Narexus "Rex" Gailen Character in Enthion | World Anvil
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Narexus "Rex" Gailen

Narexus "Rex" Gailen is known as the Hero of Whalen Falls, the site of a battle between the Ergonians and the Heretics. Rex is a "heretic," at least to the Ergonians. Anyone who rejects the state religion or any of the tenets of the faith as worshipers of Arnakil is considered a heretic. Once one is marked as a heretic, the name is made public, and that person can be killed on sight. It pays, as well, encouraging more people to get in on the action.

Rex followed his nose to a band of heretics still living in Ergonia in the desert town of Maroth. Most Ergonian towns are desert towns, but Maroth sprung up around a particularly large oasis. Water is still regulated, but it exists in relative plenty and it's a beautiful area. The oasis stretches for miles, curling through areas strewn with massive boulders of red and blue granite and dotted throughout with great palms. There are a million places to hide beyond the primary settlement, and with a ready water supply, it proved the perfect place for a band of heretics.

The group called itself The Conduit, and their mission was not to cause trouble for Ergonia, as Rex had expected. It was simply to help those who had been "branded," or marked as a heretic, to leave the country and find a safe place to land. They worked mostly with the freeholds when Rex found them. It was a sort of underground railroad for the accused. The group did not bother itself with the supposed crimes of the accused. Many crimes were fabricated, they said, and for most the only crime was not being a believer. In some cases, it wasn't even that...those of a higher social standing sometimes used heresy as a tool against their enemies. Or their wives, if they grew tired of them. So the Conduit just helped people get out, and Maroth was good for that, as well, as it wasn't far from the northern border.

One of the first stops right at the border and just beyond the desert in arid scrubland was Whalen Falls, about 100 miles from Maroth. If something went wrong, heretics could be left there in illegal, makeshift refugee camps. Heretics would have water access at the falls and places to hide in the many caves dotting the hills there. One large exchange was planned when prior attempts to place people had failed, leading to an agreement from one of the freeholds to take in 2,000 heretics. It was a cause for celebration, or would have been.

The location had been found out along with the exchange time. Ergonian soldiers and a deputized mob came through and killed almost everyone, including freeholders...they knew repercussion would be minor, as the exchange was illicit and the freeholders were on Ergonian land. Rex and a few others fought off dozens of attacks and eventually disappeared into a cave system along with about sixty refugees. They sealed the way behind them and managed to find a way out miles away after a harrowing adventure that saw the loss of another dozen refugees. By the time they emerged in the wilds north of Ergonia, a mere 48 certilians remained out of over 2,000. The Whalen Falls Massacre decimated the heretic population.

Rex was an informant working for Ergonia. He had turned on them to save the refugees, but his work and the information he fed the state was part of the reason the massacre was possible. He had been seen cutting down his own countrymen, and was surely branded in earnest beyond the false branding that let him do his job. He could never go back to find out...but he didn't feel he could tell anyone, either, or they might kill him. And perhaps they should, he thought. The few he helped save did little to assuage his guilt when so many had perished. He found a home in the freeholds, but he still sees certilians from time to time there, almost always citizens who were also once refugees. And they call him "The Hero of Whalen Falls," and they buy him drinks. He lets them, and says little. They think him modest. And his secret burns in his chest. He will never forget that day or the damage he did. Yet he goes on, unsure what to do next, working as a sellsword and taking dangerous jobs that require him to be away from society for as long as possible.

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Cover image: Castle by jameschg


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