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Darokin NPC'sby Jennifer Guerra
Darokin, land of merchants, is home to a number of power-brokers and up-and-comers...But not everyone in this magnificent centre of mercantilism is a fast-talking, wheeling-and-dealing merchant; below are a few examples of other people to meet in Darokin.
Giovanna is the eldest daughter of--and sole heir to--shipping magnate Octavio d'Este of Este, east of Corunglain. But Giovanna is more than a simple heiress. She is a remarkable young lady who has, through her passion and determination, become the foremost patron of the arts in all of Darokin. When she was but five years old, her father hired the best tutors available in such diverse subjects as music, languages, and the natural studies. Giovanna became one of the most well-educated young ladies in all of Darokin; but what truly attracted her, "sometimes to distraction," as her father would say, was fine arts and literature. Giovanna discovered that the newer painters and sculptors of northern Darokin (persons of Caurenzian descent, like herself) were being neglected in the cities for pieces in the older, Traladaran-influenced style. Artists in the northern towns and cities of Este, Akorros, and Corunglain were languishing in obscurity while their revolutionary style, which enhances Thyatian realism with an air of stylised perfection and an attention to light and shadow on the human form, was threatened with extinction. Giovanna, then only sixteen, appealed to her father to grant her an allowance to be spent not on frivolities, but on the patronage of three of these artists, who are now (two years later) becoming recognisable names in Darokinian art, thanks to this remarkable young lady's support: Angelo Buonotti, Leonardo da Verona, and Artemmisia Orazio. Giovanna is also known to support literature, and has recently paid to publish the controversial work of Niccolo Machionella, whose support of a strong, central monarchy at the expense of mercantilism and republicanism have earned him the wrath of the Old Guard. (Giovanna's support of this writer has earned her and her father the repudiation of some of their former merchant friends.)
Appearance. Giovanna is a lovely young lady of dark Caurenzian hair and eyes. She tends to dress in the dark velvets and brocades common to northern ladies. She carries herself with an air of authority and even superiority, but persons approaching her will find her friendly and open, with a quick smile.
Personality. Giovanna tends to be coolly professional in business dealings, but persons who earn her patronage are quickly considered friends. She is warm and engaging in conversation, and rapidly becomes the centre of male attention at any social function.
What She Says. "Castiglioni writes that a true daughter of the aristocracy should be educated in the finer arts as well as the domestic arts, for she shall be required in her adulthood to entertain and converse with men of distinction. Surely you wouldn't want your wife to be thoroughly boring, Callan?" (to Chancellor Mauntea's eldest son Callan, in response to his disdainful remark concerning women's education)
What Others Say. If only she would approach the business with such dedication... (Octavio d'Este, Giovanna's father, with a smile)
Once, Cassandra was young wife with a successful merchant husband and two small children. She was bright and cheerful, and enjoyed planting flowers and making up games for her little boys. Then, one day, her husband came home from a week-long business trip, packed his bags, and left. And he took the children with him. Cassandra pleaded with him to know what she had done, but he would not say a word, only ushered the boys into the carriage and drove away. Cassandra was shattered; she took to sleeping on the front steps of her house, lest her husband drive the children by and she not see them. The neighbours feared that she was going mad. Finally, an anonymous message arrived; it informed Cassandra that her husband had left because a local woman--a personal enemy--had convinced her husband that she had been unfaithful to him. Knowing that she had been wronged, but having no way of finding her husband and children to tell them so, Cassandra broke down. She sat in the house, in the dark, for months. At last, her fevered mind offered up an idea; Cassandra sold all her belongings, her house, and property. She bought a small building in the capital and hired a retinue of puppeteers. From that day on, the Darokin City Children's Puppet Theatre has offered low cost entertainment for children of all ages. Cassandra watches every crowd, hoping to see a glimpse of her boys, for they loved puppets and puppet shows above all else, and their father would deny them nothing. Surely they will come today...
Appearance. Cassandra is a beautiful, graceful woman whose figure resembles that of a dancer. But closer inspection reveals that her clothing is shabby, her face is pale, her long black hair is dishevelled, and her eyes are ringed with dark circles.
Personality. Cassandra is a tragic figure who lives above her theatre, and never appears openly in public. Therefore, visitors to the theatre might see her only when she pulls the curtain aside before every act, searching the faces of the children in the crowd.
What She Says. No direct quotes are attributed to Cassandra, who seldom speaks even to her employees.
What Others Say. "Poor dear. She has suffered so much." (Holy woman Mother Sabine-Rosaire, who has prayed with Cassandra for her family's return)
Captain Tyr is a crusty old sea captain who runs a carriage and buggy service in Athenos. Upon his retirement from the navy in 1007, Tyr found that his military pension was not exactly what he had expected it would be. He tried to find work as a merchant marine, but his captain friends had no positions to offer. He took odd jobs here and there, but found them for the most part tiring and humiliating. Then he hit upon the idea of giving carriage and buggy tours of the city for a small fee. The tourists loved his dry wit and inside-out knowledge of the sea port area, and Tyr was an instant success. Today, Tyr sometimes even professes to enjoy his second career better than his first (just not around his buddies).
Appearance. Tyr is the stereotypical old sea captain: weathered face, wild white hair, and eyes with a permanent squint. He dresses in old naval uniforms for effect, and usually has a corncob pipe jammed into one corner of his mouth.
Personality. Tyr is a gruff-sounding but cheerful soul who always makes his customers laugh. He delights in seeing children's faces light up when he tells tales of hurricanes and pirate raids, and often gives young honeymooners rides for half-price.
What He Says. "Step lively there, young sir; ye never know when the sea serpents 'ave crawled up under yon buggy step!" (common saying to children as they board)
What Others Say. "Tyr is a grand Athenosian institution." (Avral Linton, Townmaster of Athenos)
Shallatariel is the Ambassador to Darokin from the Kingdom of the City of Stars. He is a young elf, and the proud first ambassadorial representative from his kingdom to Darokin. His job is mainly to provide Darokinians--and other foreign ambassadors--with a positive view of Aengmor (Shadow) elves (contrary to what they might have been told by Alfheim refugees); the Darokinian government still tends to deal directly with King Telemon in matters of actual importance.
Appearance. Shallatariel is a young (130), vibrant elf with the extremely pale skin and white hair common to his people. He has pale blue eyes and a ready smile. He prefers to dress in flowing silk tunics in deep, rich colours.
Personality. People are often surprised by Shallatariel, because he is everything they expect an Aengmor elf not to be: friendly, happy, and...well, elven. He is perfectly comfortable in just about any social setting (except one involving a great deal of sunshine), and loves to meet people from exotic places.
What He Says. "Really? Tell me all about it, every detail." (common saying upon meeting someone from a land to which he's not been; to date, Shallatariel has been to central and southern Darokin)
What Others Say. How clever of the Shadow elf government to think that this charming little boy could make the entire world forget their crimes." (Stellara Ariesseu of Clan Mealidil, head of the Alfheim refugees in Darokin)
Zahalani, the granddaughter of Bear Clan chieftain Powukuan Sleeps-With-Open-Eyes, volunteered herself for the position of Ambassador to Darokin upon the reopening of full-scale foreign relations with the Republic in 1016. Zahalani convinced the chieftain and the clan elders that their people--in order to avoid exploitation by foreign merchants--needed a formal diplomatic relationship with Darokin, rather than the former, informal method of dealing with Toney House. She has, during her tenure, managed to calm her old grandfather's suspicion of foreigners, and has also become a spokesperson for the well-being of the Children of Atruaghin living within Darokin.
Appearance. Zahalani is now a striking woman in her late 20s, with the black hair, grey eyes, and bronze skin of her clan. She is of average height and voluptuous, and stands with a proud carriage. She dresses in dyed wool tunics or dresses, and on formal occasions wears her hair in two round buns above her ears.
Personality. Zahalani is confidence personified. Many a diplomat or merchant has had his resolve tremble and crack under the strain of Zahalani's calm gaze, dusky voice, and slow smile. She is far from a cold fish, though; she loves the Darokin City night life, and is fast becoming the toast of the town.
What She Says. "What an excellent product, sir; I'm certain that my people would be delighted to purchase it in great abundance. Now, about the cost..." (overheard during a meeting with a member of Toney House)
What Others Say. "One more minute of that voice and those eyes and I would have forgotten to be a gentleman...How much did I lose this time?" (Morgan Toney, exiting said meeting an hour later)