Liljin

Description:

A slender and willowy elf with milky white skin, jet black hair and eyes of a deep, vibrant purple flecked with silver. He sports leather armor shaded a deep midnight blue and has swathes of loose-fitting, often billowing clothing over the armor. The clothing generally consists only of a hooded mantle covering his shoulders with a short cloak that reaches just past his waist. Often times a loose fitting and ornate sash is banded about his waist, the sash is generally of a more vibrant color than the dark tones he prefers for mantle, cloak and hood; splashes of gold, yellows and white are common with an ornate silver pin to secure the sash at his hip.

Boots are of a fine quality leather, soft, supple and well worn.

His face still has child-like features and his slightly tilted eyes are often alight with curiosity and interest when meeting new people or encountering new situations.

Height: 5’ 10"
Age: 123 (appears to be in his early twenties)
weight: 118
Hair: Black
Eyes: Vibrant purple

Bio:

I was born some 118 years in the past, a new arrival in this city of strangers; my parents, an elven couple, both scholars and researchers dubbed me Il’Liljanne which roughly translates from the elven tongue as “Child of knowledge.” I am not sure if they gifted me with this title because they foresaw a scholar’s life ahead for me and a mind a-flame with learning, or if it was simply the fact that their passion for learning, studying and teaching brought them together and I was the eventual offspring of this passion. They did not live long enough for me to ask or receive an answer to this question and, in the end, it matters little. I honor and love the memory of my parents, they made life simple, colorful and agreeable for me, thusly I was kept rather sheltered in our little corner of the city and I did not learn later of the ugliness and deadliness that breed and fester throughout Kaer Maga until later in life.

Most citizens of this city see the ugliness that surrounds them quickly; to believe that I was sheltered behind gates, walls and a secure home in an affluent section of the city for over 50 years seems unreasonable, but as time flows amongst the people of my birth, fifty years is barely enough to learn of culture and customs or to be beyond the view of parents or care-takers. I have to think that I was sheltered because I was young, not because my parents felt I was too delicate or my mind too frail to see and understand the realities of life around me. Unfortunately, with their passing I was forced to confront these horrors without the fore-knowledge of their existence; without guidance I surely would have ended my days as a casualty of the streets.

News of their death was abrupt and it was followed by the sacking of their house by rabble whose motives I still do not know; it is likely those who ran-sacked our dwelling simply were laying claim to the works of art, the stores of coin and the shelves upon shelves of tomes and papers. In short order I and my care-taker, a human woman by the name of Hejwynn, were ushered into a back room and stood cowering, trembling and weeping as burly, sullied men with swords and crossbows warned us against making trouble. It seemed like hours passed as we heard the looters tearing through the house, the banging and bustling of objects being uprooted and removed. I remember it only vaguely and mostly remember the feeling of dread and helplessness that remains clear and vivid in my mind to this day. We, Hejwynn and I, likely would not have survived this perilous position had it not been for the arrival of Ethan Barlow.

Mister Ethan Barlow is a Halfling, a quiet and professional gentleman who worked for my father as a scribe; he recurrently was a guest at our house or at a nearby library where he quietly and diligently put in his day of work scribing and deciphering the works from faded and damaged old tomes and returning them to life on fresh parchment. Mister Barlow rarely spoke, but during the times when I would wander through our house library I would often see Mister Barlow busily putting quill to parchment, his eyes never seeming to leave the page. Somehow, without my ever noticing, there would be a candy or plump piece of fruit upon the corner of his desk for me and a friendly smile curled over his lips. Nothing was ever said, in fact I doubt I exchanged more than two dozen words with Mr. Barlow over the time he worked for my father, but with just a look or a nod I knew the treat was for me and that his later nod was his way of saying “you’re welcome” after I had popped the tasty into my mouth.

So, Mister Barlow was one of the last people I had expected to see in this situation, and he wasn’t alone – at his side were a group of three other Halflings, all of them dressed well, each of them stepping confidently and surely into the room where we were held captive. If I had managed to hear what Ethan had said to my captives, I have forgotten it now, but the pair ‘guarding’ over us gave a few nods, sheathed their weapons then took myself and Hejwynn by the arms and escorted us to Mr. Barlow’s side. Surrounding us like guardians, he and his associates walked us from the house. It was a painful journey as I saw the home of my childhood in disorder – art works torn, damaged or missing, book shelves toppled over, most of their contents carted away, family heirlooms and treasures, belongings of my parents all heaped in piles like refuse to be hauled away at a later time. I know I was weeping when I left, but looking back I am thankful that I had been able to walk out of there at all.

For whatever reason, Mister Barlow took me in to be raised among he and his kin; I mostly dwelt in his apartments, but often I would go to stay with other Halfling families who all lived in close proximity of each other. My new family came to know me as Liljin, shortening the original elven name, which I have not heard spoken in over fifty years. Living among them I quickly became a regular in their neighborhood within a short year or two, and was soon running about and getting into play and mischief with the Halfling boys and girls of this area. I made friends quickly, they were quite kind to me with some exceptions, but it was unusual growing among them. Friends I had told stories with and laughed at silly things with wanted little to do with me a few short years after; I could not keep friends because they grew beyond me so rapidly, leaving me to run about and play with a new set of companions on what seemed a regular basis for me.

Even more sad than the aging of my friends was the shortness of my adopted family’s lives. Mister Barlow’s parents, who had accepted me as kin almost from the start, passed on from this world within the first two decades of my arrival; others, aunts, uncles, neighbors, friends also succumbed to time and the flickering fragility of their short life spans. It dawned on me quickly that all of those who I developed affection for, cherished and loved would be gone before I started seeing the first wrinkles of age upon my face. I also received the attention and notice of others who not only envied my longevity, but saw me as a threat; how easily could I assume control of certain operations given that I had centuries to live beyond their life span? Men who had long been friends of Mr. Barlow began seeing me as competition for their future, for their children and for their legacies. For this reason, I took part in the illegal activities of family and friends, but made it a point to always remain without ambition. I never question those above me, I never try to alter plans (though spotting errors in plans seems to come easily to me) and I never speak ill of a Halfling.

So I kept quiet, I watched, learned, took notice of people, skills and events. I soaked up any information others wanted to impart to me, but never sought it out, never wanted to seem too eager to lead or usurp others. Over the course of sixty years since coming to live with Mister Barlow I have learned much. I know the city well, I have picked up a valued skill-set and have even made it a point to study and learn as a way to honor my parents, though I often wonder if they might be disappointed with me for the paths I have walked since their last days. I try to do the best with what I am and with the situation I have been given and lately, my patience seems to have paid off as I seem to have earned trust and confidence, my skills finally seeming to match that of others – these Halflings master the skills I have worked decades on in only a few short years! I feel I am ready to do more, I wish to contribute more and I wish to find the means to show my gratitude and loyalty to those who have taken me in as family.

Mister Barlow is now a very old man by his years, beyond ninety; his wife, the dear and deeply missed matron, Dairine (Daire for short) passed away some five years ago; she taught me much and took me under her wing more than any other. During my most recent meeting with a sickly Mr. Barlow, he expressed his pleasure at my learning and my maturity into manhood – finally. He spoke of how frustrating teaching me had been, how my mind seemed to drift away from the teachings, how it absorbed parts but far too often took off on wild fancies and daydreams. In the end, as he so perfectly put it, my "elven head finally opened up to a couple of old Halflings, allowing the lessons of the mind and the lessons of the hands to settle in for a long, cozy stay.” It feels good to be given those words of confidence from a mentor, if not a father. Mr. Barlow saw to it on my parents’ behalf that my mind continued to be nurtured and developed; he taught me languages, letters, rules of the street and the city, as well as the art of double-speak and the forging of documents (which was and is his specialty); Daire Barlow worked with my hands. As motherly and gentle as she was, she had the fingers of smoke, they could touch an item and make it hers without leaving a trace or a whisper of her presence; she taught me the way around locks, traps and how to properly hold a short knife or sword. Other lessons were picked up along the way. Gilroy, Daire’s youngest brother, showed me tumbles and rolls to assist in staying clear of incoming blows; Maeve worked with me on climbing, showing how to scale a wall or fence to procure objects who some assumed were safe at their heights; Paitr and Orla worked with me on sneaking and wriggling free of ropes thanks to the catch and tie games we played as youths.

Without a doubt my life has gone differently than it otherwise might have. I doubt father or mother would approve, but I have become a scholar despite their deaths. I will never measure up to them in the halls of academia but I am no less a student regardless. Mister and Mother Barlow, Ethan and Daire, took over my learning, and rather than a parade of high class tutors and bards I received lessons from bands of rogues, rapscallions and scoundrels. My learning took part on the streets rather than an enclosed garden and my studies consisted of lurking in dark alleyways and watching the criminal element rather than absorbing lectures and pouring over old, musty tomes. I do not judge one any better than the other nor do I respect one culture or one set of parents above the others. Life has happened to me and the journey through it is only beginning. I cannot think to live by what might have been or measure up to the wishes of parents who left me early through no fault of their own. What I have I cherish and will use to make things better for myself and my people. Other matters are for other minds, my time and future are spoken for.

Liljin

Character place holder WiHa05