Stenmar’s philosophy when it came to equipment involves caring for your tools like you would protect your life. His rationale was that your equipment supports every job they are designed for and are quite often the reason you can return home safely. With this reasoning he had decided to build me a full kit of weapons and armor. His only problem was that he didn’t know what kinds I’ll need.
Stenmar often complained that since I blundered around so much he couldn’t properly judge if the type of gear I was using was the right fit for me. I honestly can’t tell why I messed up since I could perform with them properly every other time. Something just seems to love switching what was precise skill into abhorrent clumsiness. One day I can pass through Rui’s stealth course through the base without a single mistake, the next I stumble over a patch of grass into a pitfall filled with mud. Rui of course finds this all to be very amusing.
Rui evidently has a plan to introduce me to the outside world, but it obviously involves combat. Rui says he’s waiting for Stenmar to prepare my equipment to take me on one of his trips out of the mountains. When I question him further he assigns me additional “training.” This training usually involves me trying to hide from Rui in the woods, and prepare myself to fend off his persistent attacks. Rui has never taken it easy on me, and usually wins by knocking me out from behind. I’ve only managed to win by constantly evading him and waiting for the set time to run out.
Rui isn’t the only one who directs my training curriculum. Stenmar often orders me to be his Black smithithing assistant. Not only do I have to work in the forge but he puts me to work alongside him in the mines. An elf cannot be compared to dwarves when it comes to strength and stamina. This fact does not stop Stenmar from working me to the bone. Rui of course holds no sympathy since he seemed to have suffered the same treatment when he was young.
It is currently spring of the year 2206. Stenmar has just finished preparing my weapons and armor. I am eagerly waiting in the hallway outside of the storage room where Stenmar has staged my gear. Stenmar without ceremony invites me into the room which held my curiosity for 6 years. “It’s just a storage room?!”
“Well what did you expect, a dragon’s nest?”
“No, but maybe some dragon heads or something.”
“No such luck. If I had some dragon hide I would’ve used it for a piece of armor already.”
A little disappointed; I followed Stenmar to the back where there was a table filled with weapons, and armor. Stenmar who liked getting to the important things first pulled out a pair of hunting daggers and a strange black bow. “Let’s go through these quickly eh? First things first these are your main offensive armaments.”
First off the blades. These are meant as a hidden defense if your enemies get too close. They were designed to have the sheaths attached to your forearms. This gives the ability to hide them in your sleeves while staying easily accessible. Next is the recurve bow it’s a style not usually used but it packs quite a punch and requires a strong arm. These weapons are both enchanted with lightning and flame damage. Don’t worry about it and trust your equipment.”
I doubt just ignoring magic fire and lightning is a good idea, but he assures me as long as I don’t stab myself I’ll be fine. “Along with the bow is a magic quiver that can hold your bow as well as several hundred arrows without any added weight. It’s quite handy for long adventures or hunting trips.”
The next subject appears to be the defensive items. Stenmar reaches for a chain shirt padded with thick cloth for extra defense and ease of movement. The chain that appears to be silver has a distinct lack of shine. For some reason I hadn’t even noticed the chain armor until Stenmar picked it up. “This is a mithral chain shirt. It’s enchanted to make you less noticeable and enhances your speed. Although it’s classified as medium armor and would normally weigh enough to slow you down it is about as heavy as leather armor, with the defensive capabilities of steel.”
Sure enough the armor was about as heavy as my usual leather cuirass. The armor set also included mithral bracers, pauldrons, and greaves. “And the final Item which was recommended by Rui is this little beauty here.”
He hands me a blue crystal cut in the shape of a five pointed star. He just looks at me expectantly hoping for some sign of recognition. Me not knowing anything about different crystals could only look at him bewildered. He looks a little put out that I didn’t exclaim my thanks over what looks like a simple rock. Sure it might be worth something but claiming it’s part of my life saving gear was pushing a bit far. Guessing I wouldn’t be able to figure out what it is he gives me and exasperated grumble. “You seriously don’t know what an ioun stone is?! Although they aren’t common but anyone with a vague knowledge of magic items should’ve heard of ’em! Well if you really don’t know the best thing to do is give you a demonstration.”
He pulls the blue stone out of my hand and lightly tosses it in the air. When it reaches the apex of it’s arc it stops moving then slowly starts to orbit around Stenmar’s head. But it wasn’t Stenmar anymore. He looks like me! He suddenly changes again: now looking like Rui. He flips through many different appearances and outfits. Just when I was about pass out from vertigo he settles back into the look of the gruff red bearded dwarf. Looking satisfied by my shock he plucks the stone out of the air and hands it back to me. “To put it simply the stone changes your appearance. It can change what you and your clothes look like. If you don’t like the look of the orbiting stone you can also make it invisible as well as any other ioun stones in use. This particular type of ioun stone is called a western star; there are many other types that have varied effects.”
I managed to absorb what he was saying but it was hard to get over his strange transformation. The sight of someone shifting their appearance is rather odd to behold. “Quit with that absurd look and get back to your regular affairs before I take that equipment back!”
Like a whipped dog I collected the items and ran off. With that ending I had received my deadly armaments I am supposed to wield in battle. My life in this new world that was born in fire, and is about to pick up in momentum. Whether I can hold on without being burned is the question that hangs in the balance.