Realm of Wonders!
Small, wiry, quick, alert
A small Half-Elf wearing a hooded gray cloak. Speaks little. Hides well.
The Story of Flik
We first met him when he was but an infant. To be more specific, it was I who first met him, on that cool morning when the Sungod was just peeking out from the horizon and I rowed my curragh out from the small beach harbor alongside our village: The tiny fishing village of Redwall on the large inland sea called Dryv Nyr. I was heading out to spend another long, hard day on the open sea, fishing for a chance to earn my keep. I saw a small tan basket bobbing on the soft sea, and thought it was perhaps the lunch of one of the fishermen who left the harbor shortly before I did; an unnoticed plop into the water only to be found out later when hunger drove the man to seek out his basket of bread and cheese and discover it was not there. I rowed closer and heard – or thought I heard – the faintest of whimpers coming from the basket. When I got close enough, I reached out my grappling hook and pulled the basket to the side of my boat and looked inside. It was not bread and cheese nestled into this basket, oh no, but a tiny child, only an infant, curled up in the bottom of this temporary boat. I was amazed by what I saw, not so much that it was a child, but that it was still alive and showing little distress. Perhaps it was too young to have any awareness of what it was about, or perhaps, it was a sign of the inner strength buried deep within this child’s bosom.
I fished it out of the water, and it was then that I saw how tiny it really was, and saw its strange looking ears that ended in a point. Odder still, the left one had a small notch in it, like you might find on a cow or sheep to mark its ownership. A boy child, yet so feminine in his finer qualities. I turned my curragh around and headed back to the small fishing village with its beach harbor where we pulled our boats up out of the water and secured them from any strong winds or waves. It was then that we, meaning my people of the fishing village, met the petite Halfling: part Human, and part Elf boy child from no one knew where. The women held and suckled the child, giving it the warmth and love any new being needs to survive and thrive. But in a strange way, it was understood to be my child, even though much of the village had a hand in raising him.
He grew slowly, much more slowly than our own babies grew. But while he didn’t grow very big, he grew healthy and strong, and when old enough, he began to learn the skills necessary to become a fisherman. There was often a distant quality about him, most obvious when we were out on the open water. He would stare out into the sky for hours, as if trying to see something just beyond the horizon. But whenever a fish came on the line, he would immediately spring into action. He could move like no other I have seen. Once, when out on the water, we divided a fish bone, each keeping one part. This as a symbol of our kinship forged through friendship, a ritual going back into the times of myth. I know this was important to him, as he keeps his fish bone on a chain around his neck. He seemed to genuinely enjoy going out on the water, and his favorite meal was fresh fish grilled over an open fire.
But in the end, it was clear that fishing was not in his blood. Some of the other children only saw his odd shaped ears, and his petite stature, and tormented him whenever they could. He was quick, and alert, and would often see them coming no matter how well the ambush was devised. After a time, his Elven blood began to stir, and I think he simply recognized that he was not a part of this village, and never would be, for all the support he received when first arrived. It was time for him to learn of his other family of the Woodland realm.
When he turned fifteen, we went on a journey to the Gnarley Forest. There, some Elves guided him to the Welkwood – home of the Wild Elves – where he could spend time with his other kinfolk (I thought it most likely he was of Wild Elf blood, as he was small even for an Elf). I think the Elves accepted him into their clan as a duty only. They saw his human features in the same way that some of my neighbors saw his Elf features. But they promised to teach him their ways, and help him to grow up as an Elf. So I left him there, and made my way back to the small coastal village that was my home.
It was only afterword that I heard the stories of how he grew in the ways of the Welkwood Folk. He learned how to track and hunt; learned patience and quietude; stealth and quickness. He learned how to use the Elven blade given him when he turned twenty years (a rite of passage). It was when he turned thirty, just a young man by Elf chronology (but by my own, I was almost sixty, and nearing that day when I would no longer go out onto the open water alone), that he fully understood he was not quite one of them either, and decided it was time to find another place to call home.
I met him briefly after he had left the Woodland realm, while on a trip to the free city of Ahnk Tookuk,. This is the story he told me:
I made my way to this city, where I learned the ways of civilized society: Barter and trade; politics and power; trust and betrayal. I was offered a job and a place to live by a Gnome named Rosenose Billybottom. I think he understood my feeling like a fish out of water in this world, as he too was a bit of an oddity within the city, even though he had lived here for many years. He ran a repair shop of sorts, and he taught me the ways of clever and intricate mechanisms. He also taught me the intricate ways of the heart, a lesson he claimed was far more important to ones survival. But what I learned most was about myself: I never seemed quite right, always with an unsettled feeling. For all my skills in remaining invisible, I never felt more obvious and alone. After a few years my friend and benefactor decided it was time to retire, and return to his original homeland where he could reconnect with his Gnome clan. Rosenose sold his shop and home, and I was once again on my own.
Clearly, “my child” was still searching for a place he could call home, a place that would accept him as he is, and not as they required him to be (although I suspected his experience in the city was more about his own feelings, and not about a lack of acceptance from the various races making their homes here). I invited him back to my fishing village, where I thought he could find some peace and settle down. But he declined the offer. We spent a few days together in that city, speaking of our early years together, and of his time with the Woodland Folk. But my duties called me back home, and so I left him there in the city. As to what and how his life will continue, I leave in his good hands.