The Razor's Edge
One Elfen Mo-Fo (EmoElf)
Xander Mournsong does not look much like other elves you have met. His hunter’s garb is worn and drab green and brown and his unadorned cloak threadbare – if he isn’t out of doors where he tend to don camouflage colors over his worn hide armor. His ashen longbow is the only thing impressive among his visible gear, which also includes a longsword in an unmarked scabbard, a spear typically slung across his back beside his bow, and a dagger sheathed to his left ankle. He carries little of note within his pack, but given his look, you would assume he carries hunter’s gear among other typically practical gear.
When Xander is not hidden in the hood of his cloak, he looks more like a handsome young man than an elf of nearly 100 years old. Fair, light haired and only slightly tanned despite his obvious outdoor tendencies, it is his eyes that reveal he is not an adolescent elven student traveling for the experience. His eyes are a deep gray and in them there is little of the merry, friendly and carefree disposition of most of his kin. Instead, they accentuate the feeling that he is serious, watchful and more than slightly grim.
Quote “If Twilight were about elves instead of wimp vampires, I’d be a star. And maybe it also wouldn’t suck.”
Although treated well, Xander was the lifelong outsider among his people because of his lack of family. At an early age, he opted to join the Vanguard of Ilmoira, skilled hunters and warriors who kept watch on the dale to protect from any enemies that might encroach. The Guard provided Xander not just with skills and experience, but also time alone in the woods surrounding his home settlement, exploring the woods and the natural world. His childhood made him more serious than many of his kinsman, whom he considered ephemeral and aloof. Many of his peers opted for study, merriment and pursuit of the arts when not training or on patrol. He opted for more time alone in the woods. It made him even more separate from his own people.
One day, Xander was patrolling the rim of the dale and spotted a small human settlement taking root in the woods to the northwest. He discovered it was a colony of just 100 pilgrims who had come to live free of the hand of government. They were a deeply kind people and soon Xander befriended a young pilgrim named Beorn. Beorn’s family took to Xander with immediately and they spent long years sharing each other’s culture and history. Xander spent more and more time among the humans and with Beorn, teaching his friend skills of the woods and arms.
However and elf’s life and a human’s are very different. Beorn grew into middle age and became gray haired while Xander was still a spry youngster. Xander deeply mourned the death of Beorn’s parents and lamented when Beorn was no longer eager to spend long days racing through the forest or patrolling the woods around the dale. The few elves with whom Xander spoke over the years did not understand his concern. The elves of Ilmoira tolerated the human village but had no contact with or interest in them.
A year ago, Xander was on patrol on the periphery of the dale and spotted a sizable horde of orcs obviously descended from the Kron Hills looking for plunder. The human settlement was in danger. Never concerned with security, the humans had long felt – despite Xander’s advice – that their faith would protect them. Xander made it ahead of the horde to the village and warned Beorn of the coming threat. Beorn was to organize the village’s defense while Xander went to retrieve the Elven Vanguard to help repel the orcs. The more numerous and more skilled elven warriors working with the humans would be enough force to slay the horde. It was the last time the two friends would ever see each other.
Xander’s plea to his kin was for naught. Having grown increasingly decadent and self-absorbed, the elves felt there was no reason to intervene since the orcs had not located their own village. The humans would be on their own, and Xander was forced to waste several hours unsuccessfully arguing. None offered to help.
By the time Xander returned to the human village, it was too late. Bodies – mostly human were strewn about, impaled – and eaten on. The village was set aflame. Xander found Beorn stricken down, sword still in hand. The sight pushed Xander to fury and to pain the likes of which he had never experienced – emotions he could not have perhaps felt had he not spent so much of his life among humans. His fury was tempered only slightly because nowhere among the bodies were those of Alyssa Cairn, Beorn’s wife or Alec Cairn, Beorn’s nine year-old son. Had they been taken captive or had they escaped ahead of the assault? He could not tell.
Struggling with uncommon emotion, Xander turned his attention to the orc horde. He found it odd that they had moved on so quickly. Intent on revenge, Xander followed the trail from the village. Shortly thereafter, he discovered that the horde was moving in a direction that would take them toward the dale where Ilmoira sat. He pursued them, staying just behind them. Initially he wanted to get a better idea of their number and arms to then go and prepare the Vanguard.
But something went cold in Xander when he was preparing to act. Who, after all, was really responsible for the massacre? Possessed of fury and pain, Xander turned his back to the encroaching orc militia and returned to the human village. He left the elves of Ilmoira to their own fate and close the door to the only world he had ever known.
Back at the scene of the slaughter, Xander tried unsuccessfully to find possible signs of flight left by women and children who might have escaped. Frustrated and bordering on madness, he prepared the remaining bodies as he had learned was called for by their faith. The only sign he saw of what happened in Ilmoira was a cloud of smoke rising over the rim of the once-verdant dale.
Xander left northward that night, in the faint hope of finding his friend’s family. By then, the overwhelming emotion was nearly more than the elf could handle. He found his very sanity being pushed.
In the Kron Hills, Xander became a wildman, hunting and slaying orcs and other foul creatures, delighted with bloodlust. But over several months, he found that it could not ease the fury within him. He had become something very different from the youngster who had played with other elves as a child and roamed the countryside with his human friend.
In the northern Kron Hills, Xander came across a small party of gnomes under attack by kobold marauders. Xander rescued the gnomes and accepted an invitation to travel briefly with the gnomes. Briefly he found some solace with the friendly gnomes and spent long time talking with their leader, Brill Longspear. They committed to meeting again someday, but Xander had to depart.
Finally with his grief under control, Xander set off to continue his travels. He is driven in the faint hope of finding Beorn’s family among human communities in the region. But has other goals as well. He seeks to continue to ease the pain and anger that has transformed him into a grim avenger by facing down evil – or, for that matter, decadent or oppressive “good.” He seeks to find a place and a people in the world among whom he can feel he belongs. And he seeks redemption. Redemption for failing a friend. Only in acquiring his goals could he perhaps one day address all of the guilt he carries – including that of betraying his own people.
In the meantime, Xander lends his efforts to those in need or those with coin to spare.
Xander is an uncommon elf. Whereas others are detached and merry, warm and frolicking, he has more in common with humankind. He is quiet and grim, careful, serious and often cynical. This is both emphasized in his behavior and his appearance and also at odds with his appearance. He looks like a handsome young man. But he is slow to engage with people of all races, although those he befriends find they have a fearless ally. He is not overtly friendly with elves, detesting their decadence and aloofness until they prove themselves loyal; but is almost immediately protective of humans and curious and welcoming of the other high races.
Most notably, Xander continues to struggle with a decidedly un-elven conflict of emotions that continues to threaten his very sanity or at least sink him into darkness. He holds no deity in esteem. He thinks defining “good” and “evil” is entirely situational and that only fools could easily differentiate between the two.
For an elf, Xander is a loose cannon.