Vinyr Kor Aleannania
Species: Elf ( 2/6 High Elf; 4/6 Wild Elf )
Age: young adult (133 years old)
Affiliations: New Order of Tirstario ( former )
A History of Madness and Misfortune
In order to fully understand the length of the misfortune that haunts Vinyr Aleannania, one must begin with his ancestors. Most of the people Vinyr himself can speak of were long dead, and reports of their life reached him through his Mother, his neighbors and hearsay. What is true and what is the product of misunderstanding and adding to the tale is unknown – much like most of the elf’s own life.
The Aleannania were once a small order of druids from the lands of Fellyn Woods, a bloodline-based order – members of the sect were all male, and related by blood. The last member of the sect before it went extinguished was Naruil Aleannania, Vinyr’s would-be grandfather. Because the sect implied the members to be related to one another, like most of them, Naruil was wed to a woman from the nearby town of Aith’nim’el, however their lives were completely severed from one another. Naruil resided in the woods, whereas his wife lived in the town, meeting sporadically out of obligation more than love. For the duration of their marriage, unfortunately, no male sons were born to Naruil Aleannania, but two daughters: Nimarie and Ellenwyd. Both girls lived with their mother for all their life, knowing their father as a gentle, kind and spiritual man, but not very warm or affectionate.
When the eldest girl, Nimarie, was just still a few years short of womanhood, Naruil abruptly passed away. As a druid he was known to take on the shape of a larger-than-average stag on his strolls through the woods. At one point, concern arose in what family and few friends the druid kept, for he was rumoured to spend more time as animal than elf. During a hunting competition, a small group of young rangers chased and killed a massive stag, only to be horrified when the druid reverted to his true form. The incident would have been dismissed as mere accident – but as the rangers told the tale, they chased the stag up and down the hunting trails for several hours before loosing the arrows that killed it. The druid had plenty of time to revert to his natural shape before the deed was done, and either could not, or chose not to. It was even rumoured that Naruil chose to die as an animal before living another day as a man, and suicide being something that horrifies the elven people, the tale was discussed at length after his death.
Among his family, Naruil was, sadly, not missed. He hardly visited them at this point, and had become a stranger to them. However, the tragedy was not over. A few years later, with Nimarie engaged to be married, the two sisters lost their mother to another strange accident – a fire that began on the attic of their home and consumed the house. The two sisters had been on the ground floor and noticed the smoke, fleeing before the fire reached them. Rangers were called in to put out the flames before they spread to the woods or the rest of the town, but the girls’ mother was burned alive in the room where she did her sewing. Again, the tale would have been dismissed as accidental – a fallen candle, a fireplace-related incident… if not for the fact some of the rangers believed the woman had started the fire herself. Naruil’s wife had become isolated following her absent husband’s death, and in the eminence of her eldest daughter’s marriage, she complained often of feeling lonesome. It was rumored she had gone mad with grief, having married a man who was never by her side, spending her life raising children that were now leaving her.
Another relative of the Aleannania was also known for a touch of madness – Nimarie and Ellenwyd had an uncle on their mother’s side, dead long before they were born, a man who had made a career as a ranger in Aith’nim’el but never had the ability to recognize danger, or if he did, a man who had the habit of taking risks for kicks. He died in the prime of his years trying to tame a wild horse which eventually stomped him and broke apart his ribcage.
Born Under an Ill Star
After the fire took their mother and all their possessions, sisters Ellenwyd and Nimarie were taken in by Namarie’s bethroted. The man, named Arque Tlithar, worked as a master of coin at the House of Scholars, the institution that governs Aith’nim’el. Nimarie’s wedding was rushed so the union could be made official, and their joined living not frowned upon by the community, and Arque received some praise for accepting Ellewyd, his sister-in-law, in his home. The young woman had no place else to go, and if not for his hospitality, her sole option would have been begging or joining the church.
The years went by, with Nimarie happily married, and Ellenwyd quickly becoming a beautiful young woman, with no shortage of suitors. Seemingly, however, the only thing not consumed by fire at the sisters’ old home was the ill luck they bore. By the time Nimarie was expecting her first child, at a time when her husband was working late nights, a visitor came by their home on the edge of the town.
An elf showed up at their doorstep, badly injured and losing blood at alarming rate. His black hair and sharp features were telltale signs of vast Wild Elf ancestry, despite the fact he wore leather and carried a dagger. He begged the two sisters for help, saying he was hunted by a pack of human soldiers hellbent on sending him to the other world. Despite the fact Nimarie was far into her pregnancy and the two women were alone, they dragged the newcomer inside and bolted their doors. Fellyn Elves mistrust humans and the fact some of them may be close and threatening the life of a fellow elf was enough for them to overlook any racial difference or bring up any questions. Furthermore, in his current state, it was unlikely the stranger could harm them even if he had meant to.
Nimarie sent for her husband, while Ellenwyd was tasked with caring for the stranger’s wounds. When Arque came home, he found the man losing blood on his sitting room floor. From their brief conversation, the man explained he was a drifter from the Free Lands – which would explain why he had a resemblance to the Wild Elves – who had decided to take a shortcut through Fellyn Woods on his trip to the Southern Shores. He was surprised by a band of human highwaymen, and fought back – and when he killed one in self-defense, the rest decided to return the favor. He refused to see a cleric or a healer, claiming if the humans had a whiff of where his whereabouts may be, they might as well attack the town, and were not shy of starting a forest fire. He begged the family to hide him until he was strong enough to leave again, and take whatever dangers he brought them with him. Arque himself descended from a family who had waged wars against humans, and as such, he did not deny the request – with one condition. They would keep a secret of the stranger if his condition improved. Should it worsen, they would be forced to notify the House of Scholars. And, of course, once he was able to leave, he would have to report to the local rangers about such peril to their town.
The man agreed. To ensure his presence remained unnoticed, Arque had him dragged to the basement of the house. It was agreed Ellenwyd would have to be responsible for his care, since Nimarie’s pregnancy made it hard for her to go up and down stairs. Ellenwyd accepted the task and dedicated to it with utmost devotion. She did the stitching on the man’s wounds herself, pretending not to hear him swearing, and when a fever began to rise in him and he slowly became delirious, she stayed by his bedside day and night until it broke. The stranger hardly ever spoke, but she kept speaking to him in hopes of keeping him awake and aware, taking her sewing downstairs to work while she watched him. In time, she coaxed a name out of him: Kor.
To hear Ellenwyd tell it, the two fell in love over the course of Kor’s recovery, and eventually became intimate. To hear Nimarie report it, Kor was a persuasive and manipulating man who, when seeing how naïve and caring her sister was, decided to pull the strings and take advantage of her. Whatever the truth, as Kor’s health improved, so did the affair progress. On the day Nimarie took to bed to give birth, Kor decided to take his leave of the house. Ellenwyd would claim that on their last conversation, Kor had confessed he had been traveling South with a purpose, that there was a quest he must finish, after which he would be more than happy to return and marry her. Whatever the truth may be, by the time it was announced Nimarie had given birth to a healthy baby girl, he was gone.
The family was puzzled by his sudden disappearance, and Arque decided not to report the fact to the House of Scholars, lest some suspicion may arise about who the man was, or what his business in Aith’nim’el may be. Ellenwyd had already decided to wait patiently for his return to reveal the truth of her affair with the stranger, but something got in the way of her plans. Some months later, she realized she was with child, and was forced to confess to her sister what had been going on in the basement.
The story spread like the plague. Having a son out of wedlock from a father one knows nothing about is intolerable behavior on the eyes of Fellyn Elves. But abortion was not an option either. Fearing the shame might come to fall on his wife and child as well, Arque asked Ellenwyd to leave his house, and Nimarie had no way to object. They established the young woman at the local inn and helped her with expenses until her child was born – perhaps she could then deliver it to an orphanage, and while her reputation was ruined, perhaps she could rebuild her life still. However, once the baby came, Ellenwyd decided to keep it against all advice, even if that meant to be ostracized by the community and barred from her family’s home. As is customary in Fellyn Elves, druids picked a name for the new baby boy – Vinyr, which means “Storm-Bringer”, an auspicious name likely meant to remark the child would bring nothing but ill luck.
After Vinyr was born, Ellenwyd ceased having her brother-in-law’s financial help, and her prospects of marriage were none. She maintained Kor had promised to return, and once he did, he would marry her, making their son a lawful firstborn by the law of the elves. For the moment, however, she was a single mother with a bastard son, and no means to find money. The community did not forgive Vinyr’s existence, and Ellenwyd found little help: she was now seen as a woman of poor morals, so most people who owned establishments did not want to employ her. She managed to find work as a seamstress at a local tailor shop, so long as her part in designing and making garments would not be made public. She worked from home, for little pay.
Vinyr grew up in a small inn room, with little connection to the rest of his family. Born with a likeness to his father, with a small frame and a sickly complexion, he stuck out from the elves of Aith’nim’el like a sore thumb. Mothers often did not allow other children to be his friends, and older children bullied him over his unlawful birth and dark hair. Vinyr grew up listening to his mother tell the tale of how his father would one day return and then all would change, and like her, he expected that return anxiously.
Because schooling is mandatory up to a certain age amongst the elves and his mother could not afford to place him under a tutor, Vinyr was enrolled in public schooling given by the local church. It was here the problems began. Teachers already knew who he was before he opened his mouth, and other children had already heard the story of why he was not seen with good eyes in the town. It was at this period Vinyr realized how different he was from the other children. Bullying was unavoidable, and small, quiet Vinyr was mostly incapable of defending himself. Boys picked on him, stole his things and pushed him around. Girls made fun of him. Teachers avoided him. He learned to read and write very poorly, and in general could retain very little knowledge from his classes. Because his mother’s job was never steady, she often had to go hungry to feed him, and even then, sometimes, Vinyr himself would go to bed without dinner.
The final nail in the coffin came in the form of Wanted posters some rangers from abroad brought to the town, one morning, in Fall. They bore an image similar to that of Vinyr’s father, a description to match, and a list of crimes the man was wanted for. Kor was a sell-sword and assassin for hire and wanted for violence, theft, arson, murder and several other counts. By the time Ellenwyd and her son took notice of the posters, the town knew of it already. The next day, Vinyr did not dare show up to the church for classes, and from then on, hardly ever attended, afraid of repercussions. His mother locked herself in their room at the inn for several days, catatonic with shock and unable to work.
Because he was now known not only as a bastard, but also the son of a murderer, the town’s behavior towards young Vinyr changed to the worse. Bullying increased, and people who would sometimes show kindness to him and his mother before now pretended not to see them. In one occasion, which was burned in Vinyr’s mind forever, Ellewyd’s own sister avoided them on the streets. Vinyr asked his mother that they leave town, but she would not hear of it. She was still convinced Kor would return and set the record straight – she went as far as keeping one of the Wanted posters in a drawer at their room, and would sometimes tell Vinyr that surely there was a misunderstanding.
To Vinyr, there was none. He now understood everything clearly. He stopped attending classes with less than the minimum instruction required for young elves, and nobody complained about his decision. Instead, he tried to work or apprentice, but nobody in town would take him. And leaving on his own and forsaking his mother was out of the question. However, on his years attending school, Vinyr had learned to go unnoticed, and found he was increasingly good at sneaking around places where he was not wanted. He began stealing food from neighbors, the inn where he lived, the rangers’ headquarters and even some markets. Because he never stole coin, he was usually just arrested when caught, and taken home. His mother would have a fit and cry for days, so he tried harder to not get caught each time. He was involved in fights more often than not – fights he would lose, still small and skinny – and named for a thief wherever he went in town. Most have also gone from calling Ellenwyd a woman of dubious morals, to naming her for a whore. As Vinyr grew up, he became more revolted. In time, he came to steal money, snatch purses, even rob houses. Whenever proof against him arose, or he was caught in the act, he would be arrested again, sometimes for a few days considering his age, and on returning home, he found his mother even more devastated. It infuriated him anew, and the vicious cycle replayed.
Across the street from the inn where he lived there was a book store called Dwinddare Books and Scrolls. On one such occasions, after a brief arrest, Vinyr sneaked inside it on broad daylight, trying to ascertain if there might be something to steal there. It was then he met Sylevar Dwinddare, a young woman several decades his elder, and daughter of the book merchant Hidane Dwinddare. A promising talent in the Academy of Arcane Practices, pure High Elf descendant and wanted for a wife by half the young men in Aith’nim’el, Sylevar had been used to seeing Vinyr play about the inn as an infant, and like most of the town, knew what fame he had. What possessed her to not throw him out, nobody can quite explain: instead, she offered him half of her lunch. Vinyr ran out of the store, but the gesture did not go unnoticed.
In time, he began showing up about the bookstore more often, never coming into view and never speaking to Sylevar. It would not look proper for one of the top members of the community to be seen with him, and he was mistrustful of her easy kindness. Whenever Sylevar caught him in the store or saw him by the inn, she would wave and greet him – usually causing him to run for cover. Her behavior puzzled him. One morning, he found the courage to ask why she was being so nice to him. And the answer was even more puzzling: why wouldn’t she be?
The friendship between them bloomed almost too easily – Vinyr wanted companionship and affection more than anything, and Sylevar seemed to accept him regardless of who he was. Knowing he was stranded for money, Sylevar persuaded her own father to allow Vinyr to help about the store – away from view, naturally. Hidane Dwinddare was not thrilled, as he did not share his daughter’s views about the young elf. However, as Vinyr would come to learn, Sylevar was very willful, and when she wanted something, she would go to any lengths to get it. He was allowed to work at the book store’s workshop. It was a slightly calmer period for Vinyr – his new job implied many dead hours, when he would have nothing to do but go over some books. What he lacked in schooling he made up for in reading. Sylevar would often sneak some food his way from her own kitchen, and he was paid a few silver pieces at the end of the week – enough to keep the roof over his head. Whenever she had the time, Sylevar would come sit with him and talk to him like a friend despite the age difference, and he was grateful for her company and her aid every day.
All was not well, however. Whenever Vinyr went home, he found his mother in a sorry state. She repeated tales about his father, some real and some made up, over and over as if she was reading from a text. Sometimes she would go deep into catatonia and delay her works for the tailor shop. She lost weight and aged terribly in that period. The catatonia was followed by a period of mad optimism, which was usually followed by depression. Within a few months, the tailor shop dismissed her. Vinyr worried, but leaving was not an option for him anymore either. He had Sylevar, and did not want to forget the only friend he had. He left home more often now, unable to bear witness to his mother’s downfall, and felt guilty every time he wasn’t with her. It especially angered him whenever she said – several times a day, in fact – how much Vinyr was growing up to look like his father, and how she kept blindly hoping for his return.
For Vinyr, it was clear the man was not coming back.
Love and Death
As seasons went by, the relationship between Sylevar and Vinyr became increasingly closer. Vinyr himself was somewhat afraid of the fact. He believed his existence had dragged his mother to where she was now, and the last thing he wanted was to drag Sylevar along as well. Furthermore, Hidane Dwinddare liked him less with each passing day, and to incur in his wrath might well get Vinyr true jailing.
Even so, Sylevar was a woman who would not be denied her wish. In time, the two became lovers. While the affair was the best thing to happen in the young elf’s life, it was also, at times, the worst. It had to be kept undercover from everyone. Nobody could suspect of it, both for their age difference and their status in the community. Whatever time he spent with the sorceress was time he was not watching his mother, whose mental state deteriorated every day. And because it was common belief Vinyr brought bad luck, he feared that luck might rub off on her as well – as was proven by one instance in which a small explosion happened in Sylevar’s personal laboratory, located behind the bookstore. Vinyr was paranoid daily, guilty ever so often, depressed some of the time, and angry continuously.
One evening, after he got his pay from Hidane Dwinddare along with some comments about what the man thought of him, he went home a little more peeved than usual. When his mother asked him where he had gotten the money, he confessed he was working – she did not believe him, asking if he was stealing again. But instead of becoming mad at him for it, she smiled and said he was very much like his father, which was cause for pride. It was all Vinyr could take. For the first time, he argued with his mother, pleading with her to realize once and for all the man was not coming back, he had lied to her, taken advantage of her, and the fact she kept in denial was sinking them more with each season. His pay alone was not enough to keep them living at the inn for much longer, their kin looked the other way when they went by, and she would best deal with her fantasies and get it over with, and move on like he had done. The argument lasted for several hours, and ended with Vinyr slamming the door and leaving to seek some peace with Sylevar.
The next morning, when Vinyr returned to the inn, he found a commotion at the door. He elbowed his way through the crowd to see what the matter was, and found the clerics raising his mother’s corpse from the inn stairway. The clerics claimed she must have slipped and fallen from the top floor, the inn’s stairs were old and known to be slippery and bent… yet a letter addressed to him had been found amongst her possessions, which pointed out a much more serious and grim intent. Vinyr refused to open the letter, refused to give explanations, and fled the town into the woods in a rush.
He was lost for three days. Ellenwyd Aleannania’s body was buried in a grove outside the town, with only her sister as witness. When Sylevar heard of the event, she went to the clerics and asked about Vinyr, only to find nobody had seen him after he bolted from the inn, and nobody cared to know where he might have gone to. One of the clerics was still in possession of Ellewyd’s final letter to her son. Because of its contents, which Sylevar refused to read since they were private, they believed she had been leaving her room to end her own life. Sylevar kept the letter and went after Vinyr – whom she eventually found, hiding in the wilderness, not wanting to come home and not knowing where to go.
Because he was still legally a minor, Vinyr would normally have been delivered to his last living relative, his aunt Nimarie. However, Sylevar refused to take him to the House of Scholars and allow them to decide what to do with him. Instead, she took him home and informed her father she planned to become Vinyr’s tutor. A violent argument erupted between Sylevar and her father – but Sylevar, again, always got what she wanted from everyone. Vinyr would stay in their home under her own responsibility until he was old enough to fend off on his own. The people of Aith’nim’el talked, never understanding her actions, and assuming she acted out of pity more than anything. But because Vinyr was never seen about the bookstore, they were never seen together and guests at the Dwinddare home never even realized he lived there, the rumors were kept to a minimum.
Vinyr did not take his mother’s death easily, especially because it was widely known Ellenwyd had either chosen to end her life with a nasty fall down the inn steps, or was on her way to do so in some other way. He denied his mother may have planned suicide. Sylevar encouraged him to read his mother’s letter – but he not only refused to read it, he refused to accept there was a letter, even as Sylevar held it in front of his nose. He claimed it was forgery and he did not know who might have planted it to cause him grief. He stayed abed for a long period following his mad run in the woods, without the will to get up or do anything. He stopped eating altogether. If not for Sylevar’s insistence he get up and restart his life, Vinyr would likely have allowed himself to starve to death.
Trouble in Paradise
As the seasons passed, little by little, Vinyr recovered from the shock of his mother’s death, if mildly. He continued to deny the existence of a letter and attributed his mother’s death to an accident – however, at times, he would say the people of Aith’nim’el had killed his mother, drove her to where she was. At other times, he blamed himself, saying he might as well have pushed her down the stairs when he began that final argument. He never entered the inn again. His hatred for the people of the town grew ever stronger. He seemed confused or lost more often than not. Sylevar became his only source of comfort, and even the fact their relationship was forbidden and would always be frowned upon brought him bitterness. He asked her several times that they would leave.
Sylevar, on the other hand, had other plans. She planned to show her community Vinyr was not a bad person, just a victim of poor fame and prejudice. Under her tutelage, he would learn her father’s trade (Vinyr found it hard, since the man hated him), or might even become her own helper (he refused to set foot inside her laboratory since the explosion had happened). She kept insisting he read his mother’s letter, and that he tried to see things in the way of the people of Aith’nim’el, that he understood his mother had been disturbed greatly, and he had had no part in her suicide (Vinyr went to fits whenever the fact was mentioned, insisting it had been an accident). Often she told him the people would come to accept him when they got to know him.
Only he did not care to be accepted anymore.
- Being unlucky, Vinyr is supersticious. He does not carry to term any game of cards in which the four of clubs starts in his hand. He distrusts dogs howling out of nowhere. He is terrified of cracking mirrors and avoids the thirteenth step on stairs and ladders. He