For a while I’ve been meaning to write a bio about my current character in the Crusade Campaign, Ash Whateley the Blue. I’ll be creating another post soon about my previous characters in the campaign as well as other campaign (Blue Floods) when the group finishes the Crusade Campaign.
After playing around with a majority of the classes that I think I’d be interested in, I decided it was about time to give a Magic User a shot. My previous character was an Illusionist (which I think is still my favorite class to play, but that’s a post for a different day) and while I enjoy what he had to offer, I wanted to bring some raw power to the table. And bring power to the table I did, burning it and all those who sat around it. You have to learn eventually, right?
Anyway, back to Ash’s story.
Ash Whateley is a tall and slender man around two and thirty years of age. Ash was born into a working class Maladominian family during a particularly harsh winter. Nevertheless, Lavinia and William Whateley counted their blessings when their son had been born on a Windsday (Wednesday), the 1st of Coldair (February); the day celebrated by all for their God, Maladominus. Growing up, Ash had been a bright and studious youth, always found buried in a book or tome. Unfortunately, his raw intelligence didn’t help him much when he ran into the stronger kids around his town. Not only did he avoid physical work and sport when possible, but his overall slender appearance made him an easy target. You see, Maladominian’s were known to be a bit on the stocky side, especially for the males. Au contraire, their least favorite neighboring race, The Lormyrrian’s, were known to be of a more slender and elegant build. Kids will be kids, but on more than one occasion, the other kids went out of their way to humiliate Ash regarding his “true” father and how he was nothing more than a “Lormyrrian bastard”.
Things would change for Ash, as soon after turning five and ten years of age, one bully took his comments too far and paid for it dearly. Earlier that year, Ash was wandering around a local library where he stumbled across a worn book; tattered by age and what looked like heavy use. What caught his eye most about the book was not the condition, but the foreign writing that Ash did not recognize. His inability to read this strange language did not stop Ash from picking up the book; it had the opposite effect. This gap in his knowledge fueled Ash to start spending every waking moment he had trying to decipher what he could. After a few frustrating months of trying to piece together the meaning behind the words, Ash finally had a breakthrough while reading another book related to some older magic. Ash noticed one of the pages in a book of magic contained similar symbols which were also written in his mystery book. Not only that, but most of these symbols had been translated from the strange language to his common tongue. This was the break that Ash had been searching for those past few months and with his new knowledge, he made short work deciphering his mystery book. Ash didn’t know it at the time, but what he stumbled upon was a spell-caster’s tome, filled to the brim with spells and cantrips of written by a very powerful magic user from centuries past.
For some time after Ash deciphered the spall-caster’s tome, he would not be found without a book about magic. It didn’t take long for Ash to realize what he had in his possession and the risks he took by keeping and studying the book further; at least he thought he understood. When he felt confident enough, he started to attempt casting some of the lower level spells and cantrips and while he had no formal training or experience, he was able to occasionally conjure up a successful spell. Most of the time, the spells would do nothing or backfire but never enough to have lasting side effects. Doing his best to keep this all a secret, he would regularly wonder into the woods and far away from any people or roads the best he could. His parents noticed that Ash seemed a bit more distant than usual but he was coming to an age where he wanted to be around his parents even less than normal so the gave him whatever space he needed. They were content to see their son always reading and learning so they didn’t pry into their son’s life more than they needed to. If their son was happy and not causing problems then they were happy.
Ash was able to keep his secret for many months until one late summer day in Reaping (August) when the most fearsome bully took things just a little too far. On his way back from school, Ash was cornered by a youth known around the area as Woltar the Wrathful. While Ash tried to just ignore the taunts, Woltar wasn’t going to let him go so easily that day. The situation escalated quickly after another tried to intervene to tell Woltar to leave Ash alone and mind his own business. Woltar didn’t get the name Wrathful for no reason and quickly took to violently attacking the other teen. While Ash wasn’t one to resort to physical battles, he also wasn’t one to let a friend get into trouble for no reason. Without hesitation or realizing what he was doing, Ash turned towards Woltar and began chanting a spell.
While he had a good understanding of the level of the spells in the tome, Ash underestimated the power of the spell that he was attempting to cast; Power Word, Kill. In an instant, a blinding light ripped from Ash’s outstretched hand straight into the chest of Woltar, instantly killing him. However, in that same instant, Ash was blasted back about 100 ft, straight into the closest building. Luckily for Ash, he had survived the blast with only a few broken bones and a mild concussion.
Days later, Ash awoke bound to a hospital bed surrounded by his parents and a member of the town guard. In the aftermath, it seems Ash had not only slain Woltar but the boy who did his best to stand up for Ash. While his family was happy that he was finally awake, they were very concerned for his future in the town after this incident. Ash was under arrest for the murder of the two boys. Luck appeared to still be on Ash’s side as a majority of the kids around town had stuck by his side, providing numerous other instances of Woltar’s violent outbreaks. Between this support and the fact that Woltar’s epithet was well known around the town, the punishment that Ash received was heavily reduced for the charges that stood against him. Besides the punishment bestowed upon him, Ash was forced to give up his spell-caster’s tome; which was subsequently burned at the town hall.
Soon after Ash was well enough to leave the hospital, he continued his studies at the local library when he was not serving his punishment. While some of the members of the community did not take kindly to this, nobody was brave enough to confront Ash directly. No longer in possession of the magic-user’s tome, Ash was unable to continue casting cantrips and spells on his own so he was forced to study the lore and history surrounding magic. While these studies occupied his time, Ash had acquired a taste for the raw power of magic and wouldn’t be satisfied until he was able to utilize it again. As his thirst become stronger and harder to fulfill with just history lessons, he started to venture to larger settlements in search of additional studies. When he had exhausted all his local options, the decision was made to leave his home and venture forth to a large city in an attempt to find a true Wizard that he could study under. There were plenty of people who passed through the area who were capable of magic use, but none which Ash felt were worthy of training him.
With the blessing of his parents, Ash ventured forth from his small town to the Capital of Ruatha, Vodai. This was not only the farthest he had been from home, but the first time he’d be leaving his town alone for an extended period of time. Overwhelmed would not be a fair synopsis for Ash’s first few weeks in Vodai. What rations and wealth he had brought with him were spent as quick as he arrived in the city, leaving him both homeless and hungry. Still being rather scrawny in stature made it difficult for Ash to find manual labor work, which left him few other options for work. Those opportunities he did find that didn’t require pure strength were quickly pissed away due to an arrogant attitude that Ash still carried around with him despite his current predicament.
The life of a poor beggar plagued Ash for weeks until one day he stumbled across a curiosity shop in need of a worker. The sign that hung outside the shop read “Gilmore’s Glorious Goods”, but Ash did not see anything glorious about the shop, in fact, it appeared to be one of the more run down shops in the district. However, Ash was ready to put his arrogance to the side in hopes that this shop would keep him long enough to get back out of poverty. After stepping through the door, he was amazed at the lavish interior. Incense and perfumes permeated the place; A series of everburning candles in sconces adorned the walls. Tables bearing glass cases resided within the center of the room, and there was a long, wooden counter on the far end. Behind that was the entrance appeared to be another room, likely some private quarters. On the far left wall was an area where an herbalist appeared to be working on various potions.
Once the initial shock had worn off, Ash realized that there was a large, handsome and rather flamboyantly dressed man now standing in front of him. The charismatic man introduced himself as Gilmore, the proprietor of the curiosity shop. Ash greeted him and without any further prompts, began to tell Gilmore his entire life’s story. Without saying a word, Gilmore walked over to the window where the “help-wanted” sign hung and took it down. Still unable to stop talking, Ash started to question what was going on, but Gilmore just gave him a smile and said the job was his. It was also clear, that there was something different about Gilmore and his shop. As soon as Ash took the job, the storefront had changed from deprived and abandoned to having deep blue and purple fabrics draped over the building, which had been painted with various colors. The entryway was no longer a moldy door with rusted hinges, but rather many beads and cloth drapes that were meant to be pushed aside. While these changes were noted by Ash, he never felt the need to bring it up.
After some time, Ash worked up enough rapport with Gilmore for him to reveal the true reason that Ash was chosen to work for him. You see, Gilmore was not just the proprietor, but a powerful Wizard. After a few rough adventures, Gilmore had decided it would be best for his health to start a curiosity shop using the treasures he acquired. These initial wears would help to fund the business while he started crafting new magic items. After a few successful seasons, his reputation began to grow and business was booming. While Gilmore started the shop in the general market district of the city, it didn’t take long for him to move to a wealthier section of the city. When the time was right, Gilmore added an herbalist to his shop, who would brew all sorts of potions that would only add to his profits. With all the growth, Gilmore believed that the time was right to take another under his wing to mold into his image . He would start by teaching his new apprentice the skills required to be a successful Wizard, followed by sponsoring his adventures out into the world for new treasures to sell.
To find the best candidate, Gilmore had cast a spell upon his establishment. The spell had no affect on his normal customers, nor on the general public. It was specifically cast to be visible to those with the intelligence and desire to become a Wizard. The spell would make Gilmore’s Glorious Goods appear different to each person who fell into that category. To Ash, the shop appeared to be unkempt and also made it appear that the shop was looking to hire some basic help; both mirrored Ash’s life in the city at the time. Gilmore knew immediately when Ash entered the building that he would be the perfect fit. He also explained that he had added a few spells into the illusion to help charm those who fell under it’s effects. This was the reason Ash was unable to stop talking when first meeting Gilmore. At first, Ash felt slightly betrayed, wondering why Gilmore was not forth coming with this information originally. But after some thought, he realized that he was back on track to becoming the Wizard he set out to become.
Similar to his youth, Ash’s new skills grew very quick. When he wasn’t working in the shop for Gilmore, he was studying everything he could get his hands on. Since he was out of his small town and into the largest city around, there was no shortage of books to read or tomes to study. Once Gilmore thought Ash was ready to start practicing magic again, he presented Ash with a brand new Magic-User’s tome. With this tome and some practice, Ash was officially ready to start memorizing and inscribing his own spells.
After many months of practicing, Gilmore believed that Ash was ready to go out in to the world to start his own adventures. Ash’s first stop was back home, his small village not far from Vodai. Ash had left his home an arrogant teen, he returned with a level head. His parents greeted him warmly upon his return to their house on a seasonably warm autumn evening. Ash stayed with his parents for a few weeks, helping around the house and telling stories about his life since leaving and of the capital. But while his life had drastically changed over the previous few years, his small hometown was not so fast paced and not long after arriving, Ash felt the itch to travel and venture out again. His parent’s hated seeing him leave again so soon, but they wished their son the best of luck and they would be praying to Maladominus for his safe return.
Over the next dozen or so years, Ash traveled through the main land of Ruatha. He returned home as often as he could, normally before heading back to Vodai to drop off some new treasures at Gilmore’s Glorious Goods that he found while adventuring. While Ash was not openly religious, he promised his parents that he would stop into the temples of Maladominus in all the towns and cities he came across. In the cities Ash frequented, he grew a working relationship with some of the chief priests. He would take side jobs and venture on quests for these priests on top of his normal questing. Once the church elders were confident in their trust of Ash, they came to him with a new quest of the up most importance.
Some news came from the East about a group of Holy Ordained Adventurers who would likely be coming through the area soon in need of some help. More specifically, the talents of a Wizard to aid them. Ash showed some concern for the mission. His powers had grown exponentially during his years under Gilmore, but the priests were clearly hiding the true objective of the mission from him. This didn’t sit well with him and he wanted more time to think about this before accepting. He let the priests know that he would have to take a night to think about it further but would return the next day with an answer.
That night, Ash had dreams of his past: finding the old Wizard’s tome, using magic in the woods, the death of Woltar, his weeks spent as a homeless beggar in Vodai and Gilmore’s Glorious Goods. In the dreams, it seemed like someone was walking Ash through all of these memories since his view of the events was in the third person and there were new details that Ash didn’t remember. There was a shadowed figure next to him the entire time, but he was unable to figure out who or what it was. The memories changed drastically though when he was entering Gilmore’s. Instead of seeing the glass tables and wall of potions, he was greeted by dead bodies, mostly flayed with blood dripping and soaking into the wooden floors. Behind the counter was not Gilmore, but what looked like a demon of some kind. Thanks to all of the studying Ash had done over the years, he was quick to recognize that the figure was Kavkaz, a powerful evil deity. Ash quickly turned to leave but found the door was no longer there. When Ash turned back, Kavkaz was standing directly in front of him, sliding a hand with only four fingers around his throat and lifting him into the air.
As things started to go black for Ash, there was a loud crash from somewhere to his right and a blinding light poured from a hole in the wall. Kavkaz let out a hiss and released Ash, turning to jump back behind the counter. When Kavkaz was out of sight, Ash could hear a voice telling him to get up, he was safe for now but would need to fight if he wanted to survive. Ash slowly pulled himself back to his feet and looked towards where the sound of the voice was coming from, a shadowy figure standing in the light. It was clear to Ash now who was walking him through his past, Maladominus. He was showing Ash his past in order to demonstrate that everything to this point is part of a bigger plan set in motion long ago.
Immediately, Ash awoke from his dream in a cold sweat realizing what he must do. He quickly changed and headed back to the temple. It was almost like they were expecting back that evening as upon arriving, the front doors opened and Ash was greeted by the head priest directly. Ash agreed to assist the group and the priest invited him in as they had much to discuss.
If you’re interested, check out the Crusade Campaign AARs for session #20. This was the session when my previous PC, Ulthar, decided to part ways with the party and Ash joined in.
Written by me: https://dungeonsndaemons.com/2016/11/18/dnd-crusade-20/
Written by Welleran (DM): https://dungeonsndaemons.com/2016/11/18/welleran-crusade-20/