The Word Was the City, and the City Was God
S'rivirri-lykish ad'Belish ad'Adbazaar, "Barley"
Rover monk, hungry for tranquility, vengeance, and fish.
Barley stands just under four feet tall, a little overweight, and covered in coarse sandy-coloured fur. He wears a patchy robe with a ratty rope belt, constantly mending it with scraps of whatever cloth he can get his paws on.
When standing is unnecessary, he sits, tail twitching. He is fond of stroking his whiskers. Normally jolly, Barley tends to distrust taller races, based on past experience with them. Despite this, he possess a strong desire to help others, save Tyrants, not matter their appearance.
Like most monks of his order, he strives to attain as much cool quiet as possible when not enacting violence. In battle he is a like a sandstorm, transforming into a spitting whirlwind of undersized claws and fur, capable of moving at almost preternatural speeds.
He has a particular affinity for eating fish, and is rarely seen without a basket full of the slimy treats, best snacked on raw.
Barley was born in the Last City of Sadra’Eerish-Sepandar. One of many scions of a scribe-clan, he studied the classics of poetry and calligraphy until young adulthood. In his youth he earned the name S’rivirri-lykish, which translated loosely means, “He who wears his tunic inside-out.” for he excelled at nothing. In his 15th year, S’rvirri left the city to act as the accountant for the Caravan of Whispering Dew under D’jo Yehsi, the Gregarious.
Despite the his many travels, S’rvirri found the art of numbers and numismatics tedious. It did not take much beyond the promise of the good life to turn coat on his D’jo Yehsi. He slipped into the cups and company of the Chip Tooth bandit gang, leading to the deaths of his entire caravan. Those first killings planted the seeds of his salvation. For years he shared in the gang’s depredations, reaving small villages, killing wayfarers on the road, and extorting coastal towns for treasure. The spirits of his ancestors dictated that this should not last; a stray arrow caught him on a raid, and he fell, left by his compatriots to increase their share of the booty.
A monk of the Vas’al’ar school found S’rivirri, and nursed him back to health. Overcome by the monk’s care and generosity, S’rivirri forsook his old way of life to study The Arts, meditate on the mysteries, and serve those he had wronged. The way of the Rovers is to roam, so S’rivirri took to the highways he once plundered helping draw in harvests, cooking dumplings, and selling fish. Here he acquired the name, “Barley”, for the simple farmers he served found his true name troublesome to pronounce.
When Barley entered the final act of the city of Lazengall, he lived as simple fish merchant, catching his day’s wares in the canals before hawking them on Frippering Way. Propelled by fate, he witnessed the final failure of the city’s heroes to stop the plots of the Crimson. In the process he earned the enmity of the warlock Wick, for interfering in what the monk considered profane soul magic. While those days heralded the end of the city, it represented a rebirth of the Rover people. After slaying a potent demon, Barley acquired a potent piece of magic: a six shot, re-loadable puck pipe, capable of piercing the hide and armor of any foe. Through channels know only to his people the weapon was secreted away to the Last City by Mushka Paya, to be produced en masse.
The Crimson allowed the tiny monk to live, provided he did not interfere with their plans. Barley lived out the remainder of his days watching as the Red Tides washed out through the worldsea. He constantly sought to undermine the progress of his old enemies by instilling hope and teaching vigilance in whatever lands he passed through. He eventually lost his life in the mangrove swamps of Gorgyr, attempting to locate the legendary enchanted drinking gourd created by the First Vas’al’ar, slain by the monstrous inhabitants of that land.
Centuries passed, and now the little monk has awoken to an unexpected reincarnation. Do the scraps of his people’s culture, so hard fought to preserve in his last life, remain? Can he redeem himself for failing to stop the Crimson when they first spread?