Arra Brightheart, Human Ranger
by David Greene
The doors to the tavern opens and a tall man dressed in hard weather
cloak walks through. He is not an overly impressive sort, more like the
boy you knew that always won the foot races, built for endurance and
not for great strength. As he passes you, the smell of rotting leaves
assails your nose, like the smell of a bum that has not slept in a bed
in many nights. Although you can tell there is armor under his cloak,
he makes little noise as he moves gracefully across the floor, cat
like, silent except for the occasional creek of a floorboard.
Approaching the bar he mutters to the Halfling cook in the cook's own
language. The cook quickly sets a meal out for him as a small pouch of
coin lands on the bar. Gathering his food he moves to the back of the
bar away from the youth that are now indulging beyond their limit and
dancing wildly about the main floor of the room.
Setting a table of stew, bread, and mead before himself he pulls back
his hood as he sits. Not an unattractive fellow, were he shaved and
bathed, his dirty blond hair nesting about his shoulders, he has the
look of a man not kept in many days and not having eaten in maybe more.
Just then a dwarf sits down near you and points to the object of your
night's observation. Him, ah I have sit about a camp fire or two with
him, a child of the forest is he the dwarves eyes size up your mead as
he finishes his own. I am Brenton Ironheel; well met. The fellow over
there's name is Arra, not much to look at but one of the finest
trackers I have met.
Realizing what the dwarf needed, you order him a beer and he continues
about his tale. Arra, is one I would have at my back, but if he has
been about the trail to long, I wouldn't be on the down-wind side.
Brenton kind of chuckles through his beard. "We are just back from a
trip to his home town a few days south of Stormreach. We were there
getting some herbs the healer in my party needed.
I would say I learned much of him. Arra was raised by a local farmer,
and healer of livestock. I would say those animals are his best
friends. Taking a deep drink of his beer he continues. His father
sent him here when very young. The locals in his town say his father
had a madness about him, the kind only the truly good or the truly evil
will ever know, for there is but a tight line between the two.
Brenton reaches into his pack and pulls out a pipe and some herb,
grinds it into his pipe, nestles into his chair and looks back at Arra.
The road's been long. Back to his father; Arra always said his father
lost his mind because there are those that heaven shows too little, but
then there are others it shows too much. It would seem, he had seen far
too much by the time he left, but a boy, with strangers.
Standing up the dwarf looks at you. Arra is in pain most of the
time--too many battles, too many cold nights alone. His closest are the
animals in the forest, those are his trusted, he knows their rules. The
ways of men are the rules that change far too often for him. His hard
and abrasive exterior hides the heart of a passionate man, one that
loves and looks for love. Arra's father Arendar was a follower of the
three, and a defender of the eight. Arra knows the eight virtues and
does what he can to bide by them. Be it by his life or by his death
that he can serve the greater good he will; you can count on that.
Gathering his stuff and walking away, the dwarf turns one last time.
He is a good lad and one to call a friend. Turning back to Arra you
see he is now asleep in his chair, hands on the hilt of his blade, and
hood just over his eyes. Although he looks quite foul, a feeling of
goodness almost fills the room from him. Finding now that hours have
past, you finish your mead, and return home, feeling the town a little
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