When Janus Winthwil’s powers manifested, a time when boys become young men, he became persecuted by the two major forces in a young man’s life: his peers, students from other families and individuals in his own family.
Janus’ latent destructive powers provoked ridicule among his fellow adolescents- scorn wrought from their obvious fear of him, while at home Janus’ family sought to exploit his abilities for political gain in the Hall of Voices. In his mind Janus was always at conflict- one good side, one evil; it was how he coped with the angst and struggles of a teenager.
Now after the winter solstice and decades separated from his turbulent youth Janus ‘Bad Penny’ Winthwil for the first time feared for his life. There was an intellect at large, something alien and terrible beyond reality. He knew this because it seemed that reality was being remade; not wholesale alternity but subtle changes that served as a dire warning.
Janus Winthwil stood in the marketplace near the Cinder Block and considered at length the choice before him; he was in dire need of physical protection and therefore was in the market for a strong warrior, one who would not be easily swayed by telepathic suggestion.
A recently arrived trade ship from one of the continents came burdened with a cargo of spice, raw ivory and a single surviving slave for the Habibs. Fortunately for Janus the Habib brothers were dead so their wares became goods for public auction…
The Powell was the best hunter in his tribe, a fine catch for any of the revered women of the costal aborigines. Powell was handsome by tribal standards- good stock, a cunning hunter, and the most talented druid along the sea coast until a curse transformed Powell into a strange beast-man.
Exiled from his tribe he was eventually captured by slavers and taken to Stormhaven where he stands watching Janus Winthwil watching him…
“I have arranged for your freedom in exchange for a service.” Janus explained to the Powell.
“You mean slave.” The Powell said flatly.
“No I mean service. When the threat to my life is gone I will no longer require your… company.” Janus said. Then added, “You do not want to be around my ‘other side’, trust me.”
But before Powell could inquire as to what Janus spoke a powerful mental shock-wave flowed over them like an invisible weighted net.
“They are here!” Janus exclaimed, his voice the color of panic.
From the direction of the Cinder Block terrible sounds came rolling out like an avalanche of dying screams. Brain creatures leaped and bounded like vicious marsupials trying to nest in the brain matter of Janus.
The Powell beat and pummeled protecting Janus until finally he became exhausted and collapsed to the ground. Powell looked up and saw what looked like an old bearded wizard falling form the sky, the man crash landed next to him, and moved to help Powell onto his feet just in time to beat back another brain.
"I am Aldarr." The old wizard said. "Go! I will ensure your escape, escort your master and be gone."
Sudden strength surged though Powell giving him renewed health and vigor; turning he grabbed Janus, and fled into the city leaving the alien horrors behind. He had failed to notice that the strange wizard had slipped a ring onto one of his bestial fingers.