Eberron: Echoes of the Past
Civic is a ponderous Warforged mage made of dark wood and metal.
Civic moves in the same manner he speaks, slowly and with great deliberateness. Most of the wood of Civic’s body is dark and gnarled. The metal of his body is black. Cracks in his torso and along his arms have been known to jettison green noxious fumes in times of stress. White soarwood forms a large scar that covers part of his face and forms four thick lines down his chest. His eyes are a bright green.
Nothing. There is, was, had always been, and would always be nothing. The void stretched infinite and eternal, no light or thought invading. This was peace. At some point in that eternity of darkness something gently nudged the nothingness, light as a feather. It was a color, an emotion, a sensation. The sheer alien nature of this something sent shock waves through the nothingness: fear, dizziness, curiosity, ecstasy. Then came the knowledge that the nothingness could never bring peace again and this brought sorrow, loss, anguish, woe, and mourning of an existence lost. What is happening? Thought, these are thoughts… What are thoughts? What am…suddenly, blue light pierced the nothing shattering it and all burgeoning thought into dust.
How long it was until thought returned I could not say. At first it was sluggish and unwilling to obey my will. As I struggled with my recalcitrant mind, I could feel my body taking shape. In nearly all the reading I’ve done on the Forges, since that day, this is one thing they always get wrong. Everyone seems to think the Warforged were crafted and then imbued with life in the Creation Forge, or that there are specific designs that are somehow input and determined by the creators. We are not designed exactly. The creators imbue some knowledge and a general intent onto our germinating essence, and that seed of nothing the Forge cracks open seeks to create a form that matches that intent. I could feel that seed, my soul, stretching out to take root in the world. As my body was just beginning to find a shape I heard a hiss and felt burning as molten metal was funneled into the cradle of the Forge. The instinctual flailing of my growing form sent tendrils to fumble with the intruding liquid, shaping the metal as it slowly cooled and solidified around the burnt tendrils of wood that is the core of my being. The chaos of birth came to a halt as the wood and metal found equilibrium and at last my mind shed its sluggishness.
There was a great clang and the cradle slid open spilling steam and smoke into the chamber that housed my birth Forge. A human stepped forward and pointed me off toward an exit. As I left the Creation Forge’s chamber I was equipped with a spellbook and an assortment of other supplies that could be useful in the field. They already had a mission for me, but I would not be sent out unprepared. First, I had spells to learn.
The next several days went by in a blur as I adjusted to the movement of body and mind. I was born with…not memories, but knowledge, and something more complex than simple knowledge. It was a sense of self. The creators had etched a blueprint onto my soul and even now I find it pointless to fight the rough outline of sentience they carved there. The inquisitive drive to uncover secrets and the love of arcane arts are simply the core of who I am.
My first mission was to go to Shae Joridal, in Darguun, and find a band of goblin mercenaries that had gone missing and were last seen at that location. I was to deliver orders if they were found, or report back if they were not. I, however, never reached Shae Joridal.
I was making my way south through the forests surrounding Shae Joridal when I saw a small furry creature tumble out of the brush beside me. It was a bear cub I knew, although I’d never seen, or heard of them before, and it was utterly adorable. The cub’s mother, on the other hand, was not adorable. At the sound of breaking branches behind me I spun to see her powerful claws hurtling towards my head. I had no time to dodge and with a dull crunch I returned to the nothingness that birthed me.
This time my waking from the nothingness was gentle. Awareness returned with a lazy sense of warmth radiating from where I’d been struck. I could feel the damage being repaired as new growth filled in what had been destroyed by the protective mother. When I opened my eyes, I thought I had been moved, because the forest looked different than it had a moment before, but then I realized the forest had grown. I’d been there for years.
Over my body stood a wizened goblin wearing furs and a wreath of living vines on his head. At the sound of snuffling I took notice of a bear standing not far behind him and I began to scurry away in a panic. “He not hurt you,” the goblin said in its harsh language. “He remembered you, from when cub. Brought me here. Showed me your strange body long ago. The forest recently gifted me with mystery that could restore you. Had to fix you for Wobbletock,” he said patting the bear’s head, “he felt bad he brought momma to you.”
I don’t know what exactly that diminutive druid did to heal me, but soarwood has grown to replace the damaged areas of my body. After being revived, I spent a few weeks with the goblin, Xoganm Khaar’Shaarat (Khaar’shaarat means bloody blade), and his gentle companion Wobbletock. During that time I learned the basics of the natural sciences. More importantly I learned of the disaster that created the Mournlands. I also learned of the Treaty of Thronehold that ended the war and brought about the destruction of the Creation Forges. This changed my reality. It gave me new purpose. I decided I would find a way to undo this act of genocide perpetrated against my kind by rebuilding the Forges, and I would also find a way to bring justice to those responsible for the drafting of the portions of the Treaty of Thronehold that mandated the Forges be destroyed.
In pursuit of this new mission I spent two years scouring the Korranberg Library, never finding any hint or clue of how the Creation Forges were built. Then one day while reading an exciting exposition by Daphanë d’Kundarak titled, “A Treatise on the Fiscal Impact of the Creation Forge and a Roadmap to the Longitudinal Study on the Future of the Five Nation’s Workforce Recovery,” I noticed an offhand comment that indicated some of the lore that led to the construction of the Forges came from the Cults of the Dragon Below. After that it wasn’t difficult to find evidence of an ancient citadel built by the cult to the North of Darguun. I was long overdue for some fresh air. It was time for a field trip and I decided I’d take the long way so I could stop and pay my old friend Xogamn a visit.
I spent a few days enjoying Xoganm’s company once I reached his forest. One night while in the middle of a discussion on the evolutionary benefits of the assassin beetle’s horn, Xoganm suddenly said, “It’s much warmer here at the fire, and there is some squirrel and dandelion root leftover if you’re hungry.” I had no idea what he was talking about until another goblin seemed to materialize from the shadows cast by the fire, startling me. She was a gentle little thing, who spooked easily, and slept each night with her back to something and belongings hugged in a death grip.
We headed to Gorgonhorn together, since that was her destination, and worked just as well as any other path for my needs. Also, Xoganm asked me to keep her from losing her way again, even though he had no need to ask such a thing. We parted ways at Gorgonhorn, but I’d barely left the city when Gishkaa caught up to me. Turns out they’re sending her on an errand that keeps us on the same path. The trip should be more enjoyable with the curious young goblin as companion.