The damned Zealots of the All-Seeing-Eye had been chasing me for three days when things finally came to an end. That last day had been all mad dash through jungle too. I’d played one little game of chance, in one of their temples, and they wanted me dead. Stupid of me to think I could be sneaky about it. In a Temple of the All-Seeing-Eye. It’s right there in the name. A little harsh on the reaction though. As I ran that last day I fully gave myself to Luck. To my Goddess of Chance. I rattled the dice in my hand as I ran, and I prayed. She was always my protector in my mind. I always prayed to her, only her, since I knew there were Gods and we could pray to them. So as I suddenly burst out of jungle cover onto a cliff edge, I kept running, kept praying. As my feet no longer touched ground beneath, them I threw the dice one more time. Left my fate to Fate. Seems Zealots of the All-Seeing-Eye don’t get to see their own demise in order to prevent it. While Luck, she works in mysterious ways, so can I live to tell her story.
Earl the Delivery Sheep was normally very laid back regarding his work, so long as he got his package to its destination both intact and on time. He was informal with his boss, lax with his uniform, and near forgetful with safety practices. That day was different. That day he needed his uniform to clearly announce who he was and why he was knocking. That day he would carry the garlic, and the screeching lemmings. In fact, as he left, he made sure to grab extra screeching lemmings before he logged out the package for delivery. He was mostly calm passing through the Vale of Shroudedness, along the Path of Awkward Dreams trying make the delivery. He hesitated before crossing the drawbridge over the moat of popcorning guinea pigs. With reluctance he knocked upon the door of Count Gary Von Pronghorn the 3rd, and tried not to run away. However, as the door began to open, Earl panicked. He threw down the package along with several screeching lemmings, before fleeing in terror. He never forgave himself for wetting his wool that day.
The stairs were dark. They lead down into more darkness without any reprieve. Down, down I walked with only my torch for company. On the dusty wall was a single thick wire, almost a cable. I followed it intently to make sure it was unmarked and unbroken. The only sounds were the scrape of my feet on the stone as I stepped down each step, and made each turn at the landings every thirteenth stair. After twenty minutes I could hear my labored breathing also. Finally the bottom. There was no break in the wire, it had just become disconnected. Gently I retied the end of thick wire to the Fallen Angel. On the surface power would be restored to the village. It looked at me with hatred as I walked away to began my long climb back up.
As Earl the Delivery Sheep para-dropped from the delivery plane his sense of unease increased. Earl had done this many times before but never with live cargo. However, carrying a case of live butterflies to a research facility in the mountains was difficult at best, just plain dangerous in winter. After a safe landing on the untouched fields of snow in the Valley of Doom, Earl began his ascent up the Stairs of Forgetfulness. The wind was harsh, cold, and seemed to hum a constant tune he could not quite remember. At the top he found the semi-hidden door to the Laboratory of Silly Research into Benign Things. The doorbell was broken.
Earl the Delivery Sheep never liked odd deliveries. He considered himself a reasonable sheep but having to dig a hole to make a delivery was a bit much. Having to absolutely, no exceptions, dig the hole under the Bridge of Awesome Wafer Thinness next to a Root Beer river though? He was wet and sticky now, not to mention heavy. It would take ages to clean. After burying the wax covered box of board games in the hole came the worst part. To announce to the Beaver that ordered the package that it was there, Earl had to sing. He had to sing We Will Rock You making sure to add the stomps and claps to get the clients attention. Earl hated singing.
Earl the Delivery Sheep was reading his map again. The seventh time in the past ten minutes. He was very, very lost. As Earl sat at the sixth set of crossroads he’d come across in the Forest of Madness the paths around him shimmered and changed. As they changed, so did his map. He’d never been lost before, never not made a delivery on time. Today was going to be that day. He had a package of sloth fur-mold-remover for Penny and Edgar. They hung around on the Tree of Temporality making watches for Comedians with a bad sense of timing. It took another hour for the Forest to stop changing enough for Earl to continue. He decided that next time he’d just para-drop in.
He awoke on a battlefield surrounded by the bodies of the fallen. He was the only living creature for miles. He had no memory of who he was, how he got there, nor why he might be in such a place.
Something was very wrong it seemed as he stood up. He was not only uninjured but his clothing was spotlessly clean. His clothes were a dull brown, of simple make, and that of a child’s. A child’s sizing. That seemed extra wrong. He had a sense that he should be older and taller than he appeared. He looked carefully at his hands. They were small, clean, unblemished, and clearly had not seen any hard labour. That too seemed wrong. Somehow he knew hard labour, knew even how to wield a sword he thought.
Looking around himself, in the bright midday light, he could see the bodies had been looted for the most part, but here and there lay a few older weapons. A rusted Orc blade was closest and he bent to grab it. As his hand touched the weapon a wave of nausea swept over him. He took his hand away, the nausea left as quickly as it came on. Even more strangeness he thought. Thinking it might just be the Orcish weapon, he sought out other blades. Yet, every time the nausea returned suddenly upon touching any sword, knife, dagger, spear, or other edged weapon he could find. His confusion only deepened when he came to the body of a robed man and reached down to take the staff next to him. This time a sense of well being and calmness infused him from head to toe. He looked closer at the staff and could see nothing more than a plain wooden staff of simple make with obvious nicks from long use. Again, he could not remember using such a weapon, nor learning how to use one, but somehow he knew he could wield it in a time of need.
Still holding the staff he searched in the distance for the first time since he had awoke. There were mountains to the distant south and forest off to the west. Closer to the north there were wisps of smoke from what he felt was a village. How he knew this he did not know, but he did know that was where he was needed. He was drawn to this village and he could think of no other place to go so he began to walk north.
Darkness was near fully onset as he approached the village. It was easily apparent that the battle had passed through here and destroyed much of the village. The wisps of smoke he had seen at a distance were coming from smouldering ruins. While the walls of a few buildings did still stand, there were no people that could be seen. A small storage building seemed to still have both a roof and a door. He had walked directly up to it without consciously being aware of doing so until reaching the door itself. He did not know why, as it was a storage building after all, but he had a feeling to knock. So that is what he did.
“Who is that?” The voice from within the building was strained, as though in great pain.
“I am nobody.” It was the first time he had spoken aloud since he awoke. He was surprised by how high pitched his voice sounded. It was not the voice he should have, but again, could not remember his proper voice.
“Well ‘Nobody’, come in. I won’t hurt you and I doubt you could do me much more harm.”
Nobody lifted the latch and opened the door to find an older man in fine clothing laying on the floor. It was clear at first glance that the man was mortally wounded. There was a nasty wound in his belly that seeped blood and other things into a pool on the ground around the man. His skin was very pale and his head rested on a backpack.
“My name is Lorrimor, and I fear we shall not be friends for long. This wound has taken its toll and I am near death.”
As Lorrimor spoke Nobody barely heard him for he suddenly knew why he was right there at that moment in time, at this place. Without thinking about it, he knelt next to Lorrimor and reached forth his hand to the wound. A great light suddenly filled the little room and his hand was not a hand, but rather a brilliant radiance that was an extension of himself. He had become living energy and as that energy touched the wound, it healed. Lorrimor’s colouring returned a bit to his skin and there was hardly a scar were the wound had been in his belly. Slowly the light faded and Nobody’s hand was just a hand. Still just a boy’s hand, but suddenly this no longer seemed wrong.
“By the Power’s That Be! Thank you!” Lorrimor stared at him in grateful confusion.
“I don’t know how I did that, but you’re welcome. I think that is why I came here. Though I feel there is more. I just don’t know what.”
“Tell me how you came to find me, please.”
Nobody briefly explained his short, only hours long, existence. He could only remember things from that afternoon since he had awoken. Lorrimor questioned him on details about his feelings on trying to pick up weapons, deciding to come to the village, of why he knocked, and how he knew to reach out to touch the wound to heal it.
“In my past I have studied these things and I believe you to be an Oracle. A rare one at that. I have never heard of an adult being changed into a child before, memory erased. May I see that staff of you found?”
Nobody handed him the staff. Lorrimor looked it over and handed it back then looked closer at the boy in front of him using the light from a glowing coin on a string he had with him. Frowning at the end he finally spoke.
“Your staff has no magic I can discern nor do your clothes. You seem like an average boy at first glance. Yet, I see no marks on you like a boy of your age would have. No scars, no scrapes, nor any dirt. You do have a birthmark on your neck. I have seen it before and I think I may know who you may have been. I cannot be certain and I do not think you are to know this information or you would have woken with your memories intact. I will not circumvent the Mysteries that put you here without that knowledge. If they mean for you to know it, they will reveal it to you in time. Why they made you bald though is odd even for the Mysteries.”
Nobody reached up for the first time and felt his head. He was indeed bald. Not even stubble grew on his head. He wanted to know about the birthmark but felt that Lorrimor was correct about his not being meant to know yet.
“Do you think I will grow into an adult again or am I cursed to remain a child forever?”
Lorrimor chuckled. “All Oracles are cursed somehow. It balances the gifts they receive it is thought. You will likely remain a child till the day you die, regardless of the years that pass. I think you may have more surprise gifts in you to be revealed yet given the nature of your curse. ”
As Lorrimor said those words, Nobody could feel the truth of them coming forth. Something was outside that meant them both harm. As he stood and turned to the door, two zombies tried to enter the building. Both zombies, in their thirst for flesh, pushed at the same time through the doorway, getting stuck for a moment. Again not knowing how he did it, Nobody let his mind relax and a wave of energy burst forth from him in all directions. After the wave passed the zombies slumped in the doorway unmoving.
“I do believe you just saved me again… Nobody? Is that what we are to call you?”
“Seems appropriate for some reason.”
“Oddly I think so too. ‘I owe my life to Nobody’ shall be my new turn of phrase.” With that he chuckled and stood having been healed again by the same burst that killed the zombies. He began to gather his gear together. “We cannot stay here so close to the battlefield at night. More undead will come. Now that I am well enough to travel we must leave else your gift of life to me is for naught.”
Nobody stared at the zombies for a moment before turning to Lorrimor. “I cannot come with you. I have more that I need to do and you are not yet fully well. Travel due east till the moon is full, then turn north. You will be safe. I do not know how I know this, just know that I do.”
Lorrimor took Nobody’s hand and placed in it the small coin that glowed. “Take this as a small token of my thanks. If I could give you more I would. I will never forget this night. I hope we meet again.”
Without another word they parted, Lorrimor to the east, and Nobody to the south. Towards the battlefield now filling with undead.
(This was a character background I wrote up for a Pathfinder RPG I am playing in with friends)