Character Name: Makarios of Pacific
An Interview with a Ranger
The Titan lifted his enormous club once again and swung low, attemptin' ta catch my steed off guard, but Rua reared back and caught much a' the blow with his front hooves. We fell back a few steps and I let loose a couple more arrows ta add to the many already embedded in the giant's chest. I called once more to me faithful wyrm, "Thorin, kill that beast!" The white dragon nodded his wizen'd head and the Titan was engulfed in a blue flame.
Taking this opportunity to mend me wounds, I was pleased ta see Paso round the corner on his own nightmare and add to the melee with a spectacular display of spells. He called ta me, "Makarios, that Titan's a Paragon!" then to his Rune Beetle, "Peligrosa, attack!" Followin' our pets, we moved in slowly, healin' their wounds as the Titan's relentless attack continued. But in the end, 'twas no match for us. After the paragon Titan fell, we looted what we could salvage and headed back towards the safety a' the cave.
"Paso," I said between heavy breaths, "Good huntin' today but I need ta get back ta Skara. I think I'm late fer somethin'."
"No problem," he said as he recited the words I've heard so oft' before a glowing blue portal appeared. Then he called ta me, "See you around, May the Virtues guide thee."
"Aways," I smiled as me and my pets disappeared through the gate.
I arrived in Skara Brae near the stables and quickly called out ta Jebediah, "Got room ta hold up Thorin for the night?"
"Not a problem Mak, he replied, for the usual thirty gold, of course,"
"Of course, Jeb, you know I'm good for it. Gotta run. And remember, don't feed him none a' that ophidian slop."
Jebediah just laughed, "Yeah yeah, get outta here, ya dirty ol' ranger."
With that, I rode over to the Shattered Skull and dismounted, giving Rua a scratch behind the ears before enterin' the tavern. A small jittery specimen of a man musta been watchin' the door for he stood up and ran ta greet me, weavin' through the other patrons as soon as I came in. "Makarios, the Ranger Captain?" he practically yelled as he thrust out his hand in greeting.
"Aye, tis me," I acknowledged, "You must be the guy from the Britannian News, I'm still not sure what this is all about, but come, let's sit. Whatcha drinkin'?"
"Well I, yes, some wine would be quite nice, perhaps a red with a fruity hint of…"
"Cythnia!" I called out to the barmaid, "bring us a bottle of the good stuff from Yew."
The little man chortled and exclaimed, "Oh, you must be joking, they haven't had wine from Yew since, oh my, you must know the state of Yew. That swamp is constantly under invasion and even today…well, I wasn't covering the story but my colleague has informed me that…"
Cynthia arrived at our table at that time with the bottle and two glasses. Then with a gentle touch of her smooth hands across the back of my leather tunic, asked if we desired anything else. "Not as this time, dear, thank ye" I smiled back at her, and dropped a few coins and an emerald into her hand, closing it with both of mine.
The reporter looked at the bottle carefully and then stared at me, "How in Sosaria did you manage that?"
"That 'swamp' as you call it, used ta be my home, and I have me ways of gettin' a taste of it every now and again. But tell me again, what is this meetin' all about anyway."
Now with an air of excitement, the jittery little man did try to compose himself. "Well you see, I'm doing a story, a series really, about the varied lives of Britannia. But here's the genius of it. Following the old traditions and area guilds, I've been keeping with the themes of the great cities. For example, in Trinsic, I met with a Paladin; in Minoc, a Tinker; and in Moonglow, a marvelous encounter with a mage…"
"And so ya come ta Skara Brae to speak with a ranger. Aye, clever indeed. So why me?"
"Why indeed! Are you not the Senior Captain of the Rangers of Skara Brae? Have you not been involved in much of the recent history of Skara? Fights with the Orcs of Kor? Battles with the legions of the Undead? Rendezvous with golden dragons and locked swords with their enemies? Seen the founding and collapse of the Skaran Council and the conflicts with thieves and pirates?" He spoke with such excitement and arm movement that he was quite a treat ta watch. I simply savored me wine and grinned at his interest. "So," he continued, "Where did you come from, what of your past and present adventures, tell me the life of a ranger."
"You seem ta know quite a bit about me already. Tell me then, what do ya see when you look at me?"
"Why, I. Hmm. You seem quite fit for your age. I'm not saying you're old mind you, but well, some might say past your prime. But, ahem. I imagine you've got quite a mane of (graying) blond hair that you've got tied back in that ponytail. The leather armor you wear seems quite worn and mismatched and your boots haven't been cobbled in some time. The green cloak you wear is, of course, the signature of your esteemed guild. You're obviously an archer, with the quiver on your back and longbow at your side. You speak and move with confidence but I'd imagine you've had very little formal education. The light in your blue eyes tell my you've seen your share of conflict but have overcome." He sat back again, seemingly pleased with himself for statin' the obvious, and lifted his own glass of red wine.
"Nice work detective." I smiled. "And so I suppose that I can tell ya a little about myself. Just make sure the wine don't run out."
And so I began:
Aw right, first ta get the basics outta the way. I was born in Yew on a small farm. Well, 'twas a ranch really. We had a few crops but jus' fer the family. Our income was in the wool that came from our sheep. Great parents, two brothers, bratty sister, pretty wonderful life growing up, truth be told. Sorry, no tragic stories of orcish raids or witnessin' the ritual slaughter of me family. Such nightmares I wouldn't encounter 'til much later in me life. I loved bein' outdoors. Yew was such a beautiful place at that time. How many summers I would spend runnin' barefoot with my dog and sleepin' out under the enormous Yew trees. *grins nostalgically and takes a sip of wine* I did in fact get some education however, at the monastery in Yew where I learned ta read an' write and the art of healin'. This is where I also learned a bit about fruit a' the vine as well. *chuckles* Ahh, those carefree days are nice ta remember but we can't dwell on them, can we?
I soon had ta grow up and me family knew that I wasn't gonna stick around the ranch. I had ta fly, to explore, to find my own adventures. I began by earnin' some money huntin', selling pelts and hides locally. This is when I really learned the skills that would get me through me early years of adventurin'. I'd fletch me own bows and arrows, make camp, track my quarry, and befriend the animals that I could. Magery, I had a distaste for. Still do. Most the mages I heard about from the healers at the monastery and those in the books I read were corrupt, influenced by their arts. Even those I knew were drunk on their own power. And magic itself doesn't seem to sit well with me. I still get dizzy when steppin' through a moongate, and even a bit queasy when healed vas mani, and my resistance ta magic is quite pathetic. My enemies were always quick ta discover that one out. I did however, meet one mage who renewed my hope in such magic, he too became a Ranger, and Paso and I have become the best of friends.
But enough 'bout that. When I was still young, I set out into this great big world and traveled south along the royal road. I still remember my first encounter with a troll like 'twas yesterday. I was certainly not the archer that I am today, and instead of a dragon companion, I traveled with a timber wolf. The wolf would bite at its heels and then run back and hide behind mine! In the meanwhile, I was runnin' from the reach of the troll's massive club and firing arrows in its general direction. The fight musta lasted over an hour and I honestly think the troll's death was caused more by exhaustion than any damage we had dealt it. *smiles* My pets now eat trolls as snacks before a hunt.
And so we come to Skara Brae, the city of Spirituality. But here, there was no welcome for a weary traveler like myself. In fact there seemed ta be no way of gettin' across the channel to the city! So instead, I walk up the nearby path to a large hall. Next to it are a couple of archery buttes so I figure the place can't be all that bad. Inside are a number of people, some talkin', some practicin' spells, some sparrin'; all wearing similar hunter green cloaks. Now here, I receive a warm welcome. A man named Daganto greets me, he was talkin' with a young woman named Marissa. After the usual introductions, they tell me about their guild. But this wasn't yer usual merchants or tinker's guild. Twas a guild of adventurers! They called themselves the Rangers of Skara Brae, or RSB as it was commonly known as.
I was soon eatin' up everything I could about this noble group. They had this Code, they called it. Now listen for this is very important and this code would guide me life from the moment I joined until this very day and will continue ta do so 'til I enter the abyss…again. (But that's another story all together).
The Ranger Code is what defines who the Rangers are. Ta begin with, we are guided by the Virtues, and three in particular. The first is of course, Spirituality, the Virtue most associated with Rangers and our township. We have a special connection to all life and must be aware of things often unseen. The other two Virtues are Honor and Valor. Honor holds the guild together and guides us in our dealings with others, even with our enemies. Valor must be on our minds when we find ourselves in battle and allows us to champion the cause of good and order. But there was more to this Code. We follow also the disciplines of Simplicity and Self-Reliance. Nowadays, Simplicity seems to be far from the minds of so many that I meet, with hoards of treasures and elaborate castles, but we cannot, as Rangers, place our attention on such things. We are by nature, unencumbered and cannot be overly attached ta such things. And of course, Self-Reliance, a practice I had learned already before I had even heard of the Rangers. Now Self-Reliance could also be applied to the guild itself, for we acted as a whole, relying on each other, each with our own talents and skills. This, my friend, is the Ranger Code as we are still guided today by such noble tenets as Spirituality, Honor, Valor, Simplicity and Self-Reliance.
*Pours another glass of wine* There are so many things I can tell ya of my adventurers upon me initiation inta the Rangers and subsequent life. But alas, I've talked so much already. Allow me however, ta tell only one story more: the first time I tamed me a dragon. There were four of us that set out for this perilous task. Myself, of course, Paso, Marissa and another Ranger we simply called "Z." Paso's a tamer mage; Marissa's a pure fighter, quite efficient with bow or sword; and Z was some sort 'a battle mage if I remember correctly. Anyway, we set out for Destard that afternoon fer quite an ordeal. Now all sorts 'a dragonkind and other reptiles breed in this cavernous dungeon so we first had ta fight our way to a relatively quiet place without so much interruption. Next was a find a young healthy dragon, you know, the impressionable type. The other Rangers would stay back as I would lead the noble beast ta them. Then they would attack us. Now I know this ain't the most humane way 'a tamin' a dragon but we had ta work with what we had, and we had no bards with us ta calm the animal. I myself didn't fight the dragon, but gave 'im the idea that I would try an' help as he got pounded by me friends. When close ta death, I would gently try and convince the big guy that we should join forces and travel together, fightin' the likes of dragon slayers.
*Laughs* If it were only so easy. I don't know how many regeants and bandages Z and Marissa went through ta keep me alive or how oft' Paso had ta bring me back when I did fall, but I tell ya; my leather was charred black by the time we finished. Dragons are stubborn I tell ya, and this ravenous red reptile was no exception. And I think he was gettin' a bit wise to our plan when the "dragon slayers" were tendin' to me wounds. So to keep me from gettin' clawed or burned ta death, Paso would paralyze big red long enough fer me ta calm him down and try an' convince him of my sincerity. Finally, after who knows how long, we wore down our scaly friend and he agreed ta join our party. And so as I was applying the bandages and removin' the arrows from his belly, Paso was getting' ready ta gate us back home. What I didn't notice what that our new ally was watchin' him intently and not trustin' this wizard one bit. As soon as that blue portal appeared, the dragon was so startled that he spread out his wings ta full span an' spewed a great jet 'a fire all over Paso. Apparently, this guy shared me suspicion of magic. So I kept him. And after we revived our mage, we all walked back ta Skara Brae. *Smiles and leans back*
But what does it mean ta be a Ranger today? *finishes another glass of wine* The same as it allows has. We follow the Code, we help others, we hunt and tame, explore new lands and discover lost treasures. On occasion, we engage in wars and battles and try ta keep our own beloved city of Skara Brae free from the scourge of those bent on darkness and chaos. Sure, we are much fewer today and not as well known. Those who do know us either respect or despise us for they know our history and what we stand for. Those who do not are always met with Honor and Compassion. And my own adventurin' days? True, I have settled down some with my own log cabin now in old Skara Hollow on the mainland, my animal companions and son Tobias. I have me friends and loyal guildmates, and various treasures - souvenirs really - from our history that I've kept. But I still like ta see the smile of a new adventurer that I may point in the right direction and even travel with for a bit, I am energized by the discovery of a new beast or undiscovered dungeon, I find my blood flowing when encounterin' a ravenous monster or bloodthirsty murderer, and I like ta sit in my favorite tavern with a mug of ale or Yew grown wine sharin' stories of my most recent adventures with me friends and even the occasional reporter.