Though the story of "Feyronn the Drewynn" exists in many different versions all over Santharia, Feyronn himself was an actual youth who lived several centuries ago (1410-1436), and despite his tender years was a murderous servant of depravity and vice. Feyronn the Drewynn is also often referred to as Feyronn Evil’s Hand, the Queprur-Cursed, Feyronn Fly-Footed or as the Undead Assassin. Our Compendium researchers have been able to discover some fragments of fact in the many fictions that have sprung up around his name, and we offer those here for your edification.
Image description. Potrait of the young adult Feyronn the Drewynn: hay-haired and broad-faced, with "no look of evil on him". Pic by Viresse.
The legends, with which our readers are undoubtedly familiar, usually tell how Queprur herself revived the mutilated body of the assassin, who was buried in the Seanian Swamps for his terrible crimes. She gave him a never-ending mission to haunt sinners, persecute wrong-doers, and take revenge for the souls that would never get their retaliation through earthly means. In its many variants this myth often explains the sudden and violent death of one or another wicked usurper in a particular region, and carries the threat that even the Goddess of Death will not accept an untimely disturbance of her order. In the wake of the wide-spread belief of this legend a tradition has arisen in many regions of Santharia: the corpse of any victim that died in an unsolved crime is given a silver coin (tucked under its tongue or slipped between crossed hands) to take on its way to pay Feyronn, the Undead Assassin. It is he who will take retaliation for their death when no one else on Caelereth is able - or willing - to undertake this task.
Though in tale and story Feyronn is given a swarthy, sly countenance and a
stooped, slinking body, our research suggests otherwise. He was slim and lithe,
undeniably, a fortuitous build for an assassin, but carried himself with an
athletic, almost eager, bounce in his step. His hair was a nondescript straw,
his wide brown eyes set in a youthfully round face; in fact his appearance was
deceptively innocent and unremarkable.
In the testimony of earlier victims (those robbed, not slain, obviously) there is ample reference to how his demeanor and youth had allayed any suspicions they might have had until it was too late. Court records of the time are sometimes fragmentary and casual, but we give some quotes that reinforce these impressions:
“He hadd noe look of
evil about hym, but in alle things didd apear as a swete youth who hadd
lost hys market moneys & when he ask’d for aid I & my husbande didd give
it most willingly...”
Biography. Childhood. Born 1410 in Karaina (a little village on the east coast of Manthria) to miev-bean farming folk, the fifth of six children, all boys except the last, a sickly girl. Feyronn’s mother was a thin-faced blond farmwife, with – apparently - ideas or ideals above her station, and to earn extra monies for the ‘better life’ she seemed to desire, took on numerous petty tasks for the village folk such as laundering, mending, child care, and even house chores beyond her own duties to her family. Even as she accepted yet another dung-spattered shirt or bag of unsorted beans, she was given to haughtily informing her clients that ‘this would be the very last time’ she would be available, as she would soon be a ‘wealthy lady’ who would never have to ‘soil her fingers with their dirt’ again. Feyronn seems to have spent most of his childhood trailing round after his brutish father and older brothers helping with the regular work of the bean farm and doing whatever chores his mother left undone in her pursuit of paying tasks, or caring for his always-ailing little sister.
Image description. A portrait of the yong Feyronn, which was found in the belongings of his mother, who died forgotten in pauperhood. Picture by Bard Judith.
Little else is known of his childhood save this one interesting suggestion.
Though no one of the town, including Feyronn, was ever directly accused, records
show that numerous cattle-mutilations and petty thefts were rife in the district
from about 1418 to 1422, at the time ascribed to bogles or other supernatural
manifestations. Could it be that even as a child Feyronn was driven by unnatural
passions and temptations?
First Crime. In 1422 Feyronn appears in the judicial ledgers for the first time at the tender age of twelve. The charge was “Malicious Wounding” – the victim, another youth, lost an eye. Further details are not available regarding the case, the verdict, or the penalty.
First Murder? In 1425 the death of Hergen Mayorson, reeve of the village of Karaina, is reported. Almost certainly Feyronn’s first murder, though obviously he was never convicted of it. At fifteen years of age he would have been considered a responsible male adult, have stood trial and been hung for it, so we must conclude that though he was considered the clear suspect, there was insufficient evidence to proceed.
Beginning of an Assassin's Career. During the years 1428-1433 Feyronn’s career of assassination begins. It has been suggested that he trained with the fabled Kasumarii of Cyhalloi but we can find no indications that he was ever off-continent for the length of time that this would require. He seems to have had a perverse genius of his own for dispatching his victims in ever-more ingenious and seemingly impossible ways, yet somehow invariably leaving his grotesque ‘calling-card’ at the scene; a great green housefly pierced with a silver pin in such a way as to leave it alive, fastened to some part of the corpse’s clothing like a macabre jewel.
A few of the more famous deaths attributed to Feyronn the Drewynn (for it is not improbable that he had his imitators, once his pierced-fly ‘signature’ became known) are given below:
The Poisoning of Lady Ateria si Ranosu
Prince Shianev’s mistress at the time, the Lady Ateria was influential in court politics and was attempting to sway public opinion in favour of her lover, from her ‘country estate’ in Cavthan. Shianev was considered to be something of a philosopher and philanthropist, and a dabbler in alchemic research. Scholars still argue over the eight or nine possible ‘employers’ in this poisoning case.
Defenestration of Duke Pragul du Virsine
The duke was not greatly mourned in the area over which he held sway, as his idea of ducal responsibilities and privileges were, respectively, to collect taxes and to deflower the available nubile maids of the district. However, his death by falling from the five-story window of his locked study into the manor courtyard could not have been achieved by any of the vengeful fathers, wronged lovers, or resentful servants...
Five young women, all of whom were light-haired and earned their living in various parts of the city Cavthan as needleworkers. Since there was no reason to regard this as a paid assassination, it was believed at the time that the murders were performed by a would-be death-dealer attempting to either blame Feyronn or catch his attention. However, given what we know of the Fly-Footed’s character and personality, he could very well have committed these crimes out of sheer maliciousness or insane reasoning...
Incineration of Shen and Leitiana Wavebysea
An older merchant couple who had recently been able to achieve a trade agreement with a newly-established Veltin shipping guild which would have brought them excellent profits. The two perished in the flaming ruins of their dwelling, somehow trapped inside their own bedroom, as servants testified. Their main competitor, Hessius the Obese of Carmalad, was strongly suspected and even brought to trial, but no firm conclusion could be reached and the case was dismissed by the judicial authorities. Feyronn boasted of the joint slaying later to various tavern wenches, but never implicated his employer.
Feyronn’s father dies in 1430 when one of his miev storehouses collapses on
him. The Drewynn is not suspected in any way, and in fact is reported halfway
across the continent at the time, under contract to Shul Bloatfesh of Naios.
Death of Feyronn's Mother. 1432 Feyronn’s mother dies in poverty, unable to keep the farm running on her own. The whereabouts of her other four sons are unknown, and Feyronn’s sister had already died earlier on in childhood (time unknown).
Addiction to Vaninen. During 1433-36 Feyronn is said to have become addicted to vaninen, a nightmarish narcotic from the swamps of Aldridge. If this is correct, this would explain his increasing carelessness as well as his willingness to accept ever more trivial sums to perform an assassination...
Inglorious Death. In 1436 Feyronn was found slain on the outskirts of New-Santhala. He was 26 years old when killed by Dardelan Ane, the husband of Nesshae Ane, who was seven months great with child at the time Feyronn murdered her for a single goldbard.
A Myth Begins. In the 1440s the legends of his revival as a servant of Queprur begin to arise around Feyronn the Drewynn and are told and retold to this day. - Despite its overly-dramatic and romanticized style, the sonnet “Death comes walking” by the poet Wikkerink is worth quoting from here, as it aptly represents the legendary view of Feyronn in more contemporary times:
Importance. Feyronn would be worthy of mention even only as an inspiration for various folktales or legends, and certainly as the figure behind a common popular belief in supernatural revenge. However, the deaths of both Lady Ateria si Ranosu (see above) and Duke Pragul du Virsines left significant power vacuums in their respective areas, and it has been argued quite competently by the esteemed scholar Arthéos Mirabilis Federkiel that the course of history in Santharia would have been altered by Lady Ranosu’s assassination alone.
Information provided by Bard Judith