My name is Eldon Woodson. I am 22 years old, and was born and raised in Kassen. My family for generations have been woodcutters and carpenters for as long as we can remember. As far as I knew or ever cared to know I was going to keep up that family tradition for all my life. I was happy to do so. I was always very good at carpentry. I liked it, and still do. I figured I'd find a nice girl to marry, raise children, teach them the way of the Woodsons, and rest someday in Gaea's arms after having lived a long and prosperous life.
Perhaps all of that was not meant to be. Perhaps Gaea in her wisdom chose another path for me. One day when I was 16 I was scouting for a copse of trees to thin when I happened upon an abandoned cabin. Having grown-up in Kassen and logged the Fangwood Forest all my life I was surprised by the sudden appearance of this cabin. It was never there before.
I approached cautiously, but curiously as I felt something drawing me there. There was no one inside, and the furniture looked like it hadn't been used in years. What stood out to me were three items on a dusty old table; a book, a ring, and a long carved stick. Almost not of my own volition I walked forward and took the items. I'm not one for thievery, but it appeared no one had used these things in years, and I just wanted to examine them.
As I grabbed the last of the three items the cabin around me disappeared in a blur, and I found myself back in the copse of trees, but it was now the middle of the night! I ran home to see my mother awake and waiting for me in our front room. It was not like me to be out after dark, and everyone knows the Fangwood is not safe at night.
Not knowing how to explain myself, I took the book, the ring, and the stick and hid them in our woodshed. My mother embraced me when I came in, and then scolded me fiercely for being out so late. I told her I got lost in the woods (not entirely untrue). My father came home soon after, more scared than angry, and glad to see me home. It was a LONG time after that before I was allowed to go back out into the Fangwood alone.
What I didn't know was that day was going to change my life forever.
Over the next four years I studied the book and found it was a book of magic spells. I am not trying to brag, but I've always been pretty sharp, and quick to learn. I was able to discern much from the book, but I had to keep it secret. I didn't think my family would approve of me taking up magic. Besides, Kassen already had a town mage and an apprentice, and that was plenty for a city of 500 souls.
I was careful that my regular work never suffered. I was always ready to go logging, and then crafting after we had felled what we needed. What my parents did notice was that I wasn't interested in spending time with young men my age. Nor did I seem to be interested in pursuing a wife. At the age of 20 I was well into my marrying years, but I could only keep juggling so many things at once. Home and Hearth balanced with my independent magical studies was all I could do and still get enough sleep at night.
Then my chance came to turn a corner and strike-out on my own (sort of). The town mage, Holgast, had publicly announced he was taking a new apprentice. He was asking for applicants. This was my chance to learn more and really start to unravel the secrets of magic. I had found I had a special talent for magic that evoked power out of nothingness, and I wanted to learn more of that. Maybe even be an adventurer someday, but this meant I had to tell my parents what I had been hiding from them for so long.
That was not going to be easy…
(TO BE CONTINUED)