Name: Ortun son of Arddel
Age: 180 years
Origin: Seanchan Ogier
Occupation: “Gardener” Deathguard
Appearance: A man and a half tall, barrel chested and broad of shoulder with tree sized limbs. Eyes like briquettes with a dark beard covering his jawline from ear to ear, forming into a point below the chin.
For 90 years Ortun son of Arddel has served the Crystal Throne in Shendar, just as his father, grandfather and two generations further back had. For over 600 years his line has served The Empire.
His father Arddel son of Dyrun had been among the Gardeners that held the land of Tarabon for the Throne. Defending The Blood throughout the wars against the natives and their wild tsorov’ande doon and marath’damane.
Ortun’s grandfather, Dyrun son of Brungat had been in service of the High Lord during the hailene almost 250 years ago.
Now, was Ortun’s time of service in the stolen lands.
Ortun had resolutely walked and kept the palaces of The Blood in Ebou Dar since he arrived in the stolen lands 15 years ago, until the day First Gardener Hartha called on him. Altogether, a dozen Ogier had gathered, armored in dark green and red, and stood in form like great statues before the First Gardener.
“The Empress calls on your service.” Hartha began, “The omens tell that the time of Corenne is coming. We must know more about what these thieves have done to the old home and where they are weakest. As you know, morat’raken are attacked by the tsorov’ande doon when they scout the borders, limiting our reach and sight into these lands. The Listeners and Seekers bring some news, but the Daughter of Nine Moons has reservations about some of these reports, and suspicion that her property may give in to temptation in these lands. Ogier have no such flaw.” Hartha said and regarded the assembled with stern pride.
Hartha moved to open three lacquered boxes, the contents of which were difficult to make out. Then he spoke again, “During the many battles in Tarabon, fierce warriors fought alongside the trorov’ande doon and marath’damane. We’ve come to learn they are called warders.” Hartha lifted a garment from one of the boxes, and it shifted strangely. “We will use their tools to cross into the stolen lands and learn what we need before Corenne. You twelve will do this, as there are none more trusted than The Gardeners. At the stedding Mardoon and Shadoon, we’ve also learned that the Ogier of this land do not venture often, for fear of what they call a ‘Longing’. Though at times they will travel to repair structures in the greater cities. Use this as your cover. Use the cloaks to cross the borders under the cover of night, then travel as an Ogier of this land. Do nothing to reveal your mission, be as if one of them. For The Empress.”
Ortun accepted the shifting cloak, and examining it closely he noticed how it had been stitched together from a couple man sized cloaks. It was a curious thing, but useful indeed.
The plan was to reach and cross the borders unnoticed. So it was that no more than two of the dozen Gardeners selected would start their journey on any night. Every few nights, one or two of them would set out, all heading in different directions, all cloaked from the sharpest eyes against the backdrop of night and among the wilderness.
Ortun’s garb beneath the fancloth was obtained through trade with the Ogier of stedding Mardoon; simple ivory colored wool shirt, a brown coat and lighter sand colored trousers of common quality with sturdy leather boots strapped with copper buckles. He carried with him a satchel filled with parchment, quill and ink for reconnaissance purposes, as well as general traveling supplies like flint and steel and a few bundles of food. What stung most though was hanging up his tasseled axe for a hefty walking staff instead. Ortun let that thought drift to the seas though. For The Empress.
After successfully crossing the border into the region the occupiers called “Illian”, Ortun rolled up the fancloth and tucked it into the bottom of his bags. Two nights later, while traveling the road he crossed paths with a traveling gleeman who offered to share his campfire with the Ogier. Agreeing, Ortun and gleeman shared food and conversation. However, in the course of their talks, the gleeman started to find Ortun’s phrasing and manner out of place, and his questions grew invasive. Irritation boiled up during the prying, until at last the gleeman remarked how he had heard the Seanchan employed Ogier during the invasion.
The bard stood no chance. Ortun had grabbed the man in the moment it took to blink and held him by his head, his giant palm muffling the man’s words. It was just a small shake from his giant arm after that and the gleeman struggling to push away the Ogier’s arm just stopped, his arms and legs falling limp. Ortun released his grip and let the body fall then looked about, searching the night, and listening.
After a time, he heard the calls of wild beasts. Kicking dirt over the campfire with the thought that any beast would find the site more approachable then, the Gardener picked up his belongings and moved through the wilderness until finding a place far off enough where he could return to the road.
On the road again, Ortun looked up to the night sky. Since he arrived in these lands fifteen years past, he’d made a point to observe the star patterns. They became as familiar as they’d been in Shendar, but the seasons in which they appeared in were wrong. Recognizing the north eastern constellations, he turned in that direction and lumbered up the road with the thought that he had to be more cautious in how he spoke and acted from here on in order to keep his cover.