The Mercenary Conscience
|RYFTWIN WOLFBOURNE||TEMPLEWOOD||Templewood bi-caste culture||Templewood Prophecy|
On the western edge of the Chondalwood, set at the base of the Maerwatch Mountains, hides the last of the great Templewood trees. This endangered forest is kept a mortal secret by the tribe of wood elves that guard it. The Templewood elves live in a village constructed into, around, and through the understorey of the massive Templewood; winding and intertwining through its branches like a complex web of rope and wood.
The elves of the Templewood have a near xenophobic policy regarding visitors to the forest. Even other elves are largely unwelcome in the Templewood. Few outsiders have even set their eyes on a Templewood tree, let alone been to the inner sanctum. Most are compelled to detour by the Bordertree guards without incident; more stubborn trespassers are coerced, or even dispatched without doubt or hesitation, and with complete indifference.
The epicenter of the village and hub of commerce was built around a small lake fed by a collosal waterfall plummeting from one of the lower peaks of the Maerwatch. Nearest the water dwell the magic using class of the Templewood elves. These are the crafters and agriculturalists of the society; the builders and the farmers. They draw earth magic from the Templewood’s foremost and revered above all deity, Silvanus to homogenise elven architecture and nature. Some of them even dabble a bit into the arcane, lining the grid of rope bridges surrounding the shoreline with beautiful, incandescent glyphs to facilitate traffic in the fogs and mists. From there, vast irrigation canals cut into the forest floor branch out like a demonic glyph, feeding life into the elegant Templewood gardens like azure veins from the arm of Silvanus.
Outside the garden, the military circuit wraps around the inner sanctum, forming a buffer between the sage disrict and the wilds of the Chondalwood. The military makes up a bulk of the Templewood’s population, extending nearly halfway into the patch of ancient trees.
Ryftwin’s story began on a warm night in the late of spring. His arrival was marked by the howl of the mountain wolf. Much to his chagrin, there is an ancient Templewood prophecy that tells of an elf born under the glow of Selune, and heralded by the call of the exalted mountain wolf, that will lead the elves of the Vilhon Wilds in a fight for their very survival. The Templewood elves are a deeply spiritual, traditional, and superstitious lot; so when Ryft was born under the light of the moon accompanied by that harbinger of fate, they immediately assigned him the moniker “Wolfbourne.” Among the elves of the Templewood, a second name is usually not assigned until an elf is well into its 30’s. A Templewood elf’s first name is chosen by its mother at birth, but the last name is earned within the tribe.
The Wolfbourne elf was not normal by Templewood standards. He is immediately distinguishable with his silvery-white hair (a rare color for a wood elf), cut unusually short by elf paradigms. Ryftwin doesn’t act like a normal templewood elf either. This is a conservative tribe of elves; Very strict and disciplined with little tolerance for deviation. While Ryft has always held an unparalleled focus concerning his combat training, he conducts himself with little restraint in the company of the fairer sex. Ryft is a lecherous young elf, wantonly bedding females without discrimination for age or station; behavior scorned by his culture.
Every young templewood elf serves atleast one term as a Bordertree Guard, a branch of the military that patrols the area surrounding the Templewood forest. This ritual serves as a critical lesson for all elves of the tribe, acclimating them to the brutal protocol of their duty as a guardian of the last Templewood forest, and thus ushering them into adulthood. This span of an elf’s youth is generally regarded with disdain; a necessary tribulation every elf must endure on their path to the rest of their lives. Ryft however, reveled in his duties. He always felt more at home in the open forest. There was no one out here to stare at his white hair, or whisper about some hokey prophecy as he passed by. No elders to cast dissapointed glances at him, or assault him with lectures illustrating how a Templewood elf should act. No, the wild forest was his playground. Out here, he was respected; none of the bordertree guards could match his pace. None could meet the benchmark laid by his aptitude with a blade. Ryftwin was a clever navigator and a tracking machine.