Ahem. Let me speak of an adorable pest, and one of the eldest dwellers of this place, and muse about why the Emberqueen did not grant him wisdom to match his years.

“High upon a cliff stands Stagstone, perched above the river's flow; aged and convoluted castle, few of its many walkways know. It witnessed many a lord, on the librarians' accord, its walls, ever proud, were ne'er brought low. It ever grew, empires outlasted, tall its chimneys, towers rose; a stalwart abode, numerous outcasts it as their safest havens chose. And their plights and ventures curious, by bard and singer, some of the truest, generously described and mused about in poetry lofty and in prose.

One of many, one of the strangest, one of an enchanted wondrous kind, upon Stagstone, the fey refuge, he did a stable dwelling find, now castle’s heart soundly beating, Farrach Flamekin – nickname fitting, listen to his story unwind.

Built by countless generations of warlords and kings from uncounted nations, the castle is labyrinthine and convoluted, and holds primacy undisputed as a nightmare of conquerors and their variations. Located as it is amidst northern hills, built of rock upon rock, its halls are a prime target for winter’s chills. To that end many passages through that behemoth of stone are meant not for dwellers human, but for smoke alone. From fireplace to fireplace, they are a great stone upturned tree, a convolute of fire and embers, all meant to set the flames' fumes free.

In this place, one frosty morn...

Some say the castle is haunted, others, smarter, too well know that the winds of sorcery far stronger here in the north blow. From a fireplace, the sun just risen, to the lord rather boldly spoke a grimace less substance yet with lots of attitude; 'It would be neat if you could heat, so throw some more wood in here dude!” The lord majestic, stature knightly … he almost on his veal did choke.'

'Yeah, that was me' the fireplace springs to life 'and I sure scared the hell out of him - yet we came to a more beneficial agreement soon thereafter.'

Unfazed, I continue.

'Be gone imp, presence infernal!' the lord yelled, drew forth his blade that banished battered and beheaded orc, ogre, fiend and undead shade. Farrach's life would've been short if he did not exhort he knew that the lord’s wife and stable boy just then together not far laid.

Some beheading and spanking later - to let have whom what no li'l matter - to Farrach on a silver platter, the lord 'bout swearing fealty spoke: he would not be broke, and not extinguished and left but smoke. Simply to agree would be better, wasn't it so, fiery bloke?'

Bloke or not, the face from the fireplace spread to nearby candles, and, in a chorus, elucidated the matter.

'I was far more heroic than your recounting suggests! The lord was both grateful and scared, and wished for an ally mighty as me, who from every spark and kindle in the castle could spy, see… oh my goodness fair and gracious! Your bad poems bard are contagious!'

I smile and tease, then wisely choose:

'Oh my poor! To compensate: the rest of the tale plain I state… T'was not too much later that the castle was invaded, raided, with the intent to conquer, if not, then ruin, to upturn and burn; some toppling and vandalizing might also have been planned. Yet the defenders were stalwart, more so than usual, skilled and driven by determination in the face of unpleasant and mostly lethal things to come. Amongst them stood, or flickered and pounced, from chimney and furnace, even from torch and burning oil, Farrach with enthusiasm and fury. After that, he was even knighted, and the lord's son already inherited a faithful retainer.'

“Indeed, in every skirmish, fight, I was there, with all my might, hollering and punching, with screams, bones crunching, that the foemen feel the fright. A hero I am, and do things well - indeed, what is there more to tell?'

That opportunity cannot go unused! I leap in, and add a few choice words.

“That you are easily bored, by many abhorred?

That you drain the sanity of the saintliest lord?

That you set things ablaze, and milkmaids chase,

That there's no humor you find too base?

T'was you who played, well hidden, an amorous Cupid,

To young mistress Weltingen, then called her stupid,

It's you who chased the horses free,

And made knights march like infantry.

Irreverent and foul-mouthed bachelor,

Wise as the day gods made thee

Hebephrenic and simple wastrel

May all the clown that you are see!”

I am content, yet he replies; with the crowd's laughter all hope dies…

“But when there's foes, hot on your ass, you better 'save me Farrach!' says!'

***

Notes:

Inhabiting the heating system of the ancient castle, Farrach moves across Stagstone from chimney to chimney; he can leap from any flame he can see to another, thus one can encounter him running along the torches on the wall of a hallway as well. Something between a mascot, ally and annoying pest, he’s known to all of the castle's denizens.

While the Flamekin has lots of experience, his impulsiveness and curiosity always get the better of him. Not that he could not distinguish bad ideas from good ones, but he'd have to care, and also to actually pause and consider his new brilliant thought.

Boastful, ostensibly heroic and in love with his own voice, Farrach usually won't shut up all day. Luckily, his short attention span means he rarely bothers the same person too long. Newcomers to the castle can expect to be prime targets for his pranks, though.

Out of curiosity, he spies on people; lately he has made a game of catching women naked, and then telling them so, embarrassing them in front of others. Some might wonder whether a being composed of fire and mischief can have a gender, but Farrach is definitely male and has a dirty mind.

His escapades and annoying antics are a staple of castle life; yet, luckily, he is easy to distract and motivate with attention, games, challenges and treats (aromatic woods, hard alcohol, oils).

At any time, he has several people classified as best friends; those are blessed with twice the amount of pestering, yet also benefit from the gossip he delivers.

Should foes invade the castle, Farrach will be amongst the first lines of defense, mocking and insulting the enemy even as he spits fire at them. Seeing a common soldier's torch suddenly erupt into a furious beast of flame is disheartening, as is the difficulty in actually catching it when you have a way of combating it.

Fire magic is Farrach's primary talent, but he can use some lesser sorceries – he knows the basics of telekinesis and illusion, for example.

Plots:

*A conspiracy: keeping one secret from the ever-annoying flamekin can be difficult!

*A contest: who can humiliate whom more? A smartass PC or that annoying fiery imp?

*A dark twist: for a less humorous campaign, the castle can be a haunted ruin, or inhabited by an evil host - and the flamekin's jokes macabre or plain lethal.

*Last man standing: the castle has been overrun. PCs need the help of Farrach, who hid in some chimney to escape dousing, to retake it.

*Serious Business: some great event is taking place at the castle, one not to be disturbed by the little pest. The PCs have the cyclopean task of keeping the brat occupied.

*Romantic antics: finally, your character is a heroine, beloved by all and well-respected; then, Farrach starts courting her.

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? Quest

'FIRE!!'

Summer may be winding down (in most places), but the fires of imagination still burn bright.
Thousands upon thousands of years ago, role-playing was invented by our ancestors. Long before the first wheel rolled down a hill, and long before the first loaf of bread was sliced, early humans sat around their caves regaling each other with tales of gods, creatures, heroes and villains, and entertaining themselves with impersonations, play-acting, and role-reversals. All this was made possible by the roaring FIRES inside their caves, which warmed their bodies, roasted their meats, and shone light on their faces.

This month we celebrate FIRE and Role-Playing!

'The Quest revolves around the element of FIRE. Water, Air, and Earth need not apply.
Items, Locations, NPCs, or Plots. All are welcome as long as FIRE is involved! Don your asbestos suits and enter with us, into the all-consuming inferno that is this month's Quest!'

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