Falling from its arid central plateau to the lush vegetation, tropical beaches and coral lagoons of the periphery, at first sight the island of Mona seems live a tropical paradise. However, those who spend longer there may learn more than they wish of its dark history.
High in the Gralbak mountains live the Yale Riders, a reclusive tribe of gnomes who have succeeded in taming the wild yales of the mountains. Skilled riders of their agile beasts they are excellent hunters and warriors, though they do have a firm tradition of hospitality.
Over three hundred years after the destruction of Linnarson, the ruins of Linnarson remain deserted; the warped magical environs inhabited only by the twisted and bizarre creatures that have been created. Amongst it all, however, the Senior Masters remain, continuing their eternal pursuit of knowledge.
...In the hallowed halls of the University of Linnarson a glimpse may sometimes be caught of the Senior Masters, learned sages and masters of knowledge. They seldom leave their dusty studies full of learned tomes, other than to dine - each evening they will be found shuffling down the dimly lit corridors to the dark and shuttered Great Hall. After feasting at high table by candlelight they will be gone, returning once more to their studies. None but they know of their pact with death, how they have willingly embraced an eternal undeath in which to pursue knowledge, yet this is the reason for the darkened corridors and the shuttered hall, for those who are undead cannot abide the light of the sun…
Patterns in surnames: There are many ways a surname could have evolved over centuries. One possibility is migration. A Roman name may have traveled to France and hence to England where it was later Anglicized. Case in point - the surname Lawrence went from Laurentius (Roman) to Laurent (French) to Lawrence (English) and then to Lowry (Scottish). There is also natural etymological evolution. For example, a Middle English spelling may have evolved to a modern English spelling (e.g. Stiward to Stewart). Where did your character's Surname come from?