Herithi appears as a prematurely aged man in his forties, but looks like he lived through eighty. His head is covered by a turban-like head-dressing and he wears soiled robes which may once have been white. From his face gape two empty eye-sockets. If one watches him carefully, one can note that in addition to his eyes, he is also missing his tongue, and that his hands are large, strong and dexterous.
'On the crime of Theft, I find you Guilty! Sentence is amputation of hands, effective immediately!' intoned Cardos coldly and with a hint of satisfaction. None watching were surprised by the Sentence. Cardos the Just's title was considered well named by many, and a cruel joke by most others.
'No my lord!' cried Herithi. 'Have Mercy! Take my eyes instead!' Why did I say that?! thought Herithi, shock registering through him.My eyes? Shalali protect me...
Cardos the Just hesitated for a moment. The insect was talking back to him? Well, the offer did interest him, and the Book did allow for Blinding as an alternate punishment, though rarely invoked.. Hmmm.
The courtroom went quiet when Cardos opened the great Lawbook and flipped through a few pages. He stopped on one page and read in details, and a cruel smile appeared on the Judge's face.
'I will grant your request, worm. But you do know that you disrupted my court with your outburst and that cannot go unpunished. So I find you guilty of insolence, and for that your tongue is forfeit. You shall never interrupt your betters again. Sentence to be carried out immediately. Headsman!'
The black hooded figure sat up from the stool where he had watched the proceedings. He was glad that the mask concealed his face - none knew just how little he enjoyed his work, unlike the judge.
An assistant brought forth a brazier and the iron implements of the headsman's trade. Herithi screamed despite himself as they came into view.
Cardos the Just just smiled.
It took a few weeks for Herithi to recover from the shock of his mutilation, but apart from the pain, he remembered his last sight - the look in the eyes of the headsman. Not cruel or exultant, but full of remorse.Why work as a headsman? he thought.
It was somewhat fortunate, though many would debate this, that Herithi was immediately seen to by Yatharith, Guildsmaster of the Beggars Union. Doubtless the severe sentence visited upon Herithi would attract many alms, as both those with true pity and those who enjoyed a good freakshow would be drawn to the cripple. Though Herithi gained virtually none of the coin that entered his cup, Yatharith provided Herithi food and shelter.
Yatharith found another use for the cripple. Before his ill-starred burglary which led to his arrest, Herithi was a well respected rope-maker and had unmatched skill in the tying, splicing and making of rope and nets. Respected, though not well paid, Herithi pursued less legal endeavors to fill his pockets.
Though now blind, Herithi knew his trade to such a degree that he was still capable of his work. Yatharith would cycle Herithi between working the streets, and then back into the guildhall where his work would be sold. Again, few of these coins found their way to Herithi, and he lived on the edge of starvation. 'Who gives coin to a well fed beggar?' was a phrase that Yatharith used often.
Herithi soon found that at times it appeared that others were guiding his hands, and after these incidents, he found odd, impossibly ornate knots tied into the ropes he was working with at the time. What was even more odd was that these knots served to alter the ropes in unusual ways. Sometimes the ropes where inexplicably lengthened, or served to support more weight then would be expected. At first Herithi could not consciously tie these knots, but with time he was able to replicate these on command.
Once Yatharith became aware of this new capability he pushed poor Herithi even harder. Gone was the streetside begging, now all of his time was devoted to the creation of stronger rope, charms against rot and fire, and lassos which would entangle victims. Yatharith grew rich from Herithi the cripple.
However, Herithi would soon show Yatharith the error of his ways.
Now, not all of the knots that Herithi knew were as innocuous as charms to prevent damage from fire and rot, or strengthen rope. One knot which came to Herithi in a dream was one that would cause a rope to act as a serpent.
While he toiled away on the commission work which consumed most of his day, he would occasionally cut a few yards off the item of work, tie a lengthening knot to hide the removal, and hide the severed piece under his robes. Then, at night during the few hours Yatharith granted Herithi to sleep, the ropemaster would tie the serpent knot.
When the town watch entered the guildhall, they found the entire upper council of the Beggar's guild dead in their chairs. Some had ropes tied tightly around their throats, while other were slumped over with no apparent injury. Lengths of rope were found also under the tables, but no other clues were available to the bewildered guardsmen.
Elsewhere in the city, a blind and dumb man was being lead up the steps of the temple of Shalali. Aelbier the ropemaker was an old friend of Herithi and was surprised to find the cripple wandering the streets that night. As far as he knew, poor Herithi was a prisoner of the Beggar's guild and here he was free. Well, Alelbier could not hide Herithi for long from the guild, but he knew that the temple of Shalali would accept him. As he left the temple with Herithi in their care, he looked back and saw Herithi staring at him with his empty sockets, and a broad smile gracing his battered features.
Herithi carries few items of note, but generally will always have a few lengths of rope on hand. At most he would have a course rope belt adorned with wondrously beautify knotwork. This rope includes knots which increase luck and provide defence against hostile magics and evil spirits.
Herithi is not especially evil, but has been jaded by the events of his life. He is only beginning to trust the priests of Shalali who are his current caretakers - he is still of two minds about Shalali. On one hand he blames her for his fate, but on the other hand is grateful for his gift - his magic.
Herithi will not venture outside of the temple for a few reasons, not the least of which is his blindness, but also in fear of the Beggar's guild. None who survived the death of the council really know what happened, but Herithi will not take any chances. He has had enough torture.
Herithi will sell charms and other minor magics to pretty much anyone admitted by the temple. He is willing to entertain more interesting work including creation of magic items, but this needs to include the temple in negotiations.
Herithi can hear perfectly well, and can write. He will communicate through use of slate and chalk.
Herithi is an Entwiner - School of Entwiners and is meant to demonstrate how different casters of this school can be from the normal mage. He was inspired during the lively debate on this sub :)
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? Responses (14)-14
Will be converting some of the notables in this sub to Stubs and then Subs as time allows.
In some ways it's like making an onion - you always need to add another layer :)
I will be elaborating on the home city, its politics and culture as time allows, but for now it is a large, middle-easternlike maritime city. There are two major ethinic division with the minority in power. Herithi is part of the majority which is oppressed, Cardos (and all other government figures) are part of the minority.
Note to self: Who makes an onion??
A very original NPC! It seems that the beggars and lowlifes of the city have more magical resources than one might expect!
I like the way that his history was presented and the nicely fleshed-out supporting characters, the cruel judge and the regretful executioner.
I suspect that Yatharith would have kept a regular watch on the activity of the courts, both to recruit likely future beggars from among the executioner's maimed victims and to gather information that might interest his friends among the criminal underworld.
Good and engaging story, character is believable and adds another side to the grimy and desperate beggar. Well done val.
Well done, and it's quite a sight to see this magic in action. Also comes with much juicy detail. I like 'Cardos the Just'... well like is maybe not the right word.
A fine character by all accounts. Crippled but not helpless, injured by the world, but enough living to execute a little poetic justice. Great work!
Not only an amusing and somehow likable character, but I'll agree as above....a wonderful way to see the 'Entwiners' in action!
I'm liking the school even more now!
Oh, he will do quite nicely!
I'll steal a line from Strolen. The Entwiners and Herithi get my mind spinning with ideas! Nice work.
An interesting character with a good history and better hooks.
Now people might begin to look for him, questing for his power.
A fascinating NPC, and one that coudl easily prompt the more good hearted adventures to take it upon themsevles to either heal or avenege, especially once they realize the mans capability and how his gratitude could be reapaid...
Hmm, I'm not sure about avenging him. As he pretty much succeeded in silencing his oppressors.
However healing him would in my mind doubtless grant the PC's his eternal gratitude and perhaps some extra special rope(s).
A memorable NPC, to be sure.
There really isn't anything else that I'm able to add to this that hasn't already been mentioned.
Well done valadaar! An inspiring submission to be sure.
I'm currently picturing a campaign set in the Assassin's Creed universe. Using this fellow would definately make for an interesting plot/plot aide.
Many thanks to you valadaar for a great submission - 5/5
Oh, before I forget, have my HoH ;-)
Thanks - he's up with Tohm Bones as my own favorites !