Legends of Belariath


Longbow Stalkers - Quandry In Minor Details

There is normally one time in every elf's life that they have to reconsider what they have done with their existence, and decide for themselves if they ought change everything they are and have thought themselves to be. This "moment of truth" is most certainly not unique to their kind, but in the eyes of most of the other races, such changes in the elves - any of the elves - either take too long for them to live to see, or are so sudden as to induce whiplash and heart failure.

For some, this experience is traumatic and fierce, rushing through them like a tidal wave and crushing their soul in a phethora of possibilities over a few days. Many others experience this disoriented moment in time like humans suffer the legendary "mid-life crisis," allowing their emotions to guide their actions. In the case of elves, this takes decades instead of years to get over. In a chosen few, this momentous occasion comes to them in a dream... or a nightmare. No matter what form it is, this moment often may define and guide the elf's heart and soul for the rest of their natural lives... and beyond, in the rare cases of a few that transcend the mortal coil.

With Tayrin Lankshaft, that moment was defined when he discovered the irrevocable death of the ill-spirited assassin-spellweaver. At once, his entire reason for being a ranger and member of the association he had spent his waking moments striving to become as a young high elven lad in the forest was drawn over the coals and brought into question. The dark-skinned bastard of a human was dead, and not by Tayrin's hands. Nor could even his body be recovered, much to Tayrin's dismay, so at least he could lug back the corpse and have the sorcerer resurrected to pay for all his crimes against the high elven people (which were a high number indeed if you counted every assassination and killing individually). Now Tayrin was without a solid purpose - a solitary and ambitious goal to direct his actions.

Wandering afar from the town where "The Lonely Inn" was located, he wrote a letter to his brother that he indeed was going to head home. Crestshimmer did indeed head home as well to meet his long-missed brother, but managed to arrive home before he did. Worried instantly, as Tayrin did leave before Crestshimmer vacated his position at the Tower of Unigo using the pseudonym Sparkfire, the brother of the ranger wanted to go out and search for him. Tghe town elders, knowing how powerful Crestshimmer had grown in the past few years at Unigo, forbade him to leave, stating a member of the Vermillion Brigadeers would be able to find his own way home without any assistance from a fretting and fatigued enchanter.

In fact, at that very moment was Tayrin feeling the pangs of indecision stroke through the blood in his veins. Remembering all those he had aided in the past, he liked the idea of staying a member of the Vermillion Brigadeers. At that same time, however, he felt he was incapable of living up to the sheer heroics of members past - not enough muscle, not enough magic, not enough sheer mass to his form. Though young, Tayrin's bouts of delusion slapped him brutally with comparisons as unfair as showing a child a dove and a pigeon, then expecting them to know exactly why they would choose the same flakes of baked bread to consume when thrown before them. Driving Tayrin to his knees, the visions drowned him coldly, pressing away his life and loves from him. Without anything to guide him, the now slightly insane ranger began to roam the countryside so very close to his homeland with his only goal being survival.

It was in this state the ranger met up with the roaming criomancer sylvan elf Canderia Daetuatha. As she was doing her routine wandering of the fiefdom closest to the forests of Tayrin's birthplace, she ran across him in a fight to the death with several ogres. Out of arrows, he had broken his bow over the head of one of the ogres, and stuck the pieces through the throat of another. The numbers of the ogres were too great without his customary short sword available to him, and the daggers were only delaying the impending doom closing in on him. Feeling as if this could be his last battle, the valiant Tayrin prepared himself for one last onslaught... when a miracle in the form of a sylvan elf struck hard and fast. Where there were before five ogres, could Tayrin count only three. And as they hesitated, Tayrin capitalized. A throat caught his two daggers as if they were magnets, almost sucking the death-dealing steel into itself. With the shock of their numbers being halved so readily, the remaining survivors took off pell-mell, never to be seen by Tayrin again in his natural life. (The fact they were soon consumed by a zorkadian turtlevask after they slipped past the horizon might have helped with that aspect.)

Canderia Daetuatha - "Canderia the Frostbitten" as she introduced herself to the visibly quaking ranger - saw something she had only heard legends about, a true to life member of the Vermillion Brigadeers. Having seen the potency of the random ranger on the battlefield, she wished to know more about him. She knew he was of that rare breed of high elf from the insignia on his cloak... and the fact he still bore himself with some self-respect and poise despite his decreasing grasp on the waking world. Her interest in his ways and his world were slightly more than a passing curiosity, as his features were not altogether unpleasant either.

Spending more than a week in the constant presence of the "ice witch" did Tayrin more than a world of good - it reaffirmed his sanity, and gave him a focus that allowed him to stave off the doubt and inwardly stabbing barbs of regret and self-loathing for perceivably failing his task. Eventually, however, Tayrin did part company with Canderia - promising to see her again. Nothing untowards happened between them, disappointing the now enamoured Canderia greatly. She vowed to herself to seek him out first if she could... the moment she could convince her village about her lack of importance.

Tayrin's arrival at his home village was one suiting a hero - which Tayrin could not understand. That is, until he was told about what those ogres had done previously. Striking a few villages at random, the group of seven ogres had been stalking the women of the town in order to entice the men to try to kill them. With their guerilla tactics, they would slay a rare few of the men, cripple others and rape and savage the remaining defenders one at a time. More than one of the elves taken by the ogres died shortly after at their own hands, unable to take the shock or shame of being sodomized by a male ogre... or just incapable of handling the pain. And yet by himself had Tayrin acquired a mysterious ally and slain the fiends.

It seemed that Tayrin's choice had been made for him - a ranger he would remain, for it was as a ranger he had been able to find the seven to begin with. The moneys Tayrin had collected from the secret caches of the long dead sorcerer were spread amongt the villagers. This day, this night were his - especially as his brother was there to celebrate it with him. Still, there was a matter of going back for a certain mage when this was all over. None knew of his ordeal but her, and he intended to keep it that way for now. That... and never before had he felt pangs for another so greatly as he did for Canderia. This... this he needed answers for. And the only way to get them, was to get her.