Monday, March 15, 2010

Character: Gylfie

In the bustling port of Xilic, located on the northern tip of Agrix, there lived a pirate named Myllo. Myllo was not a particularly responsible man, a particularly successful man, or even a particularly well-liked man. Therefore, when he awoke on the hottest night of the year to find a tiny baby in a basket on the doorstep of his fishing shack, Myllo was singularly ill-equipped to deal with the child, much less the news – imparted by a crumpled note – that the tiny half-elf girl was his daughter and that her mother expected him to take responsibility for her while she traveled the world.

To his credit, Myllo always made sure that his daughter, who had been given the elven name “Gylfie”, was provided for and looked after. However, he was a harsh and captious father who rarely had time for the girl between pirating ventures, and she was raised more by the swampy, buggy streets of the pirate city of Xilic than she ever was by the man who brought her into the world. Despite her status as a child of rejection, Gylfie was determined, curious, and resourceful, and she learned much from the life that Myllo provided for her.

By the time Gylfie was fifteen, however, her father's life of crime had finally caught up with him. With the fleet of privateer knights that patrolled the waters around the island of Agrix closing in around him, Myllo made plans to leave Agrix quickly and quietly for Greyglade, hoping to start a new operation preying on the shipyards of the Insea. And in the course of his plans, Myllo decided that his teenaged daughter was old enough to take care of herself, and designed to leave her behind. Gylfie, however, learned of her father's voyage, and begged to be taken along, images of a life of exploration and adventure filling her imagination. Her father refused, however, and after a long argument, flatly ordered her to stay behind.

Never one to take orders, however, Gylfie stowed away in the ship, her small size and elven senses allowing her to hide in the cargo hold, coming out only to steal food and drink. The voyage was long, but the girl discovered a magnificent short sword among the treasure in the hold, and entertained herself by imagining her adventures as a brave and dashing pirate warrior.

After months of travel, the ship slid upon the southwestern shores of the Insea, only miles from Seewa. That night, while the crew and her father were asleep, she went on the deck to play with her sword in the moonlight. But in her exultation at finally getting out of the cargo hold, she accidentally knocked over a clay pot with a swipe of her sword. She dove to catch it, but it slipped out of her grasp and shattered on the hard planks of the ship, and the sound brought Myllo and his men running from belowdecks to investigate. The pirate captain flew into a rage, and rashly claimed that he wanted nothing more to do with his child, ranting that he had never wanted her and that she didn’t belong on a ship meant for warriors. After her father's rage had subsided into slumber, Gylfie, hurt and disillusioned, her cheeks stained with tears, took her father’s words as a challenge. Without a second thought, she thrust the sword through the orange sash she wore at her waist and dove from the ship down into the cold water of the loch, swimming away towards the shore of a new land.

For many days and nights Gylfie walked, content to explore this new world. After two weeks of walking, she came upon a peculiar gray tree, its gnarled roots forming a small cave, just deep enough into the ground for a small girl to fit, and took it to be her refuge. Though the girl took well to surviving on her own, Gylfie remained hurt by her father's scorn and lonely for home, despite herself. Many times she thought of going back, but eventually she vowed she would not return until she had become a warrior that her father would admire.

After almost a year of solitude upon her sanctuary of roots and sea rocks, Gylfie found her territory being crossed by a band of men and women traveling along the rocky shore. Eavesdropping, she heard the deep footsteps and few tired voices of soldiers. Intrigued, Gylfie crept closer to listen to their conversation. From what she could tell, members of the group were trying to recruit another of their number to their cause. Stopping to rest by the sea rocks that stood tall on the shore by Gylfie's tree, the warriors spoke of trust, of identity, and of making a better world.

Eventually, Gylfie's curiosity got the best of her, and she slowly raised her head above the cove entrance, positive she wouldn't be seen. The band of warriors was exhausted and wounded, fresh from wearying battle, and Gylfie felt her heart go out to them. Suddenly, their leader, a warrior dressed in white, looked up from under his wolf mask and spotted the girl eavesdropping on their conversation. But instead of raising the alarm, he merely stood and walked away from the campfire, and sat down at the entrance of her cove, smiling gently. Gylfie, trying to be brave, repressed the urge to run.

The man introduced himself as Ser Kneefers the White, of House Greyglade, and Gylfie shyly introduced herself in turn. The warrior in white asked if she would like to share their fire for the night, offering her his hand, and after a long moment she took it. As she approached the group, questioning stares came from every direction. Not only was she the only woman, she was much smaller and younger than any of them. Ser Kneefers introduced Gylfie to the group, and at the urging of the warriors, her entire story finally came spilling out of her.

Gylfie explained her desire to be a great warrior, in spite of her father's rage and lack of faith in her, of stowing away in the ship, of how she and her father had fought, and how she had run away. Taken with the girl's spirit, Greyglade offered Gylfie a spot at their side.

Throughout the years, Gylfie trained much with an older hero, called Berzerker, and a bond of trust grew between them. Because of her amateur fighting skills, Gylfie pulled her weight primarily by using her elven traits to their benefit. Her small size and devious nature proved to be advantages that only she held. Over the years, Gylfie’s challenge of overcoming her father’s discouragement transformed into a desire to proving her worth in the House of Greyglade.

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