Lore[edit | edit source]
Orin Aki is a Watcher, the leader of the Company of Thorns and the heir of a noble line of Sorcerer Kings, often functioning as the armed wing of the all-powerful Sorcerer King Kazim. Pragmatic, threatening, dangerous and self-confident, he was raised among the military and political conflicts of the city of Dis and the ethics of assassination that he learned there gave him a hushed and indirect personality. He is also an excellent fighter able to kill someone upfront as well as from the shadows. His calm nature hides a latent and boiling anger born from his thirst for power.
Orin was born in the Aki family, aristocratic Sorcerer Kings that were tightly bound to the service of Kazim, ruler of the northern kingdoms. His father, Tarund Aki, was a stern man who never displayed any kind of appreciation towards his son. Like many others of his rank, he had been ordered by Kazim to wed a human spouse in order to try to father a child of Fate – a future Watcher. And like many others, he succeeded. The kids that were born this way didn’t have a name for the first twenty years of their lives. They formed a coalition of strictly trained warriors, children fighters educated to reach excellency in all domains. Young or old, these units were called the Heralds of Dis. The Heralds were nameless ghosts under the direct orders of Kazim, and carried out his wishes with flawless efficiency. Bribery, poisoning and espionage for the youngest; diplomacy, direct murder and raids for the older ones. The son of Tarund received an especially spartan schooling: his father didn’t tolerate failure or mistakes, and each misstep was punished by a cruel flogging. His child learned to strive for perfection as his body grew covered in scars. When he failed his first assassination, Tarund cut his left arm and waited for one full year before replacing it with a manasteel prosthesis. To this day, the magical artifact still reacts to Orin’s Sorcerer King blood and burns his flesh – but his human heritage prevents the metal from killing him. The kid didn’t know his mother. When he was around three years old, she disappeared from Dis and was only followed by a trail of rumors and gossip. Tarund Aki didn’t show any affliction at the disappearance of his wife, and courtiers soon whispered that the vanishing of Tarund’s human spouse might have been ordered by the man himself. The Heralds were to receive a first name in the tongue of Dragons only after Kazim examined them. When they came of age, the Sorcerer King was to submit them to a series of trials in order to determine if they were worthy to be Watchers. Each generation, Kazim chose only one champion among the Heralds and bestowed upon him the title of Watcher. Tarund’s son brilliantly passed the first trials. The fear of his father’s wrath and his will to please his master pushed him forward. However, the last ordeal was nothing he had been prepared for. The remaining two Heralds that had passed the previous trials were supposed to meditate for a night and, at dawn, tell Kazim which element should be associated to their future Guardian. The son of the Aki family was at a loss. He spent the night trying to imagine what choice might be the most relevant one, fighting the panic crawling through his stomach, as his father paced before him and thought out loud about which element his son should choose. When the next day came, the young man had no answer. The two contestants stood before Kazim. The first one announced his choice; Tarund’s son remained silent. Then Kazim bestowed upon them their names: the first man was to be his new champion, Ori, “he who silences”, and the mute would remain a Herald of Dis as Orin, “he who is silenced”. Devastated and humiliated, Orin fled and hid in the depths of Dis, wishing that his father would not come after him. When night fell, a shadow slipped into Ori’s room and delicately arranged poisonous thorns on his sleeping face. Silent as the wind, it disappeared into darkness. At dawn, Ori was dead. Orin Aki presented himself before Kazim – he apologized for his conduct at the trials and offered to be the replacement of the regretted champion. Kazim smiled knowingly and made him his new champion: the Watcher of Thorns.