Dragonlance: The Heroes of Kyre
Dynamic bard with a melodious voice, favored of Branchala
A refugee during the War of the Lance, Kyra was another dirty human, covered in soot from working camp fires, dirt from the road, and sadness from a mourned life torn from her by war.
Many days of travel found the refugees with strange bedfellows border patrols from the territories they crossed. Were the elves there to protect the haggard human faces from further torment or were they trying to keep order within the huddled masses? Either way, the message was clear – you are guests, and you will not settle here, keep moving.
In those days of aching feet and empty bellies, eleven eyes seemed to blossom from the woods, judging and appraising. Kyra did her best not to meet the cold, dispassionate stares. They think us less. We’re victims, not equals. Damn those knife-ears an their condescending pity. Her pride held like a bulwark against suffering, Kyra marched on, oblivious to one pair of keen eyes, following her day after day.
A week after the eyes had begun following her, Kyra settled in with the other cooks to prepare a stew for the others – roots and stringy hare, the best that could be managed. Kyra absent mindedly put her hand too close to the iron kettle and was burned. Her skin puckered and broke, weeping and bleeding in seconds. Strangely, Kyra didn’t flinch. She stared at the worsening wound, detached from her pain, someone else’s pain, someone else’s hand She then watched as graceful hands, ageless and calm took the other person’s burned hand and held it. Following the porcelain hands, she found a face, too pretty for a man’s face, yet it was. She took in the large eyes and sharp ears as after a few silent moments. “What do you want, knife ear?” Her lips spit disgust, yet she didn’t pull her hand away.
“You’re hurt. I can help.” He answered without taking his eyes off her hand. He held her firmly then retrieved a salve from his waist. Tenderly, he applied the salve in slow motions, the initial sting replaced by a cool relief. He didn’t speak again and withdrew from the fires seemingly oblivious to Kyra’s glare of indignation, burning hate.
Days more passed and Kyra’s band of travellers had reached yet another border, invisible to all but those who mattered, the camp settled on the edge of this border between two territories in a grassy area between two wood. In the days between Kyra hadn’t seen the elf who bandaged her hand, but imagined his eyes on her was it imagination? But on a knoll near the refugee encampment, two different factions of elves were meeting, perhaps discussing the human-trash? Commiserating on their lot, escorting the rabble across their lands? Or maybe their concerns were that of two neighbours, chatting over the fence between their properties? The elf who bandaged her hand was among them, speaking with the other elves. Seeing him in the daylight was a shock. He seemed brighter, softer, and stronger than he had in the darkness around the fire. Kyra watched for a moment then returned to assisting others in setting camp for the night.
Later in the night, Kyra crept away from camp. Others had whispered that the elves camped not far from them, obscured by trees and darkness. Kyra stumbled about in the dark, not sure of what her motivations were. What am I doing? Why am I looking for him? Her thoughts seemed to summon him.
“Why are you here?” the voice from the darkness was the same that had bandaged her so tenderly.
“I won’t be beholden to you, knife-ear. I won’t owe you.” Kyra told the darkness defiantly.
“There is no repayment necessary for my deed. And even if there were, you have nothing I want.” His words were matter-of-fact but not cold.
“Nothing?” She began to undo her skirts. “Damn you, I know what you want.” In the time before the sun rose, large thirsty eyes drank their fill, ageless hands explored tender flesh, a debt was repaid.
Kyra woke to find a brass pin stuck to her tattered cloak. It was rough, crude and dirty. A tree with wide roots and no fruit. That morning and many since she came close to throwing it away, yet she never did.
Kyras often asked about his father growing up, but his mother always said “You don’t have a father,” and simply refused to say more. When he became a man grown at 15 he demanded more from his mother and confronted her in the apartments of their shared home.
“Mama, I must know. Who was my father?” The sad determination in his eyes drove Kyra beyond her veil of shame.
“I know not his name. He was an elf, as you have seen when you see your reflection. He was a soldier. He may have been my guardian or my temporary warden, I don’t know which anymore. He lay with me once, but he didn’t love me.” She gave Kyras the pin, tarnished brown except for the roots, which still looked like shiny brass Had mother been rubbing the pin? Is that why the roots still appeared untouched by time?
Days later, Kyras left home, seeking work with local militia. His father was soldier? Then he would be too. Months upon months of working the sword and short bow brought him some skill, but few friends. The only time others in his group paid him any mind was at night, when he’d tell stories and sing. His voice carried tales of war, the woes of refugees, and the sorrow of being a bastard – many of his brothers in arms could sympathize as they too had come from squalor seeded by war.
In the years that passed between then and now, Kyras began to lean in to his strengths. The sword, the bow, and his harmonious voice. Now, still seeking to earn respect of his peers, money for his ageing human mother, and closure with who he is a world that will always think him inferior, he finds himself in the middle of another tale altogether. He doesn’t care to cast himself as hero, villain,or victim, as long as he gets to tell the story.