Zhenquan

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Zhenquan
Zhenquan
Zh-en-cw-ahn
Created by Eve
Information
Gender Male
Occupation Ji'val
Affiliation The Grey Tower
Nationality Shara
Attributes
Weapon Skills
  • Dagger ✦✦✦

Zhenquan is a Sharan Ji'val of the Grey Tower.

Description

Zhenquan, who is called Zhen by his family, is an 18-year-old Sharan, and the son of a trader. Possessing the standard dark skin and curling hair of his people, he is rather typical in appearance. His blue eyes seem to stand out against his darker skin tone, and they flash along with his emotions. His beard is small, shaved along the jawline so that it only grows from his chin, but long. He likes to braid it and deck it out in small rings or other trinkets. His right ear has five piercings, three lining the outer ridge and two down in the lobe. He has no piercings in his left ear. Standing at five feet nine inches, he is slightly short for his people, but not enough that he really notices much. He favors the colors purple and gold whenever he can and, in fact, loves color in general. His black hair is often perfectly brushed and cared for, and he despises it when it’s mused in an ugly fashion (by which he means that, if it must be mused, at least let it be mused in an attractive way).

Being the son of a trader, and a good one at that, Zhen is used to things a bit on the fine side. He is not rich by any means, but he did not grow up wanting for clothing or food, and tended to have things a bit better quality than others. This was fine by him, as he enjoys fashion, and loves nothing more than a good set of clothing. He absolutely hates the head to toe swathing that he has to use when he travels with his father outside of Shara. When he is comfortable, Zhen is a pleasant young man, quick to laugh and often with a smile on his lips. He’s not overly joyous, but often seems to be in a good mood. When uncomfortable however, he gets quiet and closely watches those around him for signs of how to react. His curiosity is almost always his downfall, and is in fact the reason why he is outside of Shara, without his people. He has grown up learning about all the horrid people of the Outer Lands, and while he knows that surely some of this must be untrue, he is not sure how much of it might actually be based on truth. His skepticism often clashes with his raising, and he finds it hard to relax around outsiders, even though he was the one that chose to be among them. He is quiet, even secretive, about his home and their cultures, and this is something that will likely continue to stay with him. The last thing he wants is to lead someone to believe they can go to Shara, both for the safety of the Sharans and for the person curious about them. Despite his secrets about his home, it is clear he has trouble not staring at Channelers as if surprised to see so many out and about, wherever they please. They both awe and frighten him, especially the male Chanenelers.

Biography

His father wrapped the black cloak tightly around his face, covering the scowl that Zhenquan always had on his face when he had to wear this. He hated this clothing. The black cloak, the black cowl, the black mask and the rest of it. Black. Black. Black. It offered no personality. It showed no flair or pride. It was flat and bland, and he despised it. Still, it was law that he wore it when outside the port gates to help his father in the trading business. This week, they had been outside to meet the Atha'an Miere every day, and his cloak was heavy with the salt spray of the sea they lived near. They had done well, though each sell was long and difficult as his father and the Sea Folk bargained. He always loved to watch the Sea Folk. Unburdened by the need of the dark cloak, they walked free with their head held high and the bright colors they loved flashing in the sunlight. Even their piercings and chains were beautiful, and Zhen (as he was known by his family) was often called out for staring. His father tried to quell the interest he saw in his son’s eyes, reminding him that they were Outsiders, and such interest was like being fascinated by the dogs that ran in the street. Still, every time he looked upon the bedecked Sea Folk, his heart seemed to leap in his chest, and he could not help but wonder what it was like outside their tall walls.

That day was no better than the rest. It was hot, and the sea salt in his mask made breathing hard. His father was in an ill temper, and short with his sun, who spent far too much time daydreaming. He was started out of his reverie when his father barked, and he quickly ran forward to help. He stopped short at what he saw, however. The woman was tall, her body dark as his and tanned. The blouse she wore was purple (his favorite color) and the chains shown gold (his other favorite color) in the sunlight, one chain linked between one of the four piercings she had in each ear. The man standing next to her had to be the strongest he had ever seen. He was taller even than the woman, and his muscular body could be seen even beneath the simple white shirt that he wore. His tattoos were darker than his skin, and his jewelry was mesmerizing. He stared for many minutes as the man and his father haggled over their cargo, the words fast and hard, each trying to out maneuver the other. It took hours, hours in which each bolt of silk was unwound and examined by the man, hours in which his father turned over the ivory horns so that they could be inspected. Hours in which prices were tossed back and forth in serious or jovial tones. Finally, however, it was done. The man and woman’s people came forward to start loading the product onto carts, and Zhen was ordered to stay with them, to make sure that not one single bolt or horn went onto the ship that hadn’t been paid for. This was a command that Zhen did not mind.

Eagerly, he helped to load the carts, and even more eagerly he accompanied the people onto their ship to make sure that nothing had been stolen. He looked around as much as he could as the tall man and woman watched all the proceedings. What happened next, he could never have explained even if he had tried. As they all turned to leave the cargo hold, Zhen’s mouth opened before he could stop it. He took two steps towards the tall man and woman and stared up at them with large eyes. “Take me with you!” he said, inwardly gasping at himself. “Please…please take me with you. I want to see the world! I don’t care where you take me, as long as there are cities and people there! I want to see, I want to learn! I… I don’t have much, but I’ll give you whatever I have on me to give! And…and I know my way around a ship, I’ll work! I’ll work hard, I swear!”

The man exchanged looks with the woman, their eyes unreadable. They moved away and spoke in tones far to quiet for Zhenquan to hear or understand. It seemed their conversation was calm, however. The man gestured to the outside of the boat, presumably the city, and the woman nodded. Then the woman came back to him with the man only a step behind her. “I am Nayomy din Star Breeze.” She said in a serious tone of voice. “Sailmistress to the Winddancer. This is my Cargomaster Torgal. What do you offer as a Gift of Passage?”

Zhenquan blinked, and though he knew little to nothing of their culture, he heard the ring of tradition in the way the woman, Nayomy, spoke. He swallowed and thought quickly. “I have little.” He admitted, but he placed his hand on his ear. “But these are gold.” He quickly undid the two gold studs and the three gold hoops that were in his ear, offering them out to the woman. “I…give them as a Gift of Passage…if you find them appropriate…” The woman looked down at them, studying them for a long time. Then she placed her hand over his own and gathered the earrings into her palm. “To those that have little, giving all that they have is more valuable than the finest of silks to the rich.” She nodded her head. “I accept your Gift.” She placed her fingers to her lips, and then pressed them to his own. She held it there, and he blinked for several moments until he got it. He mimicked the gesture, placing his fingers on hers. She nodded and dropped her hand. As if their business was done, she turned and strode away. He heard her begin to bark orders, telling the crew that they were to set sail as soon as they could pull anchor. The Cargomaster, Torgal, turned to him. “We will keep you away from all portholes.” He said. “Until we are out sight of the shore line. Come, I will show you to where you can sleep. Tomorrow we shall assign you your first duties.”


The next several months were filled with hard work…but work that Zhen slowly came to enjoy. He had been no stranger on a boat before this, but one this size, and containing this many people, was a completely new experience for him. His dark skin and hair kept him from standing out too much he found, but when they landed at harbors for trading he felt odd about the lighter skinned men and women that he saw everywhere. Of course, he had seen Aiel a few times in his life…but mostly from a distance, and they, like his own people, were often covered head to toe. Despite the fact that he fit in, it was clear to the Atha’an Meiere that he was not one of them from his lack of tattoes or jewelry. He had eventually purchased new earrings to replace those he had sold, but he had never even considered adopting the chains of the rest of the ship. He was not one of them, and he had no intention of staying here. He would not trade one trapped life for another. He wanted to see, he wanted to explore. He wanted to know, more than anything else.

The trip, all told, took nearly half a year as they slowly made their way along the line of the continent. He was sure it could have been made much faster, but he did not complain about the slower trip, as it gave him time to learn, and he understood that they needed these ports and trading spots to make their own living. When he was finally told one night, after all the work had been done, that he would soon be reaching as far as they were willing to take him, he nodded his head and looked towards the land that could be seen in the distance. He was eager and nervous, and he slept little that night.

The next day they gave him some provisions as they docked. He had money, as he had earned it with the rest of the crew these last months, and they wished him farewell. From there, he began to walk. He found out quickly that the name of the place he was in was Arad Doman. He was quiet as he listened to the people’s speech, watching always. He learned to keep his hood up and a weapon nearby, favoring a couple of long daggers hidden beneath his cloak. But for the most part he did not have too hard a time. He stayed close to main roads, renting passage when he could, working for money when he needed it. He was a quiet, solid worker and the miles and days fell along behind him as he kept, always, on the move. When a year had passed since he had left home he found himself surprised, but pleasant.

Not all days were good ones, however. He had found that, like anywhere, people often found no reason to be cruel to each other, but they would be anyway. He had adopted a pair of stray dogs that he had found, hungry and cold, on the outskirts of a town one winter. They were good dogs, a little unruly, but wonderful hunters he had found. They did, however, like to get into trouble and he often found himself chasing them out of garbage. It was just such a day when he heard shouting and saw his dogs running from a set of men. The men were yelling and throwing rocks at the dogs, who ran to hide behind him and watch, lowly growling. Zhen attempted to speak sense into these men, only to find out the dogs had stolen meat, which he was now required to pay back, and the price was far too much for him to afford. He offered to work it off, but to no avail, and soon the three of them were yelling at each other, with the dogs standing nearby slowly growing more aggravated. This could have ended bad for all parties when, just as one of the men stepped forward to strike, all three were pushed hard back from each other…. By nothing at all. Zhen was stunned, and it seemed even the men were shaken as a young man about Zhen’s age approached. He gave his name, Dreyric, and offered to make up the difference between what Zhen had and the price of the meat. The men stared at the young man for a long moment, grumbled some almost frightened excuse, and swiftly ran back the way they had come. Zhen turned to look at the young man that stood before him.

“How….did you do that?” He asked quietly. His body shook with excitement. He had heard that these strange lands let their Channelers walk free, but this was the first time he had ever seen proof of it. Honestly, he had mostly thought it a silly rumor. Oh, how wrong he had been. The next three days he spent speaking with the young man. He found out much about him, including that he was going to a place called ‘The Grey Tower’, where men and women like him were trained to use their abilities. It stunned Zhen’s mind, and most of the time he was silent. When they parted, he still had so many questions.

He left the town quickly after that, but the story that Dreyric had told him was never far from his mind. He had heard of ‘Aes Sedai’ and ‘Asha’man’, and had even heard that they were protected by warriors of renown and legendary abilities. How strange a place…how unlike anything he had ever seen, or heard of, or known before. In the next town he purchased a map, something that took almost all of his money and he was forced to stay in the town for awhile to rebuild his funds. While he did so, he traced the path it would take him to get to this strange place. It would be long, but what else did he have to do? And, honestly, what amazing things could he see with his own eyes in such a place.

The Grey Tower. It sounded terrifying. It sounded amazing. It sounded…like his next stop.

Career History

  • Drin (3 November 2019)
  • Ji'val (17 September 2020)