Uldrus: Ice and Darkness
The party first encountered the Griot sitting on a dock over the Great River, his fishing line hanging down in the slushy brown water. The River had partially frozen over, and there was a wrack of dead fish and other animals cluttering up the shoreline. When the heroes asked him why he was fishing when it was such an obviously hopeless endeavor, the Griot responded by saying that he had always liked fishing because it gave him time to think. It was even better now, because he was never interrupted by those obnoxious fish that had been in the habit of biting on his line and interrupting his thinking time.
The Griot would display such caustic wit on other occasions in the future. He was full of bitterness and biting complaints, but underneath all the crochetiness was a genuine concern for the people in his community.
In an age when the culture was largely dominated by the worship of Luxis, and in the following bleaker age when the culture was dominated by starvation and desperation, the Griot had attempted to keep the old songs and stories alive. It was a daunting task; no longer the soul of his people, the Griot had become a derelict. Gangs of boys would hurl insults, rocks, and garbage at the old man when he passed by. But even though his experiences had made him resentful, he had not given up hope on the people of Karibe, offered up his legends of ancient kings and ancient gods whenever the opportunity presented itself.
After meeting up with the heroes, the Griot availed himself of Giuseppe’s hospitality and a good deal of Giuseppe’s tea. He admonished the heroes with old legends and lore when it was appropriate (and, often, when it was not). The adventurers conceived a real affection for this avuncular figure, all bluster but no real bite, with his perpetual scowl and his hair and beard turned the white of the newly fallen snow.
When the heroes liberated some small food supplies from a dockside warehouse, they placed the Griot in charge of distributing them to the people of Karibe. He agreed, and set out to do so but never reported back. The next time the heroes saw him was in a square outside of the Council chambers, trussed up and gagged. The Council had decided that such unofficial dissemination of unregulated supplies was a crime punishable by death. One of the council’s servant ogres picked the Griot up and hurled him down upon a spear that had been fixed in the ground, and then pull him off of the spear and repeat the vicious impalement twice more before fixing his body on a tripod of spears as an example to any other traitors. The adventurers could only watch helpless as their friend was executed, his death all the more grievous because he had died trying to help his neighbors, and had died while carrying out their orders. His death incited the adventurers to confront the Council of Karibe, and to destroy them in one decisive battle.
Atu-Sinda attempted to raise the Griot afterwards, but he refused the summons of a servant of Luxis. Perhaps now the Griot is among the storied kings of old and the old gods, perhaps not. It is certain, though, that he was an example of bravery and of resolution in these times of desperation. His life, and his death, were worthy of songs and were worthy of stories.