The Tale of Mercador the Magnificent, as told by Malthier the Anti-Mage at a Rally of the Brotherhood of Chains.
Once upon a time, there was a great and powerful wizard named Mercador the Magnificent. People would come from miles around just to hear the tales he had to tell, for you see, Mercador had been to the Four Corners of the Cosmos, and he had no end of tales to tell. He would always give his stories in trade, and would trade his best stories for those stories that he valued most; tales of love. For although Mercador was wise and powerful, he had never had what we would call a normal life, and so he cherished highly the tales of the simple folk who resided near his tower.
And so it was that one day, a young man named Rothschild knocked on the door of Mercador's tower, asking to barter tales with the wise old man. Mercador gladly obliged, and as he sat in his chair made from the bones of a great Griffon, he closed his eyes and drank in the simple stories Rothschild shared, of baking pies at sunset and harvests that lasted until moonrise.
However, Rothschild was not all that he appeared to be. For though he was simple, and modest, Rothschild was a cowardly man, and he had come to Mercador not for tales but for magic. And so, when he finished his stories, as Mercador was clearing his throat to regail the young man of his travels, Rothschild did a very odd thing. He shushed the great wizard, and quietly told him that his stories were in payment for something else. Rothschild, it came to light, sought power, power with which to defend his home and his village.
Mercador understood this, but, being a good man, he did not see the terrible ambitions that can arise in the heart of a simple man given complicated powers. And so, he gave Rothschild leave to study his great Spell-book, in which was contained every writ of magic to be found in the four corners fo the cosmos.
Rothschild was initially a grand student, repaying Mercador by sweeping the floors, baking, and repairing things. But as the months grew into years, and as Rothschild spent less and less time among his fellow villagers, he forgot what it was to love something so much you'd die to save it. In fact, he'd forgotten any reason why anyone would want to die at all. And so, one day when Mercador was away, Rothschild used some of the spells he'd learned to sneak in and tear a single page from Mercador's book, a page containing a spell so dark and terrible it could only be cast at midnight, on a starless, moonless night, lest Mother Nature witness the abomination herself and stamp it out with righteous fury. It was this spell that Mercador had forgotten, for he had no use for such a thing; this spell turned Rothschild into a Lich.
Rothschild cast the spell, chanting in the darkness as he brewed an awful brew, until the time came, and he drank the potion. Then he chanted in the darkness and he danced an awful knife-dance, until the time came, and he cut out his own, still-beating heart. And then he chanted in the darkness still, and he reveled in his immortality, until the sun rose, bearing witness to his sins.
When that time came, it did not take long until Mercador learned of Rothschild's act. He hunted his apprentice unto the ends of the earth, seeking to undo the terrible spell, but Rothschild had descended beyond the grasp of his old master. In his flight, he well and truly became a monster, and the dark rituals he invoked to hide himself from the wrath of his Master cut a swathe of terror and blood across keystone.
Finally, Mercador gave up the chase, knowing he'd been beaten. In this moment, when he gave in, he gave up the notion that any folk were to be trusted, or loved, and so he took his spellbook and his griffon chair and his tower and he left the world, seeking another, better place where he could simply barter stories in peace.
And this is why he is hated, my Brothers. This is why his magicks are to be purged from this world. For while he was free to abscond to some mystical realm, we mortals must deal with the likes of Rothschild, the echoes of the pride of those who would teach the art of Magic to those who haven't the blood for it. Even when he acted in kindness, he corrupted a soul and unleashed a terror into the world, a world in whom he needn't have a stake.
For once he left, Rothschild emerged, now known as Rothschild the Hole-Heart! Yes, you know him, the murderer and Necromancer who single-handedly slaughtered the watch at Winterguard, who burned the village of Dunhollow to ash just to watch the show. He was left free to wreak havoc and pain upon the world that Mercador no longer loved. And it was mortals, not wizards, who wrested his screaming form into an iron coffin, chained it shut, and sank it in the deepest and darkest parts of the ocean. For Mercador's loneliness and folly, we paid in blood, my Brothers. For his witlessness, we died! And so, we will not suffer such a teacher to be born in this world again. His brand of magic must be purged from this world, forevermore!
- End of record*