In the Weave
Bard, Healer, Wildling
Stevena’s character notes
Family history in Kaer Ara:
Most of the bigger races were not too fond of the windlings before the Scourge and so when it was time to seek shelter in the kaer vaults hundreds of years back many family tribes found it hard to gain entrance.
Sometimes one or two snuck in through hiding in one of the big race’s luggage. But that was hit and miss and it split families. At most maybe a couple of siblings made it through together, but many were left weeping outside the doors. A few begged mercy and found a compassionate soul. But who would vouch for a family tribe of 10, 20, 50 windlings? No. Too many mothers sold their children to be servants or slaves to get them safe behind the walls. Too many slipped away from their families, the young and the old, abandoning them in the night, to save themselves. It was a dark time for the windlings, even darker than the ink black of Horrors. It was a time of tears that ripped at our souls that should never be forgot.
Jenna of the Black Tips, known after as Jenna the Clever, or to us as Great Gran, knew that for the tribe to survive we would have to come in together. So she found a way. Taking five lovely long elfen cloaks and fashioning royal looking tiaras with veils she had her tribe stand on each other’s shoulders four high wrapped in finery, with the babes and elders packed under supplies and walked in, sweet as you please. They looked like rich elf princesses so no one dared question their admittance.
And that was how the Black Tips slipped all 32 of their members into the Kern. And that is why nearly all the windlings from Kaer Ara have black tipped wings for no other family, not the Red Veins, nor the Clear Blues or even the Green Leafs has so many. The Black Tips took them all in, the children with no mothers, the young men with no fathers, the windlings of all other tribes. All became Black Tips.
Of course they had no money or possessions, But that’s another story.
The Great Quake:
The Great Quake started what the windlings of Kaer Ara will forever call the Days of Hunger.
The food supplies were damaged and the water was nearly cut off. At first all races pulled together to rebuild and support each other. But there was not enough food and the dictates of mathematics showed that we would have to ration.
At first it was simple enough. Just one third less food for everyone and half the water use. No bathing in fresh water, no using clean water for agriculture. We reused every drop until the dirt claimed it. But as time went on, as all things do, what we had dwindled. And with that dwindling came the divisions that wrack all communities of mixed peoples. By the time the whole Kaer was at half rations some of the bigger races decided that because the windlings were one quarter the size we could survive on one quarter rations.
We had no voice on the council and it is doubted the council knew of this policy. You would think they would be wiser if they did. What do you think happens when you make a whole tribe of Windlings hungry? From our entrance into the Kaer with little but our hands and voices we were proficient in getting what we needed. And so we did, surely continuing our reputation as swift fingers. But we had a vow that we all follow: Never take from a T’skrang. The Quake had taken their young, they had lost everything, everything that matters. The Orks, Elfs, Trolls and Humans all could miss a crust, a root or hand of grain. The T’skrang had only tears, and you can not steal from another’s pain. And from here to the end of our tribe no Black Tip will take from a T’skrang.
Oh! Do you like them? I did most myself, even with my left hand. Yeah, and there are flowers and spider webs and teeth and feathers and they change color just a little differently than the rest of me does and I like this one because the eyes seem to follow you wherever you are… Oh, but that’s not the best part. They all mean something.
Before Great Gran died we all sat with her as she began to pass. She told us all every story she had day and night until her eyes shut forever. Every hero’s journey, every child’s song anything she could remember about us, or the others or anyone before.
Most of the stories I knew already. I always knew I would be a Lore Holder since I could listen. (Listening is different from hearing, remember that.) But some were new and others too dark for children (though kids like those best it seems.) Sometimes there was just a new detail in an old story. Other times it was a new saga none of us had ever known before. The ones I didn’t know would only be told once so as she told them I drew them into my skin so I wouldn’t forget them. I only had one chance to hear and remember and I couldn’t write every word fast enough, so I drew them.
I’ve had lots of others ‘tisk’ about them because their people don’t do tattoos and some think my drawings aren’t good enough and want to re-do them in their own people’s style. But if they do that I might lose a detail of the story. That would be worse than anything.
I’ve asked some of the others who were there what they remember, but it’s already fading in their minds. Sometimes I go to the Old Council Elf and he helps me out a bit. I must keep it sharp and practiced or the old and strange stories might get lost. One day my whole body might be illustrated with the world’s story. That would be fantastic! But I wonder how I’ll read my back…
Outside the Kaer:
Pretty much every Windling left the Kear as soon as the doors were open. I think only the T’skrang people were faster. We were hungry and they were thirsty so our peoples went out first and fast.
Of course a few stayed behind to fulfill their obligations. If we make a promise we will try our best to keep it even if there is fresh air and adventure and new things to be seen. But almost all us Windlings live Outside now.
We were never a good people for construction planning so it was good that the dwarfs and elfs and humans made it out after the coast was clear. There wasn’t much for us to do when they got to building so we stayed out from underfoot for the most part. (Though not as much as some of the Trolls would want I think.)
We have taken to the high trees and make good lookouts. We are helping the T’skrang to find a new place for a hatchery. (You know they haven’t had young in almost twenty years… so sad.) By now most of us have changed color for the Outside and we blend in pretty well. There are a lot of things that the others think would be good responsibilities for us, but after the long time in the Kaer most of us are just wanting to go out and away from the others.
I just don’t want to stay away from the others as much. Sure, some of them did bad things to us in the Kaer, most don’t trust us when they turn their backs and a few actually have sworn vengeance on our kind, but they are so interesting and I have all of my people’s stories now. The best way for me to get new or at least different old stories is to spend time listening to the others.