Character type: Harper
Rank: Journeyman
Age: 63
Gender: Male
Sexual Preference: Homosexual

Basic Information

Bersiam, average in height and always given to slenderness, has only gotten thinner in his advancing turns. His dark hair has gone entirely grey, his olive complexion no longer smooth, and he’s still adjusting to his fancy new spectacles and doesn’t always wear them. He is not a loud or hyperactive man, but he is very social in a more understated way, and his natural balance of outgoing friendliness with sensibility has served him well his entire life. He was popular at his previous postings, and was one of the Bitran Lord Holder’s favored harpers, and the same charismatic nature that made people think highly of him helped to shield him from the suspicion and criticism that Thatch faced off and on through the turns. It also helped that Bersiam was married… though his wife realized somewhere along the way that he was hopelessly gay. Once the children were grown and out of the house, she quietly packed up and moved out. Though she has never breathed a word of the truth to anyone — she still thinks of him fondly — she wasn’t willing to sacrifice herself to maintain his fiction. Their children have since cut Bersiam off completely.

Bersiam’s symptoms started out small enough, easily laughed off as the foibles of age coming on. At first it was a forgotten item or task here, a moment of confusion there. Eventually, though, the episodes became more frequent, and lasted longer, and he had to consult the healers. Their diagnosis was a wasting brain disease — the sort of thing that happened sometimes to the elderly, or the sick, though for Bersiam the onset was unusually early. Yes, it would get worse. No, there was nothing anyone could do. Faced with something worse than his own mortality, Bersiam found himself unwilling to live out of the rest of his precious days in shame and denial. He confessed his long-withheld feelings to Thatch, which eventually led them to two decisions: they’d pursue a relationship, and they’d try to get an assignment somewhere where they could do so without fear and judgment.


Bersiam is an excellent teacher, mediator, and lawyer, a talented gitarist, and a passable tenor. On his bad days, he loses a lot of the sharp memory and reasoning that enable him to mediate or barrister, but his fingers never seem to forget how to play, so he often resorts to gitar-playing when he’s confused about what else he’s supposed to be doing.

Ista’s climate, and the proximity of the sea, is comforting to him… but may also enhance his confusion and short-term memory loss sometimes, as he was born and raised at Southern Boll.

He misses his children terribly, and sometimes on the rare really bad days he has moments where he forgets that they’re grown adults who hate him — he just thinks they’re missing, and gets increasingly upset if no one intervenes and he's allowed to search for them without success. Then when he comes back to himself and remembers the truth, he grieves through the rejection again as if it’s brand new.

He’s trying very hard to get Thatch to socialize and make friends at Ista. He knows Thatch will still be sharp long after his own mind is gone, and will still be healthy long after he’s finally passed away, and he also knows that Thatch isn’t ready to face that reality alone. Bersiam wants him to have friends and loved ones to support him when the time comes.

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