Nelfarian The Monk
Two elves appeared suddenly at the Monastery’s doorstep. It was obvious they were in some sort of distress, they kept making furtive glances over their shoulders and they were breathing quickly and appeared to be sweating.
The sweating in particular is what caught brother Jerold’s eye - it was a cool day out - winter was around the corner. To be sweating like they were - they must have been running. But running from what? Or from who?
The male was carrying a small bundle - it appeared to be cloth tied together with rope, and the female was carrying a small elf child.
The elves in these parts had a reputation for being stoic, but these two appeared to be on the verge of panic.
“Please sir monk” the male pleaded, “Take our son and hide him - we will be back for him the next day - two days at the most!”
“His name is Nelfarian, and he likes birds”. Before Jerold could protest or ask any further questions, the female placed the small elf child in the startled monk’s arms - and then they ran down the path and quickly vanished from view.
The monk continued to stand in the doorway of the monastery - dumbfounded, mouth agape - his protest never having had a chance to be uttered.
His mind all a whirl, brother Jerold picked up a small bundle the male elf had been carrying, and with his arms laden, turned to enter back inside the monastery.
It was right then - he felt it. To this day, it is a feeling that Jerold will never be able to shake from his memory. It was a feeling as if death itself had just passed by him on the path. No sound had been made, nothing had been visible out of the corner of his eyes - but he’d forever swear something very evil had just passed him by that night.
Jerold quickly hurried inside and barred the door, an act that was equally as surprising to the two other monks whom were in attendance as the fact that he was carrying an elf-child. It was almost unheard of to bar the door to the monastery - the last time it had been barred had been during an Orc invasions 30 years ago. The monks have long felt they didn’t need a wooden beam to protect them - that they were more than capable of protecting themselves.
Jerold quickly explained to the questioning monks what had transpired. When asked why he had barred the door - he mumbled something about “precautions” and didn’t elaborate.
The night turned into day, and into night again without any sign of the two elves. The next day passed, as well as the next and the next - soon a week had gone by - and there were no elves to pick up the child.
Since Jerold had brought the child into the monastery, the other monks were content to assign all responsibility of the child’s wellbeing to him. Luckily for Jerold’s sanity’s sake - the child was old enough to follow simple instructions and to perform menial tasks.
Nelfarian was put to work scrubbing floors and other simple cleaning tasks. During the following six months, Jerold would take the elf-child with him when he needed to go into town - to see if any elves would recognize him. None of the few elves he encountered recognized Nelfarian - and if his name was familiar - none of them admitted it.
When it became obvious that Nelfarian was going to be a long term guest, Jerold decided to teach him the basics - the rules all of the monks had to follow. As Nefarian grew older, his education became more intensive - both in subject matter and in physicality. Nelfarian was a quick study where the self defense arts were concerned, and especially was interested in the Ways of the Shadow in particular.
When Nelfarian was old enough, Jerold gave him over to Krasus, grandmaster of Shadows, for more intensive training. Months would now go by with hardly any contact between Jerold and Nelfarian. Not being a member of the Shadows, Jerold wasn’t privy to their comings and goings - but would occasionally run into Nelfarian in the cafeteria or at brewery. The encounters were never very memorable - except for the times when Jerold saw Nelfarian looking all battered and bruised - no doubt a result of the intensive training regime.
One day, Jerold and Krasus got together to discuss how things were going with Nelfarian and Jerold was quite surprised to find that Nelfarian had been slowly but steadily moving up through the ranks. He was now an integral part of the Shadows - instead of just a place holder.
Krasus asked Jerold if there were any news on the two elves who had dropped Nelfarian off - and Jerold shook his head and sadly replied “No”. Krasus nodded and said “I figured as much. He’s been talking about searching for them - or news of them - more and more of late”
Jerold responded “I’m actually surprised he hasn’t shown more interest earlier - I guess we have been keeping him distracted enough with his lessons. It might be time for him to go out in the world on his own for a while - and to try to find them. Succeed or fail, he’ll be a better monk for it.”
Krasus agreed with the assessment, and the very next day pulled Nelfarian aside and told him about an expedition being put together to search for an artifact capable of harming the balance - and asked him if he would be interested in helping by serving as an escort.
In a very rare display of emotion, Nelfarian’s eyes lit up - ever so briefly - and he almost smiled as he accepted. The caravan was due to pass close to a nearby town within the next week - so Nelfarian needed to pack up his things and head over there so as not to miss it.
Jerold and Krasus both signed a letter of recommendation which was then sealed and tucked in his small pack of possessions. The next morning, after breakfast, with a spring in his step, Nelfarian was on his way to join the caravan.