Some sixty years ago, the sorcerer Edoras Delwyn was born in the high mountain settlement of Hammslanche. As with most of the village’s children, young Edoras (called “Ed” by all but his grandfather) was put to work soon after he could walk ten steps without toppling over. There are but three choices for a youth in Hammslanche – The brewery, the fields, or the long road out of the mountains. For the first years of his life, at least, Edoras chose the fields.
The long winters and fitful springs of the Ancen Peaks provide small hospitality for crops. Instead, most families rely on their modest herds of goats, wool-feathered chickens, and other such tamed animals. Edoras took to caring for the clan’s livestock, with a particular fondness for the squawking, fluttering denizens of the coops and pens.
So he passed his childhood and adolescence. He milked the goats, sheered the down from the chickens, and learned what he could from the few books above his family’s hearth. He grew tall, hiked the peaks and crests near his home, and fell in and out of love with the young women of Hammslanche.
Then, a week after his sixteenth birthday, Edoras obliterated one of his family’s grainsheds. It had happened so quickly that, as his relations would later tell their friends, none could be sure exactly what had transpired. The building had caught fire during a celebration of the late harvest. Edoras, trailed closely by his brothers, had been the first to reach the flames. By then the fire had surged through the dry grain and into the ancient supports. With a crack and a hiss, the structure had come down. Edoras, too close, threw up his arms as a shield.
The flash and clap of a thunderstorm echoed through the peaks. When the shock had dropped from their ears and eyes, the onlookers rushed to where the young man lay gasping. Before him stretched the charcoal streak of the grainshed. Far out in the valley, trailing through the air, bits of burning timber arced toward the earth.
The incident knocked something loose in Edoras. The family took pains to comfort him, but the change had taken hold. It was not long before villagers, both in and out of his kin, were whispering of similar, long-ago buddings along the Delwyn family tree. Soon, stories were heard of lights and sounds on the slopes at night. Others spoke of warm winds and burning swaths of grass glimpsed on distant hills.
Within half a year, the inevitable had come to pass. He could not, despite his love for the slopes, continue on in the field. And the Brewery was closed to him, as it had been to all Delwyns since the time of his great-uncle, the infamous “Bad Batch” Budvar. So, with sixteen summers behind him, Edoras chose the road.
For the next twenty years of his life, Edoras roamed the world. He traveled through the mountains, through Terrace, and to the coast of the Steaming Sea. There he worked in Brannis, caroused at the great festivals of Sinalta, and studied at the Temple of the Deep Flame. It was there, among the old men and their gifts, that he truly came to understand the blood that ran in his veins. He traveled to distant lands, honed his craft, and become a sorcerer of no small renown.
Near his fortieth birthday, Edoras returned to the brackish shores of the Steaming Sea. He settled in Brannis, near enough to the temple to continue his studies. He married, fathering twin children – Caedmon and Risala Delwyn. The birth was difficult, and his wife died in the days following the delivery. This shook Edoras so deeply that, as soon as the twins were old enough to travel, he withdrew from the Temple of the Deep Flame and returned to his home in the mountains.
So passed the next two decades. The prodigal sorcerer was welcomed by his family, though not without reservations. It took several years (and the conspicuous neglect of his art), before he was truly accepted by his brothers, sisters, and cousins. His children grew, and Edoras allowed his learning fade.
By the time Risala, now herself a married woman, had taken over the operation of Hammslanche’s largest inn, her brother had long since struck out on his own. Edoras had spent hours regaling his children with tales of the outside world. Caedmon, from the very first, had been fascinated with the old man’s tales of the great brawls in Brannis’ Starboard Moon and his battles with the cadre of the Cackle Hounds. Reaching manhood, he too had chosen the mountain road.
Edoras, now nearing sixty, was not much suited to the solitary life. His mind drifted to his old pursuits, and the power in his blood began to roil. One day, after attempting to conjure up a wind for the purposes of drying clothes, he managed to shatter several of the windows of his daughter’s inn. This did not sit well with Risala. Worried as much for her father as for her business, she gently suggested that he strike out again. Perhaps he could seek out Caedmon or his old companions, or journey to some new land. Edoras, picking shards of glass from the wooden floor, agreed.