Troubled Times

After Lynn left and many of much of the other high ranks died off, the North Forest entered a time of great turmoil. There was chaos in the hierarchy and many were contending to fill the vacancies. Makeshift gangs of thugs ran amok, intimidating and eliminating the competition. The woods had become a dangerous place, even more dangerous than before.

In the midst of the social upheaval, in the dark heart of Trellia, lived a flame-haired elf by the name of Keramis. He was small even by elven standards, and this made him the object of much taunting by the bigger, stronger races such as orcs, gnolls, and ogres. A gang led by Kranti the half-were has been some of his more violent persecutors. They insisted that he would never amount to anything and backed up that claim by regularly beating him within an inch of his life – not killing him only because they found his torture an exceptionally amusing pastime.

Keramis’ best childhood friend was a tamunid named Kentabri, and they would often train together and share fighting techniques. Keramis specialized in an aerial combat style, which compensated for his disadvantage in height by fighting from treetops and other versatile vantage points. Kentabri specialized in ground-based combat style, which focused on conserving energy and minimal exposure of vulnerable points through rolls and trips. By practicing with Keramis, Kentabri also developed a solid defense against aerial style attacks.

But as the years went by, interpersonal hostilities within the North Forest only escalated. Many of Keramis’ friends abandoned him in favor of more powerful allies and a good deal of his own family cave belittled him. Finally, even Kentabri betrayed him and joined up with his most hated enemy, Kranti. Perhaps more damaging was the fact that the tamunid took with him knowledge of Keramis’ techniques. But Keramis never gave up hope. Their relentless ridicule only proved to him that it was they who were afraid. The North Forest hierarchy boasted a significant amount of elven high ranks, a prime example being Lynn himself.

He befriended a mischievous half-elf half-goblin by the name of Ni’Atami who was similarly small in stature and picked on constantly. Together they played tricks on the slower ruffians of the forest. The elven pair’s gentler lifestyle attracted the attention of the faeries. Though faeries detested iron, they had developed a far superior metal. It looked like silver, but was much sturdier, sharper, and balanced. It was also a lot lighter than iron, maneuverable by the frailest of races with ease. They gifted Keramis with two faery metal daggers and Ni’Atami with two faery metal falchions.

Faery metal was very responsive to magic, both in sensing and absorbing it. After a particularly brutal clash with Kranti and his gang, Keramis was not left on the forest floor to recover, but hoisted high up a tree with his arms nailed to the trunk with his own daggers. So he hung there, barely conscious, his mind boiling over with the desire for his enemies to feel his pain. This trance-like focus climaxed with all the power of a highly concentrated spell, and as his blood flowed over his daggers, it carried with it his intent and imprinted it upon them. Henceforth, if the blood of another got on the blades then any damage done to the wielder would instantly backfire on the attacker as well.

However, since Keramis did not make a good punching bag, he used this strategy only as a last resort. Through countless encounters with Kranti and his brutes, Keramis learned to be quick and evasive, becoming the best dodger in all the North Forest. He mastered the techniques of speed over strength, and at last felt ready to test his skills.

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Copyright © 2003 by Yumeni All rights reserved.
Revised: 12 May 2010 07:47:48 -0400 .