Chronicles of Marhalla
The man in front of you is an enigma. He is many things and almost all of them are only half-truths. Are you his friend? Then he is a capable and dependable mage, destroying his enemies and assisting his allies with masterful grace. Do you disagree with him? Then he is a stubborn and unmoving obstacle, connivingly convincing you to see things his way until, by his design, you find yourself agreeing with his point of view. Are you a stranger? For then he is a master showman, delighting and entrancing you with his silvered tongue, sly smirk and stunning magics. But if you should find yourself as an enemy, even the gods cannot help you. For then he is an arcane monster, bending the laws of the universe itself to remove you from it. Reality is an opinion. It just happens to be one that Jiro Kamaji disagrees with.
The young arcane sorcerer known as Jiro Kamaji is brave, passionate and polite…except when he isn’t. Clearly very young, this kitsune mage is a less than an ideal student of the arcane arts. And yet, he compromises for his lack of discipline with a natural proclivity to magecraft rarely seen among the people of Marhalla. Charming to a fault, there are few things in this world that Jiro couldn’t accomplish, good and bad, if he set his mind to it.
When out of his multitude of spells, this 6’0 kitsune relies on his wit and trusty duskbolt dwarven crossbow in combat. Though not a born fighter, Jiro has proven himself to be indispensable to the Sentinels, whether serving as a physical sniper, a wily support, or a magical artillery piece to be reckoned with.
In the heart of the Dola Forest on the outskirts of Annell Tower, an isolated academy of talented wizards flourished. The denizens of this college were accepting of most, caring not of race or associations, but rather of talent and academic prowess. Among this community lived a young Kitsune named Jiro Kamaji, a charming but stubborn student with a passion for adventure. As the descendant of a long lineage of talented wizards, Jiro effortlessly grasped the nuances of the arcane, his skills exceeding past those of his peers. However, the young Kitsune cared little for studying, often foregoing it altogether to go exploring in the surrounding forest or to woo the local ladies. The chancellor of the college, an old, sinister human by the name of Lucan Valerius, resented Jiro’s escapades and frequently scolded and punished him. However, this reprimanding had little effect on Jiro’s passion for exploration. He hated being isolated within the college, hated the academic and social expectations set upon him, and most importantly, hated the thought of remaining here for the rest of his life.
One restless spring night, Jiro was feeling particularly mischevious and decided to sneak out of his living quarters to explore the less visited areas of the college. One such area was the Lyndel study, a dusty, decrepit library chock full of books recounting the history of Marhalla. As he wandered down the quiet stacks, he heard a faint crackling sound coming from an adjacent room. Curious, the young arcanist peered through the crack of the rusty door. He was not prepared for what he saw. Within the confines of this room, Jiro saw Chancellor Valerius himself stood within a circle of blood and candles. Across the walls were cryptic etches in blood, detailing an unrecognizable language. The boy peered upon Valerius in a terrified curiosity. The chancellor began chanting in an archaic tongue and slowly lifted both arms in front of him, palms pointed towards the nearby wall. His body began to tremble as his chanting became more and more frenzied. Suddenly, a bolt of red energy erupted from his hands, opening a swirling portal in front of him. A look of sick pride took over Valerius’ face as he quietly laughed to himself. However, he did not approach the portal. Instead, he took a few small steps backwards, almost as if he was anticipating something. Within seconds, Jiro noticed something slowly emerge from the portal. His blood ran cold when he saw what revealed itself—a horrible bipedal abomination, slick with a glistening red fluid. Even hunched over, the creature stood at about 8 feet tall, with an even longer wriggling tail behind it. Tentacles erupted from the creature’s back. It’s long neck concluded with a serpentine, eyeless head, jagged teeth and tongue adorning his gaping maw. The creature did not seem hostile towards Valerius. However, as Jiro looked upon petrified, the creature’s neck snapped towards the door and looked Jiro directly in the eyes. Startled, Jiro freed himself from his motionless state and darted away. In a frenzied panic, the boy ran to the back of the college and escaped through a small hole he discovered years ago while exploring. He knew not his destination, but rather that it simply needed to be far, far away from what he saw that night.
Jiro journeyed farther and farther east, only stopping to eat or briefly rest. His years of exploration assisted him on his path, allowing him to meagerly scrape by on native fruit and wildlife. His journey spanned over weeks, past Annell tower and through the mysterious shadow vale. Despite his persistent fear, he was perpetually overcome with a sense of excitement and adventure, finally able to sate his thirst for adventure. He was accompanied by his small friend Teto, his scorpion familiar that perched on his shoulder most of the day. However, as his voyage progressed, the citizens Jiro encountered did not warmly welcome him. It seemed that most humans did not take kindly to new races, particularly the devious and cunning Kitsune. It did not take long for him to establish that he would need to assume a new identity. He decided that it would be best to permanently assume his human form, a handsome young man with long, strawberry blond hair and fair complexion. To finalize his new persona. Jiro decided to introduce himself as ‘J’ to conceal his traditional Kitsune name. This seemed to do the trick, as he was now met with slightly more kindness and hospitality on his journey east. Still, he could not shake the feeling that he still was not safe—almost as if he was being pursued or watched.
A month had passed before Jiro realized that he could simply explore forever—wildlife became more and more scarce, and by now had gone many nights without food or sleep. However, almost as if the heavens were answering his plight, he heard the bellow of a nearby horn. He turned towards the noise and saw a gargantuan, beautiful riverboat pull into the westernmost port of the Ardin river. Hundreds of intoxicated, wealthy individuals poured out of the vessel as they laughed and stumbled towards the nearby carriages awaiting them. Fascinated, Jiro approached the captain of the ship, a portly yet kind looking fellow by the name of Marco Rivermane. The friendly captain presented his hand with a warm smile. “Hello there, wanderer,” Rivermane gruffly bellowed. “To whom do I have the pleasure of addressing this fine day?” Jiro smiled, introducing himself to the amicable fellow. After a long day of travel, he was happy to properly interact with another person who didn’t want to kill him, and decided to go to a nearby pub with his new friend. The captain explained that the ship, the Queen Mary, is an entertainment cruise for the wealthy landowners of the country. On the ship, the passengers would enjoy a month of gambling, shows, and leisure as the boat made it’s way east through the Ardin river. Jiro’s heart raced hearing this—he knew that his days of wayfaring could not go on forever. He begged captain Rivermane for a job on the ship, stating that he would be willing to do anything they needed. Rivermane pondered for a second, and explained that the boat’s magician had contracted an illness at the end of the journey and that they were looking for a replacement. Jiro’s arcane knowledge would serve to be a perfect replacement for the ill entertainer, so the captain welcomed the traveler aboard.
Jiro loved his new life of performance—though it did not pay a particularly large amount, he was provided with a clean room and food. The accommodations were more than enough for the wanderer. He spent his nights playfully mingling with the crowds in the main hall, wowing the rural citizens with impressive feats. Even Teto was met with excitement from the crowds, becoming a beloved mascot of the Queen Mary. Some evenings he would even partake in celebrations with the passengers, occasionally spending the night with lonely farm girls enticed in his charm. Despite his new lifestyle, Jiro still was afraid to go to sleep at night. The visions of what he saw that fateful eve at the college plagued his thoughts, and he could not escape the unshakable dread that he was still being pursued. Still, nothing came of it during his time on the ship. He distracted himself with his work and festivities, enjoying a break from the wandering he became accustomed to.
Weeks quickly became months, as the boat would stop at ports to let off passengers and receive new ones. Jiro enjoyed the new faces, however, was not prepared to arrive at the port of Yampfield. After a new set of passengers boarded the boat, he heard the bellow of a horn, followed by the shout of Captain Rivermane. “All right!” he cried, “Let’s turn her around!” Confused, Jiro ran to the bridge of the ship where the chuffy commander stood smiling over at the nearby city. He asked the captain why they were turning around. Rivermane smiled. “Dear boy, you can’t expect us to continue down the river forever! Once we exit Dowrine, we enter dangerous territories—we simply cannot risk putting the ship in jeopardy. Surely you understand!” However, Jiro felt a wave of sadness encumber him. He knew he was not going to return west under any circumstance, regardless of his enticing newfound lifestyle. Heartbroken, the still-disguised Kitsune decided that his journey ends here, and disembarked the boat for the city of Yampfield.
Jiro was in awe of the new city. He had seen nothing like it before. The fortified stronghold, filled with markets, homes, and inns, excited Jiro. It was like nothing he had seen before. The citizens of the grand city welcomed him kindly, showing him the highlights of their hometown. He ended up at a cozy inn near the port in the northern district of town, where he rested for several days. However, he knew he couldn’t live as a guest forever—he would need to either continue his days of wandering, or purchase a home to settle down in. Luckily, Jiro amassed a decent amount of money during his time on the Queen Mary, so he purchased a generously sized home in the northernmost corner of the city’s farmland. With his remaining gold, he purchased a well-sized mare from a nearby farm which he named Cremia. In the following months, he used his knowledge of nature and exploration to assist in his neighbors’ agricultural duties, which functioned as his source of income. Through these tasks, he established a sense of community with the nearby farmers. Finally having a group to associate with made Jiro happy—while he could not escape his ever-present paranoia, it at least made him feel safe to be in the sanctuary of new friends.
One evening, Jiro decided to divulge to his posse what happened that night at the college. They all responded with elated curiosity, prodding the veiled arcanist to share more. That is, all but one man. Kardor Woodpick sat quietly in the corner of the room, not speaking or smiling. He was a kind but mysterious senior who lived in the cottage across from Jiro. Nobody knew what his life before now actually entailed, but people seemed to know better than to ask him. As the evening went on, everybody began to go their separate ways. Kardor, however, remained unmoving. He slowly lifted his head towards Jiro and rose from his perch, walking into earshot of the exhausted sorcerer. He stood there and stared at Jiro for a few seconds. He whispered in a raspy voice, “I believe that you are not who you say you are. However, I do not doubt that your intentions are pure. I know of the abomination you speak of. If you wish to learn more, continue south of Yampfield along the easternmost border of Dorwine. You shall find a settlement known as Dayhill. It is there you shall find the answers you seek.” With that, the elder simply nodded and disappeared into the foggy night. Jiro stood unmoving, processing the information he heard. He was overwhelmed—nervous, yet indescribably motivated. His thirst for adventure reignited within him. He knew that his journey was beginning once again.