My Patreon patrons already read this weeks ago, but for everyone else… Previously, I wrote about unique, individual “pillar characters” who appear in multiple stories across the storyworld and fulfill important structural roles within the world itself. Below is one such character from the Empire of Venom & Silk storyworld.
Varan Tull, High Priest of the Spider Gods
Before the invasion, Varan was a high-ranking priest of Alumesh, the goddess of peace and mercy. When the spiders swarmed across Namzi-Shun, Varan and his acolytes turned their temple into a sanctuary for those fleeing the invaders. They prayed to Alumesh for protection. They received nothing but silence in return, and the temple was overrun. Varan and a handful of survivors fled deeper into the city.
In mad desperation, Varan rejected the goddess and embraced the invaders as his new gods. He swore that if the spiders spared his life, he would dedicate it to serving them as their priest. When the spiders indeed passed over the house where he and the others were hiding, Varan took it as a sign. He carved the “sign of the spider” onto his flesh and commanded his acolytes to do the same. Those who refused were cast out to be devoured by his new gods.
Today, Varan leads a thriving cult of spider-worshipers in the ruins of the once-great city of Namzi. His theology is jumbled and contradictory, with an emphasis on human sacrifice, but there’s no denying that those who bear the sign of the spider tend to survive longer than those who don’t.
Varan is a powerful, charismatic speaker. He exudes an intensity that can inspire, seduce, or intimidate as he sees fit. Armed with this forceful personality, he prefers to stay hidden in his temple and send his minions out to collect food and sacrifices. He is too important, he says, to risk the dangers outside. Without him to speak to the spider gods, the cult would be enslaved or devoured like everyone else.
Role: In terms of the Empire of Venom & Silk storyworld, Varan’s role is that of the “famous villain.” His reputation is known throughout the the Fallen Realm, and even beyond.
Quote: “I know you’ve suffered. You’ve lost much. We all have. But we have also be given a second chance to experience beauty, wonder, and power such as we’ve never known. The crawling ones have stripped away our empty, hollow lives to reveal our true selves. Embrace it! Embrace your true self, take the sign of the spider upon your flesh, and become the higher being you know you were born to be.”
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