“It’s a kucheri, Kiran. What are we going to do with a kucheri child?”
“Love it, Peliandor. We’re going to love it and raise it as if it was our own child.”
“Our own child, Kiran? What do either one of us know about children? Especially kucheri children? I know only weapons and war, and you know only magic and healing. We are ill suited to be parents, my love.”
“We’ll learn, Peliandor. Our kingdom has been at peace for three hundred years, and will likely continue to be at peace for three hundred more. Our talents are not needed, and I want a baby. The gods have not blessed us with one of our own, but we could love this one.”
He acquiesced, like he almost always did with the love of his life, and they set out to convince the rest of the Elven nation.
It was not easy, but in the end, the elder council let them keep the baby. It was even harder to convince their friends and family to accept the child, but eventually, they came around. The baby, with his bone-white skin and ice-blue eyes, and his puff of white hair, was welcomed into the Elven kingdom.
All was not well with the child, however. The baby cried incessantly, and coughed up blood regularly. His skin was unnaturally cold, and he developed slowly, even by elvish standards. He was weak, and sickly, and even his adoptive mother’s considerable healing skills could not cure whatever malady ailed him. When it came time for the baby to pull himself to his feet, he could not. When it was time for him to walk, he could not. His body was simply too frail and his muscles were too underdeveloped to hold his body weight.
Kiran, being the most prestigious and sought-after healer in the kingdom, was at a loss. She took the child to priests, mages, and sages of every race and nation, but no one could cure the child she loved more than anything else. After exhausting all other options, she did the only thing that she could do: she developed a tincture of rare medicines and herbs, infused it with magic, and gave it to the child. It gave him the strength to walk and to do light exercise, but not much more than that.
As he grew into a small child, it became more and more apparent that he would forevermore be weak and sickly. He could barely stand, and walking for short distances would tire him out and send him into spasms of coughing and wheezing as he tried to catch his breath. He could not play with the Elven children, and so he soon turned to books and scholarly pursuits.
Erevan, as his adoptive parents named him, quickly developed a reputation as a sage and scholar. He was a voracious reader, and devoured books. He was naturally charming, and his desire to help others and prove himself to be a valuable member of Elven society, despite his lack of martial or magical skills, made him popular among the Elves, kucheri though he was.
Outwardly, Erevan’s life seemed to be perfect, despite his continued health problems and weaknesses. He had parents who loved him, friends who accepted him as one of their own, and the respect and admiration of his peers and society at large.
Inwardly, however, Erevan was never really happy. More than anything, Erevan wanted to be a hero. He had grown up listening to his father’s tales of war, and his heroic exploits. His mother, too, had been a great healer…and still was…although she never went out on adventures anymore. Moreover, he had read dozens, if not hundreds, of books about the legendary heroes of the world. He desperately wanted to join their ranks, but he always knew his health would prevent that.
Until fate intervened.
Reading a book of the exploits of Elven heroes led to another book on the magical weapons and equipment of the Elves, which in turn led to another book and another until Erevan found himself alone, in the deepest levels of the library, reading ancient manuscripts and tattered scrolls about the most ancient and powerful weapons. Weapons so old that not even the Elves knew who forged them or why. And there was one passage that set Erevan’s heart and soul on fire:
…and though Keliandar was gravely wounded, the blood flowing freely from his wounds and the spectre of death hovering over him, he grasped his sword, his boon companion through countless campaigns, the mighty Painblade, and power flowed into him from it. He stood tall and proud, full of vigor and vitality, and raised the blade towards the demon god in front of him in a solemn salute. A mere moment before, he had been nearly dead and gasping for his last breath, but now he was hearty and hale, and ready to fight once again. He roared in triumph, and charged the demon…
“The sword healed him and allowed him to keep fighting!” Erevan exclaimed. He was embarrassed by his outburst, and looked around sheepishly, but he was alone in this part of the archives. He turned his attention back to the crumbling scroll, intent on reading more, but a deep, rumbling voice intruded on his thoughts.
“Yes. I did. I healed Keliandar the Lightbringer, and gave him the strength he needed to save his people. I can do the same for you, Erevan Ellisiador. Pledge yourself to me, and I will turn you into the mightiest hero the world has ever known.”
“But how? I am no fighter; I am no warrior. I can barely stand on my own without the herbal tea my mother makes for me.”
“I can change all of that. I can give you the strength you need, and other powers that are far beyond your imagination. Find me. Wield me. Use me. Together, we will change the entire universe for the better.”
“And what do you want in return for all this power?”
“Pledge yourself to me, and to my service. Obey me. That is all I ask…for now. I will grant you strength and health, and many other powers, too. As you grow in power, so shall I. When the time is right, you will help me achieve my destiny, as I have helped you achieve yours.”
“I won’t have to…do…anything…bad…will I?’
“I am a weapon, Erevan. I was made to do bad things. But we will also do great things together. What price are bad deeds, when there is a greater good to be forged? And what would you give, to have all of your dreams come true? Would you give yourself, to become the person you’ve always wanted to be?”
Erevan fell to his knees, and bowed his head solemnly.
“I would. I do. I hereby pledge myself to your service…. Master.”
“I accept your service, Erevan Ellisiador. Now rise, with your own strength for the first time in your life, and feel the magic flowing within you. You are my warlock, and I am your patron. Find me, Erevan.”
Erevan rose to his feet, and walked out of the library. The power was already intoxicating.