Haldis the Sage
Kingdom of Origin: Haelmgood
Alignment: Nuetral Good
Armor Class: 10
Hit Points: 6
Rod, Staff, or Wand: 9
Breath Weapon: 13
(Non-Weapon) Ancient History (The Age of Magic)
(Non-Weapon) Languages, Ancient
(Non-Weapon) Riding, Land
(Non-Weapon) Direction Sense
Languages: Common, Elven, Dwarven, Draconic, Celestial, Giant (Broken)
Weight: 173 lbs
Hair: Brown (shoulder-length, unkempt)
Originally a scribe for the household of a minor noble in Haelmgood, Haldis was something of an aloof and awkward figure in his early years. Shy from his abnormal height, he kept to himself and occupied his time making sketches of the various occupants of the lord’s court when his duties were not presently required. This might’ve been the whole story for him had it not been for the arrival of one Lady Anesatria.
Hailing from a city in the Kingdom’s northern lands, Anesatria was a striking woman, with long dark hair and piercing eyes. She was said to be bold and unrestrained when it came to the matters of court – rumors that were quickly proven to be truthful. While never stated directly, many within the court suspected her to be a witch or sorceress of some variety. These speculations were given some manner of confirmation by the many cloaks and robes she possessed bearing strange sigils and markings.
As one with a sharp attention to detail, Haldis strove to capture her likeness in his sketches, and she quickly became a favorite subject of his work. Her likeness he could produce, but the markings on her cloaks and robes were off slightly. He began sketching the markings alone, trying to perfect them. Day by day, week by week he would spy her sigils and scratch them with his quil.
In time he started to believe there to be a meaning behind the symbols, more than initially thought – a form of writing perhaps. He compared his early sketches and indeed found many of the same marks, albeit drawn incorrectly before. He had not yet realized it, but his focus had been drawn almost entirely to the markings. His mind spun circles trying to puzzle together the meaning of the runes.
Finally he could stand it no longer. He had to know what they meant, there was more – of that he was certain. While initially intimidated at the idea of approaching her, he knew she was the only person who could tell him. It took a few tries for him to muster the courage to speak to her, but he soon found his voice and blurted his question out at her in the corridor as she was exiting. “Will you tell me of your markings m’lady?”
She seemed surprised at first, but quickly regained her wit and dragged him by arm to a side room. She demanded he explain himself and he showed her his pages of notes and drawings. Studying them carefully, Anesatria finally returned her gaze to him. “I can teach you” she began “but…if I do, it will require the utmost dedication from you, and it will consume your life. Forever will it change you.”
Uneasy, but still eager at the prospect, Haldis agreed and she bid him to run away from the lord’s court and stay with her. Before he knew it, he was packed and in her carriage, on his way to a new life away from the drudgery of a scribe’s existance. Anesatria proved to be more than he had imagined, and they took the roles of master and apprentice. She was demanding, but kind and pushed him into long nights of study and recital of rotes and words.
They soon came to the topic of somantic movements required for spells. At first he was shy and clumsy, but she guided him with her hands. Her touch was intoxicating to him, and he felt a new level of closeness to her as she would move his arms, or tap his heels with her toes to indicate a leg movement. The studies were formal, and yet intimate in a way. Haldis strived hard for perfection and her praise made him feel both powerful and alive in a way he had not known before. He could feel their bond growing.
As the months of study passed, her demeanor changed. Gone was the kind and caring master, replaced with a cold mistress who had a teaching style of pointed lesson through constant statements of disappointment and mockery. Haldis worked harder and harder to impress her and win her praise, but she proved impossible to appease. While she typically made him feel like a failure, there were just enough moments of kindness and endearment mixed in to keep his adoration of her alive.
Finally one morning she sat him down across from her “I can no longer instruct you in the ways of the arcane arts Haldis, I’m sorry”. He was crushed, confused. How could she do this to him after all his hard work. He had done so much and put up with all of her abuse. She was everything he wanted to be and now she sought to throw him away.
He demanded an answer from her as to the reasons for her decision. She was reluctant at first, but finally said “You’ve changed”. He retorted with her own words from the corridor, ‘forever will it change you’, she had told him that her teachings would do that. “Not like that Haldis. In that way you have changed, but you have also lost sight of things. I agreed to instruct you because you were driven to know. You came to me in that corridor because the need for knowledge possessed you. Page after page of drawn symbols and notes about what they might mean”. She paused a long moment “You no longer work hard for knowledge, you work hard for my approval, my pats upon the head. You’ve become a lovestruck fool pretending to be an apprentice.”
“I tried to distance myself from you, for the sake of your studies” she continued. “but the more I pushed you away personally the harder you worked to come back. You’re desperate for my kindness and affection Haldis, not my instruction. I cannot be an effective master to you any longer.”
He fought with her a while, trying to convince her that she was wrong, that he wanted the knowledge for its own sake and that he still possessed the thirst for it. But in the end she still refused. In his heart he knew she was right, he did care for her deeply, desired her praise and her affections. That desire had come to exceed his quest for magical learning.
Finally after a long silence, she spoke again “There is a city to north and west. A kingless city, a city of free men, Pacht. There is a college of wizards there, I bid you go to continue your learning. There you can rededicate yourself to knowledge without me to distract you. You have great potential Haldis. Maybe in time we’ll meet again, but you must go now.”
Anesatria departed first, leaving Haldis to collect his things and make the treck northwest. He wasn’t sure how he was supposed to gain admittence to the college as she had provided him no contact or letter of introduction. Perhaps the need to prove himself to the college’s administrators was part of her intention, a way to force his work for its own sake. Taking his drawings of her with him, he headed northwest, towards Pacht.