War and Subterfuge
Harsh as the desert wind, unforgiving as the midday sun, unpredictable as the shifting sands...
Jinan Wastewalker makes his home in the inhospitable flats of the Endless Desert. In his years of wandering, Jinan has become an almost legendary figure: stories of the Walker of the Wastes pass on loose tongues from merchant to traveler, of a man scarred by the desert who bends the power of the very sand and wind unto his will. He is scorned and reviled, his name whispered fearfully in the dark. But this is not as it always was…
Jinan once lived in a village near the Rhonian edge of the Endless Desert. A settlement of mostly humans and half-orcs, the hardy village folk eked out a living, praised the glory of Pelor at sunrise, and were in every way simple and stoic. Change came when a young Jinan, not more than fourteen years old, walked out into the desert and never returned. Some said at the time he had ran off in the night; others swore Jinan had been taken by a malicious djinn to be forever enslaved. Neither was true.
Jinan had experienced a vision, a beckoning so strong it compelled him to leave his village without as much as a cowl for his head or a weapon with which to defend himself. He needed neither, for in his rapture he surrendered himself utterly to the desert, and was lost to it for a time beyond his measuring. When he regained his senses he found himself upon a great stone slab, which rose out of the dunes and jutted towards the sky. His experience had changed him, and he felt the power of the desert itself flowing through his veins, the wide expanse of the sky above and every grain of sand beneath his feet.
He walked for days back towards his home, but when he crested the last dune and saw what remained of his village, he wept. In his absence a storm had swept across the flats, engulfing the village in clouds of grit and choking dust. The great sirocco had all but buried the settlement, leaving the tops of clay roofs barely visible at Jinan’s feet. He howled in wordless anguish, for he knew instantly that his kinsman had been buried alive, claimed by the desert. The winds picked up as Jinan’s anger grew, and as the sand whipped across his face peals of thunder echoed across the wastes and crackling arcs of electricity crashed down from the sky. In a flash of primal, seething rage Jinan was gone, and the storm died down around where he had knelt.
Jinan did not know what his vision had meant, or why he had been chosen by the desert to be spared the fate of his kinsmen. Yet his heart hardened and he was filled with the fury of the wastes. He gave himself over to the unforgiving sands and became their servant, their vessel, their agent made flesh. Thus Jinan Wastewalker was born.
For countless years Jinan has lived in the Endless Desert, acting as its shepherd and its protector. His story has been told and retold, embellished and edited, and today not a soul who lives on the sand doesn’t know of the Wastewalker. He is met with suspicion and hostility when he passes through the villages and oases scattered across the great flats. His presence is often unwelcome, as more often than not Jinan is a harbinger of chaos, for the whims of the desert are beyond the comprehension of ordinary men. Many foolish or desperate souls who wish to use the power he wields have attempted to find him, yet most have met only their demise in the deep desert. Jinan has been known to grant his aid to some, however; for as the sands are unpredictable, so are the whims of the Wastewalker.