The Calling of the Orbs
A History of Tellazar Hemzall of Waterdeep
How does one become a mage? Sometimes it is quite accidental like many things in this life, sometimes it is preordained by the fates, and very few times it is the will of a god. As I pen this tale, which is still quite remarkable when I look back upon it, I will try to convey how I came about studying the Art, and why I am who I am.
My given name is Tellazar Hemzall, son of Gevrim Hemzall and Ellsia Hemzall, simple bakers in Waterdeep, the City of Splendors. I have a brother, Fergan Hemzall, who is older than I by 5 years. I was born into a family who was not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, but we did live comfortably from my father’s income at his bakery. If you are ever passing through the trades ward and looking for some of the tastiest breads in the realms I urge you to stop by his bakery.
From an early age, I always assumed my brother and I would be bakers just as my father is, and his father was, as was my great grandfather. While being a baker is a fine calling and a respectable profession, there was always a lingering doubt in my mind if this is truly what I was meant for. I always wondered what life would be like outside of the city walls, what lied beyond my everyday surroundings. This was the first memory I have of hearing the call of adventure.
As I made my way throughout the city performing deliveries for my father’s bakery, I would see all manner of people that dwell here in Waterdeep. I saw people with fine swords and armor, people with a mysterious air that folks called mages and wizards, priests of many faiths, merchants, commoners, shady looking characters who people spoke in soft whispers about, sailors, just about every kind of person one can imagine. I have always been a little withdrawn and more content to watch others than interact with them, so I developed a keen eye for folks. The ones who were the most intriguing to me were the mages and wizards. People said they could perform things that defy the laws of the natural world. This “Magic” that these mages and wizards were said to wield fascinated me, but I never thought to become one of them as my duty in this life was to bake breads and other edible treats for the good people of Waterdeep. I was also dissuaded from even attempting to study the Art because I was told that the training these mages had to endure was very time consuming and very expensive, certainly more expensive than myself or my family could ever afford.
And so it was that I spent my days, working in the bakery, making deliveries, dreaming of the outside world, and observing people. My brother and I toiled side by side, loving our family, and being loved by the same people. One day, an event happened that would drastically alter the course of my life. Little did I know at the start of that day, that my future would not be that of a baker.
As I was mixing dough in the kitchen by myself, daydreaming about the outside world, a glowing orb of blue light formed from thin air at the ceiling of the kitchen! It was the deepest blue my eyes had ever seen and laced with little tendrils of what looked like lightning racing across the surface of it. I was deeply frightened by this orb so I backed away from it into a corner. I tried to call out but found I had no voice with which to call for help. To my horror, the orb started descending toward me. What was stranger than the fact that I was seeing what my mind thought was impossible, was that I was feeling more and more calm the closer the orb got to me. The orb continued to approach until it was hovering right over my shoulder. Once it was atop my shoulder, things got even stranger. The orb proceeded to transform into a blue jay, a small beautiful bird with not one imperfection in its feathering. The bird lighted on my right shoulder and as soon as it did, I felt totally at peace. I no longer wondered about the outside world, no longer felt withdrawn from society, no longer did I worry about anything. The bird stayed on my shoulder for a short period making me feel better than I ever have in my whole life, then I felt something start to happen. It felt like the warmest, most comforting thing I have ever felt but it seemed like the bird was exploding into a massive, blinding, flash of light. This pure white light enveloped the room and blocked all other things from my sight. Then it was simply gone. It was as if nothing had ever happened. I felt the same as I had before seeing this strange spectacle. I was suddenly very scared that my mental stability was sliding and I was losing my mind. I decided that I would keep this event to myself and never tell anyone as I did not want to be thought a madman. But sometimes, beings more powerful than ourselves have different plans than we do.
I continued to work in the bakery and could not shake the event with the orb and the blue jay from my mind. It was all I thought about. I really did feel like I had lost grip with reality momentarily and decided that the event was all a trick of my mind. To my horror, the same event happened 4 more times. It was always the same, no matter where I was, I would see the orb that transformed into a blue jay. It bird always gave me a deep sense of peace and purpose and then that feeling would be gone as soon as the bird exploded into light. I had convinced myself that I was going mad and needed to tell someone I trusted so that I could be helped. If I was losing my mind I did not want to be a danger to my family and loved ones. So I decided to tell my brother Fergan, whom I trust more deeply than anyone else in the world, about what I had seen. He was immediately distressed and told me that he agreed with me that I was going mad! He did not want to talk to our parents as he thought we might be able to solve my problem without causing them undo worry by going to a priest.
We went seeking any temple that could cure my madness and happened upon the temple of Sune. The Sunites received us warmly and told me that there is hidden beauty in all things, even the ravings of the mad. When asked to describe my problem, I told the Sunite priestess everything I could remember. While listening thoughtfully she began taking notes of the things I was describing to her. She asked me to come back the next day as she had some research to do. When I came back the next day, she told me that she doubted my madness. This was not what I was expecting. She told me with a slight smile upon her lips, that I should seek out the temple of Mystra as Sune could not help me in this manner, but Mystra might be able to. Perplexed, I did as instructed.
When I entered the Temple of Mystra there was a strange air in the place. It was as if I felt that I belonged here. I can’t quite explain why I felt this way, but it seemed that a tiny bit of the feeling I got when seeing the orb and bird came over me upon entering the temple. Upon entering, I was greeted by Illiara Falconloft, a priestess of Mystra. She told me that the priestess I had talked to at the Temple of Sune had sent word that I would be coming to visit the Temple of Mystra. The High Priest of the temple had instructed Illiara to watch for me and to talk to me once I arrived. She introduced herself and told me that she was a visiting priestess and that she traveled most of the time spreading the word of Mystra. She asked me to describe what my problem was, which I did, and to my surprise she was smiling the entire time and even chuckling at certain parts of my story. I felt a little outraged since she was laughing at my sufferings so I asked her what was so funny? She told me that it is not often that the Lady of Mysteries shows people so directly what direction she wants them to take. I asked what she meant by that and she explained to me that the visions I was having were a gift from Mystra and that Mystra meant for me to become a mage. I was in shock that myself, a simple baker of no noble birth or station, would be tapped for such an endeavor by a goddess! I told her that I did not think that was possible. I said that I was not cut out to be a mage, I had no way to afford the training, and that my family was depending on my brother and I to run the bakery after my father. She told me not to worry, some things have a way of working themselves out, especially when a goddess desires a certain outcome. I told her I just wanted the visions to stop and for life to go back to normal. She told me to give things a week and see what happened. I left even more confused than I was when I arrived.
As soon as I left the temple, I noticed that the slight feeling of peace and purpose I had when I arrived soon vanished and life again felt very boring. I made it all the way home and told my brother what was said at the temple. He was always a very faithful individual when it came to religion and believed in the gods very much. He told me that he didn’t think that the priestess would have lied to me and I should consider what she had said. I told him that this thing was impossible and life was going back to the way it was before all this started to happen. I told him that if I had more of the visions I would just ignore them as figments of my imagination. I slept restlessly that night and dreamed vivid dreams of myself as a wizard hurling spells of immense power at foes bent on my destruction. When I awoke, I was shocked to find a blue jay sitting on my windowsill, chirping merrily. I felt as though my madness were consuming me until my Father and Mother told me that the blue jay had arrived that morning and had not left. It amazed me that this time they could see it too. I was not going mad, all of this was real, but I still did not want to accept that Mystra wanted this of me. I went about my daily routine and the blue jay followed me ceaselessly, chirping merrily. This went on for a week. The blue jay would not leave me no matter what. I finally accepted the fact that I needed to talk to my mother and father and tell them what was going on. When I spoke to them, I was shocked to find that they were delighted to hear the news and told me that I should feel blessed to be called upon by a goddess to do anything. They told me that I should go back to the Temple of Mystra and see what I should do to serve Mystra’s will. I asked what was to become of the bakery and my father laughed and said that I was not the only one who observed people keenly, he had seen me working while daydreaming and knew that I longed for something more than the life of a baker. He told me not to worry that my brother was more than capable of taking over for him at the bakery and I should pursue training as a wizard. With my family’s support, I now felt that I should see what Illiara thought I should do.
When I went back to the temple, I was surprised to see that the bird lighted on my shoulder right before entering. That feeling of peace and purpose came over me even more strongly this time. As I walked into the door of the temple, with the blue jay on my shoulder, Illiara was waiting for me. When she saw the bird, she knelt down before it and said something unintelligible under her breath. Other priests and priestesses saw the bird and were coming over and kneeling as well. Not long after the bird flew to the ceiling of the temple and again exploded into a white light as it had before. The priests and priestesses began praying and giving thanks for what they had witnessed and again I felt confused. Once done praying, Illiara looked upon me with delight and said that she was so happy I had come back so that they could witness a portion of their goddess’s power. I was stunned to think that I had an element of a goddess sitting on my shoulder. She asked me if I had decided to pursue mage training and I responded in the affirmative telling her that I was no one to defy the will of a goddess but I was at a loss as to how to begin. She told me the temple would help me with these things and I was welcome to stay the night. I accepted and the next day began the rest of my life as Tellazar the mage.
The next day I was brought to meet Ildus Elderon an elderly man from Tethyr who was introduced by Illiara. She told me that Ildus had agreed to train me as a last offering of faith to Mystra as he was old and his health was failing him. I thanked both Illiara and Ildus for this unbelievably kind gesture and she told me that I had a day to say goodbye to my family as I would have to live with Ildus for the duration of my training. I again thanked them and went home to say my goodbyes and embark on my life as a mage.
When I arrived at Ildus’s home the next day he was ready for me. My lessons in the ways of the art began immediately. I had learned to read at an early age from my mother so this was a huge blessing in expediting my initial training. I learned much in those early days with Ildus and found that not only was I enjoying my training but that I had an aptitude for it. Ildus had another student that was still under his training when I arrived, I still curse his name as I write it, Trell Blackhorn. Trell and I did not get along from the very start of my training. Where I succeeded in my studies fairly easily, he had to study twice as hard to keep up. Ildus would laud praise upon me and scold Trell for not being as good a student as I. Even though Trell had been studying under Ildus for 4 years prior to my arriving, I caught up with his level of ability in only 1 year.
Aside from my constant rivalry with Trell, life with Ildus was wonderful. I felt that sense of peace and purpose everyday that I felt when the blue jay would visit me. The Art came naturally to me, and I found Mystra’s weave fascinating. Manipulating the ley lines of energy that encircle Abeir-Toril was my calling without a doubt. With Ildus’s constant guidance, I was developing into that which Mystra wanted, a capable mage. I keenly took to one spell in particular, so much so that it is now my signature spell. Chromatic Orb. A powerful, adaptive, extremely useful spell. I showed more skill with this spell than any other and so Ildus took to calling me Tellazar of the Orbs, a name that I still carry with pride to this day.
So that was how I spent my early days with Ildus, studying the Art and competing with Trell. Life was good, all things considered. I had that feeling of peace and purpose I speak so much of that Mystra seemed to have granted me, I had a loving family, and I had a dedicated teacher. There were no dark spots in my life at all – aside from that blasted Trell. Little did I know that my life was about to get even better.
From the first moment I saw her, I loved her. I never believed in love at first sight, and have never considered myself a romantic. But when I saw her with her lovely hair that was as dark as the stroke of midnight, her eyes that pierced into my very soul, and her skin that was as creamy as milk, I loved her. Eriyim Elogin was her name. Oh how I could write her name a thousand times and still my heart would swell with each quill stroke. She was a house servant for Ildus. He took her on during my tutelage and the first time I saw her in the tower stairwell, I turned the other way for my eyes had never seen such beauty and did not think she was real. I turned back to see if my eyes were deceiving me and she was still there. I almost could not speak for the lump in my throat. My heart beat with the frenzy of a thousand racing horses. Finally I did speak however. What I said was simple looking back on it and hardly the grand introduction I would have liked to make but such was my shock and awe at such beauty. I said simply “Well met.” I was kicking myself for not saying something much more suave when she replied “Well met! You must be Tellazar. Ildus has told me about those living here under his tutelage. I am Eriyim, and Ildus has brought me into his home to tidy up, cook, and do other house duties. We are indeed well met today in the City of Splendors, Tellazar.” This object of my heart’s desire was beautiful, well spoken, and carried herself with pride, despite her meager station as a house servant. I tried to reply, but found I could not. Embarrassed I walked the other way and left her with a questioning look on her face.
Oh how I lamented that first meeting with Eriyim. I looked like a fool and even more so, had insulted her by walking away from her. I returned to my room and cursed myself for not saying all the things I had wanted to say. Eventually my nerves settled down and I decided to seek her out again later in the day and apologize for my rude behavior and try to say the things I had wanted to say. To my chagrin, when I found her, she was laughing with and talking to that accursed Trell. As I approached, Trell made a comment to her under his breath and she laughed some more. Horrified at what was occurring, I turned back and went back to my room. My love, whom did not know she was my love, was enjoying the company of my rival. She thought I was a fool. All hope was more than likely lost for me ever having any kind of relationship with her. It was in this moment of despair that the most unlikely thing happened. There was a knock at my door. I wiped the obvious tears and frustration from my face and answered the door. My love was standing before me. I could not believe it. She said “Tellazar, I cry your pardon at having laughed at you when I was talking to Trell. He had made a joke at your expense and I found it funny at the moment, but after thinking about it I realized that I was even ruder than you had been when you walked away from me in the stairwell. I want to be on good terms with everyone who dwells here, including you. Please accept my apology.” I replied “My lady, tis I who should cry your pardon for turning my back to you. Even though your laughter was at my expense, it was as a choir of angels just to hear your voice. I would let you laugh at me every day for the rest of eternity just to hear that voice. When I insulted you by walking away from you earlier, it was due to the fact that I was overcome by your beauty. And aye, I do wish to be on good terms with you. So your apology is accepted as I hope mine is.” She grinned and said “We are well met indeed today Tellazar, your apology is accepted.”
So that was how began my relationship with Eriyim. We saw each other every day during my time with Ildus. She grew to love me as I loved her upon first sight. The days I spent with her I count as the happiest days of my life. But this tale is far from finished. I would love to conclude my writing here saying that I finished my training, Eriyim and I were married, and we lived happily ever after. But alas, the fates have a way of changing everyone’s plans. These next passages are extremely difficult to write, but are just as much a part of my story as any other so I must tell you, dear reader, what happened next.
While Eriyim and I had a wonderful relationship that even Ildus approved of as long as it did not distract from my studies, I could not help but notice that Trell took every chance he could get to try and talk to my love. I would find him in hallways boasting to her of his abilities with magic while belittling mine. Every time he saw me approaching he would make an excuse to leave before I could confront him. She did not want to be on bad terms with anyone in the house so she tolerated Trell, even though he was trying to undermine me and win her over to himself. I finally made up my mind to confront Trell about his advances toward my lady. I caught him in the courtyard one day, reading some manual when I said “It’s time you and I had a word about Eriyim.” He said “So the mighty Tellazar has come to discuss his gilly girl with insignificant Trell. I should feel honored to be in the presence of the greatest fledgling mage in all the realms.” I told him “Listen Trell, whatever differences you have with me due to Ildus’s feelings about our abilities is between you and I, leave Eriyim out of it. She does not like your advances and you have no hope of a future with her.” He replied with “Make no mistake Tellazar of the Orbs, I do not want Eriyim, I only want you not to have her. You have already placed yourself as Ildus’s prize student and have delayed my graduation from this place by making me look slow and weak. You will not do this to me and have your lovely prize at the same time, I swear it.” I told him “Empty threats aside Trell, leave Eriyim alone. We both move on from here Trell within the month and we will not have to deal with one another afterwards. Just stay away from us.” With that I walked away. Had I known then what I know now, I would have burned him down in that courtyard as his threats were not empty as I had thought.
After that, the advances upon Eriyim stopped, and things calmed down. Trell and I were both finishing our studies under Ildus, and Eriyim and I were busy loving one another. The day came for Ildus to confer our staves on Trell and I, a graduation from apprenticeship. As we walked into Ildus’s chambers to receive our prize for completing our studies, I noticed a dour look on Ildus’s face. He looked upon us and said “Today is the day when you are no longer a fledgling mage, Tellazar. You have completed your studies and are ready to wield the art as a mage. I present you with this stave, a simple symbol of moving on from being a student to being a mage. Trell, I would love to give you a stave as well, but unfortunately you require more teaching yet. I don’t know if my breath will last long enough to complete your training, but we shall yet try. Another year of training is in order for you, Trell.” The look on Trell’s face was a scowl which I cannot begin to describe. He cried, “You shall all pay for this! You old fool; you have taken for granted my abilities for the last time! You, Tellazar the whelp, whom has made me to look like a fool for years, you shall pay too! This is not over!” With that he stormed out onto the streets of Waterdeep. I tried to go after him but Ildus stopped me and said “Let him go. He needs to figure this out for himself and Trell is no threat to us, he is just hotheaded and angry. Once he calms down, he will see the error of his ways and come back to me. He places ascending to magehood before all other priorities in his life. Go now, Tellazar enjoy the Waterdhavian evening and enjoy the company of Eriyim. I release you from your training. Mystra was right to choose you to become a mage, for you are a worthy spell crafter.”
As Ildus recommended I took Eriyim out for a wonderful evening in the city. We had a great meal and enjoyed the atmosphere of several of the cities finer taprooms. As I took Eriyim back to Ildus’s home, I kissed her and again professed my love for her as I had on countless other occasions. I dropped her off at the door and her last words to me before leaving were simple yet I will never forget them. They were “Tellazar, I love thee.”
This is the part of my story that is the most difficult to tell. My heart breaks every time I think about the events of that day. After I dropped Eriyim off at Ildus’s, I went home to spend the night with my family for the first time in 5 years. My family welcomed me back home and was very eager to hear the tales I had to tell of my training. They were equally excited to hear about Eriyim and talks of marriage soon followed. I affirmed to them that my intentions were to propose to Eriyim as soon as the time was right. For now, I would continue my studies independently and stay with the family for the meantime. Of course I would have to make nightly trips to Ildus’s to spend time with Eriyim but that was assumed. We all went to bed that evening excited about what the future may hold for myself and Eriyim. The next day was the worst day of my life.
I was awoke in the middle of the night by a loud banging on the door. I ran downstairs to find the city watch standing at our door. I asked what was wrong and they asked me if I was Tellazar Hemzall. I responded in the affirmative and they told me that I was needed at Ildus’s home immediately. I asked what was wrong again and they said that all would be made clear to me once I arrived. Worried as I have ever been I gathered my belongings and made haste with them to Ildus’s. What I found still takes my breath away even to this day. I arrived at Ildus’s to find several of the Watch stationed around his home. They said “Tellazar you must hurry, the old man’s time is short but he holds onto this life because he says he must speak to you.” I rushed inside to find Ildus in his bed chamber. He was on his bed lying in a pool of blood. It was obvious that he had been attacked by someone with a dagger. He was obviously dying but when he saw me his face relaxed and he beckoned me over. I said “Master, what can I do to ease your pain?” He replied with much anguish in his face “Tellazar, I am dying. I was wrong to say that Trell posed no threat to us. He has come back to take his revenge on me. But my time is short. My dying request is for you to deliver my runestaff to a former student of mine. His name is Gorund Hardwand and you can find him in Silverymoon. He will know what this staff means. Please Tellazar do an old man this one last favor. Don’t seek vengeance for this Tellazar, for the need for revenge will warp a man to do things he would never do otherwise. Keep your heart and head clear. I must leave you now for Mystra beckons.” With that my Master, Teacher, and friend passed from this life and into the next. As I stood from his bedside I grabbed his runestaff. My eyes burned with vengeance but soon subsided when I thought about what Ildus had said. What mattered now was my life Eriyim, not a quest for vengeance on Trell. With that thought I realized I haven’t even checked on Eriyim, gods she must have been scared I thought. I rushed out of Ildus’s room and ran upstairs toward Eriyim’s chamber. When I arrived there was more watch at her door. I said “Let me pass, for my love resides within.” They then told me that I could not go in as they were investigating. I asked “Investigating what?” The captain of the watch then came up the stairs behind me and said “Tellazar I am sorry, but the young maiden who serves Ildus is dead.” How do I describe the scream of anguish that escaped my lips? It was the sound of a gutted animal. It was the pain of a thousand worlds heaped onto one man. It was unbearable. I pushed the watch aside and entered her room. The horrors of the evening continue to abound. There was my precious love, in her nightshift stabbed more times than I can count with her throat slashed. It was also apparent that she had been violated. Scrawled on the wall in her blood was “No Prize” and “How does thee like it?” At the sight of all this my normally keen mind shut down, I felt the world slipping away from me. Soon all I saw was blackness as I collapsed to the floor.
When I awoke, I was back in my parent’s home. I asked my mother who was at my bedside how long I had been asleep and she told me it had been 1 week. My normally slim figure now looked emaciated from lack of food. All at once the pain of my loss hit me again and gods help me I lost control. I started throwing the furnishings of my room around and breaking things. I screamed my frustrations at the world, at Mystra, and at the bastard Trell. The more I thought about the situation the angrier I became. I became as a madman. I was raving, cursing the gods, the watch, the city, and always Trell. That black hearted ghoul had taken away the thing I held most dear in this world. He knew that making me live without her was more punishing than killing me would have been. At the height of my ravings something happened that had not happened for 5 years. I heard a voice say “Stop thy destructive behavior my child.” Instantly the same blue white light laced with lightning appeared before me. I knew at once that my goddess had arrived before me. The crazed feelings started to fade, and I knew peace once more. Mystra said “Fear not Tellazar, for Eriyim and Ildus are with me now. Continue on the path I have placed you upon and you too will see them again one day. I have chosen you for a reason Tellazar and you have a purpose to fulfill. Forget me not, Tellazar.” With that the blue white light morphed into the face of Eriyim. I reached out to stroke her face as I had countless times before and the light exploded into nothingness right as my hand made contact. I collapsed into the bed again and something happened that I still cannot believe. That night, I slept peacefully.
I awoke the next morning. The crazed feelings had passed. I knew that my love and my Master were with my goddess now. I also knew that my life had changed course over night. While I will still serve the goddess and abide by her wishes, I had a personal purpose as well. My heart burned again now but now it burned not only with my love for Eriyim but also with vengeance for Trell. My eyes, normally lively and quick, now took on the cold look of a man seeking revenge. I knew that Ildus had told me not to pursue Trell, but I could not abide what had been done to me. I swore upon everything that I held sacred that I would kill Trell Blackhorn if it was the last thing I did upon this earth. I gathered up my belongings and spell components and went to pursue Trell. I started with the city watch asking them if they had found him. They told me that they had not, and it was apparent he had left the city on horseback as soon as the crimes had been committed. I asked if they knew which direction he had went and they said they did not. My frustration abounded as I did not know which way to pursue Trell. I sat down in an alleyway and prayed to Mystra for guidance. She did not speak to me directly but I got the feeling that I would eventually have my vengeance upon Trell. I decided to take Ildus’s runestaff to Silverymoon and cast about for Trell’s trail as I went. That is where my tale ends dear reader, with my leaving Waterdeep for the great unknown. I am headed to Silverymoon and my date with the vile Trell. Pray that I am successful in my endeavors.