World in Flames
Mother Theresa as played by Burt Reynolds
Shamus’s ancestral family, the Shimmershield clan, was a well-respected Dwarven clan. His household created some of the most powerful magical items in the world, and their techniques in the forge were peerless. The clan leader during the time of the Wyrm War was Shawn Shimmershield, of whom Shamus is a direct descendant. He was obsessed with his own appearance. He spent hours each day grooming his beard and receiving baths and massages from his servants. The rest of the time, he was hard at work at his forge, creating enchanted arms and armor. He was the most handsome Dwarf of all the clans, but he could not find any women amongst the Dwarves to be beautiful enough to take as a wife. This made him a very lonely man.
However, he met a Halfling woman who was even more beautiful than he. He was instantly captivated and envious. Try as he might, he had reached his “beauty ceiling”. There was no elixir or cream capable of making him attractive enough to earn her hand. So, he decided to make a Deal With The Devil. He approached the Silver Wyrm, asking for the knowledge of an enchantment that could make him beautiful enough to win the Halfling’s heart. In exchange, he would give the Wyrm his offspring to serve in its army.
The Wyrm, in its cleverness, saw this as an opportunity. He gave him the knowledge of an enchantment that would provide this ability, but he deceived the Dwarven lord. He taught him how to make a blade that would suck the beauty and youthfulness from the blood of its victims, and grant it to its wielder. However, this blade only made the man more beautiful when seen in a reflection – in fact, it only provided him with the ability to charm anyone in its presence. Truthfully, the weapon made its wielder uglier with each death, unbeknownst to the wielder.
Shawn Shimmershield became a murderous tyrant, and didn’t even know it. He killed thousands of innocent beautiful youths. He found himself to be even more attractive during the long periods of time he spent gazing at himself in the mirror. Everyone around him was apparently enthralled by his majesty, even his old rivals. And of course, the beautiful Halfling fell head-over-heels for him. But even that did not satiate his thirst. He kept slaying, and he started spending more and more time gazing at his own reflection. Eventually, he died of dehydration after an eight-day marathon of narcissistic enthrallment. It is said that in his last moments, the Wyrm removed the enchantment to show him what he had truly become – a rotting husk of a being, disgusting in form and a horror to behold.
At least, that’s what the fable based on his story says. In recent times, the tale has lost some of its truth and exaggerated parts. It has become a bedtime tale cautioning against narcissism, but Shamus knows the full truth. His ancestor killed at least 10,000 beings in cold blood, becoming one of the Wyrms’ best agents in the war. His betrayal of his own kind truly symbolizes the worst of what the Wyrms saw in their creations. His offspring became a part of the Gnomish army created by the Wyrms.
Shamus hates his ancestor for cursing him and his parents (and his parents’ parents, etc.). However, he also pities him for the own curse he received – the curse of beauty. As a Paladin, he champions the cause of humility and modesty, but he is slowly beginning to lose his appreciation for beauty in any sentient form. He still finds beauty in, say, a fine spring sunrise, but he sees attractiveness as a glitch in mankind’s programming. “What is it? What purpose does it serve in society? It serves no practical purpose other than to unfairly punish those who are deemed to lack it and unfairly reward those who are deemed to posses it. How is that just?”
At this point, Shamus is essentially a missionary. He promotes humility and modesty by example, not preaching. Because of this, he was quite content (until recently, that is) with his status – a slave to a reputable Dwarven craftsmen in the Canyon. As an apprentice, his service included working the billows, carrying tools, and delivering goods. However, his natural (and probably genetic) aptitude as a blacksmith caused him to create some very nice pieces of his own.
Usually, this is enough for a master to dismiss his slave, partly in reward for his merit and partly in fear of being overshadowed. However, Shamus’s master saw something special in him, and chose to reveal a secret of his – he was a necromancer who worshiped the Black Wyrm and sought to learn how to enchant armor with the power of black magic. He offered to take Shamus in under his wing as a initiate in the Order of the Black.
Of course, Shamus would have no part in it, and fled. He managed to escape, but his master played it off as releasing him to go develop his talent to save his own reputation among the other clans. This was the start of Shamus’s missionary wanderings. He now earns a living by serving as a bodyguard or as a support member for mercenary groups.