|Konran was born a runt.
His legs were misshapen and uncoordinated, his eyes were crossed, and he
was the lightest baby ever to be delivered in the realm of Oakvael. His
parents were not ready to support such a burden, so they left Konran in
the care of Neophilus, the resident artist. Neophilus was an aged man who
lived in a one-room studio near the center of the treetop town. He cared
for Konran like a devoted father. When Konran had lived for five years,
Neophilus began his attempts to teach Konran to walk. Konran's frail bones
snapped like twigs whenever he attempted to use his leg-like structures.
Konran finished growing at a very young age. He learned to walk short
distances, and the load he could carry was limited.|
Neophilus saw Konran's complete lack of physical ability and decided to educate him in the arts and sciences. Neophilus completely gave up his profession to help Konran succeed. Progress was slow, for Konran could not see well, but Neophilus made the most of his time with Konran by teaching with lectures and letting him touch what he was learning about and visualize it. Konran had a mind as intelligent and clear as a sharpened crystal. He was witty and artistic, but most importantly he had a strong dedication to accomplish his goals and to improve himself. Neophilus had made a painting designed to correct Konran's poor vision. Konran would stare at it for hours on end, slowly noticing the changes taking place within his head. At age 15, Konran could see like a normal man! His walking skill had improved as well. He could walk from his studio to lookout point, and back without falling. Konran learned an incalculable measure of things that year and soon learned everything Neophilus had to teach him. Konran's ability to see could not have come at a later time. Soon after Neophilus had finished imparting his knowledge upon Konran, he died a silent death in his studio.
Konran had survived childhood and he lived in Neophilus' studio as an adult, painting and making sculptures. The townspeople loved Konran's work and his company too. Many would bring him materials he asked for and sit with him until dusk. Konran was sculpting a dragon being bashed by a martial artist with claws protruding from his knuckles. This was a sculpture for Puck, a close friend of Konran's. Puck had given specific details to Konran regarding the claws of the martial artist in the sculpture. Puck spoke to Konran of a weapon he was designing for those skilled in the martial arts. It fits over one's hands like gloves and has claws projecting from the knuckles. He said that he almost had the first pair finished.
"What do you mean supplies are running low? I told you to guard our store room from the lawful predators!" Gintagg shouted at Nurg, one of his followers.
"Yes, sir!" replied Nurg, moronically.
"Don't give me that answer again! Get out there and do something!" As Gintagg finished screaming, Nurg scurried out of the room to try his luck at looting sacks of lawfuls after killing them with his greatsword. Gintagg knew that the efforts of Nurg and Preega, his other follower, would not be enough to replenish their stores of loot and food. He needed another plan. Taking a hostage was something he had done before and he thought he could do it again. When Nurg and Preega returned without any goods, he told them his plan. The three of them were to climb to the surface of Oakvael and wait for night to fall. Then they would climb up to the treetop town. They would have to watch out for the ever-prowling sheriff and the sleepless adventurers. They were to find someone who was weak and lived alone and bring him back to their shack. At night, The three trolls gleefully scaled the rope to the town and ducked into some houses quietly (as quietly as you can imagine a troll being) looking for prey. They found their victim in a small studio. They gagged him with some weedy grass they had brought from their town. They tied him with rope taken from their town's temple storehouse. In their effort to bind him, they made unnecessary movements such as splattering paint on the walls and overturning canvases. The trolls clambered down the rope with their captive and safely returned to their shack in the Troll Town. The ransom money would be rolling in soon, no doubt. The trolls sat smugly in their shack, guarding their hostage with diligence (as diligent as you can imagine a troll being, that is!)
In the morning the townsfolk realized that their beloved Konran was gone and that his shack was damaged and messy. They sent search parties, but they all came back unsuccessful. Puck heard of this disaster and quickly thought of a plan to motivate people of all lands to search for his friend Konran. He posted advertisements in all the major towns and circulated scrolls throughout the lands. They bore this message: Here ye! Here ye! Adventuring martial artists! I have created the weapon that you desire! It is a pair of gauntlets made of flat, black steel lamellae with rosy claws projecting from the knuckles. They are magical gauntlets that are never blocked! In order to instill magical properties within them, I need the tiny gold buddha that the ninja master in Leng carries. This was going to be the only part of the quest for my fine weapon, but due to recent circumstances, you must also rescue my dear friend Konran. No one knows where he is, but you must rescue him and obtain a gift from him that would prove to me that you have indeed rescued the admirable fellow. Before you attempt to find Konran, seek out Yuri and tell him that you are attempting to complete the quest. He will give you a special three sectioned staff that you may use if you choose to. Note that I will not give gauntlets to any class of people save martial artists. Good luck!
Copyright © 1999, Brian Fox.