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Reven Bloodgale


The summer heat was oppressive this year, even at night Jan and Arren kept some of the windows open to get a breeze going through their farm house. Life wasn't so bad in this part of Cormyr; while their village was far from the main roads, they were deep enough into the kingdom that they didn't have to worry about roaming bands of orcs or goblins. The soil was rich and dark, and the hard work put in by the local farmers was richly rewarded. Arren's fields were abundant this year, tall stalks of grains that would sell richly at market in the coming autumn festival were practically spilling past the fences.

Having worked hard during the day, Arren was fast asleep. But his sleep was disturbed by his wife, Jan, shaking his shoulder.

"Hmmph?"

"Arren, wake up. The dog's barking."

Arren's eyes cracked open a slit, and he replied sleepily "Prob'bly just a squirrel. Go back to sleep Jan."

He closed his eyes and tried to drift back to sleep, but his wife shook him again.

"I'm serious Arren, I've got a bad feeling. Please won't you check on the dog?"

Arren was already asleep again, or by the sound of his sudden, loud snoring, pretending to be asleep. Jan shook with worry, the hot night had suddenly taken on a chill that she didn't like one bit.

Resigned to let her man sleep, she slid out of bed and donned a pair of sandals. She went downstairs, walking carefully to avoid the aged wood creaking too much, and took her largest kitchen knife out of its drawer. Outside, the wind was blowing fiercely. It smelled like rain was coming, and the heat of the day was completely gone now. Above, clouds raced across the sky to hide the silver light of Selune. Jan shivered and pulled her nightgown closed tighter, and walked out into the barn-yard, where the large and scruffy mongrel they kept to control the gophers and squirrels could be heard barking loudly and insistently.

"What is it Scrapper?" she asked, as the fading moonlight revealed the dog at the far end of the yard, facing away from the house and standing in a defensive posture. The dog quieted for a moment when she came up beside him, and he gave his mistress a worried look. A moment later he let out another barrage of loud, warning barks. There was another sound though, that Jan could just barely hear over Scrapper's loud outburst. It was a shrill, squeeky wailing. It almost sounded like...

Jan was over the fence in a heartbeat, leaving the confused dog shocked silent behind her. After a moment, Scrapper leaped over the fence to follow his mistress, musing to himself about the foolishness of his humans. How could they ignore his warnings? He was sure he had voiced them loudly enough.

Pushing through the field of ripening barley, Jan could now hear the sound clearly. It didn't quite sound right, but she was sure it was a baby. With all the haste she could muster, she plunged ahead through the green, ripening stalks, fighting to avoid tripping.

Suddenly, she came to an open patch, where stalks were bent away from the middle as if a great and mighty wind had blown down on this patch in particular. Laying on the bent stalks of corn-grain, surrounded by a ring of small black shapes, a tiny, pale face shook and screamed from within the cocoon of a dark, woolen blanket.

Jan brandished her knife and charged, Scrapper woofing loudly at her flank, and the circle of dark shapes ascended into the night sky amidst much cawing. A full eight of them, an unkindness of ravens, scattered to the night sky. One remained though, a larger bird than any Jan had ever seen before. It looked at her with eyes that shone eerily in the fading moonlight, eyes that hinted at a terrible intelligence beyond that of a simple bird, perhaps beyond human. There was something tied around one of its feet, a string of red tassels, marked with black shapes that might have been writing of some sort.

The raven croaked once, loudly enough to intimidate the boisterous Scrapper into cowed silence. Then it too ascended into the night sky.

Inside the house, Arren wasn't able to get back to sleep. Jan had been right, there was a bad feeling in the air. He slid out of bed, and put on his work boots as quickly as he could. Berating himself for letting his wife go off unprotected, he dashed down the stairs, almost falling in his sleep numbed haste. He dashed across the main room of their little farm house and shouldered his way through the door, snatching up the pitch-fork on his way past.

"Jan!" he cried out, the worry sounding clearly in his voice.

"Right here numbskull." she replied from the bottom of the front porch steps, where she sat, holding something dark to her chest. Scrapper stood back from Jan, his tail wagging nervously and his hackles raised.

Arren came down to get a better look at what his wife was holding, and was shocked to see it was a baby. Or at least, it looked something like a baby. The tiny form was a bleached, snowy white, its skin practically glowing in the fading moonlight from where Selune still peeked out of the racing clouds. It looked newborn, wrinkled and fragile, its tiny hands balled into fists and its open mouth void of teeth. Its ears were longer than they should be, pointed oddly. Arren didn't know what to make of it.

"[sign in to see URL] are we going to do with it?"

Jan looked at the baby, who had calmed down considerably and was staring at her with wide, inquisitive, strangely dark eyes. She then turned to her husband and said "Oh, I don't know. Maybe someone will come looking for him? We'll just keep him until someone comes asking for him."

Arren took note of how the dog was staring at the child, as if it were a threat. "Honey", he said "...I don't think that's such a good idea. I ain't never seen a baby looks like that before."

Jan smiled at her husband with a patient, understanding look she usually reserved for her sister's children. "Arren, we can't just leave him out here! Besides, look at him. A baby [sign in to see URL]'s bound to be looking for him. It'll probably just be a few days!"



---
Creator of A Tale of Bone and Steel.

Cloak and Dagger
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Re: Reven Bloodgale


The pale little boy didn't know what was happening. He had lived in the farm-house with mommy and daddy for a little over twenty years now, but he had never seen all these people before. They were new, and in his world, there was almost never anything new.

People were going through mommy's kitchen and fixing themselves snacks. People were drinking some of daddy's bitter ale, that daddy didn't let anyone but daddy drink. People were talking to each other all over the house, and out in the yard. But they weren't talking to him.

"They lived a good, long life, and they loved each other very much. It was just a shame they never had more [sign in to see URL]..." the woman who had been speaking looked nervously over at the pale little boy.

His strangeness was obvious from the expanse of bone-white skin revealed by his slightly over sized overalls, and the mess of red hair didn't hide the long points of his ears. He was the only elf many of them had ever seen, and he was an awkward looking, sharp featured thing.

"Who's going to take care of the lad now?" another man asked one of his friends. "The house would be his now I guess, but he's too little to take care of himself."

Daddy hadn't gotten up one day for chores, and mommy had spent the better part of two weeks crying. Little Reven had tried to do some of the work, hoping it would stop mommy's crying, but he was too little to do much more than feed the chickens and water her little herb garden.

Near the herb garden was Scrapper's old dog-house. Little Reven remembered the day Scrapper had gone to sleep and didn't wake up. There had been a smell to it at the time, kind of like how daddy smelled a couple of weeks ago. Kind of like how mommy smelled now. Mommy hadn't gotten up yesterday morning. And she wasn't crying anymore.

At length the day wore on, and when it was almost night, a woman came over to Reven. She was a kind woman with brown hair and eyes. Reven stared at her inquisitively.

"Hello Reven." she said almost cautiously. "I'm Wren, Jan's niece. That's my husband over there, Carl. We're both really sorry about Jan and Arren, I know they were like parents to you. Since I'm a relative, and we're just starting out in [sign in to see URL] were hoping you would let us move in here and take care of you. Would you like that Reven?"

Reven was slightly confused, and he looked up at the kind woman from where he stood, not even as high as her waist. "But where are mommy and daddy?" he asked.

"Oh, [sign in to see URL]'ve gone to a better place now."

"But mommy's just upstairs!" he said, confused. "The man in white came and he wrapped her up, just like he did with daddy before he left! Where are they going?"
Tears started flowing from the child's strange, dark eyes, and Wren pulled him to her in a warm, sheltering hug.

The pale boy did not respond for a long time, and apart from the tears rolling down his cheeks, he seemed expressionless.

---
Creator of A Tale of Bone and Steel.

Cloak and Dagger
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Re: Reven Bloodgale


"Suck it up pointy ear!"

It was starting to happen like clockwork. One summer they would be too small to play with him, the next they would all run and play together. The summer after that they would all be bigger than him, and sometimes they wouldn't be his friends anymore.

The larger boy had Reven in a head-lock, and was trying to push his face into a cow dropping, but Reven had been in this position a few times before. The larger child was stronger than he was, but he was practiced at this by now. He kicked out the ankle of the larger [sign in to see URL] was it? There had been a few Sams he had played with. Some of them worked the fields now that they were too big for games. They both fell, but Sam was the one to fall in the manure.

Reven rose to his feet, a lean boy who's bone pale skin was burned red in places by the sun. His messy red hair spilled over his face in places like flowing blood, and his dark eyes were filled with childish rage. His fists were large for his frame, and they did the job well enough. Sam ran, clutching at his ear where the little elf boy had punched him with stinging speed.

"All right, break it up!" Called out old Carl. It had taken almost five years for Reven to start calling Carl "daddy", and now Reven was old enough to shorten it to "dad" most of the time.

Carl was an older man now, but not so old that he couldn't work his farm or break up fights between children. The rest of Reven's playmates of last year scattered at the sight of his old man, some of them laughing, others cursing.

"What've you been up to boy?" Carl said, brushing back some of Reven's hair with his thickly calloused hand.
"Sorry Dad. [sign in to see URL] think his name is [sign in to see URL] started it. We were supposed to play knights versus goblins, and they said I had to be the goblin, 'cause goblins have pointy ears."

Carl sighed. "That's what they said last year ain't it?"

Reven nodded. "I wish Fred could still play with me." he said in a resigned voice. He knew Fred couldn't play anymore. Fred had to work extra hard, as he was expecting children of his own soon.

Carl shook his head, saddened that his son couldn't keep good friends for more than a few years. Lately Reven had stopped trying to play so much, had started to spend more and more time at home. His chores and studies were always caught up, but Carl had always thought boys should spend some of their time playing. Worse yet, he had stopped really trying to connect with other children, had stopped smiling, or laughing, or making any expression at all.

"Come along Reven." He said, leading the pale boy by his shoulder back towards their farm. "It's your birthday tomorrow, and your mother needs help in the kitchen if you want to have any friends over."

Reven remained quiet on the way back, knowing what his dad would be up to by now. He would get some other parents to send over some children a little smaller than him, so he would make some new friends. Hopefully, they would last him a couple of years.

The next day, Reven got a surprise. Her name was Sherry, and she made him nervous. When she laughed, he felt like laughing, and she said she thought he looked funny. She was a blond girl with rosy cheeks and blue eyes, just a little smaller than him.

His life changed suddenly, and he started going out to play again. Not with boys this time, but with Sherry. She showed him her dolls, and they took walks together. Luke, Reven's best friend, teased him about it, saying he must be in love.

Reven thought quietly about it for several hours, before responding quietly "I guess I am."

The days passed in a happy blur. At first the other village children teased the two of them. But Reven was happy for the first time in a long time, and he ignored them. They would walk along, hand in hand, smiling and blushing, sometimes talking about all the things Reven was studying in the books he collected, sometimes talking about their mothers' cooking and comparing who had the better mom.

But farm life is hard, and with Carl starting to slow down, Reven had to take more of his time working on the farm. At least he had brothers and sisters to help out too, but he still didn't have quite as much time to spend with Sherry.

One night they two of them sat on a hill overlooking the village. It was their favorite spot, where they had carved their initials in a tree to symbolize their love for each other. It was where they sometimes snuck out at night to, to watch the stars together. It was where they had shared their first kiss.

Sherry looked different, Reven thought, not yet realizing the significance of this. She was taller than him now, and her figure was swelling into curves that would soon make her an adult. Reven sat in silence, curiously looking over her new curves, curious in the way of a young man but still too shy to ask about them.

"Reven..." she said, "we've been friends for a long time now, right?"

Reven smiled, his thin lips almost disappearing in the expression. "Not that [sign in to see URL] is it, only a few years?"

"Six years [sign in to see URL] met when I was ten. What are you now, fifty, sixty?"

"Fifty-six!" Reven bragged, "They don't have enough candles for my cake anymore!"

"Reven..." she began, not sure at first how to say this. "What we do, what we used to [sign in to see URL]'s been nice. But I'm grown up [sign in to see URL] you're still just a boy."

Reven's smile drooped, the implications finally dawning on him. "No.."

"And I'll always care about you, and think kindly of [sign in to see URL] Sam's asked me to marry him next summer. I've accepted."

There was no response at all, and after a moment Sherry looked over to see Reven's reaction. He wasn't with her on the hilltop anymore, but she could see his crimson mane in the moonlight. He was dashing away, crying as quietly as he could, for home.

A tear slid down her cheek, and she shivered. It was suddenly cold for a summer night, and she thought it best to go home before it got colder. On her way down the hill, she stopped and looked back at the tree where they had carved their initials. There was a large raven perched on the branches, looking at her. There was something unsettling about the bird, but she couldn't tell what. She turned and went home, where she cried herself to sleep.

---
Creator of A Tale of Bone and Steel.

Cloak and Dagger
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Re: Reven Bloodgale


Another funeral.

Carl was dead now. He had died in his bed, surrounded by relatives. His own children, who had left the farm to make lives for themselves, had come home to spend some time with the dying old man. The village healer had made him comfortable, but there was nothing in her art that could stop him from dying.

Reven understood now what was happening. He spent time with his foster brothers and sisters, their aunts and uncles, the neighbors. He didn't speak much these days, but he listened, and made the occasional comment.

He was a strong limbed youth now, not quite yet a man but showing that he would become a powerful one some day. His smooth, pale skin stretched tight over the rippling swell of muscles hardened by long years of hard work. His hands had a farmer's callouses now. His dark eyes seldom showed any expression at all, but tonight they were rimmed red with tears. He wore a simple black tunic, clean and presentable, over his overalls and boots. His red hair had been washed, and tied back in a long braid. It gave his thin lipped, pointed looking face a sharp look.
He had helped Wren with the cooking, silently memorizing the recipes for the day, some day soon, when he would have to cook a funeral feast for her. He loved Wren and Carl like the parents they had been to him, like Jan and Arren before them. It hurt to know that he was going to loose her too.
The family dog, named Scrapper after the dog Jan and Arren had once had, stayed near to Wren all night. Quiet and sympathetic, and sad in its own way. It had never been all that comfortable with Reven, but it let him pet it tonight, and even rubbed against him comfortingly.

After a while, the room seemed too stuffy. Reven needed some air. He went out to the front porch, and found that the wake had spilled out here as well. He walked slowly to the property line, and leaned against the fence.

"You would be the creepy man then?" a voice asked out in the dark.

Reven's night keen eyes quickly found an approaching figure. It was a slender, graceful man, with long black hair and skin almost as pale as his own. The features weren't as pointed as Reven's either, but the man was unmistakably an elf.

Reven had never seen another elf before, in over seventy years on the farm. But he had books, with illustrations and everything. He had saved his allowance to buy books at the harvest festival, and even once had gone to a city with Carl to buy a basic book of spells. The man before him was a Moon Elf, or so Reven thought.

"Creepy man?" Reven asked curiously.

"Indeed, that is what the children call you. When I came to your village earlier today, children kept asking me if I was here to see the creepy man. You fit the description given."

Reven nodded. "I suppose I do look kind of creepy. I am Reven."

"L'thanwyr." Said the other elf. He then asked in the elven tongue "How long have you lived among humans, boy?"

Reven found the language hard to understand, but he had been studying it in books. It took him a moment to understand what had been asked, and forming a reply was difficult.

"[sign in to see URL]? All of life now." he replied in broken elven.

L'thanwyr shook his head. "And you speak the language like a human who learns it! Goodness boy, we can't have that, now can we?"

L'thanwyr pointed to the house, and said "I'm an adventurer, a wizard by trade. Winter is coming, and I am looking for a place to stay. I can teach you to speak like one of the people if you let me stay here for the winter."

Reven looked back to the farm-house, still filled with mourners. He saw Wren, looking out the window towards him. She was smiling for the first time all day, the other elf clear to her in the light of the gate lantern.

"Very well." Reven stated plainly. "You are welcome here."

---
Creator of A Tale of Bone and Steel.

Cloak and Dagger
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Re: Reven Bloodgale


Wren's funeral came and went, as everyone's did sooner or later. Everyone expressed their sympathies, as was polite of them, and afterwards he was left alone in the house. He was naturally nocturnal, so he began to work at night to till the fields, and upkeep the farm house. No one came around anymore, and he did not seek anyone's company. When he occasionally went out to market, people moved out of his way, kept their children away from him. He occasionally heard the children whisper "creepy man" when he passed. He was more haunting the farm than living in it.

He was lonely, and had no one to talk to, but it was a problem he could apply an answer to. L'thanwyr had left him more books, and when he dropped in every year or two, he helped refine the boy's linguistic skills and magical acumen. Among the books were writings on the binding of a familiar, the creation of a magical bond between the wizard and some other creature.

"Time to make a friend."

Reven studied the rites necessary to create an empathic and magical bond with another being for months before he was ready. When midsummer came, he was ready. He was near to the kings' wood, and it took him only a few hours to find a perfect spot, a place of untouched beauty at the side of a small natural pond, and there he sat amidst the flowers and set out his ritual implements. He waited for the moonrise, and did his best to be unobtrusive.

The taunting and bullying of other children had prepared him for a certain amount of faerie ridicule, but it took all of his control to remain passive when the pixies discovered him in the place they liked to dance. They pulled his hood down over his eyes, braided flowers into his hair when he pulled it back, and kept poking him and flying out of reach to the sound of mad giggling. Reven remained passive, and simply observed them for a long time. Finally, a little fey with white wings came to hover in front of his face, and she looked to him with some concern. She was dressed in flower petals pressed into a simple shift, and had a dagger the length of her thigh worn as a sword.

"You're stinking up our place with sorrow. I'm going to have to slit your throat if you don't leave soon."

Reven nodded sagely. "Forgive. I am lonely. I came here to seek a friend."

The faerie looked down at the ritual implements, now scattered and mostly lost due to her sisters carrying them off in every direction. She gave an adorable little frown, and shook her head. "Get out of here. This isn't a place for you, at least not yet."

The pale elven boy rose and bowed with as much grace as he could, and turned to leave. He was frustrated, but he was also patient. After all, it was only the waste of one evening, and that was nothing. As he left, the pixie watched him leave with interest. A raven croaked from the treetops, and she looked up with amusement. "Oh really? How intriguing!"

The little sprite hugged her sisters and brothers, and then winked out of sight and followed the fledgeling wizard home.

---
Creator of A Tale of Bone and Steel.

Cloak and Dagger
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Re: Reven Bloodgale


"Well, it's not much, but it's home. Come on in boy!"

Reven stepped over the threshold to his new home, a large trunk of his books and a sack filled with his clothes weighing him down. He put them aside for a moment and took in the new surroundings.

It was a small house compared to the farm-house he had grown up in so far, and the nearby neighboring houses didn't leave any room to add more space on. It had almost no furniture at all, barely looking lived in.
Edmund, an officer in the Cormyrian army who L'thanwyr had introduced him to at his mother's funeral, came into the house and hanged his cloak on a rack.

"What do you think boy? I know it's not much, but can you make do here?"

Reven looked around the tiny main room to the house, and said "I will. I must."

Edmund sighed. He should have done this earlier, he knew. It had been years since the funeral, and he should not have left the boy in that house alone. But there was something unsettling about him. He was already as tall as most elves, yet didn't seem fully grown yet. He was grim of feature and mood, and his hands seemed too large, as if made to strangle.

That the boy's mother had lived a half decade after the loss of her husband had been a minor miracle. She had provided him with a few final years of childhood, of someone he loved to support him. Edmund only hoped he could do as well. He didn't know much about raising youths, but he hoped that they could form some form of bond over weapons drills. He hadn't wanted to play father to the elven boy, but his sweetheart, Beatrice, had insisted that he had a responsibility. Since Arren, who had apparently been the boy's first foster dad, was Edmund's grand uncle, it kind of made the kid a family responsibility, in a twisted sort of way. He was still reluctant, but resigned to make the most of it.

Besides, he thought, Reven was going to make one hell of a soldier one day. He was already stronger than most adults, and the magic he was studying could only help him on the battlefield. He had shown some proficiency with a sword.

The Sword, as the village children had reverently called it. Reven's little familiar had found the greatsword, buried to the hilt in the chest of a zombie some necromancer had left roaming around uncontrolled. Reven had pulled it from the brute's chest and used it to finish off the creature, and ever since he had gone nowhere without it.

. . .


Weapons drills went smoothly. The boy needed some work, but he showed natural talent. It had been two years that Reven had lived with Edmund in Suzail, and the two were fairly close by now. Reven still didn't think of him like a father, but that was all right by Edmund. He was just glad that the boy had opened up at all. At first Reven had spent long hours just sitting and staring into the night. Or perching up in the rafters with a book. It was creepy, and he was glad when the elf had started talking to him without being first addressed.

Reven allowed himself a slight, thin lipped smile. "I did pretty well that time." It was a statement, not a question.

"Aye lad, you got me good." Edmund said, hanging up their padded practice swords on a hook. "I expect in a few years you'll be joining me at the barracks."

"Why not now Ed? I'm strong enough to be a soldier."

Edmund smiled, looking at the slender, yet muscular youth thoughtfully. "Mayhaps lad, but you're still a little too small to fit the uniform!"

Reven's slight smile actually blossomed into a grin for once. It didn't last though.

"You're going to age. Like the others. You'll grow old and leave me."

Edmund nodded sagely. "You're right about that lad. I don't have your lifespan. But we'll have some fun along the way right? Besides, you look almost full grown now. You'll probably get to go out into the world before you outlive me."

Reven shrugged, and let himself smile just a tiny bit again. The world, he had started to wonder what more was out there for him.

He had been allowed into the army with perhaps a tiny bit of growing left to do. His basic training was made difficult by some of the other recruits, for he would be the only elf in his company. He was different, strange. A little creepy even. Too tall for an elf, they weren't used to looking one in the eye, and he was starting to stretch taller than some of them.

Even among men, boys will be boys. He had to endure pranks and ridicule, but only once did he have to hold down another soldier and crush his wrist before the others got the idea to leave him alone.

Still, after basic training, guard duty wasn't so hard. He settled disputes between peasants, broke up the occasional pub fight, and studied. Always he studied: spellcraft, leadership, courtly etiquette, languages. His keen mind was like a sponge, and he sucked up all the knowledge he would one day need as an officer. On the side he sought cookery, a useful distraction to avoid going to pubs or houses of ill repute with other off-duty guards.

Edmund was his commanding officer now, and after spending almost twenty years living with the man, he had become like a father to him at last. Edmund never did marry his sweetheart, she left him for a merchant with more money and charm than he. Reven had done what he considered a son's duty, helping him get over her, providing some stability in his hectic life.

Reven was almost fully grown now, becoming a man in the eyes of his peers. He was unusually tall for an elf, looming over even some humans, and his muscles well developed by all the years of farm work and weapons drills. His skin was still bone pale, and his face sharper than one would expect. His ears stuck out, even among other elves, for they were longer and sharper looking than was strictly normal. That, and the slight accent with which he still spoke the elven tongue made the few others elves in Suzail uneasy around him.

A question they often asked him, which L'thanwyr had once posed slightly more casually, was what exact branch of the elven people was he from? He wasn't a Moon or Sun Elf so far as any could tell, and he wasn't a Green Elf for certain. It was puzzling, and the more they asked, the more the question weighed on him. He could find no answer in any of the books he read, and sometimes the face looking back at him from the mirror seemed alien even to him.

The only clue left to him was the small woolen blanket he had been swaddled in as a baby. A pattern of faded colours still adorned the blanket, which Reven's studies suggested might be attributed to certain distant tribes on the Trackless Sea.


---
Creator of A Tale of Bone and Steel.

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Re: Reven Bloodgale


Bloodgale they had called him. It wasn't the nicest of nicknames, but it was tough sounding at least. Reven had earned it slaying goblins, his greatsword cleaving them here and there as he dashed amidst them with seemingly careless abandon.

The goblins and orcs had been on the move this summer, and Reven's company was put in the field to combat them. It wasn't the kind of warfare they had drilled at, no ranks and battlefield possitions. It was forest skirmishing, and in the chaos of it all, Edmund had been cut off and surrounded. Reven saw him fall to the goblin spear, and a rage fell upon him that he had never known before. He cleaved a path through the putrid creatures, the white mask of his face twisted in an unholy seeming snarl of wrath. He had just kept swinging and swinging, letting the twisted bodies of the goblins fall like wheat all around him. He didn't even stop when they started to flee, and the young soldier was badly wounded facing down a worg. His fury finally subsided only after he had freed his sword from the thing's jaws, where they had clamped shut in a death grip after he rammed his greatsword down the evil beast's throat.

He limped back into the barracks, two days after the battle, and looked forward to a bath. His wounds had been treated, but they still pained him some. There was dried blood in his armour, some of it his own, some of it from his goblin foes, and he wanted to be clean.

"Oi, Bloodgale is it now?" Edmund called from a stretcher as he was carried into the barracks.

"Sir." Reven hobbled over to his father's side. "I wasn't sure you were going to make it."

"Naw, I'm a tough buzzard. I'll have to make due with dying in bed some day." His smile faded slightly, and he added hastily "No time soon though!"

Reven nodded, and held the old officer's hand all the way to his quarters. Once inside, Edmund managed to roll of the stretcher onto his cot. "Stay with me a bit will you boy?" he said, shooing his medics out of the room."

"Sir." Reven replied.

"I've been thinking Rev. You could have a bright future in the army. Sure, you get passed up for promotion 'cause you're funny looking, but if you stick it out, you'll be a general some day. But then, all you'll have ever seen is the army. And you'll have to bury me like you did your last two dads."
Reven was quiet, his mind turning over what Edmund seemed to be suggesting.

"What do you think lad? Take a few summers off, see the world for a bit? I know you've been saving up you pay for a while, and the allowance I gave you before that. Probably get you some better armour than that tattered chain you're wearing, book you passage to anywhere in the world."

"Logical." Was Reven's only response. When he wasn't sure how to feel about something, which happened a lot, he always switched to thinking things through rationally. It took time, but it worked well enough.

"Now boy, I don't want you to think I'm getting rid of you, but I think it would be a good change of pace for a few years. If you want to be here when I finally croak, come on back. If not, find a new home for yourself somewhere. Have you ever thought about where you'd like to see?"

Chrysanthemum, Reven's tiny pixie familiar, popped into view and held up a scrap of old tartan wool. She looked to him meaningfully.

"You two have been talking" the grim young elf observed quietly.

"Right, well, your term of service is up in a few weeks. I'll make sure there's always going to be a home for you here in the unit, just in case you want to come back and re-enlist some day."

Reven nodded, and squeezed the man's hand one more time before turning and leaving.

---
Creator of A Tale of Bone and Steel.

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Re: Reven Bloodgale


Back at the farm, it was another hot summer night, suddenly gone cold. Vella woke, shivering, with a bad feeling. The dog, named Mongrel by her husband, was barking at something. Then it was silent.

"Tom, wake up." she said.

"Hmmph?"

Tom woke up slowly, and groggily got out of bed. He stumbled out of the room automatically, and down the stairs. They had lived in the old house ever since the elf he used to think of as an older brother left. It had taken years for the neighbors to stop thinking of it as haunted. He knew it well, and needed no light to find his way downstairs.

He checked once on his sleeping children, and found them shivering in the strange chill that had seemingly come out of nowhere. He closed the windows, figuring that the house didn't need airflow tonight after all. He was about to go back upstairs, when he remembered to check on the dog.

"Here Mongrel, where are you boy?" he said as shuffled out into the barn-yard.

Mongrel lay silent in the yard, several dark shapes moving over him. It took a moment to make out what it was, but as Selune peeked out from behind the rapidly racing clouds, Tom could make out an unkindness of Ravens, their sharp beaks pecking at the dog's fallen body. There was a small puddle of blood around the beast, like its throat had been cut.

"A child, I left it here some time ago."

The voice came out from the shadow of the barn. It had a feminine quality to it, dark and soft. Tom turned and saw nothing at first, then he vaguely made out a dark shape. He balled his fists and charged, but was struck off his feet by a bright, lightning-like flash.

"It can't have been more than a century ago. I chose this place well, as almost no one ever comes here. There was little chance of anyone seeing him in a nowhere village like this. Now, where is he?"

Tom shuddered on the packed dirt of the yard, and tried to rise, but he didn't have the strength left.

"I don't know what you're talking about." he said weakly.

"I left a baby here some years back, a tiny, pale thing. You were supposed to look after it, that's what you humans do with babies you find, is it not?"

Tom's mind raced. "Wait, you mean Reven? He left years ago! He moved to Suzail."

"Suzail. Bother" The dark shapes said. "Well, thank you ever so much for raising him for me. I think you deserve something."
With that, a dark clad arm emerged from the shadow of the barn, and a large raven with red tassels tied around one of its feet was perched on her slender, gloved hand. It let out a shrill caw, before launching itself at Tom's face.

Tom was found dead the next morning by his wife, but beside his body was a baby sized sack filled to the brim with uncut gems and gold nuggets, more than she and her family would ever need if they lived a hundred years.



---
Creator of A Tale of Bone and Steel.

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Re: Reven Bloodgale


From the Journal of Reven "Bloodgale"

It has now been two weeks since I came to this island. Now that I am away from my unit, I shall begin keeping a record of thoughts and event, in an effort to organize them. At times there is a dissonance in my mind, manifested as urges toward violent action, and the connection of seemingly unconnected events and ideas. Writing them down used to help.

     I have procured a small apartment in the city's docks district. The area is filthy and crime ridden, yet with many ethnicities present, including orc and ogre, an elf of my size and unusual pallor does not garner much attention. My land-lady owns the fishing boat her husband uses, and I am able to pay my rent partly in labour: I am as strong as three ordinary men, and I am learning my way around a boat. However, my primary mission here is not to learn how to fish. It is the search for my origin, and the furthering of my studies.

     My search for my origin has thus far proven futile, yet the search has yielded unexpected benefits. Primary among them is the opportunity to study a different sort of magic. Shortly before entering the national boundary waters, I began to notice a shifting of the feeling of local magic. The best way I have been able to describe it, is that it is less a weave, and more a flow. I was magically weakened at first, and so relied more heavily upon my physical training. However, experimentation and meditation have allowed me to operate more or less as I would elsewhere. I wonder, is this land naturally a part of our world, or is it something akin to L'thanwyr's theoretical tethered demiplanes of which he spoke during my tutoring? A planar overlap may account for the difference in the feeling of magic, though I admit that without further data I am grasping at straws.

     A chance encounter with one of the librarians, who seem to be equal parts record keepers, mage guild, and state police, has given me fuel for further thinking. The librarian in question was either very drunk, slightly insane, or greatly angry. Regardless, his basic reasoning was an inspiration. Where my mentor had stressed careful study, respect for the forces dealt with, and the compiling of long observations to safely come to a new understanding, this librarian, Wylie, spoke of magical learning as inspiration, brilliance, and will. Perhaps the former attitude is why the elven peoples are slowly receding from the world, and the later encapsulates the human drive to explore with reckless abandon which has allowed them to thrive. Or perhaps his words reveal something of the nature of magic in this land: again, less a tight weave and more a surging flow. Should I, a wizard of classical training, attempt to approach my studies as an inspired sorcerer does? L'thanwyr would caution me about such an approach, yet I believe it is worth trying.

     Emotions have always been troublesome. Most magical discourse does not deal with the issues of emotional energy as a component in the magical will of the spellcaster. I have, however, kept mine tightly bound to avoid problems. Love, anger, or desire are all energy and pattern, potentially influenced by spellcraft. In any equation an addition to one side can influence the other. My own emotions have been more troublesome to me of late, yet my magic seems to be growing in strength. I believe this to be due to the girl, Ravynn. Her troubling past has hooked me, lured me like a fish on a line. Perhaps it is the elven aesthetic I have read so much of, how our people hold reverence for life and beauty. Or perhaps it is my time as a guard that makes me want to protect this abused elven girl. Regardless: she has initiated me into the ways of lovers. What I feel for her exactly, I cannot say. My human foster parents would have said the honourable thing to do is to marry her and get a plot of land to farm together. I do not know the elven way of these things. Thankfully, we have time to work out the details.

     The elves of this island do not match my physical type any more than the mainland ones do, yet there is a dominance of red hair among them. I can construct several possible scenarios to explain why I was placed so distantly, if I am from their stock. My deformity could have marked me as an outsider to whatever tribe I belong to, or human expansion could have led to resource scarcity, forcing a dwindling tribe to send away its children. There is a logical symmetry to having humans in a more enlightened nation care for the elven children threatened by the expansion of a less enlightened one.

     I have been led to understand that tartan fabric such as from my swaddling blanket come from the firbolg tribes of the island's northern highlands. I also understand that they are a superstitious, barely civilized lot. Venturing to Bodkin for answers will have to take place at a later time.

     Perhaps it will afford poor Chrysanthemum more time to fly. She has been riding in a carrying case of my design when we are in the city. At least she is able to move about invisibly some of the time, but I can tell she is unhappy with our current situation. Still, she is making friends with some of the adventurers I have encountered here. I am grateful for her ability to socialize, as it overcomes my handicap to some degree. Still, fey bear an ill reputation in this land, and I do not wish her to come to harm. For now, I am building a doll house to keep her occupied, which shall take up nearly half of our small apartment.

     I feel that I should insert some form of logical break at this point, yet I am not that skilled a writer. End entry.


---
Creator of A Tale of Bone and Steel.

Cloak and Dagger
3/7/2013, 2:42 pm Link to this post Send Email to ExplodingRunes   Send PM to ExplodingRunes
 
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Re: Reven Bloodgale


(Sorry for the OOC interruption, but I enjoyed reading this quite a lot. Hope you pick it up again at some point.)
6/9/2013, 7:06 pm Link to this post Send Email to Valyndyral   Send PM to Valyndyral
 


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