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Shadowing Darktalon

Anthian Forester of Elindale

Autobiography ...

Greetings! My name is Shadowing Darktalon. For those of you who don't know me, I am a Forester, by trade, and an Anthian by birth. I have been adventuring in and around the area's of both Spur and Treehaven now for a little while and met many a fine folk. Some of those who I have met have honored me with the tales of their past. Others have asked me questions about mine own past. So I thought to write my own tale down and offer it freely to those with an interest. Here is my tale...

portrait of Shadowing Darktalon

portrait of Shadowing Darktalon
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I remember naught of my parents, nor of where we lived. I was very young when they died. At best guess I'd say I was no more than 4-5 passing of the seasons old. I know I was not old enough to fly yet as it was my Grandfather who taught me that. What I do remember was being alone and scared. I also remember my grandfather suddenly being there. He stood before me tall and fierce, and spoke to me. He said, "Boy! Your parents are dead! I am your grandfather, it falls to me to teach you in the time I have left."

My life with my grandfather was a strange one, wonderous to be sure, but strange. We travelled constantly. Forever on the move from forest to forest, area to area. Occasionally, we would come within sight of civilized lands or some small town. At those times my grandfather would leave me hidden in the forest and venture out to sell his skins or to purchase supplies. Once those tasks were complete and he'd returned for me, we would move on. Once I was bold enough to ask him, "Grandfather, why don't we have a home like other folk?" He simply laughed, and said "Boy! We are Anthians and Foresters both, the Forests are our home and the skies our playground. What need of we of cramped stuffy dwellings?" It's kind of funny looking back on it, but in all the travelling we did, I never once knew the name of a single place or area we had been to. I never thought to ask and he never thought to tell I guess. Travel we did though, every day was new sight to see with my grandfather and everyday was a lesson as well. Always lessons! Always! My grandfather taught me 4 basic things to survive. He taught me the art of Flying, the art of the Bow, the art of skinning, and of Her Lady the Goddess Elindale. The first thing he taught me however was flying.

My lessons in flying began almost as soon as did my life with my grandfather. I had been with him but a hand full of days. We had been walking for what seemed like an eternity and had stopped to make our bed for the night. As we bedded down he spoke to me and said, "Boy! This walking about business is disgraceful! Tomorrow you learn to use those wings as Elindale meant them to be." The next morning, bright and early, he led me to a high cliff. That cliff must have been near a thousand feet high! We stood there together and he spoke to me. He said, "Boy! We are Anthians! In the air we rule supreme. Fight unto death any who dispute this." Having said this, he gave me a fierce grin and pushed me off the cliff! Those next moments where a blur. I was shocked, to say the least, I was frozen in terror. All I could do was watch the ground race up to meet me. He must have followed me off the cliff though for in the next instant he was shouting in my ear. "Unfurl yer damn wings boy!" he shouted. I dont know what scared me more the ground coming at me or him suddenly beside me screaming at me. I opened my wings however and suddenly I flew! Well, sort of anyway, I did manage not to crash into the ground. My grandfather howled at me, and full of wonder, all I could do was grin back at him. After that my lessons began in earnest. He spent quite some time teaching me to fly. He taught me to glide and soar, he taught me to read the air currents, and a million other things needed to know to master the art. He even taught me to hover upside down! I learned all he taught me and eventually I learned to his satisfaction. That's when my next lessons began.

The next thing my grandfather was to teach me was the art of the Bow. Now those of you who know me, know my Love of the Bow! This was not always the case however. Back then I wanted nothing to do with it, I hated it in fact! As my granfather often would say, I had my head in the clouds. All I wanted to do was fly! I wanted to fly everywhere, anywhere all the time! My grandfather would say, "Boy! Ya needs to learn to defend yer self, and ya must needs to learn to hunt. To do both ya must first learn the bow!" I didn't want to though, It was soooo boring! I was made to stand on the ground and shoot at stumps and such. The bow I used then was a simple unwielding thing that was awkward to use. A far cry from my precious Ezmerelda that I use today. Over and over and over and over again I was made to shoot that thing. First it was stumps. Then it was my grandfathers armor. Then it was his armor hung from a tree by a rope and made to swing back and forth. By the Gods it was boring! Sometimes I would resist my lessons and simply fly off, hunger however would eventually always bring me back. At those times he would smirk at me and say, "What the matter boy? Feeling a little hungry are we? Well, if ya want to eat first ya must practice the bow!'' Practice I did. The worse part of it all I think was when I missed a shot. At those times he would cuff me upside the head with one of wings. He'd say, "Boy, those arrows cost good silver! Get your head out of the clouds and concentrate! Now go find that arrow!' I wasn't above missing on purpose on occasion despite the cuffing I was sure to get. Course it would take me an aweful long time to find that missing arrow. More than one way to get out of a lesson! I will swear though that his wing bones was the hardest things Elindale ever created! It's a shame I cant find armor as hard, I'd never have to worry bout getting hurt if I could. I think my grandfather regretted teaching me to fly first. At least once when I had found my arrow and returned I overheard him grumbling, " Should of taught the damn boy the bow first then how to fly!" Eventually though, I learned to shoot as well, and wouldn't ya know it? When I learned to shoot from the ground to his satisfaction, he taught me to shoot from the sky. I think that was when I first began to love the bow. It's quite the feeling of invincibility to fly high and pelt your prey with arrows. I've learned since then of course that flying isn't the invincible thing I thought it was, but such is the thought s of youth. My grandfather would make a game of it. He would first pad and then blunt the arrows. Then he would don his armor and fly. He'd circle and fly up, down all around. While I shot at him. Twas great fun! Well, till it was my turn to be the target anyway. Even padded and blunted arrows can still hurt! I learned all this as well to his satisfaction and then it was time for my next lessons.

The next thing my grandfather taught me was the art of Skinning. I have to say that skinning has to be the most frustrating, time consuming, patience requiring skill if ever there was one. Those of you who have hunted with me know my patience is not what it should be when I'm practicing my skill in this. It's probably safe to say I'll never be a Master Skinner. However, as my grandfather always said, "Boy! As long as ya can wield a skinning knife, you'll ne'er be a pauper or go hungry!" Truer words were never spoken. You'd think with all the attempts I fumbled back then. With all ruined skins I'd have been cuffed black and blue. Oddly enough though he never said a word when this happened, rather he would sing my praises at those times I was successful. Go figure. Eventually, I was decent enough to skin succesfully more than I ruined, and thats all I will speak on my lessons at skinning.

As I said earlier, the other thing my grandfather taught me was of The Lady Goddess Elindale. However, my lessons on this were not of the usual sort. He didn't sit me down and teach me doctrine as such. Instead I learned from the things he said, from the way he lived his life. My life back then was so different from what it is today. With my grandfather, time had little meaning. I had no meetings to attend, no place we Had to be. We didn't worry what time of day it was, or what month, or even what year. It was enough to know what season it was, what kind of day it was going to be, were we would sleep for the night. My grandfather lived his life as Elindale created him, a creature of the forest and the sky. Of Elindale he taught me how she created the Anthians and of our oath to serve her when the time of her calling should come. Since that time, I have heard many a debate over this summoning of Elindale from my fellow Anthians and from Clerics of Her temple. I however, believe that Elindale will summon us each in his or her own time. I do not believe that she will summon us for some majestic battle, nor for some great quest of a God. Rather, I believe, she will summon each of us to her in the fullness of our time. She it was who created us, she who allowed us to go our own ways and find our own paths in this world. It will be she who summons us back to her so that we may add all what we have learned and experienced back to her. This lesson I think was the hardest of all to learn.

I believe, having looked back on it all, that my grandfather knew his time was short. That the reason we lived the way we did was so that he could teach me all he could in the time Elindale alloted to him. For some time I had begun to notice that he was steadily growing weaker. We travelled less and less. We would fly for shorter periods of time before he would need to rest. Finally, we travelled hardly at all. He had become withdrawn and quiet. I had to hunt for the both of us and tend to our day to day needs. One such evening, as I returned from a hunt, he spoke to me. He said, " Boy, my time is near. Elindale calls to me and I must soon go to her. But first, one last journey must you and I make." We flew for several days and had to rest often. We didnt even hunt. On about the 5th day, late at night, we flew out of the forest. There was a great clearing and in the middle stood a great stone keep. I expected him to lead us away from there, but instead we flew to the entrance and landed. He was so tired and weak he could barely stand. He spoke to me and said, "I have taught you all I could, but now my time has come. This place is a place of learning, they will teach you what I could not. Learn from them lad, learn all you can, and never forget what I have taught you." He then pressed into my hands a scroll and a pouch full of gold. He said, " This is all I have to my to my name lad, give it to them that wait inside." Then he placed his hand on my shoulder, and said, "You are the last of a line of Darktalon's lad, never forget that. I am proud of you Shadowing!" With that he limped back into the forest. It was the first and the last time I heard him speak my name.

 

I will not speak much of my time within that place of learning. Suffice it to say I did as my grandfather bade me and learned what they had to teach. My guess is I spent 10 passing of the seasons with my grandfather and another 7 amid that place. Eventually, I had learned what they had to teach and it was time for me to make my own way in the world. My trainers gathered together and said to me, " Shadowing, you have learned all we can teach you here. if you would make a life for your self you must go to the city of Spur and there register with the local Foresters guild." They led me to a magic portal, and having stepped through it, found my self in Spur.

 

My life is a different one now than the one I led with my grandfather. I sometimes wonder what he would think of the life I have made for my self. I still hunt alot and practice the skills he taught me. With that I think he would be pleased. I spend as much time inside the city as I do without, who knows what he would make of that. I travel to Treehaven quite abit, I think it is a place that would please him greatly. I have friends among my own kind and friends from other races as well. I think he would be suprised but pleased with that. At any rate my life now is what I have made it, there are some differences to be sure, but all in all I think that it is not so different after all. What ever the case, my life then and my life now, was and is, both good ones! I am Shadowing Darktalon and that is my tale.


Copyright 2007 — The Dragon's Gate Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


 



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