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Adin knew that he was the one who must fill the medallions in the belt.

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Bern the Gifter
Biographical information
Home

Oltan (presumably)

Age

Young, exact age unknown (deceased)

Status

Deceased

Physical description
Species

Human

Gender

Male

Hair colour

Brown

Personal information
Allies

Gifters
Annoltis

Enemies

Nanion

Weapon of choice

Scorch club

Chronological and political information
Profession

Gifter soldier

Position

Leader/captain of Annoltis' Gifters

Affiliation

Gifters

First appearance

The Golden Door

Bern was the leader of Chieftain Annoltis' Gifter soldiers.

History Edit

The Golden Door Edit

Bern was sent to the town of Fleet to track down two prisoners who had escaped from Chieftain Annoltis' fortress with the aid of rebels. In Fleet the Gifters met a man named Nanion, who defiantly asked them why they had returned. Bern told Nanion that the prisoners had been freed from the Fortress and reminded Nanion that the blood of seven was required for the Gifting. Nanion taunted them, saying that they could take the prisoners' place. Nanion claimed the Gifters would do everything to please their master, and that they simply bought their lives with the lives of others. Angered Bern ordered Nanion to be silent. Nanion claimed that there were nobody left in Fleet who would suit Annoltis' evil purpose. Bern showed a note to Nanion containing a message from a girl named Faene to her lover Dirk. One of the rebels who had helped free the prisoners in the fortress had stayed to fight while the others escaped. The rebel's coat had been torn off in the struggle before he managed to escape, and the note had been found in its pocket. Nanion claimed that it must be years old, when the paper was clearly crisp and white. In the middle of the courtyard garden stood a bell tree and beneath it lied the grave of Ethena and Juste D'Or and their daughter Faene.

Bern asked how a girl who had been dead for half a year would be able to write to her lover so recently. The part on the gravestone about Faene was newer than the rest of the text and Bern deduced that it was a false grave. He ordered two of his Gifters to open the grave and they fired red beams from their scorches at the gravestone, pushing the slab away to reveal Faene and the girl Sonia hiding inside the false grave. The two Gifters fired yellow beams at the females, paralysing them. Nanion furiously lunged forward, but Bern was quick enough to draw his scorch club and paralyse Nanion. One of the Gifters told Bern that he should have used the blue killing beam on Nanion, but Bern said that there would be time for it after Midsummer Eve, threatening to first burn Fleet to the ground, turn its people to beggars and steal their horses horses for Chieftain Annoltis. Bern was very thrilled when he saw that Sonia sported red hair, because red hair was rarely seen and was considered a sign of special power since the Fellan have red hair. Bern and his Gifters then left Fleet with their prisoners and headed to Oltan.

When Bern had returned to Fleet and delivered the two prisoners, Annoltis, who suspected a traitor in his service was helping the rebels, tasked Bern with replacing every regular soldier who guarded the fortress with a Gifter while the Gifting Ceremony was taking place. Annoltis had devised a plan to capture the rebels. Seven Gifters brought the prisoners from the holding pit up to his chamber. Then they took the prisoner's place in the pit and Annoltis magically disguised them as the prisoners they had replaced. A group of Gifters with no knowledge of the plan were then ordered to guard the pit.

Bern was summoned by Annoltis when the chieftain had felt a presence outside his chamber. Bern assured him that there was no one outside, but Annoltis insisted that he had felt someone. The presence that Annoltis had felt was Rye, who was sitting outside the room and watching them with the help of a magic crystal that gave him the ability to see through walls and Bern had not noticed Rye because he was that he was wearing a magic hood that made him invisible.

Annoltis was seated on the coiled body of a dead silver sea serpent, preserved by Annoltis' magic. Above the body towered the serpent's snarling head crowned with spikes. Silver serpent scales were scattered on the floor. Occasionally more scales dropped from the serpent throne and onto the floor as Annoltis' strength were ebbing. Not far beyond Bern and Annoltis the seven prisoners for the Gifting lay in line, floating a hand's breadth above the floor, suspended in the air by Annoltis' magic. Three of the figures were male, and four, two of which were Sonia and Faene, were female. Bern suggested that Annoltis might have felt Faene and Sonia waking from their paralysis. Bern asked if he should give them a second scorching. Annoltis accused Bern of being too free with his scorch and noted that his eagerness had damaged one of the sacrifices, a little girl black-haired girl with tiny crooked teeth. The girl's hair was dull and lifeless and her eyes were veined with blue. Bern was starting to show fear as he explained that they had to shoot the girl a second time because she tried to escape when they removed her from the holding pit, but Annoltis claimed that she had been too heavily scorched when they first captured her. Bern explained to his master that she had been hiding inside a goat house, and that several scorch beams meant for the animals hit her instead. He apologised for the error and assured his master that the men responsible would be punished.

Annoltis told Bern that the girl was not worth taking in the first place. He said that she was a miserable specimen, was ill bred and undergrown and added that with her heart strained from scorching she would be of little use to him. He told Bern that if there was time he would have demanded a replacement, which made Bern worry, however Annoltis claimed that the two new prisoners he had brought from Fleet would make up for the weakness of the girl, especially Sonia whom the chieftain noted was very strong. Annoltis did note that it was strange that they had not discovered her before now. Annoltis insited that he could feel a presence and ordered Bern to look outside again. He obeyed his master, then assured him that there was no one outside. Bern told Annoltis that he should go, noting that controlling the prisoners, while holding the disguise spell over the decoys in the holding pit was draining his master's strength. Annoltis expressed that the plan must be kept secret, and Bern assured him that only themselves and the seven Gifters who had replaced the prisoners knew of the plan. He told his master that the Gifters guarding the pit thought that the decoys were what they seemed, and that if they did die fighting the rebels they could do without them since the decoys were his best men and they were fully armed. Satisfied Annoltis allowed Bern to go.

The leader of the Gifters quickly backed out of the chamber, keeping his head low until the iron door had shut behind him. He straightened, but he was strained and sweating from the audience with his master. Bern hurried down to the dungeons below the fortress. He was in a gallery that overlooked the stone holding pit. The pit was ringed with blazing torches and Gifter guards lay on the floor around the pit, knocked unconscious by rebels. Bern stood hidden in shadows, smiling as he waited for the rebels to reach the bottom of the pit by ropes secured above with iron spikes. Below in the pit the Gifters magically disguised as prisoners were waiting. The figures below seemed to waver, as if seen through a mist, but the rebels did not notice it. The disguise spell was dropped the moment the rebels' feet hit the bottom of the pit. The Gifters drew their scorches and fired yellow and blue beams at the shocked rebels, who included the man named Dirk. The rebels fell on the ground.

Relieved Bern leaned back against the wall of the gallery and laughed. Suddenly someone cried next to Bern. Shocked he spun around with his scorch in his hand. He fired blue beams wildly at where the sound had come from, but he only hit the wall. There was no one to be seen. The person who had screamed was Rye, still made invisible by magic. He had followed Bern down to the dungeons. During the struggle the Gifters in the pit had managed to capture Dirk. To punish him, Annoltis freed the little black-haired girl and put Dirk in her place.

On Midsummer Eve the Gifters were to guard Oltan's bay where the Gifting would take place. The fortress were situated just across from the bay which was lined with a recently built metal fence and beyond it stood the citizens of Oltan. A wooden walkway that had also been recently build stretched from the fortress to a square viewing platform just above the beach, then ran on, sloping more steeply, to the top of a flat-topped rock. Iron rings were hammered into the flat rock. A great bell had begun to toll, calling the citizens to the Gifting. The Gifters had lined the walkway on both sides, all the way down to the rock. The torches set around the walkway burst into life. Bern stepped out of the courtyard with his helmet under his arm, stood aside and held his head high. Annoltis on his sea serpent throne came gliding out of the courtyard, floating a hand's breadth above the ground. The serpent were mottled with black where its scales had fallen off. Annoltis looked was shrivelled and blotched which made him look like a corpse. The chieftain jerked his head and glared out at the crowd. A small child screamed in terror at the ghastly face, but Bern quickly signaled to the Gifters who began to cheer, drowning the child's scream. The crowd behind the fence followed the Gifters' example and roared, waving their flags. The people behind the crowd, who were not as trusting in the chieftain, cheered too out of fear.

Bern and Annoltis had reached the platform. The chieftain was still seated on his throne which faced the rock, and Bern stood at his side with a dagger in his hand. Behind them seven Gifters were exited the fortress gates looking proud, each one leading a prisoner in chains. Sonia was the first in line and Faene was the second to last, and Dirk made up the rear. On the platform the prisoners were forced to kneel in a semi-circle before Annoltis' throne. Dirk was feebly resisting being pushed down. Annoltis bared his teeth and flicked a finger at Dirk whose body jerked and sank to the ground.

Bern looked over the prisoners with his dagger held. He then slashed down the dagger and the sound of the bell ended. The crowd behind the fence became silent as well. Bern addressed the citizens and welcomed them to the Gifting. Bern spoke highly of Chieftain Annoltis and claimed that his master grieves that he must sacrifice young lives in order to live himself. He said that it must be done because the Chieftain protects Dorne with a circle of magic which is the only thing that keeps an ancient enemy of theirs from invading the island.

Bern drew blood from Sonia's index finger, causing the crowd to cheer. Bern then smeared a line of blood on Annoltis' forehead, while the Chieftain began to mutter indistinguishable words. Bern moved onto the rest of the prisoners and took a blood from each one, smeared his master's forehead until he had gone through all seven prisoners. Each time the ritual was completed the chieftain muttered silently and kindled and sat a little more straight. When the last blood had been taken, Bern bowed low to his master and returned to stand behind the throne. Annoltis' lips still moved as he muttered soundlessly, and his burning eyes were fixed on the horizon. The seven Gifters dragged the prisoners down the walkway and onto the rock where they were forced again to kneel in line, while the chains that bound their ankles were looped through the iron rings on the surface rock and locked. When the seven Gifters had completed their task they straightened up and gazed uneasily at the horizon. Suddenly the crowd shouted and pointed out to the sea where the sun was setting. A mass of glittering silver sea serpents had emerged from the ocean and was making their way to the shore. The Gifters lining the lower half of the walkway retreated retreated to higher ground. The prisoners screamed in terror and the Gifters turned and ran up the walkway to the viewing platform.

The writhing mass of sea serpents were very near now. The beasts would reach the shore right after the next wave of water hit the land. The glittering silver head of a serpent burst through the churning water, twisting into the air in an explosion of spray. The serpent made a harsh hooting sound. The crowd suddenly roared when one of the prisoners, a curly-haired boy, staggered to his feet. He had gotten free from his chain and lurched from the rock and up the walkway. There was a cry from above. Annoltis staggered from his failing serpent throne. He ordered the Gifters to stop the boy and stun him.

Bern ran to the top of the walkway and shot the boy in the chest with a yellow beam from his scorch. The boy dropped and rolled back down the ramp to the rock. Annoltis ordered the seven Gifters to take the boy back and check if the rest of the prisoners were still secured. The Gifters hesitated and Annoltis threatened to kill them if they did not obey. Suddenly more prisoners were free and scrambled up the rock, using the walkway for cover. The only remaining prisoners were Faene and Dirk. A riot suddenly started at the section of the metal fence that was closest to the rock. People were banging on the fence and shouting defiantly at Annoltis. The fence bulged as the crowd tried to push through it. A wave of water then crashed onto the shore and drowned all sounds. The sea serpents would arrive with the next wave. Suddenly Faene had gotten free too. She climbed over the rock to the side facing the fortress and disappeared over the edge.

Suddenly a boy appeared out of nowhere. A wave of water crashed over the rock. The water pulled back and dragged the boy with him. Sonia, with one leg through Faene's iron, were gripping Rye's wrist. Sonia had stayed to help Rye. She lay face-down on the rock now, gasping. She got up on her feet and pulled Rye up with her. A scream suddenly came from Sonia. Rye turned around and witnessed a sea serpents looming over them. It was gaping its jaws and drops of pale gold venom dripped from its fangs, into the water where it sizzled. It looked directly at Rye, in a striking position, but it was not moving, repelled by something. Rye slid a wooden stick from his belt and raised it high. He held his hand up too. The serpent suddenly recoiled. And then a blue-black sea serpent rose beside the silver one. The silver serpent hissed warningly, its eyes still fixed on Rye. The blue-black serpent drew back its head and froze. Many more sea serpents of the colours green, yellow, blue and black rose before Rye and froze, as if in a trance.

The sun disappeared below the horizon. Then a howl sounded from the viewing platform. The metal fence got pushed over and fell, and its flags got crushed into the sand. The crowd rushed towards the rock. Annoltis staggered alone down the walkway to the rock, the seven Gifters lying on the platform behind him, their bodies twisted and burned. They had paid with their lives for their cowardice. Bern alone had survived, and was crouching behind his master's serpent throne with his scorch in hand, watching Annoltis stumble down on the rock. The crowd, seeing Annoltis with his burning eyes and outstretched, clutching hands, stopped short.

Annoltis ordered the sea serpents to kill Sonia, Rye and Dirk. The silver serpent looked at Annoltis. The chieftain had reached the paralysed body of the curly-haired boy, who lied half on and half off the rock, and kicked it. Annoltis again ordered the serpents to kill them. The chieftain greedily claimed that he must live. He ordered the serpents to take the three people on the rock. He questioned the serpents' loyalty to him, and then the silver serpent suddenly arched its body over the rock and caught Annoltis. The chieftain shrieked as his blood splattered down on the flat rock. Then the silver serpent's body flowed over the three people's heads and dived into the sea. Where Annoltis had stood were now a small scattering of silver scales.

Several fisher folk in the crowd rolled dozens of barrels of sea serpent repellant into the waters besides the rock. Cheering people, laughing and crying with joy, rushed through the ruined section of the metal fence. Bern yelled for them to halt and they stopped. He ordered the Gifters to draw their weapons. The Gifters higher on the walkway laughed and pointed their scorches at the crowd. Bern sat down on the serpent throne and proclaimed that with Annoltis dead he would be their chieftain. The crowd was silently watching the serpent throne. When Annoltis died the magic that preserved the dead sea serpent had died with him. Only the crowd saw that the head of the serpent were slowly and silently tilting downwards over Bern's head. As he began to speak, the arching upper body of the serpent gave way and its head plunged down over Bern, burrowing its fangs into his head and killing Bern.

Physical appearance Edit

Bern is described as having brown close-cropped hair and a shrewd, narrow face. He is described as often wearing a Gifter's uniform which consists of a black helmet that conceals all but his eyes and mouth, black boots, black leggings, and a scarlet tunic embroidered in gold with Chieftain Annoltis' crest, a large "O" formed by a sea serpent swallowing its own tail. He also wears a belt that holds his scorch club.

Personality Edit

Bern was a very arrogant and proud person. He took joy in displaying the power he had been given by his master, Chieftain Annoltis. Despite this he was very fearful of his master.

Abilities Edit

Trivia Edit

References Edit

See also Edit

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