Dorset Style - 09. Jade Regent
Only a few years from middle age, Sandru Vhiski is a charming man, handsome and irreverent in precisely the ways that could have made him a highly successful Sczarni con artist, even before one takes into account in the fact that his older brother, Jubrayl, is Sandpoint’s local Sczarni leader. Sandru doesn’t live in Sandpoint, although he considers himself one of the town’s citizens nevertheless. He’s only in town a few days out of every month, for his caravan is one of the region’s busier examples. Traveling with his adopted mother Koya Mvashti and a pair of Varisian brothers named Bevelek and Vankor Dalmuvian, Sandru makes the trip from Riddleport to Magnimar to Korvosa several times a year. While he makes enough money on these journeys from trade, money isn’t Sandru’s primary motivation—he loves the road, and he loves the tradition. It doesn’t take much to get Sandru talking about Varisian history, dance traditions, scarves, fortune-telling, horses and wagons, landmarks and legends. In the off-seasons, when weather makes travel too dangerous or too uncomfortable, Sandru prefers to stay in Magnimar, where he helps other Varisians with his carpentry skills and flirts with the political scene in that town. He’s not yet had the conviction to fully become a representative of his people in Magnimar, though, since he knows the call of the road will pull him from any local responsibilities as soon as the rains clear each spring.
The Vhiski family has been involved with the Sczarni for as many generations as anyone cares to look back upon. Not every Vhiski throws in with the gang, but enough do that when one comes along who has no interest in the Sczarni life, it’s difficult for him to prove his disinterest in crime to outsiders. Sandru’s early childhood schools were back alleys and waterfront taverns, and training in the art of the con, dirty fighting, sabotage, and picking locks replaced lessons in numbers, arts, and literature. From an early age, though, Sandru’s sense of fairness and compassion hampered his advancement in the ranks of the Sczarni, and the mockery and derision his hesitance earned him only strengthened his convictions. When a violent storm struck the Varisian coast in 4687 AR, Sandru’s parents were among those slain by the floods and winds that tore the Lost Coast apart. Sandru and his brothers Alder and Jubrayl emerged from that catastrophic event as orphans. Yet while tragic, this event was ironically just the thing to save Sandru from a life of crime. While Jubrayl was old enough at that point to strike out on his own (and thus fell in completely with the family’s criminal traditions), Sandru was still a young child of 7 and his younger brother Alder barely 2. His care fell to Koya Mvashti, a family friend and practically an aunt to the young Sandru. Under her guidance and support, Sandru managed to avoid falling in with the Sczarni, and when he grew of age, he sought employment as a caravan guard. For several years, Sandru avoided Sandpoint, but after he lost his job, he joined up with a group of adventurers eager to explore western Varisia. As fate would have it, Ameiko Kaijitsu was also in the group. Sandru and Ameiko hit it off at once and became close friends. Indeed, Sandru was quite taken with the lovely young woman, but their age difference (he was 26, while she was only 17) and Sandru’s sense of honor kept him from pursuing a romantic relationship with her. Instead, he watched enviously (yet graciously) as Ameiko and his younger brother Alder began to fall in love. The trio’s brief adventuring
career was quite successful, but as recounted in Ameiko’s history, ended in tragedy. For many years after Alder rescued Ameiko and lost his life to the cannibals, Sandru couldn’t stand to be around the young Tian — she reminded him of lost opportunities and lost family. So while Ameiko invested her adventuring spoils in Sandpoint, Sandru invested his in the road, throwing himself into a much more honorable Varisian occupation, that of caravan owner. For the next several years, Sandru’s life was the road. He’s since mostly recovered from the bad times, and now visits Sandpoint and Ameiko often. He thinks of her now as a younger sister, and often worries that her capricious and often rebellious nature will someday force her to choose between the life she wants and the life she’s inherited as one of Sandpoint’s nobles.