"Welcome back to my humble workplace, your Eminence," chortled the jovial merchant, appraising his noble visitor's attire with a rapid glance. "I assume that you have come for the sword you commissioned?"

"Of course," his visitor replied haughtily. "I hope that you have completed the task as you promised you could."

"Of course, my lord. It is not every day that one is permitted to craft an item for the King's Champion. Here it is," declared the merchant, unveiling a glyph-covered blade resting on a nearby table.

"That doesn't look like my sword," the noble growled, surprised at the weapon's new decoration.

Ervald smiled broadly, his eyes staring glassily at his noble client. The Champion began to feel a bit uncomfortable. "My lord, the enchantment of such a blade requires that it be subtly altered to accept magical power. That is why it has the new decoration."

Hefting his weapon, the nobleman's unease began to fade. He could feel uncanny energies flowing into him from the weapon's hilt. "This IS true magic!" he tactlessly blurted out.

"That's what you paid for," the merchant replied.

A Pillar of the Community
Ervald the Enchaunter is an unimposing man, average in height with unkempt hair. His wizardly robes are impressively embroidered, but awfully gaudy.

Ervald might be charming, if he ever resisted his habit of closely examining every customer who walks through his door. Studying them closely, his bloodshot eyes quickly take in each detail of their clothing and appearance. Smarter than he looks, the wizard rapidly determines which of his customers are trained warriors and which are mere poseurs. Even subtle assassins are easily spotted by the canny merchant, which brings a thin smile to his lips. Ervald's most impressive wares are reserved for these lethal customers.

How Does He Do It?
Many have asked how Ervald is able to craft weapons so quickly, not even using assistants or the magical implements common to others of his trade. It should be impossible, unless one had the power of a god at his disposal.

Ervald smiles enigmatically at such speculation.

Grandfather's Blessing
Ervald is not one to brag of "friends in high places", but he has connections few of his sorcerous peers could match: To his great good fortune, Ervald is actually the bastard grandson of the minor war god Belin.

Some decades earlier, the lecherous godling Belin was quite enamored by Ervald's grandmother, showering her with the booty of dozens of his blood-spattered campaigns. Young and relishing the independence Belin's treasure bought her, the feckless beauty became known for her wild excesses, not settling down until she bore her godly paramour's child.

A Little Memento
After the affair was over, Ervald's grandmother kept one token of her lover's esteem, a treasure passed down to Ervald in due time: The key to Belin's Halls. This enchanted key turns any of the doors in Ervald's ancestral home into a portal to Bloodwalls, the

Roleplaying Notes

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? Quest

What Makes a Weapon magic?

And for that matter, what makes any item magic?

What imbues our swords with supernatural cleaving abilities?

Who allows our maces to smash through stone?

Why do our spears hum with bloodlust?

Where does one find this wondrous font of MAGIC?

How exactly are these weapons created?

Well? Now we will find out! We invite you to join Strolen's Winter Quest! Each entry will be awarded an additional 10XP!

The winners will be chosen in the first weeks of the coming New Year. Be the first 'winner' of 2008! For easy reference and further detail see the What Makes a Weapon Magic submission by one of our esteemed authors, MichaelJotneSlayer. Good Luck to All!