Priam Temani

Copyright Stu Gritter © 2006

Edited by Mario Butter for The Guild Companion

"Whatever happens, Priam still isn't sure what he is fighting for."

Priam Temani is a proud Skaldi warrior. Being born on the coast of the Skaldi Kingdoms it was only natural that he was drawn to the seas. As a child he often went on trips up the rivers or out towards the ocean. At first he just went with friends, but for his sixteenth birthday his father got him a seat on a merchant ship -- it was his first real voyage out on the seas. After that, Priam was never the same. His family and friends just thought he wanted to be a pirate, but only because he never told anyone what happened on that voyage.

He was one of few passengers and was the youngest by far. When out at sea the crew mutinied. Priam witnessed a savage battle, and found himself on a ship with a new captain who had plans to deliver the goods they carried (as their last contract) and then turn to a life of adventure.

When Priam got back home he wasn't sure which side was in the right. In either case he found himself with a new desire to be able to protect himself and what he believed in. He saw a brutal, lethal confrontation between the physical manifestation of two ideals, two lifestyles. Although he did not know which lifestyle he preferred, he immediately knew he could end up fighting for his beliefs at some point. Especially in the Skaldi Kingdoms, and especially with the rumors that the war in the south was turning sour.

Such youthful integrity could not last forever. By the age of twenty he had developed impressive skills with a long bow and rapier, and soon found that with maturity came responsibility, and thus the need for a job. Being the son of a sailor he found the idea of being a sailing tradesman rather dull, and lent his arm out instead. He served as a reserve bouncer at a tavern, only to be called in when the brawlers could not keep things in order. One night the city governor was conducting some underhanded business in the bar when a small gang of ruffians assaulted him. The mayor's bodyguards took care of them fairly quickly, but a massive brawl ensued and Priam was put to work. The riot lasted nearly twenty minutes, and Priam had subdued nearly as many men without dealing or sustaining any major injuries. He got some attention.

He was soon approached by a man who called himself Jerace Spade. Priam was offered very fine pay to guard some cargo on a ship. Having a knack for sailing, and a decent blade, he accepted the job and pay increase readily. However, the job was not what he had expected -- he found himself on a mercenaries' ship. He realized he was one of few people on the ship who was not a highly trained (and probably better paid) professional. He asked Jerace Spade for a straight answer when he realized they were attacking a civilian cargo ship. The response was simple: "I said you needed to guard some cargo, right? Well, our cargo is on that ship. Go get it." So he did.

After the battle he saw something he couldn't believe. Not only did the mercenaries slaughter the entirety of other ship's crew and scuttle the boat, they raised high their own flag, declaring themselves the Bladgorn Buccaneers. There were rumours of this group, but nothing confirmed. When they sailed, they were like ghosts; when they attacked, they were like vipers. The Bladgorn Buccaneer pride was the only thing that kept the organization from being a complete secret from those on the land.

What made the Bladgorn Buccaneers different on the seas was their unique approach to ship boarding and melee combat. Each crew member was trained to use a bow, and either a rapier and whip, or a polearm. The whips were used to entangle and trip their opponents; the rapiers to defend and parry; the polearms to deliver killing blows. Their discipline was unparalleled -- the defensive specialists did not attack their enemies, and the offensive specialists did not defend themselves -- there was never a need to. The men were paired up, and the two specialists would work as a team.

Priam's talent with his rapier earned him a spot on the ship for now, but he had to undergo much training. He was worried about being able to handle a whip with his left hand, but found it came rather easily to him. His prowess quickly earned him enough money to buy a good set of chain mail and a very fine whip. More often than not he found himself twirling his rapier aimlessly, or protecting men that were not his responsibility, as he was often able to handle his own work load with just his whip. He was soon able to afford a shield and a second rapier, both kept with him "just in case". He was soon reputed as one of the better shots with a whip.

He spent several years with the Bladgorn Buccaneers and was quickly promoted to spearhead attacks. He was often offered better ranking, better paying positions, but he claimed he just wanted to experience some action and learn more about himself. BB captains always recognized him and his talent, and sometimes even went to him for advice when dealing with the crew or difficult strategies. Twice he was even offered his own ship and crew, but he turned down the offer, saying that others could do better than he could, that he didn't have what it took, or that he wasn't going to be in the business much longer.

Then he was brought back to his childhood. Word in the Skaldi Kingdoms was that the Treaty Kingdoms and their allies were only winning one of two fights. Word in the Skaldi Kingdoms was that the battle they were winning was a sure thing, but the battle they were losing was going to be a much bigger loss. Word in the Skaldi Kingdoms was that they were next. Priam thought about those first innocent sailors he saw slayed in a merciless act of mutiny -- they lost their lives because somebody else wanted something else...

Well, Priam wouldn't go down without a fight. He resigned from the Bucs. After a massive send-off party (which consisted of high ranking Bladgorn Buccaneers sailing him down towards Tarahir) he purchased adventuring gear, a horse, and a pouch for the rest of his winnings from the Bucs. Life in the Skaldi Kingdoms was not one the Orsai or their silly ideas would like, but it was the life the Skaldi chose and they would continue to live it. Unbeknownst to him, his decision was copied by many other Bucs. Only a few had gone towards to Tarahir before he had, but none of their names carried as much weight. People noticed when Priam left. People looked up to him. He made them think twice about their decisions.

Fourteen months later, Priam received word of the official disbandment of the Bladgorn Bucaneers. The remaining few in command had either retired entirely, or dedicated their efforts to the war. The symbol of the rapier and whip became widely known. If a militant group of fifty had ten Bucs in it, they worked up the entire unit into a fantastic war machine. The sound of the BB whips in battle was a morale boost to those who knew their stories and glories. Priam had, in fact, come across several other ex-Bucs, but none he knew too well. It was always a happy sort of reunion, even if the two had never met each other before. To know that part of your old home and old life was fighting with you in a place like Tarahir was important, and celebrated.

The Bladgorn Buccaneers were not self-proclaimed glory seekers, but their valour in battle was quickly noted. Witnessing the offensive and defensive specialists working as one in a chaotic battle was mind blowing to men on both sides of the fight. Many other Skaldi warriors began trying to mimic their style but none were as proficient as the original Bucs. In fact, some people had given a large portion of credit for the eastern victory to the Bladgorn Buccaneers. Small groups of ex-Bucs met up near Tarahir and decided to take their tactics to the water again; guerilla tactics were used against the supply line to the eastern Orsai army where it went along the rivers. Bucs would crowd into small canoes and travel silently during the night to their destination. They would attack with surprise, efficiency, and destroy loads of supplies along several miles of the Orsai train, creating massive problems for their front lines. This was done several times, with very few casualties.

Priam's battles were different. He fought alone. At first he spent time honing his archery skills for safety's sake. Eventually when he gained enough confidence and knowledge about his enemies and their tactics, he strode to the front lines. Once more he began spearheading skirmishes between smaller bands. He tried to apply himself tactically but without as many Bucs in this area he had a hard time organizing troops and simply gave up on that idea. He was, however, given much honour on the battlefield. As he was respected by the other Bladgorn Buccaneers in the area, he quickly established an aura of command about him. Although he was never officially recognized, those near him seemed to fight more valiantly, and they listened to his orders. Also seen as a Buc's tie to their homeland, three times he received a deceased Buc's signet ring, and was asked to return the ring to the man's family. He currently has these three rings (each with the man's name inscribed on the inside, as per the BB custom) on a chain around his neck.

And now Tarahir is being abandoned. He has heard word of the great city being razed as they flee, but no official orders have been given yet. He has recently heard that some commander is summoning as many troops as he can. Perhaps he can meet with more Bucs there. Perhaps they could come together again as true, proud Bucs, and stand out as a formidable unit. Or, perhaps fate has something else in mind. Whatever happens, Priam still isn't sure what he is fighting for. His country? Himself? Freedom? He knows he opposes the Orsai, and that's enough for now.

Click on the link for Priam's character sheet in PDF