Waves-Against-the-Hull Character in Kohtalo | World Anvil


You think kings and nobles prattle on with their titles, you should hear the full name of most kenku bards. Turns out "Waves-Against-the-Hull" rolls off the tongue a little better than "Waves gently washing against the hull of a ship sailing into twilight on the last day of autumn, dolphins playing in its wake as a lone gull circles the mast." Probably why they dont have kings and nobles, can you imagine, it would take all day just for introductions.
— Jasper Cameron, Leader of the Bronze Ravens
  Okay, first off let's get one thing straight, Kenku bards have a naming convention unlike any other in the world. The more skilled they get, the more detailed a scene they can mimic, and as such as their career progresses their translated name gets longer. Proper etiquette, if one is going to shorten the name, is to shorten it to the first part. For those in the know, not following this protocol is considered extremely insulting. This "Lone Gull" figure is most likely not even Waves-Against-the-Hull as that would put the poor bird at well over 2,000 years old.

Early Life

As with nearly every other record from the time before the Necromancer Wars spread across the world, almost everything about Waves-Against-the-Hull's early life has been lost (including his original name). We know he was an intelligent (same say blessed) child and that he apprenticed to the Chroniclers. There are a few rumors that persist about things Waves-Against-the-Hull accomplished in his early days, but almost all are third- and fourth-hand accounts heard from the friend of a friend.
In those days kenku Chroniclers were welcomed in many lands, (the elves called them Those Who Witness History, and are one of the few races that, to this day, will welcome a kenku with open arms) and recorded many events for posterity. The Chronicler's Archive in the Kenku's homeland of ██████████████ were said to hold the entire history of the world, from the Rise and Fall of the Storm Giant Empire to the start of the Necromancer Wars.
  • The Coining of the phrase(s) "a devil's memory and god's own luck." - with the loss of the original kenku language there are several different translations abounding in cultures throughout the world today. Elven scholar's maintain that the original phrase was "The Luck of the Fae with a memory to match." Dwarfs maintain that it is 2 separate phrases, and the Fae, who could clear up the matter, are as tight lipped as they are with anything else involving the Kenku. Demons and devils have been consulted but maintain that there are some secrets that are not theirs to tell.
  • The invention of the Đàn bầu and monks spade - Illustrations of both of these have been found that predate the Necromancer Wars by some 200 years, he just combined them into the Bard's Spade.

Necromancer Wars

With the rise of the necromancers and their undead legions in 2341, one of the first casualties, and some say the greatest loss, was the sacking of ██████████████ and the destruction of the Chronicler's Archive. Waves-Against-the-Hull was away, witnessing the wedding of Crown Prince Farvalur in Feywillow Forest, on the Vernal Equinox, as is custom. (and coincidentally, picking up some materials for a project he was working on with the Outh craftsmen in Osect) At the reception feast, a messenger came and told Waves-Against-the-Hull he was urgently needed at Florown Abbey. One of his kinsmen was dying and had a message of grave tidings.  
The Fell Wind Blows, and so Rise the Tides of War, Naxxrak and Phur Algoz lie open, and the Undead Horde makes for Annussi. Progenitor must be warned   The Home Roost has fallen, The past is lost, along with what Lessons it may have taught. A shadow lies across the land, But a deep enough shadow may yet hide salvation from those seeking to snuff out hope.   ████ ███████ Long has Shadow lain in you heart and in your mind. It is Time to set the shadow free As our people pass into twilight, look to Summer for shelter, for Winter brings the cold hope of salvation, All is not lost, the shadows remember.
Waves-Against-the-Hull left Feywillow Forrest heading home with all speed. On his flight home he encountered more of his people, though never as many as he would have expected. You see, at the time the kenku still possessed the ability to fly. Its how they were able to range so far and wide recording the stories of the world. Little did that avail them, according to the kin that Waves-Against-the-Hull encountered. If he was going home, they warned, he should be prepared. The first attack had come as a surprise, By the time an alarm was sounded the massacre had already begun. Last rites could not be performed, and the bodies were left unburned, trapping the spirits of the dead in this plane. As he met more and more groups, Waves-Against-the-Hull started to worry, for in none of the groups did he meet another Chronicler. No one had seen another since they fled their homeland. He could not be the last, could he? Who would tell the tales of the Storm Giant's Folly and Fall, who would fend off the long nights of winter with warm tales of far away lands, who would remember those who had given their lives. No one, for apparently there were none left but him. And so he set out for home, to lay the spirits of his people to rest, to bury a city, even if he must do so alone.
As Waves-Agains-the-Hull made his way west, back home, he noticed that there was a blight spreading across the land. A sickness, a wasting. And as he neared ██████████████ he started flying over armies like none he had ever seen before. They had no supply lines, no horses. When they made camp for the night there was nary a tent to be seen, no sentries were set. The whole army just collapsed where it stood, to rise again the next day and plod on.   Upon arriving at ██████████████ Waves-Against-the-Hull was shocked. No wall was left standing, no roost was left whole. He set about gathering what remains he could find so that he could perform the last rites for his fallen people. For a week he searched the ruins for bodies and material, building a great pyre in the ruins where the Chronicler's Archive once stood. At the end of the week, at sunset on Summer's Solstice, he lit the pyre and performed funeral rites as the 3 full moons rose into the sky. Then he sat and poured his emotions out into the night air through his Đàn bầu.   It started out as a dirge, a requiem for his people and their homeland, each soul that he could name he did so. To each name he sung of a happy memory. Afterwords he recounted what tales he remembered from his training as a Chronicler. And as he played and recited and remembered, the shadows listened, and the moons watched.   Through the night Waves-Against-the-Hull played, and as the sun rose, its first rays peaking above the horizon, he started to play an aubade he remembered from his childhood, a song that was lost, or perhaps more likely, given his memory, locked away.

The Summer Court and the Fall of the Kenku

And so it was that underneath the Full Moons Titania came upon a raven chick. This was odd as, though ravens are accepted in much of the Fae lands, Titania had made it know that she found their dull colors offensive to her vibrant Court of Summer.   But still, it was a chick, a child, a baby. And like all Fae Titania knew it was something new, to be treasured and cherished, for in the Undying and Unchanging lands that make up Faerie something new is a rare thing indeed. Picking it up and cupping it in her hands, she breathed life into the weak little creature.   where do you come from, little one?   But the chick could give no answer, for it did not yet have a voice.   where is you family, little one?   But the chick had no memory of such, and still had no voice with which to answer.   where did you come from, to be in my court, little one?   And direction was the one thing the chick had knowledge, and he stretched out its wing, pointing upwards to a simple arch made of the branches. And Titania peered through the arch back to our world and saw the 3 full moons in the sky, and knew that this little chick had hatched in the night, and fallen from its nest to her court.   i see now, little one, lucky are you to have been born into the world on this night, for any other night you would have died on the forest floor, or landed elsewhere in Fae. you will spend the night celebrating the Solstice of Summer with me and my court, and I shall return you to your nest with the coming of Dawn.   So it was that a raven chick was guest of Honor at the Summer Court. And as morning approached, Titania left the celebrations, to return the chick to its family.   you will forget us for a time little one, but fear not, when you have need of summer we shall know, and you shall have our aid, for ever is the presence of a child in the Court of Summer a gift, and a gift to the Fae we must repay in kind.   And as she walked the raven chick back to its home and placed it in its nest, Titania hummed a simple tune, a lament for the dying of the night, a greeting to the coming dawn.
— From Notable Events at the Summer Court
    And as childhood memories of a summer night spent lost in the woods came rushing back to Waves-Against-the-Hull a gentle voice whispered, BOOMED, caressed "hello, little one, it has been long as mortals reckon such things, yet you sing my aubade. tell me, what can summer do for you?" and as she spoke, Titania herself stepped from behind a pile of rubble.   "I would have my people back," Waves-Against-the-Hull started, then, letting out a sigh, he continued "...but I know that we are not like the Fae, undying and unchanging, so I would ask that you grant my people the ability to get revenge on those who have done this to us. I would have us be as inescapable as their shadows. Able to hound them from the darkness in which they revel."   "my boon is for you and you alone, ask for something else and we shall be happy to grant it... the death of the one who perpetrated this, perhaps"   "What need have I of your boon then, if we cannot bring justice to those who would do something like this, who would destroy the living memory of the world... I dont need the death of one, for I saw how this plague spreads across the lands. It cannot be fled, unless one could hide in ones own shadow. Keep you useless boon, for I shall tell the world what the Promise of the Court of Summer is worth."   Fire flashed in Titania's eyes, and Waves-Against-the-Hull knew that in his anguish he had spoken out of turn   "very well, then, little one, I shall grant your wish, you who would speak for your people, you say you would hound those who do evil as shadows, then shadows you will be. but know this, little bird... shadows have no name, no voice but what others give them, and though they may have wings even the shadows of dragons are cast upon the ground, every land has shadows, so shadows have no land to call their own, so too shall your people shall have no home, no history... so take you boon and be happy....i give you and yours the shadows, still you, YOU will be the Chronicler of history, to tell it exactly as it happened, for shadows witness"   And so magic swept out from what had once been a prospering city and center of learning. Kenku everywhere lost their voices, and though they may have wings, no kenku to this day can fly under their own power. With the gift of shadow magic he and the rest of the kenku helped to end the Necromancer wars, although it took the better part of 2 decades to do so.   As for Waves-Against-the-Hull, that name he became known as much later in life. Afterwords his people rejected him, for Titania made it known who was responsible for the loss of their voices, their flight, their history and their homeland. So he wandered the world, tugged by an unseen thread to witness history.
Skin Tone/Pigmentation
Black feathers with a blue tint
Aligned Organization
Other Affiliations
The Bard's Spade - The brain child of the Đàn bầu and the monk's spade. this is the one thing that can for sure be credited to Waves-Against-the-Hull, as his original drawings are still maintained by the Outh clan dwarves. Of the 37 made by Waves-Against-the-Hull only 5 are accounted for, all in dwarven holds. (admittedly, this occurred slightly after his "early" years as at 30 he was practically middle aged for a kenku)      
While Waves-Against-the-Hull traveled much in the decades following the Necromancer Wars, he did pass on, at least one assumes. There has been, however, a recurring figure through the centuries since. Across the world there are stories of a lone kenku Shadow bard, putting on solo shows so amazing as to boggle the mind, and carrying with him a most peculiar Monk's Spade. There are those who have tried to find him, but he always seems to be in the next town over. Always the stories refer to this bard as Lone Gull.
I knew it was him, Lone Gull that is. Watching him set up for our simple caravan was a magic all its own. Pulled out his stool to set next to the fire, then scooped up some of the flame into the end o' his spade... the flame mind, not a branch or some coals. Next he reached into his pack and with a flick of his wrist there was a screen that he placed in front of his newly captured flame. Lighting his pipe, he released a hidden catch in the spade's handle, stringing what we now recognized as a bard's spade. After some quick tuning, he puffed out some smoke that got...caught, behind his screen, and he started to play. Late into the night he recited his tales, only ones I rightly remember are "King with the Golden Touch" and "The Immortal Chameleon"


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25 Jan, 2022 10:29

The naming convention alone had me, the rest is a bonus.. Interested to see where this goes :-)

26 Jan, 2022 04:56

Thanks for the comment on the naming convention. I had an interesting time coming up with it and am glad that people are enjoying it. I have added a bit since you last read the article, but I will say it is still sitting at probably just under halfway done, although there are a lot more placeholders now to show whats coming.

26 Jan, 2022 05:17

I like what you got so far. The naming is awesome, but also the scheming off the different groups about the history of the phrase : "a devil's memory and god's own luck" Is great, and gives a huge depth.

31 Jan, 2022 04:30

Thanks for the comment. I appreciate that people are liking the name convention. It is literally just a play on the D&D 5E source material. "kenku adopt the noises made as part of their craft as their name, non-kenku describe them by their trade sound." And i thought, man could bards have fun with that.

27 Jan, 2022 14:33

I like what you have here already, especially the full name of your bard xp The necromancer wars seem like quite an interesting conflict, wonder where the article will go next :) be sure to ping me when its done!

Feel free to check my new world Terra Occidentalis if you want to see what I am up to!
27 Jan, 2022 23:46

after much consideration and sacrificing nearly 1,600 words to the abyss (because i got a bit carried away for an hour or 3) the text is done baring feedback changes, artwork of at least the Bards Spade is coming, probably by the end of the weekend if things go well.

28 Jan, 2022 08:49

always difficult to choose what to add :( but liking the new addition of the summer court! Very cool explanation of how Kenku lost their voice.

Feel free to check my new world Terra Occidentalis if you want to see what I am up to!
28 Jan, 2022 08:51

Fantastic article. I love the idea that this Gull might be the latest in a long line to inherit the name/title!

31 Jan, 2022 04:35

There is a clue or 2 in the article about that...

Master flatloop
Brion Mythew Penndon
28 Jan, 2022 21:14

Love the flavor. The names are fun!

Wisdom comes from experience. Experience is often a result of a lack of wisdom.
--Sir Terry Pratchett
31 Jan, 2022 04:58

Thank you for the kind words. I'm glad so many people are enjoying the naming convention.

29 Jan, 2022 16:25

And that kids, is why you don't angry a Fae. I love how the article is structured to be a story.

Visit Daeliha, Iphars, Khulgran & Shattered
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31 Jan, 2022 04:55

Well, at least not the powerful fae, I mean... as long as they arent one of the higher ups in one of the courts you should probably be okay.

2 Feb, 2022 20:19

I enjoyed reading about Waves-Against-the-Hull! That was a wonderful and detailed article, and the stories really brought your character to life! :D

Check out my On the Shoulders of Giants article: Satlonia
7 Feb, 2022 21:55

Thank you, there will be more added after the challenge is over as, well, 3 section/stories had to be cut for word count purposes.

3 Feb, 2022 18:31

An excellent article, i love the lay of how the kenku fell.

7 Feb, 2022 22:05

thanks, I think it can be great for DMs/players to take something from D&D lore and make it their own, which is where a large part of inspiration for that story came from.

5 Feb, 2022 06:03

Wow, what an amazing journey through history this article gives us! I love how it starts out with the really fascinating naming conventions, before diving straight into tragedy that leads to yet more tragedy for our poor waves-against-the-hull (as any good bard must experience, I suppose!).   I really loved the bits of dialogue and story snippets added in here too. And what a heartbreaking ending to this! To have their people lose so much, only to lose everything that was remaining... ouch. I realize this article is regarding the bard, and not the conflict, but I am interested to know more about how the Kenku managed to end the Necromancer wars. Could be an interesting story told by waves-against-the-hull? :D

7 Feb, 2022 21:53

Sadly, like many major events in my world, the Necromancer Wars are a remnant of a campaign that got indefinitely suspended due to the military lifestyle. The events are getting slowly fleshed out, but that is one that i was a player in, as opposed to the DM/GM, so it is more from scratch and I have significantly less notes on it. It will see some fleshing out, hopefully in summer camp.

7 Feb, 2022 22:42

Alas, the realities of ttrpg campaigns and their hiatus/suspensions that are all too common :( I know the pain.   But, glad to hear there's still ideas coming forth regarding it! Here's hoping that campaign gets going again at some point, and looking forward to summer camp as always :D

7 Feb, 2022 18:54

A lost, little one with good intentions and the meaning to take revenge on the ones who did kill all his people. Last of the Chroniclers, forsaken by his people he wanted to save and out of a little bit of anger about the Undying he diminished his entire race. Dang, that was a good read, thank you very much. :)

You wanna see what we did for Summer Camp? This way please: Eddie's Summercamp 2023
7 Feb, 2022 21:54

Thank you for the kind words. I really had fun writing for this challenge.

9 Feb, 2022 01:56

Oh, that story gave me the shivers! Well done!

Author of the Liminal Chronicles urban fantasy series | vssCollab very short story prompts | Author Website
9 Feb, 2022 21:39

Thank you for the read and the kind words.

9 Feb, 2022 06:59

I like how you made the bards story weave around common themes and ideas about the Fae. A boon that is also a curse, nice. He was a little to arrogant.   I could use the font size a notch or two bigger and maybe subtitles in the bigger sections.   Looking good!

A Wildlands collaboration is on the horizon with Gege. For a hint at what is coming check out her new Ko-fi!   Share your world, submit articles for Lavani to review by leaving a comment on her Reading List!
9 Feb, 2022 22:01

The Fae and the various themes around them are such fun and rich world building inspiration that I like to use them when I can. Thank you for the read.

9 Feb, 2022 20:33

That sure is a whole lot of world building in just one article, impressive! And the creativity behind the naming convention is absolutely ingenious! Reminds me a bit of the titles of the heroes of the empire in Warhammer, being so long that it would indeed take ages to introduce them!

World Ember is coming. Check out Freelands while we wait!
9 Feb, 2022 21:59

I'm so glad to see so many people liking the naming convention. I think my favorite part of it is that its only the translated name that is long, when they "say" it its just like a couple of second sound bite of the scene.

9 Feb, 2022 20:45

I love how you made the character look. The colours, the jacket, the hat, and the chain around the neck looks awesome. Kenku also seems like an intriguing species with lot of depths in them. The part of the aubade and the flash-pack of the summer court to the end were my favourite part of the article. The whole scene felt absolutely beautiful and of course the twist of the boon was splendid, especially after reading the variable information of kenku. Gorgeous work!

9 Feb, 2022 21:56

Kenku are one of my favorite races to play around with role-playing wise, even within the rules you can just have so much fun with them. The mimicking sound thing for them is so under used by people but you can have so much fun with it. Its things like that or the Firbolgs "animals and plants understand you, but you have no special ability to understand them" that make them such fun races to play. (or the tortles ability to hold its breath for an hour, i have had fun with that too, much to my DMs dismay)

10 Feb, 2022 06:01

Lone Gull looks pretty steampunk to me! Very nice article!   What is the flame captured by the Bard's Spade used for? Just theatrics? It would surely capture attention!

10 Feb, 2022 07:20

Thank you for reading. At least for right now the flame is just used to give him a source of light to cast shadows on his screen. I was a bit limited by the word count so I wasnt able to include Waves-Against-the-Hull's founding of the Wayang Minstrels, a group made up of small traveling bands who put on (occasionally magic assisted) shadow puppet shows. It was a summer camp article that was inspired by the traditional wayang plays of Indonesian culture. The flame catchers were what I came up with for him being able to provide his own light that still provided the flickering of fire vs the steadiness of a magical glow.

10 Feb, 2022 21:23

Great story with lots of details and what an interesting character. I love how his people gave up flight for shadow magic.

10 Feb, 2022 21:47

Thank you for the read. "Gave up" is a very generous way of putting it. But when dealing with Titania that is probably how one would phrase what happened.

10 Feb, 2022 22:03

Be careful what gifts/deals you ask of fae. I really like the changes change to the entire kenku, which eventually led to Waves-Against-the-Hull's banishment. Very poignant.   I also love the opening "This "Lone Gull" figure is most likely not even Waves-Against-the-Hull as that would put the poor bird at well over 2,000 years old." and closing, "So he wandered the world, tugged by an unseen thread to witness history." An excellent way to frame the story of Lone Gull.

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11 Feb, 2022 03:18

The effects/backlash of the Fae deal was my attempt to incorporate some of the racial characteristics of kenku from D&D into my world mythology as that is mostly what I use the world for. I am glad that people are enjoying it.

11 Feb, 2022 02:35

So sad! Lovely story.

If you're seeing this, I may have used your article for my 2023 Reading Challenge.
11 Feb, 2022 03:00

Thank you for the read. There are happy parts..... they just mostly (all) happened in the 2k words i wrote when shooting past the word count limit... but there are some, I promise.

11 Feb, 2022 08:33

Beautiful and tragic, I particularly love the emotion you bring across in the scene with Titania; it gives a clear impression of Lone Gull's pain, and her initially respectful but quick to anger responses are very very Fae.   You'd mentioned on my post about layout and using the sidebar more, having seen yours I understand that there is a lot of potential in layout, as yours is very good, thank you :)

I've written my first challenge entry => #BardChallenge <=, any feedback welcome :)
11 Feb, 2022 16:28

I'm glad Titania's fickleness is resonating well with people, especially as that is a scene that I changed for word count purposes. Initially i had her asking 3 times in a back and forth with Waves-Against-the-Hull but sacrifices had to be made. So instead we get someone who is "fickle as a fae."

11 Feb, 2022 16:35

It works well :-)

I've written my first challenge entry => #BardChallenge <=, any feedback welcome :)
11 Feb, 2022 16:13

Like doesn't even cover this, I need a love this button! I have never found Kenku terrible interesting, until now. There is so much history and depth. And the encounter with Titania is my favorite part.

Graylion - Nexus   Roleplaying
not Ruleplaying
not Rollplaying
11 Feb, 2022 16:34

Thank you for the read and the kind words.   A lot of my characters come partially from the fact that I am basically the forever DM from my group, but i will pester my players about why they dont pick certain races and if I ever get an answer like "they're boring/dont have fun mechanics" I just sort of make it a goal to make a character to prove my players wrong. I think I have only ever played 1 character from the big 4 (or as I call them, the LotR races) because there is just so much to explore with the others.

12 Feb, 2022 01:00

Wow! And I thought I did a good job with my submission! I love your writing style and how you give insight into your world through your character.

13 Feb, 2022 16:26

Thank you. Its been something that I have been working on. I feel like I have improved so much between last years character challenge and this year.

13 Feb, 2022 12:32

ooo great article. I love how you wove in the tale of how the kenku lost their voices. Poor kenku, they dindu nuffin wrong

16 Feb, 2022 04:09

I agree that the kenku did nothin wrong, but if gods and fae acted reasonable then mythology would just be so boring. Thanks for the read.

Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
14 Feb, 2022 08:11

Great story! I love the bit with the little baby raven, such a shame he didn't control what he said to Titania :( And that naming convention is amazing!   Did the necromancers purposefully target all the chroniclers to try to kill them all? I got the impression that the Kenku knew some secrets about how to defeat them and wanted to get rid of them as quickly as possible before turning their attention to anyone else.

To see what I am up to: SC list of articles and goals.
16 Feb, 2022 04:14

The Chroniclers did get targeted because of the knowledge that the had (even though potentially some or most of them may not have known that). That is one of the reasons their capitol was attacked (the other being that, also unknown to most of the chroniclers, the Archive was built on top of the entrance of the necropolis of the fallen storm gain empire.)

14 Feb, 2022 08:59

What a sad story. Engaging and heart-wrenching! I hope he finds rest some day!

16 Feb, 2022 04:16

He may get some rest eventually, although as he is one of a rotating cast of "mysterious advisor" type characters in my campaigns it may not be for a while yet.

16 Feb, 2022 16:43

Brilliant tale of the kenkus' fall into the shadow, an expertly told story. The Bard's spade is a really interesting invention and I love how the story demonstrates the dual nature of the Fey in a very powerful payoff.

If you have some time, I would much appreciate your feedback on my entry for Adventure April: Carbon Copy Paradise
17 Feb, 2022 21:44

I'm glad you liked the story, And the Bard's Spade. I had a fun time coming up with the spade. It was my solution to having my traveling bard have an instrument and a weapon, but not falling into the trap of having the inventory capacity of a video game character.

17 Feb, 2022 22:50

What a wonderful article. I loved reading about the naming conventions of Kenku bards, and then the history of Waves-Against-the-Hull. You definitely shouldn't anger a Fae, though I feel as though his words were not wrong.   Great job!

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
17 Feb, 2022 23:16

Thanks for the read Serukis! yes, angering the Fae is generally not a good idea, there is a bit later on in his story (hinted at in this article, but cut off by the word limit) that redeems them a bit, but if Titania didnt have her temper then the world would be a much more boring place.

19 Feb, 2022 11:10

Great article. I especially liked the weapon designs on the sidebar. However I was confused about the destruction of his homeland. Were all the kenku erradicated or were there survivors?

19 Feb, 2022 14:57

The kenku as a race survived, however, with the exception of Waves-Against-the-Hull the entire order of Chroniclers was killed.