In the dark corner of a common room of an inn like so many inns across the peninsula there is seated a rather unlikely pair. In the darkest and most remote seat facing the door in his usual state of constant alert, despite six or seven tankards of ale, there sat a wild elf. He was dressed in his customary browns and greens, as always he blended into the shadows too easily. The darkness and shadows reflected his mood perfectly; in fact he seemed to absorb the shadow from his surroundings. In contrast his companion wore garishly bright and colorful clothes, too many colors for most taste. While the larger stature wild elf melted into his surroundings the diminutive Halfling stood out like a beacon. The only apparent thing they had in common was the fact that they both were intently studying the bottom of their tankards.
Suddenly the wild elf, Quarian, cleared his throat and in a half mumble, half croak addressed his drinking companion Tilo Greenbottle, “Halfling twice now you handled yourself well and bravely in battle. I am impressed by your valor. Are ye brave enough to hear my tale of horror?”
“He speaks! He speaks!!! Three hours and seven tankards of ale pass and now you decide to say something utterly unintelligible. Thank you for the compliment by the way.”
“Tis not easy for one who has been wandering the wilds tormented by his sins to discuss openly, my brave little wizard. But I fear the loss of my mind if I do not finally confess. This entire night mare with the succubus and my slaying of Bronwyn has opened some old wounds. Wounds which tear at my very soul, may Corellon Larethian forgive me. As I have said, are ye strong enough to stomach this most vile and odious tale?”
“Yes, yes, get on with it before The Captain’s Quarters runs out of ale. Sorry Quarian, I know this must be difficult for a reclusive wild elf. I am here, speak my friend.
I have not heard kind words in many a leaf change Greenbottle, thank you. Twas not always so with me…
As you know I hale from the forest Earil-Gael. I was the first born son of a well respected family. My father, Tharivol Galanodel, was chief elder of the clan council. Early on my prowess as a huntsman and scout was recognized and I was raised to become the leader of the clan. My role as huntsman and scout was to protect the clan from danger... marauding bands of orcs and such. In the tradition of high clan members my betrothal to a clan member’s daughter with similar position was arranged. Unlike most arranged betrothals ours was different… we were deeply in love. It was more than a marriage to assure political success. Vadania Siannodel and I promised our lives to one another and were to be wed on our 115th midsummer’s night. Unfortunately the life of a ranger takes him away from the clan sometimes for weeks at a time. My beloved grew restless and one of the elves with great (if not misguided) ambitions saw an opportunity to simultaneously unseat my future on the clan high council and take my betrothed.
The most foul Laucian Meliamne seduced Vadania while I was on a mission to rid our lands of a marauding band of Bloody Hand Orcs. I arrived in the village earlier than expected after a particularly fierce battle. Unbeknownst to me Laucian spread the rumor that I had been killed in battle and of course he was there to comfort the fair Vadania. Excited to see my beloved again and flush with the thrill of battle I burst into her apartments to find her lying with Laucian. In an uncontrollable rage I cleaved the foul scum in two and in the process decapitated my beloved as she attempted to intervene.
Halfling as you know we elves hold the sanctity of life dear. The punishment for murder is harsh, no matter what the circumstances. I was ostracized from my clan, banished from my beloved Earil Gael, stripped of all rank and honor. I was never to see my loved ones again. To an elf loss of family and clan is worse than death. I left vowing to somehow restore honor to the Clan Galanodel and restore order to my life.
As I began my climb through the Girdle of Hrothgar I detected smoke in the distance… coming from the forest massive plumes of inky black smoke that can only signify one thing. The Orcs had once again raided; without my leadership and battle prowess the clans were doomed. I raced headlong through the mountains, across the swamps that I knew so well, over glade and stream only to arrive to a smoldering heap. All was lost, what had been a symbolic loss of all that I knew and loved was now very real and palpable. All that I knew lay in ruins and piles of raven picked bones.
Still I was determined to somehow avenge this loss and return honor … I relentlessly chased the orcs over the girdle, I waged a one elf gorilla war. Orcs fell by the thousands. Sometimes as many as a hundred a night… I became legend among the Black Hand. I was known among the orcs as Henk Thokk Holg. “Bane of the Black Hand” in the common language.
I stumbled upon your party after one of my missions ended and I was falling back to reorganize myself and prepare for my next wave of death…
The never ending slaughter of the Orcs had somehow blunted the pain that I felt over the loss of my beloved, the agony of feeling my blade bite into her flesh and severe her spine. That utter terror was beginning to fade. Buried deep in my soul. Buried that is until my blade cleaved into the flesh of yet another fair and good woman. In the moment that Beowyn fell all the vile refuse of my life came screaming back. From that place where I had buried it. I saw not only Beowyn laying in a pool of blood, but the body of my beloved Vadania, the cleaved skull of her lover Laucian, the burned remains of my father, my mother and my brothers, sisters, and fellow clans men. All is again lost. Tilo my friend when will the madness stop, how can I rid myself of this never ending evil that has perverted my existence. Perhaps if we can bring back Beowyn. Perhaps that will appease the Gods, will reorder the universe. We must we must bring her back. We must Tilo!!!!
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