Enlil "En" Galos
Elven Bon Vivant Horror Stalker
Character Portrait by Kyoung Hwan Kim
Name – breadth, wind, or storm + shining
Born to Theran merchant-class, Vivane-born elven parents, before the fall of Vivane to Thera. Father passed just before he entered training as nethermancer. Mother a jewelry merchant, still alive. Both parents despised Thera, but understood its might and its opportunities, living in the shadow of its Empire. When his father passed, En’s mother, who had always recognized his potential for magic, encouraged him to study in Thera. Of course, given that he was setting out on Mes ti’ Meraerthsa, she expected he’d invest in Illusionism or Elementalism. The Theran Colleges have a way of deciding the “perfect” path for an individual, and Enlil found it was difficult to find a mentor in either of those two Disciplines. The way toward nethermancy was paved, the others, not.
Of Days in Thera
I left the Empire to escape its gilded cage. At a certain point I could no longer work from within like the poet critic Winasa. I needed freedom. In Thera, no man or woman is free.
Of course, the noble houses do enjoy their spectacle – despite its costs. And they were spectacular, I will admit. I think the men and women of the court are just as hungry for escape as I was. Certainly the women never complained when we stole some time to ourselves. I tried to get them to talk about important matters, but for all my efforts, they were easily distractible – afflicted with a sort of unsatisfied wanderlust. Sometimes it overtook them so powerfully they flung their garments to the mason steps.
Certainly the men never minded. I think they were just as bored, and found their own escape.
No I don’t think I’ll ever go back. Not that they’d have me back. The paperwork! The formality! Good gods! Yes, the slavery did not sit well with me either…
On Leaving Thera and Reclaiming Barsaive Heritage
At the time I was training as a nethermancer. My mentor, Master Sielle, and I were traveling to Vivane and eventually further to mine the possibilities of Barsaive for lore. Along the way, I met an elven woman, a swordswoman I thought, who traveled with us from Marac. Tyrnea had been investigating the stories of Jinari-controlled Horrors causing street terror in the Maracan Wars.
She played on her thin wooden flute beautifully each night. It was the first peace I believe I’ve ever felt – hearing that wistful melody against the whipping wind. I instantly fell in love, though I was too thick-skulled to admit it. Her black hair played with the light of the setting sun to bring out violet hues. She’d gently mock my embroidered cloak. In my naiveté, or perhaps my taste ruined by years spent alongside Theran style, I expected a certain flamboyance from a swordswoman elf. But her clothing was understated, with earthen hues. Her body, though, was covered in varieties of tattoos. Some evenings she’d humor me and tell me stories of what they meant.
You can imagine Sielle’s displeasure. Clearly I’d lost control of my emotions, and even more egregiously, I’d fallen behind in my meditation and hadn’t spent nearly enough time researching at the Geographical Society of Vivane. What a star pupil I was turning out to be. He didn’t have time to terrorize me. I was notified by Theran authorities that Master Sielle was found dissected on one of the Geographical Society tables.
Tyrnea, I discovered was here for a purpose – other than to indulge my company. She was a mercenary who actively pursued Horrors. Sure I’d heard of such mad adepts, but I had always imagined them as suicidal fanatics. And now that her mark had acted she’d collected some valuable information on it. She was leaving immediately.
I was doubly crushed, but I was determined not to lose Tyrnea. Truth be told, I began to realize I didn’t have the single-minded focus required of a nethermancer. I was lost. But something pulled me toward Tyrnea. She laughed me off. If I couldn’t focus on nethermancy, how did I expect to sacrifice my entire life to the pursuit of Horrors. She reminded me of how long elven lives are – how much she’d given up but also how much she’d been able to live already. I had so much to live for in my long life. I’d hear none of it. I’d help her fight Horrors.
And so our conversations went. At first she allowed me to join her just until Kratas, then to the first kaer, then in the Glenwood Deep, and how could she refuse me the Serpent River – with its romanticized ferries. It was on these travels I learned her growing legend, Heron, the elven horror stalker. She maintained occasional contact with the Overland Trading Company, and consequently was occasionally invited to wealthy merchant homes afflicted with taint or a beleaguered court in which the advising wizard suspect a lurking horror’s influence. I was always her attendant. My skill in embroidery had finally paid off she said, but even she had to admit she was growing more and more fond of having me around. I made her forget. We would dance, and she would remember what it is to live as air, elven born, and a part of the world. She told me, “You must never take my Discipline. You love life too much.”
I look back on those evenings and wonder what would have happened if I had encouraged her to …perhaps, want something. Who could she have been? How would she have lived? How might have I grown to know her?
On Becoming a Horror Stalker
She lit me on fire, and I think despite the differences in our age, our background, and everything else, she also began to feel it just as strongly. No longer affection, but something more. But she was scared of something, and would always pull away.
I never knew someone with so much passion and I told her so. She dismissed it, almost scorning me, telling me I knew little of the Horror Stalker path. Telling me I had no business tagging along, but what could she do with such a good-looking pet. And besides, who would be her eyes. There had been several times I had caught sight of important enemies or noticed ambushes. She’d been forced to teach me the rudiments of Astral Sight and other tricks – and found me a ready learner since I had already begun my studies with Sielle. In Marrek, I failed her. We were returning from a series of expeditions northeast of Marrek in the Caucavic Mountains. Somewhere in those months we must have gained the attention of the Horror that finally killed her.
You may have heard of the Sunflower Massacre. Tyrnea (I’d never gotten used to calling her Heron) sent me away suddenly one evening. She said she needed certain ingredients for our next mark and it wouldn’t be long. I should have known she was lying, but foolishly, I did as she asked. Perhaps I was worried I’d ruined everything. You see, when we got to the inn earlier that night I was overcome with the picture of it all – the sun setting over the valley, the namesake sunflowers of our inn. I kissed her. And she let herself go and kissed me.
Regardless, I knew her calling in life was to hunt Horrors. Our kiss didn’t mean we could forget that.
When I returned I discovered her broken body along with everyone in the inn dead. A horrific mess. Everything remained in her room. It was clearly not a thief, nor was there evidence of physical wounds. It was as if some great entity took her and snapped her like a puppet. She was gone.
Adrift in Currents:
I found her journal. She was always scribing notes in it. In it, I found a series of names – some of them Horror Stalkers we’d visited around Barsaive. It was always hard to actually find them, even if one was lucky enough to catch them not on the hunt. But there were those who made a home of sorts of cities, and frequented certain establishments – sometimes a weaponsmith, sometimes and dealer of charms. I took her items to the nearest one in Throal – except for the journal and the flute. I’m not sure why I kept the flute. I don’t play. But why let it collect dust in some Horror Stalker’s closet.
In exchange for her items I asked the Horror Stalker to train me. You’ll excuse me if he remains unnamed here. Soon after, he suggested I register with the Overland Trading Company. As luck would have it, they recognized my name, and I recalled my parents would occasionally trade with merchants from the OTC. The company’s clerk stationed in Throal bid me attend a traveling circus near Travar. An agent there would see what work was available.
I followed all these currents like a leaf does along the Serpent River. Outside Travar the traveling carnival had quite a healthy patronage. Omasu met me and had me stay a while to contribute to the performances however I could. I did my best, but really I’ve never been a performer. I took tickets and ushered customers to their seats, made small talk, and even assisted several performances by Olwen Gormlaith – handing blades to her, standing still more-or-less as she performed the real act. It was the strangest interview I’ve ever partaken in. Afterwards, Omasu smiled and shook my hand. To look at Olwen is to awaken threads of Shosara, but she surprised me again when I found out that she was a trained swordmaster. As it happens, an old friend was attending, the magical Zylaa Glimmerwind. She remembered me from some work I’d done, or rather Tyrnea had done, for a t’skrang merchant, a very flamboyant host, whose house was overrun with horror construct rodents. Terribly embarrassing for him. She also recognized Olwen. Zylaa’s an absolute delight, embodying both wind and fire. It’s a cold, dead heart indeed that remains unmoved around her. And so, I found myself in welcome company for the first time in a long time.
I can’t say that I mind all this. Tyrnea was right; I do love life too much – or perhaps too much in life I love. I spend time reading her journal, learning about her early hunts. The text is very professionally-minded but sometimes I hear her voice through the written word – a distaste for some smell, an appreciation of some flower. I carry her memory with me – but not as a burden, as a light.
What is life, after all, without some light to make it worth living? What good does it do to hunt and to kill Horrors if we forget those people who’ve touched our pattern and set it afire. Like stars against the vast darkness. We are pulled toward one another, against the vast, alien cold.