The Eclipse of Hope
Syrun is a young decent looking human. He stands about 6 feet tall with shoulder length hair and a full beard and mustache (generally blonde). His most distinguishing feature is his eyes. One is light blue, the other is dark.
Syrun is a Cosmic Sorcerer. Unlike most other sorcerer’s, he can use leather armor effectively and also uses a katar instead of a dagger.
His katar is an heirloom weapon. It was made for him using peices of a shooting start that feel to earth on the day he was born.
The woman screamed!
The woman screamed again and the girl jumped. The people were nervous. It
wasn’t the first scream and they knew it wouldn’t be the last. That was to
be expected, however, and no one within earshot payed too much attention to
it. It was just nature taking it’s course, after all. “Yes, all natural,”
thought the midwife as she glanced nervously out the window. It was the
outside world that was unusual today and that is what had the people
“You are doing fine, Marilda”, crooned the midwife softly. “Everything is
progressing very well. It shouldn’t be too much longer now.” Yes, the
birth was coming along splendidly. “Really, too splendidly”, thought the
midwife. Actually, this was fast becoming the easiest birth that she had
ever helped with and she had been doing this for almost three generations.
The midwife glanced out the window, again. Yes, it was definitely darker
now than a short while ago and seemed to be getting darker still as she
watched. From where she sat on the bed, she could see that the moon had
covered over half the sun at this point. It would be full dark soon. She
glanced at the girl. “Need to give her something to do”, she thought.
Reaching out, she grabbed the girls hand and gave it a healthy squeeze to
get her attention. “Light the candles. We are going to need them soon.”
“Is it going to get that dark?”, squeaked the girl.
“Yes, but don’t worry, it won’t last but a moment. I have seen this before.
Trust me, nothing to worry about.” She hoped that it was true. Last time
it wasn’t, but things were better now, than when she was a girl. Still, it
was strange. She was very surprised when the girl had come to fetch her.
Marilda should have had six more weeks at least. Still, a woman in
Marilda’s line of work, who really knew when she caught, or who the father
was. Really, it was a miracle (or curse) she was pregnant at all, women of
her ilk generally took so many precautions against that.
Another scream brought her back to the moment. “Day dreaming like a young
girl”, she thought. “I ought to be ashamed.” A quick glance showed her
that it was now time. “OK Marilda, it is time to push. You child wants
out, you need to push”, she said as she smoothed the poor woman’s sweat
Marilda pushed. The moon continued to cover the sun. The girl was lighting
the candles. “None too soon, either”, thought the midwife. “It is getting
decidedly dark outside.” And then, just as the girl lit the last candle,
the moon completed its task and the child burst from Marilda’s loins.
It was a boy child, that was easy to tell in the dim candle light. A
well-formed lad and with a full head of blonde hair, too. No … wait, his
hair seemed to be more white now. It was so hard to tell in the flickering
candle light. As she watched, it seemed to darken from white to near black.
She shook her head. Has she really seen that, or was it a trick of the
candle light? As she tried to clear her head and peer closer, the boy let
loose his first cry. A cry louder than his mother’s screams had been. The
midwife sat stunned for a moment. She had heard the cry with her ears. She
had felt it with her soul. It thrummed down to her very bones.
She sat there stunned for a moment. Everything seemed frozen in time. Then
the girl collapsed in a dead faint. The sun peeked out from behind the
moon. The boy quieted instantly and his hair changed back to the type of
beautiful blonde that only a child could have. Everything seemed calm and
normal again. “Did I really see that?”, she thought. “No, it was a trick
of the candle light, nothing more.”
Then the child opened his eyes. One blue like the summer sky. One dark
like a moonless night.
Marilda named her son Syrun and raised him as well as a prostitute could and
she always made him wear a hat. While he was generally blonde, his hair
would do some of the strangest things at times. She impressed upon him that
wearing a hat was the most important thing in the world.
While he generally had a dry place to sleep and food in his belly, Syrun was
left to his own devices most of the time. Like all boys in that part of
town, he soon was a member of a gang. Anyone that wanted to survive was a
member of a gang or never left his home. A lone boy on the street was a
target or worse.
Unfortunately, at first, Syrun was a less than an admirable gang member. He
could pick a pocket as well as anyone is age, but he couldn’t tell a good
mark over a bad one. Many times a successful score would lead to only a
copper or two. He was big and strong and with his eyes, he could intimidate
most anyone, but as a collector, he would invariably fall for some sob
story. His heart was too big and his insight was too small.
He could open a lock better than most, but he would get caught by even the
simplest of traps, unless someone else was there to point it out for him.
And it didn’t take the other boys long to learn that leaving Syrun on watch
was as good as leaving no one on watch (sometimes worse). Secretly, the
other boys thought this was because there was something wrong with his eyes.
Once he even helped a member of the guard (disguised as an old man) gather
up, and then carry, his spilled belongings while he was spying on the gang.
Were Syrun really excelled however, was in a fight. He could really dish it
out. It was amazing. His punches and kicks seemed to pack the wallop of
men twice his size. On rare occasions, he knocked men out from several feet
away and once, when cornered took out three full grown men by himself. If
you were going to go into another gangs area, you tried to make sure Syrun
was with you. It was this ability that allowed Syrun to move up fairly
quickly and become the youngest member of one of the more prominent gangs in
the poor quarter of town.
Still, as with all gang members, every once in a while you would take a
beating. When he was 13, after one particularly harsh rumble, involving
multiple gangs (think “Gangs of New York”), Marilda decided he needed a
little better protection. So, with a little cajoling, a few favors and a
lot of support from other ‘ladies’ (Syrun was well liked, after all),
Marilda presented Syrun with a cheap set of hard cured leather to wear. It
was mismatched pieces, sewn together on some old rags and looked pretty
ragged, but it was effective.
At first it was very confusing to Syrun. Some of his best moves didn’t seem
to work as well while he was wearing the “armor”, but his mother insisted
(like with the hat), so he wore it. After several months, he discovered
fighting techniques that worked well with the armor. Furthermore, he was
amazed to find how it would deaden the blow from rocks, bricks and clubs,
not to mention fists. He discovered that he didn’t always have to duck out
of the way of blows, but could sometimes stand and take the hit and then
rock his opponents world (sometimes with a rock).
He had a reputation of being a good-hearted thug. People didn’t shy away
from him like some of the other brutes. He could even be relied on to lend
a helping hand now and again, if asked respectfully. In the gang world,
just having him around could end hostilities before they even began and that
made him proud. All was right in Syrun’s world for the next few years.
Syrun’s mother died when he was 16. He knew it was coming. Old prostitutes
can’t be picky about customers. With his status in his gang, he had been
able to provide for her and she hadn’t turned any tricks for a couple of
years. But it was already too late. She had caught one (or more) of the
diseases that invariable got the less choosy in her line of work.
Syrun was standing just outside of the tavern when Bug found him. “Your
mother wants to see you”, said Bug.
Syrun gave him a cold hard stare. Bug took an involuntary step backwards.
Syrun was using his tough guy face. After all, important negotiations were
being held just inside and if things went well, his gang would theoretically
control all of the poor quarter. Syrun nodded once and looked away, but
Bug, being the new youngest member of the gang was worried. He had more to
say, but was now afraid to say it. He bounced nervously back and forth
between his feet for a few minutes then blurted, “She said to say, ‘It is
more important than the hat’.”, and then ran away. Syrun looked after him
in shock. “More important than the hat?”, he thought, “but Mom always said
the hat was the most important. Could she be …. No, she had looked fine
that morning.” Syrun glanced inside the tavern and then at the other gang’s
tough a few feet away. He knew he was going to catch heat for this, but he
turned and walked away anyway.
When Syrun entered the small, hole in the wall, apartment where his mother
lived, he was surprised to find a well-dressed middle-aged man there. He
froze for a second, but then his Mom called to him from her bed, “Come here
Syrun.” He quickly knelt and took his mothers hand. “Yes, mother”, he
“Syrun, I would like you to meet someone.” With that the stranger stepped
forward and Syrun glanced up and stared with wonder into a startling set of
eyes. One blue, like the summer sky and one dark, like a moonless night.
The man stared back for a second, then turned and gave a curt nod to Marilda
and left without saying a word. Syrun was to surprised to speak.
Marilda smiled weakly. “This man will help you Syrun, you listen to him
like you would listened to me”, she said. “Everything is going to be all
right now. Yes, I am happy. Everything is all right. Remember that Syrun,
years from now when you think of me. Everything is all right and I am happy
with the way it all turned out.”
Syrun hardly left the room over the next few days. Every day the stranger
would bring food. Every day he would touch Marilda’s hand and nod, but he
never said a word and Marilda would just smile weakly back. Syrun and
Marilda talked about many innocuous things, but less and less each day, as
she grew steadily weaker. Four days later, Marilda died.
They buried her that same day. The stranger had already made all of the
arrangements. Marilda was dressed in a beautiful blue gown. It was just
home-spun, but it was new. She was placed in an actual wooden coffin and
had a feather pillow for her head. Plus she got her own plot of ground in
the cemetery and there was an actual fancy priest presiding over the
ceremony. Everyone agreed it was the fanciest funereal they had ever seen.
When it was over, the stranger turned to Syrun. “It is time to go. You
will come with me”, he said. “You can call me Master or Sir or even Father,
if you like, but you will always say it with respect. And … take off that
hat. I understand the reason for it, and your mother was smart to use it,
but you will never need it again. Be proud of who you are.”
The orc lay stunned at his feet. Syrun was pleased to note that he wasn’t
even breathing that hard. The door to the small arena burst open. There
stood his father. Syrun tried to gauge his reaction, but as usual couldn’t.
He never had been able to read people well, especially his father.
Finally his father spoke. “Syrun, what is that in your right hand?”, he
Glancing down, Syrun said, “Uh … it is my dagger. I used it to focus the
Cosmic energy, like you said.”
“Yes, but then when you closed with your opponent, how did you use it?”
“Well …. I … uh … "
“Syrun, you did not use it at all. You resorted back to your fists. As a
matter of fact, you punched that orc, at least three times, with your right
fist, while it was still holding the dagger.”
Syrun stood silent. He had nothing to say anyway.
His father turned away. “Over a full year of training and I still can’t
break him of some of his rougher habits. The Cosmos knows, it is bad enough
that he insists on wearing the ‘skin’ of some poor animal, but I can’t even
get him to use a dagger properly and I pray that the Cosmos never lets him
touch a staff again”, he muttered as he left.
Syrun grimaced at the mention of the staff. He had only tried that once.
It was so long, almost as tall he was. In a pinch, he had reverted back to
his gang days and tried to use one end like a club, but had actually knocked
himself out with the other end.
Three days later, his father approached him with a new weapon. “This is
called a katar”, he said. “It will allow you make good use of the brutish
fighting techniques that you have grown up with. With training, you should
be able to use it as a focus for your Cosmic energy also.”
It was his eighteenth birthday. Not that it mattered. His father had done
nothing for his seventeenth, after all. So he was very surprised when his
father showed up with a box at breakfast. “This is for you”, his father
Trying to control his excitement, Syrun opened the box. Inside, he found
… a rock. A dirty looking grayish chunk of a rock, about as big as his
fist. His disappointment must have been readily evident. “Oh, by the
Cosmos, pick it up”, growled his father.
As he reached for the rock, sparks briefly flew from it to his fingertips,
like a static shock. Only it didn’t hurt, it felt good actually. As he
picked it up, he felt, somewhere deep in his bones, a kind of a hum. Then
the rock was silent and just a dirty rock, once more.
“Just as I thought”, said his father. “You see Syrun, that rock is what is
left of a shooting star. It fell to earth exactly eighteen years ago during
the same solar eclipse during which you were born. I used to think it was a
gift from the Cosmos to me, but after years of research, I can assure you it
never reacted like that to me. No, it was meant for you. I guessed it when
your mother contacted me with information about you and I learned the
circumstances of you birth.”
Syrun’s father remained silent for a few more moments. Then he reached over
and took the rock from Syrun and placed it back in the box. “I will return
this in a short while”, said his father. “When you are ready. For now,
continue with your training.”
Slightly more than a month later, he arrived at breakfast to find
miscellaneous items stacked beside the breakfast table. He knew he wasn’t
late, but his father was already finished with his breakfast and had
obviously been waiting for him for a while. Before he even sat down, his
“Syrun, it is time for you to leave. I have taught you all I can. Remember
all that I have taught you about the Cosmos. It courses through your blood.
Listen well and it will tell you all you need to know. Sorcerers always
learn more on their own anyway. Each of us is slightly different.”
He gestured to the small pile of items. “I haven given you all that you
need to start. Go out into the world and make of it what you will. You are
destined for greatness, I am sure.”
He paused for a minute and then pulled a beautifully designed katar from out
of his lap. “This I had made for you”, he said. “It is made from the
fallen star that I showed you a short while ago. It is called ‘Day Star’.”
As Syrun took the katar, it sparked again, just like before and then was
“Yes”, said his father. “Definitely marked for greatness.”