Considered an abomination at birth and secreted away to the wizards of the high tower, Vulen will never be sure if being left to the wizards was meant as sacrifice or sanctuary. A unified dichotomy in more ways than gender, acceptance by an important few allowed Vulen to grow up without embarrassment or shame. Vulen’s caregivers included His Regal Potentate, Lord Barrios Bannistor III, Ruler of the Tower Fringes and Protector of Oddities. The comically pompous wizard was Vulen’s long time master and father figure. Mistress Crumplebottom served the both of them as matronly caregiver.
As an adult, Vulen traveled the continent of Delthrand seeking to understand the raw essence of the multiverse itself and mechanisms for harnessing it. Vulen was known to take incredible risks for knowledge. Some claim Vulen would stare into the maw of primordial chaos itself if given the chance! When the Heaven Rock showed up in the night’s sky, it was a surprise to no one Vulen sought to understand it.
In 47-3 Chiron, at the age of 112, Vulen traveled to the Starwind Monastery and spent nearly a week with one of the regions deepest experts on the Heaven Rock, Master Krallak. The good omens most read into the thing were not shared by the Master, nor by the calculations Vulen had run. The impending impact would be the end of the world. Out of a calculated resignation and morbid curiosity, Vulen decided to be there when the world ended.
Mobs in the tens of thousands calling themselves pilgrims thronged the place of impact. The dawn sky grew a bright purple as it arrived. Quite unexpectedly, instead of an apocalyptic impact, it slowed down and landed smoothly about a half mile away. The sphere and purple light stopped. The throngs stood in silent wonder at the iron tower that wasn’t a rock at all. Nearly 1000 feet tall, the tower had protuberances, smaller spires, coils and tubes jutting from it. On the side of it were strange symbols: 8M3-N0+H.
Suddenly, in the silence, from the top of the tower, a flock of flying creatures flew off in all directions, quickly approaching the onlookers. They were giant vulture-like beasts with small black-skinned riders that had pupiless white eyes and white hair. The riders carried lances with purple lightning dancing at the tips and swooped into the crowds, arbitrarily striking all in their way. Panic ensued. Vulen fled with the mob until a loud booming sound…the purple lightning danced around the tower…thin wisps of green smoke drifted from the top of the tower…the land beneath rolled and buckled…one of the flying riders swooped down…all went black.
For a time, everything was a haze, as if in a long black sleep interspersed with strange dreams…Great pain. Purple creatures with tentacles on their faces clawing at you. Walking brains on four legs. A strange iron bed, mine, with knobs and strange symbols on it. Similar beds lined up in a long row. A drawer at the foot of the bed held my gear. The strange squid-face people talked in my mind, asking about my spellbook and gear. They gleaned answers straight from my mind. My history. My biology. About Delthrand. The flora and fauna. Something crawling on my back. Swat at it. It’s a tentacle. No. Two. And attached to my back. No time. No place. Until…
Salt water entered Vulen’s nose and mouth. Coughing and sputtering, thrashing to break free of the glass surrounding the iron bed. Fast thinking saved the gear in the drawer at the end of the bed before it disappeared into the abyss. Flotsam floated everywhere as the sun peaked through breaks in light green clouds. No signs of land or of the Heaven Rock. None of the creatures from the dreams, either. Hungry, tired and very weak, treading water this long is too much. In the distance, a small sailing vessel. Hoping to be saved, yet sinking beneath the surface into darkness. Please. Please.