Among the few things the Father I had never met left me, one was the name Saefrith: Sea-Peace in the old tongue of his people. It was never a fitting name, as in all of my 16 years by mannish reckoning I have been drawn as if by beautiful song of breeze on the leaves, echoing bird-calls and the creaking of ancient oak boughs to the dark and cool corners of the great rolling forests of my home.
Perhaps it was something significant to my Father Wissian to have looked upon the great ocean once, during the military service to our lord from which he'd never returned. It would be a lie to say I was never troubled by his absence, both my mother and I blamed it for the extraordinary restlessness of my youth. Though I had a small measure of bad habits, neglecting chores to stick-fight with local boys and other sorts of petty trouble, in my teen years I took to long forays on and off the beaten woodland trails, heeding no warnings from my elders of Orc or Goblin or outlaw. Instead I found the small inns, waystations and lodges frequented by legitimate foresters and less than legitimate poachers alike and also found I did not despise the company of either. From working the odd jobs serving in such places, as well as sending some coin home to appease my mother Eawyn, I could make friends and find mentors among the older men who worked the forests some of whom in turn were happy to indulge me as a mascot of sorts.
Though I do not have the strength for a great hunting or war bow some of the men bore, I became an excellent shot with shorter bows and the taking of small game, for which I also learned to devise cunning traps. My small frame was unsuited to the heavy labour of the lumber parties, but I learned from them to navigate the trees, recognise each for their uses and make good camp beneath them. From the poachers I found my greatest talents of both following and covering tracks, above all the art of going unseen and unheard. I know that there is need in the world of guides and scouts, and I think that is where my future might lie. "Saefrith the Scout" has a good ring - to my ear at least.
I am not a tall woman, in fact I stand a little shorter than most, and though my frame is slight from constant travel my figure is feminine and even somewhat full, so I often take time wearing close fitting clothes, woolen hose and doublets with a deep green hooded cloak I am loathe to part with hanging from my shoulders to disguise my shape. With my hood up, hiding the long braid in which I keep my dark brown hair, I might pass for a boy at distance. Beneath the hood my skin is fair and eyes a piercing sort of pale grey, they are quick and lively and bely a sharp, inquisitive mind behind them. I smile freely, and it is the usual expression borne by my slim face with pointed features - it has been jokingly asked if I have Elven heritage between my looks and love of the woods, but to my knowledge I have none.
I have no lofty goal in mind, and would be surprised to have great deeds and responsibilities thrust upon me. For now I intend to venture from my home to become my own woman, to see the lands that exists beyond my own familiar woodland, learn their ways, and make my living guiding merchants and travellers and the like through them.
A Sentimental Value: Ring, Plain
As the first steps on the road from home crunch beneath my travelling boots, I find myself toying nervously with the one real keepsake of my home, an unadorned ring with a lustre deeper than copper - an old smith had once reckoned it to be some sort of bronze, though odd that it kept a dull shine and did not tarnish easily. I had found it as a child, surreptitiously rooting through old letters and the like trying to learn of my father. The ring had been found in the same envelope that had borne the instructions to name me, as well as the last amount of his pay we ever received - when caught, my Mother had explained she intended it to be mine when I came of age, or perhaps if I married, but decided I should have it then as I had nothing otherwise to know the man by. The ring seems to have been made for a man, and even now I am grown will not sit securely on any fingers save my thumb, more commonly I bear it about my right wrist on a leather cord as a bracelet, where it returns after I decide to cease fiddling before it gets lost.
The morning sun was casting long shadows through the still cool air as Saefrith arrives, her hood up about her head. There were few around, merchants preparing their stalls for the day and the like… And ominously enough a handful of what look to be drunks staggering their way home from a night spent at the taverns. It's enough for Saefrith to pull her cloak tighter about herself and hurry her step, and it's with a shocked gasp one such man suddenly seizes her by the wrist. Such a thing is shocking enough, but the grizzled looking man seems slowed neither by age or fatigue from the long night, a soldier's instincts to snatch at her so swiftly. Before Saefrith can yell or struggle the man releases and quietens her.
"By the Gods" He says, as if to himself, peering at the girls shocked expression, and then the ring at her wrist. "That is Wissian's ring, I am sure of it. You must be his girl who was on the way… "
Saefrith, finding her shock give way to indignity, finds her voice rising in her throat. "H-how do you know of my father?", she demands.
There's a long moment of silence broken eventually by a boisterous bark of a laugh from the man. "Well I will be damned after all of these years. Wissian's girl… We fought together, I remember him earning that very ring, spoils from the wars on the western border. Told him he was a fool to send it back, thought his wife'd have sold it for a pittance. Bulwyf girl, I am Bulwyf… "
Saefrith opens and closes her mouth in shock to meet such a man, a flood of questions rushing to her tongue though all she can think to do is give her own name in response. She finds herself shushed, Bulwyf begging pardon for the current state of his appearance and promising to meet at the tavern of an evening to tell all. Not long after he is gone, Saefrith left to wonder just who the grey-haired man was. Truly a soldier and friend of her fathers? He certainly couldn't have made it up, and to remember so strongly after all this time, just from recognising her ring! They were close, perhaps? Had her father saved his life or some such thing? She will have to find out on their meeting again…