My name is Elowen of Toregarde, and I am an Corporal in Toureguard City Watch.
I was brought here, along with my adopted family, as a refugee when I was 8 years old by the adventurer Alexis Dalliance and her friends.
Like her, I am a woodling, displaced by events from my home in Darkwood Forest. A group of orcs, driven by a madman from another plane, ransacked my village. I do not recall how I escaped – but I still remember their clan name. I stumbled around in the woods, until I was found by others fleeing from the raid. They took me in, and we made a family, escaping to the town of Stonebridge together, which is where Alexis and her friends found us, and brought us to her home.
I had known her all of two hours, when I told Alexis I would find those orcs and make them pay. I remember she nodded and told me she would train me to do so, if that’s really what I wanted. However, after the close of the portal above the town, she changed.
When the city was rebuilt and the council gave their ultimatum, many expected her to give them the archer’s salute and leave, but she didn’t. Instead, she accepted it, and retired to watch over the portal. Once, when Mistress Selene was deep in her cup, she confided to me that Alexis had stared into the howling maw of The Pit, and looked at each of those gibbering mouths and gnashing tentacles in turn, until she’d seen all the way down to the Nothing at the bottom. She had a theory about her friend’s change, she told me: Alexis had never been very stable, but Mistress Selene thought that slightly-too-long look had pushed Alexis so far over the edge, that she’d come back up the other side, and was the sanest she’d ever been. Mistress Selene had been worried though, that one day we’d turn around and Alexis would simply be an unrecognisable shade of her former self.
Alexis still trained me when I asked her at the age of 10, as I had asked all those years ago, and in time, she told me revenge was pointless. She had sent the remnants of the clan that attacked my village into battle as their redemption, a long time ago, and none of them ever came back. I felt hollow for a long time after that, but she soon had me back, picking locks and dodging fireballs. She was tough and pushy, and kept me so busy that I soon learnt to put that past behind me, and find a new place for my self. I changed my Name from that which was given – Featherdown – to the one I’m known as today.
Alexis taught me what she could of traps and fighting, of making the most of my eyes and ears and my brain, but she also gave me a code of honour that she called Hex’s Way. Never fight someone weaker than yourself; Live humbly and graciously; Protect those around you; Always stand up to those who would try to harm others.
As I came of age, at 16, she decided she had taught me all she could, and sent me with a letter to the Captain of the City Watch. I became a Watchman and used what Alexis had taught me to help investigate the petty crimes a city will always attract.
Mistress Selene had been right in her prediction, however; Alexis continued to change, and I was worried for my Mentor. She would only drink the weakest ale and eat the thinnest of broth. She left the portal tower less and less, and would sit day and night with her crossbow on her lap, watching the seal. I tried to visit her as much as I could, to encourage her to come and outside with me, but she dismissed me.
Then one day I went to see her, and found her stool empty and Mistress Selene waiting for me instead. The old Wizard’s face was grim as she handed me a sealed envelope. Inside was a folded piece of parchment. It was torn and charred and stained, a ring and a key. The key was to her house – I recognised it instantly, the ring I recalled having seen Alexis wear, but I didn’t know what it did. Mistress Selene looked sad as she saw the paper, as though she already knew what it was, as I unfolded it. It was addressed to a Captain Hengar, and the first line read: ‘In the event of my death,’ My eyes had blurred over, and I couldn’t read any more.
“Did something happen?” I asked, blinking quickly.
“Not yet,” Selene said. “I came in today and she was just gone. I checked the house. Even the Plot Hook. No one’s seen her. She’s left town, probably for good.”
“What do you mean, ‘not yet’?”
“If she’s gone, it’s for one reason,” Mistress Selene looked at me. “And it looks like she’s made you her sole beneficiary.”
I carefully put the paper and items back in the the envelope, and left the tower in a daze clutching it to me like a comforter, and turned towards the Watch House.
It has been two years since that day, and the fun is just getting started.