Grigor "Grisha" Burya
It was a dark and stormy night…
Actually, that’s not true. It was actually a perfectly clear day without a cloud in the sky. Grigor’s mother, Devora, very pregnant with Grigor at the time, was out at the market, intending to bring home food for dinner. But it was not to be. A bolt of lightning struck Devora out of the clear blue sky. The local midwife, who also happened to be at the market that day, rushed over to try to save Devora. She was already dead, but the midwife was able to save Grigor, cutting him from Devora’s womb.
Grigor’s father, Stepan, was never the same after that, people would say. Although he was glad that his third son had survived, he also held some resentment towards Grigor for being the one that survived.
As Grigor grew, he was more or less raised by the town. His father and older brothers were all shiphands on merchant vessels and spent long stretches of time at sea. His grandparents were long deceased. Generally life was good, at least until Grigor turned 12.
Grigor’s twelfth birthday was just as bright and clear as the day he was born (which, on both occasions, was quite a rare occurrence). Walking through the market, just as his mother had been, he was struck by lightning again. Unlike his mother, however, he was not killed. He was not even knocked to the ground. Instead, winds started to swirl around him. The merchants and others in the market looked on in shock. Several screamed and fled. After a moment, the winds subsided, and Grigor collapsed, unconscious.
Grigor awoke in the house of Vladlena, one of the town elders. As he awoke, Vladlena explained what had happened. Grigor was at a loss. How could he have survived a second lightning strike? How was he unlucky enough to be struck in the first place? Vladlena explained that it was a sign. Once every five generations in that village, a child was born as Grigor had been, and had the ability to control the weather. Some could do even more. They were called Stormborn.
Grigor was in shock. He had no desire to control the weather. He just wanted a normal life. He ran from the house and into the woods, hiding and sobbing. Later that day he wandered back into town. He returned to Vladlena, and asked her to tell him more of the history of the Stormborn. He spent the rest of the evening listening, trying to absorb as much information as possible. Sadly for him, there was not much beyond rumor and superstition.
As he grew up, Grigor began to control some of the power he had. First, he found he could summon a small whirlwind in the palm of his hand. Then a small thunderstorm, complete with lightning. He was able to make small breezes, and eventually create faint odors and other equally useless (in his mind) effects.
More power came with other ill effects, however. Foremost, Grigor began to suffer from a recurring nightmare. The details were always a little fuzzy upon waking up, but it involved a large body of water and he felt that it was a bad omen. Additionally, the other children in the town were less than accepting. They would tease him relentlessly. One in particular would sic his dogs on Grigor, causing him to flee in terror.
As he neared his 16th birthday, his powers had grown fairly substantially and had become well known. His father returned home one day and announced that Grigor would be a sailor. His father had secured a contract with the local shipping company for Grigor to travel on the ships when he came of age (16), providing some measure of safety against bad weather and other hazards on their journeys.
Grigor had no intention of becoming a sailor, and his heart sank when he heard this. He had come to love drawing and painting during his escapes to the woods, and he had hoped he could make some use of that for a career. His father was adamant, however.
The night before his 16th birthday, Grigor once again had his nightmare. Waking in the middle of the night in a sweat, he decided he would run.
Although he hated the idea of sailing, that was the only way out of his village. So, he stowed away on a boat leaving at dawn that was destined for several cities to trade.
Grigor snuck off in the first city the ship made port in. Wide-eyed in a large city for the first time in his life, he was a bit overwhelmed. Fortunately, a cleric walking by noticed his confusion and offered him a room for the night.
The cleric’s name was Zook, Grigor found out over dinner. Grigor explained his story and Zook suggested that he look into apprenticing to the Guild of Cartographers, Surveyors, and Drafters. It seemed like a good fit, allowing Grigor to make a living in a way he would probably enjoy.
Grigor thought that was an excellent idea. The next day the pair went to the guild hall. Zook made the necessary introductions and vouched for Grigor (in the name of his order). After an extensive interview, Grigor was allowed to apprentice.
For years, Grigor studied and practiced. He worked his way from an apprentice to a Journeyman. Throughout this time, he was able to travel and see much of the world (though still never set foot on a ship unless he absolutely had to). Throughout this time, Grigor practiced his magic and discovered several new tricks along the way.
Then the Second Apocalypse War came. Grigor avoided conscription, but was not able to progress as a journeyman on the normal guild timeline. After the war, he had his opportunity. According to the guild rules, a journeyman had to complete a Masterwork project in order to be declared a master.
With news that an entirely new plane had been discovered connected to their own, Grigor saw his opportunity to create a truly worthwhile masterwork: a master’s map of the new plane. The guild leaders agreed to release him from his other duties and sent him off on his masterwork quest.