Eliste walked up and down the Guild hall looking for someone to interview. Each person she came across told her they would later.
I know I'll find someone to interview today.
Eliste's mind was filled with a familiar voice.
I can ask Lopre I'm sure he'll say yes. I just have to go find him.
She searched every room in the upper hall, with no such luck. So Eliste ran down the stairs to the lower hall, there next to Mish's counter was Wolfwood. As was customary, she threw herself at him, and bounced in his lap.
Wolfwood looked down at the bundle of bags and dresses and smiled at her.
Eliste got up and twirled around for Wolfwood.
"I'm almost finished with my thieves class, I only need to take one more test."
Wolfwood smiled at her, and chuckled.
"Go pass your test then."
"But I wanted to interview you first Lopre. Will you let me?"
"Sure. Why would you even need to ask?"
Unseen to both, Noctus appeared at Mish's side.
Wolfwood beamed a smile at Noctus.
Noctus smiled happily.
"Cause you taught me to always be polite."
"Very good, very good."
Eliste wrinkled her forehead in thought.
"Or was it Clue who taught me?"
"A lil of both."
Noctus grinned mischievously.
"Well that's not a bad thing to learn."
Oh I'll have to ask Noctus if he'll let me interview him too, but I'll do that later.
Wolfwood and Noctus became to talk of shop, a topic that always put Eliste to sleep. Eliste leaned against Wolfwood's chest and let her eyelids fall. Wolfwood made a sudden movement and she opened her eye and looked up. He winked at her. Eliste yawned quitetly and snuggled up against his chest again. Again a his voice filled her mind.
"Ok Eliste, wanna chat in the refuge?"
Eliste opened her eyes and saw that Noctus was gone. She stretched herself from her five minute nap, and saw Wolfwood already walk up the stairs.
Got to hurry up and catch up to him.
Eliste bolted up the stairs and ran till she found the Refuge.
She walked inside and saw it. Hours of careful study and exploration could not possibly allow you to fully discover all that can be revealed in this wonderful place. This chamber is considerable, yet somehow intimate and cozy; made of thick wooden timbers, each as stout as a dwarf, it is crafted in the style of a druid's cottage. Herbs and plants of nearly every variety hang in fragrant bundles from the rafters above, and one entire wall is covered from floor to ceiling in maps, charts, and careful notes of the Realm. A fireplace of gray river stones adds warmth and comfort to this sanctuary, and upon the hearth an ample iron cauldron of fragrant stew bubbles gently. It is plain that care has been taken to craft an environment of welcome and learning, a place of family and instruction, a true home for FoLK of all kinds.
Wolfwood was there already smiling.
"Do I need to make a grand entrance?"
Eliste giggled and shook her head.
"Unless you want a grand entrance."
"Its quite alright."
Eliste walks over to the carpeted section of the floor and found her favorite nook. She sat down and opened up her journal and pen.
"First I shall describe you."
"To mimic Isolas, a task as ambitious as your interviews themselves."
"Nicholas D. Wolfwood at your service."
The tall man ahead extends his large hand with a quick smile. His grip is firm, a lifetime of work, his finger-nails oddly sharp, two small crossed quills sit on each sleeve. The shape of his brow and face seems mixed with elven blood, high cheekbones that seem to cup the most interesting eyes you have ever seen. One is a sharp yellow, the type of eye a wolf would have. The other is a faded red, the type of eye that is whispered in taverns and bars all over the land. But all of this is forgotten when he smiles that smile again, sharp teeth barely noticeable He is taller than you first thought, well over six and a half feet, with broad shoulders and a slim mid section. He is deathly pale, and you wonder if it would be polite to ask if he is sick. There is no color in his cheeks, not a drop of crimson on his lips. If not for that smile, you'd think him dead.
"Ok Lopre tell me about your childhood."
"Well, It was a cold morning when I came screaming into this world, as we all do really. That's what I heard anyway. I'm sure the sun was shinning bright but well, cold isn't just the weather is it? My mother took one look at the half breed infront of her and hid from the shame. The great Elf reduced to giving birth to a human tainted child. Dad was thrilled to be stuck with me, and well, he was."
Poor Lopre, he deserved so much better.
"So, he took up the great profession of drinking and we ended up in the camp. He'd drink, he'd hit me or pass out, I prefered the latter for obvious reasons. Well, it's another cold day when at the tender age of say, seven, you come to the conclusion...It's either me or that lump of fat, no room in the world for both."
Eliste blinked at the implication.
"So the next time he came home, empty bottle in hand, I told him to leave. Granted he didn't take that well, smashed the bottle across my face, that's why I'm so pretty."
Wolfwood showed off the ancient scars around his cheek and eye.
"Anyway, that was enough, and thinking led to doing, as it tends do, and I well I took his old longsword and gave him a good death. Clean, no pain, no dishonor, more than he deserved."
Eliste gasped at the news.
How horrible it must be for a child to have to make that choice.
Wolfwood took a quick swig from a flask hidden under his greaves.
"Well like father like son, eh?"
Never, you never treated me like your father treated you.
"So yah, that's a bad start isn't it?"
"It is, but why is it that you didn't turn...well why do you wear a blue aura instead or a red one? When someone has your childhood the tend to go red, or so i've seen in my interviews."
"Well, a lesson I shoulda taught you long ago is that the beginning of a story ain't got much to do with the ending."
"But you're a fast learner."
"So what about the middle, after you and your father parted ways."
"Well, I guess I didn't wear that dazzling aura because killing your father tends to make you see the world differently."
Eliste looked up questioningly.
"I was tired of death, tired of poverty, tired of being hungry, and thats damn sad for a kid to have to know. So, when the opportunity arose for me to get that shiny red suit, I turned it down."
"When did that happen?"
"More years than I can really remember now, but I was still young, my twenties or so I think. 'I had my friend, my brother in arms, Dilandou. A healer like me, he taught me the way of the world. Taught me how to heal pain, remove illness, protect myself, and made sure that I alway need how to handle myself. He always told me in that wilty voice of his "The dead cannot defend anyone". So we trained and traveled. Had our fun, but I was too young to realize what kind of fun it was. He knew how to cure pain cause he knew took pleasure from pain."
Eliste shuddered at the thought of it.
How can someone take pleasure from pain. Why?
"It wasn't til after many an adventure, many a bad idea, and many a regretful night did I realize what he was. A cursed, foolish gnome that wanted sympathy for his evil. So, when he took me the Great Sequoia and I watched him swear to Lord Kerriariadne, that was my time to check out."
"Why was he cursed?"
"Well, he had a run in with a necrodragon. Those things have the nasty habit of casting horrible curses as they die. So anyway...curse or not, Dilandou was a killer, and he wanted to be pitied for it."
Wolfwood took a drink from a gourd.
"So you left the Great Sequoia, what then?"
"I didn't want to be that way, so yah I left and wandered for a bit. The hands of the triat, or just luck, I came to Clue's temple. I was looking for a bite to eat, a sip of the wine, maybe some warm company, but well I ended up there. And it was the best thing to happen. She never looked at me like a killer, never expected me to be a hero, just to be me."
Clue does have that ability to make people believe the best of themselves.
Eliste smiled as she thought of Clue.
"She was a mother, and well I think people that follow all that mind-mappin magic can tell you I needed that in my life. So I came to her, and I pledged myself to her, and well I got some blue suede shoes to go dancing with."
Wolfwood leaped up and grabbed Eliste. He spun her around the room.
Lopre is so nice, I'm glad he found Clue.
After spinning they both sat back down.
"So yah, that's how I get the color scheme."
"But that's not the end. What happened while you were in Clue's following?"
"You know this as well as I. Well, I went back to the camp, a changed man really. Started my little orphanage, started a program to build roads and wells so the drunks could get real jobs. Started to wander the world, find where the pain was and make it better. That little search led me to you, a crying child surrounded by death. A gentle flower very close to wilting in the world, and well you know what happens with that."
You became the father I lost, and I'm so glad you found me.
"I know, but after you found me and took me to Clue then what?"
"Persistent aren't you?"
Eliste bit her lip.
I just love this story, and wish I had been there for it.
"Well I like this part of the story."
"Well there was a lot of running around really, helping the good, helping the evil, helping whoever needed. Oh I have a few scars from what people called help. Big monster chasing me, go try and stop it while I go sit in that Tavern with my mates. Well, Clue thought I was earning a nice reputation for myself, not to mention I was a bit too brash when I had a bottle in my hand. So, I make a few off hand remarks, and pledged that I would die to defend the FoLK, by any means. Well, Clue, in all her humor and wisdom, made that happen."
Eliste grinned as her favorite part came up.
"She took me to a quiet corner, like an old cow that can't give anymore milk, and made death swift. She took my blood and gave me hers, and so I was her first Blood-Son, and first Kindred of FoLK."
"What was it like? Being bitten?"
"It was like dying...you are torn about it. One part of me felt the pain, felt the cold, felt everything just flow out of me. And another part loved it, wanted more, wanted to make the cold a fire, wanted that kind of power. So as I died as I wanted more and more, and well here we are."
"So how was being a Kindred of the FoLK, different from being a normal FoLK."
"Well, being a Kindred meant being a defender, being able to break the code of pacifism to defend the lives of FoLK. A soldier of Clue. But, there is just Mystifier and I, and we don't go looking for trouble."
"Was it hard to no longer be pacifist?"
"We are still are for the most part. Misto and I don't go looking to get even, we just try to help out in the moment. It's not self defense several days later when the bugger is sharing a pint at the inn and you have a hammer waiting."
"And your old friend do you still see him?"
"On occasion. I no longer trust him, and I no longer call him a brother in arms, but he is still a friend."
"So are you happy now?"
"More so that the beginning of our tale would have let us believe yes."
"Any funny stories, that you can tell me?"
"Well...I have a few.."
"One time Dilandou and I were having a chat about the good old days...Well that chat became a competition of drinking prowess, and by the end of the night we were both a bit....loose. Well we decided that the spiders that haunt the western area of Loth Lorien needed to be removed, for safety's sake. So we strapped on our armor, took up our weapons and went hunting. 'Bout an hour later, even more wine later, we found ourselves the Green Dragon of Loth Lorien. We figured it was just a really big spider, and when we woke up, we had a nifty trophy and the worst hang over of our lives."
"At least you got it and not the other way around."
"Getting the damage out of my armor and hammer took months. But well...teaches us a valuable lesson. Don't drink and dragon slay."
"But you tend to do that often, I remember you and Fobro went and did something crazy too."
"Yah that halfing has gotten me into alot of hot water. And I love that about him."
"Tell me one story of trouble?"
"Well, we were bored. I was a little...loose again. It happens... But well...we have this idea to go someplace. He says it's a surprise. Well, by the time I realize where we are, we're in masters. Now Fobby is a dependable guy, I felt secure, I was hyped up on liquid courage. By the time we hit the 3rd floor, it was getting messy. Surrounded by Zombie guards, knee deep in our enemies we fought valiantly."
Wolfwood made well exaggerated battle movements and faces.
Eliste giggled openly at him.
"Well, Fobby just kinda got in their way and I hit them. Oh yes, so beseiged by zombies we fight on. Then the horrible shriek of the beholders, monstrous creatures that chill your very blood. I fought three, keeping them away from the shivering image of Fobro, standing tall against their magic. Fobro bolts through the doors, driven mad by fear, so I run to rescue him, and while he gets away to safety I stand alone against the onslaught of the demonic horde."
Somehow I remember Uncle Fobro told it a bit differently.
Wolfwood looked around, saw the look on Eliste's face and sighs.
"Ok, a beholder cast feared on me, I ran like a girl with a skinned knee all over masters and barely managed to get back to the Guild. Fobro managed to get back fine on his own, and then we spent the better part of a day trying to kill the other that followed me home. Happy?"
Eliste grinned and nodded.
"But oh my it was fun! Anything else?"
"No that's ok, thank you Lopre."
Eliste hugged Wolfwood.
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