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 Kharjesher [in two kajillion words or more]

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Iralith



Posts : 3
Join date : 2011-05-27

PostSubject: Kharjesher [in two kajillion words or more]   Sun Jul 10, 2011 7:03 pm

[tl;dr version: complicatedly proud Stygian ex-infantryman of modest origins, ambition to rise in the ranks frustrated by racism, seconded for assassin training, now out of the army and working as a mostly-down-on-his-luck sellsword.]

These days, he generally tries on a wry, cosmopolitan manner--which perhaps he's earned, after wandering and fighting his way through a surprising amount of the civilized and uncivilized north. But it's not what you'd expect from a man of Kharjesher's humble birth, hardscrabble, unremarkable, in a nameless oasis-village south of Luxur.

Kharjesher spent his first sixteen years living a rustic life in the one of the world's great urban kingdoms. He had some aspiration to travel, but nothing would have come of that if an army recruiter hadn't passed through his town; he enlisted (somewhat voluntarily, even!) and joined a few other young men from his village in a regular army regiment. The life suited him well, and--like his distant cousin Jahanatta, from the same village--he showed early promise as a soldier. The regiment saw small wars along the southern border; as well, the deserts of Stygia are full of well-organized brigands in these fallen latter days. Kharjesher's platoon (for a time acting on its own, with minimal support) saw a great deal of brutal action against these scorpions.

Both he and his cousin distinguished themselves in that dangerous handful of years: Kharjesher was tireless as a scout and message-runner, and Jahanatta made several truly clever tactical suggestions to the officers. That's what got them both in trouble. Their village had a lot of Darfarian or Keshani blood in it (probably from slave-builders imported to work in Luxur, long ago). Both of them were too dark-skinned to receive equitable treatment in the Stygian army, and to act with ambition was to make their high-caste superiors uncomfortable. Jahanatta failed to take that fact seriously; he disappeared while on leave, probably at the will of his lieutenant. Kharjesher was recruited for special training.

He spent the next four years eating lotus, training his instincts, and being taught to fight more quickly and cruelly than he ever had in the army. On papyrus, to be trained as an assassin was an honor, a reward for excellence; but that system of preparation bleeds away humanity and makes one a shadow, less than a man. Kharjesher was learning to serve his country at the expense of pride and ambition. There were astonishing lessons to be learned, from lotus-dreams and the agony of experimenting with poisons--terrible beauties, truths about past and future and the nature of the mind and soul. But Kharjesher gained little from those. He does not like to see those visions again; he's not as afflicted by intellectual curiosity as a Stygian aristocrat or priest would be, and it's not a time he can consider with detachment.

It is, however, over. Before Kharjesher's training was complete, portions of his original regiment were disbanded, including his own platoon: the sorceror-priest Thoth-Amon was changing the structure of the army, even though (again, on papyrus) he should have had no control over it. This meant that Kharjesher no longer had a sponsor for his training. He had not mastered his killer's art yet, and--fortunately for him!--his masters judged that he hadn't come along far enough that they should have him strangled to protect their secrets.

Having thus fallen through the cracks, Kharjesher was set adrift in the world, a free ex-soldier who'd never risen above the lowest ranks, with no pension and no strong interest in going back to his village. Since then he's traveled. His adventures have been lurid, violent, and occasionally surreal. When he must fight to earn his bread (which is very, very often), he uses the tools he was given, vicious and evil though they be.

Kharjesher is a proud Stygian, if such a thing can exist. He comes from the most sophisticated nation in the world, wise and brilliant and cruel, dwellers in pyramids and ziggurats that terrify the eye with their hugeness. He is an utterly mainstream lower-caste worshipper of Set: reverential, terrified, praying out of fear and the knowledge that the Serpent will eat his soul when he dies, if he's lucky. What he truly, deeply wanted out of life was to become an army officer, plumed and sleek in golden armor, haughtily guarding the ways and borders of the desert nation. Like Stygia itself, he is subtle but would prefer to be strong; clever, though he would prefer to be brilliant. Fate has not afforded him this.
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