Gorrkarraus is played by Matt Connor
Character Name: Gorrkarraus
Class: Ranger (3) Warlock (1) Race: Edwed Major
Since the Romarans destroyed the Djairan fleets and crippled their ability to make war on a large scale, life in Djair has been difficult. The lack of central authority has led to a devolution of this once powerful empire, a descent into a dark age of tribalism and internal strife. Yet it is a testament to the strength of the Edwed of Djair that no foreign power would dream of invading. Or maybe the price is just too high for a vast land that most of the world believes is devoid of value.
Gorrkarraus was born in the village of Dayha in Northern Djair, near the border of the Western Wastes. His people were called the Eaters of the Earth. They believed Shadzog is the earth and would eat of his body before battle for strength and courage.
Gorrkarraus was not the strongest, or the fastest, or the smartest of his people, but he had a strength of will that could not be denied. When others hid in ditches, he charged. His intolerance of cowardice inspired courage as other youth in the village were far more afraid of him than of any enemy. By his thirtieth birthday, he led raids on Wasteland villages for food and slaves to work the fields or to sacrifice at the altars of Shadzog. He was the most feared man in his village, not because of his innate prowess, but because of his ability to commit completely to any course of action.
Though he had earned the respect he demanded, Gorrkarraus was not content. The people of his village paid lip service to the glory of Shadzog, but deep down, he knew they were weak. Shadzog did not abide sycophants who cowered in his shadow. Shadzog gave one the strength to act. He knew the people of Djair were Shadzog’s chosen, but he wondered how many truly deserved Shadzog’s favor.
In his fiftieth year, he received his answer. A raiding party from the south decimated Dayha. Gorrkarraus sent many enemies into Shadzog’s earthy embrace but was captured when he accepted a duel with the group’s leader, Morgo. Morgo never intended to fight Gorrkarraus in a clean duel, instead using the ruse to draw him out and have his men capture the Djairan.
Gorrkarraus and other prisoners were taken to the coast where they were hung upside down over pits just within reach of the tide. One by one, they were lowered just far enough for their heads to dip beneath the edge of the pits, and as the tide came in and filled the pits with sea water, they drowned. Morgo lowered Gorrkarraus last so he would see and hear the thrashing deaths of his fellow villagers. The raiders left without realizing that Gorrkarraus was just high enough to grab quick breaths between surges in the tide and for hours, he fought for his life.
The Shadow Riders, an infamous band of horseman, found him. After cutting Gorrkarraus down, Tokorazi, their leader looked down at him and saw Gorrkarraus’s hatred. He nodded and told Gorrkarraus a war was coming. He told him that all Djairans must choose to follow the path of Shadzog or be devoured. He gestured to the hole they had pulled Gorrkarraus out of and said, “You are of the earth boy.” Then he repeated a litany that Gorrkarraus would come to know well.
The true disciples shall breathe of his flesh and spawn forth in new strength. The few will pave the road of return in blood. Darkness devours the broken, swallowed in the body of the Great Terror. Shadzog! Shadzog!
Over and over, he chanted the words and the other Shadow Riders joined in. When Gorrkarraus rose to his feet and joined the chant, Tokorazi and all the Shadow Riders cheered and embraced their new brother.
In the Shadow Riders, Gorrkarraus found his purpose. They raided the soft, civilized villages of New Romara and the Coalition of Marquis, leaving the eyeless heads of enemies on long spears. Even in death, the weak did not deserve to see the truth of Shadzog. Within ten years, Gorrkarraus’s unflinching resolve and dedication earned him a spot as Tokorazi’s right hand and together they made the Shadow Riders a legend, a folk tale, and a story to terrify the children of enemy lands.
The minors of the south, squat, bearded Edwed with skin like stone, the same Edwed who killed Gorrkarraus’s people. They pushed into the north and built temples to Shadzog, but they altered his form, creating a blasphemy in their own image. Led by Kinhod the Brutal, they swarmed from the south like vermin, erecting their monoliths and preaching the resurrection of Shadzog.
As if Shadzog could die!
The Shadow Riders joined a thousand tribes intent on obliterating this atrocity. War raged for twenty years with the north throwing bodies at Kinhod’s dark fortresses. The Shadow Riders played their part, harrying supply lines and ambushing platoons of immobile forces ill-equipped to deal with their hit and run guerilla tactics. The north was a frenetic mass of anger lashing out at the southern power structure with all the rage and savagery of old Djair.
And this is precisely why they lost.
Without central leadership, the tribes of the north could not stand up to the industrial might of Kinhod’s burgeoning empire. One by one, resistance groups were swallowed up by this monster of steel and stone-faced soldiers until the once numberless hordes were ground into the gray dust of Djair. Only independent units like the Shadow Riders remained.
It was then that the unthinkable happened. The Shadow Riders spoke of surrender. When he first heard these grumblings, something screamed in Gorrkarraus’s head, a deep, gravelly voice like a spike in his skull. Weakness! And Gorrkarraus knew his god spoke to him.
Shadzog raged against what Djair had become. And then, when Gorrkarraus’s idol and mentor, Tokorazi, joined in the call to lay down arms, Gorrkarraus knew his time with the Shadow Riders was done. They surrendered and the forces of Kinhod slew them all just as Gorrkarraus knew they would.
But the Earth Eater did not join the pitiful display. He went south with the voice of Shadzog growing stronger in his head. He found his way to Coasten and after several armed ‘misunderstandings’ found a captain willing to take him to the island named after Shadzog. In his head, Shadzog spoke in riddles, but maybe in that forbidden place, he would find the true word of his god.
He should have known it would not be so easy. He awoke in chains in route to Oaknesh as his benevolent captain turned out to be a slaver. But Shadzog was more than a voice. Shadzog gave him the power to slip his chains and kill everyone on the ship.
An ill-advised move, for Gorrkarraus was no sailor and crashed the boat on a desolate strip of coastline in Jvar VunGal. Still, the trip was not a complete loss. Among the slaver’s possessions, Gorrkarraus found a clue and a new quest that would lead him to the destiny he sought.
Within Djair, Gorrkarraus is both revered and hated, depending on who one speaks too. Among the southerners, he has a steep price on his head. In the north, he is a legend, a warrior who refused to bend to the will of lesser beings.
Outside of Djair he, like most Djairans, is distrusted at best. At worst, he is an enemy who will be attacked on sight.
NPCs of Note
Most notable people in Gorrkarraus’s life are dead except for Mortaran, a Djairan scholar he seeks. Morgo, the southern priest responsible for the destruction of Dayha, is also a person of interest. It is a debt Gorrkarraus has yet to settle.
Gorrkarraus only respects strength. He is an unapologetic killer who sees his life as a reflection of the brutality of the natural world. Gorrkarraus sees Shadzog as the only honest power in Gregoor-Sheav. He despises those who, in his mind, lie to themselves and make the world out to be anything more than a hierarchy of predators.
It will take much to earn his respect and even more to earn his trust, but once one has it, his loyalty is above reproach. The only thing that could crack his resolve would be to discover his faith in Shadzog is misplaced.
Among the Slaver’s possessions, Gorrkarraus found a copy of Mortaran’s, The Legacy of Djair. The volume described Djair before its war with Nov Romara, and before the minors built their blasphemous temples. Mortaran called for a return to the old world, to the power Djair once possessed. All Mortaran’s ideas sing to Gorrkarraus, but more importantly, the tome suggested Mortaran might still live in exile in Nov Ro. Most in Djair believed Kinhod had him killed long ago.
In his head, Shadzog urges Gorrkarraus to seek Mortaran out. Gorrkarraus does not know why. He does not know if this scholar will be of any use, but he trusts the voice of Shadzog and will do what is required. Woe to any who stand in his way.