More Than An Archer
Disclaimer: The Lord of the Rings and all related properties are copyrights of J.R.R. Tolkien, et al. This story is written for entertainment purposes only. No infringement is intended.
Warnings: Rated PG for much angsting.
This is a giftfic with a pretty green ribbon for both TreeHugger and JastaElf, but everyone is welcome to enjoy! Be aware that I have taken some liberties in this piece, but I hope Tree and Jasta like the results…
Many, many years ago…
There were times when Legolas truly wished he could melt into an inconspicuous puddle on the floor. If he could but accomplish that single miracle, he would save himself much grief and indignity, not to mention the dreadful glares of his elders. Unfortunately, the Elfling often found himself trapped within his own slight frame, forced to cope with whatever new foible his overactive mind had chanced upon.
Foibles such as sprinting through the palace halls at top velocity. True, Tavor had been the one to trip Legolas in the kitchen, causing the princeling to stumble rather ungracefully into a rack of drying deer meat. True also, Brethil had been the one to then embark upon a giggly monologue concerning the glowering Legolas' royal poise, and how it would doubtless improve with time, and how he would certainly attain his father's grace of movement when he was older, and on and on until he was told to shut up! These things had not been of Legolas' doing, not at all…but he had been the one to challenge the other two to a complicated race through the palace, his wounded pride demanding that he show his friends exactly how nimble he could be.
Legolas heard Tavor and Brethil behind him, choking on hiccupped gasps for air; their mad dash through the corridors had stolen their breath, but they were obviously trying not to draw attention to themselves by openly wheezing. The young prince would have glared at them for the lack of support, but he was too busy staring up in abject horror at the unsmiling Elf he had slammed into.
Master Archer Tanglinna looked most irritated. On any other Elf, the expression would have been mildly reproachful, and would likely have elicited a swift apology from the three Elflings. On the Master Archer, however, irritation looked akin to the glare of a wheeling hawk as it considered which of its victims it was going to rend to pieces first. He did not speak for several long moments, during which Legolas' lips remained ajar in dismay, quivering with silent apologies that did not quite erupt into actual speech.
Finally, Tanglinna broke the taut silence. "Nin caun…you are running through the palace."
Legolas nearly choked at the elder Elf's frigid tone. "Y-yes, Master Tanglinna," he managed.
The Master Archer's silveron eyes narrowed fractionally. "Why?"
That simple, monosyllabic query annihilated any excuses the princeling might have concocted, much as a flaming arrow would instantaneously raze a spider's delicate web. His silent and traitorous friends forgotten, Legolas stuttered out, "I-I do not know, Master Tanglinna."
He knew the response was a mistake the moment it left his lips. Tanglinna's scowl deepened. "Surely you do not imply that you run without cause, nin caun. There is a cause for everything, and to claim otherwise is to attempt deception of one's self…or others."
The last phrase was delivered with a particularly sharp inflection, and Legolas' mouth fell open again at the prospect of being caught deceiving Tanglinna, whether intentionally or no. His tongue suddenly loosened. "No, Master Tanglinna, I do not wish that! I…I was racing Tavor and Brethil."
The princeling was mildly gratified when the Master Archer's glare swung to regard the other two Elflings, and Brethil's muffled gasp almost brought a grin to Legolas' face. But his satisfaction was short-lived, for Tanglinna swiftly brought his gaze back to regard his first objective. "Your Adar has told you quite plainly that he does not approve of your running throughout the palace halls, has he not?" Tanglinna asked sternly.
"Yes, Master Tanglinna, he has," Legolas replied, trying to keep the misery from seeping into his voice. He just knew that the Master Archer was going to tell Ada about this, and then would come the real discipline. Even that, however, was not nearly so disheartening as was the look of disapproval the princeling anticipated receiving from his adored father.
Tanglinna's ash-hued eyes remained inscrutable. "And you are well aware of his reason for establishing that rule, are you not?"
Legolas let his chin dip forward, unwilling to look up at his accoster any longer. A curtain of golden strands fell between his face and Tanglinna's stare—testimony to his flight through the halls, for the strands were indeed his own fine locks, worked loose from their strict braid by the strenuous activity. "Yes, Master Tanglinna," he said softly. "Ada does not want me to bump into someone in the halls."
"Precisely." The Master Archer gracefully folded his long frame for a moment as he stooped to retrieve a doeskin satchel from where it had fallen to the floor—jarred from his fingers by the force of his collision with the sprinting Legolas, as the prince belatedly realized—then straightened up once more and fixed all three Elflings with a stern gaze. "You are all fortunate that this sack does not contain any fragile objects that might have been broken as a result of your carelessness."
Brethil finally broke his stunned silence. "What is in the bag, Master Tanglinna?"
Legolas almost groaned. Shut up, Brethil, he thought in dismay. Now was not the time to be asking questions!
Tanglinna pinioned Brethil with a sharp glance. "That is not for you to know. It is sufficient to say that if anything inside has, in fact, taken damage, you will not like what I will do to you."
Brethil responded with an audible gulping sound, as though the young Elf was forcibly swallowing any replies that sprang to mind. Legolas lifted his head and looked up at Tanglinna once more. "We are very sorry, Master Tanglinna. Truly, we are."
"We won't do it again," Tavor added quickly.
A characteristically dubious harrumph rumbled deep in the Master Archer's chest. "I sincerely doubt that, Tavor, but your prince's apology is noted." The silvery glare fell on Legolas again. "That is why, nin caun, you shall have the honor of leading your accomplices to the stables, where you will all assist Anaglir and his fellows in their task of cleaning out the horses' stalls and paddock."
Legolas choked on a groan; cleaning the stables was a prolonged, dirty, smelly chore, one that would occupy the entire day. He mustered up a steady—albeit resigned—voice, and replied, "Yes, Master Tanglinna."
"Be assured, younglings, I will ask Anaglir about your diligence today," Tanglinna warned them. "If he gives a favorable account, Legolas, I may consider not mentioning this to your Adar."
The princeling immediately brightened. "Yes, Master Tanglinna!" he answered, much more enthusiastically than before. "I will work very hard, I promise!"
The Master Archer gave a curt nod. "See that you all do. I shall expect you tomorrow at archery practice." With those words, he strode past them all and continued down the corridor, doeskin bag in hand, and disappeared 'round a corner.
Legolas let out a breath and went to join his two friends. Having somewhat recovered from the bout with Tanglinna, Brethil and Tavor were beginning to look supremely unhappy with their punishment. "Nicely handled, Legolas," Tavor muttered, wary of Tanglinna's sharp ears.
"Yes, this wasn't even our idea, but now we're in trouble for it," Brethil added glumly. "All Tavor did was trip you, and all I did was tell you that you'd get less clumsy when you got older, but you're the one who dared us to race you. Tavor, I don't know why we listen to him. He's always getting us into trouble with his ideas, like the time when he suggested we all sneak into your sister's room and put a bundle of weeds in her bed so she'd think there was a spider under the blankets, or the time when—"
"Best be off, younglings!" came Tanglinna's voice, echoing down the hallway with darksome cheer.
Brethil's eyes widened, and his lips clamped shut. The three Elflings edged down the corridor, in the opposite direction from the hall into which the Master Archer had veered. "Come on," Legolas whispered, glancing cagily down the hall, "let's go before Old Sourpuss finds more chores for us to do."
Brethil stared at Legolas in shock, amazed at the prince's impudent moniker for the stern Master Archer. Tavor clapped a hand over his mouth to stifle his giggles. "I wonder what was in that bag," he whispered back. "He seemed awfully fond of it, whatever it was."
"We'll probably never know," Legolas sighed. "Well, we'd better get to the stables. I want to make sure Anaglir gives Tanglinna a good report."
Many, many years later…
Legolas was still snickering as he closed the door to his room. The joke Egla Ash—or rather, Elu Heneb, as he was rightly called—had just related echoed in the prince's ears, prompting renewed chuckles. A dwarf and a tree stump walking into a tavern…how utterly absurd! The blue-eyed Orc had crafted the comical tale himself after much consideration, and had but newly presented it to Legolas, Tavor, and a smattering of other warriors for their appreciation. The joke had been met with peals of laughter, much to Elu Heneb's delight. Legolas smiled to think of his friend's pleased grin. Ah, my friend, 'tis good to see you smile. Elu was, at times, far too serious for his own good.
The princestretched his long arms above his head, groaning as the muscles in his shoulders twinged refreshingly. He had spent the entire day at the archery range, helping some of the younger warriors to fine-tune their bowmanship; they were slated to join the Guardians at the borders before long, and were in the final phase of their training. Normally, the task of overseeing the young warriors' last formal session would have fallen to the Master Archer of the realm.
But our Master Archer is dead, Legolas thought, his eyes stinging with sudden remembrance. Tall and lean and stern, with eyes and hair of purest silver, Master Archer Tanglinna had discipled hundreds upon hundreds of younglings in his time—a time which stretched back to the days of Oropher's reign, when Thranduil himself had been but a youngling under his tutelage. Many a hale warrior of the Woodland Realm owed his skill—and therefore his life, in many instances—to Tanglinna's patient instruction.
Legolas remembered his own experiences with the elder Elf: the minutes spent watching the Master Archer's slender fingers as he demonstrated the proper way to go about the various tasks of bowmanship, followed by the many days of trying to perfect that skill, all the while receiving brisk correction when he erred, and reserved grunts of acknowledgement when he achieved success. Yet for all of his curt manner and unyielding strictness, Tanglinna had been the best of teachers, and none who had benefited from his guidance would ever have dared begrudge him his severity.
With the shocking finality that accompanied all such occurrences, however, the Master Archer had been slain at Beleg Doron while fending a massive assault by a raiding band of Orcs. Legolas stood still for several minutes, his eyes slipping shut with sorrowed memory. He had been the first to come upon the horrific scene that night. The great oak tree had shuddered and wept over the three Elven warriors lying dead beneath its boughs. Legolas well remembered their pale faces, bathed in moonlight so intense it stabbed his eyes, the fair skin awash with the incarnadine evidence of mortal injury. Meren, the youngest of them, crumpled with long limbs askew, his oft-smiling lips parted in a ghastly expression of pain and dismay. Slightly to his left, punched through with a hideous assortment of black-feathered shafts, Tanglinna had lain frighteningly still and limp, his grand longbow wrecked beneath foul Orc feet, silver tresses pooled around his frozen visage.
And Brethil… Legolas could not entirely quell the sob that crept into his throat at the thought of his dear friend. Chatty, rambling Brethil, whose long-winded monologues had at once entertained and annoyed his companions. Lying slumped against the shivering oak tree, still clutching his knife in a white-knuckled grip, his last breaths delivering mouthfuls of his lifeblood around words of farewell… Legolas felt a great heaving pain in his gut, and he stumbled to his bed, falling heavily to sit on its edge, breathing hard to forestall the grief-induced nausea. He had not quite processed the reality of his friend's death, not really. Neither had Tavor, the third component of their triune friendship—which had been so heavily entrenched in mischief during their youngling days, in fact, that they had earned themselves the moniker Tricksy Trio. At odd times, either one of the surviving remnants of that small union would bow his head and succumb to a few moments of grief on behalf of their slain friend.
I don't suppose it'll ever seem real, Legolas mused sadly. Soon after the remembrance rites, he had asked his father whether the pain would ease with time, for Thranduil had known much loss in his long life. The Elvenking had given a soft, sad sigh, and in his green eyes lurked a deep sorrow; he had known Tanglinna since his own long-past youth, and the Master Archer's death had struck him to the heart. "The pain will never wholly depart, nin iôn," he had replied, "but in time, it will quiet. Grieve for them, but do not allow your sorrow to sour unto bitterness. Rather, let it run its course, and then lay it to rest in the still places of your mind, where it may whisper words of wisdom, but will not plague you so."
Legolas rubbed at his eyes with knotted hands, trying to avert the onset of tears. Already there was a mist across his vision, and his knuckles came away from their task suspiciously moist. The prince sighed, suddenly weary. Perhaps grief is a more taxing business than warfare, he thought. He lifted his deft fingers to the warrior braid tucked behind his right ear, intending to untwine the golden strands in preparation for his rest.
Even as he did so, however, Legolas noticed the object sitting neatly in the center of his bed. He had not seen it before now, due to his distraction. He frowned slightly, abandoning his braid for the moment, and reached out to pull the object into his lap for closer inspection. It was a bag, a satchel of some sort, made of well-worn deer hide. Legolas' frown deepened, for the bag seemed distantly familiar to him, but he could not remember where he might have seen it. A small note lay atop it; the scrap of parchment was marked quite clearly with Thranduil's bold, sweeping lettering. It read: My little Greenleaf, Tanglinna once told me that if he passed into Mandos' halls without forewarning, he wished you to have this. Ada
The note was not especially spectacular; it was straightforward and succinct, but undeniably affectionate—the exact representation of his father. Legolas caught the distinct scent of brown leaves drying in the sun, and he smiled faintly; that warm, earthen fragrance had comforted him many a time as a child. He laid the note aside then, and turned his attention to the bag resting on his legs.
It, too, was plain to the eyes, with no adornments or identifying markings. A familiar smell rose from its soft, worn surface, and Legolas frowned again as he tried to place it. Almost…almost like the feathered breast of one of my father's hunting hawks, he decided. He clearly remembered a time in his youth when he had been permitted to stroke one particular hawk's dappled feathers as it perched on his father's arm. The prince had often admired the majestic birds when he was young, and he still retained a great love for their grace and beauty.
It suddenly struck Legolas that the scent of a hawk was hauntingly appropriate for the slain Master Archer, and he wondered that he had never consciously noticed it before, during his innumerable encounters with the yet-living Tanglinna. I was always too busy trying not to get myself into trouble, Legolas thought wryly. How did he manage to restrain himself from feeding me to a convenient spider?
The satchel lay in his lap, silently drawing him from his musings and plucking at his curiosity. Tanglinna had wanted him to have something if he died? Incredulity and interest served to disperse the twinges of painful memory, and Legolas carefully laid the bag on the bed beside him, then opened it and began to hesitantly, almost reverently, draw the contents out.
A wide, flat plank of oak, smooth and stained a deep reddish-brown hue. Delicate runes scrolled along the edges of one side. A lovely piece of craftsmanship, but Legolas had no idea what it was supposed to be. He placed it carefully on the bed, then turned back to the satchel.
Five moderately sized containers of ink: red, yellow, green, blue, and black. Each was sealed tightly and labeled with small, neat letters. Tanglinna's writing? Legolas wondered as he placed them on the coverlet alongside the inexplicable oak plank.
A long, slender stylus with a sharp end.
A sheaf of blank parchments contained within a clever sheathe made of treated birch bark.
And finally, another like birch-sheathe, one that contained parchments with markings on them. Legolas could see the shadowy forms of ink-sketches, but he could not quite make out what they were without removing them from the sheathe. He hesitated for a moment. Tanglinna left this to me, so I suppose he wanted me to see what was inside, he concluded.
With that thought, the prince shifted about, swinging his long legs up to fold them on the bed, so that his back was to the satchel and the birch-sheathe rested in his lap. Then, with great care, he released the small fastenings on the sheathe and opened it.
A gasp of pure wonder fled his lips, for there, on the topmost parchment, was the most exquisite ink rendering of an eagle in flight that he had ever seen. Its pinions were splayed wide, as though caught by a draft of wind, and its beak gaped in a triumphant bellow. The sketch was primarily wrought in the black ink, but the eyes were highlighted in green, and the feathers were edged in dark yellow. And in the lower right-hand corner, printed in the same small letters as were present on the ink jars, was the name Tanglinna.
Legolas stared down at the sketch, his own mouth agape. "Tanglinna made this?" he asked aloud. The concept clashed violently with the impression he had always had; the stern, demanding, oft-humorless Master Archer, whose aim was deadly and whose words were sharper than the arrows he bore. But, evidently, that same Master Archer had produced the delicate and lovely illustration lying in Legolas' lap.
Still in shock, not quite able to rectify the incongruous notions, the prince tenderly drew the topmost sketch aside to reveal the one beneath it. The second was no less breathtaking than the first. It was a depiction of a lissom falcon just taking flight, its graceful head held high, tapered wings outstretched as it fled the earth beneath its feet. Its feathers were only lightly shaded with the black ink, but its eyes had been rendered in blue. Legolas gazed at the stunning image for several long moments, his lips tugging upwards in a smile of pleased wonder; he was beginning to accept this newly-discovered, utterly foreign facet of the Master Archer he had known for so long. Tanglinna, you old fox, why didn't you ever let anyone know? he thought, with a hint of fondness lacing his melancholy. Eagerly—but with great care—he set the first image on the bed beside him, and placed the second atop it, so that the third sketch came into view.
Three squirrels with black eyes and tousled tails, one of whom was perched atop a collection of oak leaves and twigs, stared up from the parchment. Legolas grinned widely at the expressions on the little animals' faces; though they resembled each other in color and build, each was gifted with a different "mood." The fourth illustration was a gray-backed deer, a nimble creature, with fleet foot and soft pelt. Its huge eyes almost seemed to glitter in the lamplight, so acutely was it rendered. The fifth depicted a jet-black panther slinking through the trees, its bright eyes gleaming as it scoured the forest for evidence of prey.
Legolas continued to make his way down through the stack of sketches. There were birds, beasts, insects, and trees of every kind imaginable, each intricately detailed and only lightly laced with color, if at all. There was even a depiction of the great enchanted doors at the forefront of Thranduil's palace. The prince felt his heart swelling more with each new illustration he studied. Never had he imagined that anything so utterly exquisite could spring from Old Sourpuss' fingertips. The epithet of times past elicited a soft laugh from the young Elf.
Of a sudden, his eyes widened, and he drew in a sharp breath. "Old Sourpuss," he whispered. He remembered the first time he had used that name. He had been very young then, as he recalled, and he had smacked straight into Tanglinna after inappropriately sprinting through his father's halls. And I made him drop a bag…this bag, Legolas remembered with some shock, glancing back at the satchel lying emptied on the bed behind him. He was on his way to sketch something, or maybe had just finished one. The prince gazed at the pile of illustrations beside him, then down at the ones yet in his lap. I wonder which one he did that day…
At length, he reached the last parchment. It was similar to several other ones in the stack: a small bird with wings tinged yellow, perched among a collection of oak leaves and twigs. Its head was tilted to the side curiously, and the expression on its face was almost comical in its sweetness. Almost too innocent, Legolas thought dryly. He caught sight then of a small inscription inked near the top of the page, in the right-hand corner. It read, The Greenwood's most inquisitive little golden bird.
Legolas' brows knitted. "Little golden bird?" he asked aloud. It was an odd choice of phrasing. That was the nickname Thranduil had used for his youngest son since the day of his birth; too, none of the other illustrations had featured titles at all. Why did he name this one "little golden bird"?
Then, abruptly, realization struck. "It's me," Legolas breathed, casting an astonished gaze down at the sketch. "This is me…" He swiftly gathered up the other illustrations and began to look through them once more, plucking out the ones with similar yellow-tinged birds. There were four in the stack, and each time the golden bird appeared, it was nestled amongst oak leaves—the same leaves that comprised the royal sigil of Mirkwood.
The prince's eyes burned with tears. He hastily brushed them away lest any should fall to the parchments and blur the ink. Tanglinna probably had them treated so they would endure the years, but still… Oh, Tanglinna, Legolas thought, awed and deeply honored, trying to choke back additional tears. It was overwhelming, to find that the Master Archer had chosen to render his impression of the Greenwood's youngest princeling in such a breathtakingly beautiful manner.
Legolas took several moments to collect himself. He looked back to the stack in his lap. If the golden birds are me, then perhaps the rest of them are also representations of people, he reasoned. He began to sift through the illustrations, contemplating each one carefully.
The first sketch he had seen—the golden eagle with green eyes—had to be his father, King Thranduil. Foremost in the birch-sheathe, majestic and imposing, the illustration suited none better. Legolas pulled it out and regarded it lovingly. I wonder if you knew how Tanglinna saw you, Ada he thought. A bellowing eagle, indeed! He gave a slight chuckle at the notion.
The picture filed just after the eagle was the next to capture the prince's attention. The graceful falcon of blue eyes and lithe wings, so fluid in form that it seemed ready to slip from the parchment and take flight. Naneth, Legolas recognized almost immediately, his heart clawing at his ribs as he took in the image. His mother, Lúthiel, the Lady of Greenwood, who had been slain ages past. He sat quietly for several long moments, studying the lovely depiction of the Queen; he had been very young when she had died, and his memories were vague. Tanglinna's artistry, however, preserved much of Lúthiel's beauty and poise. Legolas had never been more grateful in all his life. Oh, Tanglinna, if only you yet lived, and I could thank you for this gift!
He continued to sort through the parchments, guessing at the Master Archer's perceptions of different people. The sable panther was almost certainly Saeros the Tracker, an Elf so ancient that few could rightly remember his ancestry without consulting equally ancient texts. Legolas rarely saw the Tracker; the most recent occasion, in fact, had been at the remembrance rite for Tanglinna. Saeros and his lovely mate, Tuilinal, had faded out of the shadows to stand near their king as he intoned the long-established words of memorial. The two had appeared but manifestations of the night itself, their raven locks glinting blue in the starlight, lean faces drawn with quiet sadness, dark eyes bottomless wells of memory. Legolas sighed, both at the memory and at the depiction he now held. The great ebon-hued cat, sleek and dangerous and darkly beautiful, was indeed an exact likeness of Saeros.
Others, however, were less clear. Was the trumpeting male swan intended to represent Lord Tinuvîl, Queen Lúthiel's proudly vociferous brother? Could the red-tinged fox be Meneliell, the brave warrior maiden wed to Legolas' friend Lindir? And was the stately night-hued hawk Lord Elrond of Imladris, or perhaps one of the solemn Elves from Thranduil's court? So many to choose from, Legolas thought, shaking his head. He rather suspected that the nimble-fingered raccoon corresponded to dark-eyed Ascarion, the finest fletcher in all of Mirkwood, whose deft hands wrought arrows of unrivaled excellence for the royal family. Too, he could easily connect the cheerful yellow-throated warbler with Master Huntsman Curulin, who was apt to break into the silliest songs at times.
The sketch of the three squirrels came into view once again, and Legolas gazed long on it, slowly piecing together the clues therein as to who they represented. One was seated amid an assortment of oak leaves, just as the golden birds had been—perhaps it, too, is me, the prince thought. The other two occupied the space to the Legolas-squirrel's right; one was sitting with its mouth wide open, tail curled into a nervous S-curve, and the other's furred chest was thrust outwards as though bursting with pride. Brethil and Tavor, Legolas realized, beginning to chuckle gleefully. Tanglinna drew the Tricksy Trio quite cleverly! In fact, the more he thought about it, the more he was delighted by the depiction. How like these three twitchy little squirrels we must have seemed!
Legolas noticed then that his entire bedspread was completely covered by the sketches; in the course of his deliberation, he had spread them out so that each one was at least partially visible. His mirth trickled away, leaving only quiet, solemn contemplation in its place. A familiar image of Tanglinna sprang to mind—familiar, because it was the way the prince had most often envisioned the Master Archer. He was standing, silent and alone, in the clear grassy area before Thranduil's gates. The sky above was a black expanse filled with cold, glittering stars, and the scene was washed white and indigo with the Moon's radiance. Legolas let his eyes fall shut in order to recall the memory more vividly. It was the evening of the first anniversary of Lúthiel's death, and Tanglinna was keeping dark vigil before the gates in voiceless commemoration. The prince's heart throbbed painfully as he remembered how the Master Archer had seemed an immovable seneschal that night; silver tresses caught in a light breeze, feet planted in the damp grass, strong arms folded, longbow cradled against his chest. Legolas had not been able to see Tanglinna's face, but he always shivered to think what expression the elder Elf might have worn that night as he waited for his slain Queen's return.
You were so much more than an archer, Legolas thought, opening wet eyes to gaze once more at the sketches strewn across his bed. You were a guardian. The prince flicked a glance up at the ceiling, as though expecting to see the Master Archer's spirit floating above him, keeping watch even after his death.
I miss you. The words came unbidden to his mind, and Legolas hoped that by some miracle, Tanglinna could hear him. Thank you for sharing this with me. And with a quirky grin, he added, Old Sourpuss.
He could almost feel Tanglinna's answering glare.
Props and acknowledgements:
Obviously, most of the material in More Than An Archer does not belong to me.
Madame TreeHugger owns all rights to: Master Archer Tanglinna, the Tricksy Trio—including Brethil and Tavor, "Old Sourpuss," Egla Ash/Elu Heneb, Mirkwood's archery range ("Faster, Brethil!" ), Beleg Doron, Meneliell, and Lindir.
Madame JastaElf owns all rights to: Thranduil's stables (she mentioned his taste in horses in "Dark Leaf"), "little golden bird," the oak-leaf sigil of Mirkwood, Queen Lúthiel, Saeros the Tracker, Tuilinal, Lord Tinuvîl, and Ascarion the fletcher.
Also, I included Curulin the Master Huntsman. He is the only character in this piece that does not technically belong to either Tree or Jasta, but I added him in because he plays a part in the upcoming story being co-authored by Tree and I, and I consider him to be somewhat "co-owned." Forgive my mild audacity at including him in the roster!
Finally, a huge thank-you goes out to TreeHugger and JastaElf themselves; you both inspire me to attempt "Greatness." I sincerely hope you got a kick out of this piece!