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Radnal vez Krobir
Fictional Character
"Down in the Bottomlands"
POD: 5.5 million years ago
Type of Appearance: POV
Nationality: Hereditary Tyranny of Tartesh
Species: Strongbrow
Date of Birth: 20th Century
Religion: Polytheism
Occupation: Biologist, Tour guide
House: Krobir (created in the 1990s)
Military Branch: Hereditary Tyrant's Volunteer Guard
Professional Affiliations: Trench Park

Radnal vez Krobir was a Strongbrow from the Hereditary Tyranny of Tartesh. He was a field biologist with Trench Park. In exchange for access and time for his research, he served a two year stretch as a guide.[1] He was in the process of negotiating a bride price with Markaf vez Putun for his daughter Wello zev Putun.[2] Radnal's most memorable trip came at the end of the 20th century.

For the most part, the trip began as a number of other trips vez Krobir led. Tourists were assigned to their donkeys, packed their bags (with some being charged extra for overweight bags), and they were off. Among the party were: Evillia and Lofosa, two Highheads from the Krepalgan Unity; Moblay Sopsirk's son, a Highhead from the Principality of Lissonland; Eltsav vez and Nocso zev Martois, a Tarteshan couple; Toglo zev Pamdal, a Tarteshan female who claimed a distant kinship to Bortav vez Pamdal, the Hereditary Tyrant of Tartesh,[3]; Benter vez Maprab, a Tarteshan reitiree;[4] Golobol, a Highead physician,[5] and; Dokhnor of Kellef, a Strongbrow from the Kingdom of Morgaf.[6]

While the first leg of the trip down into the park was uneventful,[7] that night, after everyone had ostensibly gone to sleep, the two Highhead women, Evillia and Lofosa, seduced him. After a tryst that lasted for several hours, they returned to their sleepsacks, and vez Krobir began to sleep, until he realized that Toglo zev Pamdal most likely caught the three in the act.[8]

Radnal was late to rise the next morning, and hastily tried to make for lost time. Consequently he made a number of simple mistakes. He also traded an icy interaction with Dokhnor of Kellef, of whom Radnal was soon suspicious.[9] As the group prepared to mount, the park was subject to a minor earthquake. Radnal assured the group that there was nothing to be worried about. When Dokhnor asked what would happen if an earthquake made the Barrier Mountains fall, Radnal said that the Bottomlands would flood, but that since it hadn't happened in over 5 million years, it wasn't worth worrying about for now.[10] The group continued down, and Radanl answered a number of questions about the Bottomlands, including its flora and fauna. Otherwise, the trip was again uneventful, and they reached the lodge at the Bottom without incident.[11] As they dismounted however, Moblay Sopsirk's son attempted to place his arm around Evillia's waist. She caused him to trip, then fell and landed on him, elbowing him in the belly as she got back up again.[12] The group was met by the lodge's attendants, Fer vez Canthal and Zosel vez Glesir

That evening, the tour group relaxed. Vez Krobir again found himself suspicious of Dokhnor of Kellef when the latter refused alcohol on the grounds that he was pledged to the Goddess; the Morgaffo military aristocracy were the most common worshiper of the Goddess.[13] Everyone enjoyed themselves, Evillia and Lofosa, a bit in their cups, made a show of not knowing how to use Tartesh eating sticks, and flirted with Dokhnor as he tried to teach them. Soon, people started singing and/or clapping along if they didn't know the native songs.[14]

As night wore own, the group slowly broke up and went to bed.[15] Vez Krobir and the lodge-attendants quietly discussed Dokhnor, of whom all three were suspicious. While all three were puzzled by his continued drawing, and his obvious military demeanor, they had no concrete evidence he was actually a spy.[16] Despite his exhaustion, when vez Krobir was again visited by Evillia and Lofosa, he did not refuse their advances.[17]

Not long after they left, Evillia found Dokhnor of Kellef dead in the common room of the lodge, his neck broken. When vez Krobir confirmed Dokhnor was dead, Evillia fainted, and the group rushed forward.[18] Golobol, the Highhead physician, was able to confirm that Evillia was okay, and then turned his attention to the body, concluding Dokhnor had been dead for some time. He also found marks that suggested a "killing blow" on Dokhnor's neck, and pointed them out to vez Krobir. Naturally, the murder of a Morgoffo would have political implications, and vez Krobir saw no choice but to alert the park militia and the Hereditary Tyrant's Eyes and Ears.[19]

He called Liem vez Steries of the militia first, who shared vez Krobir's lament that the victim was the Morgaffo. After vez Steries confirmed he was on his way, vez Krobir spoke with Peggol vez Menk, an Eye and Ear. Vez Menk assured vez Krobir he'd done right to contact the Eyes and Ears, and that they would handle the diplomatic issues. He also ordered ve Krobir to keep the group there, much to their anger.[20] The Tarteshans, led by Benter vez Maprab,began threatening legal action for breach of contract, since they now could no longer tour the park. Toglo vez Pamdal, however, came to the rescue, suggesting that the Park would likely extend the tour to meet its contract. This suggestion calmed the tourists.[21]

Liem vez Steries and two other militiamen arrived via helicopter, and began their investigation. They examined the corpse, and took statements from everyone on the tour.[22] Peggol vez Menk and three other Eyes and Ears arrived after the last statement was taken, and began asserting control over the investigation, which included searches of the tourists' belongings and another round of interviews. Once his second interview was done, vez Krobir asked vez Menk if he could take the tourists out into the Bottomlands, even explaining Benter vez Maprab's threats. After contemplating it, vez Menk asked if vez Krobir could fight off or capture the murderer if they attacked. Vez Krobir admitted he didn't know. Vez Menk appreciated the honesty, and also realized that the honor of Trench Park, and by extension, the Hereditary Tyrant's honor, was at stake. So vez Menk agreed to allow the tour if he accompanied it.[23]

While the Eyes and Ears found pornography in Lofosa's possession, and proof that Dokhor was indeed a soldier (but nothing proving he was a spy), they found nothing that pointed to the murderer.[24] That night, the investigators stood watch, and vez Krobir was astonished when Evillia and Lofosa did not visit him.[25]

The next morning, the tour set out, with Peggol vez Menk in tow. As they prepared to depart, vez Krobir briefly conversed about the situation with Toglo zev Pamdal. During their conversation, she called him "Radnal vez", using the "middle grade" of Tarteshan politesse. He addressed her as "Toglo zev" in return. Then the group got out onto the road. After a trip to the Bitter Lake, the group headed back for the lodge.[26] Aside from an earthquake, the trip back was uneventful. Vez Krobir spent much of it pondering the question of just which of the party was the murderer. He also wondered about his relationship with Toglo zev Pamdal.[27]

The investigators at the lodge greeted the group, and the two attendants informed vez Krobir that they had information. Peggol vez Menk overheard, and ordered them to wait until a more private moment.[28] After several hours, the Tarteshans were able to meet alone. Liem vez Steries informed vez Krobir that the Eyes and Ears had found a mircoprint reader hidden in one of the Morgaffo's artist's charcoals. The reader revealed that an unknown party had, over the course of years, smuggled the parts of a starbomb into the park with the goal of destroying the Barrier Mountains and flooding the park by detonating it in one of the faultlines.[29]

Radnal vez Krobir, Liem vez Steries, and Peggol vez Menk now pondered their next course of action. They agreed the attack, which would send the Western Ocean to the shores of the Krepalgan Unity and kill countless millions, might be possible. Vez Menk also offered the possiblity that Morgaf had created an elaborate ruse. When Radnal informed the other men that the itinerary for the next day would have brought the tour west to the fault line in question, Peggol vez agreed that it would be better to change the plan, even though it would tip off the culprit.[30]

The next day, vez Krobir informed everyone about the change of plan. Almost immediately, everyone wondered why they were headed east, until Peggol vez Menk angrily informed everyone that the change was on his orders. While there were still some complaints, the tourists were mostly resigned, and they were soon off. The trip brought the to the Night Demons' Retreat, a cave that was known for bats, vipers, scorpions, and the ominous sound the wind made as it passed through. After a brief encounter with a cave cat, the group returned to the lodge. On the way, the group saw a bladetooth take a sand rat, and vez Krobir contemplated his plans to marry Markaf vez Putun while talking to Toglo zev Pamdal.[31]

When the group returned, Liem vez Steries informed vez Krobir and vez Menk that government had ordered interrogation the next day, even though it might mean an international incident. Vez Krobir was to be included, and he spent the night half-heartedly enjoying the songs and celebration, knowing what the next day would bring.[32] He was informed by Horken vez Sofana of the militia that Benter vez Maprab had attempted to steal red-veined orchids; it was a crime to take flora and fauna from the park. While he initially enjoyed vez Maprab's squirming, vez Krobir lost interest in light of the dire circumstances, and so agreed not to pursue criminal charges if vez Maprab was not caught with further contraband.[33]

That night, the two Krepalgan women began going back and forth to the privy. Evillia even asked for a constipant. But when vez Krobir went to bed himself, Peggol vez Menk informed him that the Krepalgans had left for the privy and had not returned. Both men realized that the two could be the culprits. In short order, the helos outside exploded, and vez Krobir discovered that the radio was broken.[34]

The group ran out to the donkey stable. Liem vez Steries opened the door, and was promptly killed by an explosive booby-trap. Vez Krobir went into the stable and found that all the donkeys were dead, save for three taken by the Krepalgans.[35] For a brief moment there was hope; the government in Tarteshem, which hadn't heard from the group, sent another helo. However, it landed in several more explosive booby-traps the Krepalgans had planted on the landing pad and exploded. With no other plan, vez Krobir and vez Menk agreed to wait until light, gather supplies, send the rest of the tourists out of the Bottomlands, and then pursue the saboteurs on foot.[36]

As they discussed their plans, Moblay Sopsirk's son revealed that he wasn't as ineffectual as he let on, but was himself a Silent Servant, one of the secret police of Principality of Lissonland, sent by his Prince to help prevent the destruction of the Bottomlands. He explained that Morgaf had alerted Lissonland, as the Morgaffos wanted Lissonland's help in attacking Tartesh after the flood. Radnal vex Krobir realized that Krepalga would be in the best position to exploit the new sea created when the Bottomlands flooded.[37] Moblay offered his help, but the cautious Peggol vez Menk declined.[38] The three returned to the rest of the tourists and told them what was happening. Vez Krobir told them to take all the water they could and head for higher ground. After they were outfitted, and Toglo zev Pamdal promised any patronage she could provide if he succeeded, the groups lit out.[39]

Vez Krobir was joined by Peggol vez Menk and Impac vez Potos, another Eye and Ear, the two lodge attendants, and the remaining militia men. After hours of following the trail, the group was spotted by another helo. The pilot confirmed the Krepalgans heading, and informed Vez Krobir that the rest of the tour group had been found.[40] Despite the presence of the helos, vez Krobir resolved to continue the pursuit, knowing helos wouldn't be enough to cover the area. Even as the sky filled with helos, vez Krobir's group tramped along. After a brief tremor, which did not prove to be the explosion they all feared, they were informed by a soldier that the Krepalgan spies were dead.[41]

Celebration was short lived when they were informed that the two had already planted the starbomb. The soldier, Turand vez Nital, ordered the group brought to his location. When they arrived, Radnal vez Krobir saw the two Krepalgans; Turand vez Nital confirmed they'd taken poison rather than be captured. Vez Krobir tried to pick up the trail again.[42] As they tracked, the group watched a koprit bird kill a skink and throw it on its thorn bush. While they stared at the bush, vez Krobir realized that there were the necklaces the Krepalgans had worn the day before. After examining the necklaces, the group realized that the koprit bird had taken the detonators for the starbomb by pure chance.[43] In short order, Horken vez Sofana found the starbomb. Radnal vez Krobir saw that the timer was at zero, meaning that the bird had defused it just in time.[44]

With the danger essentially passed, vez Krobir and Peggol vez Menk discussed what would happen next. The Krepalgans had taken a great deal of time and a number of risks to plant the bomb. Vez Menk suggested some permanent military or Eyes and Ears presence in the park. Realizing the risk, vez Krobir couldn't argue.[45]

In the aftermath, Radal vez Krobir, Peggol vez Menk, and the other men who'd made the pursuit on foot were summoned to Tarteshan to personally accept the thanks of the Hereditary Tyrant, Bortav vez Pamdal, and were met with much public fanfare. Vez Krobir was awarded with five thousand units of silver and a title of nobility.[46] The public ceremony over, vez Krobir was reunited with Toglo zev Pamdal. The Hereditary Tyrant informed vez Krobir that Toglo was his niece. Toglo apologized, explaining that she downplayed her family so as to be treated with some level of normality. They also agreed to remain friends, and Toglo offered the possibility of more.[47]

ReferencesEdit

  1. See, e.g., We Install and Other Stories, loc. 2326-2347.
  2. Ibid., loc. 2439.
  3. Ibid., loc. 2326-2394.
  4. Ibid., loc. 2609.
  5. Ibid., loc. 2759
  6. Ibid., loc. 2506.
  7. Ibid., loc 2394-2473.
  8. Ibid., loc. 24732495.
  9. Ibid., loc. 2495-2517.
  10. Ibid., loc. 2529.
  11. Ibid., loc. 2551-2632.
  12. Ibid., loc. 2644.
  13. Ibid., loc. 2655.
  14. Ibid., loc. 2666-2678.
  15. Ibid., loc. 2678-2711.
  16. Ibid., loc. 2711-2723.
  17. Ibid., loc. 2736.
  18. Ibid., loc. 2748-2759.
  19. Ibid., loc. 2770-2782.
  20. Ibid., loc. 2785-2797.
  21. Ibid., loc. 2797-2808.
  22. Ibid., loc. 2808-2830.
  23. Ibid. 2830-2854.
  24. Ibid., loc. 2866-2912.
  25. Ibid., loc. 2912.
  26. Ibid., loc. 2923-3082.
  27. Ibid., loc. 3082-3105.
  28. Ibid., loc. 3105-3150
  29. Ibid., loc. 3150-3184.
  30. Ibid., loc. 3184-3231.
  31. Ibid., loc. 3235-3509.
  32. Ibid., loc. 3509-3556.
  33. Ibid., loc. 3556-3567.
  34. Ibid., loc. 3590-3625.
  35. Ibid., loc. 3625.
  36. Ibid., loc. 3647.
  37. Ibid., loc. 3659-3681.
  38. Ibid., loc. 3681.
  39. Ibid., loc. 3681-3704.
  40. Ibid., loc. 3715-3748.
  41. Ibid. loc. 3760-3818
  42. Ibid., loc. 3829-3852.
  43. Ibid., loc. 3852-3875.
  44. Ibid., loc. 3887-3910.
  45. Ibid., loc. 3910-3921.
  46. Ibid., loc. 3921-3977.
  47. Ibid., loc. 3987-4022.

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