Ezri Von Zauberhachschule
Lvl 9 Gnomish Wizard
Ezri entered the Unversitratum Arcanium as an infant. She was left at a heretofore undiscovered door between the office of the chancellor in the Dept. of Anti-Social Sciences and the bottom of a laundry chute in the pricey Griffon’s Head Inn in Embassytown. The Chancellor of Anti-Social Sciences, who had not seen another sentient being in six years, was dreadfully surprised; but we may surmise that the surprise was worse for infant Ezri, who had not been left in the laundry chute so much as dropped.
There are only two ways to gain admission to the Arcanium: to pay tuition or find a door. In ancient times, when the Arcanium strove to collect the strongest wizards from among the land, doors were the only condition of admission. Nowadays things are different – most tenured faculty would rather teach gold-laden nimwits than – heaven forbid – attempt to reign in powerful, youthful magic without six weeks sabbatical and a grant. But the old ways still stood, and Ezri was enrolled as an undergraduate by the Chancellor on the spot, becoming, at two months, the third-youngest student ever admitted.
Ezri was raised by the non-magical staff – the maids, the cooks, the fetchers, and the coroners necessary for the day to day progress of the university- and occasionally by the curious, insensitive faculty of the Department of Applied Morphology. At the time there was a fad among the arcanely inept nobility for magical disguises, and to supplement their otherwise paltry endowment the Department of Applied Morphology manufactured cheap and tacky Hats of Disguise. However, the capabilities of the hats were limited to size class. The Applied Morphologists guessed that becoming a size-class smaller might be the next big thing. The problem was, size-class small creatures were hard to to come by. Gnomes, as previously mentioned, were less likely to abandon unwanted children than recycle them. The dwarves of the university came as visiting princess or boisterous music students, and those halflings who could do magic wouldn’t touch the Arcanium with a two-foot pole. (Metaphors scale by size class.)
As consequence, Ezri grew comfortable in a magical laboratory from a young age. She was poked, prodded, and occasionally measured by aggressive animated rulers. Her weight was measured in butchers scales against a steadily increasing pile of gold dust. How happily she remembered the day when she turned nine and Professor Subligarus finally transformed her into a goblin of equivalent mass. And then the tearful reunion of at her tenth birthday, when they were finally able to turn her back. To most entering the Arcanium, magic was a sacred mystery, a revered secret. Ezri understood from a young age that magic was a puzzle, an adventure, and, most of all, a grand and exquisite game.
There’s not much to do with a prepubescent undergraduate. Ezri began working for her keep when she was six years old, as a fetcher and a kitchen hand. By ten she could navigate most of the complicated passageways between campuses, remember the names of the 100+ departments and 600+ senior staff faculty. She was reading by then, too, slight and quick enough to nick adventures stories and spend lazy hours with them on the spires of the university roofs.
Because of her curious nature and babyish size, she was given allowances by the faculty and staff. After begging she retained a spare pass to the great octagonal branch of the Library in West Campus. Soon, besides fetching, messaging, and playing guinea pig for Wizards she was sitting in on lectures and peppering them with questions. She held the faculty in clear, bright admiration. Beset by indifferent students, the senior wizards smiled at the praise, thinking they might as well indulge the child. A bright girl, knows the sheen of genius when she sees it. Ezri never quite realized that her admiration for knowledge was taken for flattery. As an adult she quickly surpassed many of the wizards she had previous admired. —
The Arcanium was not particularly religious. The bursars paid half-hearted homage to a half-dozen patrons of knowledge and saints of study. When she was young, Ezri understood gods and demons as an endless series of feast days and curse-words – a particularly Collabrian approach to the divine. Later, as a grown wizard, she understood them in a practical ways, as forces not to be bothered with. Although, under the shining tutelage of Mistress B. a little bothering could be allowed. Now Ezri believes in gods and demons the way a primatologist believes in bonobos.
Ezri is a folklorist for demons and gods, a collector of curios, myths, memoranda. What better way to learn of the history and myth of the world than primary sources – demons, devils, elementals. As an adult, she has spent her happiest days sitting around the summoning circle with her peers, one hand on a bloody notebook and the other on the emergency release for the ten gallons of holy water rigged to the ceiling, as this or that undead king related what really happened in the Giant’s Gate Wars. Many of the elementals, in particular, are her regular friends.
Although Ezri fell out of reverence with the gods of knowledge, their sacraments — books — remained divine. She believes that by and large people are not stupid but merely ignorant. After coaching a parade of nose-picking nobles through their baccalaureates, Ezri has come to believe that anyone could be a wizard, if they really put their mind to it. In Ezri’s moral code, burning books ranks above manslaughter and crimes of passion, and just under torture, reape, and cold-blooded murder. Theft is relatively low on this list, incidentally. Wizards steal from one another all the time; we call this “budget committees”. But they never steal books, only borrow. Although she may not ask permission, she will always return or replace a book even when she has done something silly, like reading in the bath. To destroy another’s book without permission is a perversion on par with incest. She is physically repelled by it.