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The Adventures of Surier

Part One

Of the Temple and Trouble Brewing

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Ah, to go adventuring! It is the dream of every young boy - and the nightmare of any sane man.

Like my father before me, and his before him for generations, I am a follower of Oghma, a seeker of knowledge, a healer. Unlike my revered ancestors, though, I am a coward. I have no real desire to go beyond the walls of Fisher Keep and the Temple of Oghma, except, perhaps, to learn more of herbs and their uses. My work in the gardens, orchards and fields is more than enough.

I have made few friends for two reasons. One, unlike other students, I have no desire to devote my time solely to wine and women. I am an oddity in that I enjoy learning.

My second reason is closer to home - my father. Some have jokingly said that I am twice his height and half his width, but that is not our only difference. He enjoys teaching. I do not. He desperately wanted to go on an adventure, earn glory for the name of Oghma. I do not. When I first arrived at the Temple, in my early teens, my size and heritage made others assume I knew everything. They constantly asked me questions for which I had no answers. I became frustrated and angry at their assumptions and was quickly labeled 'surly and bad-tempered'.

Only five people have I ever called friend.

The first was an instructor, Brainard. It was deemed necessary for the final year students, those going on to serve Oghma in the Temple, to learn the complexities of logic and orderly thinking. It was a class well suited to Brainard's own directions of thought. Although a follower of Oghma, Brainard's search for knowledge delved into the realms of what he called 'science'. The Temple did not openly disapprove of such learning, but it was not looked upon with great enthusiasm.

Although Brainard was adventurous as my father, and his good friend, he still reminded me of a weasel or a rodent. He was always moving, always watching. He used short, sharp gestures, and had a short, choppy stride when he walked. He had a stare that would do well on the face of a basilisk. It terrified us all.

For all his mannerisms, Brainard was a good teacher. For those who truly wanted to learn. He had neither patience nor liking for students attending only because it was expected of them. One such was the mayor's son, Karien.

Karien was a soft-spoken gentleman. He had little time for the antics of school-children, as he deemed us. He preferred to be with adults, many times leaving the grounds without either escort or leave, intent on wine and women. He considered such things as schooling beneath his class, as son of the mayor, or so it seemed. He took what he wanted, whether given leave to or no. Oh, the things were always returned without hesitation. He enjoyed playing practical jokes. He was a deft mimic, a trait which endeared him not to either his instructors or fellow students, being quite often the subject of his mimicry. The only person he never dared impersonate was Arikian.

Arikian tried to teach us the rudiments of politics. He was an adept teacher. He had the talent of listening to what you were saying, and then repeating what you meant. It was a dull, boring recitation, in my opinion, of lies, half-truths, and other deceits. I had neither interest nor inclination to learn the subject. I was more of the opinion that much greater things would get done if only the leaders would state their desires or intentions openly and be done with it. I came to dislike both the class and Arikian with as much fervor as I enjoyed Brainard's classes.

From what tidbits Brainard had managed to slip into our lessons, this 'science' began to fascinate me. How did he know all this? I wondered. I soon became his unofficial apprentice. My father would have been horrified to learn of the extent of my involvement with Brainard's scientific experiments, I think. I know he was devastated to learn of Brainard's latest explorations.

It was my usual practice to head for Brainard's chambers in the school building, directly after supper. He was the only instructor who had rooms there. We would work for several hours and then take a break. I would return to the initiates barracks for final prayers and lights out, and then, more often than people knew, I would return and work several more hours, sometimes all night.

I was young. It was against the Temple's rulings for the students to be so involved. I began to discover that some of what Brainard proposed went against all that was acceptable. It held a danger I did not comprehend fully. To me, it was fun.

The late nights finally took their toll of me. Arikian kept two of us behind one day after classes, myself and Karien.

"Surier, have ye an explanation for this?" he asked, passing me a sheaf of papers. It was my last set of exams. There was no grade marked.

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