15: Chola-paak, Harbinger of The Breach

15: Chola-paak, Harbinger of The Breach

Profile

Chola-paak is a twenty-seven year old Djenndan warrior-scholar from the town of Tsikastax in the hilly expanses of New Voland. She stands like a giant among her viantu community, at 8′ 2″ and 358 lbs., and her wide neck and sloped shoulders give her a more bear-like appearance than other Djenndan her height. Chola-paak was an infant gift to a scholarly order known simply as “The Breach” in honor of what they call the “Plain Pact.” The Pact states that each generation The Breach will adopt a Djenndan foundling that they must raise to protect their Order and enforce their laws. In the early years of her service Chola-paak showed promise among the Breach scholars and commanded respect in Tsikastax, but as her curiosity about the ways of the world grew, the Order grew suspicious of her critical thoughts and her inability to follow orders without question. After discovering Pale Stone in a Tsikastax well, Chola-paak’s superiors within The Breach became threatened by her connection to Lakriah’s tears, and they pressured her to leave her town. Now she searches the Empire for other Djenndan to learn more about the culture of her ancestors.

Background

Tsikastax is an isolated township in the hilly expanses of New Voland. The Trax Volaani emigrated into this central region of the province more than three centuries ago, leaving behind the redwoods to explore a new life more closely befitting the influx of Thelean culture and agricultural technologies that Peacekeepers and settlers brought to the provincial lands. The expanses offered a plentiful life for many viantu until the five droughts a century ago, where crops would not take or grow for five full generations. Many left the expanses during the five droughts, but for those who stayed the harvests finally began to return and life found a new balance in the expanses. The struggles of those harsh times shifted the social expectations of the region’s inhabitants.

The primary change for the viantu in the central hills after this time was the rule of law. For the past century all of Tsikastax and its surrounding farmlands and hamlets have been governed by The Breach, a scholarly order loyal to the Empire who interprets their governance over the people of the hills with strict oversight. They grew to an exacting power during the five droughts and commanded how foods and resources were to be distributed among those in need, and after a time their spiritual philosophies also became the mandate for all the citizens within their borders. What The Breach states as policy is the law of the land, and they do not tolerate anyone who violates their edicts. There is peace and relative prosperity throughout Tsikastax, but peoples in Reviak and in other areas of the Empire criticize The Breach for stealing innate freedoms and exacting unfairly strident punishments.

Among the many strict policies of The Breach there is the Plain Pact. The Pact followed a bloody rebellion in the expanses where citizens rose up with the intent to destroy The Breach and claim their lands as free roamers. The rebels, who called themselves “Yazhmak Vikaani” (meaning “the plain [viantu] ones” in the common tongue), sought to rid the world of The Breach and install their own rule of law. Eventually a negotiated pact led to the end of the bloody hostilities. The rebellion is now considered a dark part of Tsikastax history, and among the terms negotiated to satisfy the rebels, The Breach agreed that no sentence would be carried out without a council trial. The rebels agreed that this law would stop the many corrupt killings that Breach enforcers often carried out without provocation or explanation. In exchange, the four clans who led the rebels were to provide The Breach with a warrior vigil, a giant child who would be raised to protect The Breach from another rebellion and would lead the charge of law enforcement. The Plain Pact led to a strange tradition wherein the Grub Clan would procure a Djenndan foundling when needed who would be raised in the tradition of The Breach. The pact that was designed to distribute The Breach’s power in a more balanced way has of late contributed to a more focused use of that power.

Chola-paak grew up in the traditions and the selective history of The Breach, her charge as the chosen Harbinger of The Breach. Her town’s origins and her order’s history were the whole of her reality. She showed all the promise of being a capable leader and a ruthless enforcer–the perceived duties required of her as the Harbinger. When fighting, she brandished her order’s ruthless claw weapon with a ferocity unrivaled by many fighters in the Empire. Wandering through Tsikastax like a lumbering bear giant, wearing the armor of her order, she served as a symbol of the power that The Breach holds. But when Chola-paak was not on assignment, she would spend days on end buried in historical scrolls, many of which were heavily edited by The Breach. She began to develop a suspicion of the authority of her own Order and the ways they abused their power. It seemed to Chola-paak that The Breach cheated council trials and exploited revenues and resources from the common citizens of their lands. She was inquisitive as a child, always wondering where her Djenndan family came from, and her curiosity led to questions that officials within The Breach found distasteful. The deeper her interests grew, the more distant she became from her order’s charge.

Little is known about the specific tasks Chola-paak actually did in the name of The Breach, but most citizens among Tsikastax know how she came to be mistrusted and all but banished by her order. On her last assignment she was sent to retrieve a farmer in the central part of the township on suspicion of dissent. When she arrived at the farmer’s home, the viantu offered Chola-paak the customary hospitalities and began to enter into conversation with the Harbinger. She was once again at odds with her orders, given that the farmer seemed not guilty of inciting riot or disobedience against The Breach’s authority. So she broke bread with the farmer and began to ask him why The Breach might think he was a dissident. The farmer showed Chola-paak his well, from which a radiant glow was emanating. She commanded the farmer to leave and flee to the northern hamlets, and then set out to retrieve the stones for herself.

The Breach’s enforcers arrived, on orders of the council to watch Chola-paak’s actions and determine whether she was sympathetic to the dissident. With the evidence they needed to incriminate the Djenndan Harbinger, they confronted her and commanded her to accompany them to the Order’s Keep by the authority of the council. Chola-paak felt invigorated by the stone she retrieved from the well, and knew that returning to the council after freeing the man she was supposed to arrest would mean her own imprisonment. Chola-paak commanded the enforcers to let her pass, and a fight broke out. When the commotion settled, all the enforcers had been killed. Chola-paak brought the group of enforcers back to the Order. According to ancient Breach law, anyone who kills a group of enforcers in fair combat is blessed by the gods as being innocent of their crimes. But instead of resuming her duties, Chola-paak took her leave to explore the Empire.

015-Chola-paak

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Fractalform is the gaming handle of Bret Woods--ethnomediologist, author, and lead developer of Augur's Lore RPGs. Bret is Thing 1 at http://descrypt-studios.com.

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