Hello. I'm coming back to MW after a couple months away. I saw the notice and wanted to see if I might be able to help with the writing. Here's a couple samples (let me know if you need more samples or more info about me):
This is the background I wrote for a character named Halcyon (Tiefling Wizard) for a game application here on the site. I cut and paste, so I apologize for any formatting issues.
Born Iados to one of the few hidden tiefling dynasties, Hal rejected his ancestry right from the start. He desired to break away from his family, so mired to past glory they couldn’t be bothered with the future. At the time, it was very rare for a tiefling to reject his heritage and join the world, but the moment he heard of it he knew it was what he wanted. All tieflings grow up with an understanding of magic, but Hal was particularly enthralled by it for as long as he could remember. He knew a life of magic was his future, but he refused to accept the normal path most tieflings take, that of becoming a warlock and getting their power from dark pacts made with other beings. To Hal, that just seemed...wrong. The easy way. It was no wonder so many tieflings struggle with their inner darkness. Magic should come from the careful study of the arcane, shaping and wielding the power to your very command.
And so, in only his twelfth year, Iados left his family and escaped to the world, now calling himself the wizard Halcyon. A lifetime of study and, inadvertently, adventure awaited him. He was at the battles of Riverrun, Aeris, and King’s Hand, took part in the Great Drow War, dueled famous wizards such as Torisith the Great and Hennec the Mad, stopped the Great Eastern Flood singlehandedly, defeated the demon Illsic, and fought the dragon Craxxin to a standstill. He re-discovered ancient spells long forgotten and researched all-new ones. He found Denen’s Tome and the Codex of Zarvol, translated the Scrolls of the Dead and the Toralac Pages, and founded the Library of Oberoth.
Hal has led a full and accomplished, if solitary, life.
Eventually, he achieved the pinnacle as a world-renowned wizard of the 30th circle. After that, he retired from the adventuring lifestyle and hid himself away deep in the mountains, founding a small, little-known school for arcane study, teaching a handful of students all that he had learned. There, he continued his studies in his preferred peace and quiet, undisturbed until a man named Zevix suddenly and violently appeared one day and changed his world forever.
One cold morning amidst the mountain’s granite peaks, Hal and his five students went about their usual routine of study. They kept warm in the small cottage built just inside a large cave system in the side of one of the mountains. Such a reclusive and difficult spot to get to ensured he and his students remained hidden away from the world, free to go about their studies without interruption.
That peace was shattered by an explosion. The front doors blew apart in a rain of fire and splinters and smoke. Through the hole calmly strode a sickly-looking Human, dressed in gray and black, surrounded by several other men wielding swords and crossbows. The students, unaccustomed to something so violent, could only stop and stare at the strange entourage suddenly entering their humble home. Hal’s old instincts kicked in and he immediately began throwing spells at the intruders. Two of the soldiers went up in flames and a third simply disappeared, but Hal could tell right away the real threat was the Human. He yelled to his students to finish off the soldiers and he and the Human met in the center room, slowly circling each other.
“What do you want, Human?”
The answer came in a silvery soft voice. “You are the Great Wizard Halcyon. I seek your knowledge for my own, tiefling.” He spit out the last word.
“You could have just asked. I might have taught you.”
The Human simply shook his head and chuckled. “I’m afraid not in that way, Hal. May I call you Hal? I understand all your closest compatriots do, and you and I are about to get very close.” With that, the Human launched into a series of offensive spells; fireballs and acid darts and magic missiles, all low level stuff that Hal easily defeated. He knew right away what the Human was doing, though. He’s testing me.
“Who are you?”
“You may call me Zevix.”
“I have heard those names, in the books of old.”
“No doubt. At least you have a modicum of respect for the past, unlike your students.”
Hal looked to his side to see three of his students standing amongst the bodies of the soldiers and his other two students. One, Faereln, always the cockiest, rose his hands toward Zevix to cast a spell.
“No!” Hal yelled, but it was already too late. Before young Faerel could get his spell off, he was suddenly teleported into the far wall. His face, arms and a leg stuck out from the wood. For a brief moment, his eyes flickered with life and horrible pain before fading. Hal knew the Human would go for the remaining students next, regardless whether they attacked or not. Hal spun and held out his hand to stop the intruder, crying, “Wait!” but again he was too late. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the last two dissolve away. The cabin had set fire from the spells, and the flames spread around the last two combatants as they circled again.
“You didn’t have to do that!”
Zevix snickered. “Oh, but I did. You and I will need some alone time. They would have attempted to interfere.”
“Wrong, Human. You aren’t going anywhere but to your own doom.” Now it was Hal’s turn to go on the offensive, only he didn’t hold back, throwing the most humanstating spells he had in his mind at this lord Zevix. Somehow, the Human was able to defeat each one in turn, until Hal had nothing left. Despite his best spells, Zevix stood before him, with nary a scratch on his. How was this possible? The creature should have been utterly destroyed, yet was not. His mind began to scramble, panic setting in. He had other, more powerful spells, but he hadn’t been expecting a battle when he prepared his spells this morning. He was lucky to have any offensive spells at all. Years of experience had taught him to always be prepared, but he wasn’t for something of this magnitude. Those other spells were locked away in his spellbook, not ten feet from him, but surely as far away as the Astral plane right now. It took hours to memorize and prepare such spells, and even then, Hal had a sickening feeling this Zevix had a way to defeat them all anyway. Like the flames about them, the panic began to grow.
Zevix snarled. “That the best from the Great Wizard Halcyon? I expected more, tiefling. Maybe you aren’t what I need after all.”
Hal tried to stall. He had some magic items upstairs... “How easy to look down on someone defeated ill-prepared. Come back tomorrow and I promise you won’t be disappointed.”
Zevix lobbed another fireball, but Hal veered it away. “Then you admit defeat already! Just give me what I want and I’ll see you don’t suffer.”
Hal shot a lightning bolt, but as expected Zevix deflected it. He was continuing to stall, slowly working his way backwards, towards the stairs leading up. The smell of burning wood assaulted his nostrils, and the smoke was thickening. He didn’t have much time.
“And what, exactly, are you after, Human?”
“I told you, your power. I want it, and I will have it.”
Hal shook his head. He didn’t understand what the Human meant. You couldn’t just give someone your magic, even if you wanted to. “For what? Even if I could, what do you want of it?”
“I have my reasons, tiefling. It won’t matter to you, you won’t be around to see my ascendance. But take comfort in knowing it wouldn’t have been possible without your sacrifice.”
Ascendance? To what, Godhood? The thing was mad, maybe as mad as Hennec. He was close to the steps now, so he launched a frenzy of his remaining spells to throw Zevix off guard. When he thought the Human couldn’t see him, he turned and dashed for the steps, dodging the growing flames...
A forceful blow knocked him from behind, throwing him to the ground and into one of the flames. Stunned, he was still able to roll out of the fire, but when he came to a stop against a wall, Zevix stood over him. Hal shot his last spell at him, a feeble magic missile, and even though it impacted, Zevix wasn’t even fazed. He reached down and punched Hal, stunning him again and bloodying his face. Hal scooted back into a sitting position against the wall.
“I can’t give you what you want!”
Zevix smiled, a menacing, frightening action. “Oh, but you can. Let me show you how.” He reached down towards Hal’s head. Hal feebly attempted to swat him away, but Zevix bound his hands and head to the wall with a spell. For the first time in a very, very long time, Halcyon felt true fear, his heart racing and panic gripping him, threatening to overwhelm at any second. He tried to fight the holding spell, but it was no use.
Zevix knelt down and placed two fingers from each hand on Hal’s temples, closed his eyes and began reciting in a language that not even Hal recognized. Suddenly, a great pain seared through his head and Hal screamed. The pain was like a small worm, digging though his mind as it searched out all the magical knowledge he had accumulated for forty years. Each time the worm found that knowledge, it bit into it with a jolt of pain, and when the pain subsided, that knowledge was simply...gone. Not the spells themselves, but the knowledge of how to use the arcane power, where it came from, and how to direct the energies. A far corner of Hal’s mind understood that what was happening was impossible, but it was buried under the pain and now all-consuming panic as he realized what was happening to him.
Bit by bit, the worm worked its way through Hal’s mind, eating away at every piece of magical knowledge he had. Hal could feel it all slipping away in between the jolts of pain. He could feel his body wanting to shut down from the shock, but the worm kept him conscious in order to retrieve the knowledge. When Zevix was done, he stood back up, flexing his hands into fists as he felt the power course through him.
Hal wept. Everything he ever learned about magic was now gone from his mind. He knew it should be there, remembered it being there, but when he tried to summon it, nothing came, like the fragments of a half-recalled dream. The tears flowed down his soot-covered face in small streaks. Somehow, this man had stolen the thing he held most dear and had worked a lifetime to gather in only a matter of minutes. His mind recoiled as a full understanding of what he’d lost dawned on him. He felt so violated. Suddenly, he felt the force holding him against the wall vanish, but Hal stayed where he was, weeping.
“I must thank you, Great Wizard Halcyon. I admit, this feels good. I can see the enchantment it must have held for you. But now I must take my leave.” He reached down and punched him again. “That’s for making me come all the way out here, and in the cold no less. I hate the cold.” He stood back up and turned, stopping halfway. “I guess, I should say just Halcyon, now, shouldn’t I?” He chuckled and headed for the opening leading into the cold mountains, the flames immediately snuffed out wherever he stepped. On the way, he caught sight of the spellbook and grabbed it off the charred table. “I guess you won’t be needing this anymore, will you? Mind if I take it? No? Well, ok, then, if you insist.” He chuckled to himself again.
And with that, Lord Zevix was gone.
Hal sat as the fire edged closer, paralyzed with despair and fear, fear of living like this, without his magic. He thought about just letting the fires consume him, but another part, the last vestiges of his former self, refused to give in and found the only logical solution he had.
Most tiefling magic users follow the path of the Warlock, whose power stems from pacts made with powerful other entities. The pact is a trade-off, power for the user, slave for the entity. Hal never believed in this way to use magic, preferring the wizard’s path of study and direct control of the arcane forces. He’d spent a lifetime keeping the pact at bay, but if he was to survive this day, it was his only hope to one day reclaim what had been ripped from him. It was the pact or die, simple as that, and so he acted.
He had to think for a minute to recall the proper incantations, as it’d been so long since he learned them as a youngling, suppressing the knowledge from his mind his whole life. But remember them he did, yet none of his wizardly knowledge, and that terrified him.
He muttered the incantations, stumbling on a couple parts and coughing now and again. When he was done, nothing happened, so he repeated them, and a third time. When still no one appeared, he started a fourth time and was immediately interrupted.
“Enough. I’ve heard you.”
Hal squinted against the heat and smoke. He could barely make out a dark shape standing in the middle of the fire. Wings and a tail stretched out to the sides.
“Well well well. I can’t believe what I’m seeing. The Great Wizard Halcyon has called to us.”
He coughed from the smoke, his voice raspy. He went straight to the point. “I want to make the pact.”
“Hm, I see. I do sense what you’ve lost. That must have been painful.” Even though he couldn’t see it, he knew the thing was smiling. “And now you want your power back, hm? For what, revenge? Get your memories back? What do we get out of it? What if we don’t want to make it with you?”
Hal’s throat was dry and raw, his lips cracking. “Don’t play me, devil. We both know having me under your thumb would be great humiliation for me and the entire wizard order.”
The creature tapped a long claw against his face. “True. But is that enough?”
Hal didn’t have time for this bullshit. The flames were almost on him. The heat was searing, suffocating. “You win, alright? Name your price, you can have it. Does it look like I’m in a position to bargain? Just get me out of here and I’ll do it.”
The creature ticked at him. “Oh, no no no. You do it right here, right now, or no deal.”
“I don’t have time!”
“You make the time. I can’t risk you running off.”
“This is my only chance to get my magic back. I’m not going anywhere.”
“Just to be clear, we’re not guaranteeing you a restoration of your previous magic, and we will name our price at a time of our choosing. You will be starting from the beginning, you understand. You won’t have the same level of warlock power you did as a wizard. You’ll have to work your way back up.”
“Yeah, ok. I got it. I agree. To all of it.”
The creature’s wings fluttered in what Hal assumed was giddy pleasure. “Draw the symbols.”
Hal didn’t bother asking what to draw the signs in. He cut his finger on a broken floorboard and began drawing in front of him.
“I don’t remember all the symbols or rites.”
“Then allow me to assist.” The devil made a gesture and the fires stopped encroaching. With its help, Hal wrote the symbols and incanted the rites as directed.
“Now, break the seal.”
Hal smudged the outer circle of the center symbol, breaking it.
“It is done, the pact is made. Welcome to your new world. I think you’ll find it far different from your old one.”
Hal felt no different. “Can we get out of here, now, please?”
The devil bowed courteously. “Of course.” He smothered the flames in a path leading out the blown front door. “And what of the cabin? Do you wish to save it?”
Hal got up on his feet, feeling drained and woozy, but he stumbled towards the opening. His voice was bitter. “No. Let it burn.” There was nothing left for him here. Halcyon the Warlock walked away from his past and into the cold and snow, his singular goal in life to now find the Human named Zevix, restore what he stole, and make him pay.