Spotlight on: William the Brown-Haired
While the heroic exploits of the great generals and heroic warriors are justly celebrated, great wars cannot be won solely by following the Seven Commandments of Janda*. There is a need for deception, spies and dark deeds in the service of the Light. The Order of Redoubtable Ratri was founded by the colorful and accomplished William the Brown-Haired: scholar, adventurer, magical adept and sometime priest. Its agents performed many dangerous missions inside Sumerilon-held territory: the most dangerous performed by a secret circle within the order, known as the Department of Dirty Tricks, dominated by hobbits and somewhat affectionately known as the Boggies. The master (she preferred not being called mistress) of the boggies was Allison Searock.
The most famous and successful of William’s exploits was Operation Arctic Wolf, better known as the “Army that Wasn’t”. This was an elaborate deception in which numerous Janda clerics were systematically fed false information that certain Sumerilon agents were themselves being told lies about Ironhewer’s plans. Because of the commandment “never through inaction [to] allow a lie to be believed”, they were compelled to reveal the “true” information in their possession, then to turn themselves in for violating the laws regarding secrecy, expecting an ignominious death on the scaffold. Because they were believed, Malchion diverted significant force away from Ironhewer’s army at a critical juncture. When the operation became public after the War, it caused a rift in the religious community. The few remaining Janda clerics abandoned public life, and the judicial functions formerly performed by her clerics were taken over by Mavors.
William the Brown-haired never settled down after the War. Although human and well over sixty when the war ended, he led several fact-finding expeditions deep into Sumerilon territory, adamant that all of Malchion’s secrets should be searched out long after others had lost interest. Twelve years after the end of the War, he fell down a crevasse and his body was never recovered.
Allison Searock served for a time as spymaster for King Pendragon, but the strain of working among so many Mavors caused her to leave and to take service with Almere. She now lives in retirement in Camborough and has recently celebrated her eleventy-first birthday.
* = “I am Janda, goddess of Truth, and these are my commandments. Obey them all if possible, but if not, obey the one stated first in preference to the latter-stated. Thou shalt not tell a lie. Thou shalt not through inaction allow a lie to be believed. Thou shalt give worship to Janda as meet and due for your station in life. When Thou art called to judgment, thou shalt give true judgment to the best of thy ability. Thou shalt obey the laws of the land wherein thou art. Thou shalt perform all thine oaths. Thou shalt endeavor to do justice in all things.”