Switch Case Chronicles
The Old Man, or Hermit
Before you a pile of rags stands up and begins to move. What you mistook for a bunch of discarded fabric and junk is actually a man, somewhere between five and six feet, hunched slightly. His face is completely covered, and the only indication that he has a face is two, blinking yellow lights poking out from beneath his heavy hood. The rest of him is covered in an assortment of rags, as if he has been slowly stitching and adding to his green poncho, which forms the majority of the inexpertly patch-work cloak. His hands, rarely seen but wrapped in bandages, grips a long piece of metal, with a strange black candle affixed to the top with bindings. The candle never wavers or burns out, instead providing even perfect light. He walks with a hurried gait, but is prone to stop suddenly and observe things. He speaks as if muffled, and often seems to go off on tangents. His voice sounds rings with a slight mechanical hum, and his infrequent laughs rumble like an engine.
About fifteen years ago, he woke up.
That’s about all he remembers. He woke up, in the wilds, strapped to a machine in a long-forgotten room. He pulled himself off a concrete slab, brushed off the cobwebs and sat. He did this for a few days. He stared at the wall. He counted the cracks in the floor. Eventually he picked up a cloak, wrapped it around himself and left.
Sometime between then and now, he began hearing the voices. Little quiet things, sometimes, other times booming, vicious things with voices that rattled the inside of his brain. He would listen to them, and they would guide him. They helped him find food, supplies, shelter. He helped them whir back to life, to hop and skip and explode if they wanted to. And one fateful time they led him to a group of people.
Scared, haunted little things. Lost out in the wilds, unable to navigate the shifting walls, or the less than friendly spirits that protected them. He followed them for two cycles, watching them stumble, unsure if they would attack him.Eventually, he made contact after realizing they were lost. A trade was offered; take us home, and you will have a home. It was quite awfully tempting. And so he did it.
He lead the lost little things back through the maze to their “Community”. He stayed for a few days, but here the voices were muted. The rumble of human life, the bustle of it all, made it hard for him to focus. So he left.
But every now and then, someone goes missing, or something need be found, or some beast hunted and tamed. Who better than the little old man, quietly searching for something more in the shifting walls? Who claims that dreams guide him, that he hears the voices of the Numenera? He’s a little odd, but he knows the way, he speaks the language of the wilds and understands.
None As Yet.