Shoal began his journey with the Wanderers as a hitchhiker, simply hoping to be dropped off on their next stop. He would however soon prove himself to be a valuable member of the team by using his energy blasts to defeat a group of wild beasts. Neutron offered him a permanent position and he reluctantly accepted, though he never said much about who he was or where he was from.
The Wanderers would soon stop at the Abbey of Mirrors, a church where visitors could interact with memories of their loved ones. Shoal would request a session in order to see Jetsam, but be disappointed to learn the seers would not be available for several days. While wandering the halls he would however encounter Dendrite, an otherworldly mute child who offers to help him. She leads him to a mirror chamber and proceeds to do a reading, projecting Jetsam from Shoal's unconscious. Their conversation begins to become heated when Jetsam blames Shoal for his death. Shoals power of manifesting emotional energy interacts with the psychic projection and begins to take on its own life and break free of Dendrite's control as an energy being.
The Phantom Jetsam begins to wreak havoc on the Abbey, and the Wanderers struggle to contain it. Neutron tries to stop him by alleviating Shoal's repressed guilt, but in the end it only stops when Nix knocks Shoal unconscious. The group tries to keep the truth from him, but he manages to overhear them discussing what had happened. Wrecked with the guilt of knowing he was the true source of all that destruction, he began to hate his powers even more.
In a trade post Shoal would learn of an opiate called Surcease of Sorrow. He would start self medicating to stabilize his emotions, and more importantly to inhibit his powers. Sanguine and Ardor catch him and convinced him to stop- arguing that running from his problems only makes them worse. With a new found sense of balance, his control over his powers greatly improved.
During one of their missions Shoal would become kidnapped. When confronted, the assailants were revealed to be mercenaries working for the Brackeel Island's village elders. They had paid a great deal of money to have "Luff" returned, the only one to ever take down a "Fuse" single-handed. With a heavy heart, Shoal proceeded to tell the Wanderers his story.
Shoal, known then as 'Luff' was the only son of a wealthy trader on Brackeel Island. In his early teenage years he would slowly realize that he was among a small percent of the island's population that mysteriously born with latent energy projection powers. Whenever he became emotional, his emotions would manifest as sparks of raw energy around him. The Island had a sordid history with such individuals who had been responsible for several explosive disasters in the past decade. The islanders decried them as "Fuses", accidents waiting to happen, and forced many into hiding or exile. Fearful of similar experience, he kept his 'curse' to himself and tried to maintain a normal life.
One day Luff was out fishing and got caught in a freak storm. As his ship was struck and began to sink, his frightened aura was seen by a nearby fisherman who rushed to his aid. Once they were both safe, the older boy would introduce himself as Jetsam and reveal that he too had energy powers. Together they explored their powers and try to get a handle on what was happening to them. But while Luff simply wished to subdue them from appearing, Jetsam was more focused on seeing how powerful he could become.
A handful of Fuses would start staging aggressive protests and demonstrations, and the fear surrounding them would verge on paranoia. Jetsam was eventually seen using his powers by a villager, guards began to pursue him thinking him a radical terrorist. Frightened and angry, Jetsam fought back and ended up killing several guards and seriously wounding the rest. As the guards fell back for reinforcements, Jetsam fled to Luff and asked for his help fending them off. When Luff refused, Jetsam became angry and stormed off. Jetsam then went on a mindless rampage until Luff found he had no choice but to get involved. He asked his best friend to himself in, but Jetsam said he would rather go down fighting. Luff finally agreed to help him, and then when he turned back around Luff killed him with a small explosion at the base of the skull. Luff fell to the floor in agony and let out an explosion that leveled the entire building.
Rescue workers were able to pull him out, and when questioned he plainly answered that he killed him to stop the madness. Luff was celebrated as a hero, and seen as a victor against the Fuse menace. He wallowed for a few months feeling dead inside, and his family just assumed it was from the trauma of facing such a monster. Then, in the dead of the night he ran away from home by hiding on a trade-boat. He took on the name 'Shoal' and sought to get as far away as he could, and never look back.
Return to Brackeel IslandEdit
Shoal/Luff would receive a hero's welcome, much to his displeasure. But his modesty only made the crowds adore him more. He met with the village elders, who were now accompanied by his father. They told him that the village had become even more divided since the incident a year ago, with Fuses becoming much more prevalent and aggressive. The island was a powderkeg, and traders had stopped daring to come by.
Neutron devises a plan, but says it will take a couple of days to get watch she needs. Shoal and the Wanderers meet with a band of revolutionaries with little benefit, especially with Shoal notorious as a Fuse killer. Shoal struggles with the decision to reveal the truth, but does not want to risk loosing any sway he may have with the townsfolk. He discusses the matter with Neutron, who tells him the Wanderers stand by his decision either way.
A town meeting is called, and all calls for peaceful coexistence fall on deaf ears. Finally, Neutron enacts her plan. She introduces her special guest, Luminance, a former member of the Wanderers. Luminance proceeds to orchestrate a visual concert with her energy projection powers. The crowds initial apprehension to seeing a 'fuse' is overcome with their admiration of the beautiful light show in front of them. Neutron explains that several worlds have hotspots where casters are born, and that many celebrate them for the beauty they can create when nurtured properly. The townsfolk are hesitant to believe her until Shoal steps forward and begins projecting beautiful lights as well. He tells them that even Jetsam was capable of creating such beauty, but his aura was tainted when he was met with violence and hostility.
The presentation has a profound effect on the townspeople, and Shoal decides to stay behind and guide them into a more accepting future.