Chronicles of Khaldun: Crux of Eternity
Warwick Fenn, son of Amandine, grew up in Scandshar in the care of a brothel styling itself The Sisterhood of Sharess. Sacred prostitution was not at all unheard of in Scandshar, but this Sisterhood was sacred only in name; in reality it was only a common whore house (if a bit up scale).
When Warwick was five, Amandine was given an offer by one of her frequent customers, a regal looking elf called Arhuil, to come away with him to his private home on the outskirts of the city. This is every working girl’s dream, to be rescued from lowly whoring by a dashing and wealthy man, but she did have one condition – that her son be allowed to accompany her. After some consideration (it had not been in his plan to care for a small child) Arhuil ultimately conceded. His house was large and he had servants enough that the boy would not be any great burden to his own pleasures.
At the house, Warwick rarely saw his mother, except at the occasional meal. Very soon, she became with child, which seemed to cause Arhuil some sort of dark joy. It was around this time that they began to have frequent visits from another elf, called Vianibrar, who brought Arhuil tidings of their homeland. It seemed that things were not well in their community in regard to Arhuil’s dalliance with a human woman. It was even worse once word got back that he had impregnated her.
Vianibrar always delivered the news with a rather flippant air – it would be no secret to any that paid attention that he held his own community in little regard, although he took these matters of local politics and morale relatively seriously – and he frequently urged Arhuil to return. Eventually.
In short order, the baby was born, in the heat of midsummer. Sadly, complications from the birthing claimed Amandine’s life. Arhuil, in the company of Vianibrar, returned her body and her children to the Sisterhood. While the whores ooh-ed and aah-ed over the new little baby, with his bright eyes and silky black hair, and embraced and comforted young Warwick like proper sister-mothers, Vianibrar urged Arhuil to leave the baby in the city, in the care of the brothel. The infant’s kin was there, and while being brought up by a lot of whores might not be the most ideal life, it certainly seemed better in his mind than to bring a half-breed baby back to Nainimdul, where the xenophobic community violently shunned outsiders and other races.
Arhuil, being stubborn and spiteful, insisted on bringing his bastard back with him. As the Sisterhood decreed that any offspring borne of their girls were the collective property of the establishment, a handsome sum would need to be given for the child. Vianibrar fronted the cash to Arhuil in exchange for the promise that he would be allowed to help mold the child’s education. Knowing Vianibrar’s penchant for going off and exploring, and thinking that nothing would ever come of it, Arhuil readily agreed.
The baby’s reception in Nainimdul was nothing short of cataclysmic. You see, aside from belonging to a dangerously isolated community, Arhuil already had a family: a wife, Limoethiel, and three children who were already of age by elven standards – twins Luthien and Tinuviel, and younger sister Lithia. It was bad enough that he had gone into the world and had an adulterous affair, but to have had dalliances with a human, and at that to have brought back a disgusting half-breed that resulted from that unnatural union… Tinuviel, Arhuil and Limoethiel’s son, seriously brought up the proposition of infanticide. His father made it abundantly clear, though, that the boy would live and live with them. Beyond that, he frankly didn’t care.
Limoethiel was a spiteful woman and, given her husband’s carte blanche regarding the child, took it upon herself to name him. He had already been given the name Bosabrieln by his birth mother before she died, but Limoethiel would not allow him to take the family name, Thoedhel. In their language, Thoedhel translates to “Truest Elf”, a very old and much respected title in Nainimdul, indicative that one’s blood lineage is pure and unquestionable for generations upon end. Instead she contrived a cruel twist on their family name, Peredhel, meaning literally “Half an Elf”. This epithet would haunt Bosabrieln for years.
The child Bosabrieln was well acquainted with isolation, having no play companions (the parents of Nainimdul wouldn’t let their children associate with him) and learning a quick and sharp tongue to defend against the taunts received throughout the village. To his family’s credit, however, he never wanted for food, shelter, or clothing, even access to books and some learning – all of his necessities were provided readily, if accompanied by a sneer.
Though he was not permitted to participate in the community’s rituals, both religious and secular, he found that he had an affinity for all things expressive, taking an immediate interest in the song and theatricality that was present within the Elven culture. Often during these events, there would be chatter about one called Vianibrar, wondering slightly tinged with apprehension when he would return. It was young Bosabrieln’s understanding that this individual was owed a great deal of credit for the stories and performances that were given, even if there was something about him that made the group wary. Bosabrieln surmised that since he seemed to be outside of Nainimdul, this had something to do with it, given their feelings about associations with the world outside.
Bosabrieln would watch from outside the circle, taking in every step, every note, every beat, committing them to memory to be practiced and – in his mind – improved upon later, in some out of the way corner of his family’s home, or in a copse that he knew was not often frequented.
It was during one such afternoon in his twelfth year that Bosabrieln met Vianibrar Solisar (his self-chosen title meaning “Seeker of Histories”). He was off on the outskirts of town where he wouldn’t be much bothered, singing a childishly derisive version of his sisters’ favourite song when he heard someone behind him, laughing. Eyes on fire, ungainly limbs flailing, he turned to meet the intruder, expecting a fight. Said intruder was a grown elf he had never seen before, clearly a traveler by his walking staff and overstuffed pack. Instead of the harsh words he’d expected, Bosabrieln was met with a warm smile and encouragement to continue. The stranger even offered a few suggestions to make the song just a little more biting.
Vianibrar knew the boy in an instant. He had his mother’s eyes, her colouring, but his father’s lithe frame, even if he had yet to fully grow into it. Also, of course, were the unmistakable telltale blunted ear tips that marked a half-elf. Once the youngster was through playing with his song, Vianibrar properly introduced himself, explaining that he’d been away for some time (twelve years in fact) and was returning at last after engaging in some adventuring, and would Bosie – no one had ever given him such a nice nickname before! – care to escort him back into town. Bosie was unsure, but offered at least to help carry his effects while Vianibrar led the way. It wasn’t in his nature to offer assistance readily, but there was something in the kind and gentle manner with which he’d been treated that made him want to trust this person.
Vianibrar’s return was met with much exclamation, most of it positive, until of course everyone noticed that he had Bosabrieln Peredhel, in tow. It was there in the town circle, in front of the gods and everyone, that Vianibrar declared to Arhuil that he had returned and intended to keep his end of their agreement – he would be taking Bosie now for his proper education, no arguments, no discussion. Bosabrieln was told to gather all of his things, and to follow Vianibrar to his home on the other side of the village; he was Vianibrar’s ward now and under apprenticeship. Apprenticeship to what he didn’t exactly know, but this sudden change in events excited him greatly. He had never run so quickly as he did to collect his things.
And so began the tutelage of Bosie. For the better part of the next decade, he and Vian were constant companions, Vian teaching him everything from history to art, politics to nature, and anything else that Bosie cared to learn, especially of the wide and exciting world outside of Nainimdul, focusing on Bardic arts and magic, which Bosabrieln took to naturally. During this period, Bosabrieln’s affection for Vianibrar grew, and Vian’s for Bosie, and in due time – for of course Bosie matured into a beautiful and handsome youth – they became lovers.
In addition to his more academic studies, Bosie was finally brought out of the region in which he’d been raised and Vian began to show him the world. They did not travel far at first, only to the neighbouring small cities and towns, giving Bosabrieln exposure to the many different races that populated the Sorrowfell Plains. Vianibrar was at first hesitant to bring Bosie to Scandshar, although he was asked often. Vian just didn’t know what might become of it, even though it had been many years, and certainly no one would remember one poor whore’s son. To that end, Bosabrieln knew nothing of his mother’s history; the disgrace of his birth was not his father’s association with one of a low station, but with a human. It likely wouldn’t have fazed the community of Nainimdul if she’d been a prostitute and an elf – they might only have commented at how sad it was, not react with disgust.
Bosabrieln was an eager and able student, and by the time his second decade of life began, Vianibrar began to feel that he had taught his Bosie all that he could. They began to discuss Bosabrieln venturing into the world, to find what he might find, and to improve upon the talents that he had honed with Vianibrar. Bosie did not want to leave his greatest companion, but understood the predicament. Vian would also not consent to accompany him, for he had been an adventurer for a century at least and he was keen to start a new chapter in his life. If Bosabrieln ever had need of him, of course, he would hasten to meet him, but this journeying was to be Bosie’s, to whatever end it would take him.
When Bosabrieln was two and twenty, they parted ways, Vianibrar finally bringing Bosie to Scandshar where they spent some time taking in the bigness of the city and the treats and temptations it had to offer. There had been little fanfare in Nainimdul at his leaving; only Bosie’s family saw him off at dawn, most likely to ensure that the door was shut firmly behind him.
From there, Bosie set out on his own, in no particular direction, following the winds. He took to keeping company with other travelers he met along the way, offering song and story in exchange for a spot by the fire and a bite to eat. In towns and villages he largely busked to feed and shelter himself, occasionally seducing a wealthy man or woman if it seemed he might get a nice trinket or fancy article of clothing in addition to the food and bed.
On the outskirts of Duchy Jepson, Bosie met up with a curiously cheerful young cleric of Pelor, calling herself Emma, despite the fact that she was an elf of full blood and likely had a much more formal name – but who was he to question one’s motives when it came to their race? Emma was to escort another cleric, Leogold Spiritforged, to a town called Dawnslight. She asked very sweetly if Bosie would be so kind as to accompany them, as three on the road is quite a bit safer than two.
Having no better options at the time, he agreed, and in a short while they found themselves in Dawnslight…