|“||The wheel of fate has begun to turn. We have paid the price for our ignorance; now approaches the wrath of the world beyond.||”|
—Cyril Bennett Faulkner, The World Guardian
Cyril Faulkner was an immensely powerful wizard and loremaster who came to be known as the wisest and most powerful magic user of his time. He exceeded mortal constraints and elevated himself to immortality, becoming a watchful guardian of Esria and the world beyond.
Originally a young wizard seeking the truth behind the disappearance of magic in the late Common Era, he played a major part in the Heartstone Crisis, aiding in its ultimate resolution, after which he routinely stood by the side of the Archangel Israphel and watched over the mortal realm.
When the aetherial link between Heaven and Esria began to weaken, he could no longer walk freely between the world of the living and the kingdom of the Archangels. At the dawn of the Imperial Era, he returned to the mortal world to prepare for the danger that would undoubtedly be on its way.
Early History (1348 - 1381 C.E)
Birth and Early Life
Born to the small commune of Bucklesbury, nestled within a forest in the lands of Merhall, Cyril Faulkner had a childhood of learning that surpassed that of any ordinary child. Surrounded by oddities and mysteries of an arcane nature, he learnt the powers of mages at a dangerously early age, and received his first spell-book at eleven years old. Growing up, he served in a professional capacity as a scribe between his father's clan, the Faulkners, and many foreigners who stopped by to visit them.
Most of his time was spent learning the foreign traditions, languages and cultures of many of the guests. Gambling was the favoured game of choice, and he won many bags of copper and silver by skilfully playing his cards right. This was where the young Cyril began his fascination with languages. During games, he would learn all there was to know about those he was playing against and their cultures. Despite this, his arcane knowledge was rather lacking, and Cyril was only able to cast his first spell at eighteen, after constant jeering and prodding from some of the other wizards of the village.
At the age of 23, Cyril's father sent him out into the lands of Vesryn to discover the mysteries of the world, and to determine why magic was fading from the world. He said farewell to his sleepy forest village and went forth into the world.
The young wizard Faulkner met many on his travels, though it was only when riding on a merchant's convoy from Starhill to the sleepy village of Morningmore that he would encounter his first true companions. The convoy was upset by a blockage in the road, found to be a crude ambush put in place by forest dwelling bandits, but it was not destined to be held up for long. As luck would have it, Cyril was not the only would-be adventurer riding a carriage that day. Thalanil Lyndis, a brave and talented Elven ranger from the woodland realm of Elyn Estel, and Billingham, a daring fighter striking from the shadow. Their travels would eventually take them far across the Astran Isles, and on all manner of adventures, but at the hour of their meeting they had yet to realise it.
Another two had been riding in Cyril's carriage. One, an ageing knight, and the other a youthful female orc acting as his bodyguard. After swiftly defeating the bandits that had attacked, that knight had found himself struck down in the battle and unable to continue. He urged those around him to find the stone had had been stolen from him, and the three unlikely adventurers found themselves accompanying the orc hunter into the forest.
There, they discovered an omen for what was to come. Guided by the orc, the party pressed deeper into the woods to find a mysterious stone circle alive with activity. The man named Billingham was to go first, utilising his roguish talents to approach the circle and observe events as they happened. What he saw, corrupted druids in possession of a glowing stone, would be a secret carried to his grave.
Cyril and the rest of his companions arrived seconds too late, in the process alerting their enemies to their presence. A battle ensued, and only after the many fanatical druids lay dead did they have the time to inspect the mysterious stone circle. There, the leader of the bandits that had ambushed them now lay dead inside of his clothes, reduced and deconstructed to little more than an ashen mannequin that fell to pieces with a single touch.
The young wizard was taken aback. The magic that he felt surrounding the circle, lingering from a powerful burst, was that which did not exist. The very construction of the spell used seemed to defy the very rules of magic, and was wholly chaotic in nature. It left all feeling cold and full of dread, but still Cyril saw it prudent to take a vial and depart with a sample of the black ash.Searching for the truth behind this vial would take Cyril and his newly found friends on a journey across the Astran Isles, from the quiet village of Morningmore to the troubled town of Highwall, the sleepy parish of Aredale and even the capital of Olenor itself, Emberstrand...
More information and the full story can be found on this page.
The Heartstone Crisis
Newly freed from his imprisonment within the Grand Heartstone, after the end of the Long Night in 1381 C.E, Cyril disappeared entirely from the face of the earth, and the legends of him began to fade in favour of more recent deeds.
Unknown to the rest of the mortal world however, Cyril was working to protect the world from countless calamities born from the void of planar space, using his often human methods to deal with divine problems. Despite this, he kept good grace with the Angels, given his unique power to ascend and descend from Heaven largely at will.
Cyril was never a personable individual. He would often go to lengths to spite those who picked him as the butt of their jokes, and this happened often during his adventuring career. He was rude to most, and abrupt with many others who fell short of his expectations. Nevertheless, he was inside wholly good and committed to doing the right thing. In his pursuit of reviving the magic of the world, he made many friends, though of all of them he considered a young man named Billingham among the closest.
Billingham, or “Billy” for short, was a cutthroat rogue, and surprisingly, also a close friend of Cyril. Acting upon his general interests (chiefly gold and women) for the most part, he was known for his sharp blows with his blades and a sharp tongue. He and Cyril rarely met eye to eye during the time the two were together, and Cyril was wise enough not to trust the man for the most part, but the man was extremely efficient at putting a dagger through a throat five times before he’d even been seen. Although Billingham was eventually killed whilst fighting off would-be aggressors to save Cyril and the rest of the party, he was never forgotten.
After this event, Cyril's personality sobered, and he became very committed to his single goal of returning magic to the world. Fueled by the memory of the man's sacrifice, he became a kind and just person, treating those around him with bountiful respect and trust. This belief in the good of humanity was solidified when, at the precipice of eternal darkness, he witnessed the restoration of the world by Lorawyn Allard.
Cyril was a human male of somewhat straight stature. Throughout his life, he walked with a somewhat odd gait, but was in fact very agile. As he became increasingly powerful over his lifetime, he was known to rely on illusion spells to give off the impression of frailty. He had a fair skin colour, and his hair was jet black, cut short so as to fit under a hood.
Oddly, the colour of his hair and his general youthfulness never diminished, even as Cyril entered the later years of his race. He rarely kept any facial hair, and generally used magic to shave himself. In his early adventuring career, his lower-class background was reflected in his clothes, mostly old cloth/sack like robes and tunics that were tied together with rusted belts and chainmail. Later in his life he wore a distinctive set of blue robes, adorned with various golden laces, suns and silver stars embroided across the silk fabric. The robes were said to be pulsing with magic, and often swirled as if a breeze was in the air, even when indoors. A large brooch of solid gold could always be seen hanging from Cyril's neck, though its purpose is entirely unknown.
Upon his return to Esria in the Imperial Era, Cyril had changed considerably in both personality and appearance. No longer a young wizard but an enlightened immortal who had seen over two hundred and fifty of Esria's most troubled years, he carried a burden of knowledge and responsibility that weighed heavily upon him.