Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Interlude: Morey's Tale

Morey was born a sickly lad. Too weak for the rigors of farm work, he spent his early years helping his mother in the kitchen. Often confined to his bed, he devoured books brought to his Westhold town by passing merchants and tinkers. He dreamed of being a great magus of old like Torvanol or Karus the Black.
When he finally grew out of illness, he was a tall gangly youth, who traded the confines of bed for the vast hills of his father's sheep herds. There, he learned the use of the sling. He could nail a wolf's skull from 100 paces, and often did.
One dismal, rainy afternoon, huddled in his cloak to escape the wet, Morey heard the sheep bleating in terror. This time, it was wolves again. But wolves with goblin riders. Two of them. They hadn't noticed Morey in the dark afternoon rain. They were gleefully massacring sheep, almost it seemed, for fun. Morey's first slingstone knocked the lead wolf dead.
The other turned and rode right at Morey. He fumbled in his sack where he kept the rounded sling stones. The bag was empty! There was a hole in the bottom. The goblin was almost on him, howling with anticipation. Morey flung his arms up to block the blow he new would kill him. It was then the goblin and wolf burst into flames before his eyes. His arms still crackled with eldritch fire.
Terrified, the other goblin took off as fast as he could.
Weeks later, standing before the council of elders, including Sir Fenwick, an old adventurer of some reknown, Morey was proclaimed a right and true magic user, bonded to Empire through sacred oath and sworn to never raise a hand against it. There was not enough money to send him to University for proper training, so as many a poor Hedge Wizard before him, he would gain his training on the road. His mother made him a cloak. She didn't have enough material for a solid color so half of one color, half of the other.
Sir Fenwick himself gave Morey the true conical hat of a wizard. Though, in truth, it looked like he found it in a rubbish bin. It was also Sir Fenwick who pointed towards Wall. The last place in the world left, he said, for true adventure.
Months later, battered by the road and weather, he arrived in Wall. An unimpressive place as he ever saw. That was, until he the Wall itself, dominating the horizon from east to west.
He found a small tavern, the Lazy Troll, and a group of adventurers in need of a wizard's powers. They would leave the next morning. What an adventure! to be in the company of true fighters. Morey had seen road wardens and militia aplenty on the way here, but not true sword carrying warriors for hire.
His four companions were tight lipped about their destination, spies they said, where everywhere. Outside the Wall, they followed a road in terrible disrepair. Occasionally, Morcar, their scout would dismount and look at hoof prints on the road. They passed the largest oak he had ever seen, alone in a filed of stumps. They camped overnight without a fire despite the cold, and the others seemed on edge, watching the horizon. The next morning was full of reading tracks and crossing a great bridge where he swore he heard off tune singing.
The next day found them in steep hills, climbing up and up. They were moving quickly now, apparently close to something. But in a small ravine, they were attacked.
Black arrows rained down on them. Morey's own mount went down quickly, along with one of his companions. Morcar was screaming at the unseen attackers in a strange, gutteral tongue. That's when a shaft pierced his throat and silenced him.
Morey ran blindly. The sounds of battle receded, but his first taste of combat had been more than he bargained for, so on he went until he found a cave.

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