Meet the Character: The Anchorite

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Originally published 10/19/2021. Original article can be found here.

While her origins are mysterious, the Anchorite has a reputation as an ally to the downtrodden of Fargrave. Learn more about this helpful hand you’ll encounter when exploring the Deadlands and realms beyond in this new Meet the Character.

By Nathyn Farandas, Chief of Security to the Saraathu Tong

Maintaining a safe and profitable presence in Fargrave requires constant vigilance. New arrivals alter the power dynamics of this meeting place of the planes. Sometimes these newcomers try to bend Fargrave to their will—for example, those lunatics from the Waking Flame cult. But sometimes a single individual arrives who fails to recognize how their actions affect the delicate balance of power here.

Take, for example, the mysterious mortal known only as the Anchorite.

She appeared in the Bazaar a short time ago, just another anonymous adventurer seemingly disoriented by her arrival in the city. Most such travelers blunder through another portal soon enough and are never seen again, but she stayed in Fargrave. And soon we began to hear tales of a masked mortal helping anyone in need. Madam Whim herself named her the Anchorite. If she has another name, I could not uncover it.

When it became clear that this mortal’s efforts could complicate Saraathu Tong affairs, I set out to find her and take her measure. If she could be bought, we would buy her. If she refused such an offer, then we might at least aim her in directions that would not impinge upon our interests.

I expected a long and difficult search and set out to ask the people she’d reportedly helped where I might find her. To my surprise, the Anchorite found me. I turned a corner in the court by the four fountains and she was leaning against a wall, waiting for me. Beneath her hood I saw the white-enameled mask that covered the top half of her face.

“I heard the Saraathu Tong wants to talk to me,” she said. “Why?”

“You are the Anchorite?” I asked. Apparently, the people I’d spoken to had warned her about me.

“That’s what they call me,” she answered. “Now, what do you want?”

“Nothing more than a conversation,” I said, spreading my hands. I had not heard that the Anchorite wielded any great skill with blade or staff. But she’d humiliated Errant bullies on several occasions with a mix of quick wits, stealth, agility, and some basic magical training—a streetwise scrapper, dangerous enough on her chosen ground.

The Anchorite merely waited for me to say more, so I did. “You’ve been making people nervous,” I told her. “Among other things, you embarrassed the Errants, you plucked foolish travelers out of the Invisible Web’s strands, and you troubled the Grasp. When you upset the balance of Fargrave, the balance pushes back.”

“I help people,” she replied. “Thugs in this place feel they can rob people just because they’re weak. Merchants stride past beggars who want only a crust of bread and a chance to earn a living. Daedra trap innocent mortal travelers in bargains that cost them their souls. I don’t like bullies, so I do something about it.”

“For what profit?” I asked.

“Profit? You sound like Madam Whim. I do it because someone should.” The Anchorite fixed her masked gaze on me—a rather uncanny feeling—and reached out to poke a finger into my chest. “You should. I’m only one person. The Saraathu Tong have gold and power in Fargrave. How much better would this place be if you used your position for good?”

“For free?” I asked. “That’s a poor approach to business.”

“A less cruel and less dangerous Fargrave might be a better place for the Saraathu Tong to conduct their business. You might even consider it an investment.”

I smiled at that. “You are being naïve, my lady. Sooner or later, you will annoy the wrong Daedra or push a mortal gang too far. They will hurt the people you hope to protect.”

“If they try,” the Anchorite said, “then I’ll stop them.”

She turned and walked off without another word. I started after her, but a door opened and a whole roomful of drunken House Hexos laborers spilled out into the street between us. Before I could thread my way through the crowd, the Anchorite was gone.

This concludes my report. The Anchorite poses no immediate threat to the interests of the Saraathu Tong. However, I expect her continued actions on behalf of Fargrave’s less fortunate will eventually shake the very foundations of the Celestial Palanquin. And, I admit, she has gotten me thinking about how we might turn at least some of our efforts toward the common good. I cannot decide which of us is being foolish.

The Anchorite is naïve, yes, but also fearless and determined. People like that shape worlds.

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