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Syr Stoneweaver

A wandering artisan/mason, well versed in the use of earth magic involving stone, rock, gems and metallic ore

0 · 158 views · located in The Infinite Void

a character in “The Multiverse”, as played by Shidoshi

Description

OOC: Feel free to PM any thoughts about my character (if you manage to make it to the end!) :D


Race: Human / Earth Elemental hybrid
Height: 18 ft. tall
Weight: 3000 pds.
Age: 120 yrs.
Gender: N/A
Hair: None
Eyes: Quicksilver

Syr's rough humanoid shape, having a face and the mannerisms of once being male are the only physical facets of his humanity he has left and what set him apart from the monstrous rock golem he almost became. He has a vaguely muscular build, almost oversized for his height. The clearly defined muscle tone of an athlete he has yet to and may never achieve, mostly due to his flesh taking on the semblance of deep black volcanic rock: slightly porous on the surface, yet harder than diamond.
His eyes resemble orbs of quicksilver, still and calm when he is at peace, rapidly flowing and swirling with streaks of bright orange when enraged or stressed, less so when under intense concentration. When Syr barely opens his mouth to speak, as is his norm, a sliver of the same orange can be seen as the back of his throat, along with the small shimmering waves of heat that are his breath. His facial features are sharp, angular planes, as though they were chiselled into place.
At the joints of his body while in a relaxed state, flowing rivulets of muted orange and quicksilver in varying quantities and hues can be seen beneath the surface. The silvery liquid is dominant during times of focus, particularly when working his gift with the earthly elements, while the fiery orange magma flares in times of exertion, stress or anger. These rivulets are wider but harder to define at the major joints, the hips and shoulders, while they narrow and gain clarity as your gaze follows along the elbows and knees, ankles and wrists and finally the knuckles of his fingers. Syr's toe joints are too thick to show these colours at all.
He is genderless, a terrible consequence of his transformation and disturbing to behold, which compels him to wear clothing. This is for the sake of those he encounters, not for himself, as he no longer suffers from exposure to the elements.

Personality

Facial expressions, as you would expect from a visage of stone, are muted and hard to read for those who do not know him well. His voice resembles that of crushed gravel when conversing, building to that of an avalanche when raised in anger or alarm. Adding these to his overall appearance, it is usually hard for Syr to engage in idle conversation. The one advantage Syr has discovered from this is that people have to work harder to forge friendships with him. From this he can tell who his real friends are.
Syr has great physical strength as you would expect from a being of his size and stature. But he also possesses strength of spirit to match, something that has blossomed alongside the forging of his artistic ability. He is patient and reserved, which leads him to not show his strengths in and of themself. Often times it is his works that reveal his true nature, one that conflicts so with his outward appearance.

Languages spoken: Common, dwarven, elven

Equipment

Syr's everyday garb is a simple thick woollen sleeveless robe, belted at the waist by a large, wide and sturdy belt of leather. In his line of work, he has an appreciation for finer wares, but has yet to acquire any for himself, and is unsure if he really wants to. At his belt, he has numerous strong, iron lined, thick square leather pouches which hold various stone, rock, raw gem and metallic ore fragments. Hanging from a heavy, tough leather loop on his belt at his left hip, he has a 6 ft long iron hammer shaped tool, 6 inches thick at the handle, the top foot of it flaring out into a broad square head.
He also wears a long quiver at his back, holding a number of slender iron and stone rods, and a backpack with loops and pockets inside holding various thick handled, small headed tools, and some room to spare.

History

Rael Thrumell, was a kind woman with a gentle spirit, deeply in tune with the natural world around her. Her talents as an herb woman came to her naturally as a result.
Wearn Thrumell, was a gruff, imposing looking man. He plied his trade as an expert smith. Although he did not look it, he had a spirit akin to his wife. In his youth he began religious study and was seen as a promising cleric in the making, but eventually he favoured the heat of the forge over that of religious fervour. Still, those studies had instilled in him the sanctity of life, a belief that enamoured him to Rael soon after they first met.
Once married, they left to start anew. A long but pleasant journey they had to their new home. The night before they arrived, they camped out in a glade a couple of miles from their destination, as they were not going to make it there before nightfall. With a wide stone plateau at its centre and the stars bright above, they were relaxed and at peace there, well refreshed at dawn and eager to start their new lives.
They made their home in a small farming village, situated a good 10 miles from the main town in that county. Their trades were eagerly sought after, and that alone would have put them in good stead with the village folk, but it was their kind nature and strength of spirit that made them well liked by all in the village.
Life continued on pleasantly, their days busy yet fulfilling, and their time away often spent at their special glade, a guilty little indulgence they were not willing to part with easily. They were the only ones in the village who seemed to go there. There was talk of an old legend claiming it to be cursed, a notion they clearly dismissed as ridiculous after a few trips there. No one else in the village seemed to put much stock in it either, but whether they were playing it safe, or too busy, Rael and Wearn had the place to themselves. Which they took full advantage of.
Soon enough, they were expecting a child, a boy by Rael's reckoning. Her talents made her quite the seer when it came to expectant children. But, as so happens, predicting one's own child to be is often harder. Little did Rael know just how wrong she would be.

They did indeed birth a son, who they named Syr. Yet he was unlike anything they could have ever dreamed he would be. Firstly, he was grey in colour, a mottled hue like flint. That alone concerned them greatly, yet it was his eyes that would disturb them the most. They were orbs of deep blue black, no whites in them at all.
Now Rael knew from her herb craft that she had done nothing wrong in preparing and carrying Syr to term, and she knew her husband well enough to know he could not have done anything to cause Syr's condition. In fact, to Wearn's credit, it was his steadfast resolve that life should be nourished and treasured, in all its forms, that steered them through their initial time of anxiety and fear of what Syr was, how he would live, and whatever it was he would become.
Still, it did not stop Rael, during most of Syr's early childhood, from trying every possible tincture and concoction she could imagine to try and cure him of his ailments. Syr grew to loathe them, a more vile aroma and even worse taste he swore had never known and would likely never know again, each and every time he was forced to swallow those thick, mud like brews. He'd often thought it would be better for him to eat the dirt at his feet than endure any more of those hideous preparations.
Syr grew up as a sickly child. He had poor eyesight, which everyone accepted as the norm considering his black eyed gaze. He would too often fall ill to the common ailments of the seasons, which would bring about those abhorrent medicines and the misery that came with them. He would not eat much. His father often stated pointedly to his mother that he was not surprised: the smell alone of those elixirs would deaden the heartiest of appetites. His health may have been poor, and yet, he would not deteriorate either, fully recovering from each illness. His overall health seemed to plateau, be almost dormant. It reminded Rael of nothing more than a bud, waiting for the right conditions to flower.
Syr took to learning the trade of a smith. To his mind he could not possibly take on his mother's craft: even if his strength was more of a match to the grinding of a mortar and pestle rather than the hammering of hot metal. He supposed he'd had enough of herbalism from the receiving end, he wasn't about to explore it any further. His time learning his way around the forge was slow. He would tire easily, a minute or two all he could endure swinging the hammer. But his father would not give up on him, and he was always patient and supportive. Syr was grateful for such support and did not want to disappoint, so we would persevere, taking what progress came his way.
Syr grew up among the village folk, who were taken aback at first. But when they saw how harmless Syr was, and that if anything could cure him, Rael would certainly have known it and used it, they came to accept him as he was, and his village life became almost pleasant. Even the other children of the village did not taunt Syr. No, the villagers were not his problem. That came from the main town, which was slowly growing into a place of commerce and attracting visitors from afar.
When they had first arrived, Rael and Wearn had soon discovered the main difference between the town and the village: superstition. The villagers being so close to the forest had no irrational fear of it. They lived their lives in peace, and nothing came lurking from the forest at night to kill their livestock or steal their children. But those in the town rarely came the way of the village, preferring to travel the now cobbled main roads and highways that lead toward places of great wonder and excitement.
So it was somewhat surprising to them to find that, even with people of culture and refinement travelling their way, the townsfolk would still hold onto centuries old superstitions. Surprising that is, until the day Magnus Shorefold arrived, and with him, the end of their lives of fulfilment and happiness.

Commerce is often accompanied by power, greed and people who will do anything to keep both. This was becoming ever more apparent of the town officials, especially the mayor. Before long, the busy little town had taken advantage of the new roads and the trade it would bring. Palisades were erected, which then became rock walls, then stone battlements. Before long a town guard was needed, quickly becoming a fully armed militia. This brought the need for taxes, just as the trade routes started to bustle with activity. But there was never any trouble, be it from neighbouring counties or bandits. No, the mayor had at the start spun such tales of woe on the foundation of the region's superstitions. Eventually this was overshadowed by the "need" to protect those travelling the roads to and from the town (in truth it be more to protect the hoarded wealth of the town and its people). But it was still there, the old cursed legends, the basis from which all this power had come about. And it was during a time of heated debate, a power struggle in the making that Magnus came into town.
Magnus was a scholar of sorts who for reasons unknown became caught up in the politics of the town. He came to visit the village once, soon after arriving. He had need of a smith to fix his horse's broken tack. Syr thought it odd he would not simply go to a smith in town for such a minor task. Magnus admitted that he had heard of Wearn's reputation for quality work, but also said that on his travels, he would often visit the rural areas surrounding the larger populations. Something about finding more worthy subjects to study out here than in a sterile library or pretentious town banquet. He would give Syr the odd sideward glance while he watched Wearn work the tack, and it made him feel a little awkward. Soon enough the job was done and Magnus was on his way.
Now, the mayor's spies told of Magnus' trip to Wearn for his services. He and most of the more paranoid townsfolk, those that put too much stock in faded legends flared anew, also knew of Syr. The mayor never liked the boy anyway, and decided to use this chance encounter to his advantage in his struggle against Magnus.
And so it was that the mayor turned to his ranting and raving, spreading the word of an evil sprung up from right under their very noses, naming that evil to be Syr: bastard son of the accursed spirits who have laid in wait in the forest glade for centuries, for the right time to strike out against them. Not only was Syr the embodiment, the catalyst for the wrath to come, but those in contact with him, be it for Syr's whole life or only recently, must surely be agents of the cursed ones too. Their only salvation was to rid the county of them.
Such lunacy was preposterous for all to see. All except those that mattered to the mayor: the townspeople, who cared little for the village down the way, and a lot more for their own vested interests. The militia were quickly dispersed: first, root out and eliminate the agents of evil within the town, then all those in the village, for surely they had by now all been corrupted by Syr and his parent’s foul taint. The mayor’s adversaries in town saw this ill wind approaching and had left town days before. Magnus was who the mayor was really after, yet he too seemed to have escaped as well that very morning. Undeterred, the militia quickly rode out towards the village. The villagers however, were not as well informed as those in town, and they were not ready for what was descending upon them. The village was quickly surrounded and systematically razed, the militia working towards their primary goal: kill Syr.
Alas, it was for naught. Magnus, rather than leaving just in time to save himself, had slipped through the town that morning in disguise. He doubled back and made his way through the forest, coming out from the trail there straight towards Syr's home.
Quickly he told them of what was coming their way, and after some heated words, finally convinced them to leave right then and there and escape to the safety of the forest. Just in time, they reached the forest edge as ranks of the militia wheeled round behind them to cut off any escape from the village. It would be some time before they would find out they were gone, and Magnus would need every second of it.

Magnus lead them to the forest glade. They were not exhausted, yet they had stopped there just a couple of miles from the village. Syr asked why they stopped, but Magnus instead asked him to water his horse at the stream nearby. Syr reluctantly agreed, giving Magnus time to talk to Rael and Wearn alone.
He wasted no time. "You have been here before." It was not a question.
"Yes" replied Wearn. "We need to go, they are -"
"And you have lain here too?"
"Now see here, that is none of your -"
"No time for modesty here, smith!" Magnus quelled his harsh tone, but it never left his eyes. "You must trust me, as you did this very morning when I saved your life. Have you lain here, upon this stone?"
Wearn and Rael shared a look. Rael, comprehension then dread upon her face, turned to Magnus first. "We have, and I know what you would ask next. Yes, we conceived Syr here."
"As I feared." Magnus was no longer irate: thoughtful and concerned expressions he now wore. "There is no time to tell it all -"
"Are you trying to blame us for the way Syr is?" Wearn cut in indignantly. "Believe me, Rael knows far more about this than either of us -"
"No, no, it's not you who is to blame. It's this" Magnus finished, scuffing his boot heel on the stone they were standing on. "Let me explain.
"You are aware of the old legends about this place?"
Both nodded. Wearn began "They're tales to keep the children in line-"
"They're true. At least, the actual events behind them are." Magnus turned and started to pace around, absently looking for something in the stone. "Centuries ago, when the magic of nature was prevalent, a race of people known as the Thrakken lived in this forest. They were part of a broader community of all the elemental magics, but came to form their own clan through their common affinity of earth magic. Such had never been done before, mastering one element to the point of excluding the rest. There was a rising dislike in this: it spoke of imbalance, a central core belief in elemental magic at the time. Despite this, the Thrakken continued to evolve, taking on more of the earth magic as their own. Eventually, doing so changed them so completely, they no longer resembled the people they once were. They looked more like.." Magnus trailed off as he pointed at Syr.
"Before long, the Thrakken waged war upon their once kin. For a time they grew strong, using mighty, towering golems of rock and iron to scatter their foes far and wide. But it could not last. Such rending of the forces of nature lead to a catastrophic imbalance, and the Thrakken clan imploded. The mages died out and their golems, with no masters to serve nor their magic to sustain them, crumbled back into the earth they came from."
"But that makes no sense! This was centuries ago, and they are extinct! How could this come about to affect Syr?!" Wearn was shouting to vent his fear for his beloved son.
"From the Thrakken, there is no way. As you say, they are long dead. But the earth remembers, and this spot-" Magnus says sweeping his hands to take in the stone plateau "-was where it all began, the birthplace of the Thrakken. The foundation and power source of their monolithic tower that spawned the horrid golems of war and death."
"It gets worse." Magnus held up a hand to forestall their questions. "The golems were not just of earth magic: they were also made of sacrifice. The Thrakken would use one of their own, together with a bound nature spirit, to be the bond that tied the golem to their mages. They would, from birth, bring the victims here every year and perform rites to prepare them. Indoctrinated in this way they were willing participants, until their rite into adulthood as a golem consumed them."
"I must now get to the worst part of all. If they did not do this, did not perform this rite at the right time, they would die. There was one defining trait that separated the regular Thrakken from the sacrificial ones: the eyes. Those sacrificed had black, whiteless eyes."
"No!! You can't be right! My son is not some sacrifice to a dead race!" Wearn was livid.
"I hope you are right" replied Magnus evenly, calming Wearn down a little. "Know this: he will not live without the ritual taking place. That is not what concerns me, for we will perform the ritual this very night. My worry comes from the nature spirit needed to complete the process, complete him, as it were. They were enslaved, forced into the ritual, never willing. This gave the golems the capacity for anger, to wage war, to be what they were meant to be. This was also why it took a Thrakken mage to bond to each golem, for without his control over the bound spirit, the spirit would die to destroy the golem from within. I will attempt to use different methods in their place but I will also pray the ritual will work without them."
Wearn was having none of it. "This simply cannot be! My son, a lifeless husk fuelled by hate! Better off for him to die!"
"No father." They all turned at hearing Syr's voice as he stood a few paces away. "You are the one who taught me to revere life, empower life, in all its forms. If I do not do this, I die. That would be denying my life the right to exist. We only know for sure what will happen if I don't go ahead with this. That leaves me with one choice."
Turning toward Magnus, Syr straightened. "Tell me what I need to do." As the two of them conversed together, wandering the stone plateau, Wearn turned and strode off further into the forest, weeping for the futility of it all, Rael trailing, trying to console him and her own misery at the same time.

"It is time." Magnus' voice cut through the mire of Wearn's grief. He rose slowly, plodding behind Magnus through the warm evening with deadened strides, feeling his son's demise as surely as if it were his own. With Rael by his side, they waited at the glade's edge while Magnus walked onto the plateau's edge. Around the stone slab, tall, wide pillars of a deep black rock were spaced out evenly between slender silvery metallic ones.
There, splayed out in the centre, Syr made for a morbid sight. He was the centrepiece for a complex pattern written around him that was not there before, spiralling outward to encompass the entire stone slab, finally ending before Magnus' feet. No, not written. It was carved, etched into the surface. Wearn could barely bring himself to notice this fact, the pillars, or to wonder how they had done it all in time, before Magnus had begun to chant. As soon as his low grumbled mantra echoed around the glade, the entire stone slab pulsed in small waves like it was a pool of murky grey water, as if the chant bouncing back from the trees surrounding them passed back through the stone towards Syr, then back outward again in an sinister undulating ripple. To and fro it went. Each time it pulsed away from Syr, tiny rivulets of his blood bleeding out from his wrists, ankles and ears rode those waves, coalescing in the pattern still etched in the stone. It seemed as though there should be a similar flow of blood on the return waves coming back in, the lack of blood centring on where Magnus stood.
In his grieved, numb state, Wearn did not notice, but Rael saw it clearly, clearer in fact than Magnus himself it seemed. "There's something wrong here!" he shouted over the now loudly reverberating, self sustaining chant. She realised then that Magnus fully intended to sacrifice himself to complete the ritual. He was trying to take the place of bound spirit and mage both! With a flash of insight, Rael knew what was wrong, and how to make it right. With no thought for herself, no hesitation, her eyes firmly fixed on Syr's face and her heart full of the joy of her love for him, she leaped forward. She shoved Magnus to one side and took his place on the plateau. Right away, small streaks of her blood drained from her feet flowing with the incoming waves and into the coiled pattern. Both flows of blood continued to snake towards each other until they finally joined.
As soon as this happened, the coiled pattern rotated, riding the liquid stone waves as it spiralled inwards towards the centre. Syr by this time had been writhing in agony, desperately wailing out a scream that caught in a throat constricted with pain. Conversely, Rael was being dragged into the centre on the tail end of the blood filled pattern. Her face serene, arms out to the sides as they bobbed up and down in time with the waves luring her in, she was the embodiment of grace and calm.
It was here, as she started moving towards the centre, that Wearn finally came out of his grief, only to lunge himself at Rael in a futile bid to pull her out. Magnus got to him first. With a strength that belied his lean frame, he kept Wearn at bay.
"It's too late! Not even I can help her now! She did it for him! She saw the way it had to be!"
Magnus heard sounds coming from outside the glade and looked past Wearn. Wearn saw the surprise on his face and turned to the sound also.
"We're out of time, they've found us! We've got to hold them off!" Magnus finished his yelled command with a hearty shove at Wearn's shoulders to get him moving.
Quickly committing himself to the cause, Wearn rode with the forward momentum of the push as he snatched the sledgehammer he had next to his pack and rushed to stall the advancing mob. He was still a good ten paces away when a resounding WHOOSH and a blast of heat passed by a few scant feet in front of him. Taken aback, he raised an arm to shield his face. When he lowered it, a broad swath of the forest surrounding the glade was blackened, tendrils of flame and embers still flaring up along the line where the front row of militia men were. All that remained of them were ash and twisted, charred scraps of swords and armour.
Wearn renewed his charge, Magnus close behind, as the once murderous mob was completely routed by such an incendiary display of power.
Rael and Syr were oblivious to all of this as their lives were forever changed. As Rael approached the centre, the stone pillars began to glow with an inner fire, gradually going from black to a bright orange, the searing heat blurring her vision as it was focused inward, towards Syr. The metallic pillars had melted into silvery, reflective pools, which flowed around and into the blood pattern as it made its way inward. Rael was fading away, her physical form being consumed by the process of the ritual. Syr on the other hand, was larger than before, much larger, distorting as he grew. His overall build, even his head, rapidly swelled to alarming proportions. He also started to rise, not of his own accord, now rigid with the agony that had locked up all his muscles as Rael closed the gap between them. In a moment of lucidity, just as Rael's ghostly visage was inches in front of him, Syr heard her say:

"We are one, now and for always. My spirit, my strength, my love, is yours. They will guide you when you are lost, renew you when you are spent and rejoice in your life at every turn."

With her final words, Rael, the blood pattern and the quicksilver all passed into Syr, becoming one with him. The stone pillars, now moulds of liquid magma, toppled and sank into the ground only to boil up again through the stone under Syr, and then into him. The stone plateau groaned alarmingly under the intense pressure until it could take no more. Broad, jagged chasms spread out from the centre, splintering the solid stone into rough wedges. Shafts of pale white light shone straight up through those fissures, their intensity building to a blinding crescendo. It then released itself as a pulse rippling through the forest for miles around, even into the clearing where the village had once stood, all the way to the town’s stone walls and beyond. When it came to them, it passed effortlessly through them, turning those walls into nothing more than dirt to fall in a heap where they stood. Any stonework in the town also dissolved away. Many an estate toppled, entombing some of those who dwelt within.


It was early dawn by the time Wearn and Magnus returned to the glade. As they approached, Wearn wondered where Syr had gone. All he saw was a tall, wide spire of black rock in the centre, deep rents in the stone emanating from it. They were just a few feet away when a grinding sound came from within it, then sharp popping sounds as cracks began to appear, one from the base up the middle, two more working their way inward from about halfway up. They then realised it was because the rock was moving: moving as separate parts! Rough limb like shapes now slowly ground their way free of their bound state. This also brought the upper spire into perspective, and as it too struggled, small slivers and chunks of stone were shaken loose to reveal a head, shoulders and torso. The last remnants of excess rock were shaken free from legs and arms as Syr finally took on his new form. Standing motionless for a moment, Syr brought one of his massive hands up to scrub at his hair, something he had done often in his youth. Instead he ended up brushing off loose rubble, his head, and the rest of him, completely void of any hair whatsoever.
Syr let his hand trail down to his face, faintly scraping at it with his coarse fingers, trying to get used it. His hand falling away, Syr finally opened his eyes. Both Magnus and Wearn, not sure what they should have expected, stepped back at the sight of bright, deep, flowing pools of silvery colour staring back at them.

Syr looked down upon them. His father was tall, Magnus even more so, yet Syr towered over them both with ease.
"Syr?" Wearn took a tentative step forward. "Is that you? It's me, Wearn, your father. Is your-" he faltered, forcing down the choking emotion that had cut him off "- is your mother in there too?"
They noticed bright orange veins shooting through his eyes, dominating them, as Syr mightily broad chest heaved. He lifted his head to the sky and let out a harsh guttural bellow, sounding like an earthquake right at their feet. Forest creatures for miles around scattered at the sound. Syr turned and ran unsteadily as he got used to how his legs worked. His gait was slow, but he was so tall and his strides so long that he would keep up with a horse at canter with little problem.
Syr had some speed, but he found it hard to try and avoid small trees and shrub, difficult to negotiate sharp turns. In his blind run he did not need to - anything in his way he trampled over without pause.
Wearn began to run after him, but Magnus halted him by saying "Give him some time Wearn. A shock such as this will be hard for him to take in. None of us knew what to expect from this, but it is he who will have to live with it. We have time on our side now. The townsfolk and militia have crises of their own to deal with, they'll not be bothering us anymore. Besides, we know which way he's going, he made sure of that." Magnus hiked himself onto his horse, then helped Wearn up behind him. "We'll get supplies and another horse from the village, then catch up to Syr later. Poor souls, they'll not need them now."

They did indeed catch up to Syr later that night. He was sitting down near the edge of a small cliff, resting against a wide, angled rock face. A few small trees toppled sideways were testament to his trial and error before getting himself comfortable. Over the course of the next few weeks, Syr and Wearn talked over the tumultuous events leading up to now, while Magnus helped Syr adjust to his new way of life.
Some more discoveries were borne of trial and error, the first being that Syr could barely sustain himself on regular food and drink, regardless of how much he ate. No, he only thrived once he would literally eat of the earth, a regular meal of stone or rock at least once a week, the less frequent the meal, the more of it he had to eat.
Surprisingly, most of all to Syr himself, he did not baulk at the task, and soon took it to be part of his regular routine. He could feel power flow through him when consuming earthly materials, but did not know what to do with the power once inside of him. It was then that Magnus suggested he stay amongst and learns from the only race whose mastery of stone was to date without equal - the dwarven kingdoms of the north.
With a clear purpose, the three of them set off north to the endless strongholds and network of caves that burrowed deep within the vast mountain ranges there. For the next half century, Syr lived with and learned from master masons and smiths, and discovered abilities of his own that surpassed all but the most revered and ancient of dwarven lore. His ability to shape stone, rock and ore without tools was something dwarven mages spent lifetimes learning and perfecting, yet because his ability was innate, not learned, his ability and progress were nothing short of miraculous. He was revered by the dwarven people, who gave him the title "Stoneweaver".
Magnus did not stay with them, but would return from time to time. He would often marvel at Syr's progress, and on his visits help the dwarven mages instruct Syr on different ways to use his power over rock, stone and metal. At first, Syr had to physically touch the samples he would work on, and he could only manage pieces no larger than his hand. Over years of study, his prowess grew. He could sense, identify and manipulate stone and rock formations at greater distances. He could use different samples of rock or stone and twist them into shapes, or mould them together. He could build with them: furniture and tools at first. Soon, doorways and walls. He even went topside to learn how to erect whole buildings of stone, and eventually, fortifications too. His most spectacular task amongst the dwarves was to completely remake the massive vaulted stone doors of the dwarven strongholds that shut off the outside world. These had to be ready to withstand the elements, but more importantly, attack from any foe no matter how strong they were. And he did just that - melding different stones to form solid, one piece doors double the thickness and strength, yet still able to open and close seamlessly and quickly. Before his departure, he had seen to at least some part of almost every dwelling the dwarves had, leaving mark of his masterful talents amongst them for millennia to come.
His life with his father had returned to one of love and respect during his time with the dwarves, but it was never really the same since Syr's transformation. Syr could feel his mother's spirit within him, and would often share this with Wearn. Wearn was glad to share in it and loathe to shun such a bond with his son, but he would always have sadness around him for days afterward, a face to the sadness that was inside him all the time. Upon his father's passing, Syr took the on the name of "Stoneweaver", and left his dwarven home soon after. It was not so much a feeling of sad memories of his father that made him go. It was more of an awareness of his mother's spirit, urging him to move on, learn more about the world - and himself.
Soon after he resolved to do this, Magnus passed through the dwarven strongholds. Upon hearing of Syr's decision to leave, he offered to accompany him. As well travelled as he was, he would be the ideal companion to show Syr the many wonders awaiting him. Syr travelled with Magnus for a few years more, finding uses for his talents in many of the towns and cities he came to. Magnus was an objective observer of Syr's work, and one day suggested Syr retreat from the cities of man and travel with him to the vast forests and woodlands of the East. Syr had no qualm with this, so they ventured eastward, eventually reaching the far off, deep forests to the East, seldom seen by any but the elven race who made them their home.
During their trek through the low lying woodlands, Syr asked Magnus why he suggested they travel this way and also why now, just when he was starting to find more work coming his way. Syr did not expect to be able to work his craft much at all in an area dominated by woodlands, but all Magnus would say was "not all is at it seems, especially to one so isolated as yourself. Half a century dwelling amongst caves provides little in the way of worldly experience."
The sparse woodlands were quick to traverse, and soon they found themselves in amongst the deep forest, the thick canopy of twined branches and leaves, bringing on false dusk hours before it was due. They continued on in the dark without so much as a torch to light their way. The gloomy atmosphere did not faze Magnus in the slightest and he picked his way through the tangle of trees and brush with a practiced ease.
"Shouldn't we make camp, or light our way at least?" Syr finally asked. "We won't get to those we are to meet tonight."
Magnus looked over at Syr, then nodded his head towards the treetops above. "No need to worry about that, they're already here." Syr looked closer, and could see figures keeping up with them, flitting through the trees. "Oh, and a torch would be a bad idea. Fire in these woods is a death sentence."
Soon enough they came to a city of the forest kin, elves who had made their home in and amongst the trees they protect. Syr and Magnus stayed overnight with them. When Syr asked why they would not stay for a while, Magnus told him some of the forest kin would come with them instead. After a few days of travel, the band of travellers finally reached their destination, a massive clearing measuring leagues in diameter with a sprawling, towering city taking up most of its space. They had reached Alan'tir and the high elves that lived there.
Syr had never seen so much stone, and the shapes and forms they were used for defied his imagination. He could not believe such slender spires and delicate spans could hold their own weight, let alone those who lived among them. Inside of him, his spirit soared. Syr was sure his mother was there, sharing with, maybe even fuelling, his feeling of euphoria at such a sight.
"Yes Syr, we have come here for this." Magnus said in response to Syr's wondrous countenance. "You have mastered the moulding of stone, shaping it to your will. But you have yet to master the spirit of stone within you, your ability to project this spirit into the works you create. As you can plainly see, those who dwell here can help you with that."
And indeed they did. The high elf mages and artisans were fascinated with Syr, a being so different to anything they had seen before. Over the years they helped Syr explore his inner self, helped him gather a deeper understanding of his unique spirit, twin souls residing in complete harmony. He felt stronger inside than he ever had before, and it began to show in his works. Gradually with greater confidence and skill, his mastery of earthen elements was elevated to a higher art form. Syr could feel his mother’s presence guide him, encourage and nurture his talents. At long last, Syr finally related to his mother and her affinity with nature. Together with the years spent with his father, Syr felt as though a final piece fell into place, completing him despite his abnormal transformation.
Syr spent years more at Alan'tir and its forested surrounds, refining his art form, gathering teachings from both elven peoples. Together with his vast knowledge of dwarven craft lore and his own innate power over earth magic, Syr felt there was nothing he could not do with the element of stone, rock and metal.
Yet there was one more lesson to learn. Magnus one day took Syr up one of the city spires, higher than he had ever gone before. Near its peak, a platform jutted out. They stepped out onto the platform to behold a splendid sunset which even the buffeting crosswinds this high up could not diminish. In the centre there sat a large upright ring of stone, a dozen broad stone steps at its base. Syr watched as Magnus approached it, his outstretched right hand in front of him. As he did so, he began drawing symbols that appeared in the middle of the stone ring until his hand came to rest upon them. Pale light pooled outward until it filled the ring.
Syr could see a distorted scene within. A figure was moving towards them in this scene, then strode through onto the platform. Amazed, Syr looked on as Magnus and the man greeted each other.
"Syr, I'd like you to meet Brother Varen." Syr extended a hand, only to have a green scaled one take it in greeting. The figure lowered his hood to reveal a head of green scales, eyes of yellow slit vertically and ears that were web shaped and leathery. "Sssyyrr. Grreettingsss." Varen said, his forked tongue darting out as he spoke.
"I expect you have a lot of questions for me. I shall answer them as best I can by telling you about Varen and myself." Magnus led them all to sit at a nearby stone bench.
"Brother Varen and I belong to a league of travellers. Millennia ago, the founders of our order discovered that there were many worlds in existence, doing so through the use of gateways." Magnus nodded his head towards the stone ring at the other end of the platform. "They have been travelling ever since, learning and experiencing all they can about these worlds for the good of all. We mostly stay out of the affairs of any worlds, but certain occasions have called for action. For example, the elven race of this world are in fact refugees, forced to leave their home world. There was much debate concerning whether or not we would intervene and save them. I'll let you look around you and come to your own conclusion about the righteousness of that action."
"Despite the vastly extended life span their magics gave them, very few of them remain, so they began recruiting those capable of using such powers from the worlds they would visit. Brother Varen here is a Skran, a reptilian race found on a planet with vast swamplands among its other climates." Magnus stood and turned to face them both. "I am native to this world, but I am not what you think I am."
Cowering inward, Magnus' shape changed within his garb, thinning out somewhat and growing a little taller. When he straightened again, he was a mottled grey colour with eyes of a bright copper. To Syr's look of shock, Magnus replied "Yes Syr, I am a Thrakken, the last of my kind."
"I rebelled against my own people during our final days and was hunted mercilessly for it. I saw no point in endless war and suffering and accepted my fate as one of a dying race, but I would not go at the hands of those who I now hated. They finally caught up with me in this very clearing, and would have found me had not an elder of our order rescued me. He found me first and offered me safe passage. With little choice I agreed and he travelled me to another world. He was dying and chose me to continue on his work, giving me his gift and spending his last years teaching me how to use it. I returned here sometime later and discovered the Thrakken had indeed expired, yet it was too soon for me to appear as I was. The pain of those wars was still too fresh. All travellers are taught ways to disguise ourselves - on some worlds it is vital to be someone you are not. I made my way back to the Thrakken homeland and that accursed tower, only to find the peoples anger had already been wrought upon it, levelling it to its foundation. That was when I found my purpose on this world and have remained ever since. The towers foundation was the source of its power, and could be used again should anyone discover how. With no way to destroy it, I took on the role of its guardian."
"Until you came along."
"In all this time, no one had ever thought to use that glade the way your parents did. If I had of been there, I'm not entirely sure I would have stopped them. And I certainly did not think the power held there could manifest itself into an unborn child. Your parents did not allow you to go there and in the end I think that is what saved you. Had you returned there, even once more, you most likely would have come under a compulsion to return each year that you could not resist. You would have been fused with the some of the power in the stone, year after year, until your time of transformation. I cannot say if it would have worked or not, but I know it would have corrupted you, twisted your values and beliefs into a lust for destruction and war, preparing your mind, body and soul to the task of death. As it was, once the foundation had chosen you in the womb, it needed to release its power. I guess the build up of years without that release, followed by it all bursting forth at once, was too much and in the end destroyed it."
"So, in spite of all I have done to guide you towards a life of good, of beauty and grace, something as far from Thrakken life as I could imagine, it falls upon me to thank you and your parents instead. Their actions and yours did what I could not and have freed me of my charge here. I can now travel to worlds I have never seen and become a true traveller of our order."
Magnus stepped forward and embraced Syr. Syr did not have to stand up. "You have given me a life to live. We will meet again someday. Oh, don't fret," Magnus chuckled at seeing concern on Syr's chiselled features, "there'll be plenty of time for us to catch up. Have you not noticed, it's been over 100 years since you were born! I don't know how long you will live, Syr, but in all that time you haven't aged a day that I can tell. Expect to be around for a long time to come."
Magnus and Syr spent all that night and most of the following day talking about their lives together until later that evening is was time for them to part ways. Magnus left first, saying something about going to a world where he could "just sit back and do nothing for a hundred years". Then Varen led Syr through the portal and onto another world....

So begins...

Syr Stoneweaver's Story