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One should not seek adventure when misfortune is at the door. — Sannis Proverb
Dragon hunting is not an endeavor for those in polite society, but Wiglaf Lumens never adhered to the rules.
Born to a wealthy family of Mum Nis who made their fortune exporting Ignium, Wiglaf grew tired of galas and the empty conversations of the elite. He didn’t care about who was betrothed to whom, speculation on the price of the Order’s most sought-after fiery material or any of the political gossip that is the hallmark of such events.
“Someday you will be the man of this house,” his father told him. “You’ll soon understand the importance of these conversations, how they help our family keep our station in society.”
But Wiglaf wanted none of this. His mother Estrid grabbed him by ear and forced him to attend the events, but as soon as she was preoccupied with conversation, the boy slipped out into the night.
In the crisp air that was drenched in sea salt, Wiglaf was free. He cast aside his formal coat, kicked off his shoes and untucked his party shirt. Wiglaf was transformed outdoors, unencumbered from society and able to use his imagination. He was soon transported to far off places where he could engage in sword fights, search for treasure, and, of course, battle dragons.
Inevitably, Estrid would notice that Wiglaf had once again snunk out of the party. She’d excuse herself from a conversation about shipping tariffs or piracy through the Tides of Tears—particularly near the port city of Schlel—to go look for her son.
When Wiglaf was 14, he and his family joined the gentry at the mayor’s residence in celebration of the Feast of Tas Tis. On this moonlit night, the boy soon escaped the festivities, stealing outside to climb the gnarled trees that dotted the lawn. Hoisting himself up a branch and sitting in the nook of a great oak, Wiglaf began daydreaming of dragon hunting adventures on the countryside.
He imagined that he was journeying deep inside the desert plains of the Order, decked out in the finest studded armor with a falchion as he was searching for a beast who had taken up roost in the hallowed Divine Den. The dragon had prevented many pilgrims from completing their journey to the crypt to honor their ancestors—Wiglaf knew that he alone could destroy the creature.
During this ride, Wiglaf felt the sand striking his face, his mouth dry from the heat. “That’s odd,” he thought, “I’ve never felt this hot in Mum Nis before.” But he was too enraptured with his fantasy to give it a second thought; the memory of the Feast of Tas Tis faded from his mind like the desert sun bleaches even the deepest hues from cloth.
Wiglaf rode on, nothing but dunes in sight. He was completely lost, unsure if he was even on the right path. The sand became denser, stinging him on his face as if he happened upon a patch of nettle; the sun shone hotter, like a focused ray of light burning the center of his chest. But Wiglaf refused to give up, he charged on towards the crypt even as his steed floundered, its knees buckling.
“Very well, I shall go on foot the rest of the way,” the confident boy thought.
As he trudged through the dunes, an immense sandstorm swirled in front of him. The cerulean sky was scrubbed out. The small amount of light that found a path through the granules casted an eerie, earthy hue that was foreign to the boy familiar with the deep blue waters and skies of his port city.
Then the chaotic sand somehow became more ordered; it stopped swirling and started to stick together in the sky. Wiglaf could make out the formation of claws and a tail, then wings and a snout. “So, this is the beast that has plagued the crypt,” he realized at once with trepidation.
Wiglaf felt an intense pain on his chest and a shudder of fear as he looked down to find that he was once again a weaponless boy in party clothes instead of armor. Wiglaf was paralyzed with fear, unable to make his feet move to run away. With a menacing grin, the dragon approached him and, instead of breathing fire, shot a focused blast of sand at his heart that caused Wiglaf to scream in agony and black out.
When the boy came to, he found that he was no longer comfortably sitting in the tree’s nook but splayed out on the ground. Every fiber of his body ached, his face smarting with stings. And, as if from dark magic, around Wiglaf’s neck was a pendant that burned hot on his torso, but froze his hands with intense cold that he couldn’t grasp it to remove it.
Completely disoriented, the boy tried standing but stumbled, unable to catch his balance. As he fell back to the ground he saw her, his mother Estrid, holding a blade of Ignium and bleeding from her chest. Next to her was a dark mage, face down with blood on his back. The ghost wand that enchanted Wiglaf, and dealt the mortal blow to Estrid, lay next to the evil sorcerer.
Overcome with grief, Wiglaf clutched his mother, tears streaming from his face. The pendant burned with gloom, biting away all the joy that he had ever felt, as his mother took her final breath.
Wiglaf Lumens, the would-be dragon slayer of Enlightenment, was lost in the void of darkness. He grabbed the ghost wand and ran.
###Items from the Lootverse referenced in this story:
Genesis Adventurer #447: Wiglaf Lumens an Adventurer of Enlightenment
Realms (for Adventurers) #7330: Sannis of the Order of Power, Mum Nis is a port city of this realm, Tas Tis is a region denoted on the map that the festival was named after and Ignium is an export of this realm
Realms (for Adventurers) #26: lel Kúbklor of the Order of Power, Schlel is a port city of this realm (and featured in the previous Quill submission I wrote)
Crypts and Caverns # 3174: Divine Den of Enlightenment, the crypt that the dragon is guarding
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