Into the Breach
Gideon Toma and the Lornalor Execution
I’m not sure where, or under whom, Gideon trained in the ways of the wizard, and as you know from the company I keep, I know well enough not to try and pry that stuff out of them – wizards tend to be somewhat recognisant in those regards anyway. But what I do know is the story of how Gideon’s career became the ensemble piece you better know.
I know that, for a time, Gideon traveled in the green lands of the north, still far south and over the sea from Wintersbreach, but a place considered far north by those in the deserts of Agria. You know, places like Sorthan, and Bernarkor – they don’t quite have that northern sound to them but they certainly don’t sound like Lonia and Al’chalem and Asghar and those sandier lands in the south.
I’m not sure if he was on some do-gooder pilgrimage or whether he was just sowing his oats and selling his tricks, but whatever the reason, he learned a very valuable lesson about the people of Lornalor, a tiny hamlet deep in the aptly named Darkleaf Forest which takes up most of the western edge of Hellvallen. No thicker a thicket have you ever seen, I tell you! I never traveled through it myself, of course, I had no reason to, and even if I did, I would’ve thought twice about going into the damn thing alone. Actually, I don’t think he went in alone, he may have tagged along with some caravan of some sort, the locals do know their ways through the forests there. Either way, it wasn’t the forest that was his problem.
Stopping in at wherever a person goes to get a meal in a place like that, Gideon couldn’t help but show off, a trait not uncommon among wizards, as I’m sure you’ve heard me say about Tzboath.
Now as much as you’ve heard me complain about wizards, I’d still treat them like I’d treat anyone else, and I certainly don’t know Gideon enough to comment, or assume that all wizards are like Tzboath, it’s just a vibe I get, that’s all.
The people of Lornalor weren’t so kind. In fact, they were decidedly loathe to have a wizard in their forest. And when they started to bother him about it, he requested respectfully to leave, and was denied leave, or so his story goes, although later I heard him mention his arrival was during a festival of some sort they call a Ceilidh, which he did not mention in his original exposition, leaving me to speculate what else he manufactured. In my mind requesting respectfully to leave, was more than likely Gideon employing sarcasm in the face of angry men, and that is why it landed him in hot water. A mob appeared, apparently, and not one he had gathered himself, apparently, and they put a sack over his head and told him they were taking him to see the one who decided what happened to witches and wizards in their town.
A bystander, from afar, whom I will introduce later, said that Gideon was quite cooperative as they led him blindfolded through the village, no doubt assuming he could talk his way out the trouble he was in. Indeed, the bystander watched as they led him through the village and up the stairs of a set of gallows, which I now know in places like that, they keep them erected all year round in case of emergencies. Yeah. I know.
Our bystander walked to the back of the mob and asked a man what Gideon had done, and without turning around to address our bystander, told him his crime was that of witchcraft.
Now had those townsfolk not been so fixated on the execution, they would almost certainly have noticed our bystander, because the looming form of a Dragonborn with bright red scales, is hard to miss among the puny pale faces of those misguided zealots from Lornalor.
I don’t know the entirety of exactly how the next part unfolded, but I do know that the Dragonborn, more famously known as Balthazar, needed only to punch one man in the face to negotiate Gideon’s release.
I think Gideon could have probably escaped on his own, as he is a talented and knowledgeable man, had he known he was being hung, but as it was, even he was too cocky and assured of his own success to have made a proper judgement, to the point that I don’t even think he was entirely aware he was being rescued until after that fact. Which amuses me greatly.
Balthazar wasn’t Balthazar back then, after all, it is not a Dragonborn name, it was given to him by his friends later on. Why would a Dragonborn be in want of name, you ask? Well, not only did he have very little knowledge of where he was, or where he was going, but who he was and why he was there at all. But that’s a story for another time.
As for Gideon and Balthazar, they traveled together for some time before meeting up with the others, and they had a number of exciting stories to tell, of much a similar format. Gideon would get them into trouble, with his tongue, and Balthazar would get them out of it, with his fist. Quite a pair those two, actually, as I’m sure you already know.
Alas, I need a drink. Too much talk!