Originally published on Guild Wars Vault on 2007-07-17
“Wisdom is about excellence in living; it focuses on knowing how rather than merely knowing what.”
– Belenos Furu
The city of Arah in Orr was blessed long ago by the presence of the Gods. When the Gods left the mortal lands it is said some of their power remained. Legends say that the children of Arah, those born within the city walls, are blessed by the Gods. These children are born with magical aptitude and it is said they are destined for greatness. Pregnant mothers from far off lands would make the trek to Arah in hopes that their children would grow to be powerful casters of spells.
Belenos Furu was destined for greatness. A native of Arah, Belenos, or Bel as he was often called, was an accomplished mason and architect. His work could be seen all around the city from a small merchant mansion to an ornate fountain dedicated to Melandru to the fantastic wizard’s tower. One wing of King Reza’s castle was hand crafted by Belenos as Reza held the Alchemist in high esteem. The secret to Bel’s successful architecture was alchemy; it was the heart of every one of his creations. The blessing of the Gods came to many people and presented itself in many ways.
Despite his celebrity, Belenos was a humble and wise man. His art and his creations were his true passion, not the power of the other mages. Perhaps it was this quality that the King most admired in him. The King’s adviser would step down in the next year and there was rumor that Reza would ask Belenos to take his place.Wizards and mages were competitive by nature and their egos were bruised easily. Often fights would break out that would escalate into large scale destruction. After one such skirmish leveled four blocks in Arah, King Reza decreed that the use of magic within the city would be strictly forbidden without written consent from the King. This decree was not well received, but after the first few wizards who disobeyed this order were exiled from the city, people began to take the law seriously.
As a compromise, the King gave consent for wizards to practice magic within their homes or towers as long as the magic did not place the citizens in danger. This began a period known as the Tower Races where wizards began to race to have towers built in the city to work around this new law. Egos flared and spellcasters all over the city tried to outdo each other. A budding young spellcaster by the name of Khilbron hired Belenos to build the tallest tower in the city. Khilbron had been jealous of the attention Belenos received from the King. He coveted the power of being the King’s adviser and would stop at nothing to claim what he deemed was his rightful place.
Khilbron was a reputable wizard in his own right and his name was known all around Arah, though it was not cheered as loudly as that of Belenos. Who better to vault Khilbron’s celebrity to the skies than the humble architect that everyone loved? Khilbron approached Belenos with a proposition. He wanted his tower to be the tallest in the city. He wanted to see the great wall of Ascalon from its spire. Belenos informed the young mage that in order to build a tower that tall he would have to use alchemy to strengthen the materials. Khilbron provided Belenos with a written letter signed by the King giving permission to use alchemy inside the city to build the tower. The letter looked authentic and Belenos gave it no second thought, though in reality it was a forgery. In the year that followed Khilbron kept Belenos busy and out of the presence of King Reza so as not to question the letter. The King’s present adviser prepared his office for the man or woman King Reza would choose to succeed him. Everything was going according to Khilbron’s plan.
One chilly afternoon in the Season of the Zephyr the unthinkable occurred. The tower on which Belenos had been diligently working began to crack several stories up. The weight of the stone was too much and the entire upper half came raining down on the city below. The sound of the destruction was heard for miles away and nearly one hundred people were caught beneath the falling stone. Three city blocks were reduced to rubble. Someone was to blame.
That very day the Tower Races ended. The King decreed that no more towers would be built in the city. Furthermore, Belenos was called to the Castle to explain why he had disobeyed the King by using alchemy within the city walls. Belenos was in a bind. Not wanting to tell Reza that the King was mistaken, Belenos stated simply “Alchemy was the only way for the tower to reach the sky.” Reza too was in a bind. He intended to ask Belenos to be his adviser, but the Alchemist had clearly defied the decree of the King. Bound by his own rules, Reza exiled Belenos from the city of Arah for his actions. Belenos bowed to the King and spoke softly, “If it is the will of the King.” He was escorted to the city gates and warned that if he returned to the city he would be executed, for no man defies the King twice in a lifetime and lives to regret it.
Khilbron had successfully removed his rival from the eyes of King Reza and worked quickly to become the King’s adviser. Thus, the tale of Belenos goes untold, for all records of his life within the city have been mysteriously erased. The citizens forgot about the once famous architect and Khilbron reveled in his success. Belenos found a new home among the woods miles outside of the city. He built himself a small hut intent on living the rest of his life alone as an eremite deep in the woods. It was a simple life he sought in the city of Arah, but he never found it. Perhaps it was fortuitous that the tower fell, for it gave him the opportunity to ponder the events in his life. Here, alone, in the wilderness, he could focus on the excellence of living. He would leave the city of the Gods behind and begin anew, and he did for many years.
But fate would bring him back to Arah; fate, and a lonely child.