Rithban’s Moving Tower
After playing his part in the salvation of the world and the return of SAM to his original duties, the wizard Rithban took his towering reward and moved to the western continent to continue his study of magic. At first, he and his tower floated up, down, and all around the continent. He traveled from town to town, trading brief service for the supplies he needed, and moving on before he turned into a fixture, before the locals decided he would be the answer to their every question. It wasn’t convenient, being always on the move, but Rithban would not have himself bogged down in the banal troubles of some local yokel populace.
Then he found Bucketville. The tiny town of backwater hunters was originally an emergency stop for Rithban when he realized too late how low he was on food, but when he came to barter for the necessary supplies, Rithban encountered a populace that looked upon his magic with a mixture of awe and distaste. The people of Bucketville were that stock of proud country folk who believe in taking care of their own problems, but they could not deny that it was useful, from time to time, to have a magical expert around. Rithban found just enough need for his skills to pay for his food. When he returned to his tower, he first set it back on course for his next scheduled stop. Then, a day later, he turned around. He was going to give the stationary lifestyle a try.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
In time, Rithban and Bucketville had a comfortable arrangement. Rithban worked the occasional magic for the town. The townsfolk provided him with the materials he needed and stayed out of his way as he performed unknown experiments in and on the Bucketbog and its sundry denizens. Eventually, however, some folks asked for something more. One family decided it might be worthwhile to have their own witch, and sent a young girl to Rithban in search of apprenticeship. Another family figured the local mage might be able to do something with the son they’d all but given up on. This latter was Tilo Phec. Rithban grudgingly accepted both as his apprentices.
Luckily for Tilo, apprentices proved to be quite useful to Rithban. Both Tilo and Joey-Saphina (the other apprentice) survived the next fifteen years of their lives. During this time, they were worked harder than they’d ever known possible, learned more than they ever knew they wanted to know, and met a host of strange and wondrous people. Rithban, of course, kept in touch with his old comrades. Joey-Saphina and Tilo were there as Castiel learned to harness his human form. They learned about constructs when MEA visited their master, R’bel helped Rithban teach the apprentices about the other forms of magic, and they both sat in awe (and, in Tilo’s case, lust) whenever Valentine stopped by.
Tilo did not remain an awe-struck lowly apprentice. Rithban, despite everyone’s expectations, revealed himself to be a capable mentor, and Tilo revealed himself to be a capable student. Joey-Saphina would ultimately become Rithban’s heir, learning all of the many and varied disciplines he had come to master, but Tilo eventually came to exceed both in the use, repair, and construction of mage-tech devices. Within five years, he was Rithban’s preferred workshop assistant, and within ten his skill in artifice was advanced enough that he was creating his own devices. Tilo created his own goggles, working into them all the essential arcane techniques that he still, for the life of him, could not master – mnemonic tricks, arcane sight, and others. From the moment they were finished, he has never been seen without them. On the day he took them out of the workshop, Rithban recognized him as a wizard in his own right. The goggles are Tilo’s badge of rank, his first creation, and his crutch.
In the last years of his apprenticeship, Tilo made many other devices. Some he made at Rithban’s behest, items to help in experiments or to enhance the tower. Other, Tilo made for himself. His favorite of these inventions, by far, is his grenade launcher “Chuck.” The story, as Tilo loves to tell it, begins with a hunting trip Tilo was dragged along on by his cousin Ike. Ike, the essential Bucketville boy, had both great love for and great aptitude with the crossbow and its use hunting the sundry denizens of the Bucketbog. Tilo was, and still is, a terrible shot. In response to his defenses of “But I was so close!” Ike berated his cousin with the common saying that that only counted in horseshoes and hand grenades. This gave Tilo an idea. Like most of his ideas, it proved quite dangerous. First, he built a horseshoe-launcher, then he built Chuck. Since then. Chuck has been tinkered with, improved, broken, fixed, modified, jury-rigged, converted, reverted, and most other technical-sounding things too. He is Tilo’s best friend, and his second most prized possession in the world.
Despite his aptitude with mage-tech, Tilo remained Rithban’s apprentice. While he excelled in some areas, he still lacked in others, and to this day his magical education is not fully complete. Additionally, he is still a backwards bog boy in many ways – unable to understand the finer points of polite company and, indeed, any way of relating to his fellows other than Bucketville-style comraderie. Still, the backwater tech-mage shows no trepidation at being sent off on the Angel’s Rest. Instead, he’s excited and proud; ready to help Valentine and her crew save the world a second time, save the world himself for the first time, explore this world that he’s saving, have plenty of misadventures in the mean time, and come back with a host of stories to impress the pants off Joey-Saphina. Armed with an array of his own hand-crafted artifacts, surrounded by the greatest heroes he can imagine, and backed by the ostensible trust and support of an idolized mentor, Tilo Phec bristles with the idiot confidence of youth.