Your wife, Eirell?
You know I love her but she really is kind of a meddler.
She asked me to write down my memoirs and give them to her. I mean no offense to her but that isn’t going to happen. Pretty personal request from a woman who used to think there was something going on between you and me. Don’t get me wrong. I understand her reasons: we may not come back from this one, after all. She wants to preserve what she can. Ex-Avatar of the Goddess of Wisdom and Knowledge and all that.
But I just couldn’t do it. I mean, some of the things that I have done and seen – that I have absolutely NO regret about – well, she wouldn’t approve of them. At all.
Besides, if I mention the aconite she may excommunicate me. I can’t have that. I have business with her Deity. Pressing business.
So I came up with a compromise. I’m going to write things out in a letter to you. Because you’ve been there, done…things. Like I have. You will understand in a way that she cannot.
You can decide whether or not to give it to her. I trust your judgment.
Just promise that you will read it all the way to the end, first.
I lived on Krynn during what later became known as the Age of Despair. As the name implies, it wasn’t a fun time to be alive. I grew up in a city called Haven, in the nation of Abanasinia. Names that likely don’t mean much of anything, anymore. Last time I saw Krynn, it was rapidly becoming even more awful. I was glad to escape.
My earliest memory is from when I was about three, I think. There is a woman I can only assume is my mother kneeling next to a hearth, stirring something in a pot over the fire. She is beautiful and gentle looking; dark haired like me. There are swords hung in sheaths over the mantel. In my head, this is a comforting scene. Much like a doll that you hold to keep the bad things away.
Although, thinking on it, you probably never had much use for dolls.
Heh. Or maybe you did.
The next thing I can recall is pain. Excruciating, encompassing pain. I know that you understand this. There are some kinds of pain that wipe out everything. This pain is all consuming, grinding the edges of reality off. I mean that literally. My next memory is from when I was begging on the streets of Haven at about five or six years old.
Yeah. I know. Two or three years just gone. I don’t know what happened during that time. I intend to find out, though. But, more on that in a bit. If I jump around, I won’t ever get this finished.
As I mentioned, I was living on the streets of Haven when I was five? Six? I have no real idea of how old I actually am. I think I am about thirty, now. Hard to say.
At any rate, I was running with a group of street urchins. You know the type – grimy beggars, steal anything not nailed down, perpetually hungry. I’d wrap rags around my head to hide my ears and pretend to have a head injury. You won’t believe how much money you can con out of the average religious person with just the right lip quiver and almost crying while extending a dirty little paw. As a child, I had a high-pitched sweet voice (and if you tease me about this, I will ensure that you are herbally emasculated for a MONTH) and would pretend to be a bit simple in the head. I’d ask for money on the steps to the Seeker temple, claiming that my drunken father had hit me and now ‘I don’t think good no more.’ Worked like a charm almost every time. Simple, adorable child with sunken cheeks and a bloody head rag? What moral person wouldn’t give out a few coppers to assuage their own guilt at not taking me in and getting me off the street? I ran that con for years.
Backfired on me when I hit about nine or so, though.
One of the male Seekers was particularly generous. Even though the others avoided him, he had always been unfailingly nice to me; even when he saw through my ‘wounded sparrow’ bit. Seeker Thurill just laughed and gave me extra coppers for candy.
Of course, I didn’t spend any of that on candy. No child of the street would. Bread lasted longer in the belly.
I’m not going to beat around the bush, here; this isn’t some fancy tale. This is my life. Seeker Thurill paid some men to kidnap me off the street for his own private amusements. The payment, once he tired of me for the evening, was to allow them to use me for their own pleasure. So long as he could watch, he felt that he was getting entertainment at a bargain.
I lived in that hell for I don’t know how long. A few days, I think. Maybe a week. Time sort of blurred together. It wasn’t long enough for them to completely break me, though. I do know that.
The very next thing I do recall clearly is this: one night, while one of the thugs was grunting away on top of me, an arrow appeared neatly in the side of his neck. He geysered blood like a fountain on Feastday.
I think only you would understand the exultation I felt seeing that. The sharp, hot glee!
I grabbed that arrow and twisted it as hard as I could. He toppled off of me like some greasy meat log and I sat up. The room was full of dead men. Seeker Thurill was pinned to the chair with over a dozen arrows. And standing in the corner of the room was a tall, shadowy figure.
I thought it was Death, come for me at last. And enough pissed off at what was happening that He was arranging a little burial entourage for me.
I ran over to that shadow and flung my arms around it, praising Death and thanking Him for the merciful release.
If a shadow can look surprised, this one did. It sank down to my level, pushed back its hood and became an elf. And he said, “How in the fuck did you see me?”
Thus was I introduced to the man who became my surrogate father and mentor, Quick.
I spent the next ten years or so, learning the assassination biz from Quick. Archery, locks, shadow stealth, climbing walls, poisons. I learned most of my trade from him. He was a fey fellow – never had a woman over, if you take my meaning – but was always a loving father and teacher to me. A part of me has to wonder if there wasn’t some sort of Deity involved with his finding me. He told me later that he’d been contracted to take out Seeker Thurill by ‘interested parties.’
Seems I wasn’t the first of the Seeker’s victims. Quick never did tell me what became of the other kids that bastard had used. But I did some digging and came up with this: not one the ‘interested parties’ that might or might not have contacted my mentor had any living children.
I hope that wherever that feuyaer’le wethrine wound up, it’s hideously painful.
Now. Before we get any further into this – and I can see already that it is going to be long – I want to set some facts down for you.
- I have always had the tattoo on my back. I never “got” it, never went to an inker to have any work done. Further, it has grown with me over the years, never changing its general conformation even as I went from a wee child to a fully-grown adult. I’ve been told that it glows faintly of magic but no one can tell me what it does. The best people can do is guess that the ink used in it had magical properties. Further, not one sage I have ever consulted has been able to tell me what the damn thing means.
- As I said, I am not sure exactly how old I am. I believe I am about thirty or so but I can’t say for sure. I have two plus years missing from my memory. I say “plus” because it could very well have been far more than that. I have some reasons – thanks to Minty, if you must know – to believe that there might be hundreds of years missing.
- When I got that boon from the Warders of the planet we saved; the one that gave me the ability to shapeshift into a dragon? Something inside my soul ‘clicked’ into place. I don’t know how to express it better than that. But I will tell you that it felt less of a Wish/Boon and more like an unlocking of something inside me.
- I have been contacted by almost every god/dess of the elven pantheon of Alaus at least once. Including Hades and Aries. Most often by Arachne, however.
Every time I land on the Moon, things get weird and I get a memo from one of the Higher Beings to come and have a chat. Weird, huh?
- I managed to score a sizable hoard within one year of becoming dragonish by hunting down and killing a blue dragon.
Most dragons take decades and decades to build their hoards.
Also? Most of the unique items in the hoard have a familiar feeling to them. A déjà vu that is…well, downright freaky if you must know.
- Right after the “Dragoning of Alanna”, I went away for a bit. Things were way too strange, for me. I mean, how would you feel if you grew up thinking of yourself as half-elven, defending it against naysayers from both sides of the pointy/round eared fence – only to have suspicions that you might have been a half-dragon all along?
That’s what I have been trying to get up the nerve to tell you. I might be a dragon from birth rather than boon, after all.
And if this doesn’t feel like Destined Pathway, well I’ll eat your hat. I think Athena’s up to her pointy chin on this, too. It seems Her style, don’t you think?
I have asked Her for the truth about everything but She says that I have “earn it.”
Which I am, honestly, fine with. I’d be helping either way. After Quick died, all of you became my family. You know it wasn’t too long after his murder that you showed up on Krynn.
You remember that Drow killed him, right? Murdered him for a failed assassination attempt by his father a hundred years before.
I tracked down the ones responsible for his death. It wasn’t easy and I won’t say that there aren’t scars on my body…but the ones who ordered his death ended in a nasty and painful way.
A slowly painful way.
After I made finally made it back to the surface is when I ran into you for the first time.
History, after that.
I don’t want this to devolve into mush or whatever.
Just know that I am going to help you, Eirell, Isabo and this place that has adopted me so readily.
Also? I kind of like the grumpy old dwarf.
Don’t tell him.
~Alanna d’Sila Tiri
I’quelin Mori’Quessier naa ba Mori’Quessir
[The best Drow is a dead Drow.]