The First Age, called the Age of Blazing Angels, was a time of turmoil, as people gathered around quarreling deities obsessed with naught but furthering their own power, little caring about their worshippers except as sources of belief and entertainment. The skies rained fire and earth shook, the seas boiled and air turned to fumes most foul.
That was when Damru, the first and foremost of the immortals, he who needed no worship, decreed that all fighting was to cease.
Yet the gods did not heed his call, and fought on. In cold anger, Damru stepped down on Aver, as the world was called, and dragged all the deities back into the Halls of Marble, and forbade them to leave. Ever.
To watch over Man, he chose thirteen times thirteen of their number, and gifted them with the spark of arcane power, and sent them into all the corners of the world to safeguard the flocks of humanity.
Believing that the Keepers, human themselves, would take good care of creation, he went off to contemplate.
All was well as the Age of Growing Acorns took its course, human settlements flourishing and their numbers growing. The Keepers, ageless now, took mortal mates, their offspring also gifted with the spark, but weaker by far, long-lived but not unaging.
The Time of Weeping Skies began with a trivial quarrel, two sorceresses in love with the same man unwilling to step but an inch back. The tensions that had been buried deep yet unsolved surfaced even as Edrissa the Raven strangled her sister in a fit of jealousy.
Again, the flames of war blazed with renewed strength.
No quarters were given and none asked, the reasons for the war forgotten, wizards fought and so did their followers, the land ravaged by magic out of darkest dreaming. Even as their tempers were loosed upon the flocks they were supposed to guard, the souls of the mages were tainted by this ultimate betrayal, and they became vile and twisted, reveling in pain and destruction, mockeries of their former selves.
Only eighteen were those who did not join in the initial carnage, led by the first who had been granted the spark by Damru, Caerrven Stargazer. For peace pledge they did, trying to calm their furious peers, yet to no avail. In their rage, the maddened mages turned upon the Eighteen, and slew all but Caerrven, who hid in the Well of Souls, where all dead come before their souls are allowed to be born again, and there he stood, listening to the wails of the dead who came here in droves as the war raged on.
Out of the despair, darkness of hopelessness and injustice, he forged a stave made of a hundred and fifty rings, one standing for each of the fallen mages and the worst depravity he committed, and swore to right them all, and the dead heard him well, and remembered his words.
Caerrven walked the world again, and slew his fellow Keepers one and all, yet still his promise was unfulfilled: he had to amend the atrocities, and so he did, as far as it was humanly possible, and far beyond. With each sin undone, one of the rings of the stave glowed with runes telling the tale of the villainy and how it was corrected, and if anyone was to hold it, he’d hear the thankful songs of those who finally could rest, as well as the enraged roar of the wizard trapped within, never allowed to be reborn again, his will and power broken.
When the last restless souls were put to rest, the last wrong undone and all the hundred and fifty rings glowed with tales, Caerrven approached Damru, and woke him from his contemplation: "Here, Lord, we’ve been unworthy of the gift you have bestowed upon us, so take it back, I beg of you." But Damru replied: "I was the one who erred, and so I leave the gift of magic to the people: you have proven that a human can use it wisely, and you redeem all. It is I who will leave." Caerrven asked, his pupils widened with shock: "Who will guide us then?" "You, Caerrven, who proved to be a far better caretaker than me, you will take on my mantle."
Thus Caerrven ascended, and the Age of the Reckoning ended, and the Age of Cherry Flowers began, calm and peaceful. Yet Caerrven knew that it was impossible to force people to goodness, for it was the nature of man to choose between the light and darkness. So, when Ryland Oakleaf plead Caerrven to avenge the death of his wife and daughters at the hands of marauders, he was gifted with a stave black and slender, as if made of night itself, consisting of hundred and fifty rings.
"Are you willing to right the wrongs suffered by others as well as your own?" Caerrven asked, and the knight nodded. "Are you willing to give your life so that others may live?" again, he nodded. "Are you willing to remain restless and without peace until peace conquers all?" A third time he nodded, and Caerrven said: "Your burden will not be light, because you carry that of others as well. Go now, and the stave will keep you safe, but do not stray from your task, lest it will fail you."
Thus, Ryland became the first Righteous Wanderer, for after he had brought the raiders before justice, and saved the one daughter they had abducted instead of killing, the first link of the stave shone bright, and told the tale of his deed, and the second spoke to him of an atrocity so vile it had made Caerrven cry, and led him to where it had taken place.
For decades the knight wandered, his quest leading him across the whole face of the world, and in all those days he did not grow one day older, and did not sleep for a single night. When all the rings shone bright, he brought the stave he brought it before Caerrven, and held it up high, and Caerrven spoke: "As you did, so your wrong shall be righted: what was taken from you shall be yours." Whereupon Ryland saw his dear returned to him, and rejoiced.
Caerrven took up the stave and cast it into the clouds. "May it fall where it is needed."
The stave is made of cool metal, smooth, without a single scratch. It cannot be broken or melted by conventional means. One who seeks to right a wrong may pick it up and answer the three questions Ryland had been asked once, with "yes".
From then on, as long as he is honestly trying to right the wrong the stave told him about, he will not age, and does not need to sleep, eat or drink, as well as healing at an accelerated rate. Most diseases will spare him.
The Wanderer will be protected from mishaps to a certain degree: disasters not especially intended to harm him will avoid him, thus a forest fire might leave him untouched, he would not freeze during a blizzard, and an earthquake that levels a city would leave the house he is in standing.
As long as he does not take offensive action, he will be difficult to harm, and at all times be quite resistant to illusions and mind control.
The stave can harm beings which are resistant to mundane weapons.
A quest can be fulfilled either by righting the consequences to the highest degree possible, and either making the one responsible repent sincerely, or bring him before justice.
The soul of a villain who did not repent will be trapped in the stave until all rings glow, and then dissolved into nothingness. The Righteous Wanderer may call upon each of the defeated/redeemed villains once - it is forced to help him in a way appropriate to it. A trapped mage might cast a spell, a dragon allow the Wanderer to fly or breathe a gout of flame, an assassin to pass without trace and unseen.
The first wrong to be righted will be the one that made the Wanderer pick up the stave in the first place: the stave will aid him in amending it, and correct it totally upon the completion of all tasks.