Dragonriders of Masai
Everyone's favorite magic item salesman.
Title: Cross-continental Magic Shop Owner
A colorful character, Hartford stands at six foot tall, draped in silken robes that somehow avoid being flashy. His short tussle of dyed blonde hair, soft blue eyes, and delightfully pouty smile always attract him customers, to say nothing of his helpful attitude. Hartford loves doing business, equipping all with enough coin and making sure they look good while they do it. His left arm, once flesh and bone, is now a magically articulated metal.
His familiar, as all good wizards have a familiar, is a judgmental poodle by the name of Brutis. Hartford keeps him well trimmed, with fur as soft as lamb’s wool.
He is hardly ever seen without Ameliar, someone he looks to with great fondness. Supposedly they came to know each other early in life, where he picked her up in his adventures. They are inexplicitly linked, even magically…
When Zila and Jathal came upon Hartford, it was in his two-story shop in Caelfall. With the advent of a massive Colossi beaching itself in the town, there were few others who were actually open. After spending a good amount of coin and having a mishap with Sylvia attempting to steal something, and he offers to shelter to them and then ‘aid’ them in hiding Lila.
They explore the Colossi, spend a few nights relaxing and enjoying each other’s company, before they set out. Given Ameliar and Zila’s fondness for one another, it was inevitable that they would meet again. Sending him off with a necklace that could send cliplets of memories to the person who bore a similar one, the pair set off on their quest.
Until Zila sent flashes of his memory of a miasma filled Oasis to Ameliar. He urged them to take action, not knowing what else to do in the event that it should spread and infect their own continent. Hours passed without a response. Then flashes of memories, the last of which Hartford teleporting away, then returning with one less arm. After this, their transmissions stopped…
Until after a massive beam of necrotic energy struck down Blackthorne Isle. On their trip to a magic item shop in Surkesh, Ameliar attempted to shadow the pair before being caught. She told them that her and Hartford were safe, if not distant, and that they should take care in continuing as the Amarosi are behind the most recent attack. She leaves via a strange transportation spell and the pair depart.
Until Breath rises from the depths of Surkesh’s quarry and from the Wormborne tunnels. Desperate, Zila attempts to contact Ameliar, though is surprised when Hartford answers. He asks if they want to leave, and then when they respond with a yes they teleport away.
Hartford’s true home, it seems, is on Sigmund’s Watch, a skycity in Morthain.
Hartford welcomes them into his home and explains that they must speak with the Convocation, a group of esteemed leaders in the forsaken community that lives in the Breath. He offers them rooms in his home as a base of operations. With the weight of the world now on their shoulders, they must gather their godly artifacts lest the world be consumed entirely by Breath. With the help of F’sh, they get on their way.
When they return to Hartford’s home with Breathward Masks in tow, they ask him for his help in bolstering their effectiveness. Using much of his power, he boosts them into nigh usable quality overnight… at the cost of his age? Looking like a husk, he goes back to his room and lays down for a rest. Only Zila sees him in this way, though Ameliar swears that he’ll be fine. White hair, pale skin, and barely breathing, Brutis pushes Zila back out the door and lays at his masters side.
Last they knew, he was still sleeping.