This was an entirely unexpected origin story. Like the Brandon Thighmaster tale, this is the origin story of Silas Kane, paladin of the Authors and Dragons podcast as played by Rick Gualtieri. I wasn’t expecting to feel sorry for the most entirely unlikable zealot of the god Torag… or presumably for the sake of copyright dodging – Twareg.
The story itself starts banally enough in modern times, with some museum grunts translating lost scrolls in a bid to further their careers. They have just translated a tale penned by Theoden Grimstrike, demigod and servant of Twareg. To their dismay, it’s a warning about “the most fucking awful paladin I have ever had the displeasure of knowing”.
For those unfamiliar with the podcast, Gualtieri plays Silas Kane perfectly. Adhering to his backstory and zealotry for his god (Praise Torag!), often to the detriment of the party and himself. But all props to him, damned if he doesn’t deviate from getting in character.
Kane grew on me, slowly, like a rash or fungus, and is now one of my favourite characters on the podcast. Even so, he isn’t meant to be at all likable, as this story proves. But, alas, he is a victim of his upbringing at the hands of an insane splinter sect of Twareg worshipers of the Shrine of the Shattered Hammer. Abused, neglected, and beaten constantly since they found him as a baby, they raised him to be a branch between dwarven and humans in an effort to gain more followers.
But, of course, they built the perfect weapon of their own destruction. Released upon the world and unable to imagine any scenario where Twareg worship isn’t the answer to all of life’s problems, Kane stumbles upon a group of slavers headed toward Kel – the city of tears.
Gualtieri delivers a masterful story, and you can’t help but love the stupid paladin. Amazingly, his character is even more of a zealot than played in the podcast, which I can’t help but find hilarious.
Much like I did with the first A&D origin story by Steve Wetherell, I had a hard time with Silas Kane voiced by anyone but Rick Gualtieri. Fortunately, Matt Haynes still delivers a powerful narration of this story. I think what helped was it was told from Grimstrike’s perspective rather than Kane’s, much like the first origin book in the series.
All up, a fantastic short story which, at around 3 1/2 hours, is easy to knock through in one sitting.