Have you seen my god?
Relatively short for a half-elf Arcay’s love of vibrant colours makes him conspicuous in almost all locations and events. Such is this love that he staunchly refuses to wear anything that isn’t extraordinarily colourful and only wears a revealing tribal dress made from feathers of every colour, an outfit he has worn since he fled his home. On his head lies a ornamental feathered headdress and across his body are multiple painted patterns in various colours. This barrage of colour is well coordinated with his hair and eyes which once again, are rainbow coloured.
Arcay doesn’t know much about his parents or what calamity brought about their end. He only remembers at an early age being moved from his home in the jungle to a city larger than any village he had seen. Frightened and alone his future seemed desperate until he was adopted by the Church of Huitzilopochtli. Life from then was a luxurious affair as his every whim was saw to, every need met, every want indulged. When he wasn’t being pampered he enjoyed the company of others at the church. Some were orphans like him, others sons of the clergy. In the end who they were did not matter, only that they would all make fitting sacrifices to Huitzilopochtli. To this end, this extravagant lifestyle would ensure they were all in peak physical condition and, for lack of a better term, very pretty so as to best serve as consorts to the gods. This was understood and accepted as what needed to be done.
That is until Arcay, while strolling along his favourite stream met a curious stranger with whom he would discuss the day’s events, nature and most importantly the gods. This stranger spoke of a god that did not demand sacrifice, that fled east to escape sacrifice, that kept the world running without requiring torrents of blood. Quetzalcoatl, the Feathered Serpent. After weeks of discussion, for the first time in his life Arcay spurned luxury and not only pledged himself to Quetzalcoatl’s service but that he would embark on a quest to bring him back from the east. After the stranger had stopped laughing, he cautioned the eager convert that such a task could not be completed alone and if he insisted on this quest then he must gather allies or be doomed to fail. With this the stranger disappeared into the nearby foliage without even a goodbye, only a final instruction to go north.
Arcay did not know this man, even his name was a mystery but he felt there was a great wisdom in his words. Taking only his finest clothes, some weaponry and his pet snake he made his way north. Unsurprisingly a life of luxury had not prepared him for such an exodus and his poor provisioning did not help. Only his faith in Quetzalcoatl saw him through. Even so after months of travel his resolve was near breaking point.
Then one day as he travelled through a valley he came upon a battle very much still in progress. Wanting no part of this and definitely not wanting to end up a sacrificial captive he hid himself away, quietly watching the proceedings and waiting for his chance to move on. The battle itself was not a close run thing as one tribe clearly dominated throughout. However, as it drew to a close something very curious happened. Seemingly out of nowhere blithely walked some foreigner, completely ignoring the battle around him. When the victorious warriors screamed “mercenary” at him and charged, he merely smiled and waved instead of fleeing for his life.
By Quetzalcoatl, who was this idiot?
Still, there was little Arcay could do and he watched on in dismay as the idiot was dragged away. Were it that simple Arcay would have walked on, regretful of his inability to help even one of the new sacrifices. The fates would not let him get off that easy. Just as he was preparing to leave he was approached by what could only be described as a very angry spirit. He had an imposing figure and towered over Arcay, fury etched into his features to a degree that could only be described as terrifying. Paralysed by fear, Arcay could only watch as the spirit advanced… and asked for help. Apparently, the person he was bound to had been captured and was in need of rescue. Arcay could hardly refuse to help. All he needed to do was infiltrate a heavily guarded military camp to rescue a complete stranger, nothing could possibly wrong.
Attacking the camp was obviously not going to work and Arcay was neither trained in nor dressed for stealth. What he was dressed like was a priest however. If he could get in the camp he could move freely. From there freeing the prisoner and leaving should be easy. If they entered when groups of warriors left to gather stragglers it would be easy to get past the perimeter guards with a minor diversion. Without any better ideas this plan was put in motion and to the surprise of almost everyone involved it actually worked.
Although he could barely contain his surprise that they were here to rescue the idiot. Clearly there was more to this foreigner than he had expected.
After successfully escaping the camp the spirit returned to its host (although Arcay didn’t like how it stared at him) and introductions were in order. The foreigner was called Shikoba. Despite first impressions he quickly proved to be a wise and intelligent man, one that saw the futility of war and preached a message of love instead of hatred. Although one could argue that he took this a bit far, considering it led to him being captured and nearly being sacrificed on a foreign god’s altar. Perhaps most interestingly Shikoba too wished to travel east and was hoping to find a way around the great water, through the south. Unfortunately, the only land passage was to the north. The most north. Through a miserable frozen wasteland. Still, travelling together Arcay was certain there would be no obstacle that united they could not overcome.
After months of travel they finally came to the north. Arcay quickly learned just how cold it was and how impractical a feathered dress is in such climates. Still, together they overcame this harsh, barren land and what they could not do together Quetzalcoatl provided. The land wasn’t the only obstacle. Even in this place there were tribes. They were to be avoided at all costs. Most of them worshipped a strange god whose thirst for blood and battle made the gods back home look positively pacifistic in comparison. Others seemed to revel in disease and filth. The rarest group wore hooded cloaks and practiced dark magics. There was one group that Arcay, Shikoba and the spirit Lussuria found to be more amiable and charming than the rest. Their focus was on beauty and sensation. By all accounts they seemed rather taken with the trio. Unfortunately, there were also intensely, murderously jealous so even they had to be avoided.
It was uncertain if they ever would leave this terrible place until one day on the horizon they saw a giant spire to the heavens, surrounded by specks of green. Sprinting forward they found the great city of Hyperborea and the natural paradise the inhabitants had created around it. Nowhere they had come across in their extensive travels even came remotely to the scale and splendour of this place. They had magic, technology, architecture and fashion that was simply inconceivable to the old wold that Arcay had left behind. Through means and reasoning unknown to Arcay, King Lars of Hyperborea became personally aware of them and offered them a task. Given their complete lack of supplies and coin, not to mention this was a king offering a job, it was happily accepted.
It surely couldn’t be that difficult…