South Jersey Jade Regent

Caravan Tales II: Sandru Vhiski

The Vhiski family has been involved with the Sczarni for as many generations as anyone cares to look back upon. Not every Vhiski throws in with the gang, but enough do that when one comes along who has no interest in the Sczarni life, it’s difficult for him to prove his disinterest in crime to outsiders. Sandru’s early childhood schools were back alleys and waterfront taverns, and training in the art of the con, dirty fighting, sabotage, and picking locks replaced lessons in numbers, arts, and literature. From an early age, though, Sandru’s sense of fairness and compassion hampered his advancement in the ranks of the Sczarni, and the mockery and derision his hesitance earned him
only strengthened his convictions.

When a violent storm struck the Varisian coast in 4687 AR, Sandru’s parents were among those slain by the floods and winds that tore the Lost Coast apart. Sandru and his brothers Alder and Jubrayl emerged from that catastrophic event as orphans. Yet while tragic, this event was ironically just the thing to save Sandru from a life of crime. While Jubrayl was old enough at that point to strike out on his own (and thus fell in completely with the family’s criminal traditions), Sandru was still a young child of 7 and his younger brother Alder barely 2. His care fell to Koya Mvashti, a family friend and practically an aunt to the young Sandru.

Under Koya’s guidance and support, Sandru and Alder managed to avoid falling in with the Sczarni. This was, for the most part, due to the frequent travels Sandru, Alder, and a few other of Koya’s orphaned children took with Koya throughout the Varisian lowlands far enough away from Sandpoint, Jubrayl and the Sczarni.

After Sandru grew of age, he sought employment as a caravan guard. After he lost his job, he returned to Sandpoint and reconnected with Alder, who had become a Priest of Shelyn and a talented painter. Sandru and Alder joined up with a group of adventurers eager to explore western Varisia. As fate would have it, Ameiko Kaijitsu was also in the group.

Sandru, Alder and Ameiko hit it off at became close friends. Sandru acted as an older brother to both Alder and Ameiko, hoping he could protect and guide them as Koya had done for him. The trio’s brief adventuring career was quite successful, but ended in tragedy. In their final foray, they were captured by a group of backwoods cannibals. Sandru did his best to protect Alder and Ameiko, but was one of the first to fall. Alder and Ameiko protected him from death, but Ameiko was injured soon afterward. To ensure Sandru and Ameiko would survive, Alder paid the ultimate price.

For many years after Alder rescued Ameiko and lost his life to the cannibals, Sandru couldn’t stand to be around the young Tian—she reminded him of lost opportunities and lost family. So while Ameiko invested her adventuring spoils in Sandpoint, Sandru invested his in the road, starting up his own caravan business with a few other orphans who had been under Koya, including Zack. For the next several years, Sandru’s life was the road. The years on the road greatly helped Sandru recover from the bad times. He began visiting Sandpoint and Ameiko more often, and began taking Koya with him on his caravan expeditions.

Though his business was fairly successful, he was just another caravan with a bare reputation at best. He’s lost many a job simply by way of the reputation behind his family’s name. Even before the present journey, he had seriously considered moving beyond the borders of Varisia where the infamy of the Scarzani would not be known to the local populace. Still, he retains his Varisian heritage as a point of pride. Whenever Koya is not telling her own stories, Sandru is telling his. He often recounts Varisian history, dance, traditions, scarves, fortune-telling, horses and wagons, landmarks and legends. Also, though effectively retired, he regularly practices elegant, but heavy handed swashbucker sword-forms with the same scimitar from his adventuring days.

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