Rise of the Runelords Anniversary Edition
A grizzled and shrewd ratfolk magus.
Before you stands a creature of small stature. His body is covered in a carefully groomed coat of soot black fur. The fur which sprouts between his two large ears is longer and swept back into something resembling a mohawk. His facial features are chiseled and resemble that of a rat and a man if neither could decide where one ended and the other began.
His body appears both lithe and strong, and he carries himself in a determined manner. From his backside sprouts a thick and powerful tail, which he slowly sweeps back and forth in the manner of a pendulum. Adorning this tail are several hammered copper cuffs, a fitting compliment to his ear and nose rings. He wears a suit of reinforced leathers, numerous bags and a curved blade on his back.
His amber eyes are pinpricks of color. Intelligent and fierce, but they are as creased with lines of worry as they are heavy with sleeplessness. As you watch him, you notice him wince slightly, as if in pain from an invisible force.
There is an undeniable sadness in his eyes.
His right forearm is without fur, a knotted array of scars decorate it’s surface instead. Among the valleys and peaks of arcana-burnt flesh, there is woven an elaborate tattoo penned in blood-red ink. The symbols almost seem to dance and weave before your eyes as they are peered upon.
“Where do I come from you ask? Tchk.”
“Here and there I suppose. Y’know, those places where “proper” folk would rather drop dead than be seen hangin’ about in?"
“Don’t pretend like you care, neither. Be off!”
As a pup of 6 years, Quinn lived in the warrens with his mother and father. His young life was that of a scavenger. As farmers scour their fields for grain, so did Quinn and his family scour the warrens for useful scraps left behind. A bundle of twine, a length of copper, a broken dagger.
Quinn and his family survived by selling repaired wares and shelter to travelers who were passing through the warrens.
His life was one of routine and monotony, but Quinn adored his parents and was driven by a desire to help them. The monotony would sometimes be broken when the rare adventurer would board with them for a night. Quinn would sometimes coax a story or two out of them, and his eyes lit up as he sat transfixed; soaking in every detail of their stories of adventure, magic and wonders in faraway lands.
One adventurer in particular, a bard by the name of Reese, took a special liking to the young Quinn.
“Your establishment is as easy on the pocket, as your people are on the heart.” she would often say with a grin.
Not only did Reese tell stories that ignited Quinn’s imagination, but she began to teach him the ways of the blade. Year after year, Reese would return with more stories and more lessons. He learned fast and often surprised her with his avant-garde approaches.
Finally at the age of 12, Quinn overcame his teacher and disarmed her in a surprise feint. “Well, my little dear. I believe you’re ready for a bit of magic.” she said with a grin and a wink. “Oh, and you’ve earned this.” she said, presenting him with a well-used Scimitar from her pack.
This is what Quinn was waiting for. He had barely contained his desire for learning magic these many years, and finally it was time. Reese left that day, with a promise to return the next to begin the lessons. Quinn could hardly contain his anticipation.
A week passed, two weeks, three. Then a month, six months, a year, two years… Three years later Quinn knew he would never see Reese again.
The daily routine became like a death march. The mornings, nights and days all merged into one never-ending, inescapable purgatory.
Then, one day, someone walked through the burrow door.
Quinn was tending the front while his parents were caring for their new-born triplets. A tall man, in a tall coat with a tall and crooked nose walked into the room. Riding upon his shoulder was a black bird with mean eyes.
The man peered about the room, an expression of unrestrained disgust clinging to his face. “Rat!” he barked at Quinn. “I require a room. Food will be brought to me within the hour.” with claw-like fingers he fished out two copper coins and laid them on the counter. “Y-yes sirrah.” Quinn squeeked as he showed the man to his room.
After the door closed, Quinn paused for a moment. He heard a voice from inside the room, not one voice but two. Quinn knew enough about wizards and their ilk to know what that bird must be, and he had done enough waiting.
When the tall man with the crooked nose left, Quinn followed him. When he drew camp to rest, Quinn watched them. When the man drifted off to sleep, Quinn imitated the sounds of a trapped rodent, and drew the bird away from the camp. The bird, looking for an easy snack was surprised, gagged and made off with into the night.
The bird didn’t care much for it’s new home, a crudely fashioned iron cage. And despite Quinn’s offers that he would release the bird if only it would teach him the most basics of magics, the bird refused, swore and cursed him. Only after months did the bird begrudgingly agree, and began to teach Quinn how to read magic.
Now that the triplets had grown to young pups, Quinn was tasked with caring for them while his parents were away collecting scrap. He loved his sisters, but was often easily lost in his magic studies. One day an old and battered staff was found in the yards and Quinn discovered it contained magic he was able to unravel. It was a slow process, and many times did he misstep and bite his tongue as arcane fire tore into his arm at the mispronunciation of an incantation or the slip-up of a somatic gesture.
Finally after years of work, Quinn cast his first spell.
A feeling unlike any he ever had swelled in his chest and coursed through his veins, he felt truly alive!
So enraptured was he that he failed to notice the snaking coils of smoke rolling under his bedroom door. So caught up in the blood-fire was he that he failed to smell the fire that had spread from the fireplace to his sister’s straw bedding. His ears were filled with such ringing that he failed to hear their tiny screams before they fell quiet.
The bird threw itself against the cage bars and Quinn snapped back to reality. His heart leapt in his chest. He swung open the door and when he saw the huddled, burning bodies of his sisters; something inside of him broke.
Quinn ran away and never looked back.