Half-elf Lore Bard
I received an education under my grandfather’s guidance, and I still practice the parts I enjoyed.
Gladuil Ashtellis is an old elf, a mediator between the council & the crown, my grandfather, and from the moment I was dropped off on his doorstep until I was around 14, my guardian. My grandfather was often away with work, but in his care I was always attended to by an array of attendants that took care of my needs, my education, in his place.
When I was about 12, my grandfather seemed to think I would be a good fit for a role such as his, and he’d occasionally bring me to his meetings. Only to his meetings with the other mediators, never in court. I wasn’t permitted to speak at the meetings, but afterwards my grandfather would always ask me questions about them. I would often entertain myself by focusing on one person, building a story in my head about them and then asking about them when I spoke with my grandfather, but it was always more boring than my version. I heard rumors about some of them through gossip between some attendants, but my grandfather would never comment on if any of it was true. I guess my grandfather didn’t like to spread rumors, at least to me.
Overall my grandfather seemed happy with my progress; he would often say “you are definitely your fathers son”, sometimes pleased and sometimes disappointed. I like to think he’d been sure about that for a lot longer than that.
There was this one mediator I remember vividly though; Wyatt. I would always imagine he lived in a house where the attendants would hide until he needed something, fearing that he could be displeased should he notice them not doing whatever he imagined they should be. In meetings, he would always play the devils advocate and oppose any initiatives the group proposed, and would continue to argue the same points over and over until others got so frustrated the topic was dropped as more urgent matters were discussed. I asked my grandfather about him, and he would just smile and tell me I was being dramatic.
And then one day my curiosity got the better of me. I wanted to know more about the man, the mediator who wanted to say no to everything. During one summer, I slipped into a party he was hosting and started digging for more information on him. I was a bit off put by how different it was to what I had imagined; his was as lavish as they come, catering to about every vice I could think of.
I posed as a serving boy, pouring drinks until everyone was in their cups. It was easy to blend in; all you had to do was imagine your life depended on you keeping eye contact with the floor. There’s a part of you that sometimes tells you not to rush to conclusions, that there’s a probably a more complete story. But I should have ignored that part of me: I got close to him, hoping to garner something directly about what he was like outside those meetings, but what I found was a man abusing his staff for cheap laughs. And then he spotted me. I was lucky to get out of there with a few bruises before someone realized who I was and dragged me out of there without a word.
I wasn’t scared… ok I was scared, but I was more angry. And in a moment of distraction, I wasn’t being dragged any more and I was just another face in the crowd. As the night went on and the crowd thinned, I kept blended in. And eventually, I found a mostly naked Wyatt in his room wrapped around another.
The talk of the town after that was that he must have had a bad trip, cause he tore so far into his ear trying to get at an insect that it couldn’t be repaired. I… didn’t actually mean to do that. I guess I was just looking to get a thrill by getting some revenge on an asshole.
But somehow, my grandfather must have known. Of course he knew, he probably had me taught that spell specifically to protect myself or something. He didn’t engage me in any way for about a week.
And then he sat me down, and handed me a letter. He told me that he wasn’t going to make the same mistakes with me as he had my father, that he wouldn’t raise me in his own footsteps any longer. He told me that I needed to find my own way from here, that if I had even half of my father in me that it would work out for the best. He told me that my mother had another son named Markus, and he sent me off with a letter of introduction to seek him out.
I guess it changed the way I thought about things after that. When you’re being tutored, you mostly just ask questions just to keep the conversation going smoothly. But when you’re on your own on an unfamiliar road, you wish you’d asked things like “how do you know what to do if you think a wolf is following you”, and “is it better to get a horse when you’ve travelled two days without one and you’d have to go back”. You ask a lot more questions, cause the only one who’s gonna answer you is yourself.
And it started to dawn on me that I also could have asked the question “Is it better to continue walking to your long lost half-brother when you’ve travelled for 7 days without thinking about the fact he doesn’t know you and have no food and that wolf is probably still following me so I guess I cant turn back.”
And eventually I made it into Ravndal, and eventually I made it to the doorstep of a tavern, and when I turned up at his doorstep one night, the warm welcome I got made me ask why I needed to have asked all those questions in the first place.
I spent the first few months just getting used to this new life; on edge, questioning whether everything I did was right because I didn’t have an expert on it to tell me straight away. I think that about sums up what that time was for me: I soon realised that you can ask the same question to 10 different people and get 10 different answers, and for a while that was frustrating. But I think I came into my own from it: I moved my focus away from finding the answers to everything, and let myself focus only on the things I knew I could keep improving on my own: I played my harp, i filled up sketchbooks, and I taught myself to get rid of the riff raff before they started riff raffing.
The war came and went, almost passing us by completely. My grandfather’s estate had been closer to the conflict, but he hadn’t kept contact with me so I could only hope he had escaped the worst of it one way or another.
And then Markus set his eyes on bigger things: he wanted to go further with his crafts, and I did mine. I had gotten used to life in the tavern, and figured if a change in scenery could have done so much for me 5 years earlier, maybe it would again. And so we set off to Talabriga, with the hopes of making our mark there in the wake of the civil war.