Trade Article: The Way of the Warrior — a personal tale, by Elowan of Wind

Preface | Introduction | The beginning ... | Thy education ... | The Flower of Britannia | Black magic ... | Training up — as a beginner; as a novice; as an adept; as a master | Virtue Shield | The Noto killer | Some days it doesn't pay ... | I lose my Shield ... | A tale of two thieves | A tale of etiquette | The Lich — revisited | Elowan's Guide to Dungeon Delving

he fire is particularly bright and cheerful tonight here in the Great Room of Beckwith Hall. The brightness is overmuch methinks. Perhaps it is just these eyes of mine. They've grown old and tired along with everything else about me, belike. It seems forever since I was young and callow and foolish. It is a miracle that I have grown old at all considering the many disasters I have survived in my life — most of my own making. No one has ever gone out of their way to cause me harm — leastwise not that I'm aware of; except perhaps but that is another story to be told at another time. No, any harm that has befallen me was my own fault, and because I placed myself in that situation — deliberately or through rank stupidity.

The fire is warm and does these old stiff fingers of mine a world of good. My dear wife Theila has sat me down here in my favorite chair along with a cup of mulled wine and a goodly stack of foolscap and quills enough for an army of scribes. She herself has gone of with Selene to play midwife to one of the local women. Carin is sound asleep on the settee, his once blonde hair gone more white now, his face more wrinkled than even my own, his mouth agape and gently snoring. Malcolm has placed yet another candlestick upon my writing desk and has gone off someplace — not far if I know him and from the corner of my eye I see the Porter hovering.

So here I am, essentially alone and undisturbed. Left to gather my thoughts and set them down in a nice round hand. I'm not a scrivener, heaven forfend, and my friends would laugh to think of me so, but there is no one but myself to put down these observations for those readers who might choose to peruse these pages for what mort of wisdom they may contain. I've kept a journal of my experiences — both good and bad — mostly from some sense of passing along whatever it is I may have learned from all of it. Carin has said more than once that I'm a "born teacher". I haven't quite figured out if that's a complement or not.

My name, as I said, is Elowan, born Elowan Romulane, but generally known throughout the land as the Great Lord Elowan, warrior mage; sometimes as Elowan of Wind. I didn't set out to be a warrior — it just happened — and Carin is wont to chuckle over that fact from time to time. Carin is half-elven and has inherited a singular sense of the ridiculous from his elven father's side of the blanket. Carin's mother is a Druidess which is how we came to be friends — what began our lifelong friendship actually — our mother's were in a similar line.

I knew little enough about my parents past. What child ever truly knows his parents in any event? And as a couple they seemed mismatched. She vivacious and sprightly, he withdrawn and slightly stooped and walking with a distinct limp. Her nature was probably a heritage from her people — the Skyern, a mysterious folk who lived in the northern part of the Land. They were said to be natural magic users and somewhat reclusive.

My mother was what some people might term an herbalist — though she was much more than that. She had a healers touch and was forever mixing up some brew or another to treat some ailment or other amongst the townsfolk. She was not a druidess. In fact she eschewed what she called 'mumbo jumbo' and messing about with gods. But she had a way with the healing arts and her herbal concoctions were much in demand. Which is how she became acquainted with Carin's mother — but that's another story.

My father was a stern man. I do not say that he was dour nor do I say that he did not smile for I have seen what could pass for a smile appear fleetingly at the corners of his mouth betimes. Nor could I attest that he ever laughed — at least I never heard him. And the only time I saw his face soften was when he looked at my mother; and one other time.

My father's nature was obviously typical of his people. Scythians are not know for their sense of humor though I'm told they do possess one — albeit of a dark nature. It is said that they are particularly fond of the grape and it is the height of foolishness to enter into a drinking contest with one. But save for weddings and birthdays I never saw my father drink of intoxicating beverages except for an ale or two.

That there was some dark secret kept by the two of them seemed obvious enough and there were times when my father would sink into a brown study earning him an anxious glance from my mother. But those moods would soon pass. I gathered from some things my mother said and in overheard snatches of conversation that father had been some sort of warrior though he kept no souvenirs of such a past if it were true. There was no shield hanging above the fireplace nor yet a long sword propped in a corner and I never heard aught about anything like that from his lips. Though I did hear him singing, softly one time, which startled me I do assure thee. Both because I had never heard him sing and because he had a wonderful voice. I did not understand a word of the song he sang; I presumed it was in his native tongue and when he noticed me he stopped. I asked my mother about it but all she would say was that it was a song about the Troll Wars and would venture no more about it. It puzzles me to this day.

And then I once saw him neatly whip the head from off a large barn rat with a mere flick of the end of his staff — held one-handed and in the left at that. I've never seen the like before or since. He couldn't fully close the right hand and he held that arm close to his body and though I knew he could move it, it seemed stiff and the effort caused him some discomfort. But he never complained. Nor did he ever raise his voice. He was soft-spoken but the tenor of his words carried with them such strong and quiet authority that I thought even the sun would feign disobey him. I certainly didn't — at least not often. I was rarely physically punished as a child. The look of utter disappointment in his eyes was enough and there was no relief to be found in my mother's face on those rare occasions. She was made of stern stuff herself and she was as implacable as a wyvern when the occasion demanded. The episode of The Tree comes to mind.

But they were loving parents withal and I never wanted for anything that I truly needed. I was never hungry a day in my young life nor was I ever without shelter or a place to lay my head. For that and for other things I honor them both — and love them both. Which is not to say that my formative years were without trial — far from it. But the trials were administered from another quarter entirely and from a source that all children must suffer from some time in their lives — other children.

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