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Thread: A Letter From Aerenwe
11-20-2004, 09:10 PM #1
The following is a letter my character sent in the Eternal Waltz PBEM. As its not important plotwise, and only 2 PCs will ever read it, I thought I'd stick it up here For clarity, the letter is from the king of Aerenwe to Michael Mhoried and Katherine Tael (daughter of Gavin) on the occasion of their wedding, and was presented along with their wedding gifts.
My Lord and Lady, I wish you every happiness in your new marriage, and I regret deeply that I will probably not be able to make it to the ceremony. Also, my gifts are not so fine as some that you will receive this day, but they have been chosen with care if nothing else, for each one holds a story."
Lady Mhoried, as you will be by the time this letter is opened, you will see in your package a feather made of gold. This feather belonged to my Grandfather, who was a Ranger when nobody thought the Rangers existed any longer. It was said that he was the best shot, the best tracker and the keenest eye in Aerenwe. But what he was best at was birdcatching - it was his hobby to catch every kind of bird in the Erebannien. He didn't keep them, of course, but he saw it as a challenge. In due course he'd caught every bird in the land, but a fieldmouse told him that there was one bird he would never catch, the Golden Bird that lived in the darkest part of the forest. "A Golden Bird?" he asked. "Yes!" said the fieldmouse, "His wings are gold, his beak is gold, his crop is gold and his claws are gold. Every part of him, solid gold!"
Well, my grandfather was skeptical, but he was a proud man, and he decided that if the bird existed, he could catch it. So he set off for the darkest part of the forest. Along the way he faced various problems - a quite unseasonal profusion of wolves and trolls, and beautiful dryad women all tried to hinder him, but he was the master of the forest, my grandfather, and wolves and trolls and dryads didn't slow him down for a second. Eventually he came to the darkest part of the forest, and as his eyes adjusted to the gloom, he saw a glint of gold through the trees. "Well blow me down, the mouse was right!" says he, and he crept up as quiet as could be. Sure enough, as he got closer, up in a tree he saw a bird of solid gold - his wings were gold, his beak was gold, his crop was gold and his claws were gold. Every part, solid gold!
As soon as he saw the bird, he knew it was the most magnificent creature he'd ever hunted, and that he'd never be happy until he had it, so he started to climb as quick and quiet as he could. As fate would have it, the bird was perched on the top of the very topmost branch, and he had to wriggle like a monkey to get close enough, but eventually, standing tip-toe on the second to last branch, he was high enough to make a grab for it. At this point his luck, which had been running pretty strong up now, changed, and the branch he was on gave way. Feeling it go, he made a lunge for the bird, but only managed to grab one of its tail-feathers before it took off and flew away, squawking with outrage. So he fell to earth, and every time he hit a branch he almost dropped the feather, but even though he was beaten black and blue by the time he came to rest, he never let go of the golden feather. He never saw the bird again, though he returned to the darkest part of the woods many times, but he always kept the bird's tail feather as a trophy and a reminder.
And whenever my mother told me this story as a child, that's the point she'd pull out the golden feather, and show me where my grandfather had pulled it from the tail of the Golden Bird of the Erebannien. And I would look on with my little boy's eyes, and I'd vow to myself every time that I would catch the Golden Bird. I spent many years, both boy and man, in the Erebannien, and every day I went looking for that damn Golden Bird. Of course now I know that it was just a story my mother told me, that the feather is just some family heirloom and that there's no such thing as Golden Birds. But every now and again, when nobody's looking, I sneak a peek at the forest and try to catch sight of a glint of gold...
Don't worry, Lord Michael, your story is far more martial, no silly golden birds for you! The gift I've given you is a boar-spear, and it belonged to a man called Reynard Gavril. Now it so happened that Gavril was the king of Aerenwe, and a bad king at that, but this all happened long before my mother came to chop off his head. This story happens when both Gavril and my grandfather were young men, and Gavril went hunting in the forest. Now being a real tough-nut character, he went boar-hunting without armed guards, or even a horse, which as you know is a very dangerous practice as boars are ferocious creatures. But Gavril wouldn't be told, so he went off into the forest with his boar spear, a skin of wine, a cloth wrap of cheese and sausage and couple of his best dogs, and he told himself that he wasn't coming back until he'd speared the biggest boar he could find. Now having a trace of the wild country about him, he knew that the place to find the biggest, most ferocious boars was the darkest part of the forest. So off he sets into the forest, and who should he bump into but my grandfather, who is still moping around looking for his Golden Bird at this point.
"Ho, peasant!" he says, for he was that sort of king, "Have you seen any boars around here?"
"There are always boars." says my grandfather, not kneeling or anything, which Gavril wasn't used to, "Have you seen any birds?"
"Birds?" says Gavril, getting angry that a peasant is talking back to him, "I don't give a damn-blast about your stupid birds, go beat those bushes for me, before I give you good poke with my boar-spear."
Well, my grandfather was a Ranger - and this was in the time when nobody thought the Rangers existed - and he knew better than to go beating boars out of bushes, but he didn't like the sound of being poked by king's pig-sticker either. So he decided to play a little game, he went down by the bushes and he spoke to the mice in the roots, and he asked them to please go and fetch the biggest, angriest boar in the forest. Well, the mice trotted off, and in no time at all, Gavril was face to face with the biggest, ugliest, meanest boar in the forest. Now grandfather was looking forward to seeing Gavril running around, being chased by the boar, but truth to tell Gavril was brave, even if he was a bad man who raised taxes and made children go to bed hungry, and he planted his feet and stood his ground and pointed the boar-spear right at the beast. It charged him down, with hooves thundering, for it must have weighed near as much as a horse, and though he hit square, the brute took his spear and ripped it from his hands as it kept on coming, with the spear stuck in its side. It knocked Gavril over, gouging him with its tusks, and then turned around to trample him some more. Now boars are not smart beasts, and even though my grandfather was a Ranger, he'd never been introduced to this particular boar, and it decided it wanted to gore him more than the king, who was lying bleeding on the ground. Its ears went down and its tusks came up, and grandfather really rather began to wish he hadn't been quite so clever with his words to the mice. He could smell its breath as it thundered towards him, and he thought for sure the he was dead.
Suddenly, king Gavril leapt onto his trailing spear and grabbed it with both hands, yanking the barbed head too and fro in the wound. This drove the boar near crazy, and it began to throw him around like a child's moppet, but he knew enough to hang on, for if the beast got any closer he was finished. Well, not wanting to appear ungrateful, my grandfather joined him and with both of them straining, the boar couldn't pull itself off the spear. But, as boars do, it began to push itself down the spear, skewering itself further and further as it tried to get to the two men. By this point their limbs were shaking so badly with fatigue that they could hardly keep the spear straight, and inch by inch the boar got closer, until eventually it was pressing on the T-bar of the boar-spear. Mad as it was, it couldn't break that T-bar, and its strength was running out fast. Eventually it gave a sad little grunt and its tongue hung out and its eyes glazed over and after waiting a few minutes they decided it was dead.
"Your boar, your majesty." Says my grandfather, getting to his feet. Now technically the king had saved him, but seeing as he'd saved the king right back, he thought that evened out. The king stood up, and pulled the spear out of the boar and handed it to my grandfather with never a word spoken between them. For a year or two afterwards, Gavril wasn't such a bad king as before, and he put the taxes down a little bit, and they say he stopped locking people up for no reason, but eventually he went back to being a really bad king and my mother had to chop his head off. But that's a story for another time.
So why did I give you these items, personal as they are?
Because its all made up. There never was any Golden Bird, there never was any boar, I hardly even know who my grandfather was, and I doubt he ever met king Gavril the tyrant or talked to field-mice.
But its a good story, and what else is history but stories? Make your story a good one, the one about a brave noble knight and his beautiful bride and the marvellous things they did, and the peace they brought to a troubled land. I look forward to hearing it, someday.
Your Humble Servant,
Duke Hrandal Swordwraith"As soon as war is declared, it will be impossible to hold the poets back. Rhyme is still the most effective drum."
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