Wary, occasionally cynical, but always whimsical, Ekemon is an unusual wizard. Earnest in his search for magical power, but scrupulous in its use and respectful (even fearful) of its power and depth, it sometimes seems as though Ekemon is running from a past he’d rather forget.
Ekemon was born to a normal tiefling family, if such a family can be considered normal. His father, Ikiraz, descended from the ancient line of the Devil Lord Belzanuaboz, whose scions ruled an entire empire in centuries past. Ikiraz was also a warlock, a professional choice which was, perhaps, the main attraction for Ekemon’s mother: a tiefling wizard named Pirivel.
Tiefling families often raise children separately; one parent raises the child for a decade or so before passing the child to the other. There is plenty of contact among family members, but precious little compared to traditional human families. Ikiraz was to raise Ekemon for his first decade, and Pirivel to raise him for his second.
Ekemon spent his early years being drilled in the history (and myth) of his bloodline’s long and powerful history in a dungeon-like room somewhere in the northwestern part of Thordravor. Sometimes it seemed to Ekemon as though the tiefling lords were noble and powerful kings, meting out justice and taking care of their kingdoms. Other times it seemed to Ekemon that his ancestors were capricious and insane, wielding the power of the lower planes with reckless abandon for their own selfish and inscrutable purposes. In the end, Ikiraz grew disgusted with Ekemon; he couldn’t be convinced to make a demonic pact and begin training as a warlock.
But Ikiraz had a plan.
Two weeks before Ekemon’s tenth birthday, Ikiraz summoned a demon with his warlock powers and blooded heritage, and bound him (temporarily) as Ekemon watched. He then told his son, “You must make a pact with this demon, or it will end your life! The demon is hungry, and you are a tasty snack. Quickly! Use the ritual I taught you or it will be too late!”
Bright little Ekemon stared at the demon in horror. It was hideous, monstrous, and wore an expression of cunning which shone in its horns and glistened in its blood red features. Ekemon did not trust the creature to honor any pact it made, and froze, spell-bound, before it.
Frustrated beyond his already stretched limits, Ikiraz grabbed his son’s arm, intending to either trace the ritual’s first part or to throw him to the demon (as his whim suited him). But Ekemon would not be coerced; he struggled against his father’s grip, causing his father to ever-so-slightly smudge the summoning pentagram which held the demon in check.
With a twisted laugh, the demon’s tail snaked out and coiled around Ikiraz, drawing him in. In shock, Ikiraz let go of his son as the demon used the break in the seal to open the gate back to the Abyss and portal both he and Ikiraz away.
Ekemon was left, once more, conflicted; but now he was also alone. For three weeks he took care of himself until his mother arrived to take him.
Coming of Age
Ekemon’s mother lived in a decrepit tower in Lyridock. As a pre-teen, Ekemon was allowed out of the tower to explore the city, to socialize with other children, and to do various errands and chores for Pirivel.
While Ekemon’s father had wanted him to become a mighty warlock, Pirivel was more interested in his progress as a wizard. She gave him his first spellbook as a homecoming present, and began training him in cantrips almost immediately.
Unlike the study of warlock pacts, Ekemon took to wizardry with zeal. His zest for the subject was only rivaled by his incredible success at it. He felt as though he was a bird who had only just learned to fly. It was not long, however, before Ekemon began to suspect his mother was not being entirely truthful with him about his powers. The townsfolk knew she was a wizard, and he himself had seen her perform basic magic spells, but whenever he attempted something more than rudimentary she seemed baffled at his attempts.
One day, as he approached his eighteenth birthday, feeling stymied by the halting pace of his studies set by Pirivel, he resolved to go into her private study in the basement of the tower and search for a way to increase his knowledge and power independently. He had been forbidden to enter her study, but was too frustrated with her to heed her rule any longer.
As he bypassed the wards and locks which led to the basement level, he heard a conversation taking place below. Cautiously, he crept down the stairs, using all of his concentration and power to hold himself hidden and silent. As he crept to the darkness, a harsh red light splashed and played upon the walls, and he could make out his mother’s voice as one of the two holding the conversation.
As he reached the landing overlooking the tower’s expansive basement, he was faced with the same demon his father had summoned, speaking casually to his mother from the confines and an incredibly complex warding glyph!
Suddenly, it all came together: his mother’s apparent power but lack of skill, her lust for power at any cost, and even his father’s death were all now linked in this one chance revelation that his mother was a thaumaturge who had made a deal with the Abyss! As his prodigal mind slid the pieces into place, the demon’s voice interrupted his thoughts:
“…it is good that the boy’s progress is proceeding apace. His quickening is already behind schedule.”
His mother replied, “He will be ready, my lord. He is already outstripping the skills you have granted me.”
With horror, he heard Pirivel say, “I will hand him over to you when next the moon is full.”
Determined, silent, and with the adrenaline of survival coursing in his veins, Ekemon flew back up the stairs, grabbed everything of magical importance he could, and fled the tower with his spellbook. Booking passage with the first caravan out of the city, Ekemon traded his mother’s magical treasures for safety in the Drekken Mire. He arrived in Sanctum a few weeks later, and celebrated his eighteenth birthday alone in his new home. Fully aware that should he ever return to the outside world, he would need to be ready to face the demon lords themselves.