Far to the north, along the Crossed Swords Coast, a child was born to a fisherman and his wife in their humble cottage on the border of Stahlkrahe and Vispania. They were of little means but cared for their son immensely. Kelwyn was a very curious child and asked lots of questions, questions his simple parents simply could not answer.
As the boy grew, his parents came to realize they couldn’t give their son the life he seemed destined for, but they knew of an old hermit who lived on the edge of Icewood Forest who knew a great deal about the way the world worked, who could answer the questions that filled their child’s head.
They reached out to the wise man of the wood, Kolek Baldham, and they agreed to terms. So it was that when Kelwyn reached the age of 10 he was taken to live with the hermit in his cabin in the wild lands, where the gods of the forest still crept and the ancient spirits still whispered their secrets for those with an ear to hear them.
It took some time for the boy to adjust to the hermit’s strange ways, but eventually they grew very fond of one another. Kelwyn longed for knowledge and would ask Kolek many things about the forest and also about what the rest of the world was like. The hermit would always give the young boy a little information about the things he learned through the years but was sure not to reveal too much to the boy.
“Knowledge should never come cheaply,” he would often say.
For those few short years Kelwyn studied hard under the hermit’s watch and eventually was welcomed into the Sacred Path of the Druid and when he was 16 years old Kolek introduced Kelwyn to the Circle of the Land.
That mystical order taught him the many secrets of the Coast Druid, yet Kelwyn continued to yearn for knowledge of the world outside of the forest. Kolek saw this and would always focus the boy’s attention back to their little hut near the Icewood.
Kelwyn knew there were things the hermit didn’t want to tell him, but out of respect, bowed to the old man’s greater wisdom.
“Someday,” he would often mutter, staring out across the rolling fields that stretched toward the City of Splendors far to the south.
One year ago, in early spring, Kelwyn returned to their hut after a morning of foraging. There, hunched at the rough-hewn table where they had broken bread for the past six years, Kolek Baldham sat, unmoving. He went to the man who had been so much more than a teacher to him and closed the old one’s eyes. The aged druid’s time on this earth had passed. Kelwyn bent down and kissed the old man on the forehead and gathered his meager belongings. He took Kolek’s pack as well, filled with scrolls that were the sum of the old one’s knowledge and beliefs.
The young druid had come to this hovel with dreams of the larger world, dreams that he had set aside to honor the man who had taken him in and taught him of the inner world instead, but the time had come for him to put the past behind him and thus Kelwyn set off, at long last, to follow the dreams of his youth…