Umtan Finwae looked down at his wife. As far as childbirths went, this one could not have gone any better. No screaming, little pain. The frail creature lay on the blanket beside his mother, breathing steadily, struggling to open its eyes.
“Let me hold him, where is he?”
Umtan bent down to the tiny elf and gently passed him into his mother’s arms.
“He’s perfect. Rae’il… ”
Umtan looked down at his son’s delicate elvish features. A very thin jawline, sharp pointed ears, piercing green eyes, like emeralds. The irises almost seemed to be outlined in a golden line, no thicker than the finest of elvish thread. Umtan wasn’t sure how long he was gazing into those eyes, but the scent of copper finally broke his trance. At first he missed the small red dot on his son’s forehead as he turned to see what could be giving off the sickly sweet smell. When his eyes fell back upon his son the dot had grown into a puddle and began to run down the side of Rae’il’s cheek.
A single line of blood trailed down the left nostril of Tir’mona, his wife. Her eyes were closed and her chin was in her chest. The only thing holding her up was the stump she had been resting on.
Umtan screams were said to be heard all the way to Bogmound, which was a 1 day walk from his current position. By the time he had wrapped his wife in their bedroll and fashioned a makeshift stretcher, strapped his son on and dragged both of them to town, 3 days had passed.
Umtan stopped first at the church, paid to give his wife a proper burial, and spent the rest of his time and money at the inn, drinking to forget. When this inn wouldn’t have him he would pack his few belongings and they would head to the next town, until eventually landing in Pinefarrow.
Occasionally Umtan would stumble outside town limits a feeble attempt to trap or hunt. The only thing that kept Rae’il alive truly was the generosity of Sir Bryce Greenwood, who had a soft spot for the two elves.
Rae’il was 17 years old when his father failed to return from one of his “hunts.” Sir Bryce allowed Rae’il to stay with him for the next 2 years, teaching him the ways of trapping. The wood elf had a knack for the bow, as his hands were unnaturally steady. In fact, all throughout his life, unnatural things would happen when Rae’il was around. No one paid it much mind, but it was always lingering in the back of his mind. How could I have made that shot? How did I fix that broken arrow shaft? Why are there butterflies following me?
When Sir Bryce announced that his pupils would be departing from town on a 5 year journey, Rae’il was uncertain of where to start. He had no love for the teachings of magicians in their towers, or lust for gold. Hell, he didn’t even care what happened to his father. But… that would be something for him to do to fill his time.
5 Years Away
The first two years of Rae’il’s travels passed quite uneventfully. He travelled from town to town, looking for work, occasionally asking if anyone had heard of Umtan Finwae. A few people had said they had heard the name, but no solid leads. This was exactly what he was expecting. His father had told him that he and his mother often steered clear of towns, preferring to camp outside under the stars.
One evening, at a particularly crowded inn in Greenhome, Rae’il caught wind of an old scent. Something familiar, but strangely alien. A sweet coppery aroma. It was very strong, and drew him from the inn, then the town itself. He spent the next day and a half tracking this scent, something he had never done before.
Rae’il found himself in an odd clearing. The only thing familiar was a stump sitting in the exact centre. Without hesitation Rae’il approached the stump, believing it to be the source of the smell. Perhaps it was the 2 years of travelling from town to town that dulled his senses, or perhaps it was the overwhelming smell clouding his mind, but he did not see the Wyvern until it was almost upon him.
Sir Bryce had often told stories of these beasts to him and his friends to scare them as children, but in person they were a terror indeed. In all the stories, Sir Bryce had always given them very specific details on their appearance, but he never mentioned one with scales as white as snow. Unfortunately for Rae’il he could not remember how the hero always won in the stories with happy endings. He could only remember the stories that haunted him when the wind blew a tree limb across a window as he tried to sleep.
Rae’il did the only thing he could. He ran.
The first claw lashed out and should have struck home, but by chance he managed to slip under it and made his was out of the clearing. In a panic, he did not notice the rocks piling up on either side of him and soon found himself in a U-shaped precipice. He tried to climb, but each rock he grabbed fell to his feet.
He began to search the ground for a weapon. As the Wyvern got closer Rae’il pressed his back to the rock face and thought “This is it. This is the end.”
The Wyvern sniffed the air inches from Rae’il’s nose. As quickly as it came, it turned and left. Rae’il let out a sigh of relief and collapsed to the ground.
When he came to, a small white rock was laying in front of him, about the size of a child’s fist. Rae’il reached out and grabbed it. It was not a rock, but a skull, covered in strange engravings and stained white. Thinking little of it at the time, he pocketed the skull and made for the town.
Rae’il spent the next 3 looking for odd jobs around the town, terrified to leave. When time approached, he hired a caravan to return him to Pinefarrrow a week earlier than his compatriots. He told no one of the encounter with the white beast.