Erlig grew up amongst the warrior society of the Ulfen. His people do not possess an educated culture. Few in fact ever learn to read except the bards. Though Erlig was quick to learn the runic language of his people and even the Chelaxian letters of the trade tongue, he never had any talent for performance and the bardic spark was not present. As a boy he was always weaker than his peers, but clever enough to learn to avoid their obvious feints. He fared well enough in wrestling matches that he was not cast out. However none picked him first for war games and he had to fend for himself and teach himself many techniques of avoiding blows that were different than his brothers and cousins.
One day it was learned that a group of the White Witches of Irrisen established an encampment beyond that allowed by the treaty as the end of the last war a generation ago. Erlig’s clan was the closest and thus it was his chief’s responsibility to send forth warriors to drive the witches back. They knew that force of numbers alone would win out against the demon tainted wizardry of the witches so none were allowed to stay out of the impending battle. While there Erlig learned the reasons why the Witches are feared, why magic is unnatural. He also noticed that after a while he could start to predict which spells would be cast upon his fellows and possessed agility enough to avoid those spells which devastated his compatriots.
At the last Erlig’s clan surrounded the hut where the White Witch leader was hiding and were among those sent to storm the place. Erlig alone withstood the magical trap inside that turned his brethren into drooling idiots. As they stood there within the hallway he felt the power of the spell wash over him as he resisted its influence. Erlig knows in his heart that he should have suffered as his brothers and cousins did. Yet he survived. As the remaining forces of the clan chieftain swarmed the hut Erlig stood watching as a witch came out from the shadow of the hall where she had been hiding invisibly. She smiled at him and winked and placed a book at her feet. Then she spoke a command word in the arcane language and abruptly vanished. Blinking at the spot she vacated he reached down and picked up the book she had left behind.
While none saw her interaction with him, nor her “gift” of the book, none ever trusted Erlig after the battle. Ever his people have been wary of those gifted with arcane power, with good reason. It was clear that the survivors believed he should have suffered the same fate as his brothers. The Clan Chieftain was forced to order his exile to keep the peace within his clan.
So he left with only those things he could carry. Hidden inside his pack was that book, that mysterious gift from the White Witch. Erlig wondered what her motive was, and her name. Given a choice between possible starvation in the wild or leaving the lands of his people, he chose the latter. An Ulfen ship captain and Pathfinder named Skelg from the Clanhold of Kalsgard offered to give Erlig free passage to the Varisian city of Magnimar, so long as he helped with ship chores such as swabbing the decks and washing up inside. Skelg turned out to be a decent sort, allowing Erlig a share of his mead once his chores were completed. He did not once bring up the subject of Erlig’s exile and treated Erlig as if there was nothing dishonorable in him. Erlig wondered who these Pathfinders were who could take a man and turn aside the usual prejudices against the demon magic and see inside the soul of a man.
Once docked in the Chelish city of Magnimar of the Monuments Erlig got his bearings. He heard that there was a Pathfinder lodge in this city and went there and met a most curious Bard, who seemed to talk nonstop about a great many things. One thing he caught clearly was that the Bard was leaving to attend a festival in a small town called Sandpoint to honor the Goddess Desna, known as the Lady of the Stars and venerated by your people for her gifts allow your people to navigate the ocean.