Joris Brak

Master of the Carpenter's Guild

Description:

Formerly known as Jorvis Braakenjor. Chair of the Carpenters’ Guild in the Vendel League. Vehemently against war, the one thing he will raise his soft-spoken voice about. A patron of the Rose & Cross.

When not meeting with the Vendel League, Joris prefers to spend his time alone. He dons his comfortable carpenter’s clothes and sits in his favourite yew tree, the winds tussling his prematurely greying hair and patchy beard. He whittles quietly, trying not to remember his past but knowing he can never forget it.

Bio:

Like the other Vendel Chairs, Master Joris Braakenjor has changed his name to better accommodate the tongues of other nationalities. Even if the rest had not taken this traditional step, it is likely Joris would have. The last thing he wants is for anyone to be in an uncomfortable or troublesome situation. Whenever possible, Joris avoids conflict. He saw enough of that as a child.

Joris inherited his position as head of the Carpenter’s Guild from his father, Rig. Rig was so involved with the Vendel League’s politics, however, that he had little time to raise his son and entrusted him into the care of his Uncle Ai, a respected traveller. Rig felt that it would do his son well to go out and see the world, but little did he know what young Joris would behold.

Ai was indeed a traveller, but not of the merchant variety. He lived as a cut throat and troublemaker, a man who enjoyed causing chaos and disorder in every port he entered. Of course, it wouldn’t do for him to soil his hands in such matters, so he employed ruffians to do his dirty work for him. Not only did he profit from their wanton acts of cruelty, but he developed a reputation as a heroic man who would destroy them at every opportunity. He led a perfect double life as both hero and villain. Only Joris knew the truth.

To ensure the boy’s silence, Ai would beat him regularly, taunting Joris with his powerlessness. The naturally shy child lived in constant fear, and found woodcarving his only source of comfort. No matter how bruised or battered Joris was, his skilful knife continually produced amazing works of art.

When Joris was fourteen, his life took a turn for the worse. Ai had been studying the conflict in Eisen, and felt that his unique sensibilities would be quite marketable there. Soon he and his nephew found themselves in the thick of some of the most bitter and unrelenting fighting in Théah’s history.

One of Ai’s favourite schemes was to hire a group of displaced warriors to ravage a small town. He would then come in with a few other “heroes” and (for the right fee), rid the area of the troublemakers. If the civilians could not afford his services, the brigands would return and Ai would personally help them wipe the village out. Even if properly compensated, Ai would still sometimes betray those who trusted him. Joris saw every appalling act.

His breaking point came after one such massacre. Sheets of rain were falling from an angry sky when Ai discovered his butchery had somehow missed a terrified young woman. She still wore her wedding dress, cradling her dead husband in her shaking arms. With a sadistic grin, Ai told Joris to watch and learn how a bride should be taken. When he turned to approach her, Joris leapt on his back and drew his carving knife across his uncle’s throat.

The rest of the night and many of the following years have blurred from memory. At some point Joris made his way into Ussura. He honed his woodcarving skills even further, desperate to block the horrible things he had seen from his mind’s eye. His crowning achievement was winning a tiny golden egg at the annual woodcarving contest in Siev, and it was this victory that gave him the courage to return home.

Rig barely recognized the pallid shell of his son, and Joris could not bring himself to tell his father Ai’s true fate. Instead, he claimed his uncle died a hero’s death, defending a family of Eisen farmers from a band of war criminals. No one doubted the story, and Joris quietly took his place at his father’s side, learning everything necessary to someday acquire his Chair.

Today Joris is seen as the voice of reason among the Council of Nine: a man of great silence and even greater patience, except when it comes to matters that could draw his country into a war. Then he becomes a passionate speaker, his vivid memories translated into powerful words of warning. He knows the savage cruelty and lasting heartbreak warfare spawns, and is determined to do anything he can to spare others such pain.

Joris Brak

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