Words are wrought in the mouths of children, and tempered by the mouths of the old
Madder was young, once, the embers of his eyes once burnt bright with enthusiasm as he poured over books, and parchments. From an early age he had a great desire, as he said at his fifth birthday, to know all the things that could be known and a few that couldn’t. This lust for knowledge drove him to the temple of Bharnarol during his teenage years, and this would become his home for the rest of his life, all forty-one years of it from the age of thirteen.
Although driven by the sheer desire to know, and a voracious appetite for books, his true love was tinkering; in fact, it was here that his first magical talent, thought to be Bharnarol’s intervention itself, perhaps, manifested: while never being very good with fiddly mechanics themselves, he’d made a dancing automation by accident. It was made of some matchsticks, springs, gears and glue, and the way it pranced about his desk made him laugh, heartily; which shocked the man he was studying under at the time.
While he was at the academy, he got a letter from home; it was from home, his father was dying, and his mother was ill. Given leave of absence, he rushed to the village, but was too late, and both were in the grave when he arrived. He never forgave himself for that; being unable to say goodbye, even briefly, turned him more insular than ever. He completed his academy course, completing a thesis on the art of channeling, and returned to the temple. He wasn’t heard to laugh much, after that.
His performance in the academy being noted as keen, but poor on paper, the Temple was really the only remaining feasible option. During that time he studied alchemy, and perfected divine alchemy; this, and his ability to channel frequently and in a targeted manner garnered much praise. His response to this was modest, to say the least – he was a fervent believer in practise and faith, and those were the two bottles in his Bharnarol symbol.
Time moved on, as it did, and gradually Madder faded somewhat into the background of the Temple – he got to share an office, with his own desk, while outside his door prodigies and wise men and scholars brilliant ground him down, day by day.
He is a tired, aging man. His hair is greying from stress, as there are many who need babysitting in the temple of the agathion: geniuses of the mechanical,who forget house keys and underwear, prodigies, with their noses in the air, who are liable to get jumped sooner or later, and students and unfaithful all need guidance; both geographical and spiritual. He no longer wonders at the mysterious constellations of the high priestess, nor the flickering lights of the many candles, nor even the library, with its many thousands of books. The burning coals inside his eyes have dimmed, almost to embers.
But, and this is an important but; those embers have not been snuffed, as so many do. Even now, even beneath the sulleness and the grumpiness, the cynicism and the misanthropy, there’s still the young boy in there, lusting after the knowledge of everything in the universe. And a little bit more.