Black Staff, Wanderer, Hand of Fate, Second Witness
God of Fate and Magic
Symbol: A black staff or rod
The legends tell us that Gudmund, son of Arkon, betrayed his brother Trond. In punishment for his crime, Arkon sentenced his son to wander the lands until he had made penance. There are many lesser tales of the lonesome Wanderer throughout Eria and the North, but the most important is that of the Second Witness.
Throughout the ages, Gudmund's body has died several times, but each time his soul -- barred entrance to the Underworld -- has been born into a new body. Upon coming of age, these incarnations have all succumbed to the the restless life dictated by Arkon's curse. At the end of the 11th Century of Enlightenment, William Blackstaff of Pendrell, the final incarnation of Gudmund, was officer on a merchant vessel en route to Freeport on the Western Isles. The ship was blown off course in a terrible storm, and it finally foundered off Dragon's Tomb Point on the Forsaken Coast. Among the survivors was also Frank da Cola -- later to ascend to godhood as the Three Dark Men: Morfeus, Lord of Nightmares; Geminon, Lord of the Cross-roads and Shaitani, the Drowned Man.
What follows is from William Blackstaff's testimony before the Pendrellian Admiralty's Shipwreck Committee in Decadum, 997 YE:
"That day we came upon the remnants of some ancient civilization, and at night we sought shelter in a ruined fortress in the foothills. Here we discovered a gate of massive silver, barred with arcane seals form the outside, leading into the very mountain itself. An argument erupted among the survivors, where many wanted to open the gate so as to gain access to the riches that must be hidden behind. It was my distinct understanding that such a barrier would not have been employed to keep anyone out, but rather to keep something in.
[...] it had now become clear that none of the survivors would respect my authority, and that they had all become blinded by greed. On that basis I then decided to set out for the civilized world on foot.
From my vantage point in the mountain, I could now follow the events after the seals had been broken. From within it's mountainous prison a great dragon came forth [...] killing everyone in short order, until but two stood alive before it. Hereupon Thurn fired his pistol at the great beast, causing it to pause. Immediately after, Mr. da Cola murdered bosun Thurn with a shot from his own pistol, and subsequently knelt before the dragon."
William Blackstaff spent two years crossing the Wild on foot before he reached Livonia, and later Pendrell, and could relate these fateful events to the rulers of man. The dragon's release is that selfsame event now referred to as The Breaking of the Seal, and it was also that which set Gudmund on his path to apotheosis. This path would lead him to travel to worlds beyond Argos. Together with da Cola, he also faced the dragon in battle, and it was him who slew the great wyrm. It was also he who brought Morfeus the heart-stone that allowed the Lord of the Nightmares to rebuild the White Tower after the War of Fate.
The name Blackstaff has two meanings, and here we can indeed see the evidence of Fate. The family-name Blackstaff is one of old Pendrellian origin, and it was into this bloodline Gudmund was reincarnated at the end of the Third Age. He would later come to bear the Staff of Fate, given him by the Living Prophet right before his death -- this great artifact is indeed an ancient black staff.
Gudmund is revered by merchants, magicians, sailors, adventurers and those who are dependent on luck, and he is a staunch enemy of the Servants of the Deep.
The Legend of Trond
The Pantheon of Argos
[Picture source: Jeffrey Jones]