Gavrien/As the Crow Flies
- OOC Note: The content in the first section is not common knowledge and only fragments have been shared in-game. It is provided here for entertainment value and should not be taken as in-character knowledge unless shared in-game and in-character.
As the Crow Flies
- Or, the early history of a surly bastard.
Once upon a time and not long ago at all as elves would tell it, an Emporion lapidary, one Pericaea Ilthirran Faendryl, left New Ta'Faendryl to go a-traveling and a-trading. While abroad in the Turamzzyrian Empire, a flirtation with a Shakat performer led to a series of trysts and an unplanned pregnancy. Pericaea, a strong-willed woman that some might even describe (quietly) as stubborn, chose to keep the child and bear it at home in New Ta'Faendryl. She took a word for crow, 'gavrano', from one of the dialects of the desert and named the child Gavrien. He was born with his mother's amber eyes and his father's full lips, with a promise to, in time, develop her sharp Faendryl features and his heavy desert-bred brows.
Gavrien was raised on an Agrestis ranch among his mother's cousins, who owed her a profound favor and were willing to shelter her bastard far outside New Ta'Faendryl. Almost no one knew him as his mother's son, to protect her reputation. Though she rarely visited, he and his mother stayed in regular contact via post. His full-Faendryl and legitimate sister, Edanthiel Ilthirran, was his elder by roughly seventy years and a much more frequent visitor, and her sweet and upbeat nature endeared her to him.
Unfortunately, halfbreeds are rarely well-regarded anywhere, and certainly not among the Faendryl as a rule. Gav was derided, bullied, and worked harder than any of the other purebred ranch hands. He learned at a young age that he'd need to fight back if he were going to keep either possessions or pride.
One of these lessons came dearly bought, and struck, if not the first blow, a particularly deep blow to his sense of trust and connection with others. When he was still quite young, barely out of boyhood, Gav had an eye for a young Faendryl man named Jakorren, who lived and worked on the ranch. Jakorren, however, was brash, and a bully. Sometimes his words and actions were relatively benign and teasing, other times downright cruel. At one point he persuaded Gav into a tryst, though admittedly Gav needed little persuasion. The experience was rough and not particularly pleasant, but Gav went along with it. The second time, Jakorren cornered Gav with his band of jeering, leering friends. When next Jakorren managed to get Gav alone with him, Gav beat the Faendryl half to death, though again not without taking his own share of wounds. Jakorren left the ranch after he was recovered enough to do so and never returned.
Gav narrowly avoided execution for the incident, but due to his mother's influence he managed to lie low and was functionally demoted to more menial tasks for another thirty years. He was given to understand that if Jakorren had died, he probably would have too. Several people had tried to get him killed for this, and several more had advocated exile.
In time, Gav's reputation for being of volatile temperament and having little tolerance for mind games or being pushed around spread widely enough that he was generally left to his own devices. He spent more time traveling between ranches as a courier and escort for supplies, livestock, and ranch hands. His survival-driven habit of listening and watching continued as he moved between ranches, collecting information and occasionally sending interesting information and extrapolations of disparate rumors to his mother in his letters to her. She encouraged this.
Decades after the aforementioned incident with Jakorren, a somewhat older and slightly wiser Gav was taken in by the sweet words of a young Faendryl woman, Arella, who in the end turned out to be dallying with him for novelty and amusement, to relieve boredom. Eventually she dropped the act and publicly humiliated him, and that pushed him further down the path of insecurity and self-derision, putting the capstone on his racial distrust.
Not long after this heartbreak, Gav left the Agrestis ranches and, with funds sent by his mother and on her recommendation, he opted to travel and learn more about the cultures, lands, and events outside the environs of New Ta'Faendryl.
He spent the next several decades drifting from place to place, watching, listening, and learning, but also whoring, fighting, and delving into the shady underbelly of everywhere he went. He honed his growing bardic magics and used them to appraise fenced goods. He played courier for stolen property. He served as bodyguard, as bouncer, as pit fighter and enforcer and collector, though collections turned sour on him quickly since it usually involved beating up on the already oppressed and that touched a nerve. At times he served as an agent provocateur or as a rabble-rouser, but while he occasionally felt compelled to involve himself in issues of social justice, particularly in support of his fellow half-elves, he did his best to work from behind the scenes: in logistics, in orchestrating teams of ne'er-do-wells, in collecting useful intelligence and making sure it found its way into the hands that would use it.
Throughout all of this, he engaged in espionage. The information he collected, the events, rumors, conjectures, and purloined evidence, all this he sent in cipher to his mother, the Emporion lapidary and spymistress, the spider plucking the threads of her web in the heart of New Ta'Faendryl.
But he never stayed anywhere long, and he never made friends.
In 5116, his hundred and thirty-second year, Gavrien drifted his way to Solhaven, the sprawling freeport in the shadow of Vornavis. Via a series of coincidences and brief misadventures, he fell into company with Azryen Verae, a snarly, needy, fine-featured Faendryl warrior with no ties to the City and a deliciously bloodthirsty fighting form. Against his better judgment, he grew altogether too fond of the fellow and his resolve to live a life with no strings attached began to crumble. Amidst much angst and internal conflict, he finally opted to remain in the area and quietly purchased a small residence in southern Solhaven, which he gifted to Azryen.
While fostering business relations among the shady elements of Solhaven and Wehnimer's Landing, he found himself caught up in Chaston Griffin's "Hallowed Inquisition". The persecution of his brethren encouraged him to work with others to orchestrate and carry out counter-propaganda efforts. He soon found himself afflicted by the Blight of Black Blood along with many other half-elves throughout the region, manifesting spreading black veins on his face and neck and periodically wracked by fits of pain and oozing sores. Despite this, he lent his assistance to a weapons raid against Jantalar and Talador organized by Alendrial DeArchon, a former leader of the Brotherhood of Rooks.
In the autumn of that year, along with a number of other afflicted half-elves, he was briefly abducted by the witch Raznel, in concert with Chaston Griffin and Noralia, an apparently undead Imperial mage. There on a ship in Darkstone Bay, he was bled with the others to contribute the taint of his blood to a blood marble sphere in Raznel's possession. This sphere would later be part of a device that would destroy most of Talador.
After the threat of Chaston Griffin was eradicated, the Hendoran Knight Thadston made it known that he had been given a parchment while traveling back to the Outpost near Wehnimer's Landing. The parchment declared that Alendrial, and others unnamed within the Scions, had officially recognized certain half-elves of the region to be counted among them, as Scions of Shaundara. Gavrien was among those named, along with Shinann, Leafiara, Archales, and Kippe. Not two days later, he undertook an experimental cure of the blight alongside several others so afflicted. The cure, though functional, was volatile and caused the blight to migrate to his hair and then fall out as black maggots, which attacked onlookers and were quickly destroyed.
Suddenly bereft of his much-prized mane of curls, and in such a public fashion, he was less than pleased. Needless to say, he still hasn't heard the end of that particular event.
Since then, Gavrien has much preferred to keep a low profile. He reluctantly joined the Faendryl Enclave at the pointed cajoling of (and arguable kidnapping by) several of its members. Much of 5117 has seen him focusing on his work for and with the dark underbelly of Solhaven and Wehnimer's Landing. He has his own small network of informants and regularly reports any promising nuggets of information, local or broader rumors from around the Empire and its northern frontier, to his patron in New Ta'Faendryl.