The thoughts in his head were scattered like so many sea shells across the island shore. He had been wandering for… for how long? The waves crashed in their familiar and rhythmic pattern as the gulls squawked overhead. What should be a comforting experience had no affect on him. The few clothes he wore were tattered, his hunger and thirst, overpowering. His blank stare slowly began gain focus. Ideas and memories began to finally congeal but still lacked order.
“Where am I….” Nygel looked around, feeling very confused and afraid. “Where are my…” his question was incomplete but there it hung. Where was who? His family? His coworkers? Friends? He couldn’t remember. I must have bumped my head, he thought. He rubbed the back of his head, expecting to feel a bump but there was nothing.
Now feeling frustrated in addition to the confusion, Nygel looked up and down the beach in both directions. He looked up at the blazing sun, shrugged his shoulders and began walking north.
After a great deal of walking, Nygel found an encampment. It appeared to be a mining outpost of some kind. A glimmer of hope emerged as he thought to himself, surely I’ll find someone who will trigger my memory and I’ll get to the bottom of this right away!
Sure enough several of the humans recognized him. Some were jovial, others merely nodded if they responded at all. He wandered up to a tiki hut and climbed up the tall human-sized stool to sit. The bar-tender had his back to him so hadn’t noticed his approach. Nygel waited patiently before finally clearing his throat.
The bar-tender turned around, “Nygel! Ahoy mate! Whoa! You look awful. What happened? Where are your companions? I thought you guys were staying in Suresh now. Is everything ship-shape?”
There it was. His ‘companions’… Who were they? How was he going to get information from this buccaneer/bartender without revealing his embarrassing condition?
“Ah, yes, well about that. Uh you see we had a bit of a mishap and…” Nygel focused his sights on some dried jerky and island fruits on a large platter behind the man. “I don’t have my money with me you see…”
The bartender turned to see what Nygel was staring at, then turned back, his eyebrows raised, “Hungry? Oh, no problem mate! You’ve given me and my lads so many pies, I owe ya!” He put the entire platter down in front of Nygel. Big mistake.
After gorging himself to an extent that seemed to defy the laws of physics and simple geometry, Nygel sat back and listened to the old pirate. It didn’t take much prodding to get him to recall some of the many tales that apparently he had shared of himself and his companions. Many of their heroic deeds sounded doubtful, however.
As he listened, Nygel rubbed his very full belly. With his shirt in tatters, his hand passed over his naked skin. Nygel paused. A very concerned looked crossed his face. He rubbed his stomach again but with much more urgency and concern. The man behind the bar paused in mid-laughter at one of his recollections of Nygel’s antics, “What’s wrong? Did you lose something?”
Do you have a mirror I could use please?
“A wha? Uh, oh sure.” He handed him a grungy but functionally reflective polished metal serving dish.
Nygel, not being able to check his own stomach due to his current ample condition, used the make-shift mirror to inspect his stomach. He quickly discovered that he had no belly button.
“What is it? Did you get stung?”
“Uh…. yes… I think, I think I did. May I please have a drink?”
“But you always prefer wine, Nygel.”
“No. I don’t. In fact, give me the entire bottle.”
“Hmph.” The bartender paused then roughly planted the bottle and a small wooden cup in front of him. “You’re actin’ a bit salty, there, Nygel.”
As Nygel poured his drink, he told the pirate, “Now go away.”
The man hesitated. He crossed his arms and the stare-down ensued. Without breaking his gaze, Nygel wiggled his fingers and small ball of greenish-glowing acid floated above his open palm. The contest ended abruptly.
Nygel sat back, reveling in his victory and enjoying (and drinking) what he felt like, was his first trophy. He saw what he wanted and he took it. THAT’S who he was. He heard all of the things the man had claimed. Although many of tales rung true, they didn’t sit well with him. More thoughts came to mind…
Why would I bother going out of my way… risking my LIFE for someone? If it’s true there must have been something VERY good in it for me. These ‘companions’, they sound familiar so I must be somehow tied to them. And what the hell happened to my belly-button? Perhaps I injured myself somehow and magical healing failed to regrow a belly-button. That must be it. This is all so unsettling…
After finishing half of the bottle, Nygel fell out of his stool then quickly stood up and brushed himself off. His thoughts continued as he strolled along the docks.
Well, I am clearly powerful and adept at using magic. I also have many very strong memories of laboring hours and hours over books. Certainly, I must be a wizard. So… where is my spell book? Where. IS. MY. SPELLBOOK!?
He was furious. He must have been robbed. Nobody else was around so it had to be someone here in this small settlement. There was a shop up ahead. A human in robes and a pointy had was haggling with the shop-keeper. An evil grin spread across Nygel’s face.
Many weeks had passed since Nygel “reclaimed” his spell book and gear. He set himself up in a makeshift hut, not far from the pirate-settlement. He quickly got himself back up to speed on his arcane talents and even crafted a few wondrous items for himself.
Although he had managed to recover in many aspects, the mystery of exactly who he was lingered. Many of the clues however, suggested something deeply disturbing. Something that rattled his very soul. Something he was not ready to admit to himself. It was just too upsetting. Too degrading. The only way to fight this feeling was to become more powerful. He must learn more magic. Gain more power. THEN he would be ready but only then.