Mags

Created for a game set in Midkemia we were asked to bring characters to the table for a game of Wizards going to school. The magic system was designed around MTG for it so I decided to go for Red and make my wee rage monster the epitome of a volcano. Time to meet Mags.

1

The purges created whole swathes of new street children. There were those who’d been out when their parents were taken. There were those that were simply abandoned in the rush to flee. Others had been hidden so that the emperor’s guard didn’t find them and take them into custody with their parents. Mags wasn’t sure which he’d been. His brother hadn’t been able to tell him. 

He knew that when the guards came that the three of them had been hidden behind the tall chest in the elf-hole but Phoren didn’t know if their parents had successfully escaped or been caught elsewhere. 

They had barley been able to shut the case behind them due to Mags’ bulk and a sliver of light seeped in just enough to show the terror on his sister’s face. Amelia looked ready to cry out when the soldiers burst in but she held it together for long enough that they were far away by the time she started sobbing. 

Mags still didn’t know the reason for those purges. In truth he couldn’t tell which of the purges it was. The Vizier had carried out more than one in the name of the emperor to ‘ensure the security of the great Empire of Kesh’. There were many of the purges nobody alive could give a reason for. Perhaps the torturers may or perhaps they too were purged when the last Vizier died. Mags hoped so. 

The new Vizier was no pushover but he was said to be more stable than the last. Mads could take or leave stability but he enjoyed the predictability of life on the street in the last eighteen months. 

He missed his brother though and could barely remember Amelia now apart from that terrified look in the dark. 

The children had waited till nightfall to come out of the hiding place. Some of the older dwellings had these elf holes. A holdover to when the last dragon lord had assaulted Kesh and the great heroes had cut down both he and his dragon. Kesh had been unparalleled in its glory and the city was thought unassailable but after the attack those with a little money started to construct shelters should such a thing happen again. Perhaps the guards didn’t care to make too sure a search or maybe they weren’t of the city. That would make sense. There would be some among the Keshian’s who would turn on their own but the inner circle of soldiers that formed the Viziers personal elite guard would likely be from outside to prevent any conflict of interests. In any case the elf hole had worked well. Now though they were hungry and that hunger overcame their fear. There were fewer than the usual number of lanterns lit outside this night and the small windows designed to keep the heat out did the same with most of the illumination. 

It was Mags’ stomach that broke the silence in the elf hole. Then a small nervous laugh from his sister. 

“Nothing should get in the way of a meal eh baby brother?” Asked Phoren. 

In the near dark Mags scowled but he couldn’t feel either of his siblings laughing at him.

“Let’s get some food and get out of here in case they come back. We can go to Aunt Milikas and see if they know where Mum and Dad are?”. Phoren, as the older brother usually took charge if their parents were away. At seven years old he was a full three years older than the twins and in a few weeks time they’d all have been celebrating birthdays as a family. 

The only other thing Mags remembered of that night was the bloodstains all around the courtyard of their elderly aunt. 

That one bit of hair on the top of his head had kept growing in. It always had. No matter how much of the scalp cream his mother put on it that tuft… that sprout of red hair kept coming back. 

When it was very short it wasn’t as noticeable. It could be taken for the blond of a fisherman. If it grew in though it looked like the flames licking out of the top of a candle. 

Mags knew he’d had an actual name once. It was the one that his parents used for him. He couldn’t remember what it was and his brother’s nickname for him had been the only name used for these past five years. Even now his brother had passed the rest of the Sevens called him Mags. They didn’t know why though. Mags kept that piece of hair scraped clean. To be thought Doonish on top of all the other things that they would throw at him on a daily basis would only lead to more conflict. Now they backed down though. New Sevens may try it on a bit but the ones that knew him knew when to stop pushing. The name he got when he was four would be a name that would fit him now. Mags. Magma. God of the fiery mountain. A pyramid with a gout of flame on top. His brother had started it as a cruel taunt. Mags had been resting his head on the sill looking out at his brother playing. His arms were flat below his chin and his cheeks dripped down onto them like a dogs jowls. ‘Brother! You look like a pyramid! No! You look like a mountain. With a flame on top! Are you a ziggurat? Are you a mountain? Look on my brother and weep for he is Magma!!’ 

His mother had scolded both of them. Phoren for goading him and Mags for smashing a jug trying to brain his brother with it. 

Mags. God of the fiery mountain. It suited his temper too. Maybe that’s why the others still used it. Maybe it was a reminder to tread carefully. That suited Mags. 

3

Amelia’s sickness had worried the other children. Without parents or money there was nobody to care for them should they all become ill. She’d been refusing food for a while now, drinking more than her fair share and her temper over the past week had put Mags’ own in the shade. What colour she had in her face was gone and she was weak and unable to move for more than a minute or so at a time. Most of the time she was delirious and it was down to Phoren to make the decision. 

They’d shaved Amelia’s hair before taking her to the temple. Their parents had kept it dyed. Their Mother hadn’t been able to bring herself to use the scalp cream on the girl the way she had on the boys. Both of them were bald as old men although Mags resembled more of a large baby. 

The red hair of Doonland wasn’t trusted within Kesh and while their Aunt Milikas could get away with it to due to her wealth and status a girl without that protection may be accused of being a witch. As Amelias hair grew in red at the roots instead of the dark brown of the Keshians they had concealed it with a stolen hat. Dye was harder to steal. When she grew sick the rest of the Sevens refused to let her into their hiding place. Without shelter ,in the cold desert nights, she would grow sicker yet but to hand her over to the Sisters of the Temple may mean that they’d never see her again. It would be better for their sister than death. That same night that they made the decision they left Amelia a the door to the temple and rang the supplicants bell. From the shadows they made out two sisters coming out to her, lifting her by the shoulders and carrying her inside. 

4

At first he was able to make more money for the Sevens than his brother. Although now five years old he still resembled a large baby and the Sevens milked this for all he was worth as a tool for begging. As the months went on though Phoren started to learn the ways of the street and passed on his knowledge at night when they were hunkered down in the rotting warehouse on the docks. The rest of the children were amazed at how quickly Phoren picked things up but were even more shocked as to Mags even being able to perform the simplest of tasks. His fingers were too fat to pick pockets but he did it. His legs were too short to gain the stride on a guard but they’d pump twice as fast and he was soon quicker than his brother. Even when it came to following people without being noticed Mags’ height meant that although highly distinctive he could easily hide. He was still used mostly for begging and as a distraction for the more accomplished pick pockets. 

Mags was far too distinctive for a pickpocket. At age six he was as wide as he was short. He could still pass for much younger and he started to use his sleight of hand skills not for removing coin purses but to perform feats of legerdemain. It was simple stuff such as asking for a small coin and making it disappear. Marks were often happy for it stay that way. Meanwhile others from the Sevens would be relieving them of more than just a small coin. As long as they stayed away from the grumpier traders then the guards didn’t bother with the magic show although occasionally a boy or girl would be pursued after clutching at a purse. Those of the Sevens would have to lay low for a while until their faces were forgotten. Mags wouldn’t have that luxury.  Those who were caught could be transported to work camps, beaten, mutilated, or killed. The Sevens therefore had a fluid membership as purges and disasters added to their numbers while the guards pruned them. 

5

It was among the newer members that Mags had the most trouble. It was with them that he struggled most to keep his temper. They often mistook the small, fat and comparatively weak member with being defenceless without his brother around. The comparative weakness of Mags and Phoren to the other Sevens when they first arrived was evident and the gulf was huge. As time went on and Phoren became more and more able to hold his own. Soon both boys became used to the mistreatment and also used to finding the easiest way to hurt larger opponents. Mags and Phoren would tussle between themselves finding the sorest places that could be hurt with the least pressure. Many an opponent would be brought down to Mags’ height with his fast and accurate hands. Phoren on the other hand quickly became one of the tallest and strongest of the group and with the same ferocious cunning. It was perhaps no surprise when one of the older gangs came calling to ask if he’d join. Mags was only seven but understood that if his older brother fared well in a more prosperous gang then the nights in the warehouse would become a thing of the past and perhaps they could pay someone to look into what happened to their sister. 

Both boys hoped for the best but didn’t risk communicating with the Sisters of the Temple in case they were denounced as witch kin and treated as such. Phoren was more circumspect. The older gangs were more aggressive in their money making. It would increase the danger and would mean doing more than just stealing to advance in the gang. After much discussion between themselves and then the wider group it was agreed that he’d leave the Sevens. Having an ex-member in the South Dock Gang would make them all a little safer.

6

It lasted all of two weeks. Mags waited three nights in a row to meet up with his brother and to no avail. After the third day he took himself over to the dry-docked ship in the south docks that housed the older gang. The ship looked deserted but he’d been there before when he walked Phoren over join them. 

Mags had slipped from shadow to shadow along the dock looking for signs of the gang’s lookout. 

The lookout found him first. He felt the blade of a knife across his throat as he peered round a corner. 

‘What do we have here then? The new boys podgy little baby brother. What does the pretty little baby want crawling around at this time of night’

Mags tensed. The knife was too tight to his neck to do anything about it and the boy was clearly much stronger than he was. When his voice came out it did so in a whisper.

‘Where’s Phoren?’

‘Little fat pudgy baby. All alone. No brother to protect him’

‘Where’s Phoren?’

‘Shhhh! Little baby. Don’t want anyone else to hear you. You’re all mine. If the others 

heard you I’d have to slit your throat. Have to slit the throat of intruders and spies but you’re not a spy are you. You’re just a pretty little baby come to keep me company on a lonely dark night. 

Mags felt the boys breath on his ear as he leaned in. 

‘You’re brother won’t save you! The watch have him. You’re mine to play with. If you’re a good little baby and stay quiet I might let you go afterwards. 

A rancid smell assaulted Mags nose and he opened his mouth to retch. As he did so the foetid rag was pushed into his mouth. 

‘Don’t you struggle too much little baby. I don’t want my knife to slip. Oh you’d be warm enough the first time but once might not be enough. Do you feel how excited I am to have my own little baby to play with?’ 

As the boy pressed himself against Mags he grabbed him under the arms and pulled him up off the ground mouth against his ear, nuzzling, the other hand still with the knife towards the throat. 

Mags didn’t care about the knife. His brother was gone. He was separated from his sister. He had no idea what had become of his parents. This creature was going to use him as a play thing then probably kill him. The rage at his loss, the rage at the indignities he suffered due to his size, the rage at this boy thinking that he was defenceless. Mags let the rage build and summoned all his strength in readiness to  kick back violently between the boy’s legs. At first he merely felt the red mist rise but then it coloured his vision in the dark and suddenly it was light around him and he was free. 

Flames licked around them as the boy dropped him to the ground. 

Mags looked around and ,although well lit, Mags was unable to make out which of the elder gang it had been as his face was entirely melted.

Mags ran. He didn’t stop running until his vision started to swim from the exertion. Alone and confused Mags tried to catch his breath between the sobs. What had happened?

Character names, place names, specific events and situations referred to are based upon the copyrighted/trademarked material of Raymond E. Feist and Midkemia Press. All Rights Reserved by Raymond E. Feist and Midkemia Press.

Foxhis Fiddlebender

Early on in the game my previous character had died a horrible death and I had to find a way to introduce a new character. By this point Kuldahar is blocked off by snow so the old “wandering hero” didn’t work.

In the beginning

Mother Fiddlebender had been expecting twins. Gnomes just knew. They knew the number, they knew the sex. 

It was customary for Gnomes to be named as they were born. That first light tap to make sure they were breathing and then they were given the name they would carry for life. 

When the twins were born there was rejoicing as the first came out.

Slap! Oswald.

and then another 

Slap! Brinnan!

But something was wrong. Mother Fiddlebender was still in labour. With no time to spare they gathered another towel and Pop! Out flew the smallest Gnome baby anyone had ever seen. 

Slap! “F*cks This?” said Father Fiddlebender. 

Home on the Range

Life on the farm was fun for Foxhis. While the boys amused themselves playing with shiny stones that the miners brought up Foxhis was busy throwing stones at the farmed dogs. She was fond of her father and often rode out with him on the large wooly Dogsheep to round up the Filletdogs that brought them so much prosperity. 

But she liked fire too. She liked fire a little too much and after a small accident with one of the old kennels she found herself hiding up the hills with two of her fathers favourite Dogsheep. That was when the Orcs came in numbers from their holes in the Mountains. Foxhis was merely seven years of age.

Trope Orphaned Hero

When Foxhis eventually found the courage to return to home the farm was destroyed. The wealth was gone. Her family all dead. She found her Mother and Father butchered. Literally. 

Their meat stripped from the bones.

There was no sign of her brothers.

Without the ability to command the DogSheep to round up the  Filletdogs the Orcs hadn’t captured many of them. Their little sausage shaped bodies, a flash of polka dotted white, had zipped hither and thither taunting the Orcs. They had scattered  far and wide but with the Orcs gone  Foxhis herded the ones she found to the hills. Living side by side with her trusty Ramses and Baarbaaraa Foxhis learned to live off the land ( and the tasty Filletdogs) even learned to communicate in a rudimentary manner with Ramses.

The Earhunter

Four summers later, only eleven years of age, Foxhis collected her first ear. A lone Orc. Definitely alone. She hunted him and watched him for days. He was poor at hunting and had only a knife on his hip. Foxis knew she had her first chance at revenge.

Foxhis laid a careful trap. On a bluff close to the Orc she left out some scraps of a dog she had eaten the day before and waited. The Orc was careful but it paid little attention to one of the sheep it had seen from the distance over the last few days.  It didn’t realise its error until it was sailing over the bluff, dogmeat in hand and knife still in its sheath. When Foxhis descended the bluff it was still moving but swiftly she grabbed its knife and with two hands chopped again and again into the Orc’s neck. On a whim she took one of its ears, strung it with some dog intestine and slung it around her neck. There would be more. 

Dog Rustlers!

With no sign of the Orc war band for eight long summers and only the occasional sign of wagons on the far roads Foxhis braved moving back to the Farm.

She lived there for just over a year when one morning she was alerted to trouble by the yapping of Filletdogs.

Someone… No… a group of them were trying to steal her meat. They looked like Gnomes! Gnomes or not Foxhis mounted Ramses and with Baarbaaraa at their side they charged headlong into the group.

One gnome was sent flying after another until one of the gnomes started chanting and Foxhis was surrounded on all sides by a large cage that was slowly contracting. Then she felt very sleepy. 

Peacetime

It took a lot of work to get Foxhis to understand that these were friends. She was underground…. In a cave system… a lot of the words sounded familiar but she wasn’t sure what they meant. Over time other gnomes were able to approach her using mind magic to help them communicate. Her sheep were safe. Older gnomes were looking after the farm. She herself needed looked after. It took a lot of persuading about the last statement. 


Foxhis quickly relearned the language of the gnomes. She was allowed to visit the farm every few months for the Doggie Drive but her adopted family insist that she learn and play with the other children. All Gnomes can be fixated on things. Usually it would be gems, clockwork, or tricky magic. For Foxhis it was revenge. A dark part of her that worried her adopted family. 

She made herself weapons and armour for killing Orcs. She adjusted it as she grew a little. Her most exciting discovery was gunpowder. 

She studied as much as she could of the languages of the fell races and those Nons on the topside. She was a very strange gnome child because although the other gnome children would get utterly lost in tasks the joy that they showed while doing so was completely absent in her. 

In her mid twenties Foxhis learned of the larger Dwarven settlements. Where armies were raised to fight off the Greenskins, the Dooks, and greedy Swerfkin. That was where she could get her revenge.

100 Orcs, Goblins, or Drow for every family member. It wouldn’t matter which. She would make herself a necklace as a fearsome tribute to her family. 

At age thirty-nine and twenty-tendays Foxhis left her adopted family and headed for Underhome where she had arranged to serve as an Artificer for the Gold Dwarves of Clan Simmerforge.

The Alchemists Apprentice 

4 long years as an Alchemist Artificer with the old gnomes of Underhome did nothing to dull her hatred for the Greenskins. She toiled day and night producing weapons of war but dearly wanted to be out there. Any downtime she had was poured into upgrading her old armour and working on a secret grand project. A gun that could fire all of her alchemical creations. 

On discovering her in the process of finishing this her Mentor asked that she share her discovery and she agreed on one condition. That she could join the Gnome Guard. This heavily armoured musket-wielding defence force was to be her home for the next four years and having finished her tour of duty with few ears to show for it she joined Prince Rumpole’s Maroon Commandos to see some real action.

The Lone Musketeer 

In eight years in the Maroon Commandos Foxhis spent only ten tendays in the City. She volunteered for double patrols. She volunteered for long range operations to seek out a safe passage to Slederrmorn. The Maroons all had a bounty on her their heads but she was a named bounty. 

The all female Maroon Commandos were known as the Colonic Maroons because they were always in the shit. A patrol would be 2 clerics, 2 illusionists and an Alchemist. In face to face combat almost every creature in the underdark had an advantage over them but a Gnome can out think all but the cleverest of enemies. 

Despite this at the end of her two tours Foxhis had the faces of 56 fellow Maroons tattooed on her arms to commemorate their lives. 

She also had a fine necklace but with each new tattoo came a promise to add to it . At fifty odd ears she’d had to implement a decimal system so that a right ear meant ten kills and a left meant one but now it was getting too heavy again and even with it so full she still hadn’t even got to the four hundred ears for her family.

Finally she cracked. It was the Baron Do’Maer that caused it. As the sole survivor of fully one half of the Maroons she he had to get out. She longed for the open skies. She knew she would never escape the curse of the Maroons but she wanted to ride the range again. 

With her green eyes stained around with purple from years of using slime mold she returned topside.

Under the Skies 

The light still felt dark. Despite being back on the farm and working for the new owners she was not happy. Not even getting back to nature with the grand-kids of Baabaaraa could fill the emptiness. There was a darkness that she sought to chase away with herbs and alcohol.

She was failing spectacularly one autumn evening when, not sure if she had perhaps had a little too much, she saw an airship appear in the distance. When it touched down at the farm she was more than a little surprised to meet her brother Oswald. He was more than a little surprised by the alcoholic pyromaniac with the necklace of ears that was his sister. Foxhis was delighted to find a fully stocked Alchemy lab on the airship. Despite her brother’s lack of enthusiasm she added her equipment to it and set up pallets for two of the sheep. Brother Oswald was heading home to Kuldahar and she’d never been to the North. 

As she herded a couple a fillet dogs onto the airship Foxhis looked back at her childhood home and was filled with a sense that this would be the last time she saw it. 

Foxhis will be back in Foxhis Fiddlebender – The Baron and I. 

This is a work of fan fiction using characters and place names from the Forgotten Realms setting , which is trademarked by Wizards of the Coast

Foxhis artwork by Chantelle Downie. You can find more of her art here.