Bost

Mul Warden, Gladiator theme

Description:
Bio:

Bost’s mother was a dwarf from Kled (an entirely dwarven village, made up of sun-worshippers), and his dad was a human semi-nomadic druid wandering the area of the Great Alluvial Sand Wastes and protecting Brightspray, a tiny wellspring northeast of Kled, on the edge of the Wastes. It’s no more than a trickle, and thus not worth a visit by large caravans, but has been a godsend for the odd wandering traveller.

Kled is and always has been an antislavery village, and has robustly fought back against slavers that have tried to raid it; nonetheless, it has suffered kidnappings from time to time. So the tempting target of a mul was sent to be raised by his ol’ dad in the wilderness, protecting the spring, seeing wanderers come through from time to time, etc.

A few years ago, a pack of slavers descended upon Brightspray. At the time, Bost’s mother was visiting, and a couple of travelling families (comprising 12 or 13 people) were resting there. Bost’s family offered surprising resistance, and his father and mother were killed , while Bost took down quite a few of the slavers before he was captured. Bost and the traveller familes were taken into slavery. The slavers who seized them wore emblems with a scarlet saz on them. There were two or three dozen, more than half of them tareks and the rest humans, half-elves, elves, gith, and even a fellow mul, who seemed to be in charge.

The slaves were taken back to Tyr and most of them became a part of that year’s Dragon’s levy. Bost and one of the other captives (a sturdy half-elf youth named Hojar) were handed over to the gladiator stables of Druze of Mericles (see the wiki for more information about him). Druze owned over a hundred gladiators, including some famous ones (Rikus, his partner Neeva, the half-giant Gaanon, etc.) and these heroes, particularly Rikus, were often visited and observed by Tithian of Mericles, who was at the time King Kalak’s “High Templar of the Games and Public Works”. (The gladiators don’t really care much for specifics, so many consider themselves to have once been owned by Tithian; that’s not exactly true, but not wrong, either, because they were owned by the Mericles family in general). Rikus and other high-level gladiators were trained in a separate area from novice gladiators, but Bost did exchange words with him from time to time, and although Bost would be surprised to know it, Rikus would remember Bost’s name after a moment’s thought—as he would every gladiator that passed through his stables. They were all brothers (and sisters), after all.

On the day of Kalak’s assassination, Bost had fought in one of the earlier warm-up matches and was being bandaged up when the assassination happened. (Bost had no idea it was coming—none of the gladiators, save Neeva, did). When Tithian emerged and freed the slaves, nobody cheered louder than Bost, and in the past year Bost has remembered that moment and hotly defended Tithian when anyone criticized him.

In the year since the assassination, Druze has struggled to turn his gladiator training facility into a for-profit gym producing for-profit free gladiators in the for-profit gladiator matches in Tyr. Bost didn’t want to continue as a gladiator, and didn’t want to lock himself into the Crimson Legion as Hojar did. Druze found a place for him on one of the Mericles estates outside of Tyr, guarding the fields and the muddy irrigation trickles. It wasn’t the most satisfying job—a lot of it involved chasing water-seekers AWAY from the Mericles water sources, which is a stark difference from the kindly helpfulness Bost’s family practiced at Brightspray—but the truth is that if he didn’t, the irrigation trickles would have quickly dried up and the Mericles fields—beautiful expanses of crops that were critical to feeding Tyr—would have dried up and blown away.

Over the past few months, though, Bost got the sense that his employers were feeling him out for something. He’s not sure what, but they would ask him questions about his goals, about the future, about his interest in joining a formal fighting group. They also felt him out about his feelings vis-a-vis Tithian, and the First Edict, and slavery, and Bost stridently supported the Edict and made it clear that his own enslavement was never far from his mind. Eventually they stopped asking questions, and a few weeks later, the estate manager apologized and said that the Mericles were coming on hard economic times, and Bost had to be let go. For the past month or two he has been bumming around, living off his savings, taking an odd guard job here or there to get by. The word is out in the various taverns and such that Bost is looking for jobs, and by and by something usually comes up, never anything that lasts for more than a few days and never anything that has taken him very far out of Tyr.

On the day after Liberation Day, Bost receives a message that House Shom (a powerful and wealthy Nibenese merchant houses, which has a large emporium in Tyr) was looking to hire someone with his skills, asking him to meet at the Golden Inix, a bar that is part of the Anzo’s Pleasure Argosy complex in the Caravan District.

After helping Rikus repel a grell assault, Bost was given a tattoo by Gyth-kalak, a famous Tyrian thri-kreen artist. He now has an Athasian ram’s skull on his shoulder, representative of his warden ram powers.

Dreams in the Dragon-House
You are in the red-clay mountains of Altaruk, looking upward at the empty sky. And there, in the distance, the monstrous winged form of the Dragon, gliding eastward.

Your heart stops as the Dragon swings its head around and looks directly at you, fixing you with its horrifying gaze.

Then you are looking at a bright square surrounded by darkness. You realize you are laying on a simple bed in your mother’s house in Kled, looking up at the sun through the empty roof. (In Kled, the sun-worshipping dwarves have no roofs on their houses). A large centipede crawls past you on the wall and, without thinking, you crush it with a slap. A smear of purple blood remains on the wall.

There is a nauseating moment of weightlessness, and the brilliant square becomes a circle. You are looking downward into the glowing heart of a gigantic volcano. It surges upward and liquid fire pours over the rim, incinerating tiny people and homes in the valleys below. A dark figure watches impassively from a high ridge nearby.

The scene changes and you are in the midst of a massacre. Blades hewing, hammers smashing, and blood flying everywhere; you see men, women, and even children go down, slashed and smashed. The ground is slick with blood and the piles of bodies grow ever higher. Suddenly you realize: it is you who is doing the slaughtering, your hands that are wet and crimson. Your mind returns to the vision of the dark figure watching the volcano’s eruption, and in the glow of the lava flow, you can see that the dark figure is you as well.

Then you are nowhere, and you see an ocean of frothing water. It smells fresh and salty, and it is so loud—birds scream overhead, and in the churning waters you can see brilliantly-colored animals and plants in a thousand bizarre forms. The ocean swells, and it begins to flood over plains, mountains, deserts, and cities, rushing through the streets and subsuming the buildings and people.

Then it dries up, leaving a salt crust behind on everything. Nothing moves, nothing is alive, just white salt-covered structures. The drying and withering continues, and the mountains and trees and buildings crumble to grey ash, blowing away in the wind, until there is nothing left but black defiled plains as far as the eyes can see.

Dreams in the Lake-House
You are wandering the burning black mountains of the Smoking Crown range. The air is choked with ash and everything is suffused with a red glow from the volcanoes that line the horizon.

On a mound of cinders sit two men. One is weeping, his shoulders shaking. The other is staring up at the volcanoes with his face set in an emotion that combines stern determination and peace. You suddenly realize that they are both the same man.

Then you are looking at a bright square surrounded by darkness. You realize you are laying on a simple bed in your mother’s house in Kled, looking up at the sun through the empty roof. (In Kled, the sun-worshipping dwarves have no roofs on their houses). There is a smear of purple blood on the wall.

You get up and emerge from your mother’s house, looking out onto the concentric circles that make up Kled’s town “square”. Dwarves bustle back and forth. Shockingly, they are all clad in heavy plates and mail made of iron, a king’s treasury on each humble farmer. They do not seem to notice.

Lyanius, the uhrnomus of Kled, points with an iron-gauntleted hand, and armored dwarves haul a burned dwarf into the square. They force him over a stone block and Lyanius brings his hand down. A steel axe clunks down onto the block and the burned dwarf’s head rolls away.

It is snapped up by a gigantic crocodile, its scales studded with gems, that lurches out of a pool of silt. The crocodile turns its yellow eyes on you.

Then you are nowhere, and you see an ocean of frothing water. It smells fresh and salty, and it is so loud—birds scream overhead, and in the churning waters you can see brilliantly-colored animals and plants in a thousand bizarre forms. The ocean swells, and it begins to flood over plains, mountains, deserts, and cities, rushing through the streets and subsuming the buildings and people.

Then it dries up, leaving a salt crust behind on everything. Nothing moves, nothing is alive, just white salt-covered structures. The drying and withering continues, and the mountains and trees and buildings crumble to grey ash, blowing away in the wind, until there is nothing left but black defiled plains as far as the eyes can see.

Bost

The Lost Seas neopolitan