A world weary warmage
Attacks:Heavy Mace +2(1d8+2)
Saves: Fort:+1, Ref:+0, Will:+3
Abilities: Str 15, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 17, Wis 12, Cha 18
Skills: Concentration +5, Intimidate +8, Knowledge (Arcana) +7, Knowledge (Local) +7, Profession (Soldier) +3, Spellcraft +7
Feats:Spell Focus (Evocation), Combat Casting
Equipment:Backpack, Bedroll, Potion Cure Light Wounds, Heavy Mace, 3x Trail rations, Light Wooden Shield, Studded Leather armor, Tent, Torch, Spell Component Pouch, Flint & Steel, Waterskin
Spells per Day: 6 Level 0, 4 Level 1
“Gentlemen! Ladies! Allow me a moment’s peace to enlighten you. The lands and humans of the north are not as you imagine. It is a wild, barren land, composed of jagged mountains and rocky soil. I’ve spent time amongst them, beyond the walls of our fair elven port, and have seen the devastation wrought by the near endless wars. It is a land lorded over by petty barons and meager fiefdoms, all vying for control of the golden circuit, that infamous route which allows goods to pass between the continents. It is a land populated by hard, proud, stubborn people, made strong by the long, harsh winters and short, brutal summers. They are tall and muscular, adorned with all manner of body art, devotions to their dark uncaring gods. Let not their appearance disarm you, for they are both proud and savvy, and many are merchants beyond compare. Within the confines of their scattered cities can be found goods from all corners of the earth; each item bought or sold with skill and grace. However, beyond the glow of the golden circuit villagers eke out a miserable existence, scratching what they can from the soil and caring little about the outside world – until it finds them. And find them it does, for wars here are long and frequent, claiming thousands before finished. Along my travels, I met a young man who told me of one such conflict, a story which I fear shall stay with me for many years to come.”
“We had been at sail for perhaps three days before I first noticed him. I spent most of my time on the deck of the small galley, composing poetry or admiring the coastline the small ship hugged. He was tall, standing some 6 ft, athletic and young, no more than 25 years old. His face and head were devoid of hair, and he had a haunted look behind his vivid green eyes. He wore a thick wool cloak lined with fur, over a studded leather breastplate and leggings. What appeared to be a scorched mace hung loosely from a thong of leather attached to his belt. His left arm was adorned in graceful, spiraling tattoos, perhaps a devotion of some form. He walked with an air of determination, and when he spoke, which was rarely, his voice was as cold as the air around us.”
“Over the following days I could get little out of him, no more than a few clipped sentences at a time. I began to speak of my travels, and he would snort derisively at the places I had thus far seen. It wasn’t until I began to speak of the relentless wars that he began speaking of himself, and even then his words were guarded. He spoke little of his early years, and the best I could surmise was that up until the age of 15, he lived in a small village far from the golden circuit, raised by a single mother who never spoke of his father. At the age of 15, he was conscripted into the army.”
“That was all I was able to extract from him for a long while, until one night, over more than a few drinks, I asked him why a military man had bartered for a lift on an elven vessel, and asked him who he was. Reluctantly, he said his name was Dimitri, and that he was trained to be a warmage, a wizard trained in the arts of war to act as artillery and heavy support for infantry.”
At the age of 15, I was conscripted by order of Prince Vsevolod Kalita, to serve in his armies until killed or released from duty, he claimed, It seems the young prince had raised tariffs too high, and trade began to redirect around his holdings. He was set on retaining his grasp on the golden circuit, and intended to wrest control from his neighbors. My first assignment was to a man-at-arms company, which had an aging warmage named Nikoli attached to it. For the first month, we saw little action, and spent most of our time guarding supply lines. Nikoli was beginning to feels the effects of his age, and as such began to teach some of the men simple spells to ease his burdens. Despite my marked insolence and purposeful lack of obedience, I quickly mastered the spells he gave out. It was this proficiency which caught the attention of Lord Iziaslavich. I was assigned a sentry post the evening he was in our camp, and whilst on patrol I had enchanted my weapon to shine brightly rather than carry a torch. Upon seeing such skills from a patrolman, he quickly sought out Nikoli and questioned him about me. The next day I was reassigned and taken to the academy.
I spent nearly 6 years there, drilling almost constantly. We were taught only those spells that would serve us on the battlefield, as we were to be used as engines of destruction. I learned the manner in which fire and lightning may be bound or directed. We studied arcane formula and the tactical application of force. We were trained to fight hand to hand; casting spells while defending ourselves from the blows of opponents. Many spells that we memorized I’ve not the ability to yet cast, but they were instilled in use so that we might access them later. The sergeants were tyrants and the headmaster a villain, yet I still regard that time with affection compared to what came after.
About halfway through my 6th year there, the senior students we removed from the classrooms and sent into battle, our training still incomplete. What the academy didn’t have a chance to teach us, we quickly picked up, or died trying. I made as many enemies on my side of the field as we had opponents, and was shifted between regiments on an almost monthly basis. My commanders detested my unregimented outlook, and I despised their lack of intelligence and creativity. I was invariably assigned as acolyte to more powerful spellcasters, who worked as artillery and support, serving them in a variety of degrading roles, none of which put me in direct conflict, all of which put me in grave danger. The units I served in were at best lightly guarded, and at worst unsupported and exposed. We worked the front lines, and there I stayed for 3 years. While other men were rotated off the front, I stayed on, my life in constant jeopardy, with no end in sight. Each day, news of the war was grim; neither side ever gained long lasting advantage. In fact, most times it was difficult to tell which side had secured victory, so high was the cost. A battle in which a thousand men fell was a skirmish. We would move to bolster forces that had begun battle months before, and as we drove deeper into enemy territory we would burn everything in our path. Where a mighty forest had stood, now only cinders remained. Where villages and towns had been erected, we had left no stone upon stone, and no citizen alive or free. Then, without warning, the fortunes of war would shift and we would be fighting a gradual retreat, torching anything our enemy might find valuable.
By the opening of the summer campaign in my ninth year of service, third in the field, we had driven farther north than ever before, to Tverov, the last light of civilization before the barren tundras. The city clings to the feet of the mighty Keviski mountains, and overlooks a vast wasteland unbroken as far as the eye can see. We spent seven months entrenched on the tundra, without coming any closer to entering the city. By the sixth month, we had been cut off from the south by a regiment moving north, although we remained blissfully unaware until our position was flanked in mid winter. A few hours into the engagement, my unit was broadsided by a bezerker, who rampaged through the lines. The commanding officer, a wizard named Konrad, managed to blast him with a fireball before it claimed his life, weakening it just enough for me to finish off. The ordeal left me drained, and a wound in my side, from which I passed out. When I awoke, the battle was over. At some point, the city gates had been breached, and it seemed to me that the entirety of both sides lay dead on the field. The bodies of men, women, even children will haunt me for the rest of my life. So, I walked south, gathering what supplies I could off the bodies of my friends. I kept going, and no matter how far I walked, I could not escape the signs of battle and destruction. On the eighth day, I passed a regiment traveling north. I hid from them, praying they would not find me and take me back. Months passed as I wandered the countryside, working where I could and avoiding the military. So, I bartered for passage on this ship when I could hide no longer.
“We made port soon after, and the disturbed young man passed from my life. His story, however, has not. Remember well this man’s story when you speak about the lands to the north. You are removed from its horrors, but the fires of war claim lives in more ways than ending them.”
-Attributed to Lucas Metrist, in reference to offhand comments made by Lady Quaran at a ball.