One glance at him and you can tell Shumal ain't from around here. His skin is a yellowy tan with large almond eyes and an almost blue-black tuft of hair combed straight forward. A long and narrow goatee sprouts from his pointed chin. If not for his strange hairstyles and taste in loud foreign clothes, he might actually be attractive. He is constantly smiling and speaks with an enchanting accent. His grasp of the local language is very solid; his exciting stories always attract the village children, and his poetry makes the women swoon. Shumal's age is difficult to discern: he looks young, but it could be his foreign blood. Though he keeps it a secret to most - just to keep mystery about him - Shumal is actually 47.
Family and Life
Shumal arrived in the village three years ago on camelback, his mount weighted by sacks, chests, bags, crates, and other varities of merchant wares. It was not the first time foreign traders had been to the village, but what really surprised everyone is what Shumal did next: buy a small shop and move in. Shumal will plainly state that his business in the village is business. He opened a small haberdashery dealing in "fine" men's clothes at very "affordable" prices (the clothes aren't particularly fine and the prices are gouged, but at least the style's fresh). Business is decent, and Shumal's styles are found on gentlemen throughout the village, but some say it's not quite enough to keep the shop running. A few accuse him of public theft or witchcraft, but most dismiss these claims.
To fill the economic gap, Shumal leaves for two weeks every other month on his camel, always returning with new sacks of foreign wares and updated styles. He always seems to have something for the Tinker, who ritually locks his door at Shumal's approach, demands he leave, and then eventually reopens the door to barter. Shumal's foreign spices always finds their way into Irres' food and she has become a regular customer for him. The two have forged a friendship, frequently joking and trading flirts. Shumal also frequents Thanen's place for a good brew at the end of the day. The foreigner is enthralled with Thanen's products, often saying they are the best he's ever had in the world. He tries frequently to trade for Thanen's secrets, which is always a bust. On occasion, Thanen will part with one of his better vintages in exchange for an exotic liquor Shumal brings. For the rest of the town, he carries a wide assortment of trinkets and foreign goods, each always having some exotic, romantic story Shumal will tell (and often invent).
A few particular xenophobes in the village still hold him with contempt and suspicion. If he brings in such distant goods, they demand, why does he bring them to tiny Strolehaven? Aren't there larger, more profitable towns to deal in? He must have an alterior motive, they explain. In truth, Shumal's goods are second rate at best, and often third; he would have no chance in a large town with much more quality items. He would much rather be in his homeland, but a feud with his politically powerful father caused him to be exiled forever. Shumal settled in Strolehaven hoping to make a new home for himself. Other accuse him of being a relative of Emily, whom he frequently visits. Their relationship, however, is strictly one-sided: Shumal is enchanted by her exotic beauty, and she gives him only passing (usually negative) thought.
Shumal always has something interesting to trade. They are usually only kitshy souveniers from other lands, but he occasionally has a real prize find. He is also the proud owner of the village's only camel, an old female beast he calls Warisha.
Shumal can often be found in the tavern sharing drinks, stories, and shills with the village folk. He is outgoing and friendly to all; insults, which come not infrequently by some of the locals, have no real effect on him. You might find something suiting at his haberdashery, or he may have some more unique trinkets behind the counter. If cajoled enough - and offered the right price - he may even have some smuggled illegal goods. Don't expect anything major, though; at most, a few exotic narcotics, weapons, or religious goods. One never knows, though: Shumal might have more than meets the eye. Go to Comment
Likes: Interesting concept. Not too powerful in that it takes control of a rod or absorbs its abilities, but it just activates them, creating a haywire situation. Nicely written intro...
Dislikes: ...but not enough for me. Some wizard made it and got attacked. Who is this guy? Who attacked him? What were they trying to find? That part almost seems like a cop-out for writing a real backstory. And why would he make such a rod? Some more stuff on that could make this a great post.
I'll hold off on voting until you can make it shine, which I'm sure you can do. Go to Comment
Tree fox! I'd like a touch more on the biology: how are its feet adapted? What's "slightly smaller" and "slightly longer" in terms of measurable range? Is it the same reddish color as foxes meant to sneak through brush, or has its fur adapted to match the trees better? If it's domesticated, are there any specific breeds or crossbreeds?
Very well thought out. I like the little details like mask-wearing Noble Accusers and the physical ordeals. Love to see someone go through the Ordeal of Water and have some river nymph swim down to protect them. Go to Comment
I think I saw, many a year ago, a Discovery Channel special about potential genetically-altered races. They of course didn't go into the culture of them, which I do appreciate about this one. But yeah, the tough thing about sci-fi is that there's not a lot of "Ctrl-X, Ctrl-Y" ideas that you can have with a lot of detail, since good sci-fi is multifacted and unified. It's a nice sub, though, altogether. Go to Comment
A very interesting revolutionary. Only two real complaints: 1) the name Mently Wave does absolutely nothing for me, and 2) a few grammatical errors/awkward sentences in the post. The concept, however, is fascinating. Good work. Go to Comment
This unusual scabbard is made of fine crystal, being perfectly clear so as to show the blade, but is also incredibly sturdy. The scabbard is gilt with platinum on the edges and chape, and a gold inlay on the throat. It is well known to keep swords in perfect condition, even cleaning rust, dirt, and gore from any blade inserted into it. The scabbard is also enchanted to be fully adjustable, fitting anything from the smallest arthame to the broadest of zweihanders.
Unfortunately, as a user of the scabbard will quickly discover, the blade is nearly impossible to remove. The scabbard is somewhat self-aware, and it loves keeping things in mint condition. Any attempts to remove a sword from the scabbard will be met with firm resistance. Furthermore, if and when a sword is forcibly removed, it will immidiately lose its luster, a thick layer of rust consuming the steel. Depending on the quality of the metal, the blade could be permenantly damaged. Go to Comment
Thunder and lightning is the sign of their shamans hunting and killing demons. Children's souls must be protected for their souls are not firmly in place yet and are easy for demons to take hold of. The shamans must hunt and destroy them and each break of thunder is another death of a demon hunting for souls.