Dross Hegraven Character in Kingsmaker | World Anvil

Dross Hegraven

Watcher for life

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Silent Watcher Dross Hegraven


Body features

Dross is a high grown bluish-black panther with soft and gentle citrin eyes. Neither overly muscular nor skinny and weak Dross gives off the appearance of a savant, who could beat you in a fistfight if he deems it absolutely necessary, but would prefer a verbal fight each and every day. A warm smile, well-groomed fur and clean appearance complete the gentleman look Dross always adored.
His body is however not free of signs of his fairly short temper if someone badmouths his work or annoys his companions. The scar on his nose, as well as his chipped ear, got caused on a journey to Northwatch, which he underwent with his mentor head archivist Causs. Getting in a fight with the head archivist of the mountain library, after that person downplayed Causs' role in the church, both sides left the fight only after they 'developed' matching scars.
Silent Watcher Dross Hegraven by Soulwing

His expedition didn't go by unnoticed either, causing countless smaller and a few bigger scars all over his body, mostly hidden by his fur, each telling another usually embarrassing story.

History


It was a sunny day in 4938 when the current Ever Watchful discovered a covered basket in front of the staff entrance to the cathedral of Knowledge.
Pulling away the sheet from the basket, her eyes met with the still blind eyes of a panther cub. When she heard the pitiful meowing of the abandoned child, she quickly decided to take the baby into the holy halls, so that the little one wouldn't catch a heatstroke.
After taking care of the cub in her private chambers, she started investigating the basket closer trying to make out where the Feliken originated from, while hearing him purring in her arms. She immediately recognized some oddities in the stitching of the blanket, symbols that let her sigh out deeply.
"These symbols...it has been some time since I last saw them.
I thought we were finally able to get rid of such tragedies up here in the sky...curse you, war."
...a deep sigh...

"So your parents are not able to care for you ever again hoping you could find your place with the Silent Watchers, little one?
It saddens me that they didn't make it, but at least their wish got granted by a gentle soul.
Don't worry my little hero, you are now under our protection."

The ever Watchful Hera

An exciting childhood
The young Feliken got dubbed by Hera, in her god Terminus' presence, Dross Hegraven. They chose Dross' surname in remembrance of an ancient devotee of the Silent Watchers called Saint Ristali Hegraven.
Dross grew up in the Silent Watcher's cathedral on Scamall as a 'community project'. He had no parents because every Watcher present saw him as their child.
His calm yet cheerful personality caused many Watchers to fall for him letting him help with their daily duties raising Dross by giving him the attention he craved. Soon Dross picked a few Watchers as his favourite 'dads/moms' to spend his preteen years.
 
-He learned to read and discovered his love for the history of the World under Silent Watcher Causs, at that time the current head archivist.
-His love of geography and cartography got ignited by Hera, who enjoyed showing him everything about her former craft.
-He got taught the most important languages of the world by the god of the church, the omnipresent deity Terminus, himself.
-He discovered Scamall and its people together with his elven playmate, the fledgling Raja Hiss. After a few years and Dross turning six they parted ways due to the lack of time and deviating interests.
"This little panther is so adorable, smart and cute. But he is still only a child and I need to invest all my time in my studies regarding astronomy.
...
I will keep my ears sharp keeping an eye on Dross' future. I am excited about seeing you grow and am looking forward to what you have turned into when I will graduate in...23 years.
Good luck, my friend."

Raja Hiss (4944)

Furthermore, he spent hundreds of hours listening to the exciting stories told by Watchers freshly returning from expeditions. Like a sponge Dross greedily sucked each word of the explorers telling stories about magical places and miraculous countries. He dreamed every night to one day be just like them, returning from his personal expedition telling the youngsters his story.
 
A promising fledgling
Having lived by the code of the church from earliest childhood onwards, it was no miracle, that Dross had no issues at all in the university like school led by retired Watchers eager to raise the next generation into capable people. Having good relations with all his teachers and mentors, Dross was a perfect student, gladly helping others with his immense knowledge already acquired in his childhood, Dross was able to make many friends despite being the oddball treating every Watcher like old pals.
 
Soon his favourite subjects began to shine through and Dross took, besides the regular schedule, classes with older fledglings learning more about the art of cartography determined to become a great cartographer just like Hera.
With 15 Dross finally finished his doctorate in cartography preparing his next and last attempt to accumulate more additional knowledge and experience for his big goal.
Having failed to find any records beyond rumours in the whole archive of the church and only having access to some blank maps of the mystical south pole of Prius, Sepernius, Dross found himself dreaming of becoming world-famous conquering and creating a map of the continent, that survived the 2300 years existence of the Silent Watchers without giving away any noteworthy secrets.
And Dross saw in it his chance to make the organisation proud, that rose him, and maybe getting the chance to join Terminus as an Enlightened Watcher when he turns old getting access to the holy grail of his religion; the Knowledge Pool.
 
He used the remaining years of being a fledgling studying for becoming a Watcher to undergo additional private training with friends of his. Watchers, who have successfully lead an expedition beyond the borders of the country, into the world, that is hostile towards every Purist. Dross aimed to pick up valuable leadership skills as well as countless survival tricks; tricks that help to avoid getting Taken, famish or offend foreign ethnicities.
 
Dross finally felt ready, after graduating in 4957 after turning 19, to step forth on the Initiation rite trying to find veteran supporters to fund his grand design; a multi decades expedition to Sepernius, with countless pitstops in Duvara and Stiria meeting new cultures and living with them on time, trying to further understand their way of life. An expedition with the final goal being conquering the centre of Sepernius filling out a majority if not all the white spots on the world map.
Dross actually found numerous supporters of his cause, who however only agreed on funding this quite dangerous mission with the Ever Watchful or god Terminus vouching for the young panther.
 
Hera however only agreed to vouch for his success if he first proves himself to be truly capable and responsible enough to go on such a dangerous expedition. As Sepernius is treated by the Silent Watchers as a death pit having swallowed whole dozens of explorers in the last century alone. Being scared to lose Dross to his overconfidence, she wanted to see a resume showing he can hold his own dissipating her worries. The following 8 years Dross assisted numerous Watchers on smaller scale expeditions publishing three books and creating extremely detailed maps of his journeys to add to his shelf.
Being finally convinced that her little protegeé truly matured and was ready to follow his dream, Hera heavy heartily gave Dross her blessing.
"Safe travels Watcher Dross Hegraven. The church is rooting for your success.
...
Promise me that you will return, child. Please, promise me that: write to me before you set foot on Sepernius.
I-I am already missing you, my dear Dross."

Hera

The expedition of a lifetime
Dross said his farewells to the church and Hera in 4965 going on the planned expedition all by himself. He had a quite unique plan to make this part of his life as interesting and enlightening as possible. Using the time of peace and the open borders to the desert kingdom Duvara, Dross searched for a friendly tribe of Duvarins to pass the desert with them slowly, learning more about the rich history and way of life of the elves claiming the desert as their kingdom. Spending 5 years with the nomads, Dross was not only able to visit the sunken ruins of Old-Illox, but forged a bond with every major tribe.
"I might have not been able to visit the Kingdom once, with Illox residing in a different dimension sealed behind portals only passable by descendants of the founders, but I learned so much about Duvara, its culture and the nomads, who got rejected by the gates as well.
This ancient rivalry is interesting, especially as I was unable to find any noticeable differences between the Duvarins and the Duvarians.
Both claim to be the true ancestors of the founders of Old-Illox and both sides don't lie. I was able to find with my guides in the ruins some ancient reliefs telling a story set in the void age trying to make sense of the rivalry.
A story I struggle to believe, it felt...censored, as if someone wanted to get rid of the explanation, how a second Illox is even residing in a different dimension. My nomadic friends were sadly unable to answer my questions as well.
I desire to uncover these lost stories, but having no access to Illox...I doubt I will be able to do as such.
Maybe another Watcher can continue my research?"

Dross

In his time with the nomads, Dross was able to win over a few capable and curious companions wanting to join his expedition with inspiring stories sharing his knowledge with the people. With these four Desert elves he finally left the desert for good setting foot in the savanna of Stiria.
 
Stiria being of little economical nor industrial worth for the rest of the world, was able to develop all these millennia at its own pace devoid of technology or international struggles. It was like diving into a different world. Dross enjoyed a special sort of protection when living with the feliken and canine tribes, having one animal whisperer guarding and guiding him on his explorations. Dross decided to live one year with each major tribe learning their ways to communicate with the arcane and each other. He was fascinated by how 'modern' these fairly primitive tribes were despite having no access to technology and lacking some of the etiquette he grew up with. Learning about the rich history, Dross wrote 15 books, one for each tribe, putting together the history, commons and beliefs of the respective host.
Furthermore, Dross fact-checked the maps he had with him updating the topography and the locations of rivers, villages and more to reflect the reality better. He was so fascinated by Stiria, that his initial planned 5 years stretched out into 13 years living in the savannah.
Dross managed to recruit in these years many, who were interested in joining his journey to Sepernius, curious to witness, what the inhospitable frozen lands in the south could possibly hold.
 
It was in these 13 years, where Dross met his first love interest as well, a snow elf calling herself Minaera. Minaera was a member of the only non-fuzzy tribe of Stiria, a small elven village hidden on an isle halfway across the sea to Sepernius. Dross and his companions made a halt in this village in 4982 as the last pit stop to replenish proviant and start looking for some more upgrades to their gear to stand the ice. The snow elves were famous in Stiria for fishing right at the coast of Sepernius selling unusually large fish to the other tribes. They were well equipped to stand the cold and were ready to help Dross out.
Here he met Minaera and her linked partner, the Furnace Automaton Trevi. Interested to learn more about this very unique tribe and its people, Dross convinced his companions to stay, preparing themselves for the expedition by accustoming to the low degrees joining the elves on their daily business. Dross was oddly drawn to Minaera asking her to be his guide and companion for the stay assisting him in his final book of 'Living with the Tribes of Stiria'. Their small scientific expeditions to the neighbour isles served multiple purposes. Besides actually researching and creating topographic maps of the isles, Minaera and Dross (accompanied by Trevi) started seeing these expeditions as dates as well.
It didn't take long until Minaera asked Dross to join his expedition and maybe even return at his side to the country of Etherium, which he told her so much about.
Dross' heart pounded when he agreed happily unaware of what could happen in the following years.
"Companions! I have a happy announcement to make.
Minaera and Trevi decided to assist our cause being our guides and survival experts rendering our goal to conquer the most southern spot of Prius from unlikely to very much possible.
Having experience with evading the so-called monsters of the ice having explored the outskirts of Sepernius, they will be invaluable to assure we all will return able to tell our stories to our loved ones.
Please give them a warm welcome."

Dross

An unfortunate journey
The two years on Sepernius were a slowly developing hell for the group.
It all began quite promising, having recruited a small snow elf team to wait at the coast of Sepernius, in contact with Dross via his only still working walkie talkie, ready to assist them if anything goes wrong.
After a month of exploring the coast finally ready to move in into the frozen waste away from the water, the issues started piling up. Having no experience with the strangely twisted Veil Dross was completely unprepared suddenly getting cut from their rescue team. Dross might not have been nervous regarding all his tools being now completely useless, he trained after all just for that case having studied not only modern but traditional cartography as well, but he was worried about his companions trusting his expertise. They decided to abandon the attempt tracking their path back to the coast but got surprised by one of the massive beasts forcing them to evade its tracks for multiple days escaping its range. The situation got so stressful, when more beasts caught wind of their presence, that none of the team was able to keep their orientation. Weeks went by until they finally were able to catch a breath only to realize that they were lost.
Dross and Minaera were able to somehow keep the morale high convincing everyone to travel to a high mountain on the horizon to use its height to locate the coast or at least another landmark.
Months went by with them trying to find their way dodging the titan-like beasts and travelling from landmark to landmark. The morale dropped noticeably and the first started losing hope. At least food was no issue with the team being able to harvest enough leftover meat from the enormous fresh cadavers of the weaker beasts: They felt like parasites trying to survive through others.
 
It has now been one whole year when Dross' group started their expedition inwards. They haven't seen any coast in all these months and the morale was gone. The companions had to mourn the first victims of the cold, which didn't help the duo motivating the rest to continue. Dross was frustrated:
 
"Believe me when I say that, Minaera, this land makes no sense at all.
I continued to draw a map of this damned place for the entire time...take a look. Do you see this spot here? We were at that exact spot three times over the course of the last months. And look! The topography, the landmarks...nothing matches!
Call me crazy, but something is not right here. It is as if the waste is alive, moving as we move, leading us in circles while trying to prevent us from noticing.
I...I have no clue how to get us out of here.
I am sorry, love...I failed.

Dross

Despite the non-existing morale, the team was determined to escape; to return to their old life. The curiosity was gone, but strangely nobody blamed Dross for the expedition going south. They all knew that he tried his best to understand the topography, finding a way to return to any coast using landmarks and the stars in the sky. When Dross presented his theory of the moving land, the others confirmed it sharing experiences they thought to be hallucinations. Like moving landmarks on the horizon or a distant rumbling below the ice.
They were running now against the clock. With each month passed the group got smaller and smaller, but their navigation better. Continuously keeping track of three landmarks at once, they were able to navigate with the ice moving under their feet. Hope rose again despite the group being now cut in half already.
 
4985, 20 months had now passed since the communication with the base stopped. Of the formerly 60 people were 9 still alive, the rest fell prey to nature or the arcane titans. Hope was lost when they lost sight of one of the moving landmarks but returned when Trevi announced to spot the coast on the horizon. The group celebrated after spending a few minutes mourning those, who weren't able anymore to see what they see. The group decided to camp keeping one awake at a time keeping track of the coast to warn the others if it moves.
...
It was however something different moving in the distance, that cut the evening short announcing a true nightmare...

The story of Dross and this particular evening continues in the novella "A piece of Heaven"




A Piece of Heaven





Current Location
Species
Ethnicity
Currently Held Titles
Date of Birth
23:03
Year of Birth
4938 AS 60 Years old
Circumstances of Birth
Unwanted child, abandoned at birth and adopted by the church of knowledge
Birthplace
Scamall
Children
Pronouns
he/him
Gender
male
Eyes
Citrin with a tint of orange
Skin Tone/Pigmentation
Greyish black fur
Height
1.88 m / 6'2"
Weight
38 kg / 82,8 lbs
Aligned Organization
Other Affiliations
Known Languages
Having gotten taught by Terminus to speak, Dross is fluent in numerous languages proving his god his compassion.
  • Etheric (native speaker)
  • Elvish (fluent)
  • Flica (fluent)
  • Draconic (fluent)

Hera


Hera's relationship with Dross was special. She tried her hardest to remain professional being the Ever Watchful, the second to the god, the mortal connection. But she just couldn't resist granting her protegeé his special wishes, especially if it included him being excited over what she has done before accepting her current rank.
She loved teaching the panther the ways of creating accurate maps without the help of the fancy new gadgets and adored witnessing Dross being all excitingly purring basking with golden eyes over her masterworks.
In Dross' childhood, Hera took him to every local museum if he could explain why he would like to visit it:
"You told me, your handpainted city map of Old-Scamall is hanging there.
I wanna see it for myself, it has to be awesome!
Please, Hera!"

Dross

The boy knew where to strike best.
 

Raja Hiss


Raja wearing the MPS - AA by Soulwing98

After they continued their own paths again with Dross growing out of the need of a babysitter, Raja felt odd.
She felt a strange unexplainable connection with the smart and gentle child.
Deciding to trust her gut, Raja loosely followed the career of Dross from afar.
 
Raja was amazed by the young panther's determination as a fledgling, rooting for him when he was about to finish his doctorate in cartography, decided to attempt studying it in the future as well.
Watching Dross grow into a handsome young man, while she was still stuck in her 'teenage years' for at least one more decade, made her reconsider her feelings.
 
The admiration has grown over the years into a serious crush and Raja felt herself getting depressive on occasions thinking about how Dross will be already wise and old when she will finally graduate celebrating maturity.
But over the years of watching Dross preparing his big expedition, she realized her perfect time to strike was when he will return. She started working even harder on herself trying to better herself defeating her weaknesses with the end goal to impress her crush when he returns with a considerable shelf full of published works.
"But what if...Dross finds love on his journeys?
...
Poppycock, I can still attempt becoming his best friend, reigniting the past.
...still...

Raja Hiss

Published books


In his many years keeping watch for his religion Dross wrote a decent collection of books usually accompanied by a copy of a hand-painted map of his in the book.
Dross was oddly drawn to writing travel guides for seekers of knowledge in his early years. Bugging every local archive to grant him access combined with personal discoveries, these travel guides got to be fairly popular making Dross a nice profit:
Travel guides:
  • The untold history of Northwatch

  • An evening in Lixor, hidden beauties

  • Beyond Temez: Old-Temez, the spent city

  • ...And many more

On his journey to Sepernius Dross changed up his style getting more personal while keeping his analytical style. Later books being more emotional than initial ones:
  • Living under Duvarins; Culture and Values

  • Stiria, the hidden gem.

  • Tribalism; an analysis.

  • The tribes of Stiria 1-14

The expedition team


Dross gathered under his contagious enthusiasm a huge group of people hungry to experience the world at his side. From Duvarin nomads over various elven, feliken and canine tribesmen and -women joining his cause all the way to numerous Arcandans undergoing links with his companions; his fellowship was vast and capable. It saddened Dross seeing his friends vanish one by one when he finally arrived on Sepernius, unable to keep his promise of them eventually returning to their people.
"We have lost today with Ireskis a dear friend and partner against this abomination of a Wisp.
I first met him 13 years ago when we traveled on the back of a Gravette across the scorching sands of Duvara.
I promised him the experience of a lifetime and apologize that I was only able to give you that but not your survival.
I hope you enjoyed our time as much as we did, as I did.
Farewell, friend."

Dross mourning the loss of his first companion with his team

Minaera


It was not love at the first sight, no, far from it. When Dross first interacted with Minaera and her automaton partner Trevi, he felt her opposing him colder than Sepernius freezing temperatures, she was seemingly fed up with interacting with Feliken being annoyed by the fuzzy tribes seeing themselves superior to her kin. But that misguided distrust quickly dissipated when she got chosen to guide Dross to the other isles assisting the guest with all his questions.
She was quickly drawn to Dross' reserved speech, his warm tone and etiquette. Enjoying their travels more and more, it was only a matter of time until she fully accepted him awaiting Dross to make the first move. But Dross, seemingly aware of the commons of the tribes played with her keeping his act just outside of giving in designing their shared time unbearable for her, seemingly enjoying her struggling to not break with her pride.
 
It was only a matter of time until she couldn't bear it anymore telling him how much she enjoyed their shared time and that she wants to join his expedition, join him. Dross rewarded her by silencing the river of words with a sudden nose kiss.
Their relationship quickly developed into an equal union, with both sides benefiting from the other. It was a kind of professional love, reserved enough to boost the team's morale, but not at all annoying. The chemistry between the expedition leader and his new navigator and tracker on Sepernius helped the crew to bear the catastrophe that what the expedition easier making bets when the love finally will reach the next higher step.
 
With the team shrinking in the second year of them being lost in the frozen waste, the romance retreated as well with both doing their best to keep everyone alive having no time for each other anymore. They made an agreement to prioritise survival over everything after Dross asked Minaera to visit Etherium at his side finally taking the step.
An agreement that proved to be quite difficult to fulfil...


Cover image: by Vertixico
Character Portrait image: Dross Hegraven by Soulwing98

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