Tree-Licking Knife Ears

Date: 6/9/2014 at 17:15
From: Captain Raelyr Matawa, the Villain
To : Everyone
Subj: Tree-Licking Knife Ears

This post is directed at Elvandar. Those of you not from that city may kindly ignore and go about your days.

Hail and well met, tree-elves--

Many of you likely know me only as the loud mouthed round-ear with some terribly odd notions of your dietary habits and sexual preferences. While I am personally utterly unperturbed by our relationship and standing, at this point, someone mentioned something to me the other day that I've thought on long and hard and decided to act on. That person said to me that many of the sniveling bark-lickers of today never knew a time before now, or what we once shared, that the truth is lost in the passage of time and the ignorance of many. And so, I would like to tell you all a story.

This is the story of a boy. The boy was young, in many ways. He was a soldier, in every sense of the term, and while he lacked social grace or even common sense in many cases, he was damned good with a sword. At times, aye, he was loud and rash and all the things young people are, but be was also Tsurani, and took his duty, honor, and service to his vows very seriously. Among those vows was an oath of fealty to Krondor.

At that time, Krondor clung to an alliance with Elvandar, a place that had, ten years ago then, been a strong ally to the city. During Krondor's time of greatest need, Elvandar contributed gold to replace missing constables, and Eledhel stood side by side with Pathfinders and common citizens alike to guard gates left wide open by the Upright Duke. It was a time when Krondor was stronger than it might have been on its own.

But in the years since, very little had been put forth, and humans are perhaps not as long-lived as our tree-dwelling allies. Still, some of the older ones remembered, and they spoke well and highly of the Eledhel. The boy came into this world and accepted the alliance as an extension of his oath--several times, he came to Elvandar to repel invaders, came to their holdings to defend their villages, and as he learned and grew, he trained Krondorian and Eledhel alike in the fine art of combat. He attended Midwinter balls in the forest and refused to dance and watched the fireworks alongside any other.

Unfortunately, not all in Krondor felt the same. Indeed, the Ranger-General at the time, also a Baron back then, staged a raid on the forest. He and the other Pathfinders lit the woods afire and threatened to burn them to the ground, cutting down many of the Eledhel. The boy, then a young man, refused an order to assist, and was held accountable for the insubordination. As many worked to smooth over the incident between the two cities, it was the boy who worked to sway the fractured Pathfinders. One was removed and the General replaced, and for a time, it seemed that all might be well.

And then the Keshian invasion happened. By then, the youth had grown into a man who commanded armies and held for himself a place on Krondor's barony. The congress of lords appointed him warleader, to spearhead and consolidate the city's efforts. At first, things looked grim, with the Brotherhood to the north having allied with the invaders and churning out squads of troops to support them. Politics and bureaucracy stood firmly in the way of defense of Krondor, but the man did what he could, and when finally the hurdles were vaulted and the hoops jumped through, he -did- lead Krondor to many early victories, swiftly equalizing the battlefield. At that time, the Eledhel again rallied, an unexpected but certainly not unwelcome effort to reinforce Krondor's thinning lines and enable the squadrons to do their work.

At this same time, the man had a brother who lived in the Free Cities, and he called out to him for aid as well, and it was given as freely as brothers give. Prior to the war, that brother had been quarreling with Elvandar, but both of them saw the need for unity now. The commander organized the creation of a Triagian Defense Force, intent on efficiently combining all the resources into a unified effort that would turn back the invading tide. Fully aware of Eledhel pride, the man and his brother appointed an up and coming Eledhel warrior as nominal warleader of the Force.

But it wasn't enough. Before even the first engagement of the joint forces, the Advisor at the time threw a whining fit about Eledhel maybe, possibly, at some point in the future, in a time of desperate need, taking orders from some filthy round-ear who knew warfare better than they. The man and his brother told the Advisor he was being childish and laying the groundwork for both of their cities to crumble. The Advisor turned against the commander, accusing him of hiring his brother for the attacks before the war, and ordering all Eledhel to withdraw from the Force and cease all cooperation with Krondor.

Whatever else he was, the commander was a soldier, and so when the Advisor, a warleader of his own people, spoke out publicly about his accusations, the man said nothing. To cast doubt on leadership during a war is to ensure failure and defeat as dissent and hesitation cloud the minds of troops. And so the commander kept to himself, and even branded a traitor and an enemy of the forest, he came several times at their request to teach and train and advise on matters of war, and was promptly removed and named an enemy again after services rendered. Each time, the commander executed his duties without complaint, and said and did nothing against the Eledhel, but even then he began to grow bitter. He felt very much like some interestingly colored piece of garbage, to be picked up and oo'd and aah'd over until they lost interest and cast him aside once more.

Relations between the two cities deteriorated, and the war dragged on to its eventual conclusion. Aye, it was won, but it was a hard fought and bitter victory on many sides. At first, the commander reasoned that with the war over and tempers cooling, the situation would resolve itself. Someone would question or ask, or come to their senses, and that even he was still given to rash action in trying times. But the weeks dragged into months, and the months dragged into years, and the years dragged into decades.

Still, the commander continued to act as he always had, teaching and training young Eledhel, actively working to protect and defend the forest--and aye, he grew bitter, resentful, spiteful, vindictive as time rolled on and on. His words and tone changed, but even then his actions stayed the course. During the final battle with Gralob, it was he who ensured that Krondorians and Sar-Sargothians took the bulk of the danger, and the Eledhel who number fewer were engaged only after the demon had been weakened. It was he who rallied even members of the enemy forces to act swiftly and decisively in rescue of Tomas in Hell. And never once was a word said or question raised.

And so, little gwali-fondling tree-huggers of today, think of me what you will. Dismiss and label me to your hearts' content and cry to mommy and daddy about your hurted widdle feelers when I call you names. I've dug a lot of holes in my time, but this one, -this- one, is not on me. And shame on every single one of you who never asked or cared to learn why.

Courage and Honor,
-Raelyr Matawa

Penned by my hand on the 4th of Nuna, in the year 61.