Baku Dener

of the Dener-Pilcaf Caravan

Baku Dener
Art by Sherlock

First Appearance: Mages of Mâvarin, Chapter Four

Trivia: Two of Baku’s fingers were partially severed in a mining accident before he became a trader.

Quote: “I can almost understand why the superstitious might believe that the Câlaren are the home of the gods on Earth.  The tallest mountains in Mâvarin would be that much closer to the Afterworld, if there were an Afterworld.”

Baku Dener is the leader and co-owner of the Dener-Pilcaf Caravan, which travels three times a year between Cank, Thâlemar and Skû. His red hair and short stature (he’s five feet one inch tall) are typical of the monûnen (“mountain people”), a minority ethnic group that, like the selmûnen, arrived in Mâvarin many centuries before the sailing of the Mâfor.  Baku’s wife, Bora, is of Mugalan descent, and a full head taller than Baku. A former dancer and a talented singer, Bora claims to prefer trading to dancing.  Baku and Bora have a five-year-old daughter, Kaba.

Unlike his wife, Baku is an atheist, despite the fact that he counts clerics of several denominations among his friends and customers.  Baku’s skepticism and apparent cynicism are somewhat at odds with his kind and generous heart.

Baku’s Otherworld counterpart does not appear in Mages of Mâvarin.

From Baku Dener’s Travel Journal:

Thaledu, 9th Day of Ranosem, 897 MMY

Hired an amnesiac today for the first leg of the spring trip. Pay: 3 cr. / week. Duties: packing, lifting, firewood, dishes, guard, possible entertainment (singing, stories, etc.)

It’s not clear how he came to be in Cavern 14, but he thinks he’s from T’mar. He’s terrified of magic, which isn’t surprising. What else but magic would cause his abrupt dislocation and damaged memory? Tunli didn’t find any sign of a head injury.

Bora thinks our new employee and overnight house guest is one of the Heroes of the R. It’s hard to say for sure. The name he gave me--which he’s since forgotten—doesn’t match any of the names in the ballads.  Still, he referred to the Queen by her old name, as if he knew her.  Besides, if he were nobody important, why would anyone do this to him?

He’ll be coming with us as far as Hemlarbeth, where, we hope, selmûn healers will be able to help him. It’s a little embarrassing how grateful he is for our assistance. After all, he’s going to be paying his way in labor, and possibly in entertainment value.  It will be good to have someone different to talk to on the long trip, someone who hasn’t heard all our stories before.  He’s a nice enough fellow, what there is of him. It’s hard to say exactly what he’s like as a person, when he doesn’t know himself. We’ll have to see how things develop on the road, but I doubt very much that we’ll regret bringing him along.

Baku at the Holy City

It took another hour of climbing to reach Hemlarbeth proper.  There had probably been a time, Fabi reflected, when the feet of thousands of pilgrims had helped to keep the Câlar Road in good repair.  Now the flood of pilgrims had slowed to a trickle, and the road was not just muddy, but rocky, furrowed and overgrown.

“I remember coming here when I was sixteen,” Bora said.  “In Skû when I was growing up, everyone that age was still expected to climb at least partly up one of the Câlaren, spend the night in dreaming and in prayer, and come back down in the morning with a better idea what the Gods expected us to do with our lives.  There must have been dozens of young people arriving here every day back then, and almost as many leaving.  Nowadays most children are apprenticed out when they’re ten or twelve.  They never get a chance to make the trip here and think about their futures, where their talents lie and how best to use them.”

“It makes a lot more sense to learn a trade then to rely on a dream to tell you what to do,” Baku said.  “I made this trip when I was young, and all I learned was that I like to travel.”

“Wasn’t that a valuable thing to learn?” Bora asked.  “Look what you do for a living now.  It’s not just the religious part that’s important.  It’s the travel, and having time away from home to plan your own future, instead of being pressured into a particular trade by your family.”

“I came here with a carpenter’s son, a miner’s son and a jeweler’s son.  You know what they became?  A carpenter, a miner and a jeweler.”

“Maybe, but at least they got a chance to see what other possibilities were out there,” Bora said. “It’s sad, though.  Hemlarbeth probably doesn’t get more than a dozen young pilgrims a day coming through any more, plus a few older people.  I hear the pilgrims they do get are mostly the really religious kids who are thinking about entering the clergy.”

“The churches stay in business by exporting books and other religious items,” Baku said.  “That’s where I come in.”

“So you, a non-believer, do these churches more good than most of the pilgrims,” Fabi said.

“The irony is not lost on me,” Baku said.  “But as I said, it’s just business.  If anything, I do it for the people, not the churches themselves.”

-- from Mages of Mâvarin, Chapter Sixteen

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Introduction and Sample Scene from Mages of Mâvarin

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