The Adventurer's Guild
A Historian who seeks to unite his people
Bens is a pleasant fellow of moderate height and build. His beard has never been full, and he prefers to go clean shaven. He has a contagious wit and a ready chuckle. Vast quantities of genealogical information reside in his memory, and he can recite epic sagas on demand with all the performing skill of a veteran Skald. Bens has a fondness for the Gouda cheese common to Kirk, and always packs some along with him when he travels.
Bens Postma was born and raised Vestenmannavnjar in a village on Viddenheim. His father, a sailor, spent long months away from home, so his mother saw to it that the boy grew up in the appropriate traditions. Bens loved the stories and songs of the Living Runes, of the heroes of antiquity. He had a knack for memorization, and by the age of 12 could recite many stories on his own.
Soon thereafter, Bens’s father sent for the family, and moved them to Kirk. He spoke to the family of the Vendel League, and glowingly described the prosperity the family would enjoy as Vendel. Bens had no reason to doubt his father, but his mother grew increasingly sombre and withdrawn the longer they lived in the gleaming capital. Bens’s father continued to spend time away at sea, so Bens cared for his ailing mother alone. She eventually lost all contact with reality, and raved incessantly about forgotten names and damnation. When she finally starved herself to death, Bens left home.
He entered a Matthiast monastery in Kirk, seeking the solace of religion. While there, he studied both Vestenmannavnjar and Vendel theologies extensively, and reached an intriguing conclusion. The Vesten didn’t have to be right about the Vendel in order to fear their actions. If the Vesten truly believed that the Vendel were inadvertently killing people through the deletion of traditional culture, then the Vesten would continue to resist, regardless of what the Vendel said. Something needed to bring the two sides to an understanding. Once that happened, Bens reasoned, Vesten resistance would wane, since the Vesten would be more comfortable with the Vendel’s actions.
After four years, Bens left the Matthiasts and began travelling the Vesten archipelago, moving through town after town, collecting massive lists of names. He understood both sides of the Vendel question — the panicked horror with which the Vesten view the Vendel, and the Vendel’s unquenchable desire for advancement and progress. His wants to bridge the gap between them by cataloguing the entire nation. Some villages welcome him, lauding his preserving efforts. Others scorn him as some sort of cultural spy.
Bens still travels extensively, either heading for a town to catalogue or returning to Kirk where he deposits his field notes with the monks of his former order. The monks recopy and index the names he brings them, compiling the most exhaustive Vestenmannavnjar genealogy ever. They hope that by doing so they can help allay Vesten fears and facilitate conversions. Bens just wants to spare any other children from watching their parents torture themselves to death.
Bens also collects local legends and folklore. He submits these to the Explorer’s Society, and intends to catalogue them someday. His self-imposed mission has the Society’s sympathies (he has been a dues-paying Explorer for nearly three years), and they provide him with enough funds to keep him in food, clothes, and ink.
In his gathering of folklore, Bens made a fantastic discovery only a few weeks ago. He came into possession of a copy of The Grumfather Cycle, written centuries ago by Leila MacDonald. MacDonald fully delineated the Living Myth of Vestenmannavnjar, translating it word for word into Théan. If Vesten lived as long as their names were remembered, then the existence of MacDonald’s book could potentially be the greatest boon the Vesten people ever received.