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July 23, 2007, 4:05 am

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Cheka Man

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Lord Kirion Sylanthin


"I’ve heard poets say a pen is mightier than a sword.  Foolishness, mostly.  But I’ll say this.  A pen in my brother’s hand is worth a hundred swords in a hundred soldiers’ hands."
- General Kailan Sylanthin


Kirion is a young man, in his early thirties.  He is tall and awkward, but not unattractive.  He has a serious face, with dark hair and intelligent gray eyes.  Usually, he’s dressed in simplified court finery, and walks with a limp that makes his cane more of a necessity than a fashion statement.

While he is always armed (a sword concealed in his cane), this is really just a mark of his station.  There are always at least two well-trained soldiers the follow him around inconspicously to act as body-guards if he should ever be threatened.


Lord Kirion Sylanthin is one of the hereditary lords of Dalres, a small province that has the misfortune to be located between two kingdoms that have been at war for generations.  Dalres is not affiliated with either, but the Sylanthin line has been hard pressed to keep it that way.  If it’s not one kingdom trying to invade to annex Dalres as a staging area, it’s the other.  As a result of this, Dalres has always had a standing army, and the Lords Sylanthin have a strong military tradition; almost all of the men of the line have been great military heroes.

Kirion is strongly patriotic, and wants to do his best to defend his province and his people.  He has a warrior’s soul and wants to live up to the family ideal.  That’s why his shortcomings are particularly hard on him.

Lord Kirion is an utterly hopeless fighter.  He can handle a sword well enough that he won’t hurt himself with one, but he seems utterly incapable of taking on a real opponent.  Not that he didn’t try; he tried so hard it almost got him killed.  He was severly injured in a small border skirmish, by an enemy soldier a rookie was able to take down.  The event left Kirion with a bad limp, but he was lucky he wasn’t dead, and he knew it.  To the intense relief of his family, he decided to stay off the battlefield in the future, and leave all further military matters to his younger brother Kailan.

Kirion restricted himself to the more administrative duties of lordship- tax collection, diplomacy, trade matters, etc.  It didn’t really suit him, but it needed to be done, and he was conscientious about it.  In order to vent some of his growing frustration, he turned to an activity that had always calmed him as a child: writing.

He started writing stories, mostly focusing on the brave defenders of Dalres and their heroic pursuits.  He used his brother, Kailan, as the main character of most of these stories.  He had meant it nothing more as a way to vicariously fight the battles he couldn’t fight in reality.

But as intelligence reports came in from the area where Kailan was currently trying to quell yet another invasion, Lord Kirion started noticing odd similarities.  Some scenes he wrote in his stories almost seemed to replicate what was happening in the field.  Of course, that couldn’t be the case, since he’d written those stories before he’d gotten the intelligence reports.  He merely chalked it up to his knowledge of common aspects of battle.

Then he wrote a story that seemed… different, somehow.  It was a story of how Kailan’s unit had been trapped in a small valley by enemy soldiers, with no way to escape, and in an undefendable position.  Kirion wrote like he was in a trance, events unfolding in ways he didn’t really want them to.  When he wrote that the enemy troops were about to make a charge and overrun Kailan’s position, Kirion stopped.  He didn’t want to keep writing, given the way that the story was turning out, but it didn’t feel right to just leave it.  He would simply change the story to give Kailan an out.  He wrote a storm into the story, a driving, blinding rain that enabled his brother and his men to slip past the enemy soldiers that had blocked them in.  He was satisfied with that ending, and fell asleep in his study almost as soon as he finished writing.

Lord Kirion did not think any more about the strange story he had written, until the next message came from Kailan.  Kailan told of a near thing- how he and his men were trapped in a small valley, and how it had been almost certain that they would die.  He also told of the strange storm that had blown up out of a blue sky, saving him and his men.  It was very strange; the storm had almost seemed to favor them, while it had given the enemy troops no end of trouble.

It seems that a distant ancestor of the Sylanthin line had been a sorcerer of sorts, a writer of stories that became real.  And through some odd quirk of heredity, Kirion had that gift as well.

Once he determined that, Kirion began writing in earnest.  He could not fight to protect Dalres, but maybe he could use his talent to indirectly protect his people.  He’s been doing so ever since, and is much happier for it.

Roleplaying Notes

Lord Kirion’s ability manifests through the stories he writes.  If he’s writing about a person he knows well or is very close to, he starts writing what is actually happening to that person at that time as if he was right there with them.  He can also influence what happens, within limits.

He cannot actively take control of anyone, but he can have an effect on the outcome of their actions.  (For example, he could not cause an archer to shoot a particular target, but he could make the arrow hit true.)  He can also influence environmental factors (weather, noticable traces, other beneficial circumstances), as long as it’s *possible* that his alterations would happen.  Any "changes to the story" that he makes will always take the form of coincidences.

He also can only write a story that he intends to "change" in one sitting; once he stops writing, any influence he has on the situation ends.  Additionally, the effort of writing to change reality exhausts him, and once he finishes a given story, he almost immediately falls asleep or passes out for several hours and can’t be woken.

Kirion has some profound mystical abilities, but he has absolutely no combat skill.  He can only use his abilities if he can sit and write undisturbed, and should he be actively threatened, he would be hard pressed to defend himself.  For this reason, he always has at least two body-guards at all times.  It irritates him a little, but he understands the point of it.


Perhaps the PCs are agents of one of the two feuding kingdoms, and have been sent by their superiors to "deal with that blasted sorcerer" who’s making life difficult for the would-be invaders.  Of course, they don’t know who the sorcerer actually is, or how his powers work…

Perhaps one of Lord Kirion’s special stories has accidentally gotten published, and has been attracting wide notice due to the similarities between the story and a reasonably famous battle.  Perhaps there is a sideways reference to someone who could be the PCs, and they want to investigate this link.

Lord Kirion’s talents have become invaluable to the forces of Dalres, particularly General Kailan Sylanthin.  Perhaps a rumor of a planned assassination of the young lord is drifting around, and either the general or Lord Kirion himself approach the PCs to resolve the potential problem one way or another.

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Comments ( 6 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Cheka Man
July 23, 2007, 13:12
I wish I could write like that lol.
Voted manfred
July 23, 2007, 18:20
What a handy family secret to have.

The character does not make me jump out of amazement, perhaps it only misses some spark, but it is solid, and very usable. Note that his power is particularly useful in worlds without fast means of communication.
Voted epsilon
July 23, 2007, 21:46
For some reason I preferred the drunk on the other sub. Maybe as Manfred suggests the spark is missing. However an interesting sorcerer, solid and usable.

O what trouble I would be in if I were in his stead. Without a dictionary, thesaurus and spell checker to make my words ring the bell my mind sounds. Who knows what could eventuate if he made some grammatical mistakes in his stories ;)
Voted Scrasamax
July 24, 2007, 3:29
We need to come up with a fitting free-text for this submission and the other fellow as well. Mystic? Seer? Fortune-Teller?

Thumbs up ala Typewriter of the Gods.
Voted valadaar
July 24, 2007, 20:51
Well Done!
Voted MoonHunter
July 26, 2007, 19:15
I like this write up. It has good characterization, a nice setting element, and some deeper history. I would of liked a bit more on that history of how this bloodline came to be and how this power developed (and faded).

It reminds me of The Golden Key. It is not your classic fantasy, it is very renaissance in nature, and is centered around painting. Limers (painters) of a certain bloodline can paint images that perform magic. They can ensure oath/ contracts are maintained, that good/ ill fortune can be generated, and a number of other effects. The magic is not "flashy" or "active", but it is effective.

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