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SEVRIN LORE: Avidan

SPOILER WARNING:

If you haven’t read Honor Among Thieves yet, you may wish to do so before reading this post. It gives background information about one of the characters, and as such, contains minor spoilers.

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About four years ago, the band of thieves who live in the tunnels below Rhendish Manor found a man lying in front of the Feyglass.  The mystery was compounded by his appearance, for he was clearly no northman. His strong features, dark hair, and olive skin suggested origins is some distant, sun-warmed land.

Days passed before he regained consciousness.  Dazed and disoriented, he could give no explanation as to how he found his way into the hidden den. In fact, months passed before he spoke a single word.

Fox, the young leader of the thieves, found a book filled with arcane symbols in the man’s pockets and concluded that he was an alchemist. It seemed likely that the man stumbled into the tunnels while fleeing Rhendish. This was reason enough for him to offer a haven.

As Avidan began to speak, it become clear that his mind, although damaged, possessed a rare brilliance.  He was indeed an alchemist, capable of creating solutions to the myriad challenges facing a young thief in a city full of alchemists.

In truth, Avidan is far more than Fox realizes. He was born in Veldoon, the birthplace of alchemy, over 130 years ago.  The name Avidan Insa’amid is still remembered in Veldoon, and not just by his descendants.  From his youth, Avidan was noted for mastery of the art of alchemy, and his work with alkahest in particular.  Some predicted that his name would be listed among the nation’s great Philosophers.

But a little more than 100 years ago, Avidan became fascinated with a branch of alchemy that summons creatures of great power. His first attempt proved far too successful:  His attempts to summon a benign and helpful being brought to him Mabh, the Queen of the Fairies.

But Mabh was feeling neither benign nor helpful. Incensed–and a little frightened–by this summons, she lured Avidan into Faerie, the fey realm. For several terrible years, he paid for his effronterie.

In time, however, he caught the eye of a lady of the Faerie Court.  She became fascinated first with the man, then with his knowledge.  Only much later, years after his expulsion from the fey realm, did Avidan wonder what use the fairies might make of this information.

Few mortals survive their time in the fey realms. None come away unscathed.  An intense desire to return drives most men mad.  When the longing becomes too much to bear, Avidan finds himself standing before the Feyglass, hoping for a glimpse of Faerie in its ever-shifting landscape.

SEVRIN LORE: The Fox Den

The underground world of Fox Winterborn and his companions is a complex system that combines the mundane structures of Sevrin–cisterns, basements, root cellars, storm drains, and sewers–with the warren of ancient dwarf-built tunnels and chambers.

The Fox Den is a collection of underground chambers, the top “floor” of what was once a dwarf outpost. The most notable feature of the Den is the Feyglass, a large mirror with an ornately carved stone frame. This appears to be a window intp other times and places, for an ever-shifting vista of mountains, waterfalls, turquoise seas, and exotic cities emerge from the mists.  Fox, who yearns for travel and adventure far from the islands of Sevrin, finds both torment and solace in the Feyglass.

Fox suspects that the mirror might also be a portal into other realms. He found Avidan lying on the floor in front of the mirror, with no memory of how he came to be in the tunnel.  He tried to persuade his companions to move the den, but both Delgar and Vishni were adamant that they remain where they were.  Fox suspects that both the dwarf and the fairy know more about the Feyglass than they’re willing or able to share.

Thanks to Delgar’s skill at stoneshifting, the path to the Den is an ever-shifting maze.  Rhendish has tried for years to discover the secret of Fox’s ability to move through the city unseen and to disappear at will.  The adept wishes to do more than apprehend the thief, more than recover the trove of weapons and magical items Fox has been stockpiling for nearly a decade.  It is obvious to him that Fox has access to powerful allies, and he wants to know who they are and what their purposes might be.