Aakal Ebenezer Venfaren
Dean of Wizardry Aakal Ebenezer Venfaren
I tell you, they're coming. You all can sit here and bask in your light and goodness, thinking that it will go on forever, but you don't see the world as it is. Darkness is rising across the land, and if you continue to sit here doing nothing it will sweep over us all.
You've all seen it - no matter what you claim, you know that things are not right. You can see that good people are being assaulted, raped, and murdered on the streets of the city, and you sweep it under the rug. You hide evidence that there is a killer preying on the poorest of us, because you no longer care about what happens to them. You sit in your enclaves, and you think about how good everything is, because it isn't touching you.
You aren't going to be able to hide forever. It will wash over your walls, it will break your will and shred your carefully cultivated fantasy that everything is fine. If you join me now, we may be able to stop it before it does so. If you have the courage to do the right thing and fight for everyone. But you won't, will you? You'll hide here, pretending everything is fine, until it isn't. When that happens, when you are finally forced to face the evil that you have allowed to grow, when you reach out to plead for help, you'll find yourself alone, because those that could help will have all fallen fighting without you.
General Physical Condition
Venfaren has focused exclusively on his mental fortitude, and has become weaker as he has aged. At this point, he is still healthy, but weak. He is able to keep up with light exertion, but anything strenuous and he will falter quickly. He walks much slower than he used to, but has not yet had to resort to a cane.
Apparel & Accessories
Venfaren was raised steeped in magic by his mother, a powerful diviner. He learned divining magic as a child, and expected to one day join the ranks of the forest Keepers.
He completed his initial studies in 159 Af., and joined the Keepers almost immediately. He left Minas Hancey and traveled to the Forbidden Forest, where he would spend the next decade caring for the forests, and ensuring that no one found their way inside. He was cut off from his old life, but a decade passes quickly for an elf, especially surrounded by the comfort of the Forest.
After nine years spent mostly alone, using his growing talents to detect any danger or encroachment, he had not decided if he would return. The peace of the Forest called to him, telling him that he was wanted there. But the peace was shattered one night, when a vision of his mother shattered his sleep.
The vision was cloudy, but he could see her reaching out to him, pleading for help. Her hair was a mess, and her sleeve was torn. The vision only lasted a few seconds before he woke, but it left him shaking. He finally convinced himself it was just a dream, although sleep eluded him for the rest of the night. But the following night, it came again, clearer and longer. She was pleading, again, and he knew she was pleading to him, although her eyes were focused on someone else. A hand materialized as it struck her face, knocking her back and drawing blood from her mouth. A blurry figure faded in behind her, pinning her arms, and the vision shattered again.
Venfaren tried to contact the Keepers after that. He sent a message, asking that they ensure that his mother was okay. He focused on calming down, knowing it was likely nothing, and that he was at least a few days away from hearing anything from the city. He went about his job, although the peace of the forest eluded him. That night brought the vision back, worse than before. This time, she was tied to a chair, and had clearly been severely beaten. Bruises and cuts marred her face, and her hair had been pulled out in clumps. As he watched, a hand reached out and grasped her jaw. The hand was nearly skeletal, with thin skin stretched tight and long, dirty fingernails. A hazy figure held her head from behind, and the first hand forced her mouth open. A tool of some sort was shoved in, and Venfaren screamed as he heard the tooth cracking.
He woke up the next morning and began to pack. He was cleaning up the site in preparation to leave, when he felt a telepathic link begin to form. He recognized the spell as one used by the Keepers, and allowed it to connect. The mind joining his was a powerful member of the Keepers, although Venfaren had never met him. He sent reassurances across the link, and showed him that his mother was fine, but involved in a divination ritual. She could not spare the energy to link with him herself, he said, but not to worry. Although he may want to check for a psychic assault coming from the forest.
Relieved, he began to look for such an attacker. When the vision returned that night, he tried to view it dispassionately and see if their were clues. It was so hard to take, but he knew he must. After watching the torture go on for far too long, both the torturer and the assistant became briefly clear. The person holding her was another elf, one he'd never seen before but would never forget. The other was a nightmare.
The skeletal hands were attached to a desiccated body. He got a glimpse of the things face as it turned away from his mother, and the visage was etched in his mind. The lip-less and nose-less face was skin dried and stretched past the breaking point, opening tears through which the yellowed skull could be seen. The eyes were dark pits, with a pinpoint of malevolent light in the center. It had a few patches of stringy black hair left, and the remnants of what were clearly elven ears. As the thing walked away from his mother, Venfaren was able to focus on the other elf. This one was short, with a high forehead and classically refined features. He was mostly unremarkable, but his image was burned into Venfaren's mind. As Venfaren watched, the thing waved a hand, and the short elf drew a knife. Venfaren woke screaming, his last vision his mother's throat being cut.
He laid there through the night, running the vision over and over in his mind. Thoughts of Weird spells and what could cast them ran through his mind. When the first light started to break, he left, searching for any evidence of intruders in the forest. He found none, and finally returned to the camp as dusk fell, exhausted. There he found a message from his patron in the Keepers, Enios. The message said that his mother had not been seen for several days, and they were beginning to worry.
Venfaren immediately set out of the forest. He barely made it to the next camp before he was asleep on his feet. He slept through the night, although nightmares plagued him the entire time. The face of the thing kept appearing, its burning pupils boring into his skull. The Keeper at the other camp made him as comfortable as possible, not knowing what was wrong, but seeing the pain. He also put together a traveling kit, knowing that the man would not stop to make one himself.
Venfaren woke, and with barely a grunt of acknowledgement, took the bag and left. He went as far as he could until sleep took him, eating what was in the bag as he traveled. Some nights he made it to another camp, some nights he basically fell down and slept on the trail - every night, he continued to see the face of the thing, and the short elf. He made the journey to the city, a trek that would normally take 10 days, in six. Staggering into the Keepers Citadel, he made for his patrons office. The man looked at him, and simply said, "I'm so sorry."
Venfaren fell to his knees, tears streaming down his cheeks. His patron knelt beside him, and put a hand on his shoulder. "I know how you must feel," he said. "We were all shocked to find the summoning circle, and discover that your mother was involved in such evil." Venfaren was rocked to his core. How could they think that? As he tried to form a question, he heard another elf come in and stop behind him.
"Careful, Enios," the newcomer said. "The boy is likely as tainted as his mother." Venfaren turned, and stared into the face of the short elf of his nightmares. The bastard looked him in the eye, and winked. "He should probably be locked up."
Rage overtook Venfaren, and he flew at the elf. His hands locked on the short elf's throat, and Venfaren began to squeeze. The elf smiled at him, as something crashed into his head and blackness engulfed him. He woke in a cell, with no way of knowing how long he was out.
After a long time, Enios opened the cell door and came in. He looked grave as he stepped in front of Venfaren. "You're being exiled, Aakal. You broke your vows, you attacked a high level Keeper, and you have the taint of your mothers evil upon you. You're lucky they aren't executing you."
"Do you believe that, Enios? Do you believe that of my mother, or me? You've known us all your life. You know who my mother was, and you know she'd have never done that."
"I don't know what to think, Aakal. The evidence is there. If I didn't know you, if I didn't believe you were better than that, I wouldn't have fought for you to just be exiled. But that's all I could do. Go. You have 24 hours to be out of the city, and two weeks to be out of the valley. After that, there's nothing I can do."
Venfaren went. He left the valley, and he made his way towards the Alsocious Forest. He eventually found a priest of Kolero, preaching the word of self reliance and personal responsibility. The ideas resonated with him - the thing, and those that enabled it, had to be stopped. After seeing that the Keepers would not, he knew that he would have to. He joined the Kolerans, and has spent the next 500 years expanding their reach and attempting to destroy the evil rising in the land.
Wealth & Financial state
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