With the Snake of Sevens defeated, Tan returned to Clemburg in hopes of establishing a school of arcane learning in the education-poor Claysaw. Before leaving, he gave small gifts of appreciation to his comrades in arms, as well as to Cyan and Lazulum, who had aided him in his battle, and to Crimson, Cauliflower, and Heef, his former mentors to whom he owed his success. (Though Heef’s “gift” was more “petty crime,” since Tan hated the old elf.)
The school would eventually flourish, though it would struggle until someone with better administrative skills than Tan finally came forth. In the meantime, he occasionally helped Cyan and the Clairvoyance Society, helping to bring to light some lost knowledge, as well as Chaz, who occasionally used him to help foment revolution among Eustace’s lower classes in the name of “the oppressed.”
Flushed with success after defeating the Snake of Sevens (and that damned maniac Theophrastus), Tan joined in the citywide celebration of Gideon City’s narrow avoidance of alignment-altering Armageddon and the recovery of Avatrunei’s Fifth Scroll. It was in one of the bars (for his father taught him that the best celebrations happen in bars) that he learned that he’d become famous for flinging fireballs. After a few nights of revelry, he decided that his best course of action would be to return to Claysaw and make some good with his newfound fame by trying to establish a school of arcane learning—no easy task in a realm so averse to formal teaching.
Before leaving, however, Tan had a few loose ends to tie up. Not only had his mother and father told him never to take on debts, but they taught him to give gifts of appreciation to those who had made a difference in his life. In addition to finally crafting a silver, howling cloak for Lyndria, he shared a song with Chaz, stole a dance with Mariana, allowed himself to be thrown (literally) by Lucto, and made whole Gunderson’s office door. He also made sure to thank the Emperor, though the gift of Avatrunei’s Fifth Scroll and the disjoined Staff of Malun-Ro (whose sundering thankfully had drawn no divine retribution… yet) was probably enough.
And as he left town, he thanked Crimson—a host, a mentor, and a friend—by giving her his most prized treasure from his adventures: his major crown of blasting, complete with another apology for having burnt down half her house and an equal amount of her research, though he again insisted that the orca whale created from the resulting primal magic had been utterly fantastic.
He also wrote a short letter of thanks to Cyan, in which he offered to help Cyan’s fledgling Clairvoyance Society, but only as a friend and associate, as he had Claysaw on his mind. The letter came complete with a homemade scroll of intensified empowered fireball (caster level 13, of course), to thank him for the scroll of mage’s disjunction. If Cyan was no longer at Senator Marcus’s guest house, Tan was confident the letter would reach the former archmage somehow—for that was the way it was with diviners.
On his way back home to Claysaw, Tan took the same route he had come, passing through Eustace’s North Almond. He was surprised to be instantly recognized by many passersby (for though he stood out with his accent, Tan was quite plain to the eye). Stopping briefly in a bar, he was told that some had come to believe that he was going to be the spark that would ignite rebellion among the masses and burn down the magocracy. Tan merely waved those fantastic ideas off; he had no interest in politics, and though he hoped that the hardworking people of Eustace would find some reprieve with the greater freedoms that might come from the release of the text of Avatrunei’s Fifth Scroll, he forwarded all notions of revolution to Chaz.
As he passed through North Almond, the young evoker made two stops—one at each of his former masters’ homes. He met Cauliflower in person, who had heard of his exploits and was glad to hear that the young Claysawan’s powers had flourished outside of Eustace. To thank Cauliflower, Tan left the old universalist his scholar’s ring—the best he gift he could imagine for someone who reveled in magic and had the patience to teach as hopeless of a case as him.
For his first master, Heef Firehands, he had an equally personalized gift. Storming into the Collegiate while he knew that Heef would be teaching a class (for the stuffy old elf knew not the meaning of spontaneity), he made his way to the wizard’s dwelling. As young students watched (for Tan’s identity was no secret thanks to his robes), he burnt the words “Tan was here” onto the outer door, before adding his arcane mark (a fireball from an angel’s hand (representing Lotheria) above a book (representing Exene)). And while the spell arcane mark would have done just as well, Tan prided himself on honest work, burning the mark into the door as well. It took a whole day’s preparation of scorching rays, but it was well worth the effort, just like when he once spent two hours to dealphabetize the elf’s library by hand so many years before.
And as he left the city, he made sure to send a letter to Archdiviner Lazulum, an apology for disappointing him, but an firm insistence that he had done the right thing to bring the truth to light and put an end to the pointless political plots of the Archmages. The letter also came complete with Tan’s specialty, another scroll of intensified empowered fireball, as a gesture of generosity to someone who had shown appreciation for his evocative evocations.
And thus he crossed the Almond Sea to return to his family’s humble home—Hylaeos’s Hurrah in Clemberg. He returned a famous hero, though to his family, he was still the same old too-brainy Cletyn, though perhaps a few years older and just a little more destructive.
Over the next few years, Tan would work to try to establish a school of arcane learning in Clemburg, and despite initial resistance and grumbling, he managed to find a few students. (As it turns out, fireballs can be convincing.) The school was less a “school” and more cooperative studying, for at the end of the day, Tan mostly knew evocation, and not everyone was so comfortable with that. As time wore on, other mages would come to Clemburg—some previously in hiding to avoid persecution in Claysaw, others coming from abroad to find less conventional education—seeking to work with Tan. With others more skilled at administration (for paperwork was for pansies, in Tan’s eyes), the school would flourish.
While working at the school, Tan continued to help out his friends by offering to aid anyone who swung by his part of Gard. In particular, he would provide occasional help to Cyan and the Clairvoyance Society, for non-traditional thinking was right up his alley, and to help find the occasional hidden magical item that magic users thought was clever to hide in Claysaw, where no wizards would dare go.
And on occasion, he would help Chaz, who tried to enlist his aid with some regularity. Though Tan had refused to directly aid to empower the flickering embers of Eustan rebellion among the oppressed, Chaz remained convincing as ever, convincing Tan on occasion to help “liberate” some whose rights had been particularly violated by the aristocracy. The Archmages and others knew of his occasional help (which happens when your calling card is a building half burnt to the ground), but took no direct retaliatory action against him, for with civil strife with the dragons of Gideon City and revolution burbling beneath the surface, there was no time to deal with an errant evoker.
And so Tan would continue to grow, as would the destructiveness of his fireball spells….