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Sar'nel Tions Sarghress
Appeared in chapters 1 3 5 36 37 38 43 44 45 46 47 50 51 52 54
Sar'nel is a Sarghress Homeguard squad leader of House Tions. He is the same age as Ariel Val'Sarghress, and has been a helpful ally of hers since they met at Orthorbbae.
Appearance and Personality
Sar'nel is a disciplined Sarghress with a strong sense of duty. Even as a child, he would always put the needs of the clan before anything else. He is a determined soldier who leads his squad confidently.
Sar'nel realized when he was just a boy that Ariel would need strong allies beside her if she was to succeed as heir to the clan.<ref>Chapter 5, page 20</ref> As her squad leader and friend, he has stood by her since then. He is rough on his squadmates when needed, but is always fair with them. He will vocally disapprove of Kau and Shala's antics, but Faen believes that this is only because he cares for them, especially so in Shala's case.<ref>Chapter 38, page 13</ref>
Sar'nel has blue eyes and a messy white ponytail. He usually bears a serious or stern expression, and is rarely seen smiling.
Biography - Arc I
As a child, Sar'nel was raised by his older sister Nei'kalsa Sarghress. He is seen studying the same books that Ariel was given and finds a series of her drawings inside one of the texts, much to his confusion.<ref>Chapter 1, page 53</ref>
Several years later, he and Ariel met by chance in an arena challenge held for the male students of Orthorbbae. Ariel, who was still in hiding as a male, was on a different team than Sar'nel, but was quickly betrayed by the bullies on her team that knew she was secretly female. Sar'nel stepped in to defend her even though that had never met. When Ariel asked why, Sar'nel simply stated "The clan comes first. Everything else is secondary."<ref>Chapter 3, page 21</ref>
The pair did not see each other again until they met in Ill'haress Quain'tana's throne room. Ariel had brought the bully who attacked her, Mir'kiin Vel'Vloz'ress, to Quain'tana's feet. When the Ill'haress demanded Ariel kill him, she hesitated. Quain'tana said that if she preferred, she could fight Sar'nel to the death. Sar'nel was shocked, but stepped forward to follow the order. Ariel repeated Sar'nel's words to her in the arena in her head, and turned to kill Mir'kiin. Sar'nel then realized that Ariel would need strong people by her side if she was to succeed as heir.
Biography - Arc II
In the Sarghress Homeguard
Over the next 15 years, Sar'nel worked hard to serve his clan. Eventually, he was promoted to squad leader and was given his friends Kau Val'Sharen, Shala Val'Sharen, Faen Val'Sullisin'rune, and the heir, Ariel, as his troops. Before departing on their first mission, Sar'nel took a rest to commune with his ancestors. He invited Faen to join him, but she seemed to have no reaction to the experience. He was grateful that she tried, and she reminded him that he would be a great leader.<ref>Chapter 36, page 5</ref>
They first stopped at the Val'Sullisin'rune fortress and at a benefit concert held by one of Ariel's old allies, Kyo'nne Val'Illhar'dro. While meeting with Kyo'nne backstage, Sar'nel was disappointed in the behavior of Kau and Shala, who had opened a box of Kyo'nne's chocolates and were clearly feeling the effect of the drug. He discussed politics with Ariel and Kyo until she revealed that the show's benefactor was Snadhya'rune Vel'Sharen. Sar'nel warned Kyo'nne of the dangers of working with Snadhya, but the squad ultimately parted on good terms with Kyo'nne before moving on to the North Cliff.
Attack on the North Cliff
Soon after arriving in the North Cliff, a rogue Vel'Vloz'ress summoner named Maki opened a gate in the chest of a living drow. Upon discovering it, Sar'nel ordered Shala to seal the mobile gate. Faen fell into empathetic shock, and Sar'nel stayed behind to defend her while the rest of his squad chased after the gate. He was overwhelmed and taken by the invading Vloz'ress scourges, leaving Faen alone in the streets.
Sar'nel somehow managed to break free, though he suffered many burns and bruises. He began to track Maki, the summoner behind the attack. He was following her through the sewers when he ran into a disguised Ariel. He nearly attacked her before she proved her identity by recalling an instance in which their parents had conspired to have them date. The pair agreed to attack Maki together, but Ariel's disguise was compromised before Sar'nel got the chance to carry out his sneak attack. They chase Maki out of the sewers, but the moment Sar'nel got his hands on her, she lit him on fire with her fire sorcery.
After the attack, Sar'nel was found badly injured and burned over most of his body. Shala tended to his wounds while playfully flirting with him.<ref>Chapter 38, page 43</ref> In no position to command his squad, Ariel took the lead and declared that they would go to First Landing to aid Commander Koil'dorath.
Joining the Highland Raiders
Sar'nel spent time recovering from his wounds, and rejoined the squad after they received orders from Quain'tana to join the Highland Raiders. Shortly before they stopped at Dariya'ko, the squad was joined by Chirinide and Shan'naal from the Val'Kyorl'solenurn clan, who were sent to meet with a light elf ambassador at the Order of Serenity outpost. When their change to armor suiting new Highland Raiders was pointed out, Sar'nel commented that they wouldn't be trying to blend in with the Sarghress unless they were desperate.<ref>Chapter 43, page 32</ref> When the other split off to their own devices, Sar'nel and Shala slipped away for some alone time.
After leaving Dariya'ko, the squad was reorganized again, this time under Tur'geis' leadership. They soon arrived at Ys, the colony that Kyonne had asked them to assist previously. As they rested, Sar'nel and Shala were woken by a call to arms, as Hermionne infiltrators had set fire to parts of the colony. Most of the squad split up, with some chasing down the arsonists and others fighting off the other invaders. Eventually, the squad found its way back to each other, with Sar'nel, Shala and Kau arriving to find Faen standing in front of an incapacitated Chirinide, Ariel and an unconscious Hermionne warrior. As dawn approached, the team noticed an airship passing overhead, and several squad members decided that it needed to be followed.<ref>Chapter 44, page 54</ref>
The Journey to Felde
Sar'nel and Shala enjoyed some leisure time in the fields on the outskirts of Ys, when they were joined by Ariel and Faen, who were discussing where the airship might have gone. They brought the subject up to the rest of the squad, just in time to find out that any Sarghress loyal to the clan were being evicted from the colony. They squad split up again, as some chose to report the sudden turn of events to the clan while others, including Sar'nel, opted to follow the airship. Sar'nel noted that the airship was most likely to be headed for Felde, where Ariel had been invited to attend Snadhya'rune's gathering - their sudden eviction and the timing of the gathering couldn't be a coincidence.<ref>Chapter 45, page 14</ref>
As they made their way towards Felde, the group came across a destroyed plantation that had belonged to the Val'Sullusinrune clan. Guessing that any survivors would have gone to the nearest city - Felde - they continued on, finding their way to the port leading to the island city. After Shala complimented him on his pathfinding skills, the squad became aware that Felde was ruled by none other than Snadhya'rune; while Riz wanted to turn back and report their findings to the clan, the others argued in favor of sneaking in to the city. Faen helped to settle the argument by producing the invitation that Lulianne had given to Ariel, offering them an easy way in to investigate.<ref>Chapter 46, page 345</ref>
They had another turn of fortune, as they ran into Kyo'nne. The Val'Illhar'dro singer offered to show them to their guest rooms, warning them not to stray far in order to avoid upsetting their hostess. Sar'nel helped wrangle Kau and Shala, chiding them for their disruptive behavior.
Escape From Felde
Shortly after settling in to the guest quarters, Chirinide was struck with a vision, which predicted the death of Ariel while everyone around her watched. Taking this as a sign that it wasn't safe for them to stay, the raiders set their rooms on fire as a distraction, and attempted to make a break for the tower's exit. They had managed to make it to the large central elevator, when they were intercepted by Kalki and Sasi, who had come with the intent to kill all of the Sarghress. Using their wind magic, the two leapt down onto the elevator platform, attacking the raiders from above.<ref>Chapter 46, page 81</ref>
Sasi soon joined the fight, and the raiders were split into two groups as they tried to fend off Kalki's frenzied attacks. As if to add more chaos to the mix, the tower was attacked by warriors from the Kavahini clan, who were attempting to wrest control of Felde from Snadhya'rune. Sar'nel, Kau and Shala were separated from the others, and continued to try to escape from Kalki, Sasi, and another newcomer in the form of Ynda. After Ynda managed to delay Kau, Sar'nel and Shala soon found themselves trapped in Snadhya'rune's tainting chamber.<ref>Chapter 46, page 102</ref>
Kalki continued to taunt the Sarghress, who also encountered some of Snadhya's demon helper nurses. The pair stopped running and stood their ground as they had trained, with Shala sealing while Sar'nel fought. Due to the large amount of nether being sealed within Shala's lance, however, the sealing stone soon cracked, exploding in the middle of the sealing chamber. <ref>Chapter 46, page 104</ref> Sasi used her wind magic to separate Sar'nel from Shala again, while Kalki prepared to taint them using the same demon summons that had created the helper nurses.
Sar'nel continued his fight with Sasi, falling victim to her wind attacks until he was blasted into a chamber full of helper nurse demonlings. They lived up to their names, however, and instead of attacking him, attempted to help him by healing some of his wounds. With their assistance, Sar'nel finally managed to get the upper hand on his attacker, causing her unconscious body to tumble back into the tainting chamber.<ref>Chapter 46, page 130</ref> This enraged Kalki further, and Sar'nel began to fight her one on one while attempting to encourage Kau and Shala to get back on their feet. After delivering a nasty headbutt to the psychotic Nidra'chaal, Sar'nel was assisted by Ariel, who tackled Kalki and pinned her to the wall. Sar'nel then watched in confusion as Ariel - who was missing an arm somehow - touched her left shoulder to Kalki's and absorbed the other drow's arm, replacing the missing one. She then kicked Kalki, knocking her back down again, while Sar'nel and Kau picked up Shala and attempted to carry her out of the chamber.<ref>Chapter 46, page 134</ref>
The reunited team immediately left the chamber, heading towards the door leading out of the tower again. As they ran, they came across a dazed Riz'riia, who had stumbled out of Snadhya'rune's audience chamber, claiming that she didn't recall what had happened.<ref>Chapter 46, page 135</ref> They finally made it to Kiel'ndia's giant turtle summon, accepting a ride away from Felde as payment for assisting Kiel'ndia's crew with their own escape. Kau and Sar'nel sat Shala down gently in the carrier chamber mounted on the giant summon, noticing too late that Shala had passed away just as they had reached safety.
Return To Chel
Ariel and her squadmates returned to Val'Sarghress territory, where they attempted to recuperate after their harsh trip. Other Sarghress warriors began swapping stories of their war experiences; with enough prodding, Ariel was convinced to tell them a brief recounting of their recent adventure to Felde. After sitting down, she and Faen noticed Sarn'el sitting alone, picking at his food instead of eating. Later that night, Ariel joined Sarn'el, Kau, Chiri'nide, Shan'naal and Faen as they cremated Shala's body, with most of the attendees sharing memories and kind words for their departed friend and squadmate. Sar'nel himself regretted being so strict with her and Kau, and pondered an earlier conversation with Shala where he had admitted that he would not leave the clan, even for her.<ref>Chapter 47, page 63</ref>
After Sil'lice returned from her failed mission to Mimanied and Felde, she attempted to locate her two youngest children. Instead, she found Kau tainted and Shala missing; to everyone but Kau's surprise, Sil'lice immediately shunned her son, and asked for her daughter. Sar'nel spoke up, unable to look her in the eye, and informed her of Shala's death in Felde. True to her word that she considered no tainted to be family, she silently walked away, leaving Kau in the hands of Diva for comfort.<ref>Chapter 50, page 42</ref>
Sarghress Civil War
Sar'nel accompanied Rosof later during the anti-val mutiny that split the Val'Sarghress ranks, along with his sister Nei'kalsa. After receiving a report of Ariel's death, the Tions House went to the Sarghress prison to retrieve her body. When they arrived, they found that she was in fact still alive, albeit weakened by poison, and that Kau had been imprisoned alongside her. Kau asked Sar'nel if he was a part of the anti-val faction, which Sar'nel denied, and said he had never thought of Kau as a val Sharen. When Kau commented that others seemed to think so, Sar'nel scoffed at the idea, saying that some people were stupid, and Kau was one of them.<ref>Chapter 50, page 203</ref>
Sar'nel, Nei'kalsa and the others escorted Ariel to Quain'tana in hopes that she could calm down the berserk Ill'haress, and in turn regain control of the clan. They arrived in time to see that Quain'tana had already been brought down, with Suu'be about to strike a final blow. Sar'nel stayed at Ariel's side when she confronted Suu'be, hoping to save her mother. After another crossbow bolt narrowly missed Ariel and Nei'kalsa, the Ill'haress found enough strength to stand one more time, and grabbed Suu'be, snapping her neck in the process before collapsing again.
Rosof then ordered the loyal Val'Sarghress to escort Ariel and Quain'tana's youngest surviving grandchildren to Machike, where they would be safe until the turmoil died down. As they headed towards the gate that would lead upworld, Ariel told Sar'nel that she was about to pass out, to his shock. As she finally collapsed, exhausted from being poisoned by Da'xia, Sar'nel called for a wolf to carry her in order to get out of the area.<ref>Chapter 50, page 214</ref>
Having brought Ariel, Octarya and Pelan safely to Machike, Sar'nel took some further downtime amidst duties at the colony. When Kau discovered an abandoned golem armor in the snow, Sar'nel assisted him with digging it out. He seemed skeptical, commenting that the golem would be stuck in place for the winter, but Kau was determined to get it working again. After Kau failed to gain access to the inner compartment, Sar'nel kicked it, which caused the access hatch to open. Kau complained that he could have broken it, but Sar'nel replied that if a kick could break it, then it was useless anyway.
As the pair continued to work on the golem, Sar'nel confided in Kau that there was a lot that he didn't understand, including why the clan had unraveled, and what Shala had initially seen in him. They discussed how much each of them missed her, and Sar'nel said that while there wasn't much he could do at the moment, the least he could do was help keep the clan together.<ref>Chapter 51, page 17</ref>
Biography - Arc III
Sar'nel is among the Sarghress defenders during the Hermionne siege on Machike'Shikumo.<ref>Chapter 52, page 6</ref>. He heard urgent news of the heavy bombard the goblins used against the wall alongside Ariel and Kel'noz.
After Kel'noz left to investigate the cannon, Hellenda made an attempt to force Ariel to accompany her outside "to have a chat." Sar'nel stood back, allowing Ariel to handle the would-be assassin, but remained ready to intervene if necessary.<ref>Chapter 52, page 9</ref> When Ariel decided that she had had enough of staying back in the fortress, he readily accompanied her to join the fight outside. Faen quickly confronted them about where they were going; Sar'nel advised Ariel to just say yes to allowing Faen to join them in order to keep herself from digging herself any deeper into trouble.<ref>Chapter 52, page 10</ref>
Ever a presence at Ariel's side, he followed her to the battlefield, where the new additions quickly routed the invaders. Following them to their base, they found that the other colonial defenders had already flanked them, with Baef making a powerful addition to their forces and disposing of a trebuchet with ease. In the aftermath of the battle, the colonists stood victorious, but could hardly celebrate as they collected their wounded and dead, having lost the peace they had worked and fought for.
Surprise Attack By The Nidraa'chal
Later, after the Machike residents gathered their wounded to recover from their victory against the Hermionnes, Snadhya'rune sent an envoy in the form of Kyo'nne Val'Illhar'dro, who asked to speak to the colony's leaders. Sar'nel remained suspicious of the singer, remembering her previous actions in Felde that led to Ariel losing an arm and the death of his lover, Shala Val'Sharen. When Kyo'nne asked where Shala was, he was quick to inform her that Shala had been killed three years prior, after Kyo had assisted with dragging them into a trap set by Snadhya'rune Vel'Sharen.<ref>Chapter 52, page 23</ref> Despite their reservations, Ariel decided to hear Kyo'nne out, however. It was then revealed that the main body of the Sarghress clan had joined the Sharen Alliance, and if Ariel would accompany her to Felde again, the young Ill'haress would be formally recognized as the Sarghress clan leader in the eyes of the other clans.
Suspicious of her motives, Kau, Sar'nel and Ariel began to question her about where her knowledge of the Hermionne attackers had come from, as well as how many soldiers she had brought with her on the airship. Faen, using her empathy, told Ariel that Kyo'nne was afraid, but was unable to tell her what the singer was afraid of. Unable to answer all of their questions sufficiently, they confronted Kyo, and told her to return to her mistress. Kyo'nne pleaded with them to see reason as they forced her out of the meeting room, with Sar'nel holding her at swordpoint while Ariel ordered her to return to her mistress with the news that the Sarghress would remain independent.<ref>Chapter 52, page 26</ref>
The ship made as if to leave, but instead turned around and began bombarding the colony with its mana cannons. The colony's defensive artillery were quickly destroyed, as was the Machike fortress. The colonists and defenders, seeing no other choice, packed up their belongings and evacuated the colony, finding their way to the underground half of Machike - the city of Fustin'darun. There, Sar'nel continued to assist with defenses, as they expected the airship to return for another attempt to eradicate them.
The Airship Returns, And A Second Bombardment
Their fears proved to be true, as days later, the airship returned, following them further into the underworld. The ship's progress was halted, however, as they ran into wire traps that had been laid as the defenders waited, as well as snipers and cannon fire from the surrounding cliffs. The final blow which drove away the airship a second time was the Hermionne's captured bombard cannon, which was aimed at the airship's main deck and masts. The resulting damage forced the Nidraa'chal to retreat, giving the defenders time to further their defense plans.<ref>Chapter 52, page 39</ref>
Days later, the Nidraa'chal airship returned, this time carrying with it a payload of giant rocks and boulders - enough to be mistaken for a floating island. Sar'nel, who had been standing watch, spotted the flares sent up by the scouts Malag'nafein and Macha, and sounded an alert that the airship had returned. Once the ship had worked through the laid traps and reached the colony itself, the invaders began to drop the rocks, allowing them to fall on the civilian population below.
After surviving the most recent bombardment, Sar'nel joined the other defenders in regrouping outside of Fustin'darun, rejoining Faen and Kau as they waited for Ariel to arrive. When she arrived, she was dismayed to find a much smaller number than she had expected or hoped to find - Sar'nel advised her that the rest were wounded, lost, or dead. They had been able to gather approximately thirty defenders, though they were woefully lacking in equipment.
A New Challenger Appears
As the defenders made to leave, they encountered an Alliance traveling party, led by Oiloss'lin Xyrrai'zestu Sharen. Hiding quickly, they managed to avoid being detected by the Alliance warriors, as they did not know the motives of the travellers or their destination. After the party was ambushed by Kavahini warriors, Oiloss'lin resorted to nether summoning to scatter the ambushers. As one of the wounded Koubagia Kavahini attempted to escape, she was chased by one of the summoned demons, and made her way towards the rocks where the Machike defenders were hidden. Not wanting to allow a demon to attack their own group, Bal'diira sealed it away, while the others tended to Koubagia.
The defenders were soon challenged by another Kavahini warrior, Chakri Kavahini. She demanded the release of her comrade, and when Ariel attempted to negotiate a possible alliance, she challenged the defenders to earn the Kavahini's respect by taking the airship.
Escape to Sha'shi
Taking on Chakri's challenge to prove themselves worthy of being the Kavahini's allies, the defenders continued to play cat-and-mouse with Snadhya'rune's airship, leaving a trail of stuffed dummies and stone counterfeits to draw the fire of the mana cannons and to lure the ship deeper into the underworld. Sar'nel took notice of Kau's recent melancholy, believing it to be caused by the loss of the golem suit that the young Val'Sharen had fought so hard to salvage. Hoping to help his friend get over his depression, Sar'nel asked Faen if it would be possible to empathically encourage him; Faen ultimately refused, stating that Kau would need to find his own purpose.<ref>Chapter 52, page 66</ref>
Eventually, the group located Sha'shi, a research outpost located in the heart of the underworld which was home to a group of engineers studying golem technology and the nearby pieces of the fallen moon that had formed the underworld millenia ago. When Kau expressed his wonder at the golems and structures that made up the outpost, Sar'nel commented that he should have asked to be stationed there, as there appeared to be more golems than people.
Helping To Find A Purpose
After their arrival, Kau was shown the golem workshop, and readily agreed to test pilot one of Sha'shi's experimental golem armors. Sar'nel helped to reassure the young drow as he helped him don the armor, and then waited quietly with the other observers as Kau raced Ariel to the top of one of the outpost buildings. Their race showed a successful test flight, but their happiness was short-lived as the airship arrived overhead.
A Desperate Gamble
After forging a temporary alliance with the engineers of Sha'shi, the Machike defenders decided to make an attempt to board and capture the Nidraa'chal airship when it landed at the outpost to take on supplies. Under the guise of loading parts onto the ship, Kau and Slyand'iss piloted golem armors onto the deck, making it aboard just as Da'xia spotted Ariel on the ground.<ref>Chapter 52, page 88</ref> Hoping to get as many on board as possible, the golem pilots took hold of the gangplank, with another pair of pilots also holding it from the ground. Sar'nel was among those who made it aboard the ship, leaping into combat against Fia'nova Jaal'darya after she had injured Ner'gui.
After the rest of the boarding party was pinned down by Bae'rali Val'Sullisin'rune, they were then released by Faen Val'Sullisin'rune, who countered the powerful empath's powers. The remaining defenders were then able to board the ship to continue the take-over attempt. During an attempt to fire on the remaining defenders on the ground, the airship crew failed to realize the ramifications of firing their mana cannons into the large mana vortex surrounding the area, and were surprised to find their mana barrage turned against them. Shortly afterwards, the ship's engines began to fail, and the airship was forced to make a crash landing.
Final Boss Battle
Upset at the loss of the airship, Sal'bara Val'Chai'toc rose to the defense of the downed aircraft, activating a large war golem and firing on the Sarghress below her with a hand-held mana cannon. Sar'nel, having managed to hold on to the ship as it fell, quickly regrouped with Kau, Kel'noz, Faen and Koana and Brorn. While the golem experts of the team used their expertise to engage the war golem, Sar'nel stood in front of Faen, protecting her from Sal'bara's mana blasts and stray attacks from the golem.<ref>Chapter 52, page 96</ref>The fight was brought to an end when Kyo'nne opted to change sides, slamming Sal'bara with a powerful spellsong blast.<ref>Chapter 52, page 98</ref> With its mistress taken out of the fight, the war golem was quickly finished off, but not without causing some grievous injuries to the defenders.
Returning To Machike
Sar'nel located Kau after the battle's conclusion, again helping him out of the experimental golem armor and praising him for a job well done. Later, after the Sarghress' triumphant return to Machike and Fustin'darun, he assisted Kau with digging out his golem suit, which to their surprise appeared to have survived the airship's rock bombardment intact.
"The Clan comes first. Everything else is secondary." - To Ariel, during the towers training bout.
"I don't know if I could leave the clan behind." - To Shala, after she spoke of possibly staying permanently at the overworld colony.
"Take my advice. Just say yes." - To Ariel, regarding Faen's plan to join them in the fight against the Hermionne invaders.
Concept of an older Sar'nel.