Cherish 'No-Tongue' Layre
An Essay on the Accuracy of the Tiefling Pirate-Hunter Cherish 'No-Tongue' Layre
By Shajhan Voccil
Scribe of the MakiaViri Chaswhi School of Legends
19th of Gaez, 2269
By Shajhan Voccil
Scribe of the MakiaViri Chaswhi School of Legends
19th of Gaez, 2269
It is the goal of this essay to shed light and bring forth from the shadows of legends and lore the factual truth surrounding the events of the heroine of Verchei known as Cherish 'No-Tongue' Layre, as well attempt to gauge the effect the tale has had on the people of Verchei and their enemies. As with any legend of our time, there is always an element of truth in which legends originate. As my duty as Researcher and Scribe to the MakiaViri Chaswhi of, it will be my humble privilege to uncover the truth behind the fables and stories contained herein. Before one can undertake such an endeavor, it is important to outline the details of the described subject matter.
The varied stories of Cherish 'No-Tongue' Layre are a collection of well-known tales told throughout the, used by travelling bards and clan leaders to bring inspiration and hope to their people in the face of continual raids by the Pirates of the . The stories are based loosely on actual events, however through the re-telling and added embellishment of storytellers over time, the stories have taken on qualities that would seem to elevate Cherish Layre to a near god-like status. While there are several stories one could tell about this individual, this essay will attempt to separate the myth from the individual and detail her history -- how she came to be the heroine of Verchei along with her eventual death.
"Gather 'round young ones, and hear the telling about she who wrought justice for our people against the treacherous pirates of the Savage Isles!"
The 'origin' tale, as I've come to call it, is paraphrased thusly: Cherish Layre was a young Tiefling female, estimated to be in her late teens, that was captured by a band of raiding pirates from her home settlement of on the south-western coast of Verchei. Through perseverance and cunning, she managed to take possession of her captor's ship by releasing her captured brethren and killing the Pirate Captain and Crew. With the ship already bound for the Island of Crosses within the Savage Isles, they attempted to set sail for their home of Kotova but were intercepted by another Pirate vessel. She managed to capture that vessel as well, and then proceeded to exact vengeance on any Pirate vessel she came into contact with either enroute or returning from Verchei.
She received the moniker 'No-Tongue' when she became so successful at attacking and dispatching Pirates that she began to have her Crew cut out the tongues of Pirates and release them back aboard their Captain-less vessels. Being a seaman without a tongue makes shouting commands and providing call-backs to orders extremely difficult to say the least. Her intent was to have these sailors either make their way back to their Pirate Havens or picked-up by others and used as a warning to anyone foolish enough to prey on Vercheins. It was somewhat effective as the Pirates of the Savage Islands began having difficulty with the morale of their crew. It has been described by surviving descendants of the Tieflings that served Cherish Layre that at times Pirates would jump into the frigid waters and attempt to swim back to the Savage Isles when they caught sight of a ship crewed by freed Tiefling slaves. Unfortunately, no Pirate descendants were available to corroborate these events.
The story goes that Cherish Layre, after spending more than two years at sea fighting for her people, made anchor at the mouth of theto allow the Tieflings tired of fighting to make their way back home. She put back out to sea with a skeleton crew of individuals that wanted to continue to fight (and had no one left to go home to). That was the last time anyone heard of her. It is rumored that she was captured, or that her ship was eventually sunk off the . There have been other rumors that she became ship-wrecked on one of the multiple islands dotting the Savage Isles. No one knows for sure, and unfortunately this researcher is nowhere closer to the truth than perhaps one of the storytellers spinning their thread of legends at a campfire.
"Her eyes blazed forth a fury said to be Ayuruk himself guiding her fierce blades as she carved through the hordes of Pirates, cutting large swathes from their numbers as they cringed and cowered like craven dogs. They fled in fear by jumping into the icy waters now made solid by the sheer number of frozen Pirate corpses!"
The stories told claim she died heroically in a last-ditch pitched battle against a large pirate fleet that she managed to all but eradicate save for one vessel. That vessel is said to have been Captained by the infamous Bellamy Nightwind, also known as the 'Demon Reaper'. Her story was used to embolden the people of Verchei to stand up to Captain Nightwind and Pirates in general, which they eventually did during an attempted raid by the Demon Reaper on the small settlement of.
Through dutiful research and careful examination of the details, coupled with an extensive interview campaign, I was able to uncover certain truths as to who Cherish Layre was. Cherish Layre did exist, and as far back as I can determine was born roughly in the summer of 1993 in the small settlement of Kotova. She has no surviving family due to the Pirate raids that occurred throughout much of that portion of Verchei in 2008 to 2010. I was able to speak with the Angakkuq of Kotova who was quite young during that time. She remembers Cherish had two sisters, the names of which have been lost to time, a mother and a father. The Angakkuq remembers that quite a few of the villagers were unaccounted for following a raid in the autumn of 2009 with Cherish and her family being among them.
Following up on interviews conducted in, , , and , I believe there to be enough corroborating evidence (Ref. Appendix A, §14 of this essay) that the Heroine of Verchei mentioned in the tales was indeed the same Cherish taken from Kotova in the autumn of 2009. Descendants of family members that served alongside her recount memories of their parents telling stories about their adventures and excursions alongside Cherish in the Savage Isles. Most of the details of her origin seem to be correct, however the scale of individuals involved seem to be less than what is mentioned in Bard's songs.
It would seem the raiding party that had initially captured Cherish suffered heavy casualties during their foray into Verchei. For this reason, the captured Tieflings on board were able to revolt and commandeer the ship easily. Cherish was said to be quite an instigator and cunning as well. Some have claimed that she had magical abilities, though I have been unable to verify the legitimacy to such notions. Given the fact that she was merely 16 years old at the time, it is possible those following her were swept up in her youthful conviction and drive to exact vengeance on their tormentors. It is also quite plausible to speculate that she had just come to discover some innate magical ability that surfaced due to the stressful and traumatic experience, however speculation should be avoided at all costs (Ref. MakiaViri Chaswhi SoL Precept §145.791A).
Unfortunately, there are no surviving members available in which information could be verified as to details surrounding Cherish's death. Interviewed descendants of the returned Tieflings indicate that their parents were returned to Verchei by Cherish after she decided to continue her fight against the Pirates but wanted to give individuals the option of returning to their loved-ones. Some have indicated that 'continuing her fight' could have been interpreted a few ways with some believing she sailed to distant lands in search of allies, while others believe she struck out to reinforce her numbers and continued to intercept Pirate vessels sailing from the Savage Isles. There are a few descendants that believe she most likely ended up ship-wrecked or lost at sea due to lacking the technical ability and manpower to sail the vessel effectively. After much consideration and review, I have determined the circumstances of her death to be considered unsolved.
The speed and distance at which inspiring tales and stories of heroic deeds travel never ceases to amaze me, and I am not disappointed in the breadth and scope of Cherish Layre's tales. Most inhabitants of the Bhaevor, and even there some were aware of this heroine. One could surmise that to find such an occurrence is not at all astonishing given the fact that most Verchein slaves find themselves in the slave pens of Bhaevor. However, I found instances of the story in Tieflings that had not been exposed to any Verchein influence! A prime example of how legends can make cultural leaps and become lore of our land. One could intelligently conclude that, given enough time, the stories of Cherish Layre could spread throughout all the Emerald Basin and beyond.have heard of her in some form or fashion with the south-western portion of the nation being the most informed and influenced, and that influence then tapering off as one moves north-east. Much to my astonishment, I inquired with some slaves while between ships on my way home in the port of
Variations & Mutation
I have made note of several versions and variations of Cherish Layre's 'Origin' and 'Death' tales, which include the following:
- Cherish Layre is sometimes referred to as Ayuruk's Fury
- Cherish Layre is sometimes mentioned as being capable of charming individuals with her magical abilities
- Cherish Layre is sometimes said to grow to over 10 feet in height when angered.
- The bodies of slain Pirates are said to still be floating frozen on the waters of the Savage Isles, but it is well-known that given the temperature of the water and the slow rate of decomposition, it can be easily deduced these corpses would have sunk. This is obviously embellishment on the part of the story-teller.
- Cherish Layre is sometimes referred to as Chaise (or Chase) Lar by the Tiefling slaves of Bhaevor that lack any Verchein Tiefling exposure -- an indication of speech evolution and adaptation.
The Verchein Tieflings regard the story and legends of Cherish Layre as a subject of national pride and an example in their strength in overcoming adversity. It is woven into moral teachings, religious sermons, and told outright at social gatherings and events. It is taught to the very young and repeated by the elders of the communities. It is my opinion, through careful research, that the stories of Cherish Layre are an indelible part of Verchein culture.
While there is evidence of Cherish Layre's escapades being told throughout the 'culture' of the enslaved Abian Tieflings, it lacks the sense of pride one easily detects within a Verchein Tiefling. The stories are passed down from slave to slave, used as a way to keep one's spirits up, but always considered as something that would never affect them. While it is present, I would consider it less-important to the Abian Tiefling culture -- if one could even suggest they had a culture to begin with.
Emerald Basin Humans
I have to admit, broaching this subject with some of the slavers of Bhaevor exposed me to a wide variety of ridicule and humiliation, some of which was quite new to me -- the details of which I shall cover in a separate essay. I can easily say that the Humans of the Emerald Basin region consider the stories of Cherish Layre to be merely propaganda conjured by the so-called leaders of the demon-race of Verchei. While their description of Cherish Layre (and the inhabitants of Verchei) were quite colorful and robust in their distaste, I was able to deduce that the stories of Cherish Layre have no bearing on the Human culture of the Emerald Basin.
Pirates of the Savage Isles
Unfortunately, I was unable to procure passage to theas there were no Captains willing to provide transportation. To think in this day and age that there would be such staunch resistance to the efforts of recording history is unthinkable to me, however such is the case. At some point, if I am able to secure passage, I will amend this essay.
The legends and stories of Cherish Layre do not appear in any literary work (except now) and is merely passed down through Oral Storytelling.
It is the educated opinion of this Scribe that the stories of Cherish Layre will remain a part of Abian history for quite some time, and will eventually spread throughout all of Abios -- given enough time. The Tieflings are a resilient and versatile people, and any tool that they can exploit to empower their people into persevering throughout the trials and tribulations their species have suffered at the hands of the baser races of our world is a godsend for their people and leaders. Thank you for taking the time to review my essay, and for your consideration into being admitted into the Tomes of Recorded History within the MakiaViri Chaswhi School of Legends.
"Cherish hid below decks with her fellow Tieflings and lulled the approaching Pirate crew into thinking the ship had been abandoned. The Pirates came about and boarded the vessel, sending a portion of their crew to investigate. As the Pirates made their way below, she and the others would apprehend the Pirates one-by-one, being smart in preventing them from making noise while being dispatched."
"The Pirate Captain grew bold, and sent his remaining men over to investigate, only to have them end in the same manner! Cherish then sprung from below decks with her forces and overtook the other ship to claim victory! Finding a hold of more captured Tieflings that she set free, she now found herself the leader of a modest following who would later go on to become her crew and instrument of vengeance!"
In my travels, I have come across various individuals skilled in taking descriptions of individuals and producing drawings and works of art that show a similar likeness to what said individual in fact looks like. Using the various descriptions given to me by the storytellers of Verchei, I was able to commission some works that may give us a clue as to what Cherish 'No-Tongue' Layre looked like.
The Hooved Heroine
This is indeed my favorite representation of what Cherish Layre may have actually looked like given the description of her physical appearance and garb. I must admit the artist had fun with this image, though I wonder if he did take a few liberties given her attire is somewhat different than what Verchein Tieflings are known to wear. However there was mention that Cherish discarded her Verchein clothes and donned the clothes of some of the female officers found on the Pirate ships. She used this as a way of indicating to the Pirates that as much as they have taken from her people, so shall she take as much from them. I admit I chortled slightly at this description, but psychologically it makes sense.
The Dashing Demon
Another excellent choice in attempting to visually describe Cherish Layre, though I don't think the artist quite understood just how cold it gets within the Savage Isles and decided to give her clothing consistent with warmer climates. Nonetheless I think it's a valid representation of what she may have in fact looked like. Since there is no way to be entirely certain, I see this as an opportunity in exploring one's own imagination, though such a thing should be done in moderation (Ref. MakiaViri Chaswhi SoL Precept §145.212). There are some consistencies in both depictions however, the red shade of skin, a dashing and daring look, though I have heard different stories detailing her having hooves. At any rate, an excellent rendering nonetheless.
"Remember, the fires that burn endlessly in the Abyss are also aflame within each and every one of you. Someday you may come face to face with the Savage Pirates off the Marauding Coast! Just remember, another Cherish Layre might be sitting among you. One of you could very well be the instrument of Ayuruk to forever drive them from our shores. Will you heed the call when it is your time?"