All magic is suddenly gone. No mage can sling sorcery anymore. This upsets all empires and civilizations. It is soon discovered though, trough the combined work of mystics, scholars and dreams, that all the magic has been drawn into a single orb in a vast tower located at one of the poles. Whoever gets there first wins the greatest price in history, access to all the magic in the world. But who owns the tower?
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?