Echoes and Shadows
Briston's resident arcanist; a recluse who seems to be living in a self-imposed exile.
Mendel speaks seldom to any of the townsfolk, and he says little when he does. Who knows what he did for the first sixty years of his life, prior to his arrival to Briston and his magically-enhanced overnight construction of a black stone tower at the edge of town? Most likely, he was some sort of adventurer in his past life—how else to explain his powerful magics and store of enchanted trinkets? But Mendel prefers to communicate with the townsfolk only by means of grunts and stern looks, so the truth about his past is likely to remain a mystery. For the requisite fee, Mendel will cast the spell to mend a broken leg or question the spirit of a dead aunt about a sticky inheritance issue or to drive the hornworms from a tomato patch; just don’t expect him to be too friendly about it.
Mendel pursues his solitary studies in his tower and seldom leaves for any reason. He shares the tower with his servant, Dmitri, whose identity and history are as cryptic as those of the master. Mendel does not encourage visitors, but he doesn’t actively discourage visitors, either, with the result that townsfolk can come to him with requests for a ritual and he will fulfill those requests, however grudgingly. If there is one person in town who has any kind of real relationship with Mendel, it is the inventor Giotto; the two of them meet for chess every week. But the otherwise garrulous Giotto remains quiet when questioned on the subject of this friendship, if that is indeed what it is.
The members of the Academy of the Arcane Arts hint that Mendel has some connection with the disgraced Thomas Iggins. The members will not say much more than this, seeing as how talk of Thomas Iggins and his crackpot theories is taboo at the Academy. It is pursuit of this lead, however, that our heroes have arrived in the small town of Briston, walking towards the dark stone pillar that stands alone at the farthest limit of the settlement.
Mendel appears to be in his late middle years (but who can truly say with wizards?). He favors simple, heavy black robes whose sleeves and fronts are often dusty with chalk and stained by the components of unguessable rituals. While he crops his hair and beard close, he always manages to be several days away from a shave, with white stubble studding his scalp and jowls. His eyebrows are furrowed into a scowl as often as not, either in concentration or consternation.