Visions of the Arcane
Abandoned at birth, but found and taken in by a strange woman, Ohr was raised as ward of nature. He grew up in a cave overlooking the waters of the Broken Sea in the Bay of Tears. His mistress, as he came to call her, was an old and haggard looking woman, but verile and stealthy. As he grew and lessons were learned, soon Ohr was being asked to steal for their supper.
Occasionally he would be brought to Havenport by the mistress, and they would live off of those too ignorant to notice them, stealing what they would. When he was caught by a guard, his mistress was nowhere to be found. Ohr was jailed until his sentence was carried out, and he half expected to see his mistress once more, but she never came. On the day of his sentencing, he was removed from the cells, hooded, bound and gagged and marched off. He was in a wagon for some time, unknowing what was happening, and fearing for his death.
When his hood was removed, he found himself standing under a bright light, in a stone room dark in all corners. He was questioned, and apparently, those listening liked what they heard, for he found himself a member of the Nine Paths, an order of martially trained monks who lived in the hills in a hidden temple. What caught their eye, or why he found himself here, Ohr would not be told, but he was indentured to them, and owned them his life, which he was reminded often.
Ohr was naturally gifted at his lessons, with his great speed, agility and strength meshing perfectly with the Path of Thunder, a martial method dealing devastating blows with fists, feet and anything else that made sense. His masters were always strict, and showed little pleasure from his efforts, but he was also not stricken and punished, or even killed, as some others were, and his mastery of himself grew.
After years of training, Ohr was tasked with several missions by his most respected master, Torog, another half-orc like himself, who Ohr had taken to immediately. Ohr completed these excursions and tasks, though some of them were less than reputable. At some point after being summoned, Ohr entered on a quarrel between his master and another master, Yevona. Yevona and Torog were embroiled in a vicious combat late in the evening in one of the Dark Chambers, lower level prisons and training grounds that the Nine Paths use. Yevona was wielding her vicious katars and Torog looked to be in danger.
Thinking his master in the right, Ohr joined the fray, and when Yevona was suprised and distracted by the newcomer, Torog plunged a two fingered strike into her throat, tearing it out. While Ohr was in shock, and nearly left to get the other masters, Torog explained that Ohr’s presence must not be known here for it was forbidden and punishable by death to aid a master in another’s demise. Torog bade Ohr to retreat to his strawmat and wait for the morning. This Ohr did without question and when, on the morrow, it was found that Torog has bested Yevona to become the grand master, something which is kept in secret amongst the masters, Ohr was relieved no one apparently knew of his involvement and that he would not be cast out, or worse.
Some time later, a new student began walking the Paths. A woman so beautiful, and yet so off putting by her demeanor, that Ohr was enthralled. Apparently, she’d been found in the waters near the shores of the Striped Bay and was brought back to the Way of the Nine Paths to regain health. When she began training with the novices, it was clear she had some other type of training previously, and though the masters would beat her to change, she adapted only what she wanted to fit her style. And when they gave her a wooden blade, it was as if she were born with it in her hand. Ohr was certain he noted some strange aura around her when she was training with it, but he attributed it to his own dulled senses when she was involved.
While Ohr had been a student for years and was soundly in the Path of Thunder, this woman, Nhya as he came to know her, was allowed to break from the normal paths and into one rarely walked, especially by newer students, the Path of Iron. This path came to know the intricacies of blending blade and body and this seemed to come so naturally to her, Ohr sometimes heard the masters speak of past lives, or spirits lingering inside the girl. In his dealings with her, Ohr had sensed that she was .. older, than he, and that she did not speak very much unless asked. But, he came to like her well, and she never seemed bothered by him, which was enough for Ohr.
One night, Ohr was awakened by a scream and bolted off of his bed. Nhya was up, with a soft glow all around her, and she was fighting something, but her purple eyes were closed as if sleeping and Ohr could not see any combatant. Many others woke, and several masters came, as Nhya went whirling around the rooms. Some tried to calm her or forcibly stop her, and she sent them flying backwards, or seemed to shock them, somehow. Eventually, she was brought low by Torog, who had been awakened to watch this, and taken away with the masters. Ohr was at a loss, but he went back to bed.
As it came to pass, Nhya would not be seen in the Way of the Nine Paths again, at least, not by most of the students. It had been decided through some type of divination that Nhya was not to be allowed to study any longer, and that the training they had given her must be undone, or the Nine Paths would lose the honor and reputation that they maintained, and possibly be responsible for some great event. Ohr heard Master Torog speaking of this to his fellow masters two days after Nhya was last seen. He also found that she was being held in the Dark Chambers.
Confused, and yet sure, he set out to free her, and knew that they must both escape the Way if they were to live. He used the knowledge he had and the trust he had gained with Torog to gain access to the key to the Dark Chambers the next night, and sent the guards away on a false errand. From there, he took Nhya deeper into the Chambers, to one place he knew would lead out that he had been told about years ago, and together they left the Way of the Nine Paths, and strode out into the world.
Not knowing where to go, they set out for Arcadia, thinking to blend into the large city. Before they even arrived, someone had something else in mind for the two lonely travelers…