Heaven and Earth
The record of Kirinbar, Killoren Hunter (aka the best hunter in the whole group muthafuckas!)
The elders of my people have asked the community to write their memories and the memories of their own elders for the betterment of future generations. I don’t really know why this is an issue…we Killoren live a hell of a long time, but I’ve been told I must do as my elders ask. Fine. Besides, there are few of us, and missing the memoir of even one of our people would be a hole in our cultural memory. I am going to write grandfather’s memories (his old eyes are too worn and his hands too shaky to write any longer), and then my own.
My grandfather tells me the first thing he remembers is waking up. No gentle introduction to consciousness and the harsh truths of the world as with the true mortal races. He woke up surrounded by fire and earth, in what my people would later call The Awakening. From the fiery hole in the earth rose the first, fledgling members of my race, the Killoren. The poisoned air and soot-blackened sky was disastrous for those first Killoren, and many of the First Born died before reaching the Dwarven kingdom. Grandfather can remember many things about those early days, watching trees burn, animals die, water evaporate, and leaving dead and dying Killoren behind as they drew ever closer. A sorrow filled their hearts, and they wept as they walked.
Only one thing, grandfather says, kept them from collapsing entirely into the burnt earth and weeping forever for the dead world. An internal urge, a pulling, towards the vision of a glowing stone none of them had ever seen before. It wasn’t quite a memory, more of a shadow of a memory that they all shared. And they knew where it was. Miles and miles away, a stone pulsing with light and energy beckoned them, at once driving their need for survival and dragging them away from the one safe haven in the blasted and burned world; the Dwarven Kingdom. Together, the remaining Killoren rolled and carried the Sky Stone to the dwarves. They arrived outside the giant stone gates – grandfather insists that the outsides of the gates are richly carved and decorated with dwarven sigils and runes, I don’t know if I believe him on that – and begged entry. They begged to be allowed entrance and promised the Sky Stone as a gift to their new kingdom. Even though the dwarves, nor any of the races, could vouch for our people, brand new as they were, the Killoren were allowed entry. They shuffled in, vagabonds coughed up from the bowels of the earth, and had to be taught language, craftsmanship, culture, song, food, nearly every aspect of civilization. Grandfather remembers clearly being taught how to drink from a cup, and even more clearly the stinging, sizzling feeling the touch of metal left on his skin. Metal is anathema to us, the Killoren, though no one can say why. I use obsidian, crafted by the dwarves, for my blades, which are kept ever-sharp.
There’s one thing grandfather can’t remember, and I suspect this is what the Killoren elders were trying to divine in asking us to write these memoirs (they could have just asked, but no, everything has to be shrouded in mystery). He can’t remember why. Why we awoke. What woke us from the earth. How we became conscious, individual beings. He woke up one day, surrounded by danger, fire, and immense heat, only to run away to shelter, losing half of his people in the doing, and has no idea why.
His name is Kirin. My name is Kirinbar, grandchild of Kirin. I have not selected my sex yet. This curious ability of my people to select our sex at maturity may be nature’s way of allowing our tiny population to respond more easily to the reproductive needs of our people. Once I select my sex, I will either be Kirinbat – granddaughter of Kirin – or Kirinban – grandson of Kirin. I suspect some kind of mating urges will come upon me at some point and I’ll make my decision. Psst. Whatever. I’m having too much fun hunting and killing stuff.
Grandfather tells me since that first generation was plagued by strife and ongoing anxiety (think PTSD), they took pains to remove responsibilities from their children, and the children after that. There is no great pressure to being mating. Our lives are long, and there’s no earth outside to populate. For now, I associate with my friends among the Killoren, and among the satyrs, among the elves, the humans, the giants, the gnomes, and of course, the dwarves. According to the softer races – the elves, particularly – we Killoren are abrasive, and haven’t mastered the subtleties of negotiation or rhetoric. I don’t care. If I like someone, they know it, and if I don’t like someone, they know that as well. I get along with many of the dwarves
Among the rest of the hunters… I’m basically the best. I’m quiet, stealthy, and I use my druidic powers to my advantage. I take care of our community, and I’m not bored. I’ve helped the hunters provide food for the kingdom on several occasions since I was a small child… and I would have started leading my own groups, except that the elders seem to have their underclothes in a collective twist over the whole “Going Off By Myself to Kill The Cave Bear” episode. Hey. The cave bear got killed, no hunters got killed, and I got a sweet pelt blanket thing (though I was warned to stop wearing the bear’s skull as a helmet. Whatever.)
We pass by the Sky Stone often as we leave the main community to go to the outer tunnels, and while many of the other races have begun to ignore it, we few Killoren hunters always stop and regard it, however briefly, before we leave. I’m not sure how I feel about the Sky Stone. I can’t help but feel that the stone is a harbinger of both doom and prophecy. I regard it with a mix of reverence and wariness, which I feel is a prudent response. As my group of hunters recedes into the utter darkness of the lower tunnels to hunt, I have made a tradition of turning back to get a last glimpse of the luster of the stone, before refocusing my attention to my task.
I feel it’s necessary to mention this, though I’m not sure if this is something the elders care about. I had a dream the stone, which, as all know, glows a grayish blue, turned a brilliant red. It flared like a fire suddenly stoked by kindling, and then went entirely dark. In my dream, it was like every light in the world was suddenly subsumed by darkness, all at once. A thrumming hum, like grinding stones, or the low rumble of an earth horse (thinking some kind of underground animal the people of the kingdom ride), erupts all around me, shaking me to my core. I’m not sure if I should seek guidance on this matter. In a community as small as ours, secrets don’t exist, and I’m not sure if this is something I want everyone to know about. I also don’t want to be regarded as soon kind of prophet or vessel of divine will or some nuttiness like that.
Anyway, I’ve been summoned to the king’s chambers. Other than another scouting mission, I’m not sure why the higher-ups would need me. I’ll come back and finish off my record once I’m back.
Major disadvantage: Naïve. Kirinbar doesn’t pick up on when someone is lying, as she doesn’t quite understand the need to lie. Kirinbar gets it in theory, but thinks it’s a silly humanish trait from a bygone era. -1 on sense motive checks
Minor advantage: Iron stomach. Kirinbar can eat just about anything without getting sick. Resistance to poisonous foods of +50% to fort save again that.
Minor disadvantage: “If I can’t kill it… then what do I do with it?” Kirinbar generally assumes the mantle of the Hunter, which while bestowing special skills and buffs, focuses her scope towards one end, hunting and killing things.
Minor disadvantage: Cold Iron. Killoren, as fae creatures, can’t abide the touch of metal.