Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Legends of Voraniss: Jagtor, Savior of Mirador (Part I)

by Renee "Kindrianna" Booke

There was a time before the age of Giants was brought to a swift and brutal end; a time where Giants and Elves lived comfortably as neighbors and trading partners. Each month, ships carrying both their goods sailed down the sunny river of Grianmhar'isen to the sea. The sails on those ships were like clouds of silver that glistened and gleamed in the light of the hot sun; gliding with ease over the cerulean roads. The Animal-Kin loved to stand upon the shores and behold the floating treasure barges, and each sailor warmed his heart on the promise of fortune and adventure that lie within the vessel he was sworn to.

                Mirador was more a market than a town in those days, with a busy harbor and a lonely lighthouse standing guard ‘ore a rocky shore. The few people that did dwell upon the coast fit almost exclusively into one of four categories: craftsmen, traders, fishmongers, or sailors. Very rarely, an adventurer or two would sail in or wander by, but they never stayed long, and they were never Human (at least not until well after the year 757). Mirador had always been a stepping-stone to people like that. It was the strong locals, the ones with salt in their veins and wind in their souls that were content to stay and carve out a life for themselves. The greatest wizards in all the world couldn’t do what they could, turning sweat and blood into legacy.

                If Kenkilit is now considered a city of mountains, a sturdy and unmoving stronghold carved into the earth, then Mirador would have been her opposite. Her streets were alive and constantly changing with markets that were never set up the same way twice. All manner of odds and ends and trinkets born of imagination lined the harbor. Competing traders loudly called attention to their wares, drowning out the shrill cries of the gulls above. Even in the early morning fog, there was always someone hustling around setting up or taking down a booth before moving onto the next job. Most of note was the smell; always did the air smell of fish and salt, the latter of which was so heavy that sometimes it clung to the skin.

On the outskirts of this ramshackle fishing and trade hub was a home much larger than the others but sparse in luxury. This was where Jagtor lived. His home was not large because of vanity or love of coin, but because of necessity. Jagtor was a Giant and a famous one at that. His jewel crafting skills knew no equal in all the land, and many believe that to this day a craftsman of his caliber cannot be found the world over. Talent, however, could not hide Jagtor’s surliness. He was a grumpy sort, preferring a life of solitude and labor to all the merriment of the harbor’s exciting ways. Despite his best attempts to disappear into the background of life, he was a bit of a fixture around Mirador, and to some, a local attraction.

                In those days Giants by and large preferred the company of their own kind. Jagtor was a fascinating exception to the rule and was often hounded with curious, but well-meaning questions. The question he hated the most and the one that he got asked most often was: “What’s the weather like up there, Jagtor?” He cringed every time he heard it, always waving it off dismissively. He would have preferred to talk about his craft or art, or his thoughts on Giant architecture, but no, all his talent was reduced to a single-minded obsession with his tallness.

                Very rarely he’d be asked why he chose to live in Mirador, and his reply was always the same: “Inspiration.” Jagtor believed that if he remained with the other Giants that his works would be just like theirs, and he was far too proud an artist to settle for mediocrity. Determined, he set off into the world and journeyed to Mirador where things changed daily and he would be exposed to things he might never see otherwise. You’d never know it by his frown, but Jagtor was quite attached to Mirador and its magical sense of wonder and freedom. When he wasn’t being pestered by curious Elves and beasts, he was free to be his most creative. With Mirador as his muse, he could create rings of aquamarine and sapphire that were as complex and faceted as the ocean itself.

                He worked more than ten hours a day, preferring the early mornings and evenings where he could behold the vibrant colors of dawn and twilight, carefully noting how each affected his view of the ocean. Each jewel he made told a story and the subtle changes in color and how the light might hit a single cut or blemish were all a part of that narrative. It was only when it became too dark for him to see the intricate details of his work did he cease for the day, wandering down to the harbor to enjoy the cool breeze and peer out towards the horizon. He wondered about all the colors of the world that lay beyond what he could see, and they danced like sparkling spirits upon the edge of his consciousness. Deep in his soul, he was a wanderer, but it was very hard for a Giant to set foot upon a ship and take off for places unknown. A ship of such size and strength had yet to be built to his knowledge, and perhaps never would be in his lifetime.

                The disappointment didn’t trouble him too badly, for, after all, an artist rarely has idle time to daydream if they are busy chasing their next project or idea. Jagtor dedicated himself to his work and created many of the prized jewels that would one day be claimed by the terrible usurper King Velindahl and beset within his golden throne. Fate, however, always seems to have a mind of its own. For it was not Jagtor’s destiny to labor into old age. Something else was in store for him.

                One day there came about a storm so fierce that its rains flooded the shores and its wind ripped the trees from the soil. The drums of thunder pounded like booming proclamations of war, and lightning shot through the sky roaring like some kind of dragon too bright to behold, and too frightening to watch. That day, buildings crumbled and sailors ran for cover, many abandoning their ships in the harbor afeared for their own lives. Jagtor did not run. The brave Giant instead waded into the water, pulling back some of the ships that had broken free. He secured them to the harbor with rope and anchor as best he could, once catching a broken mast in his palm that was about to fall onto some horrified sailors. He held the timber until they escaped, looking around in desperation for what problem might come next. It was then that he beheld another sound through the chaos of the storm, the sound of his own doom.