Scaled Down Scales
Wizard of the Order of the Septarchs
The Early Years
As he was youngest of the three children of a printer in a small city, Zumos had little in the way of inheritance in his future. His eldest brother would inherit his father’s print shop. As Zumos’ mother had died giving birth to him, the family home and a small legacy was to be left to his fathers new bride. Zumos’ sister was to be married off to a wealth local merchant. So even as young boy, Zumos knew his prospects were limited.
Knowing this, on his seventh birthday Zumos made a private pilgrimage to a nearby village which had a shrine to Tymora. At the shrine he prayed and meditate to the goddess of luck for her blessing, and as Zumos returned home he stopped by a well making a wish he tossed the copper he had received as a birthday gift the very same morning.
As Zumos walked home in that afternoon, he met a wizard at the crossroads. The two of them shared the road together and while they walked together, they talked. In turn Zumos, saw something outside the conventionality he was living; for the first time Zumos saw a world of adventure and exploration. When he and the wizard parted ways at the city gates Zumos regretted having to say goodbye, but decided his future would be outside the mundane.
Unknown to Zumos, the wizard was impressed by the insight of a seven year old and Zumos’ willingness to understand what he didn’t know. The wizard saw raw potential in Zumos, that could be forged and tempered into a tool for the Order of the Sceptarchs. So when the wizard showed up at the door of his fathers print shop with an offer to train him as a wizard Zumos couldn’t believe his luck. Still the events and how they transpired cemented his faith in the power of Tymora and she had been his patron goddess since.
Zumos’ Academic Misadventures
All Zumos’ visions of wild adventures and great battles quickly faded in upon entering the academic halls of the Sceptarchs. Each morning began before first light and a bowl of gruel, followed by several hours of meditation. If one were to fall asleep during meditation the “rod of awakening” would “enlighten” the young wizardlings with a rude awakening. More than once Zumos had been awakened by “the Rod”. Each time Zumos promised himself that he would never be “tutored” by “the Rod” again, but in truth it took a while for the lessons to stick.
After the meditation the days duties and lessons began. Most of duties involved going to the library and archive to retrieve books and scrolls for the older students and wizards of the order. The lessons the first few year was focused on theory and magic in practice rather than actual spellcasting. While others students in his class excelled at rituals Zumos excelled in the defensive arts, mastering white lotus maneuvers, staff and dagger. Still with no spellcasting insight Zumos began to wonder if Tymora had cursed him rather than blessed as he began to grow increasingly bored.
Had it not been for Carmina, Zumos most likely would have left the order by second year. She was a year older than him and was his polar opposite. While they were both highly intelligent, she was charming and out going to his stoic demeanor. While she was weak in the defensive arts, she excelled at rituals and diplomacy. Being born to minor noble family it was clear to all she was going to be the “creme de la creme” of the order, she was destined for greatness.
From the very beginning Zumos fell in love with her. A childish romance to start but as time past it grew into teenage passion then true love. To his surprise his feelings were reciprocated. They continued their courtship in secret, in spite of the fact Zumos and Carmina knew that their romance would never be accepted by her family or by the order.
Enter the opposition
Zumos and Carmina continued to be students of the magic arts by day, and their nights were spent in front of a fire studying and caressing. While love flourished for the young lovers, darker passions flourished against the Order of the Sceptarchs. Long before Zumos and Carmina had joined the Order of the Sceptarchs, resentment against the order had been fermenting for a very long time. It is believe by some within the Order of the Sceptarchs that believe like minded wizards, lords and guilds have formed a secret cabal to oppose the Order.
Those in the Order of the Sceptarchs who believe in this secret opposition, think this opposition may have allied themselves with other groups. The opposition’s methods are so subtle and similar to the orders own – it makes it difficult to track the oppositions movements and agenda. Their are even a few who believe that there maybe members within the Order of the Sceptarchs aiding or even are active members within the opposition.
In truth Zumos had been skeptical about the opposition, but had changed his mind after the raid through the portal. It had happen with such precision and tactical savvy it seemed impossible to believe it had happen merely by chance.
It had happened at the changing of the midnight watch. Zumos had handed over the watch to Alsorin the late night watch commander, but had been reluctant to do so because he smelled alcohol on Alsorins breath. Had Zumos not already pulled two watches back to back he would have stayed on. However, as the late night watch was usually quite and rest of the watch would arrive soon.
Zumos felt the weariness tugging at his eyelids. He looked at Carmina still at her post, she would soon be relieved and join him in his bed. Zumos felt a smile tug at the corner of his mouth in joyful anticipation as he walked to his room.
As Zumos returned to the barracks he noticed that many of the late watch were tipsy and even drunk. He felt a sense of dread slowly creeping over him. He hurried to wake the morning watch commander and his watch to replace the drunken watch at the portal. The morning commander Lashon was not pleased at being awaken so early but understood Zumos concerns.
The two of them were in the middle of waken the morning watch when the alarm bells rang signaled trouble in the tower. Lashon looked to Zumos, both knew something was very wrong. Lashon took the wizards who were already awake as Zumos wakening the all the remaining watches.
By the time Zumos had waken the watches and lead them to the tower Lashon and his watch were hard pressed by a huge war band of gnoll warriors and shaman. Many of the less experienced wizards lay dead at the tower gate. It would taken the Order of the Sceptarchs all night to beat back the interlopers and retake the portal room.
Even before Zumos entering the portal room he knew what he would find there. Among all the other dead bodies lay Carmina. She had been torn in half and gnawed on by some foul gnoll. Zumos turned his face toward the wall as the tears streamed down his face so the others could see. He weep in silence as his heart raged against the injustice of her death.
The Inquiry and Mission to the North
The Order’s inquiry into the raid found that the entire late watch had been enticed a red headed beauty into drinking right up until their watch began. The local inn owner had said the red haired vixen had left immediately after the last of the late watch had departed. The inquiry found that the Lashon and Zumos had saved the portal and garrison from total destruction. Further the inquiry determined that the gnolls in the war band were not local and some of their symbols and attire were more similar to northern tribes. The inquiry had suggested that the northern portals might be used and an investigation of such should be carried out.
Zumos volunteered immediately. He cared little for the findings of the inquiry. His only interest was to finding the bastards involved in planned and executed the raid, then bring them to justice. Be the justice divine or by his hand those responsible would pay for stealing Carmina from him!