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Collector of Shiny Things

Written by J. L. Gryphon

Ambient sounds courtesy of tosha73 and EminYILDIRIM

Greetings to those below. I am Death, though Azrael is the name I go by. So, too, does the topic of our discussion go by the name Ree, though I have my doubts that is his real name. Actually, I have my doubts about Ree as a whole.
When you look at Ree, you see a little three-foot green thing that resembles absolutely nothing else on Orosta. He has been compared to various types of lizards, most notably the gecko. But what he actually is remains a mystery.

Mimics, Misanthropy, & Shiny Things


by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

  Now, I personally have likened Ree to a three-foot-tall goblin in the past, but there are no such things as goblins in the world of Orosta, so you can imagine how the sight of Ree leaves everyone quite confused. He prefers it this way, though, if only because of the three most important things about Ree you need to know:  
  1. Ree has mimicry talents.
  2. Ree hates people.
  3. Ree loves shiny things.
  I have discussed mimicry talents already, but the short version is, mimics can, well, mimic anything and apply it to themselves. The sound of a voice, someone’s appearance and clothes, or even someone’s unique talent for playing the piano. It’s all an illusion, of course, and mimics are not a race, but rather individuals who possess the ability from any of the known races—that is, except for dragons. Mimics are extremely rare, even rarer than shadowstealers, but they are known enough that when someone sets eyes on odd, green little Ree, the only conclusion they could draw would be mimic. Because what else could explain him?   That said, I doubt anyone will ever learn what Ree truly is underneath that illusion because of my second point. The going theory Ree has is that the uglier he is, the more people will leave him alone. That’s why he chose his current green visage. Ree hates people, so much so that when he is forced to interact with someone, he pretends he’s speaking to himself. For example, if I were to reveal myself and ask him what his favorite color was, no doubt he would answer me something like this:  
“She’s asking me what color I like. I could tell her it’s green, but what does it matter? I hate people, but she keeps talking to me anyway.”
—My imaginings of what Ree might say
  Excuse my poor impression of him. But you can see his answer “green” buried somewhere inside that babble.   Left to his own devices, I do think Ree would prefer being alone, forever chasing his passion in life: shiny things. Ree is a thief, you understand, with dreams of building up a glittering hoard as large and bright as any dragon’s. Then again, there is one pesky detail that undermines everything I’ve just said about Ree.   Cali.  

And Yet . . . Cali


  Cali is Ree’s adopted human daughter. But how on Orosta does a people-hating little green man come to not only have a daughter, but an adopted one? The very word “adopted” implies choice on Ree’s part.   I will say at this point that I don’t know Ree all that well. I’ve only encountered him a handful of times in my collecting journeys. But I was there the day he met Cali. It was one of my more . . . visceral appointments.   To truly understand what happened that day, I suggest referring to my discussion of Cali herself. But for Ree’s part, he witnessed Cali’s parents being killed by assassins. The baby, concealed in the underbrush, was narrowly missed. The assassins left, thinking she would die in the jungle anyway. And she would have if not for Ree. Ree scooped her up, comforted her as best he could, and ran as far away from the massacre as he could get. I watched him flee, surprised, but grateful for the little creature who, for the first time in his life, had just done something brave. Something unselfish. Something good.   As for why he did it, I don’t know. I certainly don’t know what eventually led him to raise her as his own daughter. Because, indeed, despite the odd pair they make, Ree is Cali’s father in every way that counts. Blood has nothing to do with it.   That said, I can propose a few theories based on what I do know of Ree. I think, though this is just my opinion, that as much as Ree hates people, there is a part of him that still wishes to belong. Or, perhaps he saw himself in Cali. An outcast like him, she was not like other people, and so he could at least like her amidst still hating everyone else. Or, my last theory, maybe Ree doesn’t hate people as much as he says. Maybe, deep down, that hatred comes from a place of hurt, and secretly he loves people. He’s just too afraid to show it. But with Cali, he can, because Cali is the one person in the world he trusts.   Whatever the reason, there is a note of sadness within each possibility. I don’t need to know Ree well to know he’s had a difficult life. But thanks to Cali, I think he’s getting better. Slowly. This, of course, brings me to Ree’s thieving gang. Even more people Ree has come to associate with.  

The Gang

Litzana Riel
Kieran Quinn
Fredegar "Fred" Dalequest
  Ree’s gang is made up of some colorful individuals. I’ll be discussing each of them in more detail as time progresses, but for Ree’s sake, at least here, I’ll be brief. I’ll go in order of their appearance, shall I?   First came Litzana. She’s a Zurrinaih, a shade-elf, who found herself at the ruined castle Jersæg’s dilapidated gates about five years ago. Ree and Cali had been living there for a while by then, though I don’t think Litzana planned on running into Ree. Certainly Ree didn’t have any intentions of running into her. But Litzana has this sort of royal bearing that makes people pay attention when they otherwise wouldn’t—when she wants them to, that is. Ree stopped just long enough for her to explain herself. It began with her requesting a place for she and her traveling companion to stay for the night, but like Ree’s experience with Cali, he just never got around to getting rid of her. As if by default, she and her traveling companion eventually joined Ree in his thieving enterprises.   Litzana’s traveling companion was Kieran Quinn, a young jeenta still learning how to use his talents. He met Litzana when he was eight years old after she rescued him from the burning town of Clearbrooke. Yes, that’s the same town where Anāriel the Black Unicorn was discovered, hence the fire and Vānima the Veldriss’s attacking dragon. I imagine both Litzana and Kieran share little love for Anāriel because of that event, but it is what brought them together, too. Mixed emotions perhaps?   And, last but not least, Fredegar “Fred” Dalequest, a runaway slave and failed wizard, found himself in the east at Jersæg’s gates just about a year ago. He begged to be allowed to stay, citing how helpful he would be thanks to his wizarding studies, and the gang cautiously let him join. Since then, he’s slowly made himself at home.  

Mutterings About a Cloud


by Darkmoon_Art from Pixabay

  All this to say, Ree is an odd collection of contradictions, but he has managed to forge a life for himself that is almost sweet. Is he secretly a lovable misanthrope? I’d like to think so. Cali loves him at the very least. Perhaps it’s all for the best considering how badly things could have gone. For Cali, yes, but this time, I was referring to Ree.   You see, there is one other aspect to Ree I haven’t mentioned yet, and that’s his frequent mutterings about a green cloud thing—a green cloud thing that tricked him. Lied to him. No one knows what it is he is referring to, not even Cali, and he refuses to speak about it beyond this. Most of the gang members have decided it’s just another one of Ree’s many eccentricities, and yet . . . if you’re paying close enough attention, you’ll see a haunted echo in Ree’s eyes amidst his typical babble. It’s the look of someone who has seen something truly Other. Someone who knows how truly tiny and insignificant they are in the face of . . . that.   Litzana has wondered about his mutterings the most, but she has never come close to discovering the truth. She won’t unless, well . . . that is a much, much longer story.   As for me, I know exactly what Ree is talking about, actually. But before you ask, no. I am not going to tell you.

Signed your waiting narrator,   Azrael the Star of Death


Book Information

  To learn more, hop on over to the books page OR hop on over to the teaser and get a sneak peek of Chapter 1! For more articles like this one, have a peek at my Worldbuilding Journal and explore Orosta.  

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Image by pendleburyannette from Pixabay
Modified by J. L. Gryphon
Chaotic Neutral
Date of Birth
The Month of Chal, Day 7, 14987 NS
Year of Birth
14987 14 Years old
Current Residence
Skin Tone/Pigmentation
Dark green
Aligned Organization
Known Languages
  • Orostian (1st - fluent)

Family Tree

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