Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Gray Wanderer - The Grand Bazaar of Ethra VanDalia

Gray Wanderer
9 x 12 - Pencil on paper 
© 2014 Christopher Burdett

            The Gray Wanderer remains one of the biggest mysteries of the Bazaar. There are many theories as to what the Gray Wander is and to why it only appears at night in the oldest parts of the Bazaar. There has yet to be any substantial evidence to prove these theories, let alone give any definitive insight into its origins. Confirmed sightings of the Gray Wanderer date back at least fifteen hundred years. There is anecdotal evidence contained in the Books of Jungli that would suggest that the Gray Wanderer might be as old as the Bazaar itself.

The Vault of Credulity and Vault of Advertence state that the Gray Wanderer is a ghost or similar malevolent spirit, but this does not explain many of the eyewitness accounts regarding its actions and behaviors. There are a great many records in Grgur’s Tome of Peculiar Events and Grgur’s Tome of Fugacious Events of the Gray Wanderer simply wandering along streets seeming to browse the storefronts. The Gray Wanderer is said to inspect the various goods for sale, almost as if it is trying to understand the items or ascertain their purposes. This is not the general behavior of the ghost population of the Bazaar. The physical appearance described in the witness statements also does not align with any ghost or specter on record.

Comparing the descriptions from Quirmiere’s Compendium of Beasts, the Ouroboros Chronicles, and numerous eyewitness accounts from the past several hundred years, the Gray Wanderer is described as being in the range of eight to ten standard Bazaar cubits in height. It has pale tentacles upon its in face, hands, and feet which lead some to believe that its entire body is covered in tentacles. Its eyes have been described as being a brilliant white, a dull red-orange of a dying fire, and even a swallowing black that is darker than the deepest cave. The Gray Wanderer is cloaked and shrouded in many layers of well-worn gray fabric and leather, which is generally believed where the Wanderer obtained its name. It carries a lamp of magickal or animal in nature and consorts with a bird, or similar creature, that never leaves the Gray Wanderer’s shoulder. All about its body are many talismans, bobbles, and chains made of pewter or similar metal, and when combined with its awkward gait gives it a singular sound as it walks.

The Malison Achieves described the approach of the Gray Wanderer as being heralded with the chimes of your own coffin nails. I find this description overly dramatic and plays into the fears of the Gray Wanderer. While it is true the Gray Wanderer has killed, I have found in all but one or two instances that those killed were the first to strike. Stranger still, in most situations when the Gray Wanderer has slain an attacker it has returned life to the dead attacker. If restoring life to the deceased was not enough, the Gray Wander often cures any disease and illness that the individual had in life. These actions and abilities go well beyond that of any ghost or specter cataloged. There are reports in the Ouroboros Chronicles of the Gray Wanderer appearing and vanishing into thin air, but this alone should not be used to conclude that the Gray Wander is merely a ghost.

My findings rule out the Gray Wanderer being a ghost and suggest that we are dealing with something that is unique, extremely powerful, and vastly older than previously imagined.

Agatha Luculent Habile, Acolyte of the Impure Husk
(Research submission)

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