The Realm of Eärwa
White haired, white beard, insatiably curious. This nearly 4 foot gnome is friendly, intelligent and, did I mention, curious? It may be the death of him.
While he and his friend Zay were facing down half a Quad, he took a nasty shot to the face. He tried to lean out of range of the fighter’s longsword, but just before it hit he knew it was gonna be bad. The steel cut into his forehead, down through his eyebrow, luckily skipping off the ridge of his skull and biting back in again on his cheek, continuing off the edge of his jaw.
The gash may be a flesh wound, but one might sware that blade cut into his soul. His normally friendly nature has withdrawn, his quick wit replaced with a shorter fuse and less tolerance. Instead of his normally talkative self, he often sits alone rolling a greenish black ball of fire back and forth over his knuckles.
“Rianton, you will take the little runt? He’s barely clinging to life.” Farmer Milton asked as he scratched his side for the umpteenth time in their brief conversation. The part=time militia man chafed in his ill-fitting chain shirt.
“Yes, yes. Put him on the rug by the hearth, please.” The old wizard moved slowly, his staff rasping against the wooden planks of the roomy shack. Mumbling to no one in particular, Rianton carried on, “sagefern, southmoss, whittlereed, oakbeard and essence of starfish. Bring to a boil, let stand ’til warm, add 2 ground goodberries and drink entire broth immediately. I still remember the mixture, Hehe.” Laughing to himself, eyebrows rising and falling in unison with each chuckle, he smiled to himself.
The nervous cough brought him back from somewhere in the past. "May I help you…umm…Farmer Milton? How may I be of service to you sir?
“We…brought you…” he broke off, mouth agape.
“Oh yes, you may go now. Thank you.”
As the pair of ragtag guardsmen turned to leave the cabin, Milton’s son said to his dad, "tha’ lil runt wone las’ da night, Dah. Whatchu wan wager?
“Come along, son.”
E’mryk remembers the scene like it just happened. His parents moved from a village over the mountains, it is surmised, to avoid the Empire, again surmising. They had been waylaid by highwaymen outside Walden and didn’t survive the encounter. All three had been taken back to Walden to be buried in a proper grave. No one expected the half-starved young gnome to pull through…except the old wizard charged with his care.
Later that year…
“Master Rianton,” squeaked the young gnome.
“Stop! What is the protocol, Canton E’mryk?”
The gnome skidded to a halt and sighed in resignation. “Arcanum, Bric’nact, Carpegium, D’thys, …” he droned on until reaching the forty-ninth rune. By that time he’d forgotten what it was he so urgently needed to tell his mentor.
The following year…
“Canton E’mryk, I fully believe you will one day complete your studies and no longer have need of me. Until that day comes, you must persevere in your duties as a student of magic.”
“But I haven’t made a single spark, not a sound, nor mended the hole in the bottom of my shoe. How am to ever learn magic?” E’mryk asked in a crestfallen state.
“The pursuit of magic can be a long chase, my little canton. Do not lose faith in yourself. I sense the magic building inside you. Your powers are growing and soon you will wrought such wondrous works. I sense a rising in you like no other student. Your potential for the art is immense.
The very next day…
“Master, are you in the root cellar?
“Yes.” Came the distracted reply.
“Master, I am so sorry! I don’t know what happened. I never once uttered aloud the rune for fire, but as I went to put another log onto the fire…I thought it. I’m so, so sorry, master. I reached for the log and greenish flames erupted from my hands and struck the logs…and the floor…and the wall…and the door frame…and”
“That’s wonderful, canton. So you thought of the rune and the fire erupted from you without verbal evocation? That is truly amazing! You will have to demonstrate.”
A moment later…
“The fire is out, canton?