My parents named me Ecglaf, because they foresaw that I would be one who survives and triumphs in his battles. Those I meet in my travels call me the Adventurer, for what else would they call a young fortune-seeker?
The first sixteen summers of my human life have shaped me into a sturdy, just-taller-than-average young man with olive skin and a clean-shaven, sun-kissed face. My dark, near-black hair is cut short, in a simple flat-top.
My demeanor is calm but outgoing, and my expression usually neutral, though I smile often enough when the company is suitably friendly. Dark grey-green eyes take in those I meet appraisingly but not mistrustfully.
I have gone forth in this world to make my fortune. Having grown up in a house filled with the souvenirs and stories of my father's campaigns, I wish now to build my own house, similarly filled with treasures and tales of my own deeds.
My mother fed me dreams of grand destinies, of fame, glory, wealth, power, and rulership; however, any journey, whether it end on the throne or the gallows, must be taken one step at a time. My next step is to make connections, contacts, allies, to acquire and hone skills, and start to accumulate resources and achievements -all things a young man needs for any endeavor. For now, my greatest talents and offerings lie in my physical abilities, though I reckon that I possess wit and alertness enough to serve.
I am willing to labor, but only as a means of biding time. My thirst for adventure calls me ultimately to riskier pursuits, ones that entail overcoming danger for greater reward. In time, who knows? Perhaps I shall become the next Ruler of Kings.
A Sentimental Value: Metal
Scanning the interior of my childhood home one last time, I realized that to leave it was to forsake all that had protected and comforted me growing up, and that from now on, I would face the world unsheltered and unguarded. As I regarded the old hearth that would nevermore keep me warm and fed, I noticed as if for the first time the metal heater shield that had hung there for years.
The shield was dull-finished steel, in the center of which was engraved the device of an eagle rising atop a human femur, with wings addorsed. I did not know what if anything that device signified. Mother never told me, nor did I know if those were our family's arms, nor whose else they might be, but I cared little. It was a shield that would protect me, and a keepsake of a safe, contented childhood.
Slinging the shield over my back, I turned my back at last upon that forest house, and bore that shield, and its eagle device, out into the wide, uncertain world.
"Manitou Elixir, eh?" spoke a gruff, amused voice from somewhere behind me. I turned to see a hale, middle-aged man perhaps a finger taller than me, and a bit broader of shoulder as well. He had broad, bluff features, dark close-curled hair, and a ruddy complexion. He gave me a grin that showed him to be missing a couple teeth.
"That can be useful," the man continued, "but you need to be more careful with your gold."
I gave him a puzzled look. "Do I know you?" I asked.
Another toothless grin. "Perhaps not, but I hope to remedy that soon," he answered. "I fought with your father back in the day, and I've been a friend of both your parents since you were too young to remember. I've been abroad these last few years, and only recently came back, so I don't expect you to remember me, Ecglaf." The man looked me up and down, still grinning. I hoped that was a good sign. But…
"How do you know my name?" I asked. "And how did you recognize me if you haven't seen me in years?" I'm not the sort to be overly mistrustful, and am happy to make new friends, but this surprise encounter unsettled me a bit.
"You look just like your father," the man explained. His manner, while still friendly, turned more serious. "It wasn't at all hard to figure out who you were."
"You still haven't told me your name," I pointed out.
The grin returned. "Why, no! I haven't" the man answered brightly. He did not elaborate.
Growing annoyed for the first time, I allowed myself a brief glare before asking: "Please tell me your name, Sir."
"Name's Mirak. Mirak the Captain. As I said, I campaigned alongside your father back in the day. Anyway, always ask your questions straight, lad, like you did just now, when dealing with strangers. You'll get your answers faster than if you're too circumspect and polite, and they'll respect you more."
I looked at Mirak steadily. "In that case tell me, are you following me, and if so, why."
Mirak did not seem put out by my direct question, and he gave me answers that seemed forthcoming enough. He told me that my mother had asked him to keep an eye on me, and even to give me such counsel as I might need and would listen to.
In spite of the oddity of our first meeting, I sensed that he meant well, and might be a good ally to have. Someone with his military knowledge and skill would probably prove useful for my pursuits, which might well lead me into combat at some point.
I could only wonder, though, what if anything was in this for him. Was he hoping to relive through me the youthful adventures he had shared with my father? Did he perhaps suspect my ambitions for greater things, things which might end up contested on the battlefield, and hope to share in those spoils? I did not know. For now, however, I was glad to have someone around who seemed to be a mentor and an ally.
House of Sorrows
I started, realizing that perhaps I may have boasted too soon of my understanding. Still, after a moment, I cleared my throat and ventured: "You have been cursed to a life isolation and loneliness by the fact that your children are different. People will not accept them, and want to be far from them. This pains me, and I do not wish to see it continue.
"I do not know what an 'Insolitam' is, nor how to fight it. I doubt that I am clever enough to discover in a short time that which has evaded you all these years, nor do I propose to try. But perhaps I can offer something simpler and within my gift: company and acceptance. I can come by and visit again, if you like.
As to your ability to influence things in the world such as the gold in my pockets: I have no idea. The power of imagination?" I shrugged. I realized it sounded silly the moment I said it. "Be that as it may," I continued, a bit lamely, "Would you like me to visit again, and talk to you and your children?"
Reflections On Your Mother
My mother was the parent who was there for me growing up, while my father was mostly absent, an ideal, a somebody out there I was supposed to be like, a role model who might as well exist only in books, it sometimes seemed. She taught me to cook, and how to behave towards people, how to talk, how to dress, how to understand others' feelings. Her role in my upbringing, while conventional, and unremarkable-sounding in the telling, is nonetheless quite precious to me, and I would not exchange her for any other mother.
The Beauty of Lady Fluke
What can I say of Lady Fluke?
Her features do not make me puke.
Yea, her non-puke-inducing features
Surpass those of all other creatures
Never another did I see
Whose face left me so nausea-free.
Those eyes so coy, that smile hermetic
The skin so fair and non-emetic.
And now, if I may take my leave,
I must go quickly, to not-heave.