Derwindt Codswoddle

A very young bumpkin with a divine spark


Derwindt Codswoddle was the unplanned child of Gooch and Tawdry Codswoddle – poor, ne’er-do-well farmers of the Breland countryside who had a habit of drinking, smoking and partying rather than taking proper care of their meager plot (or their child). Tawdry died of drink when Derwindt was only a year old. One day when Derwindt was 6, a joyous band of religious devotees came through their countryside, proselytizing for the magical, spiritual secrets of prosperity they had discovered through the prophecies of their leader, Lightbringer Tig, a charismatic gnome from Zilargo who claimed to have had miraculous visions from Kol Korran. Relief from the effects of the Last War, peace for the world, and wealth and ease were promised to those who would charitably donate to the cause; even more to those who’d give the group their worldy possessions to follow him, spreading his message from town to town (and doing all his subsistence work). Pretty females too poor to give were not discouraged; rather, they were told of Tig’s deepest visions from Arawai that promised the greatest reward to those who would share his bed rather than their coinpurses. The less credible mostly noticed how quick the group were to skip town without a trace whenever anyone started asking too many questions, and thinking how often gnomes could have magic charms in addition to just personal ones.

“A life of party friends, orgies and no more farmwork? That’s for me!” thought Gooch, who promptly cashed in all he owned but his smoking pipes and juggling sticks. “Just don’t let the boy in on the scam; kids can say anything!” Derwindt was dragged away from school knowing only how to read, and into a life of cleaning pots and hempen clothes, and street begging in the name of the Lightbringer. He read on his own of adventure stories and feats that paladins and clerics had done in the Host’s name, but as he matured and became more worldly wise, he felt the confusion of how little this cult seemed to actually accomplish, versus the lies with which he had been raised from an early age.

Then came his 18th year.

As the group fled another town, in a closer call than most times before (Derwindt always being told that a new vision had revealed to Tig that the group must get him to the next place of preaching right away), Gooch chanced to be crit-hit with a crossbow bolt and fell. Derwindt rushed to help him, and in his panic, he felt some strange power rise up in him. He didn’t know what to make of it when he felt the healing power float through is fingers to close up the wound where he had just pulled out the bolt. Few noticed all this in the rush, but when Gooch told the Lightbringer of it in amazement, Tig’s eyes narrowed. He began to notice Derwindt in new ways. Occasional times when a room with just a candle would seem oddly brightly as Derwindt worked late nights to finish everyone’s extra laundry. Or when some group members would start gravitating toward Derwindt’s soothing ways. Easily-swayed people who might respond to genuine compassion. And as Tig observed, he felt this boy was a danger.

It wasn’t difficult for a Zilargo gnome as clever as he to manufacture proof that Derwindt had been stealing from the group’s gold stash. Now that the boy was 18, Gooch was easily convinced that it was time for him to make his own way in the world and earn forgiveness from Tig if he ever dared to come back (“Which I’ll never let happen”, Tig thought). It was Derwindt’s word against his. The scales fell from Derwindt’s eyes, especially about his father’s mere desire to be a scammer all along. He was glad enough to leave these thieves and bounders, hoping only that one day his father would change his ways.

Derwindt was left with nothing, and nowhere to go. He made his way to the next town he could find, begged for a bit, and found some solace at the local temple of Dol Arrah and the Sovereign Host. There he surprised himself by feeling a deeper calling to understand his connection to the Host’s faith and power. He began to realize he could control the divine magics he was manifesting and determined to try to do some good in the world with them, to make up for the ugly things the cult had done in the Host’s name. After a few weeks of shelter and getting some equipment from the temple elders in return for simple labor, he made his way into the world, without specific destination, but with great sense of purpose. Stepping out across the temple threshold, he could have sworn he heard something on the wind whisper “Go forth, and spread the true face of the Light!”…

Derwindt Codswoddle

Reflections of the Last War davidefisher