Mercutio Tarrante was born in a small village named Diro, to the family of a local blacksmith. He was the youngest of fifteen children, and therefore had no real responsibilities in the family. Furthermore, his parents were fairly liberal, and encouraged their children to pursue a variety of interests, leaving the young man to choose his own lot in life.
Mercutio, as the youngest child, had a pretty easy life. He dreamed of one day becoming a warrior, like his brother, Veryl, or serving as a knight in the Prince's army. Although he was only of average strength and physique, he possessed a wit that was unparalleled in Diro; and it was generally accepted that he would grow to be a cunning warrior.
The Tarrantes, like most of the people in the village, were faithful servants of the lightning God, Solanari. So, on the night of the first full moon of 509, they gathered (along with the families of Gerald Junior, Elisabeth, Desiree, Iago, Naomi, and Dustin) to celebrate Feastday, singing praises to the Lord of Thunder. The festivities were well underway, and dusk was approaching, when Mercutio's father told him to go to the shed to get fuel for the lamps.
At that moment, a rogue black dragon entered the village, destroying houses and killing innocent villagers. Alas, the Tarrante household lay directly in the path of the serpent. Everyone in the family (with the exception of Oenone, whom nobody had seen for years, and Mercutio) was killed, before a traveling wizard named Archinus could drive the dragon away.
Archinus was staying at a local inn (not the one run by Naomi and her husband) on his way to Kaeran, and took pity on Mercutio. He took the boy into his keeping and began to teach him the art of Conjuration.
The young man studied for five years under the harsh tutelage of Archinus. He learned the art of cantrips, the seven Signs of the fae, the Runes of Solaer, the Words of Spoken Power. He studied history, and reading, and writing, and spellcraft. He memorized incantions, gesticulations, ruminations, and meditation. He conjured, he summoned, he enchanted.
And, eventually, he got bored.
Archinus was a good master and all, but Mercutio tired of hours of practice and study. Where were the adventures he had dreamed of so long ago? When was he going to set out to fight evil-- to avenge his family? Archinus, sensing that nothing could quell the boy's wanderlust, gave Mercutio permission to adventure. "This does not mean that your study is over," he warned. "Far from it. But from now on, experience will be your Master. If you ever need help with a particular Sign, or to borrow a pinch of thyme, return to my abode. Until that time, may Solinari go with you."
Mercutio waited until the day after Feastday to leave. He had no idea where he was going to go anyway, and it seemed a shame not to spend one last holiday with Archinus. So it was, that at dawn the morning of Maler 30th, 514, Mercutio Tarrante (along with his dog, Trafalgar) went off to find adventure.
Needless to say, the young conjurer discovered that adventure is pretty hard to find. He met three other men, about his age, around Kaeran, however; an elf, a druid, and a warrior. They, too, were new adventurers, so it seemed like a wise idea to join forces (they had to explain the concept a few times to the druid) in case they did find any trouble.
It wasn't long before trouble found them ...