The truenamer Gidgiddoni began his life in Shadowvale, in one of the high mountain villages above the regional capital, where there is enough moisture at the higher altitudes to sustain the grasses on which small herds of goats are fed. He was a goatherd, and might have remained in the barren slopes of Neebold Mountain, had he not shown a gift as a namer as a young boy. It was before his naming day, when the village wise woman would bring him naked into a sweat lodge, and give him his inner name.
The boy Gid was bright and attentive, and when he heard the wise woman say a word to call a goat down from a hovel roof, he remembered the word, and tried it that next day when he was bringing the little herd to the high grass. The boy did not understand the power of the word, and did not add the proper word for limiting its scope. So all the goats in the herd came to the boy, and not just one, and they did not stop pressing against him, with their eyes strangely turned as if forced against their will.
He ran back to the village crying, and all the villagers laughed and mocked him pointing, as he tried to escape the score of goats huddled against his sides. But the wise woman clicked her tongue and said another word sharply, and at once all the goats were released. She took young Gid by the arm and dragged him into her hut and questioned him.
When she discovered he knew naught of what he had done, she tested him, and then spoke to his father. Gid became her ward, to be instructed by her, so that he might serve his village after her life had ended, or be sent to another village that had no wise man. It was a great future for a young herding boy, but it still would have been a very simple life, compared to the one that Gid ended up living, if he had not stolen a look from the wise woman’s book, the one she consulted only after shooing him out of the hut, the one that he was expressly forbidden to open.(edited)
The one day that Gid returned from gathering herbs for the old woman, and she was not at home, Gid went inside and opened the book, and read silently the words on the pages that he found. Then it seemed as though a force took hold of him, and he was unable to turn away from the book, until he had turned to a cetain page, and committed it to memory. It was just as he was finishing that the old woman entered the hovel, finding Gid in the corner, surrounded completely by a thick darkness that had taken hold of him. She spoke three words, and the darkness vanished, but Gid stood still as if under a compulsion, and it was several hours before he was able to speak or move on his own. Then she knew that something terrible had befallen the boy, and that he needed the guidance and tutelage of the great masters of the college.
The next time the vizier’s taxmen came, six months later, Gid was sent with them down the mountain, to the great city, where he was instructed at the College of Namers. There he was able to find the secrets he thirsted for, the true names of power, and he became prideful in his talents, as he excelled above all the other young namers in the school.(edited)
The young noble’s son Ryston had no patience for a goat-boy who thought himself a great mage, and challenged Gid to a duel. He accepted, and together they marched, with their excited classmates in tow, out to the circle of standing stones in the high desert. There they set the warding circle and began the incantations that would bind them to be harmed in the same manner as either of them harmed the other, for it was forbidden in the college to use any magic that harmed another. Then Gid bade Ryston go first, for as the challenger it was tradition that he begin the duel. Ryston accepted, and began by calling an eagle from the celestial realms, with plumage of silver and gold. This was a great naming, one that the masters had not permitted the students to learn, and all who were present knew that Ryston must have stolen the knowledge from one of the tomes in the library that were forbidden to adepts. Everyone present looked to Gid to concede the duel, for surely he could not do better than Ryston’s eagle.(edited)
But Gid had knowledge that even the masters of the college could not guess, scribed indellibly into his mind by a darkness that had taken hold of him when he was a lad in the wise woman’s hut. “I will summon the lady Shalindria,” he declared, naming the fabled beauty of Shadowvale legend, whose murder had sparked the war with Deep Stone centuries earlier. The other students gasped. Calling the dead was not even possible.
“An empty boast,” Ryston sneered.
But Gid raised his arms and spoke the words he had seen on the wise woman’s page, and a tear in the air around him appeared, and gradually lengthened. All present held their breaths. And then a woman stepped through that tear in the fabric of reality, a spirit so comely and graceful that their hearts stopped even to look upon her. Gid raised his arms higher, in triumph, and she looked at him with eyes full of sadness – and then turned her gaze backward, into the rippling hole, and let out a piercing scream. A black Thing leapt through the hole, clawing its way over her, and then attached itself to Gid’s face, tearing at his flesh.
The other students screamed, and at once the Archnamer, the head of the College, was there in the circle. He spoke words of power, and struck with his staff the black Thing that was attacking Gid. It snarled and cowered, and skulked away into the shadows. He spoke again, and the lady Shalindria retreated back into the hole, weeping, and the rippling edges sealed back together. Gid was taken to the college, where his wounds were dressed and healed, and he slept for several days.
When he awoke, the Archnamer handed him a staff, and told Gid that he was to be banished from the College. “The thing you released into this world is still out there, and we do not believe you can overcome it. But we cannot keep you within these walls, after what you have done. Very likely it is out there waiting for you, and will hunt you. We can give you this staff, some golds, some meager provisions, but that is all. My advice is that you seek the help of the great wyrm Lachoneos.”
Gid looked up sharply, for this was another name he recognized, from the pages he had read in the old woman’s book. It had said Lachoneos was actually the gold dragon’s true name, only reversed. He nodded, raised himself up from his pallet gingerly, and took up the staff, wallet, and pack of water and rations the Archnamer held out to him.(edited)
“Go now quickly, young Gidgiddoni, and do not stop until you come to Dragon’s Reach,” the man told him. He used Gid’s true name, which the lad had never told the Archnamer. At once Gid was filled with strength, and it seemed as though his legs could carry him faster than he had ever been capable of running. He raced out the door of the college, and as it shut behind him, he heard a snarling in the shadows. Gid did not pause to look back at the sound, but ran forward, letting his legs carry him out of the city and through the sandstone hills. He reached the shores of the Eastern Sea in only two days, and pressing his wallet of coins into a fisher’s hands, leapt into the man’s small boat and cast off into the sea. As the southeasterly wind caught the sail, Gid dared to look back for the first time, and saw the wad of inky darkness pause at the shore, and then drop into the water to follow him.(edited)
Gid called the wind, and then bound the fibers of the sail, the mast, and the boat tightly together with each of their names, so that they would not break apart under the force of the gale he summoned. The little boat leapt across the water, and Gid directed the wind to drive him forward, always staying within sight of the shoreline. Within a week he could see the broken buttes and thin ridges of the long rock formations that legend said had been gouged in the land by massive claws. “How fitting,” he mused, “that the most ancient of dragons should take its roost here.” He could see young wymlings afar off, riding thermals and chasing one another through gaps in the ridges. Gid continued onward, sailing into the darkness of the night and then into the first rays of morning. He had not slept at all that night, and was beginning to lose consciousness, when he spied a darkness behind him on the water, which immediately brought his mind awake. He called anew upon the winds, and at once there was a massive force of air all around him, more powerful than any he could have summoned. He looked up and saw the sky filled with the coils of a colossal serpentine dragon.
“What evil have you brought to my home, baby man,” the dragon spoke, his words like the roar of a hurricane.(edited)
“Soenohcal,” Gid called out, binding the dragon to him. The massive beast roared, but Gid did not look up further. His eyes were upon the inky black thing that was jumping through the waves of ocean spray thrown up by the dragon. It seemed to ignore the dragon completely, intent only on reaching him. “Soenohcal, you will destroy this black Thing!” Gid yelled, as he watched it reach the edge of the boat. The great gold dragon roared again, and at once the boat, the young namer, and the inky black creature were consumed in a golden burst of hot radiant light.
When Gid recovered, everything was blackness. He could feel the boat under him, and he could hear the lapping of the waves, and the calling of the gulls in the air. His skin stung and peeled like it had been exposed to an intense fire. He knew the black Thing was no more, but now he had a new constant companion of darkness. It was many many years before Gid found his way back to human habitations. In that time, he learned to survive without his sight, and how to use his True Sight to guide him. He did not know why the dragon had allowed him to live. But he never spoke the great wyrm’s name again, for the remainder of his days.