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 Cecil Greensward, Human Ranger, Vilnis Guide

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Cecil Greensward
DECEASED
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Posts : 5
Join date : 2009-09-21
Location : DECEASED

Character sheet
Level: 4
XP to Next Level:
3995/5500  (3995/5500)
Hit Points:
43/43  (43/43)

PostSubject: Cecil Greensward, Human Ranger, Vilnis Guide   Sun Jan 03, 2010 2:32 pm

PART ONE

The child sat shivering by the fire.

Night had fallen hours earlier, bringing with it an unseasonable, bone-chilling cold to the northern forests of Vilnis. The scent of snow was on the wind, and while snow wasn’t necessarily uncommon here, near the borders of the Elven Realms, it should have been several weeks yet before it fell. High above, the myriad of stars that glimmered in the crystal-clear sky promised that the deepening night would only grow colder.

The boy―a lad of perhaps seven or eight years―shuddered, vainly pulling his cloak tighter about his shoulders to ward of the unseasonable chill. He longed to turn toward the fire, for while his back was fairly warm from the flames’ heat, his face was already becoming numb from the cold, but he knew that doing so would be a mistake: he was alone, and as such only he could maintain watch; by turning toward the fire, he would either have to leave his eyes closed, or risk losing his night vision. One part of his mind railed against this reasoning, for what dangers could there be here, in these forests that he’d known his whole life? He shook his head, clearing it of such foolishness.

There were always dangers, here in the wild.

An icy wind ruffled the boy’s raggedly-cut, dark brown hair, and caused the flames to sputter. With a sigh, the freezing child hunkered down beside the guttering fire, praying that its scant warmth would be enough to see him through the dark and bitter night.

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Pain came with the morning.

The young boy awoke, and almost regretted doing so as piercing agony shot through his small body. Panic threatened to overtake him when he realized he was unable to open his eyes, and he raised his hands to them and began to rub, the sensation causing him to cry out in pain. His hands, his face, and any other small bit of exposed flesh were burning as if on fire, and the air that he sucked in as he gasped for breath was bitterly cold. Finally, after a few moments, the boy’s eyes opened, the friction from his frenzied rubbing having been enough to break through the ice that had sealed them shut.

The bright morning sun nearly blinded him, and he immediately clenched his bleary eyes shut again. After a moment, he slowly reopened them, blinking away tears as he did so, and the sight that greeted him was enough to shock the child into full wakefulness. He stood on unsteady legs, shaking frost from his hair as he his gaze swept over the frozen landscape around him.

Everything was white, from the frost-covered ground to the icy, glistening branches of the trees above. For a moment, the child panicked, his breath bursting out from his blue-tinged lips and forming small, drifting clouds of mist that floated away on the cold wind. He closed his eyes, willing himself to calmness as he trembled uncontrollably, both from alarm and from the frigid morning air. Finally, several minutes later, the dark-haired boy reopened his eyes, pulled his cloak tighter about his shoulders, and set to work, knowing that by moving and keeping busy, he’d stay warm.

The ground crunching with every step, the young boy moved closer to the spot where he’d built his fire the night before. His brow furrowed with disappointment as he crouched before it, poking at the area within the small ring of stones and finding not even the slightest bit of warmth. He cursed himself for a fool, realizing that―had he not fallen asleep―he could have tended the small flame throughout the night, at least enough to make sure that there would have been coals come morning.

Well, he thought, shaking his head, there’s nothing for it now… He rubbed his hands together, blowing into them to try and warm them. Looking around, the child managed to find enough kindling that he though he may be able to start another fire. Placing what he’d found―some shredded strips of mostly-dry bark from a nearby tree, and a small bit of dry moss―within the circle of stones that had held last night’s tiny blaze, the boy crouched down and removed his flint and steel from his belt pouch. He somehow felt like he was cheating, using those tools, for he had usually had very good luck at getting a flame going without them, but he had brought them along for just such an emergency. Sighing heavily, and praying to whatever gods may be listening, the child struck a spark into the kindling.

Nothing.

He sighed again, narrowing his eyes as he held the flint and steel tightly, as if doing so would will the tools into creating fire. Finally, after a moment, he tried again.

Still nothing.

Resigning himself to a very cold, very tedious morning, the shivering little boy shook his head and readied himself for yet another try.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The boy sat with a stillness unique to one so young.

The rabbit that he watched was equally still, its tiny body trembling as it looked this way and that, as if somehow aware that danger was nearby. It sat up, lifting its nose to the air, sniffing, trying to ascertain whether or not a predator was in the area. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the small creature relaxed a bit, and took a single, hesitant hop forward.

That was all that the boy needed.

With lightning quickness, the dark-haired child pulled hard on the snare he had rigged, and the now-struggling rabbit was yanked suddenly upward. It struggled in vain for a moment before the boy moved forward and ended it. He smiled, glad to have found some food, for hunger and the cold were rapidly taking their toll on him. He had never been a large child, having always been a bit small for his age, and the terrible cold and lack of food had quickly burned through what deposits of fat he’d possessed. The child was sure that he looked positively gaunt now, after days in the wilderness of the chilly north.

Shivering against the cold, the boy gathered up his kill and began the trek back to his camp, his feet crunching through the ice and frozen leaves that littered the forest floor. Above him, the wind through the trees caused the icy branches sing, their frozen limbs subtly striking together to form a soft, tinkling chorus. As sure as the wind played music through the trees, it also saw to it that they dumped unnecessarily large amounts of loose snow upon the cold and exhausted child who stalked through the undergrowth beneath them, and the boy uttered a curse or two that he’d heard his uncle once use as the falling snow slid down his back.

Upon reaching the small clearing that he’d chosen for his campsite, the young boy was glad to see that the coals of his fire still glowed brightly, and it would be only a matter of minutes before he could get a good blaze going again. Setting the rabbit down, he went to work at building up the fire, and when that was done, he cleaned and skinned his kill, spitting it and holding it over the flames. His mouth watered at the smell of the cooking meat, and his stomach groaned in protest over having to wait so long for it to cook. Finally, after what felt like an eternity, the child was able to wolf down the rabbit, so quickly that he barely even tasted it.

By now, the weather was once again turning bitter cold, and the boy realized that the snows of winter must be coming early this year, for this was no simple cold spell. It wasn’t all that rare for winter to come this early, though the snows would not normally begin falling for another two or three weeks, but it just happened to be the boy’s bad luck that he was here, in the wilderness on this occasion when winter decided to come early.

He knew that he had two options: he could either stockpile enough wood to keep the fire blazing, and build a rude shelter to try and protect himself from the weather, or he could abandon his self-exile in the wild and return to his family, who were currently staying in the city of Silvus, the northernmost settlement of any consequence in Vilnis. It would take him a day or two to reach Silvus in good weather, he knew, but if the snows began to fall in earnest, it may take him as long as a week. If a terrible storm hit, like the one that had snowed in the entire city four years ago, he may never make it to Silvus.

For several moments, the child sat dwelling upon his choices, his small body shivering as the cold wind tore through the clearing, cutting through his cloak and clothing like they weren’t even there. The flames of his fire guttered, but remained burning, though for how much longer he wasn’t sure. When he felt the first of the snowflakes land upon his face, and he looked up to see the darkening sky filled with them, large and fluttering on the chilling wind, he knew that to stay here even another night would surely mean his death. He had no desire to trudge through the forests for days without rest to reach Silvus, but he also had no desire to die, and though the journey would certainly be difficult, and would more than likely push the limits of his endurance and survival skills, he felt―with the unwavering confidence of an eight-year-old boy―that he was more than capable of making such a journey.

So, with his stomach still full of warm rabbit, the boy gathered his cloak about him, held his sling ready in case he came upon some danger in the forest, and set out into the cold evening, determined to survive this unfortunate turn of events, and to prove to his family that he had what it took to someday join them in the ranks of the Vilnis Guides.

TO BE CONTINUED...
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Cecil Greensward, Human Ranger, Vilnis Guide
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