The Silver Marches
Meriak "The Ears"
Ghostwise Halfling Cleric/Wizard
Meriak is a 55 year old Ghostwise halfling. He stands a mere 3 feet tall (not unusual for halflings) but weighs in at a beefy 58 pounds (quite unusual for halflings). He has the dark and feral features of other ghostwise halflings, but hides them well with a clean shave, strong perfumes, and noble clothing.
Meriak grew up in the Western Heartlands in a small but dense forest with a tiny and tightly knit group of reclusive ghostwise halflings. At the age of 15, giants destroyed his village and killed his parents. Unable to find any other living halflings at the time of the attack, he retreated into the forest leaving everything behind. Clerics of Mystra found him while on an expedition to speak with a druid deep in the forest. Meriak knew of the druid’s whereabouts and acted as guide for the bewildered scholars. After their time in the forest, the Clerics took pity on the poor orphan and decided to bring him back to the church and raise him as an oblate. Several years of training led him down a deep love of magic and learning. He became particularly obsessed with divination and the idea that if his village had been able to see into the future, able to know the dangers around them, they could have survived.
At the age of 29, Meriak was allowed to leave the church life and his duties so that he could travel to study under an elvish diviner named Simeon who was friends with the church of Mystra. For several years he learned the arcane arts as well as the life of his affluent master. Meriak began to see both the power and the financial capabilities of divination spells. He also saw its limits. For all of Simeon’s power of foresight and for all his knowledge of his surroundings, he was arrested by the mayor of their city for revealing unflattering news of his infidelities. The mayor took a huge political hit, but Meriak’s master was unfairly imprisoned for years. Without a master, and no real desire to return to the strict and ascetic life of the church, Meriak set out on his own. He used his skills and his smarts to set up a business built on knowledge. He acquired knowledge and sold it to increase his power and wealth.
Meriak is not without conscience. He does not like blackmail, and the knowledge he shares is usually for what he descerns to be the best for society, though that is not always what is strictly “legal” according those in power. But, he also is not without weakness. Just as his outward, ever-fattening appearance belies his gluttony, there is an inward desire for power and knowledge that would give him safety. He acquired several different types of allies, friends and informants, hoping that they could provide help or safety for whatever the future brought.
Over the years, Meriak became quite weathy and even slighly well-know and powerful, acquiring the nickname “The Ears.” Things changed when a fairly harmless relationship to a bandit group went wrong. For years, Meriak had provided information to a bandit group, giving them notice of traveling nobles that he deemed evil or unsavory for one reason or another. Meriak enjoyed watching the bandits steal and scare these characters and thought himself good for ocupying the bandits with these kinds of folks rather than those less deserving of their attacks.
Things changed for Meriak when he told the bandits of a treasure in the desert. A week or two after giving out this information, a young halfling Meriak had met with the bandits half a dozen times came to his home. He needed help getting to Everlund without detection. Meriak happily did this for the nice young bandit partially because he was so intrigued (Pizan is a spellthief) by the halfling. It was also a fairly easy and inexpensive request. Unfortunately for Meriak, he did not realize the bandits were so keenly interested in his whereabouts. The group became angry with Meriak for hiding the young halfling away and not helping them recover their stolen treasure. Threats on his life became so serious that Meriak decided it was time for a change of scenery.
With no family and too rich of taste for the church life, he decided Everlund was as good a place as any to hide out himself. He used some of the same channels he used to get Pizan out of the region to get himself to Everlund and used his savings to set up a fine food retail store. “Meriak’s Splendid Sustenance” became his new passion and home.