Sheriff John lit his pipe and pulled out his watch. The heavy gold pocket watch showed half past four. It always showed half past four because it was broken. With a sigh, he held the watch up to his ear and shook it, wound the stem, which was also busted, and put it back in his vest pocket. Citizens of Bree would regularly inquire why the sheriff carried a broken watch and he would reply that a dragon trod on it.
Cornwall was late again. The sheriff wouldn’t admit it to his face, but he liked the old wizard, even though he was annoying, unreliable, and extremely odd. Sheriff John passed the time by setting up the carved stone pieces on the game board. Ents and dragons was his favorite game. He always played ents, never dragons. He remembered his mother’s advice not to play with dragons.
The door burst open and in swept Cornwall the Odd accompanied by a gust of wind and a small pile of leaves.
“If you don’t close that door, I’ll be using this broom on your head instead of the leaves you’ve dragged in!”, Mya Stormcrow yelled at the old man.
Cornwall only shrugged and pushed the door closed gently. He danced a little gig across the floor of the Dead Pony Inn, blew Mya a kiss, and pulled his chair out from the table. With an elaborate flourish of his cap, he dusted the chair off and sat down lightly.
“Don’t you dare insinuate that my chairs are dirty!”, Mya remarked.
Sheriff John chuckled at the banter between the two. Mya had a sharp tongue but a soft spot in her heart for the old man.
He looked at Cornwall and was relieved. The old man stared back with a twinkle in his eyes. Good, thought Sheriff John. His eyes look clear and he’s not as shabby as he was yesterday. This is a good day for the old wizard. The sheriff had known the wizard for over twenty years, ever since he wandered into the town of Bree, a stranger to these parts and lost in his own mind.
Cornwall began his usual ritual by pulling out a long clay pipe and then patting his pockets. The sheriff counted to twenty, chuckling to himself, and then pulled out a pouch of tobacco for his friend.
The wizard smiled, nodding his head, and loaded the pipe. With a quick flick of his fingers, he summoned a small flame from the air. The sheriff watched as it landed in the pipe bowl, amazed at the ease the wizard called forth fire from the ether. Sometimes it was not so easy. On occasions, the old man was either too drunk or cloudy minded that the flame would miss his pipe bowl and land in the wizard’s sagebrush beard.
To say Cornwall the Odd was unkempt would be kind, filthy to be more accurate. On his bad days, he was unpleasant to be near. Food stained robes and stinking of onions and ale, were often his trademark. On days he was clear headed, the old man made some obligatory passes with a washcloth and dragged a comb across his tangle of wild, gray hair.
Mya came round with a tankard of ale for Cornwall and a mug of hard cider for the sheriff.
“Your hut’s been scratching around Agnes Gum’s flower bed again…”
“Really? How do you know it was my hut?”, the wizard replied.
“Well, unless someone else in Bree owns a two story chicken legged hut with a blue door…:
“Ha! It couldn’t have been my hut! My door’s indigo!”
Sheriff John nearly fell off his chair.
The wizard looked at the board with a twinkle in his eye, “Ents and dragons! I think I’ll be the dragons…let’s play.”
It was going to be a good day.
Notes about Cornwall the Odd
Besides his disheveled appearance, Cornwall is quite an interesting and powerful character. But something’s gone wrong with the old wizard. Long ago in addition to acquiring his chicken legged hut from a nasty old witch, he gained a curse.
Cornwall’s ability ebbs and flows in an unpredictable fashion on a daily basis. In game terms, his ability level on any given day is 2d6 levels of magician. On days his level is 7+ he has ‘good’ days. His mind is clear and wits are sharp. On days he is less than 7th level, he becomes progressively more feeble minded and unreliable. His spell points will change according to his current level. The spells he can cast are always quite expansive. He knows all known spells, but on his ‘bad’ days he will need to rummage through the chicken hut searching for his spell books.
The witch’s curse has taken quite a toll on the poor wizard. He tries to remedy his fog shrouded mind with liberal doses of ale or any other liquor available. Cornwall, on a good day, can be a great resource of arcane knowledge and may even offer bits of knowledge to those who ask. Woe to anyone who leaves magic items for him to research. They are often misplaced or cast aside during one of his episodes.
Besides living in a chicken legged hut that has a penchant to scratching around Agnes Gum’s flowerbed, Cornwall has a pet pig. Portus is a 300 lb black and white boar that regularly trots into the Dead Pony Inn to fetch a bucket of ale for his master.
The wizard has few real friends other than the sheriff and Mya Stormcrow. Most townsfolk just think he’s an odd duck and give him space, but they have a fondness for the old magician for he has earned his keep in Bree in the past. Rumors are rampant in the countryside of a powerful magician that protects the small town. The townsfolk only pray that if trouble comes again to Bree, Cornwall the Odd will be having a good day.