(For character sheet go to Zanne)
Zanne is the son of tradesman who was scrupulously honest, but desperately poor. Zanne was bright & energetic child, and was sent to Temple of Erathis at the death of beautiful mother. At the time, though it was terrible for his father to lose the son, Zanne was told it was his mother’s last wish for son to be elevated out of cycle of poverty. He remembers well the day the priest of Erathis came to take him from his father, and his father’s deep pain at letting him go. As a young acolyte he was fascinated by schooling and soon forgot his humble beginnings. However, during his teenage years his father sickened, and at his deathbed he bitterly demanded that his son find practical use for schooling, that he remember where he came from – Zanne was unable to find a reason for his father’s bitterness at this point. Soon after his father’s death, Zanne became a full priest, and in honouring his father’s last wishes, had a great idealistic vision that the Temple could bring an end to poverty. With great youthful energy, he worked hard in soup kitchens, in hospices, etc; pouring his whole being into charity.
But, after nearly a decade, for all the work put in, nothing in the society changed: there was no real legislation for social reform, not even much advocacy within the court. Zanne’s questions to superiors in the Temple received a disproportionately angry response. He was even threatened with closure of his pet charitable programs if he rocked the boat any more. Then suddenly, after a month of confusion and doubt over position, he was suddenly sponsored to a higher rank in the Temple by a group of those who preach poverty and charity. This new rank allows him to attend the Temple Forum seeing for the first time how much of Temple business is politics, how whole factions of the high ups are really just animals of the ruling class. But Zanne has dreams of power, of finally acheiving his goals, and is told by his sponsor faction how important he can be, how his devotion can further their cause. This faction sets Zanne to the task of championing the reform argument, telling him his youthful energy might be enough to force the issue through. Obligingly (when has he been anything else?) Zanne pitches in to the fight for a while, though each push forward seems to slide them back at the same time. Finally, the Temple ruling council meets and deliver a final judgement: the reform is crushed with no opposition. Zanne blames one man in particular for this, a man who, now he thinks about it, has been in his life since his beginning in the temple – in fact he was the priest who took him from his father’s home. Throughout the years, this man, Caehl, has become a powerful figure and his control of the council has been a poorly kept secret for some time. Zanne is furious and sets about to discover more about this Caehl and his motives.
Worse, when he asks sponsors for answers, he discovers that the sponsorship to higher rank was a political move by ‘allies’; who were guided by Caehl, to set Zanne up as a straw dog. Zanne’s role was to represent a doomed hard line proposition so that ‘his’ faction may fall back to weaker stances that at least allow some charitable projects to continue. Disillusioned, alienated and increasingly obsessed with Caehl and his motives, Zanne begins to shadow the older man, to ask questions and watch. Eventually, this results in a confrontation, which has none of the effect Zanne had hoped. Caehl simply laughs at the young man, now in his late 20s, and tells him he must learn the ways of the real world, to not be as gulliable and stupid as his father.
Entirely disillusioned by Erathis, Zanne spends many months in a deep depression. Eventually, he is approached by a man who tells him his problem is that he does not understand the secrets that rule the world. Seduced by the power of secrets which have so far defeated him, by the reality which now clearly exists to him – the world is layers within layers, not all of which are good for us to know, Zanne beings to meet with this man and others in secret, within the temple. He learns of their god, Vecna, a powerful god who understands the importance of veils, in whom Zanne sees the wisdom he has lacked throughout his life, and whose lack has brought him to this sorry state. He becomes a secret cultist of Vecna, within the walls of the Temple of Erathis.
It is on a mission across town for the cult that Zanne happens across the worker’s riot in town. His old sympathies for the poor, the downtrodden, are awakened and he cannot help himself. He gets involved, begins to heal the wounded, support the fighters in their battle against the authorities. Unsurprisingly, he is swept up with the offenders and taken to jail.
Zanne knows he is in trouble. His actions are inexcusable to the Temple of Erathis and moreover by being involved, coming to anyone’s attention, especially whilst on secret business, Zanne has risked the ire of the cult of Vecna. Right now, Zanne has absolutely no one to turn to, and no idea what to do next.