"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect, has intended us to forgo their use."
- Galileo Galilei
Use your sense, reason, and intellect: www.manpollo.org
Andrei is a short but well-built Varisian caught between youth and maturity. Swathed in baggy clothes and colorful scraps of cloth, nearly every bit of him is the picture of a typical Varisian wanderer... except for the exposed skin of his hands and face. For there, his features are
He was not always this way, but his pact with the blade has changed him.
sallow and faded as if the Varisian exuberance of his ancestors had been drained away. His dark eyes peer out warily from a pale face that is swathed in long loose white-blonde hair, a stark contrast. A deep scar runs along the palm of his left hand.
Determined, Quick-Witted, Assertive Character Flaws
Grief-stricken, Guilt-ridden, Arrogant
Andrei has a haunted look about him that stems from recent events, and his whole frame stoops as if heavily burdened. Andrei is struggling with both the grief and the percieved guilt from his family's mysterious demise, not to mention the loss of his love Mirela. As a balm to his guilt, Andrei has grasped an inner solidity that had always eluded him in the past, and he uses it to fuel his determination to find the one(s) responsible. Assertive to the last, Andrei isn't afraid to use his quick wit to get exactly what he wants. From his upbringing as a wanderer, Andrei has developed a certain callousness against others (read: anyone who isn't family) due to the treatment he has received in turn, and this often comes across as arrogance.
Andrei was a follower of the old ways. Family heritage of resistance against the Whispering Tyrant. Worships Pharasma & Desna.
Family traveled across Ustalav in a caravan of colorful wagons.
Youth as a rake. Cons and the like. Found a girl.
Outside Thrushmoore, celebrated engagement to Mirela(the girl) and holiday of the victory of the Shining Crusade.
Story of ancestor plunging weapon into Kalev, a vampire/general/governor under the Whispering Tyrant.
Left town the next day, Andrei sent ahead to scout/eerie feeling of being watched.
Rushed to find caravan to find his grandfather, dead. No sign of anyone else. Family/Young love lost.
Took Kalev's Heart (the weapon), and made pact of vengeance.
Andrei had always believed the stories, but that night, it was different.
The family's gaudily painted wagons were drawn up around the bonfire, just outside of Thrushmoore. Mama Narcizia had gone around the circle of wagons, chanting her mantras to keep the evil from the family as they rested for the night. Their bonfire cast long creeping shadows and the moon was full despite the looming clouds obscuring the stars. The Mihaita family was joined by the Valentins, another family of Varisians that kept to the old ways, and the company helped to push back the darkness.
The talk around the camp was of moving on once more. Katallin had been caught alone that day and had beaten sorely by the locals. Folk were worried that Mama Narcizia might not be able to fend off all of the evil spells from the locals. The two families discussed keeping together for a while, for protection.
But tonight was a night of celebration, and soon people put their worries aside and joined in the festivities. Fiddles were unpacked from their cases and limbered up. Children danced, and mothers brought out their harrow decks. Young men competed in games of strength, skill, and chance as the young women looked on with cheers and admiration. This night was the Shining Night, the first night of freedom after the Whispering Tyrant Tar-Baphon was pushed back to his grave in Gallowspire.
Andrei had his own reasons for celebration, for Mirela Valentin's father had just consented to the match proposed by Mama Narcizia. Mirela was a dark-eyed dark-haired truly Varisian beauty, and Andrei had been courting her, as the fates allowed, for over two years now. The couple were giddy with joy, and with each other as they sat and basked in the warmth of their families' collective delight.
Eventually, Grandfather Tiberiu raised his hands, indicating that he was ready to start his tale. The din quieted, and the families began to gather around. It was one that Andrei had heard eighteen times before, but nevertheless he and Mirela leaned in to listen, though they remained wrapped in each others arms. Grandfather Tiberiu was a master storyteller, and tonight was no exception. The tale he told was true, or at least he claimed it was, and no one there doubted him.
It was then that Grandfather Tiberiu brought out the weapon named Kalev's Heart. It was a sleek black blade that Andrei had seen eighteen times, but still he stared transfixed.
For tonight, in the light of the bonfire, it was as if a malign life was beating rhythm from within the glimmering darkness of the weapon.
῀ ῀ ῀
Dawn was signified only by the lightening fog that misted the land. The Valentins and the Mihaitas weren't waiting to greet it, for the wagons were already on the move away from Thrushmoor. Mama Narcizia had woken with a bitter headache and an ominous feeling, and she asked Grandfather Tiberiu to be extra careful. Tiberiu called for Andrei - now the most trustworthy of the young men after Kallatin had been beaten - and asked him to scout ahead for trouble, worried that the locals might have left them a trap.
The caravan passed into the forest along a small track cut through the trees, with Andrei keeping far ahead to watch for trouble. The trees and mist dampened the sound around Andrei and shrouded him in twilight, so that quite often he had to pause to hear the sound of the caravan over his own breathing. He yawned in the gloomy solitude of the forest, wishing he was still in his warm bedroll, bundled up with Mirela.
Andrei was a brave young man, but eventually the hairs on his neck began to stand on end. A feeling of being watched soon overpowered his senses, and he crouched down, pulling out his daggers to prepare himself for trouble. After several minutes the feeling began to abate, and he cursed himself for a fool.
It was only then that he realized that he was wrapped in total silence. Looking back, he couldn't spot the caravan, and abandoning caution, he ran back along the track towards where it should have been. He burst into a small clearing about 500 feet back, and immediately stopped, staring in horror.
The ground of the clearing was churned into furrows of mud, but there was no sign of the caravan. Only one thing remained. Grandfather Tiberiu was in a tree, staring down with eyes devoid of life. Blood ran down the tree in rivulets from the stakes piercing Tiberiu's hands, feet, and forehead... with Kalev's Heart sunk deep into his chest.
῀ ῀ ῀
The grief nearly killed Andrei. He was alone, the caravan having disappeared as if into thin air, and only Grandfather left dead on a tree. Andrei wept. For his family, for the Valentins... for Mirela.
He pulled his Grandfather down from the foul tree, buried him proper, and burned the tree to the ground. Taking the blade from his kin's heart, he cut his palm, and mixed his blood with that of his grandfather's on the blade, vowing to seek revenge with his ancestor's weapon.