Last week we wrote about the Topexx Dominions races and factions and I used the quad picture of the Commanders. What? You don’t know who these people are? How can that be, we’ve been working on them for months … oh yea, we’ve never told anyone about it. D’oh!! We know them so well we forgot that not everyone has the same knowledge we do. Well we’re going to fix that right now. Allow me to present our four Commanders, Milak Swiftwind (top left), High Sorceress Minuet (top right), Grimtok the Destroyer (bottom left), and Elandria Lunnar (bottom right).
Hello, my name is Milak Swiftwind and I grew up learning strong Hos’lathi values of honor, integrity, and community building, and that these values are the cornerstones of a truly inspired and great society. At a young age I learned that community building is also community defense. Kelrand raiders were more frequent when I was growing up. I had to adapt and overcome in order to survive. I discovered that I have a knack for strategy, and that my combat tactics and quick wit put my enemies at a disadvantage. I have used this to successfully defend many a Hos’lathi city. With regret, though, I have not always won the day, and it is these failures that drive me forward to be better for my people.
In particular there is one defeat that burns like a bonfire in my soul. Grimtok the Destroyer. I was already a man for several years and well versed in the ways of war when he instigated a surprise night raid on my home town. Adding insult to injury our peoples were under a banner of truce. He paid no heed to the truce or even the sanctity of life. Instead he slaughtered all he came upon, warriors, innocents, even children. I rallied the defenders and mounted a counter-offensive, and my first wave of warriors were obliterated within seconds. On the fly I changed my strategy, and all remaining warriors were sent to safeguard and evacuate the people. We needed to save as many lives as possible. Myself and a small team of warriors provided cover and distractions and, even though the town was overrun, we managed to save over half of the townsfolk. My greatest shame is that I could not save my mother, first wife, youngest daughter, and my younger brother. They were brutally cut down by Grimtok the Destroyer, and one day he will pay the ultimate price.
This not to say that all Kelrands are murderous villains – no that would be far too easy. In reality, he is but a small representation of Kelrand society. I have met others who are vastly superior to him. I maintain a … unique … relationship with a young Kelrand, the High Sorceress Minuet. It is far from forbidden for our two cultures to have friendships, but then again it is not exactly the norm either. I met Minuet when she was still a teenager, barely past the Rite of Maturity – or whatever ritual the Kelrand use to mark the passage into adult responsibilities. Good lord she was inquisitive and infuriating – she was a brilliant brat. Over the years that we have known each other she has not changed much at all, except for coming into her own as a leader and a woman. She has a deeper respect for topexx crystals than any other Kelrand I have heard of, and I often wonder if she is on the verge of discovering their secret. Hmmm, time will tell.
High Sorceress Minuet
Greetings, my name is Minuet and I am a High Sorceress and Protector of my family. I am contractually obligated to serve and defend my family – a responsibility, I might add, that was supposed to befall my sister! In an act of utter selfishness, my sister abandoned her family and ran away before signing the Family Contract binding her to be the family Protector. I am supposed to be a researcher and inventor of new and powerful artifacts.
Just because I am supposed to be someone else does not mean I do not take my duties very seriously. I will give my last breath to the safeguarding of my family and protecting the honor and prestige we have. Life is all about balance – not a static balance of plates sitting on a table, no that does not work. The balance of life is like the ebb and flow of the tides as the moons rise in conjunction. Sure as the moons vie for control of the water, turbulent tides will be upon us. Yet there is a harmony in that turbulence, a balancing act of massive forces working together, rather than against each other, to achieve a goal. This is how I view my life, I have my own massive forces pulling at me and I must achieve the balance. First and foremost, I must protect and serve my family. Second, I must find my sister and make her take on her obligations. Third, I must learn more about the topexx crystals. I know there is more to the topexx crystals than the Kelrand “use it up and toss it” mentality. I feel that with the right care and handling the topexx can be used indefinitely! I am positive the Hos’lathi know this, and my friend Milak can help me understand more.
Ahh, Milak, now there is someone worthy of my drea … uh em, my respect and admiration. Over the last decade we have become good friends. He has a deep understanding and respect for the world and everything in it. I am positive he knows the true nature of the topexx crystals. Why won’t he confide in me? Does he not see how I feel about h.. the crystals. Think of the changes that could be made in Kelrand society – the benefits of a peaceful co-existence, one built on mutual ideologies and respect. Yes, Milak is a man with mysteries and it is those secrets that I want to hear, so that I may better embrace his culture. In a matter of weeks, we have a planned meeting, and I hope nothing gets in the way. There are so many possibilities when a Kelrand and a Hos’lathi come together.
Grimtok the Destroyer
Grimtok. Ha, some add The Destroyer to my name – I certainly don’t dissuade them of that notion. I have no friends, no family, no loved ones, no distractions from my life’s true meaning – the purging of the sympathetically cruel. Allow me to explain. When I was eight years old, the Hos’lathi raided my town and they won the day. They killed every warrior in town and most innocents had run away during the fight. The Hos’lathi didn’t pursue the innocents … it is not their way. A handful of us were left hiding in the village after the dust settled and the Hos’lathi had left. I went in search of someone, anyone left and soon I had found there were about a dozen survivors – and I was the oldest. The youngest was but a toddler and could barely walk on his own. This is what a loved one does … they dessert their children and leave them to die. The Hos’lathi showed us mercy that day, and that is a fate far more cruel than if they had ended us all. But that is not their way. By the time, we were found by my fellow Kelrands, eight of the dozen survivors had died of exposure, starvation, and thirst. Of the four that were left, we were frail, battered, and mostly broken. And yet my fellow Kelrands showed us mercy and took us in, spending several years nursing us back to health. I am the only one who made it. Their sympathy was crueler than anything else they could have done – this is what I mean by being sympathetically cruel.
I took charge of my life. I refused to be that frail, battered, and broken baby from so long ago. As soon as I could, I forged my body into a weapon. I trained my body. I practiced combat. I studied tactics, strategy, and the use of weapons. My life was consumed by my training. When I came of age, I should have taken my rightful spot as my family’s Protector – but I had no family. So mercy even denied me my rightful passage unto adulthood. Instead I had to sign a General Orphan’s Contract which binds me to nothing and no one, but it did make me an adult. I have taken every opportunity since that day to rid the world of the sympathetically cruel peoples.
Ha ha, I have made enemies, many enemies. Milak comes to mind. I almost got him a few years ago. I conducted a surprise night-time raid on his village. Everything was going to plan – my troops were perfectly trained and organized. Nothing could stop us. Then he did the unthinkable – he retreated! He actually tucked his tail between his legs and ran from me. I knew he didn’t have the stomach to face me. I hear he has vowed revenge … that’s funny really because I don’t waste my thoughts on him. If he’s one of the best the Hos’lathi have to offer then I’ll be able to lay my sword down in retirement sooner than I had planned! Then again I’ve heard of Elandria Lunnar and how she twists the minds of the young to bind them to her, when they could stand on their own. Maybe she is a worthy adversary.
Blessing be upon you my child, for I am Elandria Lunnar the Mystic. While I am a Hos’lathi, I do not feel connected to the Hos’lathi peoples. I am a like the pillar nature carves out of a mountain. I am the cavern forged through the slow, relentless pressure of the water. I do what must be done and I use the tools that nature has provided me. This is my gift to the world, a proper teaching of the way of things. I was not always this enlightened, oh no. I started off as a frightened child, alone with her deepest fears and darkest demons. Here is my story and my purpose.
When I was very young about eleven years old my family and I went on a trip from our town to the village of my grandmother, which was about a two week trip. I had made the trip a few times before, and I was always excited, spending time with my elder parents was so much fun. We were roughly half-way there when I woke up one morning and my parents were gone. Our campsite was undisturbed so I assumed they had left to get more food or water. By the time the sun had risen to mid-sky I felt that something was wrong, terribly wrong. I reasoned that I was almost of adult age, and maybe this was a test – forget reasoning – I felt horribly scared and if this was a test it was a mean one. I cried myself to sleep that night and the next and the next. I was abandoned and alone in the world. Why? Why did they not love me? What is wrong with me? Surely I had not misbehaved so wrongly that the only thing left was to leave me forsaken in the woods like a wild animal.
An animal … that is what they felt I was. Well I would show them! I took charge of my destiny. I taught myself the ancient mystical ways. I befriended the animals around me and encouraged them to do my bidding. My oldest and dearest companion is my owl, Andra. He’s been with me since that fourth day. I do everything I must to keep him alive and out of the way of harm. Andra helps me seek out those who have been left behind by tragedy or circumstance. I provide them a way to achieve enlightenment and purpose within this life. Just because I do not know what became of my parents, and neither does anyone else, does not mean that this fate should be visited upon others. I have gathered bands of like-minded folk and have trained them in the ways of the mystic. My greatest success are the Moonshadow Hunters, a fierce group of loyal women who sneak upon their objectives under the cover of moonlight. They are but one example of my reach. My purpose lies beyond the mere small groupings of cities, towns, and villages the Hos’lathi call home. There are many peoples across this vast planet that require a leader with vision and purpose. I feel I am that leader!