Character Race: Human
Character Profession: Bard
Character Religion Affiliation: Unknown
Titles : Master Bard
As many have inquired as to the details of my early life, it seemed most expedient to me to record it here.
I was raised by a community peopled entirely by humans. It lay in an isolated, alpine valley near the source of a river. The reason for my vaugeness will soon be clear. For now, it is enough to know that we called it "The Valley".
My Father was the Keeper of the aptly named, "Valley Tavern\", and by necessity, its brewer as well. It was a prosperous business. It could hardly be otherwise, as it had no competition. Nor did the local miller, baker, or any of the other trades or craftsmen, for as with the Tavern, there was but one of each sort of business. This was the will of the Council, for there was only so much of anything that our valley would support. Even the number of children were limited. One per family. Marriages were also arranged, and strict geneologies kept, it was the only way to avoid inbreeding. As most of you will have already surmised, the Valley lived in deliberate and total isolation.
Generations ago, some great terror had arisen in the Homeland of our ancestors. At the time, it seemed to them as though it would overtake the whole of Aradath. So they fled, and kept fleeing until the came to the Valley. Thinking it to be the last safe place left in the world, they stayed there. I should confess now that I do not know the specific nature of that which they fled. I can only assume that it had some supernatural aspect, as my forebearers seemed to feel that to name it was to risk drawing its attention. Thus, while the reason for our fear vanished with our ancestors, the fear its self was handed down from generation to generation; a hideous birthright. Naturally, from time to time, someone\'s curiosity or desperation would get the better of their misgivings. Less frequently, one of these daring invidiuals would slip past the Council's patrols. When none of these people were ever seen again, the Council used it as proof of the danger of the outside!
My own desire to leave was born of two motives, curiosity, and love. Growing up as the Son of the Valley's Taverner, I got to know most of my fellow citizens even more than most in a community where intimacy was unavoidable. Have you ever noticed how people tend to repeat themselves? Especially in the telling of a favorite story or joke? Thus it was, year after year the only truly new things I heard were reports of births, deaths, and the weather. These days, looking back on it, I believe I started to become a bard even back then, in defense of my own sanity. Even so, I knew despair or drink would eventually claim me if I remained. I had seen it happen to many of my elders. Ultimately, I decided an unknown, potentially quick and horrible death was preferable to dying slowly of a stifled heart and dulled mind. Besides, as I mentioned, I had another motive.
Like all people my age, I'd been betrothed. Sema, who the council intended for me, was a lovely girl and a dear friend. We might have been as happy as any couple in the Valley could be, but I planned to leave, and her heart belonged to another. To Hugh, my best friend. He returned her love, and they were second cousins. Such unions were permitted. Indeed, with our isolation, there was sometimes no other choice. However, I was a more distant relative to Sema, and thus the Council ruled that she and I should be united, no matter what She, Hugh, or I wanted. They were heartbroken. I feared to tell them of my plan to leave, but I tried to console them with the idea that I would not be an obstruction to their love (such arrangements were officially forbiden, but were often practiced discreetly). This was no comfort to them; they were idealists. Eventually, fearing what their desperation might lead them to do, I told them of my plans to flee the Valley, attempting !
to persuade them to come with me. I had enough faith in my persuasive abilities that I believed them when they, reluctantly, agree to accompany me. I was wrong.
We agreed to meet on the night of the next new moon. I reasoned that the darkness would help cover our escape. True to their word, Sema and Hugh did meet me, though not in the manner I'd wished. At first, I thought they had lost their resolve. Then I nearly tripped over the bodies. The howl of grief, horror, and rage that ripped from me must've been heard across the whole of the Valley. A note was clutched in Hugh's hand, but I didn't take it. It was hardly the first time two people possessed of an unsanctioned love had resorted to such measures. Then, I realised I\'d just raised the hew and cry on my own escape attempt. I then exercised a degree of pragmatism that I still regard as one of the darker facets of my own nature. Dragging Sema and Hugh from their hiding place, I left them for the patrols to find, knowing that their doing so would delay them in pursuing me. Sure enough, my ghoulish delaying tactic worked. I won free of the Valley.
It was then that I realised the flaw in my plan to escape under the cover of darkness. I couldn't see, either. Between that and my notoriously poor sense of direction, I was soon lost. At this point, unfortunately, my memory gets rather vague. There were no trails, and I was forced, against my better judgement, to try to scale down a cliff face in the dark. The next thing I recall after that, I was standing, soaking wet, in the middle of a road. A river lay near by, and I could only guess that I'd fallen from the cliff and landed in the river. Then, semi-concious, I must have some how managed to stay afloat until I could drag myself to shore. There was no telling how far the current might've carried me in that time (Needless to say, I later made a point of learning how to swim). Fortunately for me, the road took me to the Academy, and inspite of my odd reaction to the Usil who answered the door (the first nonhuman I'd ever seen), they welcomed me.
Thus ends the story of my early life, and my account of how I arrived in the lands near Spur.
~ Master Bard