Aprilane

Ranger/Archer She's young and short but surprisingly strong. Also unsophisticated and kinda scruffy.

Description:

Abilities: Str 16 (+3), Con 15 (+2), Dex 20 (+5), Int 12 (+1), Wis 15 (+2), Cha 10

Hobbies: Internal Compass (modifier is Perception skill), Ambush (modifier is Stealth skill), Rope Tricks – knots and cats cradles (modifier is Thievery skill), Wrestling (modifier is Athletics skill), Arrow Fletching – crafting skill (modifier is Intelligence ability), Herbalism (modifier is Nature skill), Appraisal – of animal products (modifier is Nature skill)

Bio:

I was the youngest. I had five older brothers who were born to my Pa’s first wife. I know my Pa loved her very much. She was an Orc and my father always described her as all things wonderful. My Ma was a kitchen drudge and an orphan. She was human like my Pa. After his first wife died my Pa traded some furs for her from Mr. Bottomly who owns the big farm over in the next valley. My Pa was a hunter and trapper and needed someone to look after his younger sons and our cabin while he and his older sons were out following the trap lines and hunting other game. Pa couldn’t afford to hire anybody but he could offer marriage with the expectation of being cared for and the right to eat at the table and not just get scraps. My Pa spoke of my Ma with some fondness. My brothers didn’t talk about her much at all.

I don’t remember her. She died when I was about 2, I think. My youngest brother Alerick was 12 then and he got tolled off to stay home and keep an eye on me and manage our little homestead. Our cabin was tucked up in the Glimmerwood. We had a little kitchen garden and some half-wild chickens. My first chore was to hunt for those chickens’ nests and gather eggs. There were no vermin tolerated ‘round the cabin. All of my brothers were good shots and the cats kept down rats. But those chickens still worked hard to hide their nests.

Alerick grumbled about staying at home, but it turned out to suit him. He liked messing in the garden and cooking. And when I was little I wanted to do what he did, whatever that was, we managed tolerably well. Eventually I learned to help make arrows and work on the snares and traps we needed. I am good at arrows. I got frustrated when my brothers told me they lost arrows on a missed a shot. Brown arrow whizzing into brush past a startled deer… What arrow? It was never seen again! So I learned to make bright paints and stains and experimented with patterns that made them easier to spot. I would escape into the woods to see what worked best. I shot my arrows into dense cover and then carefully worked to find them again, without stepping on them. I learned a lot about tracking and finding hidden things and accidently (on purpose) about hiding my own tracks. I hated chores and wanted to be out in the wide woods bringing home my own game! I made it as hard as I could for Alerick to track me down and make me scrape hides or run some errand to the village. I hated going to the village.

When I was about 8 a storyteller came to the village and stayed for some days at a rough tavern there. Rough in more than a few ways. I was too young, but all my brothers went there every night to listen to his tall tales. Alerick came back laughing, but my other brothers reacted differently. They wanted glory and adventure for themselves! Verny was 19 and the twins Brilo and Meron had just turned 21 while Strom was 22.

The first time I can remember crying when I wasn’t hurt (or being spanked) was when my four older brothers marched off together a few months later. Strom told me that there wasn’t enough game here anymore for us all to hunt. And that they were old enough to look after each other and planned to do so. And that exciting things were happening up North. And that Alerick and I should look after Pa. And that they would be marching back soon with treasure and glory because of their skill at archery. I had never heard it called archery until that storyteller came along. Strom waved from the curve at the bottom of the path from our cabin. That was the last time we ever saw them. But it was not the last of my tears. There was screaming and tears a plenty. All of it mine. Pa wanted me to stay home and cook and clean while Alerick got to go hunting. Pa just thought that was the right way to do things. He was just wrong! Pa and Alerick discussed it calmly and quietly. Alerick finally convinced Pa to give me a chance. Alerick could tan a hide as soft as a flower petal to bring a fine price. That took time and attention. And Alerick knew I could trail and shoot better than he could by then. And Alerick was fat. I loved him. And I am short and stocky, but it’s mostly muscle. Alerick was fat.

Anyway, Pa gave me a chance. It worked. I think he was mad about my older brothers leaving. He understood, but he was scared for them too. So he was angry. I just stayed quiet. And we worked well together in the Glimmerwood. I would catch a smile on his face for a good shot or for picking up a lost trail. And he taught me lots of stuff I didn’t know. I hadn’t really spent much time with my Pa till then. I had faded into the background for him I think. He even said I learned better than my impatient, noisy brothers.

But it was anything but noisy when we got home. I had never noticed how much ruckus five Half-orc men growing up together and shouting and tussling could make. The noise was just always there. Until it wasn’t anymore. Somehow the cabin seemed smaller and darker than it had ever been. I think Alerick had no idea he would miss them so much. We all missed them but he was alone at the cabin now. Before my brothers left I slumped off on my own whenever I could, out into the Glimmerwood, every chance I had. But Alerick still knew I was somewhere nearby. Now he was surrounded by his own silence. Now, when Pa and I got home we were tired and sat and worked on hand chores. We needed to repair traps and always needed arrows. But there was no more boisterous pummeling and the hard-pitched, shouting arguments Alerick had shared with my brothers round the fire. Often now we just seemed to be listening, waiting to hear their return. Alerick got quieter too. Quieter and quieter as the months went by and we heard nothing. We never heard anything. I know Alerick wished he had gone with them. We had always kept to ourselves, but there were enough of us that it hadn’t been lonely, until now.

When a year had gone by I think Alerick just tipped over into mourning. I think Strom had solemnly promised to send word somehow, within a year at the very latest. In the deep cold later that year, Alerick caught a fever. I tried all the herbs and remedies I ever knew and tried things and bargained for stuff I had only barely heard of before. But Alerick died. I loved all my brothers, but Alerick raised me. I will miss him every day of my life.

So it was just Pa and me now. And quieter still. But you have to be quiet as a hunter or you will never get a whiff of your quarry. I think Pa and I were just naturally quiet. At first it was an unhappy silence. Eventually it was a companionable stillness. And Pa told me a little about my Ma. He said my brothers had resented her but he made them treat her civilly. Their mother had been wonderfully graceful, loving and full of cheer. But my Pa said he had been brutally honest with my mother, about needing help and being willing to treat her fairly if she helped him. He said he tried to find someone who was kind and he thought she had been content. She knew how to read but he didn’t know how come. She had had two books! And she taught Alerick and Verny to read too. I cried when he told me that. Alerick had taught me to read from an old book about herbs and even something about how to do my figures from an old collection of recipes. I had never known where those books came from and had never seen any others.

Pa and I muddled along somehow. Pa caught a fever in the deep cold of the following year and nearly scared me to death. I was suddenly afraid of being left all alone! I managed to pull him through. Since then I have listened to anyone and everyone who had anything to say about treating fevers, or any illness. I learned to make soothing teas (some even taste all right) and poultices and how to help wounds and knitting bones. It’s amazing what friends old bread and maggots can be. I even helped at some birthings.

Anyway, we muddled on together several more years. Still keeping mostly to ourselves. But we had never looked outside our family for companionship or anything we could do for ourselves. Last year in the deep cold Pa caught another fever. I pulled him through once more, but he didn’t really fully recover. He was weak as a day-old kitten. He started talking to my brothers again as if they were there. As if they had never left and were still young boys. One night he died in his sleep. And then I muddled along on my own.

And then it was the early green time. I was restless and suddenly realized there was nothing left to keep me here anymore. But I didn’t know where to go or exactly why I wanted to.

And then there was Lenz. And suddenly I had somewhere to go – away from the Glimmerwood! And a very good reason – the Queen of the Beasts!

Aprilane

Kala'Ushum Lisa