Humble Beginnings - An Origin Story set in Amalur's Age of Heroes
Chapter 1 - Finneas and the Sign
Finneas Arkemedis squinted as his hand moved up to shield his eyes from the afternoon sun as he exited his small home. While it was not uncommon for him to take these small journeys out into the village, the sun never failed to assault him as if he were a bear stepping out of a cave after a long hibernation.
Closing the door behind him he slowly made his way into the road and towards the market. He was somewhat anxious to get provisions for his bare cupboards and return to his shelter where he could once again be free from the prying eyes of his fellow villagers.
That is not to say that Finneas held any sort of ill will towards the men and women he now found himself surrounded by, nor was he of a paranoid sort. The fact of the matter is that he simply felt as if he did not belong. The seemingly quiet life in a small settlement was a far cry from life in a large city, with so many sights, sounds, and wonders to behold. It had been decades since he suddenly resigned from his position to pursue what now seemed like a fool’s errand.
If only he had written that damned vision off to bad shellfish or something of similar nature he would likely at this very moment still be enjoying his silk sheets and tailored clothes rather than trudging to the market to haggle over the price of dead chickens. Oh, how he longed for intellectually stimulating conversation. What had once been challenging debates over alchemy ingredients or sagecraft components had regressed to such mundane topics as how much rain was likely to fall on a given day.
In his mind's eye, he could still recall the vision. Images that had ingrained feelings of such utmost importance that if he did not act on them, he was afraid the consequences would be dire. And act he had, "but for what?" he thought to himself. Year after year had passed and the sign that was promised had yet to come. Meanwhile the images from the vision remained, unshakable and tormenting. It was all he could do to cling to his sanity. Or had he? He smiled as he made his way down the path entering to the market square. Perhaps he had finally cracked and was quite insane.
At least that would explain the whispers he heard every time he made an appearance outside of his small dwelling, "There goes that Crazy Old Gnome".
While it is true that at this stage Finneas' age would be difficult to determine, the years he has spent studying and instructing others in the use of magic has taken its toll on his small body. His slow gait, thinning hair, poor eyesight, wrinkles and scars were more the result of the abuse he had taken from the powers of the arcane elements rather than time. This led others to assume incorrectly that his age was more advanced than it truly was. His hearing and especially sharp wit were quite intact, well for the most part.
That left only his grasp on sanity able to be questioned. A perception that the elderly looking Gnome did not particularly help by constantly muttering under his breath his disdain for the station he currently found himself in. Cursing his past choices while also subconsciously thinking aloud, attempting to solve his problems both past and present.
As Finneas stepped into the market his body suddenly froze as if he were encased in an invisible block of ice, unable to even blink. Time seemed to slow dramatically as all around him merchants, vendors and customers alike moved almost imperceptibly. His vision then seemed to darken and his surroundings slowly faded from view. He then felt a hum emanating from in front and slightly to the right. As his eyes were drawn towards the sound his vision was overcome by an impossibly bright light from an object in a sales cart. For a brief moment the light caused searing pain, his eyes burning intensely in their sockets
As fast as the phenomenon had started it was gone. The market square was once again bustling with activity as Finneas stood there dumbfounded and trying to collect his bearings. As he caught his breath, he is finally able to mutter a few words, "the sign! It's finally here!" With a start he makes his way towards the cart as fast as his short hobbled legs can carry him.