Street rat turned adventure rat.
Grass surrounded Garrus. Green grass. Grass that green could only be found in one place: Y’Bent. He laid there and enjoyed the feel of the grass as the sea air blew through his nostrils. It was paradise to Garrus. However, paradise came crashing down as realization crept into Garrus’ thoughts.
Garrus ran— and ran fast. He knew that that he had to be home before his father noticed he was gone. His father had gone out riding with some of the other knights for sport, but Garrus suspected that his father was just restless and looking for something to kill.
Garrus got back to his home. There was a large letter “B” on the gate with the family crest. Garrus climbed the wall and ran across the yard. Please don’t be home¸ he pleaded to himself. Fear was a great motivator and Garrus knew it all too well.
The front door was ajar. Without touching anything Garrus entered the house. A house servant tried to stop him by calling out,” Young Master Beremont…”, but Garrus didn’t stop to hear. He was supposed to be at the library reading some notes on heraldry, but these knightly pursuits did not interest him, so he found other ways to pass the time.
The library was closed. Garrus tiptoed into the room. He tried not to make a sound, something he was good at. All the sneaking around he has been doing has actually made him quite good at it. Garrus looked… The library was quiet. He breathed a sigh of re—
“Garrus…”, a stern voice from the darkness called.
The icy realization cause Garrus to seize. He knew had been caught.
“Garrus, answer me!”
“Yes, father?” responded Garrus.
“Where were you, Garrus? When I came home, just imagine my surprise when I saw that you were not here. How do you expect to be a knight if you can’t even sit and read a few books?”
“I’m sorry, father. I—“
A hand struck Gillan across his face. Shocked, he put his hand to his face and recoiled from the attack.
“No excuses! I should have expected as much. You like laying in the woods and grass. You can’t fight your half-breed nature, can you? I should have known that you couldn’t be a knight. You’re cursed and I’m the one who is stuck with you. “
“Father! I’m –“
A fist responded to Gillan’s retort. Blood came from Gillan’s nose.
“Don’t talk back to me. You can’t even listen can you!? How stupid are you? I have been a shining example for you. I have shown you what real nobility looks like. Why can’t you be more like me?”
“Is that why mother left you? Because you’re such a noble example of a horse’s ass?”
Silence. Nothing. The room stood still in time. Then there was rage!
Lord Beremont attacked with a ferocity of a mad man. The hits came in and would not cease. Garrus tried to stop the blows, but he could not defend against such an experienced knight. Body. Face. Arms. They all felt the father’s wrath. Then, it was over. Just as quickly as it began, the man stopped.
Lord Beremont fixed his clothes. Except for the scraped knuckles one might not even notice that he had been in any scuffle. He sighed. “You know I really don’t like it when you question me… You know I’m right. It’s your fault that this happens. I’m forced to have to do these things and I don’t like it. You know I don’t like it, but you insist on making me do it. Are you listening?!”
Garrus sat in the corner cowering as he has done for many years. His half-elf body looked to only be about thirteen, but he was older. Almost eighteen. Eighteen years or as long as Garrus could remember, he had to endure these attacks. And for eighteen years, Garrus cowered in the corner trying to escape from the man he called “father”. And for eighteen years always Garrus nodded his head in response to his father’s questions.
“I’m going out. You have made me quite upset, Garrus. I’ll be back today or tomorrow, but I will be back and you better behave when I see you next.” He looked down at Garrus and called for one of the servants. An old man appeared named Gerbus. On any other day Garrus might have snickered at his name and the vacant expression Gerbus wears like some dumb badge of honor. Today, however, the man was a servant of his father and his whim. “Take Garrus to his room, lock the door and don’t give him supper tonight. I want him to think about his actions.” Lord Beremont looked at Garrus. “Now… you are to beg forgiveness tomorrow for your actions. I tire of hearing your mewling pleas, but it is the only way to teach you. I pity anyone who has to deal with you. You should be lucky that I’m here to clean up your mess.” A small pause as Beremont looked towards the front of the house. “I’m off. Remember, Garrus, I’ll be back tomorrow. Think, or at least try, about what you have put me through. Be more considerate and less… selfish.”
“Yes, father.” Garrus replied meekly.
His father left, barely taking any more notice of Garrus or the way that Gerbus was taking a little more enjoyment than he should shoving Garrus to his room.
Garrus entered his room and the door slammed behind him. The locked slammed shut, leaving him alone. Alone wasn’t really a problem for Garrus. He spent a lot of time alone. All of the other children made fun of his ears and called him “bastard”, but in elvish so it sounded fancy. They would throw rocks at him and hit him with sticks. Garrus took the hint and stayed away from them. He did have one friend for a time. A half-orc, named Tel’den, who belonged to one of the other noble families. His mother was raped by an orc when she and some escorts were attacked by a raiding party. She was the only one to survive with a permanent plus one on her dance card. They were friends for quite some time, but one day Tel’den got too old to play games and too orcish for his family’s tastes, so eventually the family chased his away. Garrus never saw his friend again.
What was that word those kids called me again…? Garrus tried to recall. That’s gonna bug me, he thought. Garrus loved solving puzzles and knowing little facts, but he hated gaps in knowledge. Even though Garrus was half-elven, he never learned the language. He had been deposited in his father’s “caring” arms when he was a babe. Garrus didn’t even know how his mother looked, sounds or anything. She is his biggest mystery.
The room was quiet. Garrus tried to entertain himself, but he could not settle. He had grown tired of being beaten by his father. Enough, Garrus thought. All of the hitting and bruising and scars had to stop. If scars could tell stories, then Garrus’ was a tome of anger and violence. He decided that living with these “nobles” was not what he wanted. Even their kids were right pricks. He had to get out.
Garrus moved to the door and looked out the keyhole. There he saw Gerbus sitting in a chair napping. Garrus had gotten out of his room many times without the staff noticing. Mostly because no one thinks of locking the window. Garrus grabbed a bag and some simple belonging. He climbed out the window. There was a ledge that he could use to scurry along to a tree that leads down to the ground.
Garrus stepped out and started making his way to the tree. He noticed that his father’s window was cracked open. I could use some gold, Garrus surmised and he opened the window slowly and skulked in.
Garrus searched his father’s room for some gold or other things of worth that he could sell. Merchants would give at least some gold for some of the items in here, thought Garrus. Garrus was very good at searching. His father hid many purses of gold and bottles of special ales, but Garrus could find them all. His father might be a “shining example of knighthood”, but elephants could do a better job hiding things from Garrus than him.
Garrus finally made his way to his father’s desk. Coming up empty anywhere else, Garrus knew that he would find something there. The desk was old and his father predictable. It would be no time before he found—
A small compartment under the desk revealed an envelope. There on the envelope was, in his father’s handwriting, the words, “To my lady of the Woods”. What is this, Garrus thought. The letter was not sealed, but Garrus was still cautious. He paused a moment and then opened the letter.
The letter was written by his father. It was finished and seemed new, but why had he not sent the letter? The letter read:
To My Lady of the Woods,
_ Why have you not responded to my letters? I love you. My mind is a torrent of emotions and you are the reason. I cannot eat, sleep or move without thoughts of you racing in my head. I remember every moment as though it were yesterday. I can still see the sun bouncing off your golden hair. I can still feel your skin next to mine as I held you close. Your smell still intoxicates me. Thoughts of your body still make my blood boil to the point of exploding. How can you leave me? How!? I am a slave to you and your desires. I will give you anything you wish. Stop living in the Woods with your savage kin. You are a lady among ladies. You should be with me and me alone. It is to this end that I have raised our child on my own, to show you my level of devotion to you. Understand that you are mine, Evermore! And that I am yours._
—Lord Barracus Beremont
Evermore? Is her name Evermore? This thought raced in Garrus’ head for moments and moments. He had hoped to find gold, but found an explosion of emotions. Questions raced to his mind. My mother? Where is she? Is she alive?
Garrus must have been thinking aloud because he did not hear the boots coming down the hallway.
The door burst open to the sight of Gerbus’s puzzled look. Garrus pocketed the letter and raced to the window. Gerbus made chase, but Garrus’s youth was more than a match for Gerbus’ age and dimwittedness.
Garrus grabbed the tree and scurried down to the grass. He made for the cover of some of the trees in the distance and then off towards the road. He decided that he would head for the city. He didn’t know where else to go. He had to find somewhere to hide. No one around here would take him in because they knew who he was and they would return him back to his father. And that was a thought that Garrus didn’t want to have.
Garrus walked for a few miles and came to a crossroad. This is perfect, Garrus thought. Father headed the other way when he left and if I can find anyone traveling on the other roads, then maybe I can get a ride to the city, reasoned Garrus.
Not long after that Garrus got lucky. An old man driving a pair of donkeys came to edge of the crossroad. Garrus flagged him down. The man stopped.
“Well hello, young man. What can I do for you?” the old man asked.
“I’m trying to get to the city. Can I get a ride from you?” Garrus responded.
“Sure, but why are you traveling alone?”
“I’m gone to visit family in the city, but I’m the only hand we can spare on the farm. Everyone else has to work, unfortunately.”
“Well that’s too bad. OK. Hop in.”
Garrus hopped into the back of the cart the man was driving. It smelled of vegetables and dirt.
“By the way, my name is Thomin,” said the old man. He gestured to the donkeys and said,” This is Hilda and Milda. My wife named them and not me. That’s probably why they get mad when she tries to drive the cart. What’s your name?”
Crap!, thought Garrus. He forgot to make up a name for himself. He thought hard and fast about what he’ll call himself. Something simple, he thought but nothing simple came to mind.
“Well?” said Thomin.
Then it came to Garrus. That word that all the children called him: Gil’láni. Bastard. Gil’láni.
“Gillan. My name is Gillan Evermore.”