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AodhTue 28-Feb-06 09:05 AM
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#382, "Rhaguel the Feral Shapechanger, Pariah of Hillcrest- July 2005 Winner"


Gnome Shifter, sphere Spirit. Was headed for Outlander, but things don't always work out.

On Lord High Metabolic Shapeshifter Rhaguel Grazant's recent disappearance...
Added Mon Jun 6 18:01:01 2005 at level 1:
"Well," sputtered Wiskengrael sadly,"this is what's left of the room."
They were stunned. A gathering of 4 of the most prestigious, most learned,
most brilliant gnomes looked at the large (by gnomish standards), opulently
furnished (by anybody's standards) room with expressions varying from quiet
shock, to disgust, to incomprehension on their small faces. Their esteemed
colleague, Rhaguel, had been exhibiting signs of disturbance lately, but he
had submitted to an interview and assessment by two prominent transmuters,
who had pronounced him, with some perplexity, more sane than any gnome they
had ever studied, which directly contradicted the scene they now surveyed:
furniture broken to matchsticks, humble (but finely woven, and terribly
expensive!) robes shredded to fluff and arranged in a common mammal-nest
formation, all the fine books, artworks, trinkets and precious knick-nacks
piled in the middle of the room, and defecated upon. On the wall to their
immediate right, was scrawled, in crazy, looping letters (very unlike the
famous shifter's decisive and careful penmanship) "He who makes himself a
beast, gets rid of the pain of being a gnome." They looked through the wreck,
salvaging a few tomes and devices not chewed upon (or worse), and slowly
filed out, shaking their heads. The invoker, last in line, took a final look
at the mayhem, and tried to understand-- what made him break? He had it
He muttered the incantation (Rhaguel wasn't coming back to Hillcrest, that
much was obvious),and the flames began to devour the now-mysterious dwelling.
In the surrounding wilds, one pair of nostrils sniffed the caustic smoke, one
pair of bright eyes watched the blue-black plumes twist into the heavens...

A brief history of the short, happy life of Rhaguel (according to them, anway...)
Added Mon Jun 6 18:41:27 2005 at level 2:
He studied all his life, he could shift quickly and perfectly, he was an
expert on all manner of animal lore, he was gifted, he was brilliant. Rhaguel
was next in line after the aging (and mentally atrophying) Master Warritz to
be Master Shifter of the Gnomish Academy and Fellowship of Magi. He had
always wanted to be a shapeshifter, he had read all the histories of the
famed ones, even non-gnomish shifters, and learned of the possibilities for
depravity and corruption, or sentimental morality embraced by shifters of
other races.

His love was simple-- as a child, he had always ranged far and wide, to his
mother's unending worry, in the woods and wild lands, observing the animals
and insects in their natural habitat, in their natural play and hunt, the
primal struggle for survival. He disliked being small and weak, he never
fully appreciated his own considerable mental gifts, many said, and wanted to
possess the grace and power of the animals. And something else, too... they
didn't have to live in houses, or wear clothes, or be nice to stuffy old

So he rose quickly in his guild, and the further he climbed, the more
disquiet grew within him. He would often abandon his studies prematurely to
go to the quiet places he had found in his youth, and meditate, just enjoying
the sun moving on his face, the wind in his ears, the buzzing of insects and
trills of birdsong. This was true wisdom, he thought, here is MY happiness.
So his studies lagged, he began to show infrequently to classes, if at all.
His appearance began to show less care (if by that, you mean walk about caked
in filth), and he would rave to his few close friends about the
spirit-crushing nature of the city, of academia's white tower, of endless
study and books...

Then one day, he lost it. He was a true beast. He threw off the shackles of
"civility" and bounded, free and radiant, into the wilds. He always was an
odd (but very lovable, they hastily added) gnome, his friends and family
reminisced at a memorial service they held. He had an uncommonly sharp mind,
seeing through people's unconscious intentions, to their heart of hearts,
slicing through fallacious and circumlocutious logic swiftly and surely. He
was noble, in a peculiar way, they agreed. His no-nonsense style and
realistic approach were refreshing in the classroom, his professors agreed.
If only we could have noticed and cured his illness before it warped his

Just Rhaguel.
Added Mon Jun 6 18:54:28 2005 at level 2:
So he ranged to and fro in the wilds, as he willed. Eating, killing,
sleeping, sunning himself, exploring as he wished. Eventually, he came to.
His gnomish personality returned, he began to recall dimly the details of his
life... only patches here and there. Not even his surname. He shrugged. Who
cares? He continued, delighting in fulfilling his senses with simple
visceral, but real and concrete, experience and pleasure. Mountain streams to
wade in, sunny meadows to bask in, other free creatures to study, to eat, to
accompany. He is growing lonely, as he knows many animals have societies and
packs... he doesn't want to go back to the grey shadows he was once enslaved
by... He has seen the destruction of the land, he has felt Thera's pain
through his shock at the alien, unearthly damages.

He is a very feral gnome, trying to rebuild his mastery of the magical
school of shapeshifting. As he ranges, lives, and fights, more and more of
his former training comes back to him as instinct, as intuition. His spirit
is finally free, unchained by the ridiculous traditions and restraints of his
former culture. He no longer views himself as a gnome... not really. He is
just himself, with no strings attached.


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