The Coming of the Zioth

Daluar Sulanguan

Daluar is a wiry, coal-skinned Terradian in the gray-and-blue uniform of a Calipperi soldier. He keeps both his face and head clean-shaven, and his leather armor in good condition; he has even tried to shape the rough patches on the collar, vambraces, and headband into regular contours. A rapier frogged at his hip, a quiver and longbow on his back, and a couple of pouches on his belt comprise most of his possessions.

Daluar is twenty two years old, five foot ten and one hundred and seventy seven pounds. His eyes are light gray, with flecks of green.

During the Huerten Winter Fair, Daluar acquired Vanatra, a red-tailed hawk. Her caramel-dappled plumage runs the gamut of browns, from darkest cocoa on her head to pristine-white wingtips; her tailfeathers, of course, are a brilliant red. Her dark amber eyes are inquisitive and intelligent. She is an elegant, generally well-behaved bird, but has a mischievous streak and likes to nibble on Daluar's headband, whether he's wearing it or not.

Biography

Appeared in turns 87-100.

Daluar Sulanguan, born 18 Uon in 979, never knew his mother. She fell ill and died scant weeks after his birth, survived only by her only son and her husband, Tamorro Sulanguan, a lieutenant in Royal Army of Calippe. (Of course, since -all- of Calippe's armies claimed to be royal, it would be more accurate that the elder Sulanguan merely held a rank in Prince Allasis's military.) With Tamorro in active duty much of the time, Daluar grew up largely in the care of his great-uncle's family, near the Three Cities.

Young Daluar got into his share of scraps and scrapes, as many Calipperi children are wont to do, and developed a healthy sense of respect and caution toward those stronger than he. Thanks to his uncle, he was also instilled with a strong sense of responsibility: do not lie, admit when you are wrong, and do not go looking for a fight. Since his uncle was moderately wealthy and seemed to be well respected in his community, his words carried weight with Daluar.

This lasted until shortly before Daluar's fifteenth birthday. His great-uncle passed away, and his uncle converted to orthodox Durramanism, then politely but firmly informed Tamorro that he could (read: would) no longer take care of the boy. Daluar went to live with his father in eastern Calippe, and his uncle packed up his belongings and his family, taking them somewhere off to the Southern Alliance, where he simply fell out of touch.

The next three years were rough on Daluar. Living with his father meant essentially living alone, and without a constant guiding hand to steer him right he felt lost. He was constantly in some kind of trouble, and a disappointed Tamorro would grudgingly bail him out along with a long lecture on the perils of recklessness – from which Daluar essentially gathered his father would just as soon he sit at home doing nothing, for this would keep him out of trouble. Fortunately for both of them, the penny soon dropped: Tamorro realized it would be more useful if he suggested to Daluar what he -could- do instead of endlessly haranguing him about what he -shouldn't- do. A graceful twist of fate allowed this realization to coincide with the inauguration of an archery contest – and lessons to go with it – in southern Calippe.

Daluar took to the lessons like a duck to water, soon becoming a decent archer, and even brought home a prize the following year. On Daluar's eighteenth birthday, Tamorro made another suggestion: Daluar's budding archery skills would be very much appreciated in the Royal Army, especially in these times of growing trouble (the nearby Barony of Yoguos, in an unexpectedly bloodthirsty move, had recently assaulted its neighboring principality to the south, apparently for no purpose other than causing a great deal of property damage). After considering this, Daluar decided it wasn't a bad idea.

What -was- a bad idea was getting placed in his father's command. Both were amused and delighted at first, of course, but Daluar quickly discovered – to his disgust and dismay – that his father became a veritable monster when in command. Tamorro, not realizing he was overcompensating against favoritism, saw flaws and mistakes in nearly everything Daluar did. Daluar, unable to meet his father's ludicrously high expectations, fought his impulse to rebel – instead of quitting the army, thanks to the sense of responsibility he still possessed, he requested a transfer to a different unit. (However, he did not rationalize this as loyalty to his father, but a pragmatic obligation to serve and defend his principality.) Even then, Prince Allasis's Royal Army seemed to be commanded by inept dullards (again, with the grudging exception of his father, but he was only one man against the stupidity of scores). Although Daluar generally needed to have strategies laid out for him step by step, he had a fair grasp of tactics and could sometimes intuit how events would probably turn out, which most of the commanders around him seemed unable to do. Missed opportunities, ill-considered advances, and deteriorating organization of the ranks only served to increase Daluar's dissatisfaction with his chosen career.

Then he met Alegnio Coglere. The older man, about the same age as Daluar's father, respected his intelligence and treated him civilly, things the elder Sulanguan had increasingly failed to do as their relationship disintegrated. Commander Coglere, it turned out, was a former captain from Yoguos, the same region that had so recently begun to make wild, unprovoked and apparently purposeless attacks on its neighbors. Without going into much detail, Alegnio told how he had resigned and taken some of the men under his command away from Yoguos, looking perhaps to offer their military skills to a somewhat saner region. Daluar informed him that Allasis might not be his best choice, considering how disorganized it had become – and getting worse all the time.

To his surprise (and relief!), a fellow private overheard and joined in on Daluar's side. Within the space of minutes, Alegnio determined that Daluar was hardly the only one dissatisfied with the way Allasis was running his army (something Daluar had suspected, but was not about to go risking his neck investigating), and the men who were tired of following stupid orders were only too willing to join with him if he would agree to go freelance (or mercenary, depending on how you looked at it). Alegnio considered the skills these men might bring to the company, and decided it could work.

It took Daluar and the others mere days to find a way to get themselves discharged from service, and Corps Coglere was formed. Daluar thought one last time of his father and decided he no longer cared.

The Corps began by traveling around the regions surrounding Yoguos, ostensibly on an investigation as to why the Baron would turn so suddenly violent, but also looking for employment. Most of the regions had already suffered at least one attack from the Barony, so it was too late for the Corps to help there, but they did receive standing contracts should the Barony attack anew. And attack it did, but with rather more limited success now that Corps Coglere was there to blunt its forays. The whole time, Alegnio tried to find out what exactly was going on with the Baron, but to no avail. Then the attacks ceased as abruptly as they'd begun (and still Alegnio had no explanation for either mystery). Their workload much reduced, Corps Coglere kept traveling around Calippe, taking the odd job here and there.

It was during this relatively quiet period that Alegnio Coglere fell ill. He named his second-in-command, a very competent lieutenant named Estrebi Arlesque, to assume leadership of the Corps. His choice was met with the expected mix of approval and disapproval typical of a group comprising widely varying personalities, but overall Arlesque was accepted as Coglere's successor, if not exactly replacement.

Alegnio Coglere passed away exactly six days later, to the hour.

Corps Coglere held a funeral and mourned his loss, even receiving sympathetic messages from a few of the regions of Calippe that had benefited from the Corps' assistance. Another message arrived a short time later, surprising the entire Corps: no less an august body than the Lords of Sacuile desired Corps Coglere's services with an unusual, very urgent and difficult, but well-paid mission, which the letter declined to detail.

The entire Corps hastened to the stated rendezvous point in southern Sacuile, where one of the Lords met them to explain the situation. A very important political prisoner, entrusted to their custody by the King of Aypola, had escaped and was hiding out in northern Sacuile. The Republic's military, though well trained, seemed to be known to this escapee in or out of uniform, and thus far he had evaded all attempts at recapture. This meeting was being kept very secret, so perhaps Corps Coglere might succeed where the Sacuileri army had not?

They were certainly willing to try. Arlesque conferred with the company, determined that a small detachment should be able to sneak up on the escapee and catch him by surprise, and selected his six best men for the job: Rostal Ruriba and Seisente Gariz, the ablest fighters; Daluar Sulanguan, an exceptional scout; Mardosus Nurries, in charge of gathering intelligence; and Carian and Ferno ei Sellido, identical twins with very good acting, fighting, and tracking skills, not quite as good as the men assigned to those roles but indispensable backup for the same reason.

The Sacuileri Lord, with the aid of his fellows, transported the detachment to the area of northern Sacuile where the escapee had last been spotted, supplied a bit of provisions and equipment, impressed on the six men how very important it was that this man be returned to the custody of the Republic, and set them loose.

Almost immediately their quarry fled northeast, making for the narrowest point in the Koril Mountains. Aghast, the detachment gave chase, but were obligated to follow the man through the mountains and into Rangplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big The Kingdom of Rang

Overview

Rang is a huge kingdom, covering more than a million square miles, and extending from the Great Sea to the Ice Sea. It dominates the area politically, militarily and religiously. Rang is a monarchy, led by King Diure LXIV, but its immense size weakens the central government. Most feudal lords manage their lands independently, and only answer to the king in the loosest sense. The king does have several pockets of power, such as in Huerten, which allow him to maintai…
.

As the chase led them farther and farther from Terradiaplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big The Free States of Terradia

Terradia is a region to the southwest of Rang, separated from that great kingdom by the Koril Mountains. Most trade and travel between the two regions is done through waterways, as they are much more passable than the Koril Mountains. Terradia is bordered on the south and west by the Great Sea (or the Heirului Sea, as it is called in most of Terradia), and on the east and north by the Koril Mountains.
, their quarry inexplicably dodging or outrunning them at every turn, frustrations grew and tempers flared. One day Rostal simply snapped. He accused Mardosus of helping their quarry escape, then assaulted and nearly killed him. It took Seisente and the twins to pull the enraged man off Mardosus, and two of them came away with bruises for it.

The entire detachment was in shock. While Mardosus recovered, nobody made much mention of the incident; but Rostal saw the looks the other gave him, fearful and wary looks he had never before seen from his fellows. The burly fighter realized it was his fault their quarry was getting away, and that he had all but lost his companions' trust. Unable to bear the shame of betraying the Corps, he simply vanished, from one day to the next. Mardosus and Daluar made a token attempt at determining where Rostal had gone, but they had a more pressing matter to attend to.

The remainder of the detachment continued on the hunt as soon as they were able, but the going was much tougher – the trail became harder to follow, clues grew more difficult to discern. The closer they drew to the northern border of Rangplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big The Kingdom of Rang

Overview

Rang is a huge kingdom, covering more than a million square miles, and extending from the Great Sea to the Ice Sea. It dominates the area politically, militarily and religiously. Rang is a monarchy, led by King Diure LXIV, but its immense size weakens the central government. Most feudal lords manage their lands independently, and only answer to the king in the loosest sense. The king does have several pockets of power, such as in Huerten, which allow him to maintai…
, the more inevitable failure loomed. Remembering how heavily their client had been counting on their success, returning to Terradiaplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big The Free States of Terradia

Terradia is a region to the southwest of Rang, separated from that great kingdom by the Koril Mountains. Most trade and travel between the two regions is done through waterways, as they are much more passable than the Koril Mountains. Terradia is bordered on the south and west by the Great Sea (or the Heirului Sea, as it is called in most of Terradia), and on the east and north by the Koril Mountains.
empty-handed very likely meant the utter destruction of their heretofore stellar reputations – and with it, their careers.

At the northern border of Rangplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big The Kingdom of Rang

Overview

Rang is a huge kingdom, covering more than a million square miles, and extending from the Great Sea to the Ice Sea. It dominates the area politically, militarily and religiously. Rang is a monarchy, led by King Diure LXIV, but its immense size weakens the central government. Most feudal lords manage their lands independently, and only answer to the king in the loosest sense. The king does have several pockets of power, such as in Huerten, which allow him to maintai…
, they finally lost the man altogether. Days of searching and asking turned up nothing. The escaped man, it seemed, had won.

Very much regretting leaving Arlesque in the lurch, but preferring to spare the rest of the Corps the embarrassment of failure – no news is good news, they said, we could be dead for all they know – the remaining five decided they would not venture near Terradiaplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big The Free States of Terradia

Terradia is a region to the southwest of Rang, separated from that great kingdom by the Koril Mountains. Most trade and travel between the two regions is done through waterways, as they are much more passable than the Koril Mountains. Terradia is bordered on the south and west by the Great Sea (or the Heirului Sea, as it is called in most of Terradia), and on the east and north by the Koril Mountains.
. Mardosus and Seisente, suspecting their latest lead on their quarry might yet turn up a clue, declared they would stick together and continue the hunt yet, but no one knows what became of them.

Daluar made his way slowly southward, not far and not fast, getting slowly accustomed to the people and the language and the strange, unnerving sensation of having nothing to do. At first, he rarely found acceptance, let alone employment, being unable to speak any Rouchplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Language

Rouch

Rouch is the vernacular, or common tongue, spoken throughout Rang. Because of Rang's influence, it's also a trade language in the surrounding kingdoms.

Sarnam

Sarnam is the “old tongue,” spoken by the priests of Andritha. Most of the nobly-born are familiar with the language.
at all (often wishing Mardosus was around to translate). Everybody treated him like the foreigner he was, although now and then the novelty of being a Terradian served to endear him to somebody who would feed him or put him up for the night, with a few unintelligible words of kindly advice, before sending him on his way again.

Slowly, slowly, Daluar started to learn Rouchplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big Language

Rouch

Rouch is the vernacular, or common tongue, spoken throughout Rang. Because of Rang's influence, it's also a trade language in the surrounding kingdoms.

Sarnam

Sarnam is the “old tongue,” spoken by the priests of Andritha. Most of the nobly-born are familiar with the language.
, to make himself understood, to appear less an oddity and more a curiosity – at least in that people could approach him, and he them, without so much trepidation. It was amazing, he thought, how friendly people become when one makes little more than an attempt to speak their language.

Personality

Daluar has a strong sense of responsibility and prefers to think things out thoroughly before carrying out a plan of action. Perhaps a little too thoroughly; he is strongly driven to succeed at the first attempt, or perhaps he's afraid of making mistakes, but whenever possible he will try to investigate a situation and think of every possible approach before diving in. He also gets frustrated when plans – especially -his- plans – go awry, and expresses his frustration by growing sullen and withdrawn.

While not fanatically religious, Daluar does observe a ritual of nightly prayer and used to attend church services regularly (however, he will refuse to attend church in Rangplugin-autotooltip__default plugin-autotooltip_big The Kingdom of Rang

Overview

Rang is a huge kingdom, covering more than a million square miles, and extending from the Great Sea to the Ice Sea. It dominates the area politically, militarily and religiously. Rang is a monarchy, led by King Diure LXIV, but its immense size weakens the central government. Most feudal lords manage their lands independently, and only answer to the king in the loosest sense. The king does have several pockets of power, such as in Huerten, which allow him to maintai…
). He carries his religion with him, but holds his home region in low esteem – he considers it too disorganized, fighting for petty causes and generally blind to the dangers its neighboring areas pose.

The Zioth tends not to bother Daluar. Pragmatically speaking, the Zioth is still a long time in coming, so there's hardly a point in getting worked up about it (yet). The event itself, though possible, is unlikely.

Daluar does not believe in magic. However, he has become so jaded that his first exposure to dramatic magical effects will probably cause a spectacular lack of overt reaction from him. At first, he will probably attempt to rationalize magic as some phenomenon consistent with his experience of the physical world; if/when he comes to accept magic as a power unto itself, he will likely catalogue it as simply another instrument with the usual inherent special and limited applications.

Religion

Daluar was raised a Consortist. While he doesn't view other religions with any antipathy – tolerance was part of his upbringing, after all – he does privately think of their adherents with some amusement or pity, depending on their views; he himself certainly wouldn't appreciate being encouraged to spend all his time fretting over an unlikely catastrophe, thus prevented from giving present concerns the attention they deserve.