Ra’him Sulna-Williams is a tall, thin, wrinkled old half-orc who scowls at everything and frowns when he isn’t scowling. He leans heavily on a withered staff and has wrapped his body in a thick cloak, yet he still shivers whenever no one is looking. Everything about him says “go away” and it seems as though he would be most content to sit alone by a fire, lost in thought and memory.
Ra’him Sulna-Williams was born to Jennifer Williams in her small and somewhat dirty house in Colam Isti. His father was long gone and all Jennifer ever said of him was that Sulna was Ra’him’s father, though whether Sulna was the surname of not, Ra’him never found out. Even from an early age, Ra’him was small for a half-orc, both in terms of height and size. He seemed to suffer from weak bones and he took quickly and easily to injury. As soon as he could walk, Ra’him enjoyed being out in the woods and wilderness, away from the few other half-orc children and human children. By the time he was five, his mother began chastising him for being weak. She would always say “why can’t you be more like your father? A strong, independent man. Instead I have this. I have you.” Ra’him tried on several occasions to impress his mother by getting into fights with other children, some even much older and bigger than he. The first few times this happened, Ra’him broke both his right leg and arm. Afterwards, he stopped trying to fight, but his temperamental nature would sometimes get the best of him, and he would crawl back home with broken bones.
Jennifer had a strange way of loving her child, as she would sometimes hold Ra’him close and cry. pleading for him never to leave, and other times would abuse him for not being good enough. On the times when Ra’him was injured, Jennifer often showed no sympathy, instead telling him to fix his wounds himself, since he was foolish enough to get them. When his teenage years came around, Ra’him spent all the time he could away from the town in the forest, avoiding his peers and family. When he would return to his house, it would be to an angry mother who refused to feed him until the next day. Ra’him would go days without eating, which gave him a thin and lanky body. During his time in the woods, he began to discover he had some power over animals, a connection that was more a feeling than anything else, and many times he would spontaneously cast some charm or trick, not quite knowing what he did or how. Mystical abilities made him nervous and he never told his mother or any of the townsfolk of these outbursts. If Colam Isti had a druidic order nearby, they failed to notice the fledgling abilities of Ra’him, who passed unnoticed by all magical orders.
When Ra’him was eighteen, his mother was dying of a disease unknown by the local apothecary. Uncaring for his health and unafraid, Ra’him spent his time alone with his mother, trying to ease her suffering as best he could. She in turn rejected his every attempt at solace, pushing away his food and throwing cups of water to the ground. Her last words were “you have been nothing but disappointment. If I could undo anything, it would be giving you life.” She died with the hour after saying this. Ra’him buried her and left the house, puzzled by her words and mourning her death. Two weeks later he joined a survey company and left town to go and map out the surrounding area. This was a chance for Ra’him to experience solitude and contemplation without end, and he never felt better.
It was during this time mapping that Ra’him came to believe that all life had an energy that could not be fully detected or explained, and that it was this life energy upon which he could draw for some magical means. Realizing this, he explored his own magical prowess more and more as he sojourned across the land. During this time he also happened upon a philosophy about existence. Life forms itself, he thought, we do not choose to form it. As such, all life struggles to being and terminates abruptly. Thus, all life beings and ends in misery. All things done in between are to hide this truth. This brought a great comfort to Ra’him, who believed until then that he was failing to achieve some grand purpose life had set out for him. His spirits renewed, Ra’him continued with his job with determination and contentment, treating his latent magical talent as a hobby.
When he was thirty five and charting regions much farther out, Ra’him was assigned the responsibility of training a young human man name Marcus Valen. Marcus was twenty one, homeless, abandoned by his family, and without any focus in life. He intrigued Ra’him, who looked at Marcus as some kind of reward given to him by stoically pushing through his suffering. Marcus was a person to mold, the kind of man for whom Ra’him’s philosophies might ring true. But it had been some times since Ra’him had actually spoken to another person, and he found himself to be uncouth and short with the boy, even though he meant to be kind and wise. Marcus did not seem fazed by this show of intolerance and annoyance however, and simply continued to learn from Ra’him. In time, Ra’him began to tell Marcus the story of his life as an example to the randomness and callousness of the world. It was a message Marcus received with much interest, and when Ra’him finally told him that all life begins and ends in misery, Marcus simply looked at Ra’him, smiled, and said “of course it does. Everything else is just the illusion of progress.”
For the next five years, the two men became good friends, charting the world together and living out in nature without a care. Marcus was intrigued by Ra’him’s druidic abilities and confused why he never revealed them to anyone else. He encouraged Ra’him to do so, but without success. When Ra’him was forty, he began to map less and wished to stay inside more often, complaining about his brittle bones and weak body. As such, he was in his house on the night of the Cataclysm. The following day, he went out into the tattered remains of his well-explored forest, looking for Marcus. He traveled for nine days with barely any food or water, relying on his ability to live in the wilderness and his increasingly more potent magical abilities. Ra’him never found Marcus. Broken, he wandered back the the town and almost died of starvation. When he next awoke he felt as though his connection to the life energies was tangible, and created some unappetizing rations through sheer will. Curious, he then tried to create water, and managed to make a quarter of a cup of muddy water, which he drank. Before he had only been able to use magic to expand his awareness or shape his surroundings. That he could now manifest things was nigh unthinkable. Over the next few days, Ra’him learned more about these powers, and soon he was gathering the necessary reagents to create water for the town. It was difficult labor and on occasion, Ra’him had to travel for days to collect them, but it was what he wanted to do. He found that all the people in his town suffered greatly during the Cataclysm, and if he could do something to lessen their misery, then perhaps he was contributing to the natural flow of life. He did not believe his life to be special or of any great merit, but he believed his work to be important nevertheless. For two years, Ra’him has carried on this profession of water-crafting without complaint, request, payment, or thanks. And he would not have it any other way.