The Betrayer

Three years older than Grei and technically a cousin (his family marks back to Grei’s Dragonblooded grandparents, though with a few more generations in-between – although Sesus Barra was the First Son – Dragonbloods make ancestry fun that way), Tarik and Grei were close friends growing up, calling themselves battle brothers once they reached the clan’s age of maturity.

After Sesus Barra fell in the battle of Thorns and Grei assumed leadership of clan Frostfire, Tarik shifted naturally into an advisory role, supporting the younger in gaining his footing after the loss of his father. Under what could have been considered their combined rule, the clan kept to the aggressive ‘a good offense is the best defense’ styles that it had known under Sesus Barra, which suited Tarik especially well.

Tarik was nearly equally fearsome on horseback and on foot, a swordsman and brawler who was only content at the head of charges, and who was known to openly mock the clan’s archers. He and Grei were together known to push offensives and splinter enemy lines against daunting odds, and as long as the two of them held the head of the clan, no one dared contest their right.

Grei’s marriage to Mironna, head of the clan’s female fighters, temporarily added a third to their battlegroup. Mironna’s pregnancy pulled her again from combat, and saw Grei becoming somewhat more reserved in terms of what fights the clan would involve itself in. For awhile, this was accepted – the clan would rest for a season.

The shift was marked by Grei’s sudden Exaltation during an effort to push back northern barbarians who had begun to encroach towards the east. This had the effect of inspiring Tarik, who insisted that now the clan should press out and begin claiming territory. Even the name “the Bull of the North” became a frequent point in his arguments. Grei remained unmoved – it seemed that Exaltation had inspired him with a sense of peace somehow, and he envisioned himself as something of a protector of the region.

As every approach he took against Grei’s arguments was met with stubborn resistance, Tarik finally pulled back from his long-time brother, finding solace in a newcomer to the group, the Dragonblood Milos, who commiserated with his views. What he interpreted as Grei’s indifference to his retreat served to embitter him against the Solar.

Milos’ suggestions that Grei had gone soft and was bad for the clan were therefore timely – his insinuations that Tarik would be a far better leader were dangerous and tempting.

The tipping point was the united clan’s final battle, where what should have been a simple affair turned into an ambush in which one of every five men was either killed or severely injured. Soon after this, Tarik and Milos’ ideas swept the survivors, mingled with a sudden resurgence of Immaculate doctrine, the word “Anathema” taking route in the clan.

Ultimately, it was Tarik who led the widely supported charge against his one-time battle-brother, making a bid to head the Frostfire himself. After the success of his attack, who knows…?


An End to this Rainbow. silverwinglie