Dragon pix

Skarzane

picture of Skarzane

In recent days I’ve had a harrowing experience and so I thought I’d write up my life up till this very moment, perhaps as a way to appreciate my life as its been or, as is common in history, to not forget the past and the mistakes I’ve made, so that I may always gain wisdom and learn from life itself.

As a young boy, I grew up in the town of Summerwell, I have fond memories of it and of the grand city called Sorcerers City. I love my parents, both are wonderful, my mother was always encouraging me to be brave, righteous and virtuous, to always do what I can for those less fortunate and taught me to love the world in simple terms. She once defended the town single-handedly from a rampaging giant boar, the way the story goes she was able to distract the beast from completely destroying the town with bushels upon bushels of apples, the smith of the town quickly supplied her with a spear, shield and bow and arrow. While the boar was distracted my mother filled the boar with many arrows and finished it by skewering it upon the spear, granting it a quick death. The townsfolk took to calling her the Amazon, and would celebrate the day by having many different apple treats mixed with freshly hunted pork. The blacksmith was my father and that day is also a celebration of the day they met and fell in love. To this day people look forward to that simple summer celebration, and my mother daily does all she can to protect the town and help the town. My mother may not be noble by birth, but she is gallant at heart and of virtuous soul, she is, in my eyes, the embodiment of what it means to be a true knight.

My father was a very different sort of man, but, in a respective way, he compliments my mother perfectly. My mother was always the more forward, of the two, my father wasn’t shy so much as he is just a reserved man. He was my teacher, well, is, would be more appropriate, he has always been very intelligent and wise, a rarity to have combined in one man, as I’ve come to find out. He raised me and my brothers on a practical education, we learned the basics of reading, writing, mathematics and so forth, he also taught us advanced things, I took primary interest in the philosophies he shared, and fascinated by them, my siblings each found interest in their own areas. Besides being a brilliant teacher, my father was also a brilliant smith, he particularly loved to tinker and invent, he was more than capable of practical smith work, but, often told me he found it boring and uninteresting, only doing it to bring bread to the table. When he wasn’t working on orders from various clients and the lord, he would try inventing or reimagine ways to do something particular, one particular invention he was proud and one that I personally fell in love with was a knife.

This knife was something very unique, by first glance it appears as just a nice smooth chunk of metal with a small button on one side. However, the blade was hidden inside and upon pressing the button it would fly upright and it would be a regular knife, able to skin animals, or slice bread, it wasn’t too large, you could easily fit it inside a pocket. A noble’s child saw the blade as I demonstrated it to villagers, he approached me and I demonstrated it to him, he then brought his father who asked my father if he could replicate it but, to make it long enough to be a short sword, the noble offered a hefty sum and gave my father complete creative freedom. I helped my father with crafting this sword, we went through many prototypes and designs. Then I had a very devastating accident, we had a final product, the night before I was practicing with the blade, the blade didn’t just swing out like the knife, it folded in on itself so as to be small to keep in a pocket or pack. You would hold the button and release the blade, you would strike out and elongate the blade and release the button and the sword would keep its form and become just like any other short sword. However, I was young and foolish, I attempted to flip the blade out in style and sliced all four of my fingers on my left hand, the wounds were very deep, I remember vomiting on the ground and my parents picking me up. I vaguely recall hearing them argue and looking worried, my parents apologizing to me, and I felt my left hand go completely numb then I passed out.

When I awoke, I still felt pain in my left hand, my father and mother rushed to my side, my body ached all over, there was an older man in the house too brewing some kind of drink. My father talked calmly although I saw the heartbreak in his eyes. He explained to me that the blade that cut me was made from quick silver and that the metal is toxic for the human body, my father held my left hand, I tried to grab his with my fingers, but, strangely found that my grip wasn’t strong like it used to be. He slowly showed me my hand, only my thumb remained, all four of my fingers were removed and my hand was covered with a bandage. The noble had taken the blade, and gave my father extra for the amazing work and the unfortunate accident. After that the noble would come by so often to offer me various labor work and to check up on me.

My father told me the blade cut so deep and that I was going to die from bleeding out so they removed the fingers to staunch the bleeding, he wanted to reattach the fingers with a healer, but the quicksilver made it impossible as they were already severely contaminated. The old man stood and brought me a tea, said the drink will clean away any quicksilver in my body and also make my wounds close much quicker, but told me plainly that I would never have my fingers back. My parents thanked him and he left, then they quickly started arguing, my mother accusing my father of being too careless and my father lamenting that he feels bad but, he can’t fix my hand. My brothers stood around me with their hands on my chest, I remember I smiled and sat up and got my parents attention.

Both my parents kneeled and hugged me and I hugged them, I asked them to stop fighting, told them it was an accident, perhaps it happened for a reason, but it was an accident and that we shouldn’t let it cloud what was important. I told my mother and father there wasn’t anything to be sorry for, but to simply learn and live. They were shocked at such a reaction from me, looking back, especially now, I didn’t want being crippled to affect anything, I became even more determined than ever after that incident to not let that accident stop me from doing anything. My family grew even closer together that day, life was tough, things took longer and I had to teach myself to be right-handed when I had primarily been left. But, I stayed strong, I went out of my way to seek out those in need and help them, I wanted to the town’s people to know I could be stronger from this injury. As I grew older I also grew bigger, a lot of villagers would often remark at my size and joked about me being a declawed bear or being one knuckle short of being lucky seven.

My family I love very much to this day, my brothers all set out in different direction, my youngest, Zerask was headed down a dark path, not that he was being evil, just started to commit crimes and getting in with the wrong crowd, he was always a bit of a swashbuckler but, as he got older it became more than just a phase and he started turning it into a career. I say they left in different directions but, Zerask ran away from home after one final argument with my parents, he would send me letters from various places in the world, the last letter I received he was traveling with a group from Drimker, I hope he’s okay. I am on my way to seek him out and bring him home to make amends with my family.

My oldest brother, Daelroc, was always very silent, he enjoy his books more than anything, he left for Sorcerer’s City for study and told me he wishes to become a great scholar and educator. And my younger brother, Tirrean, married a lovely woman in Walnut Green and works there as a smith, just like our father. Life had a different path in mind for me, as of right now I’m traveling, but, I have a feeling that is all about to change.

When I was 20, my father had a huge birthday celebration, the whole village came out and we had a grand feast, my father gave a speech and told everyone he had been working on what he claims is his life’s masterpiece. I remember he turned to me and clasped my shoulder hard, he said to me “My son, six years ago, you lost the use of your left hand, ironically only having six fingers six years later.” He and the crowd laughed loudly. He continued, “This isn’t about saying sorry, although to this day I am, but, you have shown everyone here that a man makes himself what he wants, no matter how many fingers he has!” The crowd cheered and clapped in agreement. “Son, this is my life’s work, and will be till I pass into the great sky above, your brother Tirrean helped with this and your other brothers helped in other ways…, today, I want to give you back your fingers!” He held up the most magnificent piece of smith work I had ever seen. It was a beautiful bracer, with an apple tree design etched acrossed it and little red garnet gems in the shape of apples embedded in various locations on the tree, the metal was copper, its fresh orange look shined bright, but the most striking thing was the fingers. It had four ‘fingers’ that covered my stumps on my left hand and a sort of ‘glove’ that I attached to the bracer. The fingers even had joints built into them, and a switch that would outstretch the fingers or curl them in like a fist once I tied it to my bracer, the fingers don’t move on their own, but, I can move them into various positions with my other hand, and I have a nice strong grip when I have the straps attached to my bracer.

At first my reaction was anger at this gift, it felt like an attempt to take away the hard work I had done by attempting to ‘fix’ me, but, I realized that this was the reward for my hard efforts, I took the bracer in my right hand, slowly tied it tightly around my left arm, positioned the fingers carefully on my stumps, feeling a bit of pressure from the metal pushing on my stump, and tied the strap to my bracer. The fingers were outstretched, I held up my left hand with my palm out, I flipped the little switch with my thumb and the fingers snapped into a fist like shape, and I held out my left handed fist and the crowd cheered and shouted with excitement. I flipped the switch and the fingers snapped outstretched, I held out my left hand, I grabbed my father’s left hand, clasped it with both hands, and gave him a firm handshake, he choked back tears and beamed with pride and joy. He presented me with a gift from the noble himself, a handcrafted club, and shield, and a letter from the noble offering me to be his forest knight, protector of the woods and its denizens. The club was beautifully crafted birch wood, with an apple designed etched on the bottom of the hilt, the shield, had a beautiful apple tree painted on it and in the center was a crest of a hand with no fingers and giving a thumbs up. I stuffed the note into my pocket, picked up the shield with my left hand, flicked the switch so the fingers curled and gripped it, and picked up the club. The crowd went silent with awe, then they broke into a cheer, my father cheering with them, they all sang a song, and my father proclaimed I was officially 21 years of age, ready for the world, whether it was ready for me or not. The years to follow I took my ‘knighthood’ seriously, traveling deep into the forest, I especially love to travel in the night, as dangerous as it can be, I felt safe, that nature itself would be my shield. On the eve of my 23rd birthday, I was presented with the chance to become a true defender of the forest.

The forest was stirring, something lurched in my stomach, and I remember feeling a sense of impeccable dread, the feeling of depression and a sense of hopelessness. I shook off the feeling, steeled myself, I was in the town center with a few friends when it happened. A cold wind blew, we looked north, and I remember feeling anger, intense fury at what I was seeing. A poor beast of the forest lurched forward, a giant bear slowly crawled forth, its eyes were empty, bits of its skeleton appeared underneath its thin fur, and it smelt of death and had no life in it. It was, without a doubt, a zombie, my comrades took no time taking up arms, I ordered two of them to get people off the streets, wake up the town and have them stay inside. I had the others grab arrows and oil, I ran forward and got the beasts attention, it faced me stood up on its hind legs, a cloud jetted out from its putrescence filled gut as it let out a terrifying howl. A few more creatures of the forest, three boars, all undead joined the fight, more villagers rushed out, the boars rushed forward barreling into the villagers, not sure how it happened, but a boar caught fire and rushed into a building catching it on fire. I squared off with the bear, it moved quite slowly so dodging it was no problem, but one hit from the claws would end me, it was disease ridden and every part of him permeated death. A man stepped forth from the forest, grinning his cloak hiding his face, he seem to be weaving magic, I rushed toward him club in hand and then a boar nailed me from the side, it attempted to gore me but, I wrestled it to the ground and smashed its soft skull in with my club.

The town was in full flame now, the man was shouting some obscenities about the town should have never have ignored him and that he sold his soul for the power over death, all of it was madness. The boars were still moving despite being on fire, I rushed to defend a few villagers from being attacked by the boars; I tackled one to the ground and crushed its soft skull in with my left hand. I still had my knife and slammed the final one to the ground and dove the blade in the brain several times. Chaos was everywhere, towns people were running in all directions trying to fight the fires, some taking prized possessions and fleeing. The bear roared at me, I stood up, my body covered in gore, and went straight for it. The man was standing directly behind the bear again shouting his crazy speech. I struck the bear a few time and dodged its attacks, the town needed me, but I knew I couldn’t just leave the man alone nor the bear, and I definitely didn’t want them to escape. The bear swiped and clawed my right arm, cutting me deep, I felt my flesh burn, I figured I was done for at this point, so I charged the bear and knocked him backwards onto the man, I crushed the bears skull with several blows from my club, the man was not moving so I left him there. I headed back to the village, my mind a daze, I started barking orders to the townsfolk, I quickly organized the people and we were able to control the fires and thankfully, seemingly out of nowhere, rain began pouring down heavily, and we were able to save the majority of the town.

I caved from my injuries, I woke up in the forest in a clearing, and the moon was shining on my face, many strange men surrounded me, my injuries had healed although I had a deep scar. These were no mere men, but druids, keepers of the forest, they admired my vigilance in protecting the woods and thanked me for helping defeat the necromancer who had eluded them and defiled their forest. They told me about their order and that they had healed me, I was shown the way home, but, they offered me a chance to learn the ways of the druids, specifically of the Moon Circle. Without hesitation I agreed, these last five years I would train with the druids, I traveled the land seeing many different creatures, animals, and learning of balance and the primal beast within us all. The townsfolk celebrate the night of my birthday even when I’m not there as a memento to the night of the attack and the hero who was there to save them and their homes. I try to return home often to see family and friends and to help my village whenever they are in need. Over the years of this, I earned the nickname The Wild Knight, I keep it for myself and am very proud of the man I am.

My mentor, Ananinthe Lugh Danthadan told me it is time to become a druid on my own, to go forth in the world to impart wisdom and good and to protect the land and the balance, he has accompanied me to meet an adventuring party whom I have no doubts will become of great importance. Recently, I have felt dark forces near the forests of Drimker, and when I got the letter from my brother Zerask. I fear for his life and hope he is okay, I will do as my mentor says, his wisdom never let me down, and whoever these adventurers are I know it is my destiny to join these fame seekers. Who knows what I will find in the wide world.