Joined: 13 Sep 2006
Location: Sandy, Utah
|Posted: Fri Dec 26, 2008 10:40 pm Post subject: Amber Qel'Ishtar's Background Story
|The first tendrils of light from the impending dawn were already making their way through the cracks in the heavy curtains when Amber rubbed her eyes and put the book down.
"I've got to stop staying up so late." she thought wryly but it was a thought she had often and more often ignored. Ambers mind burned with the need to KNOW and while she was very young for one of her race, she had already become quite adept at finding answers, in books or elsewhere.
“About time you paid attention to something else other than those moldy old books” complained a small and currently irritating voice in her mind. “Hush Tesha.” Amber thought back but couldn’t resist grinning at her dearest companion.
Amber yawned knowing she'd pay for the lost trace-state later. Shaking her head, her ebony black hair twirling around her long, slender neck, she stood up, shaking the weariness and stiffness from her slim limbs one at a time. Splashing some of the cold water in the basin by the door on her face, she felt refreshed enough to make it through her morning prayers.
While not exactly a standard practice, Amber always had felt closest to her chosen Goddess in the morning and since the Church of Mystra clerics she had grown up with never told her differently, she always preferred the quiet time just after dawn to commune.
Opening one of the small leather bags around her neck, she pulled out slim pieces of wood with runes depicting the spells she would need for the day. Running her fingers lightly over the sticks, feeling the runes she knew so well, she concentrated on the beginnings of one particular spell, tracing down the stick to finish it. Twice more she traced the rune stick, the third time feeling the powerful presence of Mystra as the spell entered her mind with perfect clarity. In ecstacy, she continued until she had completed the ritual for each new spell, the presence of Mystra a comforting, warm feeling throughout the process. It's ending, as usual, brought tears to her eyes as the link was broken once again.
Amber sighed, wiping the tears away and smiling. Her silent thoughts of gratitude continued for a few minutes before she finally started putting away the sticks.
Next, she opened the other small leather bag she wore at all times around her neck. Again, she pulled sticks out of the bag, covered in runes, though not as many as the first time. These sticks were slightly different and radiated a magic glow as she touched them. Whispering words to her spell, the runes suddenly became clear and concise, allowing her to study and read the spell on each. Amber chose the ones she would need for the day and put the rest away.
Studying these sticks was much different than her communion with Mystra. Amber kept her concentration complete knowing the pain of a misread spell, and as her fingers ran up and down the stick, she quickly was able to discern the spell and placed it in memory along-side the ones granted from Mystra earlier. But there was no presence, no aid, just concentrated effort on her part to re-learn the spell for the day.
Amber sighed again, as she doggedly learned spell after spell, committing them to memory one at a time. "It truly wasn't that it was hard", she thought to herself after the last one was competed, "I just don't ENJOY it." She laughed at her petulance. Her Lady of Mysteries had required this of her and she would not fail her. Ever.
Magic had always fascinated Amber. Her earliest years she could remember had been full of incredible acts of magic performed by her mother and father, her mother a cleric of Tyre and her father a mage of great renown. Her father especially had nurtured that love by telling her stories of Mytra's Mysteries, Archmages of old and the seven sisters. But before she had even turned eight, disaster had fallen when her parents were killed by an odd creature of shadowy appearance. She still remembered her dad stopping in mid-story as a the heat seemed to be sucked from the room. Blanching, he had activated a defensive shield around her bed and ran out the door. The ensuing battle had blown apart the small keep that was her home, covering her bed in debris. Amber only remembered the laugh and red eyes of the shadowy figure through a crack in the debris on her bed shield, as it surveyed the destruction, then disappeared. Amber's nightmares after that day were always about that creature, but she was helpless to do anything about it.
She was taken in by her grandparents, who had no time for such nonsense. Amber had often been rebuffed, by her grandparents, who would not allow her to come near anything they had determined as unlady-like or dangerous, which magic was deemed both. But when Amber was 16, she was still tormented by the memories of wonder and darkness, and vowed to find a way find the creature and banish the nightmares.
Amber had known from the beginning that her Grandparents would not help her gain one of the coveted apprenticeships with any of the mages around where she grew up. They often charged huge sums of money for that right. So when she came of age at 20, she simply packed up and walked out the door. Two coppers to her name and a small mace she'd found.
Her first time on the road had almost been her last. Two weeks after leaving her home, she had found her back against a boulder, with 5 goblins closing in on her. Her mace had been bloodied that day, with two goblin bodies to attest to her skill, but she had a gash in her side, one hand trying to stanch the flow of blood, while the orcs seem to double each time she looked at them.
Suddenly, a column of fire descended on the hapless orcs, their screams quickly fading away to nothing, as a kind looking old man hopped down off the boulder she had been leaning against. His words jarred her, but his eyes were kind as he bereted her for trying to fight 7 orcs at the same time. "Ye dunderhead" he called her, causing Amber to laugh in spite of herself... then her eyes crossed and she fainted dead away.
The next thing she knew was being in a clean bed, with a hearty delicious smell coming somewhere in another room. She seemed to be high up, and the smell of the sea was in the air. Slipping out of bed, Amber looked out her window and saw the ocean in the distance, the room high above what seemed to be a small keep.
The knock at the door startled her, but she was feeling better than she'd felt in a long time. It turned out to be the kindly old man that had saved her from the Orcs. "Hungry?" he asked with wink, which she returned with a smile. "Famished!" she replied and sitting down she ate hungrily the perfectly seasoned soup he'd brought for her.
He just sat and smiled at her appetite. When done, she pushed the plate away with a sigh, looking at her rescuer again. A human man, he was not really so old, just looked old with that graying beard he kept so long, she decided. He wore, she realized a breastplate under his worn robe and a warhammer swung easily at his side. His face, while worn with care, seemed to be serene with an inner confidence that comes from being at peace.
Then his bushy eyebrows came together in a mock scowl as he said, "So are ye going to tell me what in the nine-hells ye were doing traveling this area alone?"
Amber laughed a little timidly, as she was taken back a bit by his directness. "To be honest," she replied, her eyes falling to the floor. "I had not meant to take this road, but got... lost" she finished lamely with a grimace.
His hearty laugh made Amber laugh as well, and she smiled at him. "Thank you for saving me" she said fervently. "I was out of options."
He smiled as well and just simply said "Ye have not me to thank, but our Lady of Mysteries. She directed my path to ye".
Brother Antuan had brought Amber to his abbey, a small keep that had been dedicated as a temple to Mystra, the Lady of Mysteries. There were not many established temples, she came to find, as most clerics of Mystra tended to roam more than stay in one spot. However, Amber felt an immediate kinship at that temple and asked to be initiated after a few short weeks of recuperation. She had found her home and her mentor.
The practical faith demanded by Mystra came easy to Amber, as did the martial training. She gained her clerical powers rather rapidly from that faith and the special bond she felt with Mystra. She also found her keen intellect often found the solution to puzzles or answers to problems faster than her brethren. She had found a way to finally complete the vow she'd made when she was sixteen. She studied everything there was to know on 'shadow' creatures, hoping to find something familiar. It was with this study that she found out about rune sticks and they became her focus from then on.
Then came the vision from Mystra. In her early morning prayers, Mystra had appeared and held out a hand to Amber holding the promise of new magic. Excited, as she always was with new magic at stake, she had reached out to find a new kind of rune stick in her hand. This one held more than just words to focus her spell desires, it had held the component of the spell itself.
"You must learn to access the weave in this manner, Amber." Mystra had said. Amber thrilled and humbled to hear her name spoken by her Goddess had just nodded smiling like an imbecile. But Mystra just smiled at her and dissolved into the morning sun. The new rune stick had remained in her hand.
Amber ran quickly to brother Antuan. Being as he liked his meditation and meditating itself was almost a sacred ritual for him, he had been angry with her for disturbing him so early. Then she explained her vision.
Brother Antuan had simply looked at her closely and stated. "This is not an easy task, Amber. The spells are often the same, but accessing the weave directly, without our lady's help, is dangerous and difficult. Not very many people have the ability to do so and many of those have died or gone insane trying." But she had simply held out the rune stick. "Mystra has commanded me to do it." she stated. "I don't know why, or how, but I WILL learn." Her mentor smiled at her determination, then bid her to sit.
Amber learned much that day. Much about the weave, how some of those who did not worship the Lady of Mysteries could have access to so much power, and mostly how it was done. It seemed strange to Amber that someone could just memorize the proper words, inflections and movements and access the weave just as if granted the power by Mystra.
But with practice, it came easy to her. The hardest part was carving her rune sticks with the new spells that Brother Antuan gave her when she had mastered the previous spell. Amber missed her training with the clerics, however, and was suddenly hit with a thought. “Why did they have to be separate?” she wondered. There had to be a way to do both.
Searching through the extensive library at the abbey, Amber found some references to a Tome of the Mystic Theurge. But she could see that the tome was not to be found at the Abbey. Discussing it with Brother Antuan, she knew what had to be done.
But Amber also knew she needed to prepare. She gathered together the necessary supplies, including the items she knew she would need for something she had put off during her mystical training.
Sitting in trance, the elements committed to the brazier, and the spell spoken, Amber remained perfectly still while the spell sent out the call for her companion. She knew what she wanted, having seen many during her younger years. But she also knew how fickle they could be and only held out a slim hope one would answer her call.
Hours later, the sun had set and the moon was rising over the flat horizon of the ocean when she felt a mental tug. A small shadow flitted across her window, momentarily blocking the moonlight, then swung back, landing on the windowsill. In the low light, the silhouette of the small dragon was the most beautiful thing she had every seen.
“Greeting Mistress.” spoke a perky little voice in common, directly to her mind. “My name is Tesha and I think I like you already” The little psuedodragon smiled a toothy grin at her and Amber smiled back, her eyes brimming in tears. She had her familiar.
Leaving the Abbey was difficult and as she was saying her goodbyes, Brother Antuan, her mentor, gruffly pulled out a bundle for her. “I was saving it for when ye left us.” He told her sadly, but with pride. Opening it, she found an Elven chain shirt of fine Mithril, made custom for her. She gasped at the lightness of it. “I can’t very well have ye going out naked, now can we?” he laughed at her still dumb struck expression.
“I will never be able to rep…” Amber started looking at Antuan with tears in her eyes, but he cut her off. “Ye owe me nothing.” He told her softly. “I couldn’t be prouder if ye were me own kin, little dunderhead”. Amber hugged her mentor hard and kissing him on the cheek. Tesha also touched his cheek softly with a small claw, then Amber mounted her horse and rode off.
That was two months ago Amber thought wryly, and turned back to her book, borrowed from one of the larger temples in Cormyr. She was contently studying, Tesha out hunting, when an acolyte approached her and informed her that the chief priest wished to speak to her. She found that odd considering that she barely knew the man and had informed him that she was just passing through, and wished to do some research. She closed her book “The Combined Powers of Mystra, Where Divine Crosses to the Arcane” It was an interesting but heavy read on how to pursue arcane prowess while increasing divine potential. A possible clue as to how she could continue her quest.
Amber recalled Tesha, then followed the messenger to an inner chamber in the Temple of Mystra where she met again with the Chief Priest. He began by informing her of a letter he received from another Cleric of the lady of mysteries, “Tunaster Dranik”. Evidently, a temple of Mystra had been constructed in Wheloon and Tunaster had gone there to pay tribute. But when he arrived at the temple, he was chased away by the guards. This puzzled him greatly and while he wanted to investigate more, his identity had been compromised so he could not. He has asked for assistance. Amber found this odd as well that a temple had been constructed in Wheloon. Generally as a cleric of mystra she usually received news of such occurrences and furthermore there is nothing particularly significant, in terms of magic, about Wheloon.
The chief priest looked at Amber sadly, “I cannot leave here nor do I have anyone whom I feel is of sufficient experience to assist in this matter. Tunaster is a Friend and so I am obligated to help, but cannot leave my duties here.” The chief priest looks again at Amber. “Will you go?” He asks “As payment I will enhance your Mithril Shirt with the Twilight ability.” Ambers eyes widened as she considered the offer. Granted she probably would have helped regardless, but the Twilight ability would allow her to wear her armor without any fear it would hamper her new mage abilities. “You have yourself a deal.” She smiled at the chief priest, who smiled back. A few hours later, Amber was on her way to Wheloon, her newly enhanced armor feeling cool against her skin.
Magic? Who needs Magic?