Fiction on Other Websites

This character was created for a tabletop role-playing game set in the Planescape multiverse. It was written in December 2008.

The wood creaked as a cowled man took a seat in front of a small gathering of onlookers. Each of his movements was painfully slow, leading many to surmise he was old, but the thick reeking incense, dim lighting and the ample cowl covering him made it impossible to confirm their suspicions. There was a silence only interrupted by the crackling of the fire behind him.

«We were promised a story.» Snapped a patron of the smoke-filled inn.

«A true one!» Added another emphatically.

Hunched on the frail oaken chair, the man's inscrutable visage turned upon each of the patrons, his silent gaze cowing them into silence. With a cough he started his story, wheezing at each and every breath...

The tale began in a world you have never heard of, and that you will never find, so its name is meaningless.

«How is that possible?» Piped up a stern looking bladeling as the storyteller barely finished his first sentence.

«This particular material plane is not connected to the Multiverse.» The hooded man answered without missing a beat.

«That's impossible!» Replied an elf with outrage. The small gathering echoed his disbelief with their comments, but were soon silenced by a curt wave of the storyteller's hand.

«How would you know if it is possible or not? For if it was, you would never be able to find it and would never know of its existence.»

They stared in puzzlement, some of them trying to formulate a reply, but none came. Satisfied, the man continued his story...

On this world lied the port city of Roz. Its white stone buildings with colourful tiled rooftops, ranging from a brownish hue to light purple, were separated by lush gardens, broad plazas and sturdy cobblestone roads. It was neither opulent, nor affluent but it was not lacking in comfort or wealth either. Over the years the city became a burgeoning trade center, its overflowing fisheries complemented by goods from all over the world. It was not unlike most other flourishing cities, save for the occasional sea raider attack during the winter season.

It was here our protagonist was born, in a time of prosperity and hope. Sadly, he would not share in his city good fortune. When he was still but a babe, the sea raiders struck viciously. It was an attack like no other before and whatever defenses had been put in place were quickly overwhelmed. The raiders then proceeded to loot homes and businesses alike at random. When they bursted into the boy's home, his father and mother were ill equipped to protect themselves and their child.

His tale would have ended here, in anonymity, if not for a twist of fate. The proprietor of the inn across the street heard the screams of his neighbors and overwhelmed by pity, the grizzled sailor dismounted his barricade and crossed the street. Inside, his large axe meet the skull of two raiders, but he was too late to save either parent. Yet, the constant weeping of a baby attracted him deeper into the home and into the nursery. In a split second decision he took the child as his own and brought him back to the relative safety of his establishment.

It was in this place that the boy slowly grew into a man. He led an undistinguished childhood, helping with chores and cleaning up his «uncle's» tavern. The man was hard on him, never having children of his own, the old sailor had a difficult time understanding the youth's needs. Nevertheless, he was also fair and far from unkind. Under the man's tutelage, the boy who had been named Djezhir shortly after being taken in, learned the merits and rewards of hard work.

It was only as a teenager that Djezhir's life took a turn for the extraordinary. One day, no different from the others, inspiration came to the youth. Competition was growing and patrons were getting scarce. The inn needed something to set itself apart. Out of sheer instinct, he concocted an alcohol beverage and then animated a small facsimile of a green dragon in it. The creature twirled in the drink, sloshing in it until Djezhir simply blew on it, turning it into a light green mist.

Soon, Djezhir, a young man now received a small amount of fame. As more and more patrons came from far and wide to savor the exotic drink, he turned the making of the beverage into a presentation worth seeing itself. With each such presentation, he added a new flourish, a new twirl or a new twist, quickly revealing a talent for showmanship. Djezhir became content, for he had some amount of fame, wealth and his charms attracted many of the fairer sex.

Unknown to him, there was something missing in his life. Djezhir was now proprietor of the inn, his «uncle» having died peacefully a few years back. Many revelled in his success, surely he was now set for life and would be the envy of many for years to come. Yet, he slowly grew disenchanted with his life. The gold had lost its luster and each lover became more stale than the last. Even so, he did not know what more he needed in his life and thus he did not expect a quiet, unassuming woman of his age, who came in for a drink, to change his life.

He paid little attention to her, he had met far more beautiful women in his short life and made her his famous drink, which she had ordered. Instead of wonder or awe, her eyes belied understanding. How could that be? He knew of no one who understood this ability, not even himself. With a smile she inquired about him, introducing herself as an artificer from a far away land. She told him of the ship on which she was sailing; seeking treasures of the past, magical items far beyond the comprehension of any. She told him she could help him understand his power and one day, she could help him master it. No on ever knew if she had come here looking for him or if it was fate again who had interceded in his favor once more.

The next day, when the vessel left Roz, Djezhir was onboard with the woman. It was a new beginning for him when he discovered the raw beauty and unrestricted freedom of the high sea. For even though he had lived his life in a port city and had been raised by a sailor, he had never sailed. During the day he learned how to man the ship and fight with a blade, in the evening the woman taught him to expand upon his innate abilities.

A decade and more passed; fighting raiders, uncovering ancient artifacts and sailing all over the known world. Djezhir was now captain of vessel and married to the woman who had invited him to this wonderful life of adventure. This time he knew true happiness, but as all men who live to know such a thing, he started thinking about when it would end. Coming into his fourth decade, he realised he was not the young man he once was. He had lost an eye fighting, his skin was weathered by the elements and scarred by battle and his bones were starting to ache.

This life of happiness might last another twenty years, or maybe less. Djezhir reflected upon all the stories he had heard in his years of travel, all the stories of the past he had uncovered, all the legends and myths. Most of them agreed that at the end of the world, there was a city, lost through time and

dating back to a time before any of the known civilizations, present or past. I was said, that in the hallowed halls of a temple in that city there is a scroll from which any who read from it will gain immortality. Or course, no one had returned from such a journey to corroborate the stories.

Djezhir thus set course for the end of the world, determined to find immortality. None of his crew complained, they trusted him, and his wife kept her concerns for herself. It took two months of hard sailing on the high seas to finally reach what they all thought was their destination. Already, Djezhir had lost part of crew to the grueling voyage.

The next month in the inhospitable jungle proved even more taxing for the men and women under his command. Ever present and unknown dangers whittled down the remaining valiant crew, whether it be beasts or diseases. Neither his arcane power, nor his skill with a blade could save them. The survivors began to have doubts. Djezhir remained uncompromising in his certainty, they would find the scroll. Only admiration for their captain and the prospect of losing so many for naught pushed the survivors to continue. By the end of the month the expedition was reduced to six members, including Djezhir and his wife, out of the three score of men and women who had undertaken this perilous journey.

It was about then they found the city, or what was left of it. Built of white marble, mostly overrunned by the jungle and separated by a great river ending in a waterfall. Somewhere in the majestic white spires of the city there was the scroll for which Djezhir had lost so many men, so many friends. In exploring the remains of the city, he lost the remaining four of his crew, while the object of his search remained elusive. Yet, he could not falter so near of his goal. Trusting his instinct, he crossed the great river with his beloved, almost perishing in the process. Once he stepped in the great domed building on the other side, he knew his quest was over.

With each step on the winding white marble staircase, Djezhir's certainty only grew. He moved at such a pace that his wife had trouble keeping up. As he cleared the threshold at the far top of the slender tower, he witnessed something so wonderful it eclipsed all the other wonders he had seen. In the center of an amber room, discordant with the rest of the architecture, was the scroll he sought. Awash in a blue white glow, it has held in the air by a disembodied hand. Without further thought, he slid it free and grasped it his gloved hand, admiring the ancient paper and equally ancient writing on it. Inexplicably, under his very eyes, the characters shifted into a recognisable form.

Excited, Djezhir started reading aloud the words before his wife could intervene. When she finally arrived and shouted for him to stop, he was at the last sentence. The final strange words had barely been spoken before a bright light engulfed the room. Djezhir stood mesmerized by it, until he recognized the danger as it started to pull him in. He tried to run, she tried to reach for him. Inexorably, the force kept pulling, until he disappeared in the light.

But, this was not the end for Djezhir. For a time he drifted in a state of limbo, floating in what he could only comprehend as a great white river, constantly pulling at him. Who knows how much time he spent in those circumstances. Suffice to say that once he was returned to a more recognizable place, he had changed. His lost eye was healed, his hair was now dark and a stubble of beard had grown. He feeled and even looked younger. For a moment, he thought he had succeeded, that he had achieved his wish. Yet, as he gazed upon the land where he had appeared, he knew this was not his world. Only a desolate landscape greeter him, a vast emptiness of barren and featureless rocks.

Again, he refused to give in and lose hope. While he was still alive, there was a chance to get back to his beloved, to his life. Trusting his instinct once more, he picked a direction, seemingly at random, and started walking. After what he counted as a week, it was hard to say in this bleak landscape, he realised he still wasn't hungry or thirsty. It seemed only fatigue affected him, but felt that none of the common symptoms of starvation or thirst afflicted him. He began thinking again he had achieved his goal, at least partly. Nevertheless, what use was it to be immortal if you could not enjoy it?


He continued to wander, for what he surmised was a few months. Never once did he meet anything or anyone remotely alive. Wryly he mused at being immortal in this empty, near-featureless, world. Fortunately for him, it would not be so. Fate, or what he would call luck, smiled on him as always in time of great need. In his explorations he stumbled upon a ship. It was unlike anything he had ever seen before, with a hull constructed in unknown metals and with sails on each side.

Djezhir mulled over the characteristics of the strange ship and weighed them against all he had learned as a sailor. After some time, he surmised this was not a craft made to travel the seas. Perhaps it could then travel the skies? Still unsure, he began working on the ship, trying to learn how it worked and how to use it. As he tediously examined the hull, during one of his sessions with the ship, he noticed faded writing near the prow. It read «Weatherlight»...

Some of the audience gasped and the man paused before addressing them in a smooth voice, even though he had not taken one sip of his drink since the beginning of the tale.

«Yes, that Weatherlight. It was thought lost to history and the ravages of time, but Djezhir found it. It is one of the oldest Spelljammers you'll ever get to see, if you are lucky enough.»

Some looked at him quizzically before he answered their unspoken question.

«The Weatherlight is still around... and so is Djezhir.»

Again he was met with incredulity, but it didn't seem to bother him.

«Didn't you see this was a long time ago?» Piped one of the younger patrons.

«Actually, no I didn't. Yet, you are quite right, this tale happened a very long time ago.» Came the calm reply of the storyteller.

«How is it possible then?» The young woman asked.

«Well, Djezhir did attain his goal of....»

The man was silenced by a chorus of outcries which lasted for several moments of which he seemed unfazed. Again, he silenced them with a curt wave of his hand, but this time he waited.

One githzerai, seemingly braver than the other patrons echoed their doubts. «How come we haven't heard of him then?»

«That is quite simple, you are too young. Djezhir was something of a legend several centuries ago, but as all legend he has faded since then.»

The small crowd mulled over these words, some clearly disbelieving the whole thing as a fancyful tale, others seeming more ready to accept this unlikely story. The man rose from his chair, his movement still as slow as when he sat down. He turned to the door, but addressed them one last time before leaving.

«If you ever see a man fitting his description, with a rugged charm and even more rugged look. Buy him an ale and he might tell you one of his stories, two if you are lucky.»

Those who tried to follow the man as he left soon lost him in some of the darker alleyways and all of the patrons never saw him again.