Dase kal Daven
Half-Elven Druid of the Uun Clan, Archdruid of Shimmerglade
Dase kal Daven was born in the peaceful community of Testa, shared by both elves and humans and nestled in the Vestic Forest between the region of Burmood and the vast area of the Dark. His mother was Tetamber, an elven druid from the elven clan Uun, who had a lengthy, passionate, and primarily epistilary relationship with a human soldier named Daven. Though the soldier was forced to leave with his company not long after the young half-elf was born, he continued to correspond, albeit infrequently, with his elven love. When Dase was only fifteen, still very young, his father stopped writing, and Tetamber went into a deep mourning, assuming that her human love had lost his life somewhere in some foreign skirmish. She threw all her energies into teaching young Dase all she knew about the Druidic arts, and after tutoring him for nearly five years, she quietly died in her sleep one night. With little left to hold him to his homeland, Dase said his few goodbyes and left to find his way in the world.
Dase came upon his first real friend in the form of a jet black raven. Dase was sleeping in the forest, several leagues south of Testa, very near the edge of the Dark Front, when he awoke in the early morning hours to the shrieks of a bird. He looked up on the branch of a nearby, ancient oak, and saw an unusually large raven sitting there. The bird continued to squawk until Dase rose to see what was causing it such alarm—and as he moved, a pair of wolves emerged from the surrounding forest. One lept at the noisy bird, while the other went for Dase. The bird flew off, and Dase grabbed his spear, hastily stabbing at the closer wolf. He put his back to the oak, and defended himself as best he could, though the wolves claws bloodied his arms and one leg, and their jaws seemed to loom ever closer. Finally, though, Dase saw an opening, and stabbed at one of the wolves, hitting him solidly in the shoulder. Frightened, the unharmed wolf broke ranks and ran, while the other fell back, suddenly wary, and hobbled off, bleeding. Dase considered briefly trying to help the animal—after all, it was nothing more than hungry—but then saw his own wounds and thought better of it. He slumped against the tree, trying to draw strength from the land around him, and the bird that had alerted him, had saved him from nearly certain death, perched serenely on the branch above him. The raven has never left him, though Dase does not know why—he understands it in a way, though by no means can it talk to him. They communicate, rather, by emotions, by rudimentary symbolism and messages. Dase has never named the bird, but instead refers to it, when he does at all, by calling it Raven.
Dase wandered for some time, trying to find his way. He learned a few skills, and worked a little here and there, earning a bit of money in order to buy a few meager supplies and to keep his boots well-leathered and his robes untattered. He even saved enough selling reagents (a bit of knowledge that he not only learned from his mother, but also from a point at which he considered studying magic for a time) that he had gathered to purchase a suit of leather armor, so that he could wear it in more dangerous areas, and a silver scimitar, which he had learned to use years earlier, when he had considered enlisting in the elven armies.
Finally, Dase came across a druid that he remembered from his childhood, a friend of his mothers who had left Testa a few years before his mother had died. Also a half-elf, Terra Gryf was a good bit older than Dase, and invited him to stay with him for a time. That period lasted for over a year, and in that time, Dase was introduced to the Druidic Circle of the Four Winds, a loose affiliation of Druids all devoted to the preservation of the natural world and the balance of all things. Unlike most Druidical orders, there is no hierarchy in the Circle of the Four Winds—instead, there is a massive, completely voluntary pilgrimage to a convocation of all the members of the Circle once every third spring. With Terra’s example, Dase became part of the Circle, and attended his first Convocation that same year—a celebration full of music and dancing, of foods and drinks and of communion, in a way, with fellows in the order.
When he returned from the Convocation, Dase returned to the same small clearing in which he first met his friend the raven, where the ancient oak stood sentry, and where a brook ran nearby, it’s water clear and sweet. He built a humble cabin here, with a stone fire-circle out front for cooking and for warmth. He stayed there for some time, guarding his section of the Vestic Forest, content to live his days that way.
It was a rainy night in the autumn when he met Pout for the first time. He came carrying on one shoulder a gnarled barbaric-looking warrior-gnome. He was of vaguely human origin, drenched to the bone, but seemed not to notice the weather in the least, dropping the wounded gnome at Dase’s feet.
“You are a healer?” he grunted.
“I am a druid,” Dase said simply. “But I know something of healing.”
“It will do. His name is Bullfrog Murldiss.”
“What happened to him?” Dase asked, kneeling beside the bleeding warrior.
“If he lives, he will serve you for one passing of the moon.” The tall, mysterious warrior seemed to ignore the question. “Do you need anything?”
Dase was taken aback by the question. “No,” he said. “But I have neither the need nor the desire for service.”
Pout shrugged. “He knows the price. He will serve.” He bowed almost imperceptibly. “Until later, Druid.” With this, and without a look behind him, the tall stranger strode off into the wood.
It took a few weeks, but the gnome called Bullfrog healed, and the two striked up a casual friendship. Bullfrog told of how he was wounded (he was beset by a small party of kobolds, and nearly lost his life before managing to kill the leader and drive the rest off), and regaled Dase for many a night with stories of the world outside the forest, in the dark lands and beyond. Specifically, he told of a secret cabal of assassin elves deep within the Vestic Dark (which Dase knew something of already, having heard rumors from those who had the courage—or the foolishness—to venture too far into the Dark). Soon, though, Bullfrog pressed Dase to let him perform some service for him, to repay him for his healing. Dase refused respectfully, but when he went out to gather food and mistletoe for a couple of days, leaving Bullfrog behind, he returned to find that the gnome had built a stone fireplace against the north wall of his cabin, and had even built a small porch onto the front. He left a ring on the porch, a steel ring set with a flat, dark mirror-stone, and was gone by the time Dase came back.
Pout, however, appeared several more times, each time with some sort of trade to make. Sometimes he would bring those lost in the wood to Dase, other times he would bring wounded animals. Sometimes, he would just come and sit by the fire-ring and talk, if evasively, to the druid about the goings-on in the world as a whole. Dase came to know Pout well, so much that Pout revealed his real name to him one night—Angrus MacDougal. He said he was from the Kiala area, where he had served in the militia for a time before leaving. He did not say why, and Dase had learned not to ask. The warrior’s mission, however, in the forest that both he and Dase call home, remained a mystery to Dase, but the druid came to trust him, and know that the warrior would come to his aid should the need arise, and vice-versa.
The last thing Dase recalls before the Crossing is tending his small garden out behind his house, and feeling a strange sensation, like the sun setting without there being a loss of light. He looked around him, and as he turned, thought he saw himself standing behind him. He was about to call to this other self, standing in a field of bright stars. The stars began to glow brightly as he brought his hand up to reach out, but then they all died, in a brilliant flash. Then, he saw nothing at all, not his double, not the stars, and not even the earth itself. He was alone, and he let himself drift into a nothingness that was deeper than any ocean, and more endless than any of the darkest skies.