Aen Seidhe (Elf)Age:
Blacksmith, Medic and Smuggler
Tyrvariél, by human standards, is pretty much on the way of aging. However he is not human and that's why he still looks like a young man who has just reached adolescence. There is not so much as a single scar to disfigure the mostly homogenously textured area that is his face, nor are there many other noticeable impurities. His eyes are white pools with rings of a pale, blue-gray-ish mixture framing crystal clear centers of black. No yellow stench in the corners, no fine traces of blood vessels to be seen unless he's in a fit of rage. His nose is long and doesn't protrude much over the thin lines that are his lips or his somewhat marked chin. Also one really can't say that his forehead would do much better. However there's one thing Tyrvariél is truly proud of: his red hair. While any kind of beard doesn't stand much of a chance against his discipline, he has allowed it to grow as long as possible. Without the small metal bracers the thick and winding he has formed out of his hair probably would unwind and dissolve very soon, the resulting mess not only hiding his pointy ears but also falling right into his line of sight.
Tyrvariél stands at about 6 feet flat. That's tall for humans, but just barely average for Aen Seidhe. The same can't be said for his build though: He has been working hard with metal since early and for long, the outcome being not only somewhat calloused hands, but also a body having adapted greatly. Thick bones covered in unusually dense muscles and shoulders broad enough to be significant mark him as non-representative for his kind. He's definitely a lot stronger and heavier than most people would judge him to be.
Tyrvariél was born 1223 in the settlement of Vallweir, pretty much in the midst of Temeria. His parents were Setaríél (father) and Fallendre (mother), whom after the fall of Dol Blathanna roughly 60 years earlier had decided not to escape into the Blue Mountains, but to accept their fate as second class citizens in human-held territory. Being the full-blooded elf he was Tyrvariél was to learn what that meant from very early on. Over the last decades in Vallweir his parents had managed to acclimatise to the conditions as much as they could. They had even gained and then lost again some friends among that part of the general population which was the least inclined to what almost seemed like societal doctrine, but it was clear that all three were situated in the far lower half of the wealth distribution nevertheless.
Still, even when living close to the real slums, a living had to be made somehow. Setariél had been a blacksmith for the major part of his life so far and was trying to maintain this profession the best he could given the circumstances. Fallendre however had turned her anger, her desperation about the overall situation of the Aen Seidhe into criminal energy. She had learned how to utilize her small and slender build in a light-fingered fashion. A petty thief, but one good enough to provide some boost to their overall funds without being detected. Deciding between those two paths felt natural to the young Tyrvariél as neither the boy nor his parents could imagine how to support proper education for a third way properly.
He opted for going along his father and started to learn blacksmithing. It was a very slow process given the limited funding and other resources available, but age hardly was a concern for them given the long natural lifespan of an Aen Seidhe. Simple tasks such as nails, hooks and then horseshoes were the first things for Tyrvariél to do and in order to support his family and contribute more coin to this personal effort, he also picked up work at the town's hospital and leprosarium. Dealing with the injured, sick and dying there and performing a mixture between merely managing their state of lingering illness and actual treatment on a novice level was not exactly nice work, but it was work others that would have been preferred for cultural reasons often didn't want to do. Also being an Aen Seidhe meant that not all of the human's illnesses could affect him as easily and vice versa.
It took a couple of years, but with training came experience and with experience came more complex and rewarding work. The elf showed a great degree of talent. Having started to forge blades, arrowheads and small pieces of plate attached to leather Tyrvariél's small backyard business could beat the prices of more prestigious and pompous competitors with higher side costs. Adventurers of many kinds left enough coin for the Aen Seidhe to drop the tedious work at the leprosarium again and to fully focus on his metalwork.
At some point however Setariél had taught his son everything he could teach him and there was no more progress to be made within the confines of Vallweir. Turning towards one of the human competitors obviously was not really an option, so Tyrvariél started to save and prepare for a journey. Not much of the continent's original gnomish population was left, but still they were famous for their work and technology. One just had to find them. Tyrvariél hoped that him being a member of an elder race would make them more willing to help him, so he ventured on. It was early in the year 1258.
The plan had been to go for Mahakam, but Tyrvariél hardly made it to the area around the city of Carreras before something unexpected happened. Down the road he encountered a human trader's caravan which had been ambushed by Scoia'tael. A veritable piece of carnage caused by a party of his own species, some of its members still being present on site searching for loot and starting to ask questions. It didn't take long until they openly tried to convince the unwary Tyrvariél to join their ranks against humankind. It was an idea his mother certainly would have found tempting, but the young elf was greatly influenced by the bloodshed in front of his eyes. That kind of mass destruction had not occurred in the leprosarium. More busy vomiting and trying to stabilize his circulation, it didn't cross his mind that these effects might vanish over time and he deemed himself unsuitable for being a guerilla fighter, even though he could sympathise with the rebellion in terms of morale.
He left the place without a squirrel's tail decorating his head, but with knowledge about how active the rebels had become in the wide world. He now knew how to contact them and they now knew how to contact him. However the journey had to go on and, in the end, it would turn out to be a significant success. While far from eager to reveal all of their secrets towards him, the gnomes and dwarves still proved friendly and, if not forgiving, at least sometimes just oblivious about the petty fights elvenkind had brought to the continent upon its arrival millennia ago. Tyrvariél couldn't take much more back home from Mahakam then any knowledge gained, but hopefully it would be enough to become a master of the art by the standards of Temeria. The overall endeavour had roughly taken four years, so when he arrived in Vallweir it was 1262.
A few months later Emhyr var Emreis decided to cross the Yaruga.
Temeria and the remainder of the northern kingdoms were forced to push their armies to peak strength, including recruitings on a non-voluntary basis. Men were useless however if there weren't enough swords and shields to equip them, so Foltest didn't want Tyrvariél as a frontline soldier. It would have been a decision quite problematic with regard to the loyalty that could be expected of an Aen Seidhe, particularly so if the next move of the enemy was to openly advertise better relations with their kind anyway. So instead Tyrvariél was forced to enter what could be considered the medieval stage of standardized mass production.
That caused problems for him though: Having to produce weapons for those naked apes that called themselves humans was one thing, but the thought that his very products could also be used for slaughtering Scoia'tael, maybe even those he had met years earlier in particular, was a thing even harder to bear. None of his family had a keen interest in the Northern Kingdoms, last but not least the conquerors of Dol Blathanna, winning this war. So Tyrvariél, now caught firmly in the kingdom's grasp, under supervision and thus unable to just run away, opted for what he deemed to be the lesser evil. He pointed out that he also had experience in dealing with illnesses and injuries. And so, perpetuated by the influx of refugees from Cintra and the quickly mounting losses overall, he soon found himself in a sickbay close to the front. It was pretty much the opposite of the decision he had made when confronted with the Scoia'tael, but now it was too late to put things in accordance with his true sympathy.
The first weeks were outright brutal, but over time and not given much of another choice by both his morale and the men around him Tyrvariél learned how to contain himself... his stomach in particular. Tools for amputation, the process of cauterization and related things became familiar on a daily basis whether he liked it or not. Still he had to do some blacksmithing from time to time as well, but at least it was not that much. Tyrvariél did not experience the battle of Sodden Hill first hand, but certainly the fly-infested, stinky and rotting aftermath of it as the cleanup and salvaging operations picked up momentum after the war.
Things had not come without a price. Once all of it was over, Tyrvariél felt exhausted. Not physically exhausted, but psychologically burned out in a strange way. The value of a single individual's life felt as if diminished, his daily demeanour altered and riddled with habits he had not had before. Partly it was as if his purpose in life had been eradicated or hidden away in a place he could not find. Much of that wasn't even found out by himself, but instead his parents could tell the difference in their son. Or what was left of them as his mother had finally been captured in one of her little heists gone wrong while he had been close to the front.
Things improved in the two years following, but not truly returned to their original state. He picked up blacksmithing again, but this time not only for those he deemed more or less neutral adventurers but also for the Scoia'tael. He has been maintaining a secret bond with them since then, but still hasn't joined their ranks directly. A mutual agreement that he is more useful as a capable supplier and relay of information.
Why he decided to join the expedition ? Because a remote fortress deep in the lands of Nilfgaard, the one faction that seemed to be more acceptable for an Aen Seidhe than any other, might give him enough solitude and calmness to stabilize and arrange for his future. He is no fool and can see the writing on the wall that Nilfgaard might try again. In fact he hopes for it and that they succeed, ripping the place out of the northern grasp again. If his desire to have a stay close to the newfound fortress instead of being paid out in coin should fail the reward at least might help a great deal.
The almost pristine condition of his skin does not nearly reflect how shattered the situation inside Tyrvariél's mind still is. It is a statement not too far fetched that he is partly emotionally dead. At the end of his line of duty in the Temerian army patients reported that he hardly did as much as twitching an eyelash while bathing his hands in their blood and hearing their screams as he grinded their bones. He has seen too many anonymous, mutilated, half-dead and doomed bodies to care much about them anymore. However it is important to know that he has never killed anyone himself so far, so he probably would not do so without at least thinking once.
His relationship towards humans is a complicated one. He is aware that there are examples like Cregennan of Lod who are very respectable, but just as the sorcerer's example shows there are plenty of those who think otherwise, plenty of those who might deserve death for their cruelties. However Tyrvariél has effectively outsourced this task to the guerilla troops of the Scoia'tael whom he started to support with arms and armor. There is the real possibility that his current instability will turn into a vulcano and that he will join those troops personally, but as long as this hasn't happened he merely judges humans based on their stance towards the elven matter. Some he might want to become friends with, but many might find themselves confronted with a chilly conversational partner and nothing else.
Tyrvariél is quite intelligent, curious and staying in control even in turmoil has become almost second nature to him, but there are oddities: In action he seems to lose a bit of his self-esteem, sometimes almost falling into a pattern of strict obedience that marks him as an ex-soldier. Also, while traveling, he turns his head around as if expecting pursuers even when everybody knows there can't be any. Illegal deliveries can be quite risky after all... Rarely and in calm situations he might seem to drift away from the present reality around him, thinking about something vastly different for a bunch of seconds or until disrupted harshly.
And then there still are the more enjoyable, if not even humorous aspects: Most people fail to imagine how much this Aen Seidhe can eat once his stomach is empty, but he isn't afraid of alcohol either. Not for soaking past miseries in it, but for the sake of real joy. He's almost a bit of a sommelier.
- Blacksmithing: He might not be the best, but he has had some time to learn from the best. Tyrvariél has no reason to be afraid of laying his working hands on a weapon even if it's a witcher's silver sword, even though he has seen just one of those before. If the metal and the necessary facilities are available he can not only perform repairs in the field, but also create new items even if he hears from his customer's desire or sees a schematic for the first time.
- Medicine and surgery: Alchemistic potions are a great help when fixing a human body, but still knowing how one of those looks from the inside might be crucial when it comes to severe injuries and bleedings. He has handled the tools necessary for too long in his past to forget about them and, as crude and cruel as they might look to the uneducated, they still can save lives.
- Horseriding: An essential thing for a smuggler. He has learned how to get the most in terms of speed and range out of a horse and still make it survive even if it's packed not only with himself, but also with a lot of special cargo.
- Basic weapon handling: This is primarily rooted in him having been a blacksmith for decades. While being on the producing side and merely given feedback from his customers he sometimes has picked up one of his killer devices himself and swung it around a bit. However it's really not a match for any fully trained soldier.
- Prospecting: Learned from the elves and dwarves of Mahakam, Tyrvariél can differentiate between simple rocks and valuable minerals. He also knows how to process them, given the necessary equipment is present.
Tyrvariél is not much a fighter, but when it comes to maintaining a fighting force's efficiency he might be much more advanced than what most fighters can do on their own.
- Smithing utensils: Hammer, prongues, a cutting device... Can't take the entire anvil with him, but in case he finds one this would definitely help.
- A large rag filled with some of the tools found in the typical army's sickbay: Bandages, leather straps, bone saw, cauterization stamps, threads and needles as well as some nearly pure alcohol.
- An average-ish riding horse
Tyrvariél has been trained in how to shoot a bow by his elven parents, but it wasn't like the nobles and peasants owning the fields and forests around his birthplace would have allowed for much real action training. So, surprisingly for an elf, he's not excellent at this tool despite owning it and according arrows. As a sidearm he carries a morning star designed and made by himself. A simple, primitive looking weapon made for primitive skills. It can be quite effective against heavy armor though.Armor:
Tyrvariél wears a full set of light plate armor made of steel, finished with burning-in substances giving it a more shiny, leathery color. Many of its edges are decorated with polished brass. It looks as costly as it perfectly fits the body of the man wearing it. The more attentive observer might start to wonder why someone who doesn't have that much of an idea of how to wield a sword needs that kind of armor. On a second glance however said observer, if daring enough, might also come to the conclusion that it's as much about advertisement as it is about protection. Guess for whom...Misc:
- A small satchel of orens, enough for buying food and water for a few days if necessary
- Food and water for two days
- A strong magnifying glass in order to help him identify minerals and for other studies