2: Grennick of the Quetanian Healers

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Grennick was a skilled healer of Quetan, a Western Order of scholars and priests who worship the lesser god of mending and bone and pride themselves in the study of the body and natural herbalism. Grennick stood 5’10” and was a thinly man with darkened, raised moles on face and arms. He had extremely pale skin his whole life, which seemed to contrast drastically with the Quetanian sigil tattoos he wore on his face, earned when he adopted the title “Elder of the Quetan.” After discovering a dangerous trinket, Grennick shielded locals under his charge at the cost of his own life.

Background

Grennick was born Grennick “Hembie,” which is an old Western term that comes from Low Es’ahn referring to Grennick’s birth status as an orphan. Hembie is what most orphans are called, and though some people identify painfully with the term it is not meant as a pejorative; rather it is simply a legality to denote lines of succession and relation. Many people named Hembie grow into their family and are even legally adopted. Others develop deeper bonds with their household, sometimes marrying into the family after they have come of age. Most orphans are born of poverty or tragedy, but in South Reach few orphans beg or go hungry due to the local customs of fostering children. It is expected that any family of means take a Hembie into their home.

South Reach is populated mostly by humans, ais’lun, and a few dozen Djenndan families, but was first settled several hundred years ago by ais’lun settlers moving east from the forklands in search of more diverse cropscapes. Now, by Western standards, the city is a bustling center of trade and agriculture. Grennick’s foster family–the Noss–made a good living for themselves as artisans and makers among the more elite circles of South Reach. From a young age, Grennick, along with his brother Raldan Noss, learned the ways of building, expanding, and repairing all sorts of things. They also became familiar with how things are constructed, and this instilled a deep curiosity in Grennick that he would carry with him into his later life.

Grennick became more involved in the family business as he grew older, but soon found that he disapproved of his father, Rorcham Noss, in how the man conducted his affairs. Rorcham took advantage of the generosity of those around him in South Reach, often overestimating the cost of his work, using cheap resources to build inexpensively, and stretching out the scope of his labor in order to charge even more. Grennick found that he would have to bite his tongue when discussing estimates with customers, and more than once his honesty would cost Rorcham business.

It was shortly after Grennick turned 22 years old that his discomfort with Rorcham’s dishonesty had drastic consequences. A wealthy landowner in South Reach’s central district hired the Noss family to build several grand structures and houses around a central location that was to become a courtyard. Rorcham and his employees set out to complete the task, stretching their labor as usual and purchasing poorly made bricks from the east, tricking the landowner into paying three times the cost for the materials. Months into the project, the landowner confronted Rorcham with some of his concerns about the poor quality of the materials, and Grennick spoke against his foster father, revealing the truth behind Rorcham’s practices.

The landowner happened to be friends with the Viceroy of South Reach, who seized Noss family lands and holdings until the contract was made right. But due to Rorcham’s dishonest practices over the years, everyone in the surrounding area then refused to do business with him. His household was ruined. His only recourse was to labor for the rest of his life under the city’s charge, unable to own lands and a business of his own. Rorcham denounced Grennick, and cast him out of his charge, leaving the young man to fend for himself in the city.

Grennick was perceptive and wise, and soon found his way to the Order of the Quetan, priests and healers who worship the god of mending and of bones. The Quetan see themselves as the seekers of Quetan in all of nature, studying the ways of mending, healing, and growth. Easterners think the practices of healers are a type of blasphemy, the cheaters of Maros and the evaders of death, but most Westerners have a sense that healers do honorable work, only working to preserve life according to the natural and divine order that already exists within us. Grennick spent weeks volunteering in a South Reach temple until finally the priests inducted him in the Order to begin his training.

During his charge as a Quetanian healer, Grennick traveled all over New Scorth and the forklands working to provide aid and comfort for anyone in need and making quite a name for himself. Whenever anyone asked his family name he would respond “Quetanian,” and soon saw his Order as his true family. He would tell people across the forklands that his life truly began when his ties to the Noss family were severed. After twenty years, and being widely respected for his skill and integrity, Grennick earned his title “Elder of the Quetan” and received the traditional tattoos of their Order on each of his cheeks. The deep blue ink stood out brilliantly from his pale skinned cheeks, interrupted only by several dark moles across his face. The tattoo ceremony was one of Grennick’s proudest achievements.

Two years later as he traveled near the houses outside Long Lake, Grennick spotted an elaborate bone trinket protruding from a great, old, twisting tree. He took it as a sign that the trinket should be retrieved. It was a struggle to remove it from the gnarled wood, and after twenty minutes the healer had attracted a small crowd interested to see what he’d found. As Grennick finally pulled the trinket from its hold, he saw what it was he had found–the radiant trinket of bone was adorned with several glowing shards of pale stone. He began to shout for those who had gathered around to leave, frantically waving his arms and shouting that it was not safe, that they would die if they came any closer.

Several Peacekeepers came by to quell the commotion. They found Grennick desperately trying to remove the stone from the bone trinket, but pieces kept shattering into fragments, pressing into his skin or flaking to the ground. Sadly, Grennick began to feel painful welts and lesions forming on his skin, all from the splinters of the radiant stone. He had learned enough in his time as a healer to realize that he was dying. He had seen others go through this, but he couldn’t have prepared himself for how quickly it was happening to him. A Peacekeeper sent for another Quetanian Healer, but despite anyone’s efforts, Grennick fell rapidly into Maros’s grasp leaving behind only a cold, blank stare. As another member of his order approached the gnarled tree where Grennick laid, the dying man tried to call out, but was unable to make a sound. Then he just slipped away.

The Quetanian healers collected Grennick and gave him an honored rest among their order. They will continue to share the story of his helpfulness and integrity among all Quetanians, and he will serve an example to us all. Rest in peace, Grennick Quetanian.

002-Grennick

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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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