A Halfling who plays by her own rules
Early life was a blur for Krikit. She doesn’t remember much from those earliest years, other than a sense of being on the move, constantly shifting places, and always feeling a bit hungry and tired. Then one day, the moving around stopped and she was in the same place each morning when she woke and each night when she slept. She saw bright colors and heard the voices, happy voices, and something she had rarely heard before, laughter and singing. Each day went by and she grew stronger, and soon was one of the laughing voices, running around and playing with other children. She discovered that they were all called Sylina’s Kids and her home was a place for children who didn’t have any place else to go.
Everyone called her Krikit. The house mother said it was probably because she was small and hopped around a lot. Mother said that was the name she had been called when she came to the house as a very small child. Krikit never grew as quickly or as large as the other children in the home, but she was very brave and never met a stranger. Mother said she was concentrated spunk because of her small size. Krikit had visitors every five or six ten-days. A lovely couple that told her of the time when they had brought her to Sylina’s house. As she grew, she came to realize these were her real mother and father. She pieced together that they had been poor and hungry and after Krikit was born, so full of energy and life, they felt they had to take her somewhere she would have a better chance in life. Krikit enjoyed the visits but they started coming farther and farther apart.
Just a few days before her 10th Name Day, she was in the yard playing with her many house brothers and sisters when a group of rough looking people started toward the house. Having just heard one of the stories of Sylina’s fights and knowing she wanted to be as brave, Krikit grabbed a long stick and stood between the party and her house. She told the group of people, “This is Sylina’s house and I am Krikit. Who are you and what do you want from us.”
Many in the group started snickering at her, but a big man with a shield and lines painted on his face, looked at them all in a way that did make Krikit a little afraid. The group quieted and the big man went to one knee and spoke to Krikit. “You are brave for such a small one, little Krikit. What is your full name? I wish to honor your bravery.”
Krikit swallowed hard but kept her stick up and tried to be as brave as she knew Sylina would be. “I’m only Krikit, I don’t have another name.”
The big man smiled and said, “Well Krikit, small and brave, you have the heart of a lion. I am Ulden Bearclaw of the Utgarde Tribe from the mountains to the north. I come to speak to your house mother to warn her of troubles in the area. I come out of respect for your clan mother Sylina of the Dragons. She saved my tribe many generations ago and we pledged to always protect her and her clan.. May we approach your house, Krikit, brave of heart?”
Krikit breathed a sigh of relief and lowered her stick. giving her biggest broadest smile, she said “Why most certainly, come, I will take you to her.” And Krikit turned and started to run. Behind her, she heard Ulden let out a loud booming laugh as he lept up and followed close behind. “Lead on Krikit, brave of heart, lead on.”
Things got hectic after that. Mother started to shoo her away once Ulden started talking but he stopped her. He told her briefly of Krikit’s bravery, at which Mother rolled her eyes. Ulden laughed when mother told him that Krikit was a bit rambunctious. He told her that this would be needed and he proceeded to tell her about a tribe of ogres who were rampaging the countryside. He said they needed to leave soon. Mother had Kriket and the other older children start gathering supplies and their things. They were going to leave the house and go to the house on Dracosee’ere. It was safer there and it wouldn’t take so long to get there if they were able to catch the airship in Neverwinter. it was then Krikit realized they would leave before her name day and she was certain her real parents would be coming. They hadn’t visited in a long time, but they always came on her Name Day. Mother promised she would leave word for them on where to find them, but they could not wait. Ulden told her to be as brave as she had been facing him earlier. Her brothers and sisters needed her to be brave of heart and full of life.
Ulden told Mother he and his party would escort them to the airship and then return to fight the ogres. Perhaps one day, the children could return, but for now, they needed to go. It took almost 10 days of travel. Krikit’s Name Day was the third day after leaving the house. She was sitting on the wagon looking back toward the house, wondering if her parents had arrived there and would follow her. Perhaps they would catch up and see her in Neverwinter. Ulden saw her watching and that night around the fire, he sat beside her. He talked of his 10th Name Day, when he was given the name Bearclaw as he had fought and protected his brother from a bear by cutting off its paw.
He said, “While you are not of my tribe, you are of Sylina’s tribe and as we adopted her, I will adopt you. I give you a new name, Braveheart, for you are brave and strong and one day you will do mighty things.” This made Krikit a bit happier, but she still missed her parents. She promised Ulden she would do her best to live up to her name.
For the rest of the trip, Krikit stayed near Ulden, watching him and learning what she could. She even caught a rabbit on her own after Ulden showed her how to set a snare. They arrived at Neverwinter and it was time for them to get on the airship for Dracosee’ere. Ulden pulled Krikit to the side and gave her a small necklace with a claw and bit of fur tied to a small stone. he told her, “This is my totem, the totem of the bear. Should you ever need help, or you want to learn more of my tribe’s ways, seek us out in the northern mountains. Show this totem and they will bring you to my tents. We will help and train you for you are now of my tribe little Krikit Braveheart. You are Utgarde and will always have family.”
Krikit hugged Ulden and told him she would always remember. then she and Mother, along with all of her brothers and sisters climbed onto the airship and set off for Dracosee’ere
The trip to Dracosee’ere was uneventful, though Mother did threaten to throw all of the children over the side on the second day.
At the new house, Krikit met Hyacinth , a quiet girl that read a lot. Krikit liked her and would stand up for her when some of the other children would pick on her. They became very good friends as Hyacinth would comfort Kriket on her Name Days when her parents would not appear and Krikit would listen as Hyacinth would read long boring passages from her books. When Krikit got tired of listening, she would tickle Hyacinth until she agreed to go outside for a while. Hyacinth never stayed out long, but she loved the time she and Krikit spent together. Krikit also kept running and training in the forests around the house, trying to stay true to the promise she had made to Ulden on her 10th Name day.
On her 16th name day, Krikit received the traditional folder that all of Sylina’s kids received. it was a folder that contained all of the information they had about her and sometimes, it was rumored there was a note left by Sylina centuries ago and meant to be placed in specific folders when the time was right. when Krikit opened hers, she found a letter from her parent’s it gave their names as Beau and Betty Overhill and her full name was Gladia Overhill. She liked Krikit Braveheart better, but was happy to know her true name. There was also a note from her old house Mother which detailed the poor state they were in when they first came to the house and left her. They asked for permission to visit and even when they couldn’t sent what money they could spare to help support the house, though they were repeatedly told there was no need. The note also said that when they had left her original house those six years earlier, word had been left on where they were going, but no-one ever came. Less than a month later, the house and the village around it had been burned to the ground by ogres. Krikit realized her parents never knew she had left and if they came after the fighting, they might think she was dead. She knew she would have to look for them one day! Then she noticed a small folded piece of parchment with a wax seal. The seal had the impression of a dragonhead. It was one of Sylina’s notes!
Krikit broke the seal and saw the tight handwriting that said, simply, “Be a hero – Sylina” She had one of the rare notes telling her to become someone special. She fully unfolded the paper and noticed there was something else written below Sylina’s words. It was in a looping, flowing scrawl that looked more like art than words. it said, “Save the flower, for me – Tim”
This was strange, Tim must be the Dragon Keeper, better known as Balefire, who was lost almost 700 years ago. He had worked with Sylina and many said it was his prognostication that planned where these notes should go. But what did he mean, save the flower, what flower, and then she remembered Hyacinth saying her name was a flower and it clicked. Though Hyacinth never wanted to talk about it, she knew there was some connection to Tim in Hyacinth’s life and that HAD to be what the note meant.
Krikit knew she needed more training to be able to do what Tim had asked, so she packed her things, told Hyacinth goodbye, and set off for the mountains north of Neverwinter. It was a long and arduous trip, but Krikit finally found members of the Utgarde tribe. She showed them the totem and asked for Ulden. They took her to the longhouse where a large man sat on a tall seat, speaking to the other members of the tribe. He looked up and while he was older, Krikit recognized her friend, Ulden. He smiled his big smile and laughed. he said, “Krikit Braveheart, it is good to see you have come home.”
Krikit was welcomed into the tribe and they started training her. She was already fast and sturdy, and they taught her to jump and tumble. They laughed when she wanted to use a sword instead of a good axe, but after sparing with her, it became clear it fit her well. Soon she was one of the best warriors in the tribe. On her 21st Name Day, Krikit went to Ulden and told him she had to return. Soon it would be Hyacinth’s 16th name day and she would be receiving her folder. Krikit was certain that her folder would contain a note from Sylina and that unless she were pushed, Hyacinth would ignore the call to be a hero in favor of her books and studies. it was time to go back and help her become the hero and protect her. Ulden bid her farewell and promised she would always have family in the tribe
She made it back just in time for Hyacinth’s 16th Name Day. Sure enough, there was a note from Sylina, though it was a bit odd. Krikit’s had looked old and worn and she had heard all of them looked that way, but Hyacinth’s looked relatively new. She filed that knowledge away for later and went to work on convincing Hyacinth to go to the Dragon Rider’s Academy and be a hero. It took a lot of talking, a little yelling, and even a few rounds of tickling, but hyacinth finally agreed. The house mother sent in their information and within the week, they received their letters stating they were provisional students of The Dragon Rider’s Academy
Now all Krikit had to do was keep Hyacinth safe….How hard could that be.