|Blorako "Lorewell" Hema|
|Of the Blorako Clan|
|Zeminar, The Snow Empire (formerly)|
|Yakov, Caius, Ignea, Rinwald|
Lorewell (Royal: Lorwel) is a playable character in Struggle for Gera. He is the high priest of Battlism, and became the Grand Theocrat of Zeminar in the Struggle for Gera. As an elf, he is one of the few non-humans to gain political prominence in Gera.
In Gera, Lorewell's origins are shrouded in mystery. His real name and age are unknown. Those who have investigated the elf find the first mentions of him in Sakur, Zeminar arrest records dated to Geran Year 1550. Lorewell, born as Hema, was born in 1512 to the Blorako clan of elves. His father was Lharimi of the Lotar clan, a famous elf and well-known womanizer, able to convince women to bear his children even though they would be illegitimate if the union was not approved of by the clan mother. Hema was one such child, and as such he was shunned by most of his clan. Therefore, from a young age, he became well-acquainted with the Geran merchants who ventured into the Drylands to trade cooking pots, clothing, and alcohol for elven tapestries. Unlike the other elves, Hema was keen to learn Royal in order to better barter with the merchants and learn about the world outside his clan, and by his teenage years he spoke the most proficient Royal in his clan. But Hema would rapidly become intrigued by a new breed of traveler who arrived in the Drylands: Battlist missionaries. Most elves in the Blorako clan were already cold with the merchants, but this new type of foreigner who claimed to preach the truth were shunned by almost every elf. They did, however, find a few pupils, and Hema was among them. Unlike the others who chose to converse with the missionaries, it was not the possibility of spiritual truth that intrigued Hema, but the medium used to convey it. The missionaries' Scrolls were the first writing he had even seen. Hema at first believed that the Scrolls were elaborate art pieces, and that his teachers were reciting passages from memory, but he was quickly able to prove that there was indeed a way to transcribe speech onto paper. As the few elves remaining in the classes slowly lost interest in the missionaries' teachings and returned to their daily lives, Hema voraciously began learning to read. But soon after he had mastered the basics of reading, the missionaries left, having given up on converting the Blorako elves to Battlism. But Hema had been given a copy of the Scrolls, so he continued to learn to read, asking any literate merchants about particularly difficult passages. Hema soon realized that there was a potential gold mine hidden within the Scrolls. In its final passages, the Scrolls relate a prophecy. In a time of great turmoil and moral deficiency for Gera, a mage who is able to yield both Epzinic and natural magic, similar to the venerated Cal, will arrive and stabilize Gera. Very few non-elves knew that most elves could wield Epzinic magic exactly like humans. This is mainly because the elves themselves shunned it, calling it "dirty magic." They saw the natural magic they were capable of using as the only true pinnacle of sorcery, and in most elf clans the use of Epzinic magic was only tolerated among very young children. Dirty or not, Hema thought, the simple fact that he was born an elf could enable him to get the adulation he would never received among his own people.
Leaving the Drylands
Nevertheless, there was glaring flaw in Hema's plan. According to elven lore, an elf's lifeforce is tied to their homeland in the Drylands. When an elf leaves the Drylands, they purportedly lose the ability to perform their elven natural magic, the most important of which is the purification ritual that keeps them young and enables their supernatural lifespan. Hema, by now close with several merchants, attempted to verify the tales. And indeed, several merchants recalled their own stories of elves kidnapped to study their extended lifespans. And inevitably, all kidnapped elves would begin to age normally. Hearing this, Hema set his nose to the grindstone. Since he had learned to read, Hema had read several small pamphlets bought from merchants, including a small one on the emerging discipline called structured science. The pamphlet's talk of "controlled experiments" and "repeated trials" inspired Hema to become the first elf to attempt to unlock the secrets of his own biological immortality. He tried several experiments, and after years of fruitless struggle he came to a striking conclusion. The source of the elves' ability to perform the purification ritual was not the Drylands itself, but the natural magic held in the fermented Drylands cactus that made up the bulk of every elf's diet, due to lack of other food options in the desert. All elves that left the Drylands could no longer eat the cactus, and thus their natural magic failed. Hema immediately began to form a plan, but he knew that he must keep his discovery under wraps. Although the elves themselves had forgotten, or perhaps never knew, the cause of their preternatural lifespans, Hema theorized that if humans were to eat the cactus, they would gain the ability to perform the purification ritual as well, which would compromise his plan if it were to become known. Even though he could only pack enough cactus to last him for a few months, Hema decided to leave the Drylands in 1547 to see if he could play the role of a prophetic messiah. He supposed that if he could gain a sufficiently large following, acquiring the cactus necessary to keep his aging at bay would be an easy task. And if not, he could return to the Drylands and attempt to find a way to grow the cactus outside of its native sand.
Hema rode in a merchant's caravan, and eventually was able to make it to the duchy of Apkham in Zeminar. Though few in the region spoke Royal, much to his chagrin, Hema quickly began to learn the basics of the Olni language spoken there. One phrase that was frequently uttered by open-air preachers was Migel lorwel nagilinza, meaning "Mighel has the power." Hema, deciding that he needed a name divorced from his elven one, adopted the name "Lorewell" as a result. Lorewell quickly began to gather a small following, especially among those who remembered the stories of an independent Apkham, unconquered by the Snow Empire. Soon, however, the Battlist clergy of Apkham, as well as the King's army, began to see Lorewell's growing following as a threat. Therefore, in 1550 Lorewell was arrested for heresy, and sentenced to ten years in prison.
Lorewell was sent to a dungeon prison for powerful mages in Lesser Zeminar, where he became acquainted with several prominent criminals. Among them was Hengri Jiyani, a powerful mage and leader of a fledgling rebel cell known as the New Calpirites. Hengri had formed the gang in order to subvert the rule of the Snow Empire and usher in a new religious order more reminiscent of that in Cal's united Zeminar. Lorewell became intrigued with her ideas of returning to a simpler and more spiritual time, so he and Hengri began to plot an escape. Nevertheless, another factor continued to haunt Lorewell: without access to his cactus, his inability to perform the natural magic he claimed to have and his continued aging would quickly become noticeable to the small following he was building in prison, including Hengri. Although Lorewell, like all the other prisoners, could not use his Epizinic magic due to the mage's bane built into the very walls of the prison, he continued to claim that he had access to natural magic that could overpower the mostly Epzinless guards. Lorewell formulated a break-out plan that apparently hinged on him using his natural magic to disable the guards after they had been distracted by a riot among the other prisoners. When the time for the riot came, the prisoners rioted as planned. But instead of his promised attack, Lorewell managed to escape amidst the chaos, leaving Hengri and her other followers behind.
Now a fugitive, Lorewell once again resumed growing his following. This time, instead of preaching publicly, he began to insert himself into several of the underground cults abound in Little Zeminar. Lorewell also reestablished contact with the New Calpirites remaining outside of the prison, and framed his escape as a willing sacrifice on the part of Hengri and the others, not a betrayal. The New Calpirites welcomed him with open arms, and he began to use his growing connections with cults to recruit willing gang members and bolster the inflow of illegal goods into Zeminar. It was at this point Lorewell also began to reach out to the minotaurs, mostly located in the duchies of Urboyansha and Ughwrem. Even more disaffected than those in the rest of Zeminar, the minotaurs had lived in squalor under human rule for five hundred years. Lorewell, however, began to seek the minotaurs' involvement is his smuggling. Though few responded to Lorewell's offers at first, the cut of money they received quickly made many minotaurs who were not normally hired by humans much wealthier than they had been before. As the years went on, more and more minotaurs become embroiled in Lorewell's crime ring, until he eventually became the largest singular employer of minotaurs in Urboyansha.
Battles for Dominance
By 1568, Lorewell had become the leader of a cult, known as Mighel's True Children, that ran several parts of eastern Lesser Zeminar. By creating a vast underground smuggling network, Lorewell also managed to obtain a steady supply of Drylands cactus. Rare or obscure items for use in rituals were often sold on the black market, so Lorewell's request for Drylands cactus was not seen as particularly unusual, even if it had never been requested by other mages or cults before. Though Lorewell now had the appearance of a slightly elderly man rather than the prime age most elves had because he had gone nearly fifteen years without steady access to his cactus, he could now perform his natural magic and halt his aging once again. This caused his following to grow even further, and even otherwise regular citizens of Little Zeminar began to worship Lorewell as the messiah described in the Scrolls.
By this time, the King's army and Zeminar authorities had once again caught onto Lorewell's presence. But Lorewell as was gaining control of a larger and larger area, skirmishes continued to break out between the King's Army and Lorewell's combined force of Mighel's True Children, the New Calpirites, the minotaurs, various other cults, and worshipers. However, another force was on the rise. Hengri Jiyani had been freed from prison, and had sworn revenge on Lorewell. Some of the New Calpirites who joined Lorewell defected and joined Hengri Jiyani once again, and many citizens who believed Lorewell was corrupting their region allied themselves with Hengri as well.
Both leaders conducted war on two fronts. Many of western Zeminar's streets were embroiled in the conflict, as Lorewell's forces, those allied with Hengri, and the King's army all battled each other. However, a propaganda war of sorts also raged. Both Lorewell and Hengri preached returning to a time before the conquest of Zeminar had happened, and before religious schisms and corrupt clergy had split the dominion. Each also called the other a fraud who only wanted to corrupt Zeminar further. The official clergy, meanwhile, denounced both as gang leaders merely using religion as a propaganda tool. Lorewell's natural magic and lack of continued aging, however, continued to win converts.
In 1573, the religious war had reached its head. Hengri had been pushed into Eastern Zeminar as Lorewell's influence spread over much of the rest. The established Battlist clergy had lost almost all of its influence, as attendance of the official temples plummeted as either Mighel's New Children or New Calpirite cults took center stage in public religious life, even for weddings and funerals. That is, until the High Priest of Battlism and Lord of Zeminar, Feis Jonzu, publicly rescinded his previous comments about Lorewell's nature. After having met with Lorewell, Feis now recognized Lorewell as the messiah the Scrolls had promised. Thousands of Battlist priests fled to Eastern Zeminar and even Efsisi. Those who had been in cults that supported Lorewell moved in to fill the spots left in deserted Battlist temples. With all clergy in the east backing Lorewell, the King's army also relented in their hunt for him, though skirmishes took place between them and the smugglers, who never admitted an explicit connection to Lorewell. Hengri and her forces continued to be pushed further and further into the west, until she vanished into obscurity and most of the remaining new Calpirites rejoined with the cells allied with Lorewell. She was assassinated in her home in 1578, and her assassin was never found.
Ascension to Lordship
In 1580, Feis Jonzu resigned as Lord. Though he had no bearing on who became the next Lord, he insisted to the current King that Lorewell be appointed. Ultimately, no one man was now as worshiped in Zeminar as Lorewell, so he was appointed as Lord. At the same time, Feis Jonzu promoted Lorewell directly to high priesthood and presented him with a ceremonial artifact known as the Sword of the Prophet. It was the sword Cal himself was said to have wielded, and it was purported to have unexplained supernatural powers. From that point on, Lorewell took up residence at the most holy site in Battlism: the Seminary Castle. It was a building that contained several artifacts important to Battlism's history said to have been built on the very spot where Mighel and Winter's fists collided for the last time.
By 1607, Lorewell's influence among those in Zeminar had become almost absolute. Though many of those in the west rejected Lorewell's teachings privately, publicly declaring Lorewell anything but the messiah destined to bring balance to Gera would result in heresy charges. This endured for decades, until 1630 when a young preacher known as Mati Kresel begins to gain a large following in eastern Zeminar. Even Little Zeminar itself became embroiled in the conflict as Mati quickly rose to prominence. Mati traveled from city to city for years, protected from law enforcement by his sheer number of followers. He, like many had before, blamed the often rampant crime and gang presence on Lorewell's rule. Also like many others, he advocated for Battlism to return to the roots it had before Lorewell had arrived. In 1651, Mati returned to his hometown of Arletan in Little Zeminar, closer to the Lorewell-supporting areas than he had even been before. During his speech, he was assassinated by an unknown mage in the audience, causing a massive uproar in the entire vicinity. The assassination of Mati caused a new Battlist sect which didn't believe that Lorewell was the messiah to enter public discourse, despite Lorewell and the clergy's fervent attempts to stop it. A group of prominent scholars raised the issue before the Dominion Court. In the end, a part of the region of Lesser Zeminar was split off from the main duchy due to the religious schism. Lorewell, in addition, was forced to tolerate at least some of the religious dissent. The Battlism that worshiped Lorewell as a messiah would come to be known as Messianic Battlism, while the Battlism predominant in the rest of Zeminar would be called Orthodox Battlism.
The Waioloyan Rebellion
The Waioloyan Rebellion, the biggest rebellion against the Snow Empire in its history, took place on the western coast of Zeminar in 1668. Though the various Waioloyan peoples had been subjugated by the Snow Empire as much as the other Zeminarites had, they also suffered religious persecution under Lorewell because most had refused to covert to any form of Battlism, much less Messianic Battlism. Seven regions of Zeminar rose up in rebellion, attempting to form an independent entity. Although the King's Army was sent in and greatly outnumbered the Waioloyan fighters, because the Waioloyan had access to contemporary weapons and knew the forest and swampland of their coast far better than most member of the King's army did, the brutal guerilla war dragged on. The battle was turned in the Snow Empire's favor, however, when Lorewell decided that the aberrant duchy was too inconvenient for trade. Lorewell declared that the battle against the Waioloyan people was a crusade for Battlist thought that would be fought in the image of Mighel and Winter. Thousands of holy warriors streamed in to fight, and within two years of their joining the Waioloyan rebels were defeated in 1677. After this point, Lorewell would instigate efforts to covert more Waioloyan to Battlism, though this would largely fail.
The New Calpirites' Growth
Throughout the 1700's, Lorewell continued to funnel money and goods to the New Calpirites in the Bread Bin. Membership had been growing rapidly in the Bread Bin, and by 1742 there were more New Calpirites in the Bread Bin than Zeminar. Robert “Little Cape” Buret quickly rose to prominence as a leading figure of the Bread Bin New Calpirites, and considered Lorewell a close ally. Seruz Don, Lord of the Bread Bin, began to work with Lorewell and Little Cape to grow their trafficking network even more. By 1751, the New Calpirites had risen to such blatant power in the central Bread Bin that King Dunkel's advisors declared war. Despite the illicit support by Lorewell and Seruz, Little Cape was killed in a street skirmish by Caius Talwan in 1754, and his death caused the New Calpirites' influence to rapidly diminish, though not fade away completely.
The Goon Experiments
Though he decried them publicly, Lorewell actually voted for the Goon experiments to proceed privately. In 1997, when the goons were expelled from Zeminar, Lorewell had prepared special caravans that would lead the wayward goons to the Bread Bin, to keep tensions between them and his people low. Despite some attacks from radical groups outside of Lorewell's control, the goons were surprisingly easy to transport, and thousands ended up settling in the Bread Bin or at the Bread Bin's border in Goontown.
The Struggle for Gera
Like all the Lords, Lorewell sees his chance to seize power over the entire continent when King Fyuri is killed. Lorewell declares himself the undisputed ruler of Gera, and most in his dominion, including the Orthodox Battlist east, fell in line. The Waioloyan duchies, however, have rebelled once again. Lorewell and Yakov had considered each other threats for a while, so battles between the two are among the first to erupt. Battles with Caius soon followed, as Lorewell is desperate to keep the route through which his cactus flows open.
Above all, Lorewell is ambitious, and desires to be recognized for what he believes he is: a being worthy of the highest worship. He lacks empathy, and is willing to do whatever he believes is necessary to achieve and keep power. Despite his lust for power, Lorewell wants little to do with material wealth for the sake of wealth; he only sees it as a means to further his other goals. He has no personal relationships and no spouse; the closest thing to any kind of social bond is with criminal overlord and grandson of Little Cape, Robert Twis, whom he only has an alliance with out of pragmatism. The closest thing he had ever had to friends were the late Lords Ratakhe Ager of the Islands and Seruz Don, with whom he was rumored to have lengthy theological discussions. Whether he even believes the religious teachings he spews, he is also a charismatic speaker and eloquent writer and can speak at least six Geran languages in addition to his native tongue.