Ssao E’hzeir is a very typical old man of low-caste Hzursaungu blood. He has stooped with old age, and is now shorter than most of the young men of his city of Yyiszo. He has a deeply lined face and the yellowed parchment-colored skin of old men of his particular race. He has a thin, long head of silvery hair.
The young children of Yyiszo call him “Old Monkey Ssao” because of his large ears.
Ssao generally dresses in a simple kirtle of grey reeds and a traditional low-caste cloak made from strips of red and grey cloth. Around his neck, in the traditional Hzursaungu fashion, he wears a special idz’zi-scarf bearing his clan symbols, lineage, and caste identification; this is augmented with a golden sigil woven into the front which denotes his mandated raised-class status. Wherever he goes, he holds a tall staff of wood carven with miniature deity-figures.
Ssao’s voice is soft but strong. When he stands, he shrugs dignity about him like a cloak.
Ssao E’hzeir was born in southeastern Hzursaung, in the region of the Shore of Chirudla, under the Peaks of Kasch’om. His caste was the Caste of Humble Toilers, his clan a minor group of farmers called the People of the Green Jewel. It seemed from an early age that Ssao would be destined to follow his father (recorded in the clanbook of the People of the Green Jewel as Nunsch’ae the Quiet) into a quiet life of toil in the fields and unquestioning servitude to the tax-collectors and clan-fathers.
But an event occured in Ssao’s life which would change his course forever. When Ssao was but 7, the hemoplectic sickness struck his village on the beach of the Shore of Chirudla. Many were rendered helpless on their pallets or upon the shores or in the fields where they worked, prey to horrible sweating and diarrhea, gradually soaking their lives away into their cloaks.
Ssao’s mother, Bizhohue, was also struck with this terrible disease. Trapped in her bed, she cried out for water. But none would dare to go into the hut to give her life-giving moisture; to go near a hemoplectic is death, for it is as surely catching as the Great Sickness of Hansch’ae Whzai.
But on that day, before the eyes of the survivors to the village, little Ssao, only 7, went into the house of his mother, his expression grim, and to her he administered water.
It was no surprise, then, after this exhibition of great bravery, that Ssao E’hzeir became a soldier.
Ssao served a distinguished career during the Hzursaungu wars in the Isles of Vi’idz. He was raised from the rank of footsoldier steadily upward to become a bi’iungszahao, commander of ten contingents of men; many of the noble commanders of similar rank considered him a great upstart, but even in caste-bound Hzursaung, men can be promoted by their deeds.
Eventually, after many years on the shores of foreign islands, battling in the fruitless wars against the wakou of Vi’idz and of the Tlonzig Archipelago, Ssao tired of life as a soldier.
He returned to his homeland to cash in his commission. It was then that a quite fortunate proposition fell into his lap- there was an opening for a mandarin in his home district, and as he had shown such distinction, and shown himself so capable, and because he was familiar to the people of that area, he was made the new local magistrate.
From there, he was invited by this clan to join their administration; he was given a post as a clan-father.
Finally, after many long years of service to clan and country, Ssao decided that it was time to move on into honored retirement.
But his clan and city had other ideas; Ssao was recognized for a life of quiet dignity and noble action, and honored with the post of alytarch to his city of Yyiszo.
In this position, Ssao has few official duties. He is provided a small stipend by the city. At the Yearly Festivals, Ssao is the overseer; he initiates the rituals and prayers, and sees that the games of dul’id and na’sh bszo are fairly held and performed correctly. In this way, he is a magistrate of games and a referee- he is the authority who decides tie games and distributes prizes.
Ssao lives a quiet life, generally a reclusive one. Most of this family has passed on- his only companions now are the monkeys who gather on his windowsills and the children who dash about his feet when he walks the streets in silent contemplation.
He is not a pious man, but makes the correct sacrafices.
He has come to love his job as alytarch. He takes quite seriously the duty to oversee games and make sure that all is done fairly. By some, he is seen as an overzealous spoilsport, though most agree that he is quite the best alytarch the city has had.
-He is a quite minor and unremarkable character. He is nearly an extra, but not quite, because of his prominence in the community.
-He should be presented as old, dignified, and quiet; he doesn’t have anything terribly profound to say or any wisdom to really pass on besides typical grandfatherly sayings… The heroes probably find him quite boring.