The Merchant Who Believed in the Impossible
"No man has had a greater positive effect on his fellow man than that of Gaiden Westmyr. Born and bred by example, he learned the value of the mortal soul and gave all he had to the betterment of his fellow beings, be they human, evolu, or gentre. His sacrifices never ended and his confidence in the potential of a united community lifted hundreds of thousands of people not only out of poverty but literally saved the lives of millions. As a historian, a greater man has never lived, than one who had only his heart and hands to give, and conquered the world for all to share in."
A History of ProvidenceBorn during the fall of 5928s. in a small fishing village off the shores of Whitewater, Gaiden Westmyr grew well known and liked by the peaceful people of the region. He was known to be a respectful child and prone to details and eager to learn. It wasn’t long before he grew into a strong, rugged man with a burning passion to build something extraordinary with his life. Though he loved the community which had taught him the value of a man and the potential of the soul, he wanted more than the life of a fisherman. With a clever mind for trade, coupled with his love for hard work, Gaiden developed his talents as a formidable trapper and developed an honorable reputation as a merchant. The quiet life in the valley of Andilain, however, didn’t satisfy his hidden desire for adventure and to see more of the world.
Gaiden Leaves HomeRumors of war were whispered among the inhabitants of the land. The dark forces of Mahan waged attacked distant lands of the world, seeking to bring all life under his rule. Fear grew in the hearts of humans, looking to the approaching shadows. It was during this time that Gaiden sought to venture into the north country, to discover uncharted lands in search of gold and other valuable ore. The armies of the land would need weapons and armor to protect the innocent from the enemy and Gaiden saw the opportunity in supporting his beloved country. When reports of the enemy attacking Andilan’s eastern shores came to Whitewater, Gaiden took this as a sign. He packed his few belongings, saddled his mule, and headed west to the logging community of Midell. As one of the centers of weapon manufacturing, Midell became a place of learning the craft of metallurgy and fletching. Gaiden worked in the camps of the High King’s harvesters, and quickly learned the value of such resources, but failed to get a toe into the trade markets—all of which were dominated by the King or already the wealthy, established merchants. With his pockets and packs full of supplies, he left Midell and ventured north, his heart always seeking the unknown in hopes of discovering an opportunity to make his unique mark on the world. Living off the land he took to trapping, gathering and then selling furs, leather, cured bone and powdered animal organs to the villages during his journey, saving his finest wares for the Lords of the land. Castle Antheon, Castle Kraken and finally to Hadmin Keep, his heart drawing him further northwest—and eventually into the forbidden woods of the Kraken Steps.
A Near Death OpportunityThe wild woods of the north held a special temptation for Gaiden, always seeking to increase his skills and resilience to nature. The forbidden forests of the north were said to be inhabited by intelligent creatures of great power and cunning. A place where humans dared not travel, for when they did, they did not return. Throwing caution to the wind, Gaiden ventured into the heart of the forest with the intent to dwell there throughout the winter. However, the natives of the forest had other plans. During the blizzards of 5962s Gaiden found himself hunted—forced to flee the Kraken forest and over the treacherous mountain peaks, by giant wolves in hot pursuit. His grit, determination, and intelligence proved to be unequaled, as he avoided and fended off repeated attacks and finally used the sound from a buckhorn to create an avalanche. Throwing himself into a narrow crevice of the mountainside, the snow, rock, and trees tumbled down the mountain face, killing all but the alpha male of the pursuing wolf pack. Digging himself free from the icy grave, Gaiden fled up and over the mountain peaks. This was not the end, however. Late one night, while taking refuge in a cave, Gaiden was attacked by the alpha male. Badly wounded, the beast had followed the human scent. Gaiden retreated into the dank darkness of the cave, armed with only a skinning knife. The giant creature limped in pursuit, snapping and growling with bloodlust, deep into the crevices of the cavern, where it got caught between the plentiful stalagmites. Seizing his opportunity—Gaiden slew the beast with his hunting knife. This act of violence saved Gaiden’s life, providing meat and warmth from the skin of the beast. The sheer size of the animal required several trips to retrieve the portions of the carcass. During one such trip, Gaiden noticed the reflection of his torchlight along the rock wall. Sparkles flickering in the blackness of the cave—which he discovered to be gold.
A New LifeGaiden made the cave his permanent home. It stood above the clouds overlooking the vast Rim Sea to the west. Working long and hard to create a comfortable environment for himself, he fashioned crude tools to mine the precious substance. Before long, Gaiden learned gold was not the only ore hidden beneath the rock of the mountain. Deep within the crevasse of his new found home were traces of enekerc [enna-kirk], a rare ore with finite magical properties. Over time, he gathered copper and iron, constantly developing better tools. With trees and animal dung as abundant fuel, the wild mountain goats, predators and snow provided food and water. As game became scarce, Gaiden descended to the seashore and did what he did best: fish. The chill waters of the Rim Sea held an endless abundance of flesh. Easily caught, dried and brought with him to his cavern home Gaiden feasted upon fish, shark, eel, jellyfish, squid, clams, crab and shrimp, which filled his nets. During the next year, Gaiden repeated his trips to the sea, memories of his youth calling to him. During the warmer season he built friendly relations with scattered families living along the coast, always returning, in the end, to the depths of the mines. The mines opened up to Gaiden as did the sea, copper, brass and iron—a rare commodity within the kingdom, abundant and overflowing, and always a measure of gold, silver and platinum to add to his growing stockpile.
The Wake Up CallDuring the early spring of 5966s. a cave-in wounded Gaiden, breaking his lower leg and nearly suffocating him altogether. Crawling from the rubble, he pinned his leg between a stalagmite and a large rock, and painfully realigned his bones. Fading in and out of consciousness over many days starvation nearly consumed the brave adventurer. It was during this time his mind turned back the sea. Consuming the rest of his food and water, Gaiden crawled for three days and nights, down the mountainside to the shores of the sea. His fevered body was found by friends and nursed back to health. There had to be more than this, was his constant wonder. A way to make more of the abundant life and resources around him. A way to thrive and not wade through life alone. His friends had taken him in, saved his life…and asked for nothing in return. His friendship and previous cooperation during difficult times was enough. With great thanks, Gaiden took his substantial findings of gold, silver and a small bag of enekerc, purchased a horse from the family and decided to return to civilization. It was time to put his thoughts into action. Establishing a household in The City of Andilain, he sought the source of each whisper of war, death and worry for the future. Using an ample gift of gold and silver, Gaiden bought an audience with High King Gaston through the kings advisors. He threw a wondrous banquet, hired singers to praise the great deeds of their Lord, who sacrificed for his people and poets who recalled the prophecies of old, that goods would yet win upon the lands. High King Gaston and Lady Alodia were overcome with the attention, gratitude and the people cheered their benevolent leaders. Gaiden gained great favor in the Kings sight. When asked if there was anything the Kingdom might do in return for this unprecedented kindness—the merchant humbly asked for a meeting among the King and his full quorum of advisors.
Permission to do the ImpossibleGaiden proposed to make a purchase from the King: lands among the western Kraken mountains and the western seashores of Andilain. In exchange for this consideration, a contract would be created to supply weapons and foodstuff to the vast armies of the land for the approaching wars. These supplies would be delivered at greatly reduced prices, currently being paid to other communities, including a substantial tribute each year in honor of the King. Gaiden expressed his love of duty to his country and felt he could help relieve the financial pressures of the kingdom by providing large quantities of food, weapons and armor. His proposal was a complete success. With a dozen architects and nearly a thousand laborers accompanying him, Gaiden returned to the western seashore and began to build the core of Westgaiden, the grandfather of all seaports of the western shores. Within a year, the community was established and people flocked from the valley’s of Andilain to take part in both the thriving fishing community and the soon-to-be-famous mines.
Principles He Lived ByGaiden quickly became known as the ‘impossible thinker’…a merchant willing to bet on the true heart of a man. Though there were setbacks and humiliations, success quickly found Westgaiden, which became the greatest hubs of commerce in the history of Andilain. Gaiden discovered that people were more important that goods, services or profits. That if you lived by example and treated people with honesty, integrity and held every soul accountable for their own actions, one’s influence would grow without compulsory means. To prove this, he established a United Charter, which became a living document between all merchants, military and laborers. A document which held together and saw unequalled prosperity for over 50 years.
Family LifeGaiden eventually married a kind, strong willed women from the south, Shanta Lenman. Daughter of lumber merchant Aldridge Lenman, she found favor in Gaiden’s site when she defended one of the town’s people from her fathers own guards. After a two year courtship, they married in a ceremony which involved the entire city and were sealed by the High King himself. Though Gaiden was over sixty when he wed, he was blessed with two sons and a daughter.
Note:Gaiden Westmyr died at 85 years of age, defending his community with sword in hand as the hordes of Mahan laid waste to his life’s creation and all its inhabitants.