Hekaton Live Play Character - Zarax!

Clint Staples

Zarax is a Scythian nomad of the Cruel Hands Tribe of the Assegetae, who, from a young age, saw beyond the normal world. The shaman of his people thought he saw the spirit world, until they took real notice of him, and realized he was seeing something other than spirits. Unable to tutor him or accept him as one of their number, they gave him some general advise and sent him on a sort of “spirit quest” to discover this Otherworld.

Zarax took his best horse and sought knowledge of this mysterious and dangerous place. Over time, that he could commune with this other world, even communicate with the creatures that dwelt there. Finally, in great peril, he called upon one of these creatures – Rajak, the Great Wolf – and was shocked to find that the beast came to defend him. Later, he began to conjure Rajak out of loneliness, and found that the monstrous wolf bore him a measure of good will. With care and feeding, for Rajak is ever hungry, this bond has deepened. Similarly, Zarax found a wounded Bleak Raven, a large and hoary bird that bears some relation to the raven of the normal world, and nursed it back to health. Therafter, Evaronja, as the raven named itself, followed him somehow in the Otherworld, always appearing quickly when Zarax peered into it or the few times he has crossed over. Recently, Zarax discovered that he could bring Evaronja across the boundary into this world permanently. In time, he hopes that he can do the same with Rajak, but the great wolf is too firmly anchored to the otherworld for his current skills.

Zarax thinks of the Otherworld as “The Bleak Steppes” a darker reflection of the steppes north of the Black Sea that he calls home. The sun’s light it muted, the moon’s stronger, shadows are deeper and beasts more deadly. He has never seen a living man there, but the souls of the dead sometimes wander.

He sees the Bleak Steppes only occasionally, when he performs rituals, when he summons, or, once, when he was close to death. He believes that some steppes peoples go there when they die, though he is unsure who or why. Even far away from his homeland, he perceives the Bleak Steppes, and not some shadowy version of normal reality. This has led him to speculate that the Bleak Steppes are indeed another world entirely, that he (and perhaps others) can reach, and not an overlay of reality, as the shaman of his people describe the spiritworld.

Zarax wonders whether the Bleak Steppes claim some souls while they are alive, somehow, and suspects that he will go there when he dies. He is both frightened and thrilled by the thought.

Rarely, Zarax forays into the Bleak Steppes himself. He spends little time there, but has found an ancient cairn with indecipherable runes on the stones. He studies these markings, and believes that he has gained some power thereby, allowing him a greater tether to the Steppes. Near the Monolith, a low cave holds a number of things he has secreted within – and which he summons on occasion.

Zarax has had a fairly hard and physical life on the steppes, so he knows how to ride, shoot a bow, etc. though not as well as a great warrior of his people. He traveled to the Mediterranean, because he learned that there were many kinds of mage there that his people had heard could not dream of.