I have come to realize a few things thus far in my life. One, Magic is neither good nor evil, it is just a tool used by good or evil hands and minds. Two, humanoids almost always follow the same rule as magic since ones’ race does not determine ones’ destiny, there is both good and evil to be had amongst all races of Oerth. And three, life is about the journey not the destination. Deep philosophy I know, but what else is one to do three month plus voyage to a new island. Thus far, those of us who have been commissioned to come explore this new land have kept to themselves. This has given me time to contemplate on the strange set of events which have lead me to this point on my journey. So here I am on a boat to a strange new land. Seeking the knowledge to the origin of the Dwarves and maybe even my father and the lost lords of Lendore. It is strange how life can be so full of choices and pathways and yet seem to conspire to create a convergence where it all connects together. In many ways, I feel I was always meant to end up on this ship or at least meant to end up in Auma. I suppose I have never really put it all together until now. Perhaps I just never had all this time to ponder and pontificate…
It was pretty obvious even as a child I was different. Some half-humans as we are called by the elves can hide what they are from their playmates while others of us cannot. It was not always like it is today on Lendore. Humans and elves used to work together when the Council of Five was in power. But even then, we half breeds where not looked upon with fondness. In my case it was even worse. Though the flames in my hair were harmless, the ones from my skin were not always so. And so, the others did not even call me half-human, I was obviously something else. But all the taunts and jeers did not change what I actually was, the son of an noble elven mother and a intelligent but humble human father, with a little something else mixed in somewhere along the way. My parents were good hard working people. My father worked as a scribe for the regent lord in Restenford. He was a polygot and would come home and teach me words and phrases he had picked up from various visitors from a plethora of races. My mother was an elven diplomat from a great house assigned to the Council of Seven, the governing body of the other races on Lendore, and was appointed to her position by the Council of Five itself. As was custom, I took on my mothers’ family name, Vinyr, Stormbringer in the human tongue and being highborn, I received the typical training all noble elves receive in the Elven Curve Blade and the art of magic. That I had a talent and was much more suited for magic was unquestioned.
Even from an early age I could make flames dance, move, ebb, and flow to my bidding. Therefore, I was sent to the High Wizards Tower to hone my growing skill. It was there I gained my given name Keriatlian which translates to, Master of Spellfire. I sometimes wonder if it was meant as a slight to my obviously other worldly heritage or if it was truly because of my skill, but either way, I loved it. My study there was not always easy. I was a natural linguist and I could speak several by the time I finished there without even a hint of an accent. But when it came to the real reason I was there, I was always torn between the use of arcane runes and symbols which one studies for hours to master a spell or just feeling the power rise from within and then releasing it into the world. Even though I worked extremely hard to live up to my family name, I was too at war within myself over the two styles of magic that I was neither as successful as the true magi I studied with nor the pure sorcerers in the tower. I was something in between and so although I studied the magic, it also seemed to flow from within me and I could master neither. When it seemed I could not progress further in either field, the true master stepped in to help me harness my power.
Darhal Firecloak was a former hero of the elven people and a deity under a different name, Tilvenar servant of Rillifane, who after falling out of favor with the elven pantheon, the Seldarine, over the misuse of an artifact, changed his name has gained enough of a following that he has regained some of his former influence. In spite of, or perhaps because of his new found following he is still an outcast himself from the Seldarine. His mastery of both Earth and Fire magic lead him to his alliance with deities of other races such as Dumathoin of the Dwarves or Urogalan of the Halflings. An alliance of these gods of the forge and earth has not won him any inroads back into the Seldarine’s good graces. Perhaps because of this torn between two worlds aspect, I found myself drawn to his worship and sought out the Firecloaks, his high priests, to see if I could learn more of him. It was in this search that I ran across a secret group of mages dedicated to the study of fire magic, the Pyrogeans. Elves have no problem with battle magic and often even weave its use with that of the sword in some form or another. But to use Fire and Earth magic to ifs full destructive potential was looked down upon to say the least. Therefore, these Pyrogeans were being trained by a great power in secret that turned out to be none other than Darhal himself! He saw a great potential in me and showed me my heritage was a blessing and not a curse. He showed me how to combine the study of magic with the power I had within to great effect and how to enhance both with my own personal connection to the fires of my ancestors. And so as I spent time studying with him, I began to slip in my studies at the academy until I was finally asked to leave. None there were sad to see me go and it was only a small blight on my family name since it was expected that I would not amount to much given my human tainted blood. I never told my father of my next plans since he would not much understand or care what I wanted to do next but my mother new the truth. When I told her what had happened and why she smiled at me knowingly and said, “the time I was shown has come.” She went on to say she now had a secret mission of her own to attend and told me this was to be my own “testing.” This proved what I had long suspected that she herself was one of The People. I will never forget her next words, “All is as I have been shown and the time has come for me to prepare. You my son have a great destiny and through you, many secrets will be revealed, go and prepare yourself for what is to come with your new master.” Consequently, I left home that day and began my full time studies with Darahl. For once I felt accepted and at home. But alas, it was not my fate to fit in. The drawback to tapping into the latent powers of my heritage, is that by doing so I triggered the nightmares.
At first I would just wake up in a cold sweat with very real memories that I had done something horrible. Try as I might I could not figure out what it was I had done wrong and to whom I had done it. This went on for some time and then about two years into my training, I awoke to the sounds of screams and flame. The fire was horrible. The dorm was engulfed in flames which should never have been the possible given all the protective spells that were in place. In a school where most wielders flung fire spells all day, protections are in place to prevent just such a thing. Something must have been continually feeding a great fire and it turns out that that something was me. I had been having a dream where I was burning down the High Wizards Tower to get back at all of those who laughed at me for my failings in school, or who made fun of my human father, traitorous mother, or questionable heritage. I relished the screams of the dying and the power I felt as the flames did my bidding and then I woke up to my living nightmare. To my everlasting shame I killed ten people that night that could not escape the inferno. Only my master ever knew it was I who had caused the fire and he forbade me to speak of it to anyone, but if others did not know, they suspected. Only a few of my fellow students ever spoke to me again. I still have nightmares about that night and others that are as intense but through Darahls help I have been able to control having my dreams become reality. In a further effort to prevent this from ever happening again, I became obsessed with finding out more about my ancestry and how spells themselves work. Somewhere in my families past someone must have come in contact with some planar being of fire and from what I can tell it was a Peri which of course makes me an Emberkin. I believe that is why my magic acts the way it does and why it can so easily be enhanced by fire and why the sins of my forbearers find their way into my dreams. Unfortunately, I was not given the chance to delve to deeply into my ancestry and their shortcomings because in the middle of this research, came the time of which I believe my mother was preparing for, the purge.
I have heard others speak of what happened over those three days. The stories are a hollow fantasy to the reality. Yes for humans and most other races it was a bloodless forced exile. But it was different for the elves who were a bit further from the center of elven society. Darahls followers where amongst these and the hardest hit. Being a fringe member of the Seldrahine, many of his worshipers where half-elven but there were some of the dwarfs, halfings, and humans on the island as well. Many of these were also either secretly Firecloaks, Pyrogean Wizards, or just venerated Darahl because they were blacksmiths, armorsmiths, or weaponsmiths. But the true elves among us where slaughtered without remorse or pity. Dahrahl himself must have known this was coming because he had not been seen at the school in months and so was not there for the massacre. I was not either as I was visiting my mother at her request when the purge began, she must have known what was coming and called me there to keep me safe knowing I would have not stood by as those around me were slaughtered. So when the Council of Five was finally cast out by the clerics of Sehanine who had decided it was time to cleanse the island and make it their high elven holy ground free of non-elven influences, these clerics naturally started with the worshipers of Dahrahl and my only friends where killed or cast off the island, and I could do nothing.
In the years that followed life was rough on the half-humans who were allowed to stay and the full humans who were kept on Lendore as menial laborers. Those that remained were not even allowed to speak in public unless directly addressed by a full elf. I asked my mother once why Sehanine would want this and all she would say was that it was not for us to know the minds of the gods. I have however pieced together since then that the island was being prepared to receive the Moon Arch permanently! She did tell me though before I left that it was with her aide and the help of my father that the Council was able to escape. All she knew was that they had headed east or at least part of them had. I was allowed to stay because of my mothers place as one of The People and for awhile this was good enough because though I was not accepted I could secretly help some of the humans and other half-elves left there and burn a few Sehaninites in the process. But this all changed a few months ago.
I had not seen or talked with Darahl to ask him why he had forsaken us since those long months preceding the purge and there were no clerics left on the island I could find to commune with him on my behalf. So it was as a surprise that he appeared to me in one of my festering nightmares and gave me a task to perform. As I moved through the haze of my dream I made no secret that I was bitter and let him know in no uncertain terms that I was finished with him. But he ignored my venom and told me I was to leave the isles and make my way to a town called Dullstrand. There I would sign on to help explore a new land. As I rebuffed him and asked him why I would do this for him, he said to me almost the same words my mother spoke all those years ago. That things were in motion beyond even his powers and that I had a destiny to fulfill that would one day quench the fires of my burning soul. He said that I would uncover secrets in this new land that would help one of his allies, Dumathoin. I huffed that it was ironic he would need me to do this since Dumathoin is the keeper of secrets under the mountain and was capable of doing it himself. Then he scolded with words that still stick with me. “I struck a bargain with your mother that you would be mine and in so doing I would prepare you for your destiny, grow up and wine not you petulant child, there are things going on far beyond your understanding. But I promise this”, he went on in a more soothing tone, “in fulfilling your task you will also find out more about what happened to your father and the lost Council. In doing these things you can help restore Lendore to the place it was before, bring honor to your mother, and in the process further my influence in the world.” Given all that, and still feeling the sting of the rebuke, I said I would gladly do so.
And so, I stowed away on an elven supply ship headed for one of the secret ports along the Hestmark Highlands. From there, I made my way down the coast until I reached Dullstrand. I eagerly signed the charter that gave me the right and the commission to explore this strange new land of Auma. I hope that in so doing I can, somehow, someway, do something that will purge my soul of the guilt I feel over that fateful fiery night, the shame I feel about my fallen ancestor, or the blame I place upon myself for not doing more to help my colleagues. Finally I hope to find a way to repay my master for accepting and teaching me as I am and helping shape who I will be. Oh yes, I almost forgot, and to expand the glory of Dullstrand, hurray!…