the young lady, and the two chatted nicely enough for all the evening. Their mothers left for home that night both wide-eyed and grinning with pride and greed.

Two months and several visits to meet the Rukuans later, and Rual’s mother told him, quite suddenly, that he was to be married to Yulan Rukuan, in half a year at most. At this news, Rual was simply silent for a moment, then nodded and smiled, in his mild, vague way.

So it was quite a surprise when Rual’s older brother found his sibling had packed all his most important possessions, and been pilfering dried food from their stores. Naturally, his mother confronted him as soon as she discovered what Rual was planning to do. Their conversation went a little something like this:


“Therual.”
He stopped.
“Therual.”
He made a noise that could have been a breath, or the smallest of small, sad sighs.
“Turn around.”
He obliged, and walked slowly from the doorway to the table she stood behind. Finally he glanced up and smiled in his mild, vague way.
“Mother?”
“You are planning to run away.”
He didn’t answer.
“Answer your mother, boy!”
“I’m planning to leave.”
“No. To leave- you would tell us. This deception, this sneaking- you are going to run away from us!”
No answer.
“You don’t want to be  married? You want to make us look fools and run away from the happiness, the prosperity, that’s being handed to you?”
“Of course I don’t want to marry her.”
She slammed her fist upon the table, making all the cups and plates jump.
“That is insolence!”
“She’s nice. She is. I just don’t love her, ma’am. I won’t, ever, I know it. I can’t be stuck in marriage so soon. It’ll stifle me. You might as well be chaining me up. I can’t. I’m sorry.”
Her face slackened a fraction, and her voice softened. “Love grows with time, if you can let it. It’s a good match, and you get on so well, and, well, we’re giving you a certain, safe future and - it will help the family so.” “But I.” He frowned, briefly, as if his thoughts had caught and he was pulling them free. “But I don’t want that.”
At that, she looked utterly stunned, as if he were a tree telling her he simply didn’t want to be cut down.
“You were such a good boy, Rual…”
Something knife-cold and angry flashed over his soft features.
“It’ll wither and rot. Not grow. I know it. I don’t want that. This is what I want. I don’t - I don’t ask anything ever, do I? Please let me have it.”
She sighed, and her whole body seemed to deflate and give up. The air in the little room loosened.
“You’ll be happy?”
“Very, I hope.”
“Just remember to say goodbye, then.”
His face spread out briefly in a huge, purely joyous grin. It soon shrank back to a small, vague smile. Yet there was something, perhaps, a glint or a fire, behind his face, that hadn’t burnt a minute before.
“Thankyou.” he said, and turned and left her in the little room.


All agreed that Rual’s departure was a ‘saddening thing, for he was such a nice, good little boy’, and it provided good enough gossip to keep any old widow happily scandalized for months. Yet after that the village relaxed back, and it was very much as if that quiet, smiling boy had never lived there at all.

Rual, meanwhile, was free. He travelled across the black plains to the city of R’unor. He was half starved by the time he arrived. R’unorian suspicion of strangers meant he was rarely given enough trust by those in the little villages he passed through to mend their daggers or craft them a trinket, so to keep as much of his meagre money for food enough to survive had to travel by foot.

More than a month later, he arrived, gaunt, hardened, and with his soft, mild form reduced to wiry lines. He still attributes his body’s tendency to quickly store fat to this starvation period, and has rather enjoyed his food ever since.

In the city he finally managed to get a proper job. After a few more days of starving penury, wandering through the city streets and sleeping in alleys, he happened upon a foundry, whose master did not turn him away. Blaij was a bitter old woman, certainly, but let the hollow-faced young man demonstrate his decent skill with hammer and anvil, and agreed to let him live, sleep and work in the smouldering, clamouring building for a fair fee. Rual worked well enough, and seemed content to go about his business as quietly as he had before. He had plenty to learn, as the three other prentices who also called the foundry home, and her their housemate, where far more skilled even though they were younger than Rual, as they had been entered into formal apprenticeship early. He managed this feat well enough, and in half a year was as proficient as any of the other prentices.

Rual spent close to three years in the city of R’unor. His skill in smithying iron, steel, and more delicate work with precious metals grew to a respectable level. While quite good at crafting armour and weapons, he showed a talent in making trinkets, bracelets and ornaments, and sold his work for a decent sum. He spent money on almost nothing but food, and slowly, from nothing, built up a small stash of gold.

Even when not coughing and hammering in the foundry, Rual was busy. He would, when he could, slip through the streets to libraries or other places of the librarian’s guild, or any place of knowledge, to try and learn and learn as much as he could of everything there was to know. In particular, he filled his mind with knowledge of that vast, grand land to the east: Sarvonia. As soon as he found the means of doing so, Rual began to teach himself Tharian.

Rual loved his freedom in the city, and while he now set his own path, he was still a pleasant, not much noticed outsider to most around him. Everyone liked him, certainly, but no-one loved him. If anything, the vast city had set him even further adrift from any sort of meaningful contact with humanity as he found the myriad societies and circles within it impossible to penetrate, especially as he was male. R’unor seemed to hold little for him except obscurity, or marriage.

So it was hardly a surprise, or at least it would have been to anyone who paid attention to such matters (which was no-one) when, at the age of twenty-one, Rual paid for passage on a ship to Sarvonia. He had been planning on to do so almost as soon as he arrived in the city, and spent a fair amount of his small stash just to board.

Once more alone and drifting towards an unknown place, Rual took his last look at his homeland as the ship sailed east.

The vessel docked in Naurooth many months later. Rual found himself set apart even further from those around him, in the bewildering foreign land. Yet, as always, his mild, unwavering determination somehow pulled him towards his goals, however distant and however look he took to reach them. Still, his first months in north Sarvonia were stressed and frightening. The world Rual found himself in was one whose every aspect was foreign. While he knew Tharian well enough, he found that in Naurooth and the lands around almost all spoke a very different tongue, and even those who could speak a little of the southern language found his accent nearly unintelligible. He spent over a year in Naurooth. He managed to mime his way into the simple work of the docks, and picked up a stash of basic kuglimz along with a little more gold. But through that long, tiring time, he knew he had to get south if he wanted to make anything of himself and piece by piece built up all he needed to travel to that promised land.

Finding that R’unorian currency was worth far more in Sarvonia thanks to the precious metal and stone it was made of meant Rual’s stash had grown back to quite a size quickly after landing in Sarvonia, and Rual left Naurooth with a cart he had built himself filled with a fair amount of battered metal working kit, all of which was pulled by two young Landesh fillies, Crown and Pippin, bought from a  breeder who had a surplus of the animals after bringing a few back from his Naurooth travels with the intent to sell a few to the local eccentric menagerie keeper, Reve’lor.

He set south, travelling towards that wide, golden land he had heard so much of: Santharia.

Five months later, and by then twenty-three, Rual drove through the gates of Nyermersys. He was, to put it simply, overwhelmed. The metropolises of R’unor had been just as large, but the northern capital was so different to any settlement he had before entered. It was so loud, so vibrant, so coarse and earthy. He was enchanted.

 Rual threw himself into the strange new world, as ever absorbing all he could and delighting in being finally able to use and practice the Tharian tongue. Indeed, over his four year stay in the city he picked up a northern accent and slightly Erpheronian way of phrasing things that have resolutely clung to him so many years later.

Nevertheless, life remained tough. The alien world and peoples he so desperately wanted to be a part of shared none of little enthusiasm to take him in. His strange foreign looks and customs set him too much apart from those around him, and folks preferred the easy route of keeping wary of him, rather than trying to see beyond superficialities. His home was an inn room and he got by on odd repair jobs, and hawking trinkets at market.

A year went by and Rual had no friends in Nyermersys: only acquaintances. As in R’unor it proved difficult to infiltrate the long-established circles of society within the city.

Then, quite by chance, one day a small boy blundered into Rual’s stall, knocking bits and pieces astray. This clumsy young thing was soon followed by a man in fine clothes in considerable amount of distress, who appeared to be his father, chasing the child after it had slipped from his sight on a stroll round the city. Thanking Rual, apparently for so considerately putting his stall in the path of the small escapee, he professed Rual’s craftings ‘most agreeable’, and asked if Rual would consider mending a few old pieces of armour and reshoeing his horses back at his estate. The man was a very wealthy noble by the name of Myrash Korrister, known for his benevolent and often eccentric impulses. Rual agreed, and Myrash kept Rual busy with a steady stream of minor chores for a couple of months, and finally announced that he would like to employ Rual  permanently as a smith on his estate, offering him lodging in a spare room of the servant’s quarters.

Naturally, Rual consented again, and so began the first truly happy stage of his life.

Rual worked hard on the sprawling Korrister estates, helping with all manner of practical tasks as well of smithying, for the family and outside customers. All in that household liked him for his kind, gentle nature, and many grew to love him dearly.

It was, then, a cruel trick of fate that the one who grew to love him dearest of all was Myrash’s only daughter.

Naealla Korrister was a small, fey girl who hid a surprisingly passionate temperament behind her genteel lady’s graces. At first Rual saw very little of her, as she always seemed to tucked away in some dusty corner of the mansion tasked with studying with the governess, or sewing and mending, or some other ladylike discipline. But gradually, she began to stop by the stable and outbuildings more and more. Rual tried to be friendly and kind towards her, as he was to anyone else, though he had not yet learned enough of the ways and customs of society in Nyermersys to act meek and humble towards the noble young lady, as all other servants did. Perhaps it was this bold spark Rual showed Naealla that lit a fire of affection within her. Perhaps it was his exotic and handsome nature, or the simple illicit thrill of a relationship between a noble and a mere servant. Perhaps it was simply his kindness.
It was likely all or most of those things, and together the compelled Naealla to fall very deeply in love with Therual.

She professed as much to him a year into his employment at the Korrister estate. Rual was as shocked and flattered as any other suddenly discovering they are an object of romantic attention: he had certainly not expected it, as he liked Naealla, with her fiery, witty nature, but had never once supposed she thought him anything more than a pleasant amusement. He did not directly reciprocate her feelings at this news, but gave such a warm response to her declaration that Naealla decided, with the stubbornness of many of her proudmen kin, that he loved her back. By the time Rual realized this it was too late to tell Naealla otherwise without completely shattering her young heart. Of course, true to his nature, Rual would rather take his part in the deception, however much it vexed him, than be honest and crush another, even if he knew deep in some long buried part of himself that the latter was the most honorable course.

Certainly, he liked Naealla very much, and they got on very well, and as their relationship developed into a secret courtship, he grew to care for her very deeply. Yet as much as he pretended otherwise, those strong, warm feelings were never quite love.

Rual did his best to secretly woo Naealla in as romantic a way as he could. He bought her little gifts, and snuck out with her at night to the lands around the city. After a while, they began to bed together – the first time he had ever lain with a woman. This depend his affection for her, yet still he did not quite love her. Naealla, meanwhile, was completely and hopelessly in love with her handsome, foreign blacksmith.

This went on for almost two years. Rual was content and Naealla blissful- until she began to talk of elopement. Rual didn’t contradict her as he would never have had the courage to admit his feelings for her were not strong enough for him to really want to take this bold step. Besides, he was too happy and settled in the city and didn’t want to destroy his life in Nyermersys in favour of an uncertain future. So, for months, he simply tried to sidestep the subject whenever Naealla raised it.

Yet his life in the city was to be utterly destroyed anyway, and in only a few days.

Some of the household servants had, latterly, known of the relationship between Rual and Naealla, but liked Rual enough that he persuaded them to keep quiet, however much they disapproved.

As if to counter the luck that had brought him to the state, it was bad luck that drove him out.

The eldest Korrister boy, Calodin, who was high-ranking in the Nymeran army, was returning home from quelling Gob-Oc disturbances in the Tandala highlands, and happened to be taking a more circular route to reach Nyermersys, rather than the normal northern river side. In the lands outside the city he chanced to spot an unnaturally dark-skinned figure on a nearby slope, who appeared to be embracing a somehow familiar figure. By the time he had identified it as his sister, the couple were gone.

He returned to the Korrister mansion seething with the news that his sister had some ‘dark, secret suitor’. The household and family realized instantly what had been going on between the foreign smith and young Miss Naealla. It was too late for either of them to flee.
Myrash, ever the mild sort of fellow, was simply hugely disappointed. He might have been happy to let Rual stay so long as he had no contact with Naealla. It was his wife, Vanya, a sharp woman in every way, whose temper burst.

Vanya beat her daughter viciously that night, and would have done far worse to Rual if he had not been gone the next morning. He would have been turned out of the house anyway, and rather than face that, and the humiliation of being known around Nyermersys as the servant who had dared to make a whore of a noble girl, he gathered his things, dragged his old cart from the outbuilding home to all little used household implements, and brought Pippin and crown from their semi-retirement in the estate paddock, and was ready to leave in hours.

Naealla was being closely guarded in the house, and it would have been suicidal to try and reach her. So, Rual drove from the city without even being able to say goodbye to the only person who had ever truly needed him.

Rual, twenty-seven on leaving Nyermersys, spent half a year travelling somewhat aimlessly through northern Santharia, passing through Enthronia and as far south as the Kyranian lands of Vardynn. Once more he was completely alone. Worse, he had no proper goal to gather towards and give him hope that there was going to be something good in the future. His life was not unpleasant, though as his skill in metal crafting and other more practical aspects of smithying had grown substantially, and he made a good living wandering from farm to village, often sleeping in his cart or beneath the stars. He liked his free, wild life, but he was still not truly at peace.

Eventually Rual’s need to at least try to seek some human company led him north and west, to Voldar.

Being back in a huge city was certainly not soothing to the now twenty-eight year old Rual’s soul, but far more thrilling and hopeful than his wild life had been, as much as he had loved his year of wandering freedom. After a few weeks staying in an inn and desperately trying to find some kind of employment, he stumbled upon a sort of association of artisans – though they called themselves a guild – in a backstreet of the city. He returned with some examples of his more artistic crafting. The artisans rather liked these ornaments, and agreed he could join them in their attempts to hawk their trade and wares on the markets, while trying to get the attention of wealthy would-be patrons.

Rual slept and lived in the strange little building and felt, finally, part of something again. The artisans themselves were as varied as their professions. Few were native to Voldar, or even Vardynn, and even counted two half-elf siblings and an orc from Ximax amongst their ranks. Rual was still seen as far more foreign and strange than these mutual Santharians, but they were all still misfits, and that helped to bond them.

Amongst these eccentrics was a half eyelian, half serphelorian woman sculptor called Jiona. She was generally described by her fellow male artisans as a ‘tall, dusky beauty’. Rual simply thought of her as radiant. She had inherited all the best qualities of each of her tribes, and Rual soon became bewitched by her.

Jiona seemed to like Rual, as all the artists liked him, in the instinctive way people cannot feel anything but inclined to like simple kindness. But she hardly ever concerned herself with him beyond polite formalities. He lacked the artistic zeal and bite that she adored in her men.

A few months short of a year into his stay in Voldar, and Rual felt as settled as he had been in Nyermersys before his relationship with Naealla became tangled beyond unraveling. Then, one cold night, he and a group of the artisans were celebrating a noble’s recent patronage of their association in a tavern on the city edge. Being inclined to artistic excess, they all became very drunk within the space of hours. Rual, though hardly coherent, was still the most sober. He was returning from the privy, trying to navigate the courtyard with as much dignity as he could, when he spotted a familiar shape struggling in an alcove of the various outbuildings. He found Jiona struggling lethargically against two unsavoury men who held her arms and pawed at her clothes.

Given fiery nerve by the drink in his belly, that would normally have been unthinkable in him when sober, Rual drew his almost never used R’unorian dagger and advanced on the two lechs. They were unnerved by his fierce bravado enough to loose their attention on Jiona so much so that she could slip from them and escape.

Rual didn’t follow. Now faced with two angry rogues cheated of their trophy, he stood his ground. After a very brief tussle Rual was left with a few bruises, whereas the two rogues sported knife wounds and one was missing fingers. They had underestimated his blacksmith’s strength, and his drunken courage, and both fled.

Retiring to the tavern, Rual was met with strangely wary congratulations. The two rogues associated with one of the more powerful criminal gangs in Voldar, and while all the patrons heartily applauded Rual on standing up to long despised trouble makers, they all feared what form the gang superiors retribution for such bravado would take.

Jiona, meanwhile, by then very, very drunk, draped herself on Rual, and with the slow-moving, indefinable but unstoppable attraction that leads to such events, Rual finally found himself in a tavern room bed with the object of his desire.

Bu after their one brief hour of clumsy intimacy, Rual discovered Jiona behaved towards him just as she had before, treating him with not wholly unkind indifference. She refused utterly to speak about the night at the tavern, other than to thank him for coming to her aid. Rual tried to convince himself that this spurning did not matter, as he did not, truly, love Jiona. Yet a sour undercurrent had slid into his life at the association, and would not be shifted.

It was a pity that, when for the second time in his life he was actually at the centre of something significant, it was again for all the wrong reasons.

Life went on normally for a good few months. Then, Rual began to realize he was being watched and followed almost wherever he went. It slowly became clear that the gang leaders  had discerned who was behind the assault on their cronies, and had decided, probably because they were bored and had little else to occupy their  days, to try and take their revenge on this upstart.

Threats began to be sent to the association itself; warning of trouble for all the ramshackle artisan’s complex, if the artists didn’t turn Rual over. Rual’s fellow housemates tried to ignore these vague, occasional notes, but the air around the building subtly shifted. It became a little chilly, or rather, became a little chilly around anything concerning Rual.

Then, a poet of the association was assaulted in the backstreets around the association, and they snapped. The city guards had been trying to find and punish the gang members responsible, but the group was so widespread and secretive this was near impossible.
The threats became more explicit, and the artisan’s mood towards Rual became positively stony.

Rual liked his life and companions at the association. But now he was an outcast in the building, and a fugitive from the ever present gang on the streets of Voldar.

The artisans met his announcement that he would be leaving the association, and Voldar itself, with relief scarcely hidden by feigned disappointment. Rual was packed up in a few days. All the artisans followed his cart to the gates and saw him off with as much warmth as they had shown him before things had curdled. As he disappeared from sight, and they turned back to the bustle of the city, some of their cannier members noticed a few shady looking individuals slipping off into alleyways, looking rather dissatisfied. The gang didn’t trouble the association again, and soon all trace of Rual was gone from that eccentric little back alley.

Rual was, to be mild, disheartened. He belonged nowhere. He had nowhere to go. Either: the thought of trying to settle for a third time only to always be facing the possibility he would be cruelly uprooted a third time stopped him even considering heading for another city, or even another town.

Yet he was not entirely without hope. After all, there was so much of the world he had not seen- there might be unknown corners where he would find some real hope, or goal, or someone who really did need him. If he had to wander for years, to find that bright speck, he would.

So it was the Therual Urrio, blacksmith of R’unor, set forth from Voldar facing the most uncertain of uncertain futures. Yet behind the impenetrable clouds before him, he knew the injera still shone, and would, someday, show its face to him again.

Weapons
Rual possesses a traditional R’unorian dagger. It measures two palmspans and five nailsbredths from end to end, with a slightly curving blade and a violet hilt, etched with a R’unorian turtle. However, Rual has almost never used this blade for violence or defence, keeping it out of sentimental nostalgia.

Belongings
-His covered cart-wagon, in which are stored all his belongings, and in which he often sleeps. It measures three peds by one ped and two fores, with a ledge at the front for Rual to sit on when driving it, and has high sides roofed by a tarpaulin stretched across a wood frame. Inside are two long benches, on top of which and under which he stores his things. He makes his bed at the very end, in an alcove below the roof, above a wooden chest of drawers built into the cart. He can make a temporary ramp from a panel on one side that slides down and out to reveal a door, down which he can easily get his forge and other heavy equipment off the cart.
-All clothing mentioned above
-Blankets in varying states of wear
-His pipe
-A small quantity of pipeweed, in a tin
-A few large pouches of dried Queprer’s blight. It can often be found drying along the rafters of the wagon, along with various other herbs
-Assorted medicinal herbs, in little glass jars
-A few scrolls and books of varying nature
-Old parchment, ink, and quills
-Flint, steel, and tinder
-A small portable cooking stove
-Pots, pans, bowls, eating implements, and a cooking knife
-Waterskins
-Icemilk soap
-Old tarpaulins and rope
-Grooming equipment, and two sets of very old and worn riding tack, never used
-Various metalworking implements: hammer, mallet, two anvils, one small, the other miniature, intended for jewellery work, tongs, pliers, tools for engraving and creating detail, calipers, saw, chisel, clamps, file
-A small portable forge, mounted on a four-wheeled base for easy transport. It is suitable for medium to small work such as jewellery, horseshoes and smaller blades and armour
-A small stock of wood and coal to fuel the forge
-A small stock of horseshoes in varying sizes
-Quantities of various metals, as well as plenty already made into decorations and jewellery

Familiars

Name: Pippin
Gender: Female

Species: Pony
Breed: Landesh
Age: Thirteen
Occupation: Pulling Rual’s cart

Height: A ped and four palmspans
Coat: Bay

Appearance: A compact creature with a stout body, short legs and a broad head and wide muzzle, Pippin looks every inch the bumbling little pony. Her stout, muscled body is covered in a deep, chestnut bay coat, which gradiates into black around her muzzle, along her legs and down her spine. Both her mane and tail are thick, shaggy and black, having a consistency very similar to hay and her forelock often is so long it almost covers her eyes. Rual deliberately keeps her hair long because he is fond of the rather adorable way she looks with such a quantity of hair exploding from her head. Her eyes, ears and nostrils are rather large, giving her face a friendly, childish look.

Personality: Pippin is a quiet, steady sort of horse. She is hard to startle, or indeed, provoke to any state beyond placidity. The only sort of emotion she regularly shows is a friendly air to all around her, though she is not curious and seems disinterested in anything expect Rual, grooming, and food. She is intensely loyal and friendly to Rual, always nuzzling him whensoever he comes near her and becoming a little truculent when he is away. She is not bothered by strangers or strange animals save for obviously large and predatory specimens, bearing all attention and fuss with quiet patience, and will normally submit to a stranger’s orders.

Ability: Pippin possesses extraordinary fortitude for such a small beast. She can happily pull Rual’s cart for weeks without anything but brief breaks, and could easily carry Rual himself for leagues without tiring. That would admittedly take quite a while as she is far from being fast, but is very strong and could pull the cart single handed if needed. As with most of her landesh kin she can graze wherever there is something growing, surviving comfortably on coarse, sparse grasses and vegetation unpalatable to other equines, and in fact becomes a little plump and lazy if fed on richer diets for too long.


-------------------------------------------------------------------


Name: Crown
Gender: Female

Species: Pony
Breed: Landesh
Age: Fourteen
Occupation: Also pulling Rual’s cart

Height: One ped, six palmspans, and four nailsbreadths
Coat: Black

Appearance: Crown is a more slender, horse-ish sort of creature than her harness-mate. She is completely black save for a white star marking on her forehead, which peeps from under her forelock like the V of a circlet: a peculiarity that led to her name. Her tail and mane are still thick, though sleeker and less shaggy than Pippin’s mop of hair.
While her build is still stouter than a horse’s, Crown’s body is a tapering, smooth thing with long legs for a Landesh. Her muzzle slopes in to a point, while her head is long with high-set eyes. She often holds this head high, making her look positively haughty compared with humble, cheerful Pippin.

Personality: Crown is reasonably calm, though will become skittish if suddenly startled or provoked, very occasionally lashing out if she is seriously scared. Crown is normally as mild as Pippin, but when her mood changes, it changes quickly, and she will become stubborn or playfully pesky in a matter of seconds, taking a while to calm down. She stiffens a little when around complete strangers, backing away if she finds whoever it is really disconcerting, and only fully submits to Rual’s will, often misbehaving if being commanded by a stranger. Indeed, she can be positively mischievous if Rual is not around, prancing, kicking and nudging things she shouldn’t with a toddler’s unconscious instinct for trickery. However, she is just as attached to Rual as Pippin and it is a rare thing when she disregards his orders.

Ability: Crown is as sturdy and hardy as any other Landesh and pulls Rual’s cart just as easily as Pippin. She is, however, a little less patient than her little companion, as she turns grumpy if not rested long enough between boughts of travel, even if she is not actually very tired. She is strong for her size and build, and while she lacks the bulky muscle of little Pippin she is far speedier than her harness-mate, sometimes reaching a gallop as swift as any horse.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2010, 02:45:46 AM by Altario Shialt-eck-Gorrin » Logged

Rual Urrio
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« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2010, 04:37:59 AM »

*bumpity bump*

Aaaaand I'm all done. Comments would be greatly appreciated :)

I'm pondering whether he needs another weakness or not, to balance things out. Perhaps he gets short of breath easily, after so long smoking and in smoky forges. Any thoughts/comments?
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Deklitch Hardin
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« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2010, 05:17:21 AM »

Hi and welcome Rual,

Reading through it, I do think that he'll probably need another weakness.

He
- is literate
- is a smithy
- has a cart and two ponies
- is optimistic

And at the same time he is
- lonely
- a foreigner
- addicted
- not assertive

The combination of the literacy/smithy/cart and two ponies would need another weakness, I feel, to balance them off. Your thought about the out of breath easily would be a good one, I think.

There seem to be some places in your CD where you don't have an extra linespace in it (particularly in your History section) and other places where you do have the extra linespace. I would suggest having a line space between each of your paragraphs.

A couple of specific things I saw ...
Quote
The birth of Therual Urrio was a thing of little consequence to the people of a little village near the outskirts of Thalon.

I think you need an 'of' in there.

Quote
So it was hardly a surprise, or at least it would have been to anyone who paid attention to such matters (which was no-one) when, at the age of twenty-one, Rual paid for passage on a ship to Sarvonia. He had been planning on to do so almost as soon as he arrived in the city, and spent a fair amount of his small stash just to board You are missing either some words or a full stop here, I think.
Once more alone and drifting towards an unknown place, Rual took his last look at his homeland as the ship sailed east.

---
I'll be back later for another look through it for you, unless another mod looks through it first. What you have here looks pretty good to me so far.
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Seeking the truth, whatever the cost! - Deklitch Hardin, Elf Friend
Rual Urrio
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Human, R'mart


« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2010, 01:39:46 AM »

Thankyou very much, Deklitch, for your quick response :)

Weakness and line spaces added, and those two corrections made.

Ready for more comments!
« Last Edit: February 13, 2010, 07:05:25 AM by Rual Urrio » Logged

Deklitch Hardin
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« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2010, 03:05:16 AM »

Hi Rual, I'm here to look over this again for you ... thank you for attending to those comments I made for you last time. For some reason, this didn't like some of your punctuation marks when I copied and pasted, I think it was the " ... so there are a number of spaces in weird places it would appear.

Further suggestions in red. If I find any grammar/spelling issues I'll do them in orange.

-------------------------------------------------------

Changes made in the delightful green of Rual's eyes

Name
Therual ‘Rual’ Urrio (thee-ROO-ahrl OOH-ree-oh, 'roo' and 'ooh' rhyme with shoe and chew)

Gender
Male

Age
Thirty-Three

Race
Human

Tribe
R’mart, of R’unor.

Occupation
Blacksmith and metalworker

Title
Metalworking Wanderer

Overview
Ask a peasant who’d just encountered him what he thought of Therual Urrio, and he would no doubt reply “Buggr’d if I know. He looked so strange and foreign I was a-staring so much I hardly noticed what he said.”
Ask a middle class chap who’d just shared his company for a few hours and you’d hear: “He was an agreeable sort of fellow. Very amiable. Very pleasant.”
Request a young lady’s opinion and she’d blush and say ”Oh- well- he was- he was- nice. Yes, he was nice, wasn’t he? And, oh- he was handsome!”
And ask someone who’d known him for a good few weeks, and they would probably grin, then frown, then pause, and finally say: “I thought he were lovely when we first met. Such a kind sort, such as you don’t see oft. But… he is strange in his awkwardness, y’see? Tis like a long-limbed lad in a little man’s body. And he is so cheerful- and cheerful all the bloody time! Tis a wonder his face don’t split from smiling.”
Such is Rual, the R’unorian blacksmith.

If you want to, you might like to consider a line break between each thought of the above overview.

Appearance

Height
One ped, two fores and two palmspans.

I know it says that the Weight is optional, but including it here helps to give others a further clue as to what he looks like. You might like to consider including it here, Rual.

Hair Colour
Pure black.

Eye Colour
Bright, light green.

Physical Appearance
As a handsome man of medium height and wiry build, Therual’s real distinguishing feature to Sarvonians Do you mean Sarvonians or Santharians? Sarvonia is the continent, Santharia is the country that dominates southern Sarvonia. is not his good looks, but his race. His skin is strikingly dark, and while not the same obsidian black as many of his tribe, it is of a lustrous near-black that appears deep brown wherever light hits. The effect is dazzling, as in strong light his face is often streaked with bars and planes of near-white highlights, as his dark skin shines so brightly. His hair is of an even darker black than his skin, and curls loosely and thick. He normally cuts it to his jaw line, though it often grows down and out, with curls making a low halo around his face. In contrast to his dark colouring are his eyes. They are light, piercing green and glitter bright as jewels.

When you’ve grown used to Rual’s exotic appearance and aren’t staring quite so much at him (for he is almost always stared at by pale Sarvonian types), Once again the Sarvonia vs Santharia question. The Kanapans in Northern Sarvonia are dark skinned, for example. his actual face become apparent. He is an undeniably handsome man, with even features, a straight nose, a rounded, long, face, slanting eyes that add more exoticism to his standardly handsome cast of face, and wide and slightly pouting lips a few shades lighter than his skin. This mouth is almost always either tightened to a pale line in concentration as he works, or curving in a sheepish half-smile. When he speaks it is in perfect Tharian with a distinctively northern-Santharian lilt, with only the slightest edges and syllables of a foreign accent.

His work has kept him very lean and thickened his arms, though he is not particularly spectacularly muscled anywhere else. His torso, from chest to navel, is flat and almost hairless, though if in a lull in smithying, or physical activity generally he develops a little fat around his belly. As if to make up for the lack of strongman muscles so many erroneously assume blacksmiths to possess, his shoulders, neck and upper back are encased in a network of traditional R’mart tattoos in a white and pale green ink.

Below his neck, and dominating the web, is a stylized image of the R’unorian turtle in green. Abstract white line patterns gather around the four corners its flippers form. On his left shoulder blade is a man’s profile, representing the R’unorian god of metalworking, H’lf’ik, and on the right, a more androgynous profile representing W'ri'cañe, deity of healing and friendship. Below the turtle, and sloping diagonally inward from the bottom two turtle flippers, to his spine, are two long, segmented shapes that represent the pit worm, the Urrio family’s source of wealth.

In the triangle just above his pelvis nestles what appears at first to be little more a triangle of green curls and lines. After a moment it reveals itself to be a stylized mountain peak surrounded by what is perhaps meant to be swirling mist. Demerualia Urrio, who was a prominent member of the guards council centuries ago, and greatly influential in various matters, and therefore the Urrio’s most exalted ancestor, was said to have a handsome, loyal husband who came from the strange, beautiful, and generally uninhabited Grey Mountains. So, it was only natural they became the Urrio family symbol for males. The turtle, worms, and family crest were inked when Rual was an adolescent, as family custom dictated, the god-symbols chosen by him, later in life.

Far more subtle are the twin designs encasing his calves and heels. He had them inked just before leaving the isles for Sarvonia, and seem to be two vertical sets of rows waving lines, representing the sea’s waves, that end in a tangle of crisscrossing, jumbled lines. He says they represent the god Murlar, who, amongst other things, stands for the deep ocean and the unknown, and as Rual was about to make a long sea voyage to an unknown land, unsure when he would be on R’unorian soil once again, one can imagine for oneself the significance they had for him.

Overall your appearance above reads well to me. Well done.

Clothing
Rual’s everyday dress still echoes the clothing of his homeland. His favourite, oldest outfit consists of close fitting breeches of a soft black leather, now covered in a network of hairline creases meshing around his legs. These are held up by a thick belt buckled with a silver R’unorian turtle, its shell inlayed with purple glass. Hooked onto this belt, though concealed by his shirt, is his dagger sheath. His trousers are normally hastily tucked into his old, chunky, sturdy black boots that reach about halfway up his thigh. They are stained and scratched and make a satisfying clump with each step.

Over his torso he wears a loose kind of tunic, cut from a silky material, in the style of his old R’unorian robes, with wide sleeves and a black cloth belt tied about his midriff, helping to hold it shut. He used to proudly wear R’unorian purple, and with him he still carries a purple and lilac tunic robe that drapes across his form. But after realising that, to Santharians, purple was an exotic and expensive colour, and so made him stand out yet further, he put away his purple shirt and has had tailored a deep grass green tunic-robe, trimmed with black and a paler green. It looks ordinary enough, though certainly not shabby, and certainly caters to his rather awkwardly self conscious vanity, as it wonderfully highlights his striking eyes.
In colder climes he wears simple cloth shirts beneath his tunic, and wraps himself in a stained and tattered black leather coat and a cape lined with wolf fur.

Rual very rarely wears jewellery, despite crafting so much of it himself. He thinks it too fancy and fiddly and would rather wear a few suits of well tailored, moderately expensive clothes than have armfuls and earfuls of flashy, cheap trinkets. Very occasionally he puts on a few silver bangles, or a fine chained silver anklet if he feels it will accentuate his dress, but never anything more.

On the very rare occasions when he feels it appropriate, Rual removes his old set of R’unorian robes from his pack. Although they are hardly ever worn, he keeps them neat with religious carefulness, wrapping them in cloth and stowing them in a separate compartment of his bag. They are one of his last direct links to his homeland and by keeping them secure he feels he can still securely call himself R’unorian.

All three of these old robes reach below the knee, and are of light material that shimmer a little and move like water in a breeze when he so much as shifts, and all have elbow length sleeves. Two are a rich R’unorian violet, trimmed with black and silver and tied with black leather belts. One is embroidered on the back with a R’unorian turtle, the other’s cloth patterned with abstract silver lines, and the third is plain save for its trimmings.

Another well written section that demonstrates your research, Rual. Well done!

Personality
Outwardly, Rual appears to possess a simple, untroubled soul. He is quiet in strange company, though not unfriendly, and will happily chat if someone else engages him in conversation, and is a fair font of exuberant cheerfulness to those he knows best. Over the course of such a conversation with him, one might distinguish a certain awkwardness in this quiet demeanor, which surfaces prominently enough now and then that he is as clumsily self-conscious as any adolescent, twisting his words and speaking as little as he can. This ill-at-ease disposition can generally be drawn out by paying him more attention then he feels he deserves, or showing a little more insight into his inner workings than folk normally glean. Rual has grown comfortable with the idea that he will always be the kind of person who never inspires very much interest in anyone – save perhaps initial wonder at his foreignness, or polite enthusiasm- and is disconcerted when this view is challenged.

Even when gawky, he is endearing. Rual exudes a certain gentle, comforting kindness to everything about him, simply by the way he seems so cheerful and mild, and tries his best to show goodwill to all. This has made many feel instinctively inclined to like him at least a little, in the same way one might find it hard to malign a puppy. He does his best not to offend, and cannot stand to think anyone might not like him, or feel wronged by him. He takes this need to please others a little too far sometimes, trying to keep others so happy his own life is worsened, often choosing to tell a soft, comforting but ultimately destructive lie over a truth, that while it cuts and hurts at first, will heal clean.

This has lead to various situations in which he suffers, not least of which his slight dependence on Queprer’s bane and smokeweed, developed because he felt he couldn’t say no to his companion’s offer of the drug. The one occasion were he did manage to speak up for himself, back in his homeland, took will and energy he has been unable to gather since.

Rual is also undeniably optimistic, at least on the exterior. He is almost never outwardly angry, and even when provoked will show only a kind of sad disappointment. He is always pleasant, if not always bursting with happiness, and will always set to work on something new with plenty of enthusiasm if his previous endeavor fails.

This optimism is an outward sign of his inner drive. To a casual observer Rual might well seem the sort of vaguely amiable drifter who never quite has the passion to do anything great. This seeming lack of zeal often prevents people from feeling anything more than gentle liking for him, even when it is a somewhat erroneous view. Rual is, in fact, good at getting what he wants, once he has decided exactly what he does want. When he sets his sights on a solid goal he will slowly but certainly pull himself towards it. He does not have the quick passion of some, that washes away obstacles liked a flood, but the slower and steadier drive of eroding water, which can break down mountains.

Yet, this front of simple pleasantness is half real, but half constructed. Rual is a deeply melancholy individual. After years of trying to hide this even from himself, he is finally facing this facet of his character. He desperately longs to belong somewhere, or be truly needed by someone. On the few occasions where he has finally found somewhere he could be content some piece of bad luck has thrown him back to a wandering, lonely life, and he is beginning to feel he will never, really, have a home or a place to belong to. Still, he enjoys his freedom and loves to learn and see new things, and so is not entirely unhappy or disheartened. A small crumb of hope keeps him nearly as cheerful inside as he likes to show others he is on the outside.

Rual’s R’unorian upbringing has not been entirely wiped out by his years learning Santharian ways. Being brought up in a once strictly matriarchal society still rife with sexism, he firmly believes women to be above or at least equal to men in every aspect, unlike many other Santharian men, and is very respecting of females. Many are also a little startled that such a gentle man will frequently talk quite candidly about things as supposedly coarse as sex. He does it with no lecherous vulgarity: simply, he was never brought up to see these more ‘base’ aspects of humanity as anything to be ashamed of: they are just another part of being alive. Indeed, he is still mildly bemused that Santharians are so prudish about something as natural as nudity. Nevertheless, he does try not to be too frank as he quickly learnt from the shock his R’unorian manner created in well-brought up Santharians. From a R’unorian perspective, however, Rual is a little odd, however, as characteristic R’unorian suspicion is weak in him. To a R’unorian he seems overly rash and trusting, but to a Santharian this manifests itself as friendly shyness.

Being used to a lifestyle in R’unor more luxurious than most in Sarvonia keep, Rual enjoys luxuries and creature comforts. While he is more than happy to live rough and wild, he revels in the few small indulgences he can create, such as keeping a neat appearance, or eating well.

Another well written section, nothing really jumps out at me here!

Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths
Smithying skill  Rual has is moderately proficient in many areas of metal crafting. He can do a blacksmith’s job well enough, smithying blades and shoeing horses, but has particular talent in the shaping and engraving of metal into sculptures and trinkets. He generally gets a good source of income from this skill.

Cart and horses are always handy   Having his own cart and ponies might not make travel much quicker for Rual, but it certainly makes it easier. He can also keep all manner of goods and tools necessary to his trade close by that a cart-less wanderer would find impossible to carry.

Literate and educated  Rual can read and write Tharian almost perfectly, which helps him to perform more complicated business transactions, and gain knowledge quickly. He has a love of learning, and is quick to pick up new things.

Optimistically driven   Rual is never passionate, but always driven. He tries to always find some good in any situation, and so can pull himself through darker times towards his goals.

Weaknesses
Deep set loneliness, stored inside   Rual is a very melancholy individual, and finds it nigh impossible to communicate this to anyone. He was brought up to be seen and not heard, and desperately wants some kind of real connection with another human. This can lead to his friendliness taking an unnervingly edgy quality, as he desperately tries to engage with those around him, as well as bouts of awkwardness when actually confronted with someone interested in him, as he has no clue what to do in such a situation. Neither of which are at all helpful in forging the bonds he wants so much.

Artist’s addictions    Rual is in the grip of several drugs of varying influence, all of which he began to use while staying with a group of artists. First is the smoking of Queprer’s blight, an indulgence he partakes in every few days. Second, he is apt to take rather too much of the herbal medicine Lesrin’mar when he can get hold of it, or is injured or aching enough for it to seem plausible that he needs it. He suffers severe withdrawal symptoms if without the former of the two for too long, which leave him almost incapacitated. A fair portion of his time, is therefore, spent trying to acquire more Queprer’s blight.

Look, it’s a foreigner!   It would be absolutely impossible for Rual to pass as a native Santharian. His exotic appearance means he can never be anything but conspicuous, and is often treated with mistrust by locals. Also, while he does now know a fair deal about the customs and ways of northern Santharia, anywhere else, or in certain situations, he can find himself confronted with ways completely alien to him.

Just say no   Rual is absolutely terrible at standing up to anyone, or turning anything down. He finds it excruciatingly hard to say or do anything that might possibly cause offense to anyone. This trait has landed him in all kinds of situations he would rather not be in, but can’t get out of, over the years. He would no doubt be easy to overpower in a fight, physical or verbal, as he is so unwilling to engage in conflict.

Short of breath   A combination of heavy smoking and many years working around fires or in smoking forges has damaged Rual's breathing somewhat. He becomes short of breath quite easily, especially after physical activity, or when panicked or startled. When seriously affected, he needs to sit or lie down for some minutes before he can steady his breathing.

This seems balanced to me, but this is the area I struggle with myself in CDs. One of the other mods can give you a better idea on that, though.

History
The birth of Therual Urrio was a thing of little consequence to the people of a little village near the outskirts of Thalon. Eherual Urrio was filled with mother love for her new boy, of course, but as her fourth child, and her third boy, the new baby was hardly celebrated as much as Ruala, the first born Urrio daughter, had been, in the matriarchal R’mart society.

So, for all his childhood, Therual went unnoticed. He grew up with little help or encouragement or pushing. Instead, granted the freedoms that being both of a good family- for the Urrio family ran a business farming worm meat and raising lurker beetles in the nearby black fields-, and being male and therefore a little insignificant, Rual’s early years drifted by without anyone taking any interest in them, though all would agree he was ‘quite the charming little boy, and such a gentleman’, and yet he remained very much in the background: like a pleasant landscape, very much admired, but vague and never actually affecting anything much or coming into contact with anyone.

This detachment was hardly patched up by the three siblings who followed Rual. All were girls, and so all were doted upon and raised with almost as much devotion as Ruala, the family heir. Sandwiched between so many fine females, Rual dwindled ever further from anyone and everyone’s attention.

Yet Rual would never have called his childhood unhappy. The community was pleasant, the landscape astounding, and all were amiable towards him. He was quite content to drift from home to home, often offered bread or tidbits by those he visited respectful of his good family, and often playing quietly with the other boys. But generally he like to wander in the nearby hills and forests, finding the secret ways of the landscape, or sit and chat with whoever would oblige, though no-one ever paid him quite enough attention to give him the proper conversation he craved.

Ten years after his uneventful birth, Rual began to visit the local smithy more regularly than the rest of the community. He asked odd questions of the smith, but was generally quiet. It was a surprise, therefore, to the blacksmiths- a stern woman and her husband assistant- when it became apparent that Rual had picked up all the simple mechanics of the trade, and showed a vague, amiable interest in learning more. So, as with all things in his childhood, Rual drifted placidly into smithying without any pushing save that vague, amiable enthusiasm that still seemed to strangely end in what he wanted.

Of course, being a male of a fairly rich and respected family, Rual was never expected to have much of a career. His interest in the beautiful crafting of the smithy was barely noticed, and thought not much more than a boyish hobby. If he had to work, it would be in something of his parent’s choosing, though they hoped to marry him off when he was of a good age and avoid all that hassle.

Nothing much was made of this predetermined fate until Rual began to grow into a young man. As a child he was generally described as a ‘pretty little thing’ but this changed to ‘rather handsome’ as his legs lengthened and his voice lowered. It was only natural that folk began to whisper what a good match could be made with such a good looking boy.

Rual’s awareness of this grew in the same slow, vague way the rest of his life had progressed, If he was worried, he showed no real sign of it. The time he spent in the smithy increased a little, but no-one really minded that.

Then, when he was seventeen, it began to be whispered that ‘certain things’ were being discussed with a rich family in nearby Thalon, who were closely connected to the Guild of Librarians. It was not at all difficult to make the connections. The family’s youngest daughter, a pretty young lady of twenty-three years, was going to inherit less than Rual, even as a female, but she was still, of course, infinitely more connected and affluent than the worm-handling Urrios.

None of this was ever told to Rual by the family for over a year. At a gathering a few months after his eighteenth birthday, the Urrios and the librarian linked Rukuan family ‘happened’ to meet. Rual was introduced to the young lady, and the two chatted nicely enough for all the evening. Their mothers left for home that night both wide-eyed and grinning with pride and greed.

Two months and several visits to meet the Rukuans later, and Rual’s mother told him, quite suddenly, that he was to be married to Yulan Rukuan, in half a year at most. At this news, Rual was simply silent for a moment, then nodded and smiled, in his mild, vague way.

So it was quite a surprise when Rual’s older brother found his sibling had packed all his most important possessions, and been pilfering dried food from their stores. Naturally, his mother confronted him as soon as she discovered what Rual was planning to do. Their conversation went a little something like this:


“Therual.”
He stopped.
“Therual.”
He made a noise that could have been a breath, or the smallest of small, sad sighs.
“Turn around.”
He obliged, and walked slowly from the doorway to the table she stood behind. Finally he glanced up and smiled in his mild, vague way.
“Mother?”
“You are planning to run away.”
He didn’t answer.
“Answer your mother, boy!”
“I’m planning to leave.”
“No. To leave- you would tell us. This deception, this sneaking- you are going to run away from us!”
No answer.
“You don’t want to a word in here perhaps? Unless you were wanting a colloquial way of speaking. married? You want to make us look fools and run away from the happiness, the prosperity, that’s being handed to you?”
“Of course I don’t want to marry her.”
She slammed her fist upon the table, making all the cups and plates jump.
“That is insolence!”
“She’s nice. She is. I just don’t love her, ma’am. I won’t, ever, I know it. I can’t be stuck in marriage so soon. It’ll stifle me. You might as well be chaining me up. I can’t. I’m sorry.”
Her face slackened a fraction, and her voice softened. “Love grows with time, if you can let it. It’s a good match, and you get on so well, and, well, we’re giving you a certain, safe future and - it will help the family so.” “But I.” He frowned, briefly, as if his thoughts had caught and he was pulling them free. “But I don’t want that.”
At that, she looked utterly stunned, as if he were a tree telling her he simply didn’t want to be cut down.
“You were such a good boy, Rual…”
Something knife-cold and angry flashed over his soft features.
“It’ll wither and rot. Not grow. I know it. I don’t want that. This is what I want. I don’t - I don’t ask anything ever, do I? Please let me have it.”
She sighed, and her whole body seemed to deflate and give up. The air in the little room loosened.
“You’ll be happy?”
“Very, I hope.”
“Just remember to say goodbye, then.”
His face spread out briefly in a huge, purely joyous grin. It soon shrank back to a small, vague smile. Yet there was something, perhaps, a glint or a fire, behind his face, that hadn’t burnt a minute before.
“Thankyou.” he said, and turned and left her in the little room.


All agreed that Rual’s departure was a ‘saddening thing, for he was such a nice, good little boy’, and it provided good enough gossip to keep any old widow happily scandalized for months. Yet after that the village relaxed back, and it was very much as if that quiet, smiling boy had never lived there at all.

Rual, meanwhile, was free. He travelled across the black plains to the city of R’unor. He was half starved by the time he arrived. R’unorian suspicion of strangers meant he was rarely given enough trust by those in the little villages he passed through to mend their daggers or craft them a trinket, so to keep as much of his meagre money for food enough to survive had to travel by foot.

More than a month later, he arrived, gaunt, hardened, and with his soft, mild form reduced to wiry lines. He still attributes his body’s tendency to quickly store fat to this starvation period, and has rather enjoyed his food ever since.

In the city he finally managed to get a proper job. After a few more days of starving penury, wandering through the city streets and sleeping in alleys, he happened upon a foundry, whose master did not turn him away. Blaij was a bitter old woman, certainly, but let the hollow-faced young man demonstrate his decent skill with hammer and anvil, and agreed to let him live, sleep and work in the smouldering, clamouring building for a fair fee. Rual worked well enough, and seemed content to go about his business as quietly as he had before. He had plenty to learn, as the three other prentices who also called the foundry home, and her their housemate, where far more skilled even though they were younger than Rual, as they had been entered into formal apprenticeship early. He managed this feat well enough, and in half a year was as proficient as any of the other prentices.

Rual spent close to three years in the city of R’unor. His skill in smithying iron, steel, and more delicate work with precious metals grew to a respectable level. While quite good at crafting armour and weapons, he showed a talent in making trinkets, bracelets and ornaments, and sold his work for a decent sum. He spent money on almost nothing but food, and slowly, from nothing, built up a small stash of gold.

Even when not coughing and hammering in the foundry, Rual was busy. He would, when he could, slip through the streets to libraries or other places of the librarian’s guild, or any place of knowledge, to try and learn and learn as much as he could of everything there was to know. In particular, he filled his mind with knowledge of that vast, grand land to the east: Sarvonia. As soon as he found the means of doing so, Rual began to teach himself Tharian.

Rual loved his freedom in the city, and while he now set his own path, he was still a pleasant, not much noticed outsider to most around him. Everyone liked him, certainly, but no-one loved him. If anything, the vast city had set him even further adrift from any sort of meaningful contact with humanity as he found the myriad societies and circles within it impossible to penetrate, especially as he was male. R’unor seemed to hold little for him except obscurity, or marriage.

So it was hardly a surprise, or at least it would have been to anyone who paid attention to such matters (which was no-one) when, at the age of twenty-one, Rual paid for passage on a ship to Sarvonia. He had been planning on to do so almost as soon as he arrived in the city, and spent a fair amount of his small stash just to board.

Once more alone and drifting towards an unknown place, Rual took his last look at his homeland as the ship sailed east.

The vessel docked in Naurooth many months later. Rual found himself set apart even further from those around him, in the bewildering foreign land. Yet, as always, his mild, unwavering determination somehow pulled him towards his goals, however distant and however look he took to reach them. Still, his first months in north Sarvonia were stressed and frightening. The world Rual found himself in was one whose every aspect was foreign. While he knew Tharian well enough, he found that in Naurooth and the lands around almost all spoke a very different tongue, and even those who could speak a little of the southern language found his accent nearly unintelligible. He spent over a year in Naurooth. He managed to mime his way into the simple work of the docks, and picked up a stash of basic kuglimz along with a little more gold. But through that long, tiring time, he knew he had to get south if he wanted to make anything of himself and piece by piece built up all he needed to travel to that promised land.

Finding that R’unorian currency was worth far more in Sarvonia thanks to the precious metal and stone it was made of meant Rual’s stash had grown back to quite a size quickly after landing in Sarvonia, and Rual left Naurooth with a cart he had built himself filled with a fair amount of battered metal working kit, all of which was pulled by two young Landesh fillies, Crown and Pippin, bought from a  breeder who had a surplus of the animals after bringing a free I'm not sure that 'free' fits here. Did you mean 'few'? back from his Naurooth travels with the intent to sell a few to the local eccentric menagerie keeper, Reve’lor.

He set south, travelling towards that wide, golden land he had heard so much of: Santharia.

Five months later, and by then twenty-three, Rual drove through the gates of Nyermersys. He was, to put it simply, overwhelmed. The metropolises of R’unor had been just as large, but the northern capital was so different to any settlement he had before entered. It was so loud, so vibrant, so coarse and earthy. He was enchanted.

 Rual threw himself into the strange new world, as ever absorbing all he could and delighting in being finally able to use and practice the Tharian tongue. Indeed, over his four year stay in the city he picked up a northern accent and slightly Erpheronian way of phrasing things that have resolutely clung to him so many years later.

Nevertheless, life remained tough. The alien world and peoples he so desperately wanted to be a part of shared none of little enthusiasm to take him in. His strange foreign looks and customs set him too much apart from those around him, and folks preferred the easy route of keeping wary of him, rather than trying to see beyond superficialities. His home was an inn room and he got by on odd repair jobs, and hawking trinkets at market.

A year went by and Rual had no friends in Nyermersys: only acquaintances. As in R’unor it proved difficult to infiltrate the long-established circles of society within the city.

Then, quite by chance, one day a small boy blundered into Rual’s stall, knocking bits and pieces astray. This clumsy young thing was soon followed by a man in fine clothes in considerable amount of distress, who appeared to be his father, chasing the child after it had slipped from his sight on a stroll round the city. Thanking Rual, apparently for so considerately putting his stall in the path of the small escapee, he professed Rual’s craftings ‘most agreeable’, and asked if Rual would consider mending a few old pieces of armour and reshoeing his horses back at his estate. The man was a very wealthy noble by the name of Myrash Korrister, known for his benevolent and often eccentric impulses. Rual agreed, and Myrash kept Rual busy with a steady stream of minor chores for a couple of months, and finally announced that he would like to employ Rual  permanently as a smith on his estate, offering him lodging in a spare room of the servant’s quarters.

Naturally, Rual consented again, and so began the first truly happy stage of his life.

Rual worked hard on the sprawling Korrister estates, helping with all manner of practical tasks as well of smithying, for the family and outside customers. All in that household liked him for his kind, gentle nature, and many grew to love him dearly.

It was, then, a cruel trick of fate that the one who grew to love him dearest of all was Myrash’s only daughter.

Naealla Korrister was a small, fey girl who hid a surprisingly passionate temperament behind her genteel lady’s graces. At first Rual saw very little of her, as she always seemed to tucked away in some dusty corner of the mansion tasked with studying with the governess, or sewing and mending, or some other ladylike discipline. But gradually, she began to stop by the stable and outbuildings more and more. Rual tried to be friendly and kind towards her, as he was to anyone else, though he had not yet learned enough of the ways and customs of society in Nyermersys to act meek and humble towards the noble young lady, as all other servants did. Perhaps it was this bold spark Rual showed Naealla that lit a fire of affection within her. Perhaps it was his exotic and handsome nature, or the simple illicit thrill of a relationship between a noble and a mere servant. Perhaps it was simply his kindness.
It was likely all or most of those things, and together the compelled Naealla to fall very deeply in love with Therual.

She professed as much to him a year into his employment at the Korrister estate. Rual was as shocked and flattered as any other suddenly discovering they are an object of romantic attention: he had certainly not expected it, as he liked Naealla, with her fiery, witty nature, but had never once supposed she thought him anything more than a pleasant amusement. He did not directly reciprocate her feelings at this news, but gave such a warm response to her declaration that Naealla decided, with the stubbornness of many of her proudmen kin, that he loved her back. By the time Rual realized this it was too late to tell Naealla otherwise without completely shattering her young heart. Of course, true to his nature, Rual would rather take his part in the deception, however much it vexed him, than be honest and crush another, even if he knew deep in some long buried part of himself that the latter was the most honorable course.

Certainly, he liked Naealla very much, and they got on very well, and as their relationship developed into a secret courtship, he grew to care for her very deeply. Yet as much as he pretended otherwise, those strong, warm feelings were never quite love.

Rual did his best to secretly woo Naealla in as romantic a way as he could. He bought her little gifts, and snuck out with her at night to the lands around the city. After a while, they began to bed together – the first time he had ever lain with a woman. This depend his affection for her, yet still he did not quite love her. Naealla, meanwhile, was completely and hopelessly in love with her handsome, foreign blacksmith.

This went on for almost two years. Rual was content and Naealla blissful- until she began to talk of elopement. Rual didn’t contradict her as he would never have had the courage to admit his feelings for her were not strong enough for him to really want to take this bold step. Besides, he was too happy and settled in the city and didn’t want to destroy his life in Nyermersys in favour of an uncertain future. So, for months, he simply tried to sidestep the subject whenever Naealla raised it.

Yet his life in the city was to be utterly destroyed anyway, and in only a few days.

Some of the household servants had, latterly, known of the relationship between Rual and Naealla, but liked Rual enough that he persuaded them to keep quiet, however much they disapproved.

As if to counter the luck that had brought him to the state, it was bad luck that drove him out.

The eldest Korrister boy, Calodin, who was high-ranking in the Nymeran army, was returning home from quelling Gob-Oc disturbances in the Tandala highlands, and happened to be taking a more circular route to reach Nyermersys, rather than the normal northern river side. In the lands outside the city he chanced to spot an unnaturally dark-skinned figure on a nearby slope, who appeared to be embracing a somehow familiar figure. By the time he had identified it as his sister, the couple were gone.

He returned to the Korrister mansion seething with the news that his sister had some ‘dark, secret suitor’. The household and family realized instantly what had been going on between the foreign smith and young Miss Naealla. It was too late for either of them to flee.
Myrash, ever the mild sort of fellow, was simply hugely disappointed. He might have been happy to let Rual stay so long as he had no contact with Naealla. It was his wife, Vanya, a sharp woman in every way, whose temper burst.

Vanya beat her daughter viciously that night, and would have done far worse to Rual if he had not been gone the next morning. He would have been turned out of the house anyway, and rather than face that, and the humiliation of being known around Nyermersys as the servant who had dared to make a whore of a noble girl, he gathered his things, dragged his old cart from the outbuilding home to all little used household implements, and brought Pippin and crown from their semi-retirement in the estate paddock, and was ready to leave in hours.

Naealla was being closely guarded in the house, and it would have been suicidal to try and reach her. So, Rual drove from the city without even being able to say goodbye to the only person who had ever truly needed him.

Rual, twenty-seven on leaving Nyermersys, spent half a year travelling somewhat aimlessly through northern Santharia, passing through Enthronia and as far south as the Kyranian lands of Vardynn. Once more he was completely alone. Worse, he had no proper goal to gather towards and give him hope that there was going to be something good in the future. His life was not unpleasant, though as his skill in metal crafting and other more practical aspects of smithying had grown substantially, and he made a good living wandering from farm to village, often sleeping in his cart or beneath the stars. He liked his free, wild life, but he was still not truly at peace.

Eventually Rual’s need to at least try to seek some human company led him north and west, to Voldar.

Being back in a huge city was certainly not soothing to the now twenty-eight year old Rual’s soul, but far more thrilling and hopeful than his wild life had been, as much as he had loved his year of wandering freedom. After a few weeks staying in an inn and desperately trying to find some kind of employment, he stumbled upon a sort of association of artisans – though they called themselves a guild – in a backstreet of the city. He returned with some examples of his more artistic crafting. The artisans rather liked these ornaments, and agreed he could join them in their attempts to hawk their trade and wares on the markets, while trying to get the attention of wealthy would-be patrons.

Rual slept and lived in the strange little building and felt, finally, part of something again. The artisans themselves were as varied as their professions. Few were native to Voldar, or even Vardynn, and even counted two half-elf siblings and an orc from Ximax amongst their ranks. Rual was still seen as far more foreign and strange than these mutual Santharians, but they were all still misfits, and that helped to bond them.

Amongst these eccentrics was a half eyelian, half serphelorian woman sculptor called Jiona. She was generally described by her fellow male artisans as a ‘tall, dusky beauty’. Rual simply thought of her as radiant. She had inherited all the best qualities of each of her tribes, and Rual soon became bewitched by her.

Jiona seemed to like Rual, as all the artists liked him, in the instinctive way people cannot feel anything but inclined to like simple kindness. But she hardly ever concerned herself with him beyond polite formalities. He lacked the artistic zeal and bite that she adored in her men.

A few months short of a year into his stay in Voldar, and Rual felt as settled as he had been in Nyermersys before his relationship with Naealla became tangled beyond unraveling. Then, one cold night, he and a group of the artisans were celebrating a noble’s recent patronage of their association in a tavern on the city edge. Being inclined to artistic excess, they all became very drunk within the space of hours. Rual, though hardly coherent, was still the most sober. He was returning from the privy, trying to navigate the courtyard with as much dignity as he could, when he spotted a familiar shape struggling in an alcove of the various outbuildings. He found Jiona struggling lethargically against two unsavoury men who held her arms and pawed at her clothes.

Given fiery nerve by the drink in his belly, that would normally have been unthinkable in him when sober, Rual drew his almost never used R’unorian dagger and advanced on the two lechs. They were unnerved by his fierce bravado enough to loose their attention on Jiona so much so could slip from them and escape. I think you need a couple more words in this last sentence ... possibly after 'so much so'.

Rual didn’t follow. Now faced with two angry rogues cheated of their trophy, he stood his ground. After a very brief tussle Rual was left with a few bruises, whereas the two rogues sported knife wounds and one was missing fingers. They had underestimated his blacksmith’s strength, and his drunken courage, and both fled.

Retiring to the tavern, Rual was met with strangely wary congratulations. The two rogues associated with one of the more powerful criminal gangs in Voldar, and while all the patrons heartily applauded Rual on standing up to long despised trouble makers, they all feared what form the gang superiors retribution for such bravado would take.

Jiona, meanwhile, by then very, very drunk, draped herself on Rual, and with the slow-moving, indefinable but unstoppable attraction that leads to such events, Rual finally found himself in a tavern room bed with the object of his desire.

Bu after their one brief hour of clumsy intimacy, Rual discovered Jiona behaved towards him just as she had before, treating him with not wholly unkind indifference. She refused utterly to speak about the night at the tavern, other than to thank him for coming to her aid. Rual tried to convince himself that this spurning did not matter, as he did not, truly, love Jiona. Yet a sour undercurrent had slid into his life at the association, and would not be shifted.

It was a pity that, when for the second time in his life he was actually at the centre of something significant, it was again for all the wrong reasons.

Life went on normally for a good few months. Then, Rual began to realize he was being watched and followed almost wherever he went. It slowly became clear that the gang leaders  had discerned who was behind the assault on their cronies, and had decided, probably because they were bored and had little else to occupy their  days, to try and take their revenge on this upstart.

Threats began to be sent to the association itself; warning of trouble for all the ramshackle artisan’s complex, if the artists didn’t turn Rual over. Rual’s fellow housemates tried to ignore these vague, occasional notes, but the air around the building subtly shifted. It became a little chilly, or rather, became a little chilly around anything concerning Rual.

Then, a poet of the association was assaulted in the backstreets around the association, and they snapped. The city guards had been trying to find and punish the gang members responsible, but the group was so widespread and secretive this was near impossible.
The threats became more explicit, and the artisan’s mood towards Rual became positively stony.

Rual liked his life and companions at companions at the association. But now he was an outcast in the building, and a fugitive from the ever present gang on the streets of Voldar.

The artisans met his announcement that he would be leaving the association, and Voldar itself, with relief scarcely hidden by feigned disappointment. Rual was packed up in a few days. All the artisans followed his cart to the gates and saw him off with as much warmth as they had shown him before things had curdled. As he disappeared from sight, and they turned back to the bustle of the city, some of their cannier members noticed a few shady looking individuals slipping off into alleyways, looking rather dissatisfied. The gang didn’t trouble the association again, and soon all trace of Rual was gone from that eccentric little back alley.

Rual was, to be mild, disheartened. He belonged nowhere. He had nowhere to go. Either: the thought of trying to settle for a third time only to always be facing the possibility he would be cruelly uprooted a third time stopped him even considering heading for another city, or even another town.

Yet he was not entirely without hope. After all, there was so much of the world he had not seen- there might be unknown corners where he would find some real hope, or goal, or someone who really did need him. If he had to wander for years, to find that bright speck, he would.

So it was the Therual Urrio, blacksmith of R’unor, set forth from Voldar facing the most uncertain of uncertain futures. Yet behind the impenetrable clouds before him, he knew the injera still shone, and would, someday, show its face to him again.

Weapons
Rual possesses a traditional R’unorian dagger. It measures two palmspans and five nailsbredths from end to end, with a slightly curving blade and a violet hilt, etched with a R’unorian turtle. However, Rual has almost never used this blade for violence or defence, keeping it out of sentimental nostalgia.

Belongings
-His covered cart-wagon, in which are stored all his belongings, and in which he often sleeps. It measures three peds by one ped and two fores, with a ledge at the front for Rual to sit on when driving it, and has high sides roofed by a tarpaulin stretched across a wood frame. Inside are two long benches, on top of which and under which he stores his things. He makes his bed at the very end, in an alcove below the roof, above a wooden chest of drawers built into the cart.
-All clothing mentioned above
-Blankets in varying states of wear
-His pipe
-A small quantity of pipeweed, in a tin
-A few large pouches of dried Queprer’s blight. It can often be found drying along the rafters of the wagon, along with various other herbs
-Assorted medicinal herbs, in little glass jars
-A few scrolls and books of varying nature
-Old parchment, ink, and quills
-Flint, steel, and tinder
-A small portable cooking stove
-Pots, pans, bowls, eating implements, and a cooking knife
-Waterskins
-Icemilk soap
-Old tarpaulins and rope
-Grooming equipment, and two sets of very old and worn riding tack, never used
-Various metalworking implements: hammer, mallet, two anvils, one small, the other miniature, intended for jewellery work, tongs, pliers, tools for engraving and creating detail, calipers, saw, chisel, clamps, file
-A small stock of horseshoes in varying sizes
-Quantities of various metals, as well as plenty already made into decorations and jewellery

Familiars

Name: Pippin
Gender: Female

Species: Pony
Breed: Landesh
Age: Thirteen
Occupation: Pulling Rual’s cart

Height: A ped and four palmspans
Coat: Bay

Appearance: A compact creature with a stout body, short legs and a broad head and wide muzzle, Pippin looks every inch the bumbling little pony. Her stout, muscled body is covered in a deep, chestnut bay coat, which gradiates into black around her muzzle, along her legs and down her spine. Both her mane and tail are thick, shaggy and black, having a consistency very similar to hay and her forelock often is so long it almost covers her eyes. Rual deliberately keeps her hair long because he is fond of the rather adorable way she looks with such a quantity of hair exploding from her head. Her eyes, ears and nostrils are rather large, giving her face a friendly, childish look.

Personality: Pippin is a quiet, steady sort of horse. She is hard to startle, or indeed, provoke to any state beyond placidity. The only sort of emotion she regularly shows is a friendly air to all around her, though she is not curious and seems disinterested in anything expect Rual, grooming, and food. She is intensely loyal and friendly to Rual, always nuzzling him whensoever he comes near her and becoming a little truculent when he is away. She is not bothered by strangers or strange animals save for obviously large and predatory specimens, bearing all attention and fuss with quiet patience, and will normally submit to a stranger’s orders.

Ability: Merry I think you mean Pippin here :D possesses extraordinary fortitude for such a small beast. She can happily pull Rual’s cart for weeks without anything but brief breaks, and could easily carry Rual himself for leagues without tiring. That would admittedly take quite a while as she is far from being fast, but is very strong and could pull the cart single handed if needed. As with most of her landesh kin she can graze wherever there is something growing, surviving comfortably on coarse, sparse grasses and vegetation unpalatable to other equines, and in fact becomes a little plump and lazy if fed on richer diets for too long.


-------------------------------------------------------------------


Name: Crown
Gender: Female

Species: Pony
Breed: Landesh
Age: Fourteen
Occupation: Also pulling Rual’s cart

Height: One ped, six palmspans, and four nailsbreadths
Coat: Black

Appearance: Crown is a more slender, horse-ish sort of creature than her harness-mate. She is completely black save for a white star marking on her forehead, which peeps from under her forelock like the V of a circlet: a peculiarity that led to her name. Her tail and mane are still thick, though sleeker and less shaggy than Pippin’s mop of hair.
While her build is still stouter than a horse’s, Crown’s body is a tapering, smooth thing with long legs for a Landesh. Her muzzle slopes in to a point, while her head is long with high-set eyes. She often holds this head high, making her look positively haughty compared with humble, cheerful Pippin.

Personality: Crown is reasonably calm, though will become skittish if suddenly startled or provoked, very occasionally lashing out if she is seriously scared. Crown is normally as mild as Pippin, but when her mood changes, it changes quickly, and she will become stubborn or playfully pesky in a matter of seconds, taking a while to calm down. She stiffens a little when around complete strangers, backing away if she finds whoever it is really disconcerting, and only fully submits to Rual’s will, often misbehaving if being commanded by a stranger. Indeed, she can be positively mischievous if Rual is not around, prancing, kicking and nudging things she shouldn’t with a toddler’s unconscious instinct for trickery. However, she is just as attached to Rual as Pippin and it is a rare thing when she disregards his orders.

Ability: Crown is as sturdy and hardy as any other Landesh and pulls Rual’s cart just as easily as Pippin. She is, however, a little less patient than her little companion, as she turns grumpy if not rested long enough between boughts of travel, even if she is not actually very tired. She is strong for her size and build, and while she lacks the bulky muscle of little Pippin she is far speedier than her harness-mate, sometimes reaching a gallop as swift as any horse.

-------------------------------------------------------

Very nice read Rual! From what I can tell, there aren't too many problems here, and it shouldn't be too long before approvals are given. I'll return it to the pencil for you and see if I can get someone to look at your Strenghts and Weaknesses for you.

Dek
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Rual Urrio
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« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2010, 04:07:11 AM »

Thankyou very much, deklitch, for taking the time to look this over and comment :) Wow, I'm really pleased and amazed how little you found wrong with it! buck I'm glad you liked it, too.

Changes made, and ready for more comments.

I've changed the posticon back to exclamation mark. Is that okay? Huh?
« Last Edit: February 16, 2010, 04:08:33 AM by Rual Urrio » Logged

Valan Nonesuch
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« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2010, 01:45:48 PM »

Quote
Strengths
Smithying skill  Rual has is moderately proficient in many areas of metal crafting. He can do a blacksmith’s job well enough, smithying blades and shoeing horses, but has particular talent in the shaping and engraving of metal into sculptures and trinkets. He generally gets a good source of income from this skill.I'll cover this more accurately below, but a smith has to have a forge, correct?

Cart and horses are always handy   Having his own cart and ponies might not make travel much quicker for Rual, but it certainly makes it easier. He can also keep all manner of goods and tools necessary to his trade close by that a cart-less wanderer would find impossible to carry.You don't mention it in your belongings section, but a forge seems crucial to the kind of work you are doing. A local blacksmith wouldn't let some random journeyman wander into his forge and use it to take his business away.

Literate and educated  Rual can read and write Tharian almost perfectly, which helps him to perform more complicated business transactions, and gain knowledge quickly. He has a love of learning, and is quick to pick up new things. This is a little on the vague side. One could assume he can perform basic mathematics (prices and profits and similar) but the less basic stuff (geometry, changing coins perhaps or weighing goods, since you do have to buy your raw materials from someone). How about other types of education? A noble's son might have been classically educated (geography maybe? politics?)

Optimistically driven   Rual is never passionate, but always driven. He tries to always find some good in any situation, and so can pull himself through darker times towards his goals. This seems to belong more in the personality section than in your strengths and weaknesses at the moment Rual. Without any elaboration it's a waste of space.

Weaknesses
Deep set loneliness, stored inside   Rual is a very melancholy individual, and finds it nigh impossible to communicate this to anyone. He was brought up to be seen and not heard, and desperately wants some kind of real connection with another human. This can lead to his friendliness taking an unnervingly edgy quality, as he desperately tries to engage with those around him, as well as bouts of awkwardness when actually confronted with someone interested in him, as he has no clue what to do in such a situation. Neither of which are at all helpful in forging the bonds he wants so much. Only, I thought he was an optimist. While I realize you can be both, this smacks of not quite fitting.

Artist’s addictions    Rual is in the grip of several drugs of varying influence, all of which he began to use while staying with a group of artists. First is the smoking of Queprur’s Blight, an indulgence he partakes in every few days. Second, he is apt to take rather too much of the herbal medicine Lesrin’mar when he can get hold of it, or is injured or aching enough for it to seem plausible that he needs it. He suffers severe withdrawal symptoms if without the former of the two for too long, which leave him almost incapacitated. A fair portion of his time, is therefore, spent trying to acquire more Queprur’s Blight. Note the spelling. Now, one might think you'd have a harder time acquiring Lesrin'mar since one of it's components grows only on the Narfost plain, what would be considered part of the far south of Sarvonia. Queprur's Blight grows all the way into the Celeste Lowlands and since you've crossed into what appears to be mid-central Sarvonia, you should be able to find the plant with a little searching in the woods.

Look, it’s a foreigner!   It would be absolutely impossible for Rual to pass as a native Santharian. His exotic appearance means he can never be anything but conspicuous, and is often treated with mistrust by locals. Also, while he does now know a fair deal about the customs and ways of northern Santharia, anywhere else, or in certain situations, he can find himself confronted with ways completely alien to him.

Just say no  Rual is absolutely terrible at standing up to anyone, or turning anything down. He finds it excruciatingly hard to say or do anything that might possibly cause offense to anyone. This trait has landed him in all kinds of situations he would rather not be in, but can’t get out of, over the years. He would no doubt be easy to overpower in a fight, physical or verbal, as he is so unwilling to engage in conflict. What about lying? Could he try the "washing my hair" excuse, for instance?

Short of breath   A combination of heavy smoking and many years working around fires or in smoking forges has damaged Rual's breathing somewhat. He becomes short of breath quite easily, especially after physical activity,such as... standing up or running a half marathon? or when panicked or startled. When seriously affected, he needs to sit or lie down for some minutes before he can steady his breathing.

Right. The verdict. I won't call it balanced. The pricking of my aged thumbs and an odd taste in my mouth tell me it's not. The weaknesses labeled in RED have a little bit too much ambiguity about them for my tastes. Particularly the addiction. What happens if he doesn't get any for instance? How much and how often? There are also unadressed elements that tie into two of your strengths. Yes you can make a portable forge. It's going to be a heavy thing, and you wouldn't want to try to make something huge with it.[/color]
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Valan Nonesuch
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« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2010, 03:03:57 AM »

Thankyou very much for the helpful comments, valan Thumb up Rrrright, I've made a fair few S/W related tweaks:

-removed the waffly personality strength
-elaborated on the literacy strength. As R'unor is pretty matriarchal, I've been imagining young men there to treated as young women were in, say, victorian society, so while he would have been educated, it wouldn't have been in 'harder' subjects such as politics, and much of it would have pertained to R'unor so is useless in a santharian context.
-added a forge (thanks for pointing that out. I'd been meaning to research alternative methods of forging but forgot amidst other basic research into smithying and jewellery making  Shocked )
-elaborated on short of breath, addiction, and inability to cause offence weaknesses

Is the explanation of his two fairly conflicting personality aspects in the personality section enough? I'm trying to make a fairly complex character here, and  speaking from experience such combinations are very possible Roll Eyes
I'm guessing he still needs another weakness, though I feel it's balanced, even after clarification. If so, I'd appreciate any ideas. I'm reluctant to give him an injury, however, as that's such a common way of balancing characters.

Thoughts?

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Valan Nonesuch
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« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2010, 12:55:56 AM »

One thing to go with your approval, since it's more in the vein of nitpicks.

1. Rollers on that forge. It'll make moving it from the cart to wherever you're working much easier. A primitive dolly would do the same job, and you wouldn't have to secure it during transport.

*video game style level up music*


Pet First Approval Pet
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Valan Nonesuch
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« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2010, 02:03:44 AM »

Woah- you mean- a first approval for me? So soon? Wow! *is duly delighted* Thanks ever so much, master nonesuch :)

I've given his little forge wheels, as you suggested, plus a nifty ramp for getting things on and off the cart, both described in the belongings sections.

 Pet
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Deklitch Hardin
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« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2010, 02:11:18 AM »

So you aren't anguishing in the state between first and second approvals any longer, Master Urrio, here's a 2nd approval for you. Pet Thumb up

As I said previously, I really enjoyed reading this one :D

Please remove your editing colours and then either Alt or Kalina will be by to title for you!
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« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2010, 02:24:57 AM »

I've titled you.  Just remove the colour and I'll archive this for you.  Congrats. :)
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Rual Urrio
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« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2010, 02:43:56 AM »

Aaand I think that's all the colour gotten rid of. Yippee! *is still overly excited about being approved buck* Glad you enjoyed it, Deklitch :) Thankyou, everyone who helped and commented and approved  Thanks!
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