RH:Ilder Ju'rellis Sarghress
Age: 98. Joined the Val'Sarghress clan at age 74.
Martial Style: Polearms; slings. Ilder's preferred weapon since his mercenary days has been the pollaxe; while the heavier class of weapon might not be suited to a Highland Raider, old habits die hard and Ilder continues to value pollaxes for their versatility. Slings have also proved useful to Ilder in his long sojourns in the Underworld wastes - ammunition can easily be replenished by scooping stones up off the ground! Ilder values his sling chiefly for hunting, and so while he is a well-practised shot he isn't an expert combat marksman.
Mana Skill: Basic Mana Manipulation; low-level High Arts. Ilder has no natural elemental affinity - self-conscious of this as a deficiency, he has long been keen to compensate by advancing his knowledge of the High Arts. However, stymied the difficulty of securing suitable reference works, he has yet to advance beyond the early stages of earth-element manipulation. He has a firm and sure grasp on what that does entail, though.
Special Skill: Botanist. The mercenary warband to which Ilder was originally affiliated prided itself on efficiency and self-reliance, with members deriving the majority of their diet from forage. As well as being a necessity of living in the desolate and undeveloped Underworld wastes, this practice had twofold advantages in making the mercenary band more attractive to prospective clients (who would make large savings on upkeep) and helping the group itself during periods of severance (being less beholden to a patron's meal ticket). As a consequence, Ilder learned an appreciation for the Underworld ecology from childhood, and over the decades this has grown into a formidable body of knowledge on Underworld flora. This endows Ilder with the capacity to identify many different plants and fungi and assess whether they are helpful, harmless, or hazardous; he can also prepare concoctions from such ingredients, notably the poisonous gas-bullets he uses with his sling.
Ilder has been attached to the Highland Raider hunting-party of Lieutenant Kiira'liss Val'Sarghress to deliver new orders to the lieutenant and also help restore numbers to the depleted party following the return of Danifae Val'Sarghress and Cat'sallith Vloz'ress to the clan fortress. As a wastelands far-ranger only briefly returning to Chel'el'sussoloth for resupply, Ilder was not the natural sort of figure to travel the city ruins, but at the time was the only Highland Raider at the fortress not occupied with other duties.
Ilder has no real enthusiasm for this mission, nor indeed does he care much for the fortunes of the Val'Sarghress themselves - he is not a natural constituent of the clan. Ilder grew up as a member of an independent house of itinerant mercenaries proferring their services in the wider Underworld beyond Chel'el'sussoloth; he and its other members were forcibly enrolled in the Sarghress by the policy of a new house De'vess prior to the Nidraa'chal putsch. Ilder, a peregrinating spirit at heart, yearns to loose the fetters tying him to the crushing congested clamour of the city - a chafing constriction that membership of the Highland Raiders helps to alleviate.
Such dissatisfaction is not immediately visible, though, and it does not disrupt his relations with fellow members of the clan. Immersion in mercenary life from infancy - fulfilling contracts to the very letter - inculcated a strong sense of obedience to his De'vess's wishes that still exerts a profound influence on him: Ilder is thus resigned to his lot and is a faithful member of the clan, although it is not as a "true believer" building Quain'tana's vision but rather as a "slave to duty" beholden to his orders.
That undercurrent of resentment can leave Ilder melancholic in private - becoming tetchy if he is inclined to brood - but in the open he is normally a perfectly pleasant chap, genial and good-natured with forthright frontier bluff amiability; another valuable life skill learned as a mercenary is that it's not wise to infuriate the people who will be watching your back!
His affable manner is not universal - Ilder is a racist certain of the inferiority of non-drow species (life in the wastelands has taught him how to deal with them diplomatically, but that's necessary for practicality's sake and doesn't affect Ilder's stance). He also bears a scathingly bitter pathological hatred of the Val'Jaal'darya, an unadulterated loathing motivated by something far deeper than the simple natural aversion a male might feel towards the all-female clan.
One other quirk of Ilder is his theism. Whereas most drow have become apostates, Ilder remains an affirmed communicant of the Sharess. His specific beliefs are somewhat idiosyncratic (most drow hack up corpses for food without a second thought, but Ilder is reluctant to eat drowflesh [he'll eat other types of meat, though] and prefers drow to be buried intact for theological reasons) but nonetheless his faith is sure: in a life where he's been amongst many different groups and through many different caverns, the Sharess has been his one constant companion on the long and winding roads that he travels.
Notable physical characteristics: Lean build; Left-handed; Amber eyes; Dyes a small ultramarine flash at the fringe of his hair; Discoloured right forearm, the result of a fungal infection incurred at a young age that never healed properly; Fist-sized blotchy scar on the abdomen from a bullet wound. By habit, never wears gloves.
Quote: "Maybe I'm just a wastelands hick ignorant of august politics, but the last time you metro-proles decided to have a big scrap it didn't improve your property portfolios!"
First Appearance: Shadow of the Sharen Clan (Relic Hunter Group 1) - Chapter 1, Page 38.