Name: Bechen K’vette
Physical Description: Bech is a human, from the eastern reaches of the red plains, and is, like most Men from the area, dark-skinned and freckled. He has light blue eyes and dark brown hair that grows in loose curls around his head. He’s rather short for a grown man—only five foot five inches—but very thickly built, with the type of muscles one tends to build, when one is a blacksmith. Because of his height, he keeps excellent posture, and he expresses himself as much with his hands and his body as with his words.
Abilities: He’s stronger than most men, again, due to his smithing, and can easily wield a war-hammer half his own height. He chooses not to, for the most part, because a dagger through the ribs is much cleaner than smashing someone’s face in. Although, if the situation calls for it, he’s not terribly averse to smashing.
He also has the kind of magic Men often have; a fluid, vague kind, that depends much more on intent than words. He’s an Elemental Empath, as what those puffed-up scholars at the University call it these days, which means he can communicate—more or less—with stone. Their understanding is built mostly on picture-talk and feelings, but it generally works out.
Chosen by: Mudd
Gift: Mudd gave the function 'Direct’ to his necklace. From what they can see, it acts a bit like a compass, if held in the palm of one’s hand, and rather like a homing device when given a name, place, or object to find.
Likes: Sweet things, children, hard work, dancing, dressing well, keeping friends safe, stories, late nights, and buttons. He seriously loves buttons, you cannot comprehend.
Dislikes: Frivolity, arrogance, swindlers, cold and wet weather, deep water, spicy food, inaction, being uninformed, and spoiled nobles.
Personality: Bechen has become, out of necessity, a very suspicious person. This is due, in part, to his arrival in the city as an impoverished country mouse, which is just the perfect prey for swindlers and cheats, but has only flourished with his partnership with Dahnnae. He takes few things at face value, and is not one to trust spoken word, be it sworn, vowed, or promised, and prefers written promises which can be brought to the authorities should the need arise. He relaxes a great deal when in trusted territory, however, and mellows out to the point of childish exuberance. His is quick to smile, and quicker to laugh, and has an astonishingly deep well of anecdotes and stories to draw upon and entertain his friends with. He’s earnest and animated and violently passionate in all his emotions, from happiness to anger to sadness to adoration, and it’s almost painfully easy to read them on his face.
History: Bechen’s clan lives in the canyons that make up most of the eastern corner of the red plains. The sun scorches everything red and brown and bleached bone white, but the people have adapted to their dry world and made it home though they have little contact with the outside world. They hunt the goats that climb the canyons, and the snakes and rabbits and mice that live under the rocks. They’re a nomadic people, and they follow the canyons in search of the trickling streams that change with the winds. It would be an impossible feat, to any outsider, and most travelers perish unless they can find a guide to show them the way. But the canyon-dwellers find these things easy, as natural as breathing, and the canyon is their home.
Living surrounded by the rocks of the canyons for generations changed Bech’s clan—subtly, but marked nonetheless. The magic which is (more or less) unusual among Men is much stronger in the people than it has any right to be. The Elemental Empathy is in their blood, and thrives in the canyons. The power manifests in many ways; some small, some large. What would be a maze of identical cliffs and crags to an outsider is an easily recognizable path to any of the canyon-dwellers, and the caves and cracks are branded bright against their vision where they are hidden to others. Some of the people can move pebbles and boulders with a thought alone. Some can force it to move, to change, to crack and fall. Some, like Bech, can speak to the stone, and persuade it to do most anything.
Bech was born to the clan’s Blacksmith, though the work was of a sort not often practiced in the Cities of Men. They only need arrowheads, and knives, and bands and nails for the tents and sleds, and they make do without much of the heavy attachments found in other smithies. But Bech learned the work easily, and was bound to follow in his father’s steps, and he grew strong beating the iron and walking the canyon and climbing the steep, rock walls.
When he was on the edge of his nineteenth summer, though, there came a sudden danger from the red plains. The spring had brought heavy rain to the plains that year, heavier than usual, and the ground drowned in the water and was unable to cope. The red plains were green and blue, and the floodwater roared into the canyons; invincible, destructive, and deadly. It caught the canyon-dwellers unawares, and wiped out their camp. The flood washed away their tents, their sleds, their beasts, and the people were left to flounder desperately in search of air.
Bech was near the wall of the canyon, and was dragged across the stone with the current. The rocks scoured through his skin, ground nearly to bone, but he was caught between two long enough to clamber out of the path of the waves. He waited there, clinging to the canyon wall, until the flood died down and left the ground muddy. Weak with blood-loss (and quite incapable of wriggling out of his perch), he remained there until the survivors of the flood came back up the canyon, salvaging what they could and looking for any of the clan who had been left alive. They pulled him out of his niche, after much yelling to gather attention, and tended his injuries along with the rest of the wounded—the number of healers was startling smaller than the number of those in need of healing—and those who were (now, suddenly) in positions of authority discussed what next to do.
They eventually came to the decision that rebuilding was the best option available to them. The flood had, at least, left quite a few large streams in its wake, stable enough to sustain the clan until those with injuries were healed enough to travel again. A few of the younger men and women, Bechen not the least among their ranks, decided, however, that the tragedy presented them with an excellent opportunity to go out and see the world. The (newly appointed) Elders were not overly opposed to such things, and the young people were allowed to go on their ways. Most were interested only in the novelty of such a journey; they merely wished to see a city, a mountain, a flowering garden, with the promise of returning to a familiar and comforting home after it all. A few, though, were truly interested in what the cities of Men might have to offer them. Bech was one of these.
He traveled with his friends and cousins across the Red Plains, and they explored the city of Harth together for a few weeks. The sight-seers went back home shortly after, once the thrill of the city had worn off, and the more serious of them went off on their own, determined to make their own way and promising to meet up again a passing of the moon later. Bech easily found a position as a blacksmiths assistant, working for a man named Jhos. It was an arrangement a bit like an apprenticeship; Jhos’ first ‘prentice died in a horseless carriage accident halfway through his training, and the smith was too old to take up a new one, but Bech—quite a ways into his own training—could easily pick up the slack left by the first boy. He was cheaper, too (a bit of a minimalist, Bech was, not much inclined to ‘high living’), which probably had a bit to do with it. The work was different enough from what he was used to that he was challenged, but not so difficult as to discomfit hit, and he settled into the work to watch the city go by.
When he was 23, the Steel Dancers put out the word that they were searching for a blacksmith to hire (as it was far cheaper to have a smith on permanent payroll than to look to an outside source every time a battle needed to be fought). The Steel Dancers were a highly-selective mercenary group, one of the prides of Harth, and widely sought for their apparent ease in winning wars, and Jhos and Bech jumped at the opportunity (‘I’m retirin’ soon, y’know. Think I’ll go live with me son, pester his new wife,” he sniggered at Bech, waving off his concerns. ‘Could sell the smithy to that preening goldsmith down the way, wish him the luck o’ the place and knock the rain barrel right over, ha.’). The Dancers were happy to hire Bech—as a semi-nomadic young smith was indisputably better than a city-mouse old man—and his adventures with the Engineering Detail began.
He latched on to Dahnnae at first, enamored of and awed by the novelty of an Elf. Once he got the basic hand of working as a merc, he figured out that Dahnnae shouldn’t be mentoring anyone, really, and the relationship shifted to an oddly shaped friendship. They’ve travelled and fought (in their own fashion) with the Dancers for ten years, and were presently hired to help the King in the Eastern Vale put down a rebellion among the noble houses.
Relationship Notes: When Bech first met Dahnnae, he developed something that was five parts hero worship and five parts raging crush. The hero worship quickly dwindled away, and no only sparks a bit when Dahnnae does something superbly impressive (magically or otherwise), but the crush grew and stayed and was assimilated into a working relationship. Bech views himself as Dahnnae's protector and guide; a shoulder to lean on and someone to watch his back. He tries to ignore the crush bit, but it doesn't interfere much asides from suggesting a kiss along with that congratulatory backslap after a well-fought battle.
Further Notes: The language Bech speaks with Dahnnae and to the other mercenaries is not his native language, but the Common Tongue of most kingdoms. The language Bech spoke until he left the canyons (and falls back on in times of high stress or emotion) did not have interacting words for other people if they weren't relatives. There was no neutral 'hello', only a hello to an aunt or uncle, to a grandfather, to a sibling. As a result of this, Bech automatically assigns a relative role to the people he meets. Middle-aged adults are Aunt or Uncle, adults in his own age range or Brother or Sister. The elderly are, obviously, the respectful Grandmother or Grandfather, and a bustling matron would be (only in a mildly joking matter) Mother. A protective adult male would be Father. Anyone he's involved with, romantically, automatically becomes Lover, however long the relationship has stood. He calls Dahnnae Cuz or Cousin, because it implies a closer friendship or relationship than Brother would. Bech also uses a word, araete, when speaking to children, because it doesn't translate well into Common Tongue. The world means, simultaneously, 'child', 'light', 'future', and 'dear one'.