Ashes of Lost Time
Aberrant Elven Sorcerer
Niespi Kaledon’s Backstory
I woke up to the sounds of screams. Even still it took my mind a little time to realize what was happening and to sluggishly pull my body onto its feet. I hadn’t eaten in days. The few of us left were all starving. That made it inevitable.
Mikal was lying on a bloody blanket. She was screaming and sobbing. Taark was holding a club and trying to fend off the brothers. I stood there watching through dull eyes as my starved mind pieced it together. Mikal had gone into labor, but the child was still born. The brothers were starving and figured there was no sense letting the meat rot.
The second my mind realized some of us were resorting to cannibalism I leapt to Taark’s side. The fight was short and brutal.
Mishakal rushed in and covered her mouth with her hands and shuddered. Everyone else was behind her. There were only about twenty of us left. Mikal screamed and sobbed, but no one comforted her. There was no comfort left in the world. Taark raged and threatened Mishakal. She did her best to calm him down. Everyone began talking over each other and then screaming over each other. We had no right to kill the brothers, how we had fallen so far that some of us would eat a still born in front of its mother, etc. Someone, I think it was Omro, stopped with his mouth open and just stared. The look on his face defies all description. As each person noticed and follow his gaze we all eventually fell silent.
Little Tam was the last child born alive to us. She was six or so and as far as we know she was the only sentient born in the last seven or eight years. She was sitting on one of the brothers using a little flint knife to cut pieces of flesh from around the corpse’s wounds. She looked up with a huge smile on her face, blood smeared on her cheeks and dripping off her chin. She proudly announced, “I am full”.
The last handful of creatures in the husk of a dying creation capable of going mad went mad.
The next thing I knew I and about three others were in Mishakal’s chamber. She was in shock. It was like her body wanted to cry, but all it could manage was to go rigid and shake. I felt like I was supposed to do something like put my arms around her. I tried to think back to some other time when I had cared or been cared for, but nothing came. We stood there until Mishakal came to her senses. She slowly pulled herself up and went to a small crevice in the wall of her room and pulled a small box. She handed it to us and said in a broken distance voice, “Its time. You have to go to the surface.” We knew that would be suicide, but we didn’t care anymore.
As we walked through what was left of our settlement we ignored the dead bodies and the hungry growls. We started the slow climb up to the surface, passing through the caverns we lived in up to the crumbling stonework of ancient ruins and finally to the surface. The capstone that sealed us underground was huge. At one point a mechanism opened it with the touch of a finger, but it took us hours to slide the stone far enough to create a crack we could squeeze through.
We crawled out onto the cracked and worn marble tile of the far corner of a plaza in the ruins above. The sky above was being eaten. I don’t know another way to explain it. There was a vast void in the sky and it felt like I would fall up into it is my eyes moved over it for more than a second. We trudged up to the orrey in the center of the plaza. Mishakal hadn’t said anything about it, but it’s the only thing that moves in the ruins above. As we stood there watching it the spheres, planets and moons, fell into alignment.
The next instant I was standing in bright sunlight. The marble under my feet was whole and unbroken. The orrey was in perfect gleaming condition save for the blood and flesh of the others that came to the surface. Several people I had never seen before drug me to a tall man. I told him my story and he didn’t believe me until he took the box. The second he touched it the lid snapped open. I couldn’t see, but he pulled something from the box and went white.
I learned that the orrey was at the center of a very secluded college of magic. The headmasters poked and prodded me, interrogated me for hours and watched me like I was a prisoner, but I didn’t care. I walked in the sun, ate a thousand different kinds of foods that I had never dreamed of, I discovered baths, clean clothes, girls who smile when you speak to them. The best part was magic. I had it in my blood and although it took quite a bit of work I convinced the headmasters to take me on as a student. I absorbed everything I could get my hands on. In a lot of ways those years were the only happy ones I have ever had.
This time the screams were mine when I woke up. The nightmares come almost every night. Headmaster Falcon keeps studying me, but he can’t explain why my eyes are different or where I came from.
He has a theory though; he has been at the college for over a century and has noticed things that he can’t explain. The benefactors that fund the schools will send word to allow “unusual” visitors during planetary alignments and eclipses. There are cycles, twenty years long, when things move faster or slower at equinoxes and solstices. Headmaster Falcon believes the school is an unwitting pawn between gods that are trying to alter the world. He thinks I was sent back from the end of this creation for some purpose. He can’t even guess if it is for good or evil.
I continued my training and Headmaster Falcon started sending me out on missions to collect samples or simply to observe. He feels that my nature could be very useful in uncovering the god’s plans.
I advanced far too quickly for the other students or headmasters to feel comfortable around me. Headmaster Falcon also started drawing far too much attention with his crazy Machiavellian lost god battle theories. Trying to avert suspicion he loaded me down with supplies and a few magical items and threw me out of the college on fake charges.
I loved being away from the college. The freedom to simply walk for days filled me with joy. The realization that I went from the caverns beneath the ruins above to a cell in the college without ever asking what’s over the horizon embarrasses me. I had several adventures and met quite a few colorful individuals.
One night I was sitting in an inn with a few companions and a Gold Elf walked up to me, introduced himself as Arak and said that I had been a horrible trouble to find. He handed me a letter from Master Falcon stating that I must travel to Three Falls to meet with Arik’s Master.
So Arak and I book passage on a barge…
Mishakal – She was the leader of the people who lived below the ruins above. She is the only person that Niespi didn’t see die or degenerate. In his mind he is confident she is alive somewhere.
Master Falcon – He is one of the headmasters at the college of magic that Niespi attended. He is a brilliant if eccentric arch mage who is convinced that forces beyond the perception of mortals manipulate the world and the threads of fate.
Morgan – She is a half elven ranger who Niespi adventured with after leaving the college of magic. She and Niespi were very close, but she left him do to pressure from her order.
Tack – He is a dwarven blacksmith that Niespi’s adventuring party visited every time they made it back to town. The greatest engineer, smith, artist Niespi has ever met.
Little Tam – She was the last child born to the people who lived below the ruins above. Niespi has brutal soul grinding nightmares where she is a goddess wreathed in the fires of oblivion. Niespi’s worst fear is that the nightmares are real.
Imogen – She is the resident priestess at the college of magic. She loathes Niespi as an aberration. She constantly tried to have him put to death or at the very least imprisoned.