Journeyman Summoner of SOLAR
You are on the trail of a wondrous thing. It might be a manifestation that appears only under a full moon or an eclipse, a spellwarped beast whose rampages lash into the world from another plane, a lich assassin who killed your master and stole relics meant for you, or a demon child who rides an albino serpent through the dreams of its hapless victims. You pledged yourself to this hunt, knowing full well that the nature of your quarry could lead you far across the world and perhaps even beyond it. You know that when you finally catch what you are chasing, a great trove of arcane knowledge will be yours for the taking.
Background Benefit: +2 to Dungeoneering
CHILDHOOD & EARLY LIFE
Malik spent most of his childhood in the old monastery-turned-orphanage of an insignificant, dull, and dingy mining town located somewhere in Bern. He had been there ever since he was a baby, with nary an idea who his parents were or why they left him. Almost as soon as he could walk, Malik found ways of sneaking out into town to explore and collect exotic treasures – exotic for an ignorant child, at least. When the matriarchs’ backs were turned, he would show off his new additions to the other orphans; it was like a game to him. Malik played this game for about eight years until, one day; he finally found something of real value. He didn’t realize it at first, but it was a grimoire for novice mages. This he did not share with the others and, instead, began studying the book in secret. The arcane writings captivated him as Malik tried his very best to decipher them. After many months of intense study, even with his sharp mind, he could only understand about a quarter of the book. Nevertheless, it was enough for him to learn Mage Hand, Prestidigitation, Light, and Ghost Sound. The young orphan was quite proud of himself, and he continued practicing magic; now he had something way better than trinkets to show the others.
When you turned sixteen, the orphanage relieved you of its care. Your options included: joining an army, joining a church, becoming a hermit, or living by your wits. Malik chose the last option, and became a drifter who earned his keep by dazzling strangers with his magic tricks. His grimoire was always by his side, and he continued to study it; he was getting better and, by this time, could cast Magic Missile. The life of a wanderer suited him well enough, but deep down inside, he wanted something more…
DAYS OF SOLAR
Malik was in the city of Greensden, performing his usual tricks to a crowd of commoners, when he was spotted by a Magister named Emmanuel Tudor. The man confronted him and was extremely impressed that he had taught himself magic from such an old, outdated book. This fateful meeting prompted his acceptance into the Scared Order of Loquacious Arcane Rituals as Apprentice, Second Class. SOLAR, as it was called, was an exclusive guild devoted to training young, aspiring mages. It was not technically a school and was, until now; only open to the most privileged Surnians. Being a lowly peasant, this earned him much scorn from his peers and some of the Magisters. Not everyone looked down on him, however. Magister Tudor, for example, personally oversaw Malik’s arcane training for the next four years. In addition to his normal arcane studies, he enjoyed spending some of his free time in the Grand Archive. When he became Apprentice, First Class, he took up summoning and eventually mastered Astral Wasp, Summon Fire Warrior, and Wizard’s Fury.
At age 22, Malik had become a Journeyman Summoner, and was ready to finally work for the guild. Fate, unfortunately, had other plans for him. One month later, the 150-year old Magister Tudor fell ill and was soon on his deathbed. Magic can do almost anything, except save one from the consequences of old age. Emmanuel Tudor passed away, creating a power vacuum in the guild council. The Magisters, who despised Malik for his inferior blood, took immediate advantage of the situation to lobby for his removal. A motion was passed (7 to 4) to revoke his SOLAR membership, citing various loopholes, technicalities, and false accusations of betraying guild secrets to outsiders. At first, the disenfranchised young mage was furious and challenged their ruling to little effect. One of the Magisters, who was against him, said the following words to scoff him, “Perhaps you can show us the error of our ways by finding the Chalice of Aquitaine .” The indignant and indomitable Malik replied, “Perhaps I will!”
MISCELLANEOUS SIDE NOTES: DEATH EXPERIENCE
Malik’s head felt like it had been split open by three sledgehammers as he stared wide-eyed at the enigma before him. Standing before him were seven large statues and one partially damaged statue lying on the ground (whose head is broken). The only other pronounced feature of these mysterious surroundings was the strange and flat landscape. It was vast, but not infinite, with each horizon marked by an impenetrable darkness. There were no apparent entrances or exits anywhere. What was even more bizarre was how this landscape was subdivided into small grids of identical dimensions. The eight statues themselves sat perfectly upon their own individual grids. Malik was confused, and he desperately tried to remember how he got to this place (in spite of his terrible migraine). His memories were all a blur, but there was definitely something familiar here; he could almost feel it. As he stared harder at the statues, some of them started to remind him of… as if they were effigies of people he knew. That’s right—one them kind of reminded him of Alezar (in a dramatic pose), and yet kind of didn’t look like him. “NO, I’m SURE it’s Alezar”, Malik thought, “and that’s Lynn, Araliss, and Aodhgagan… We were all fighting a bunch of crazies inside some temple of Moradin and… ” “I was… I was…”
“YOU WERE SPLATTERED”, replied a disembodied voice. A very startled Malik spun around to locate the source of that voice. It belonged to a strange-looking, finely-dressed humanoid who was not there a second ago. He tipped his hat to the young mage and introduced himself as Cordialious Possible. He wore a gold mask, which shrouded his real face, and black formal wear.
Malik: “Who the hell are you?!”
Cordialious: “Geez, I just told you. Keep up.”
Malik: “No, that’s not what I meant… uh… what are you?”
Cordialious: “I am a proprietor, instigator, initiator, mediator, innovator, provocateur, or whatever is necessary at any given time.”
Malik: “Riiiight. You’re going to have to be more vague. Also, provocateur ends in ‘eur’ not ‘or’.”
Cordialious: “Don’t be a smartass. How’s your head?”
Malik: “Hurts like a bitch. Where am I?
Cordialious: “You know… no one’s actually ever given this place a name. But if you had to call it something, then Metaverse would be appropriate. Only those with a very strong sense of self make it to this realm.”
Malik: “Am I dead? Is this the afterlife?”
Cordialious: “YES to your first question, and NO to your second.” Everything here in the Metaverse is an analog for the world of the living. For example, you have already figured out that some of those statues over there are avatars of your companions.”
Malik: “Then those other statues are the monsters we were fighting the moment right before I died. OK, suppose I buy any of this… This isn’t the whole world, only the Temple of Moradin.”
Cordialious: “Correct. We are inside a single instance of the Metaverse, which is like a snapshot of a specific place and time that is updated at regular intervals. It is a necessary simplification because the full scope of this realm is incomprehensible to mortals like you.”
Malik: “So why am I here…”
Cordialious: “Because you are a very special individual, and I have a business proposal for you.”
Malik: “PFFT… NOT INTERESTED.”
Cordialious: “Now now, no need to be so hasty… hear me out. As I said before, only those with a strong sense of self find their way here—a much rarer occurrence than you might think. Furthermore, individuals who enter the Metaverse can never leave through normal ascension, transmigration, or resurrection means.”
Malik: “You mean I’m stuck here?!”
Cordialious: “Potentially, but there is a way around such inconvenient restrictions… Such a method, I would be happy to prescribe to a willing participant?”
Malik: Sigh “Fine. I’m listening…”
Cordialious: “Excellent! Now for just three easy payments, you will be able to return to your mortal coil once your friends perform the Raise Dead ritual upon your deceased husk. And as a special one-time offer just for you, we will include a free self enhancement gift package, which will increase future combat survivability and…”
Malik: “Hold on a nanosecond… what kind of payments?”
(TO BE CONTINUED…)