Thoric closed his tome, he had just finished reading. He had become a prolific reader in the last year. He had attended school at the temple of the god Thoth, God of Knowledge and Learning. The priestess of the temple was a young dwarf who was full of energy and she had taken an instant liking to Thoric. He had managed to master the dwarven runic alphabet rather quickly. The more he had mastered, the more the young priestess gave him to do. In the last few weeks, she had been sending a tome or two home with him every night to finish.
The most recent tomes were about the gods of the world and how the world was formed. Apparently, this world knew nothing of monotheism, and it was said that a multitude of gods came together in a great war. During this war, hundreds of gods had died, and as their bodies had rotted and congealed together the world was formed. There was so much divine power in the detritus of the godly corpses, that magic was born.
Realizing that the continued war would eventually wipe out all the gods, the leaders of the pantheons, the father gods Ra, Odin, Zeus, Great Spirit, Dagda, and many others came together to cease the war. As per the agreement to cease hostilities, the gods of both good and evil gave up a portion of their power to form the sun and the moon. Each Pantheon gathered blood from all the gods and goddesses. Drops of each blood were combined with drops of blood from other gods and this formed all the life on the world, be it animal, plant, or man. This explained how people could have mana and magic. It was said that the dwarven race was to have a drop of the blood from all the gods of earth, fire, invention, and honor. However, the balancers saw this race would be too powerful and so forbid any blood from a god of magic to be included. It was explained, that without the spark of magic, dwarven blood would always be an anthesis to nondivine magic.
They also agree that anyone could worship anyone regardless of the pantheon, and the only rule was that there would be both evil, good, and a balance for this world. Based on the number of worshipers the environment of this world would be affected in the power each God held over this will be affected slightly. If the good deities had the largest number of worshipers than the days would be long, the weather would be exceptional, and plants and animals would grow. If evil deities had greater control the nights would be longer, there would be more storms, and pestilence and famine would hold sway. The balancers would assure that neither side would ever have enough power to end the world and had the power to count their worshippers to either side and change sides at any time. Everything else in this world resulted through the acts of the gods during their greatest control or through mortal grand workings of magic. The great oceans of the world were a result of some mage tampering with the forces of the planes that caused water mana to coalesce and former water. The entire tome gave multiple examples to explain a plethora of how things can be.
As the year progressed he remembered less and less of his old life. He still had all the factual knowledge but anything with emotion was forgotten. He could no longer remember the name, face, or any feature of any person from his past life. He knew he had grown up before but he couldn’t remember having a childhood. Without these memories, over the last year, he had acted rather childlike. He loved to run, play, and eat. Eating especially was his favorite.
As a few of the other dwarven children had learned to talk, he had made a few friends and discovered many new games. Most of the other dwarven children were much larger than him and games involving muscle were quickly lost. One of the dwarven children’s favorite games was something between baseball and kickball. It involved a bladder filled with mud, a stick, and to home bases. The basics of the game were to hit the bladder with the stick at a runner passing between the two bases. A hit was worth one point, if the person got to the other base a point was lost, and if you could bust the bladder on the person you won the game. Unfortunately, since Thoric was so much weaker than the full dwarves his bat was usually narrower and more than one time he had managed to rupture the bladder on himself when he hit it. There were no hard feelings but there was lots of laughter. However, when he did manage do hit it with his skinner frame and longer legs he was faster.
On the magical front, Thoric had finally managed to feel his mana and learn to control it or at least prevent it from going too far out of control. He could sense within himself many other pools but they were empty and he had no idea what type of mana they could hold. From his reading of a gnomish book his mother gave him, he discovered that in addition to each unique type of mana having its own pool, it also had its own channel. Dwarves had no mana pools but always had generic channels that could channel any type of mana. Priests did not pull from their own mana pools, but a spiritual pool of the god they followed. A priest who followed a god of fire would be able to access a spiritual fire pool and channel it with ease, however, the same priest would not be able to channel water mana because his god had no spirit pool of water. Regardless of pool depth or channel width if the person did not know how to form the spell for a specific effect nothing would happen other than raw mana release, which was normally very weak.
The bronze bracer’s his father had made him wear, didn’t affect the pool. However, they did cause the manna channels to slowly atrophy, just like an unused muscle. Luckily it took several decades for this atrophy to occur. So, when he finally figured out how to use mana he was in for a world of pain in the initial phases. But in the meantime, he no longer had to wear the bracers.
“Thoric.” His mother called.
“Put your tome away and come to eat.”
“Okay, mom. I’m done anyway.” Thoric yells. He stands up stretching his arms up to the ceiling. Sitting his tome down next to his bed, he walks to the kitchen. It looks like his mother has fixed one of his favorites, boiled cabbage stuffed with spiced ram’s stomach and sautéed mushrooms. He attacks his food with vengeance.
His mother reached over and smacked him in the back of the head. “Slow down son!” Thoric grumbles under his breath but does slow down. His mother fixes her plate and sits down across the stone table from him. She reaches over and fills each of their mugs with a thick dark beer. It’s amazing, but even as a child Thoric has been drinking beer since he was weaned. He does notice that this beer is not nearly as dark and much more watery than his father’s and has no obvious intoxicating effect on him.
“Son, let’s go to the living room. I want to have a conversation.” His mother said after they finished eating.
Once they were settled in the den, his mother grabs him and set him on as her lap. “Thoric, do you know what tomorrow is?”
“It’s not my birthday. That was last week. It is some kind of holiday?” Thoric ask quizzically.
“I had word today,” his mother said, “that your father should be returning in the next few days possibly even tomorrow.”
Thoric eyes grew round. He started fidgeting with excitement. Grabbing his mother around her neck and a fierce hug, he screamed mere inches from her face, “Yes! Can we go to the city gates an greet him on the way in?”
“No son. You have school, and I have to get the house ready to greet him.”
“No arguing son. I just wanted to let you know. Now, over the next few days is going to be hectic. The conclave of Nations will last many months but it’s always crazy to start”
“I hope dad brought me some goodies.”
“Son. You haven’t seen your father in the year and all you can think about is goodies. I swear you think more your stomach than he does.”
“No, I don’t. I also like books and new things to learn.”
Kat sighs and pitches her son onto the couch cushions where she proceeds to viciously tickle him. “Your father is going to be so upset that you wanted goodies more than you wanted to see him. For that, I sentence you to a thorough tickling.”
“Mom stop” Thoric breathlessly exclaimed. “You’re gonna make me pee myself.”
After a few minutes, his mom quits torturing him with tickles and sits him back up. She ruffles his hair and stands up. “Well son, I’ve got to go clean up the dishes and you need to go make of the bed in the guestroom. You get to meet your grandparents when they get here with your father as well.”
“Really. I get see Grammy every day. So I’ve already met her.”
“No silly, this is my mom and dad. They live very very far away and we had to get special permission for them to enter the kingdom to see you. You know the king doesn’t normally allow anyone, not a dwarf or married to a dwarf to enter the kingdom.”
“But I want to go read I don’t want to make the bed. Can we get one of the servants to do it?”
“No son. Just because your father is a noble doesn’t mean that his family is lazy and can’t do the simple act of making a bed and sweeping the floor.”
Thoric stands up and starts to grumble as he goes to take care of the bedroom. After he finishes to the bedroom he goes to tell his mom he is done but she has already finished cleaning the kitchen and isn’t there. Looking through the house he can’t find her but one of the servants says that she had to step out and run an errand and for him to tidy up his father’s office some. Entering the office he starts tidying up and notices a parchment open on the desk. Grabbing a box for him to stand on he gets up and reads it.
My dearest Kat,
It has been a hard year to be away from you and my son. The expedition has been long and very trying. We lost about a third of the men on the trip to the human kingdom when were set upon by a pride of displacer beast. Things have changed since I was in the human kingdom last. It seems that they have become much more militaristic and snobbish. Their King seems to think that we are subordinate to him as well as the elves. It’s not my place to correct him.
Regardless, we left the human kingdom with a very large entourage of soldiers and followers. The trip slowed to a crawl. Once we entered the Elven kingdom we were greeted rather warmly. The humans, however, acted the same as when we met. Regardless we left the Elven kingdom with an even larger escort. The rest of the trip was uneventful just slow. I have a feeling that it’s going to be a heated conclave.
For this reason, I was adverse to approach the human wizards about our son. Luckily, an old friend of mine from my youth who is now a trader put me in contact with a very nice elven wizard. Her name is Vandora, and she is a master wizard who is an expert in air, life, and earth manas. She even has some expertise and knowledge in some of the esoteric manas. I have convinced her to journey with us all the way back to meet our son. She will test him and if the king approves her staying be one his teachers. It has already been arranged with the King that if she will submit to a secrecy geas by the priests and they find that she will not harm the kingdom, she shall be offered a position to teach our son. This is imperative to our family but regardless our family will have to shoulder the entire cost of this. The contract calls for her to receive 20 ingots of gold. I realize this is a huge commitment for the family and will mean several years of lean times for us. But I feel that it is worth it for our son.
I sent this on ahead with our outriders. Your mother and father are also with us will be staying with us. When you receive this we should be entering the kingdom within a few days after.
Your loving husband Vorin Steelsoul
Thoric jumped off the box he was standing on and charged out of his father’s office. He was going to get to meet at Elven wizard and learn many new things. He was so excited that he couldn’t even finish his reading assignment for the night. For the rest of the evening, he played with his toys while letting his imagination run wild with all the things he would learn. His mother found him laying on the floor grasping his wizard doll (scratch that, its a "action figure") with a huge grin on his face. She lifted him up and put him in bed. After undressing him and tucking him into bed, she gently kissed his head. “Rest my nugget. The next few days will be exciting.”
|Abilities||Metal Sense||Unlocked-Unskilled 5%|
|Mana Pool: Fire|
|Pool||At Least Trained 50%|
|Mana Pool: Earth||Locked/Unknown|
|Pool||At least Trained 10%|
|Mana Pool: Others||Locked/Unknown|
|Knowledge||Skilled - 80%|
|Knowledge||Expert - 27%|
|Modern Knowledge||Novice to Grandmaster but currently unknown worthiness|
|Dwarf||Spoken - Trained 70% ---- Written - Trained 75%|
|Human||Spoken - Unskilled 20% ---- Written - Skilled 25%|
|Gnomish||Spoken - Skilled 40% ---- Written - Skilled 45%|
|Cautions:||HYPERACTIVITY||Expert 60% (With Sugar Grandmaster 100%)|