Valthial Trena Firilith

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Seriously his name is Val. Mind-mage and priest.

Physical Characteristics[edit]

A youngish man (older than Belinor but much younger than Hirianthial), and relatively short for an Eldritch male; Reese notes him as 'closer to her height', and also narrower than Hirianthial and lean/wiry, not with muscle, but from privation.[1] Becoming high priest didn't change his build much. He has a sharp, pointed face ("like a fox"), animated, and with "too direct" eyes. He cuts his hair at chin-length, though it was longer while he was living in the ruins of Rose Point, closer to shoulder-length.

He smells of winter roses and the vetiver oil used to polish the pews and woodwork in Eldritch churches.[1] His speaking voice is a tenor, but he sings as a contratenor, like a choirboy.[2]

Hirianthial describes his aura, when they first meet, as "so hot he expected the tautness of skin that came from too close proximity to a fire, and there was a lodestone weight in it that pulled toward justice that almost, almost disguised the blood-flecked shadow Hirianthial could find no name for. It echoed like memories buried so long they'd rotted clean, leaving only bone and whispers. A perfume glided through it: roses."[3] Jahir thought it more mysterious: "Like mist, air... It reminded him, slightly, of Lisinthir’s—it had that same sense of playfulness and vitality—but rather than being honed to a violent edge, it bled into mystery, one that whispered of distant church bells and smelled of incense." [4]

Biography[edit]

Parents lived in a town just within the northernmost borders of Asaniefa (which was initially part of Firilith, Corel's demesne). Rumored to have the blood of Corel, who laid down with four handmaids.

Went into the priesthood ("the bloodrobes," those who hunt the talented[5]) after a public seizure exposed his mind talents. ("When I was young I believed the stories. Whole-heartedly. I needed to believe them, because I did have those talents. You understand, my only choices were to believe myself a monster, or believe that I had been anointed by the Lord to serve His sacred mission."[6]) Became a hunter of the talented until he defected when Hirianthial's brother Baniel began insisting they kill families, children, people related to the talented but without noticeable talent themselves. ("I left because the Lord's priests hunt and kill people with the potential for a mind-mage's talents, and there was nothing I could do to end it. I was tired of killing people innocent of anything but a hypothetical future crime."[6]) He and Baniel were the top two candidates for the head of the order until Baniel (sure of his support) called him a renegade and a traitor to his race, which sealed his fate.[5] Val ran far from the priesthood to escape its hunters, fell to living in the ruin of Rose Point castle. Remembers keeping many vigils alone: "it wasn’t good for me. It’s not the point of the night. You should finish the Vigil feeling more connected, not more isolated." [2]

While he was not in favor of isolationism (witness his command of Universal, learned prior to the arrival of aliens to Escutcheon), until Reese's arrival he had never seen or used a data tablet. [7]

When Irine asked him what he expected of his life, he said that he would grow old in the priesthood. Perhaps in the high priest's mantle, which was "treated as an inevitability", so he never questioned it. Her follow-up ("did you want to be a high priest") inspired only banter, and a confession that he had kissed neither a woman nor a man. (At which point Irine offered to rectify this situation, and Val accepted. "How about that. I like fur.") [8]

He still believes he is the reincarnation of Corel. [6] This confession is what led to Belinor's being willing to trust him (after swearing an oath on Elsabet's sacrifice), and then the further development of their relationship, as Belinor keeps trying to hold him to standards of behavior appropriate for a reincarnated figure out of history, who also deserves redemption. ("Is this your death-wish, then, Corel Reborn?") ("I should never have said that bit about Corel.")[8] After Belinor's torture during the palace coup, the attachment firmed up on Val's side, for personal reasons.[9] Hirianthial did note a "clot of memories" that had "adhered from history and myth" to Val's soul, but when he could have removed him, Val requested that he leave them. ("Call it my hair shirt.") [10]

During the Civil War[edit]

Events of Laisrathera: finding Reese in the ruins of Rose Point, leading her and the party through the catacombs to take back the palace, "dying" when he fought against an artificially strengthened Baniel and leaving a "message" in Reese's head for the mind-mage brother he hadn't known about until she told him, being left for dead outside and rescued by Irine, re-infiltrating the palace and positioned there to help Hirianthial overthrow Baniel. He almost died in the doing (again) by giving all his power to Hirianthial during the final mage battle. He also bore witness (with Sascha standing at Hirianthial's other side) to Hirianthial's execution of Athanesin.

Later, after the war, Val says he is thinking that the priests should devote themselves to new ways. "The Lord's priesthood has always been devoted to the mysteries… at least, on paper. In reality, it was devoted to the talents, and their reaping. They lived at the Cathedral, where their victims were brought to them for questioning and then killing. I was thinking maybe the priesthood of the Lord should cleave to more humble roots. We can be itinerants. Wander in search of the talents, not to kill them, but to bring them to places to be trained."[11]

Quotes[edit]

  • "That's exactly the profit in it. To destroy something is power. To know you can destroy it… that is an aphrodisiac. That is what he derives from all this, Lady Tigress. The knowledge that he can cause the demise of an entire people. Surely you are aware that such people exist."[12]
  • "If you drink it, it is transubstantiated, and becomes the blood of the sacrificed.” He paused, then grinned. “But if you slam the whole glass back, that’s considered bad form."[13]
  • "The Queen says I’m the first High Priest she trusts out of her sight, so I’m free to set up wherever I like."[1]
  • "Hirianthial lost a brother, Lady. I never had one. Sometimes the God and Goddess provide what you need long after you’ve stopped looking."[1]
  • "Belinor will eat anything if you sprinkle sugar on it. And don’t you dare train him out of it. It’s the only thing I can hold against him when he starts telling me I need to reform my ways." [1]
  • "You’re not driving an aircar or riding a horse to them. There’s no physicality to travel toward. Using a Pad is a far better analogy, and not even that’s perfect. They are. You are. Be where they are." [2]

Trivia[edit]

  • knew Universal, spoke it without an accent (even at the time of his self-imposed exile, prior to Reese's arrival) [14]; he learned it completely, even to the slang and profanity. (/Very nice language. Like it better than our own./ [3])
  • prefers to fight with two knives
  • can whistle,[15] apparently likes Alliance pop[4]
  • curses: "damn" (a lot)

Names[edit]

  • called Belinor 'boy' when he first ran into him, [14] which graduated into 'acolyte' later[7]
  • calls Irine 'Lady Tigress'
  • calls Reese 'Lady' and 'arii' (after her first holiday on Escutcheon)

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 A Rose Point Holiday, Chapter 10
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 " Longest Night," short fiction
  3. 3.0 3.1 Laisrathera, Chapter 19
  4. 4.0 4.1 Major Pieces, Moving Out
  5. 5.0 5.1 Laisrathera, Chapter 4
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Laisrathera, Chapter 3
  7. 7.0 7.1 Laisrathera, Chapter 6
  8. 8.0 8.1 Laisrathera, Chapter 11
  9. Laisrathera, Chapter 18
  10. Laisrathera, Chapter 21
  11. Laisrathera, Chapter 26
  12. Laisrathera, Chapter 17
  13. A Rose Point Holiday, Chapter 5
  14. 14.0 14.1 Laisrathera, Chapter 1
  15. Healer's Wedding, Chapter 1