Once Upon A Time In The Empire
Upstart apprentice pyromancer and sole survivor of the the massacre at Dunblane
Human Bright Order Wizard
A wiry youth with straight shoulder-length flaming red hair. Still too youthful for a proper beard, so he is clean shaven, although he gives the impression of a man unconcerned with his appearance. He also has a disfiguring burn scar on his right eye that he makes no attempt to hide – indeed, he feels it gives him a more menacing appearance.
Kvothe grew up in Dunblane, in a farm at the foot of the Middle Mountains, as the seventh child of a large family. His parents Natalia and Arthur did not own much land, but were crafty farmers, and made enough to feed their seven children, even in the hard winter months. Kvothe led a peaceful, rural life on a farm there that was mostly unremarkable, aside from the influence of a travelling merchant, Ulrich, who wintered in a loft at the farm during the cold months while the passes froze over. Ulrich secretly taught Kvothe a number of small magical ‘tricks’, such as moving pebbles with his mind, changing the colour of his eyes, and making cups of water freeze. No one else knew about these lessons, as Kvothe knew what would happen if he was found out to be practising hedge magic. Being the reckless and headstrong person he is, he did it anyway. It made him feel special to keep such a mighty secret.
At the age of eight, whilst going out to pick berries one day, Kvothe spotted a plume of smoking arising out of his village. He ran home as fast as he could, only to find his entire village on fire, littered with the dead. He barged into his burning house, only to find his parents slain and all of his siblings missing. In the process of learning minor magic tricks, he had unconsciously learned a way to catch a glimpse of the winds of magic. As he ran through his destroyed village, he came upon a chaotic shrine nailed to the large doors of the town hall. It was made from the hacked-off hands of the townsfolk and formed a blasphemous sigil. As Kvothe looked upon the shrine, set against the burning hall, he was exposed to the madness and horror of raw chaotic magic. The trauma he experienced almost turned him insane, but for the fact that, behind the chaotic magic, he could feel the burning intensity of the magic wind of Aqshy, living in the flames that were slowly consuming the village. He could feel the destructive potential of the Wind of Fire, and saw how it was cleansing the taint of chaos. He reached out, into the Wind of Aqshy, and it coursed through him for the first time, strengthening him and burning away the trauma of chaos. He conjured fire into his hands and threw it at the chaos shrine, setting it on fire. And with that act of defiance, he ran away, as far as he could.
He lived in the wild for a few months, living off the land as his father had taught him, avoiding people and keeping to himself. He slowly made his way down to the great city of Talabheim, where he stayed for almost a year, living on the street as an urchin. He earned money mostly through begging, supplementing it with an odd job here or there, even resorting to thievery a couple of times. Life on the street was tough, but he developed a reputation as someone dangerous to cross. Partially through his merciless behaviour, but mostly because of his burgeoning ability to manipulate the Wind of Aqshy, which allowed him to burn his foes in small ways. He was always careful to hide his ability, however, but had to move into different sections of the city on occasion if any of the other urchins got suspicious.
When he had scraped together enough cash, Kvothe bought passage for a ship down to Altdorf – which he got a cheap, so long as he thoroughly scrubbed the decks every day. When he finally reached the capital, at the world-weary age of 10, he did his best to scrub himself up with the rest of his money and arrived at the destination that had taken him two years of tears, grit and hard work to get to: the Bright Order College. It almost broke his heart when he arrived to find it a burnt out husk of a building. Once he calmed down, he was able to sense that the ruins in front of him were an illusion of some sort. By hanging around all day, observing, he was able to finally gain entrance, impressing one of the mages on guard duty enough that he got presented to the Master mages of the College as a potential candidate. Here he did his best to downplay the extent of his magical abilities – to varied success – and after demonstrating his determination, intelligence and absolute hatred for anything chaos, he was admitted to the Bright Order.
As an apprentice to Roland Brennan, Kvothe quickly grew frustrated by his new life, which was far too slow and studious for him. He did his best to study, but he was always far fonder of performing fire magic than learning histories or mathematics. At first, he was cautious about showing too quick an improvement in his magic classes, but after the first year he threw caution to the wind and began showing his masters what he could really do with fire.
After five years at the Bright Order, Kvothe had shown remarkable aptitude towards the Wind of Aqshy, and was performing magical feats that even some of the Acolytes found it hard to reproduce. His academical studies, however, were left on the wayside, and he always barely scraped through these classes. In his heart, Kvothe knew that he could be a truly powerful wizard, one that would be able to obliterate the forces of Chaos with the flick of his hand. So he threw himself into the study of destructive magics and ignored his other studies. This put him at odds with a lot of the other studens who resented his magical skill and made fun of his abysmal academical skills. Kvothe, for his part, didn’t really care. The streets of Talabheim had taught him that power and fear were the only currencies worth anything, and the destruction of his entire village left him uneager to make more friends. As a result, Kvothe always put more stock in his intelligence, and his toughness, than his social grace.
A regular apprenticeship at the Order usually takes about ten years, but by seventh year, even doddering old Roland Brennan recognized that Kvothe could learn little further magical expertise under his tutelage – although of course his academic tutelage was far from complete. The higher ups decided that Amira Hassana – being both a battlemage and a shrewd businessman would be able to continue developing Kvothe’s aptitude for combat magic while showing him the value of non-magical skills. Which is where his story really began.