It has been a long time now, or so it seems, since I walked out of the greenwood of Q’Barra in search of my father. Much has changed. I left that land alone, still an exile in my mind, but as I write this I have hope like I have never known. I find myself among friends, men that I would venture even to call brothers.
Brother. The word rolls hesitantly off my tongue for it brings to my mind the brother who slaughtered the only woman I ever loved. I killed Tallis on that fell golden morning many years past, but not all that is killed in this life remains dead. I faced Tallis a second time not so long ago, resurrected it seemed for the sole purpose of tormenting the already raw lesion of my soul. I am burning the letter I wrote when leaving Q’Barra. It no longer holds true. Tallis cursed me for a weakling, the last of a dead people and a bloodline polluted with shame. And he was right. I was weak, blinded by the illusion that I had to choose to be either Man or Elven. Scorned by Elves all my youthful years I turned my back on that heritage, seeking instead the honour of Men. Then I walked the sands of the Mournland, of desecrated ancient Cyre, and knew in my heart that Men have no honour in their blood. They have the ability to take honour upon themselves and wear it as coat of arms emblazoned on their heart, but they are not born to it. It takes strength to build that honour, and I earned my strength under the rod of the warclan’s blademaster. Standing there before Tallis confronted with my weakness I looked at my blades. Steel that had many time been washed of the mud and blood that smeared its length. Steel that had carved crisp twin swathes through the prairie wind. Steel. Iron alone will bend and shatter, but steel stands hard and sharp, and in this way I must be proud that I am Half-elven: hardened by the brutality and skill of the Elf, and sharpened by the honour and wondrous lust for life that drives the best of Men.
I found my strength that day, in the depths of a city no less. I laugh even now at the thought; cobblestones and ceilings will forever be foreign to me, and gladly would I trade the fading plaster of this inn for the sign of The Hunter glistening through a Q’Barran canopy. But that is no longer my path. Now I stand a Forespoken Knight, a champion of lesser people and greater kings. The elder Veln has held council with my brothers and I, and though as a wanderer this thought is foreign to me it seems that my path has been already laid before my feet. Somewhere down that path there is a quarry…and I am the hunter.
This is the hunter’s badge of glory,
That he protect and tend his quarry;
Hunt with honour, as is due,
And through the beast to god is true.
~ Darrow, Half-elven ~