Captain & mechanic aboard Grandmother Omen
Full Name: Ænawustake (“Walks-in-the-rusted-place”)
Appearance: Thick grey and black pelt; sharp sky-blue eyes; lean build.
Gear: Does not wear clothing or armour. Many small knicknacks and junk worn as decorations. Metal and bone charms and feathers. Leather wraps around forearms if he needs to hide mage scars. Gold jewellery with silver gear and tribal etchings and tiger’s eye gem from Andouin. Mage staff made out of a yield sign, carved with runes and decorated with charms and talismans (linked to Tallissa’s glaive).
Personality: Grave and sombre. Rarely smiles or shows other lighthearted emotion. Fragile psyche only tenuously held together by his new pack and the ship they call home. Surrounded by magical beings, so he often appears to be talking to himself.
Personal Motto: This broken world cannot be fixed from home.
As the wild tribes go, Ænawustake’s people were perhaps wilder than most. They wandered seasonally through the harsh mountains of the Barrier, following wild game, subsisting on hunting, fishing, gathering, and growing a few crops near their village site, using only the hardiest and most basic technology. From a young age, it was apparent that Ænawustake did not have the instincts of a hunter or a warrior; he preferred to spend his time walking alone through the scattered ruins of pre-Cataclysm cities, collecting bits and pieces of this forgotten age. The tribe’s shaman Kenataliaowy saw a strong affinity to the spirit world in him and so she took him on as her apprentice. She taught him their tribe’s rituals and stories, as well as how to advise and lead the people of their tribe once he took her place one day. However, that day would never come.
According to tribal tradition, shamans did not take mates – they were “wedded to the spirit world”. But as Ænawustake grew into adulthood, he became enamoured with the daughter of one of the tribe’s chiefs. Her name was Ukwtaka, and though they had played together as children, as adults they had only spoken casual words before or after council meetings. Still, Ænawustake was sure that he was in love with her. Kenataliaowy urged him to forget about her, that longing after someone he could never be with would only bring pain and anger. Ænawustake was torn; his training was nearly over – he need only undertake a vision quest to complete his bond with the spirits and become a full-fledged shaman – but he dreaded what that would mean to his love for Ukwtaka. On the day that he left on his vision quest with the blessings of the tribe, Ukwtaka favoured him with a gentle smile and licked his muzzle. At that moment, Ænawustake decided that when he returned, he would refuse to be named a shaman so that he and Ukwtaka could be together.
Ænawustake journeyed for an entire moon, as was tradition. He visited the ruined cities that he had explored before, and added more tiny relics to his collection (much of which he wore in his pelt as decorations). He took up a metal staff with ancient coloured symbols painted on metal plates in order to defend himself from the monsters that lurked among the trees and rubble. He fasted for days at a time, performed the rituals he had been taught, all while a part of him hoped that the spirits would ignore him and he would return empty-handed. Such was not the case though, as soon he was being followed by a fox-like being of yellow-orange light, playing with a tiny gear. Ænawustake was surprised to find that this spirit – whom the two of them agreed would be called Widget – was more confused than he was, overwhelmed by the sensations of the material world that it did not understand. Ænawustake and Widget walked for a time, exploring more of the old cities, until the moon waxed large again and Ænawustake could not put off his return any longer.
His trepidation turned to horror as Ænawustake returned home to find his village gone, burned down to the rock of the mountain, the lifeless bodies of his tribesmates scattered all around the smoking clearing. Everyone he had known in the world, his chiefs, his family, friends, Kenataliaowy, Ukwtaka…were all dead. The great stone megalith that had been the centre of the village since it began was gone, with only a hole in the ground to mark its place. It was an unusually clear day, so when Ænawustake looked up into the sky he could see a lone, titanic airship, its hull painted with sky and clouds, sailing away into the distance.
Ænawustake frantically ran through his tribe’s territory, looking for survivors. He found only more dead – hunting parties who had been massacred to the last. There was nothing left of the life and the people he knew. Overcome with sorrow and rage, Ænawustake ran high into the mountains, howling desperately at the sky above. He neither ate nor drank for days, only ran as far as he could until he fell from exhaustion, then got up and kept running. All the while he heard Ukwtaka’s voice in his head, repeating the last words she had spoken to him. When he finally collapsed, at the end of his endurance, he saw a figure appear before him. Bathed in shadow, she looked like Ukwtaka, only it could not have been her – her features were sharpened, harsher; her teeth longer; curved horns grew from behind her ears and spikes ran down her back and from her hocks; and her exposed skin glowed with cold blue light. She snaked her arms around his torso and dug her claws into his chest as she hissed in his ear: “You wanted me so, and now you will never have me. You know what you must do. Find them. Kill them. Kill them all for what they have done!”
Ænawustake woke the next day next to a freshly-killed animal carcass, its hide rent by giant claw slashes. He tore into it ravenously and ate, then drank from a nearby stream. Demon Ukwtaka still whispered in his mind, and he could see her lurking in the shadows of trees he passed or over his shoulder at the edge of his sight; he could occasionally feel her claws pricking his skin. Her voice was no louder that Widget’s – bearable, if he concentrated. But she was right. He needed to find that Clouded Airship – the one that had taken his tribe from him – and make sure that a massacre like this never happened again. He was the last of his tribe and, whether he liked it or not, he was a full shaman now, and he owed it to the spirits of his people to avenge their deaths and save other innocents from a similar fate.
That afternoon, as he wandered through the valleys and passes of the Barrier, Ænawustake came across a grounded airship. He thanked the spirits for guiding him there, where he could find a way to chase after the airship that had murdered his people. Although he knew little about formal mechanics, he was already familiar with using his powers to help him fix things, so he boarded the craft and began making repairs. Soon thereafter, another ship landed in the valley, bringing Ænawustake’s solitude to an end…
Ænawustake is the mechanic and co-captain (with Ischade and Vivian) aboard the airship Grandmother Omen. His mate is Tallissa, who was also the sole survivor from her village after Thane massacred it. Ænawustake’s one overriding goal is to find the Clouded Airship Thane, destroy it utterly, and kill everyone who was involved in slaughtering his tribe, in order to avenge their spirits and ensure that more killings do not happen. He is still tormented by the massacre of his people, which is not made any easier by the constant presence of a demon in the shape of Ukwtaka, who was drawn to him by the extreme emotions he battled with in the days after the massacre. He has regained a fragile emotional stability centred on his new home aboard Grandmother Omen and her crew, whom he sees as his new pack. He is very protective of them and will lash out at any perceived threat to them, even if one of the crew is the cause of it. He is distrustful of large, faceless institutions such as the Ironstar (partially because of his upbringing in a small village where he knew everybody, and partially because the massacre of his people led him to distrust strangers in general and particularly when they do not seem to care about the lives of others). He may come to trust individual members of these groups (such as Staz, Glass, and Vera), but will be suspicious of the group as a whole.
As a shaman, he feels an obligation to give wise advice and counsel to his companions, but he lacks the wisdom, experience, and maturity to be of much help in this regard. He is much more effective repairing the ship (using a combination of mechanical skill and ritualistic magic), and building new machines out of junk. He has taken on an apprentice of his own – Tika – whom he is training in his unique mechanical repair methods.
Vivian often calls Ænawustake by the nickname “Trinket” due to his wearing the contents of a junk drawer in his pelt.
He is bonded with Rime, an angel of air.
He sees Ariyanna as an enemy, since her attacks endanger Grandmother Omen and her crew, and on top of it all she is part of the Dawn Guard. He knows the crew must occasionally work with her, but he does not buy in to Ariyanna’s ideas of “friendly rivalry” and will view everything she does as a potential threat.