Yaren - background


From a wealthy and noble Pavic family, Reana is the object of Yaren’s affections. She has helped him many times in securing deals and agreements, and access within the higher levels of Pavic society. It would be an act of folly on his part to interpret this as anything other than extension of her Talent, which is to aid and encourage others, but Yaren is convinced she regards him favourably. So far she has refused all serious talk of marriage, but continues to tease him shamelessly, saying ‘you can get me if you try, Yaren, if you really want me’. This flirting alternately encourages Yaren, and drives him completely nuts.

The Free Trade Guild

This is not so much a formal guild as a network of Issaries merchants, spread out over Prax, Dragon Pass, Maniria, and even further afield. There is generally one member, rarely more than two, of the network in each major urban city in these areas, and members are even known as far away as Teshnos, Peloria and Seshnela. Members are generally Garzeen cultists, international merchants who use the Guild network as a quid pro quo for maintaining agents and offices in other lands. Beyond this immediately useful function, the Guild’s overriding philosophy is to promote free and fair trade, and to protest, organise against, and remove all taxes on trade. Particularly taxes which apply to Issaries merchants. Because of their traditional stomping grounds, and the religious role of Issaries, the Guild has also served as a conduit of information for various anti-Imperial groups. The Guild’s headquarters, if such can be said to exist, are at the Notchet Issaries temple, and several important officers of that temple are members.

Yaren has been a member of the Guild for over 12 years, and has served them many times as a merchant, messenger, and explorer of opportunities. There is a Garzeen merchant in Pavis who is also a member of the Guild, and Efridel the Golden-Tounge also passes by from time to time.

Some Backstory

Yaren’s father, and his father’s father, and his fathers before him have served Issaries Golden Tounge in Pavis. Times were good, and Prax was a necessary route to the wealth of Kralorela. Iron flowed East, spices, pearls, jade and silk flowed West. Then Dormal came, and the balance of power shifted to the coasts. The Waste Ways dried up, and the caravans began to ebb. Yaren’s father, Yoreg, took his young son, and together they set out in search of a legendary hidden path to Kralorela, a path so straight that it the Waste Ways profitable once more. Yaren’s journey was to last five years. Yoreg died from a poisoned arrow wound in the wastes, their nomad outriders forsook them, and many mules died in Gagarthi winds. Left with only Daisy and Dustan for support, Yaren, the new master, gave himself to Issaries the Guide, and finally led them into Kralorela.

In Kralorela he had many adventures and even obtained a visa, which allowed him to wander the Eastern Empire as a trader. In Wanzow, Yaren made contact with the Free Trade Guild, contracted a loan, loaded his mules with silks, jade, spices and pearls, and set off for Pavis. The journey would have been accounted a success, his fortune made, had history not intervened. For in the years of Yaren’s travels, the Lunar Empire had come to Prax, and Pavis was no longer free. The Lunars favoured the Imperial trade cult of Etyries, Issaries’ bastard daughter, and whilst Etyries traders enjoyed subsidies, export credit guarantee, loans and tax breaks, Issaries merchants paid triple dues. The Profit of Yaren’s trip was broken, and he had barely enough to repay his loan to the Guild. Yaren hopes one day to amass a large enough fortune that he can prove the New Kralorela route with another journey. Others believe in him, but not enough to sponsor the trip blindly, and Yaren has so far kept the route’s details a secret.

Since then Yaren has made a number of small businesses profitable. As a merchant he plies routes through the Rubble, the Oases, Prax, and even as far afield as Dragon Pass. As an adventurer and explorer, he has led bands to these same areas in the pursuit of treasures, sometimes successfully. He also works as a guide for travellers, adventurers and merchants in the Wastes and the Rubble. He rarely takes people to his special places, those with treasures that he has discovered, for they are a main source of his wealth. He receives monies for officiating at funerals, and occasionally for entreating with ghosts. A small shop in New Pavis sells assorted equipment of the type that travellers find useful or interesting, as well as some artefacts Yaren has recovered from his explorations of the Rubble.

For the last year, Yaren has had some unwelcome competition in the form of the self-styled Praxian Exploration Society, a band of Lunar adventurers, scholars, and debutantes. They are led by a disconcertingly good devotee of Selven Hara named Estara the Tracker. The competition has not yet flared into open hostilities, but the Society has often turned up at awkward moments, say, just as Yaren is about to enter the hidden place where he suspects the treasure to be, or even bumping into each other far into the wilderness. Yaren sometimes suspects that they are following him, which he resents, or that their treasure-hunting is a cover for a search with more mythic significance, which worries him. The fact that Estara and he are always polite to one another does not lessen their rivalry.

Yaren is a complex character. Many of his drives are human – he desires power, wealth, status, marriage, stability, the respect of his community and peers. But there is another side of him, given to the god in the Wastes. He thinks the Hero Wars may be coming – he has seen it on his quests to the otherworld – and is not sure where his destiny lies.

Kickers / Adventure Ideas

1. Reana is a niece of Goromanx the Wise, Mayor of the Real City. There is no way that she can even discuss marriage with Yaren until he is himself a citizen of the Real City, and has amassed enough wealth and status that her family will consider him a suitable suitor. (Not really a kicker, but can be used as a justification for just about anything else).
2. Reana’s duties involve the administration of her families businesses, and she occasionally makes trades on their account in order to build her own dowry. Reana may call on Yaren if her family business runs into trouble requiring some kind of untraceable ‘executive’ action, or if her own accounts need rectifying without the family finding out.
3. As a prosperous merchant, Yaren is always being hit for loans and assistance by his family, charities, temples, and so on. It is a struggle to stay solvent, and often he needs to take action to regain any of his money that his beneficiaries have lost to the wiles and dishonesty of others.
4. An important local figure dies, and Yaren is retained to guide their soul to the Underworld. But the personage had enemies that want him to suffer even after death, and the soul is abducted and taken who knows where. Yaren must ask the Humakti to accompany him to the Underworld and ensure his client reaches his proper place.
5. The Praxian Exploration Society really is more than it seems. It is a small private army that self-finances through tomb-robbing and treasure hunting, true enough. However, it is also has a commission from the Imperial Army to create maps of the wastes and collect intelligence. It also is searching for a number of artefacts from the Dawn and the 2nd Age, and is also part of a larger search for remnants of a great artefact from before the Dawning, that will be of great use to the Lunar College of Magic.

Direct links to the Heroes

1. In return for previous favours, Kost has told Yaren the secrets of the Balazar route, including the way to Gonn Orta’s Castle. Yaren is trying to raise the capital for such a venture, which would be hugely expensive – but vastly profitable!
2. last time Efridel was passing through Pavis he asked Yaren to look after the heroes stuff until they arrived (the humakt temple has no store rooms? They were full?)
3. Anthippus (the fop from Tourney Altar) is an associate (or even member) of the Praxian Exploration Society.

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