Gulmont's Backstory. Part one
The old farm house creaked in the night as a young Gulmont creped to the kitchen. There had been unfamiliar voices coming from there, which was strange because, apart from his mother and father, Gulmont had never known anyone to come out to the old farm house in the middle of nowhere. It was about a three month journey here from Divinity’s Reach, and another three months back. Gulmont’s family only made the trip in desperate situations, when there had a bad harvest or something like that, and the trip had only been made twice in Gulmont’s short life time, so he was interested to find out who would have come here in the dead of night when he was supposed to be tucked up, sleeping in his bed.
Gulmont knelt against the kitchen door, gingerly putting his eye to the key hole. Through it he saw his mother at the sink, a petite woman with long, curly blond hair that framed her beautiful face and flowed down her back in waves of golden locks. She was nervously cleaning the already spotless dishes, taking uneasy glances, with her startling green eyes, at the kitchen table where two men sat. One was his father, an intimidating man with dark hair and chiselled features, look close enough though and you could see his kind, blue eyes, which were currently fixed on the man sitting across from him, who, to Gulmont surprise, was almost identical to his father, apart from a few small distinctions. The man was currently squirming under his father’s scrutinising gaze, rubbing his hands anxiously.
“We’re in a bad way Aaron,” the man who was not his father was saying, not meeting his father’s eyes as he spoke, “we don’t think grandfather has a lot of time left, and with him gone and no true heir to the family name, our house will fall into disrepute.”
“What’s this got to do with me?” his father replied, not taking his eyes of the man, “I wiped my hands clean of our family long ago.”
The man sighed in frustration, “please brother, see sense, without you our whole lineage will be throw to the wayside, with no one to care but us.”
Aaron shook his head, a small, ironic smile on his lips, “no brother, there will be no one to care but you, I refuse to have anything to do with our family anymore, besides, they don’t need me, they have you.”
The man chuckles bitterly, “I’m no good I’m afraid brother, you are the eldest, you are the true heir.”
“only by a few minutes,” Aaron replied “a few minutes won’t matter to them if things are as bad as you say” Aaron said, getting up from the table to put a comforting arm around his wife, “besides, who are you here to bring back, me or us?” he continued, giving Gulmont’s mother a comforting hug.
The man looked away, hanging his head in shame.
Aaron nodded, “that’s what I thought,” he pointed out the door with a wave of his hand, “I’d like you to leave now.”
The man sighed, getting up from his seat and heading for the door.
Figuring there was nothing more to see, Gulmont got up off the floor, intending to go back to his nice, warm bed. A floor board creaked as he put his weight on it; he stood stock still, hoping no one heard it.
“What was that?” the man’s voice from the kitchen said.
“It was nothing, just your imagination I’m sure,” Gulmont’s fathers voice sounded strained, almost panicked.
There was the sound of footsteps and a small scuffle before the kitchen door flew open, framing Gulmont in the kitchen lamplight. The man looked down at him, his hair slightly out of place and eyes wide in astonishment. Gulmont’s parents were huddled together behind him, his mother clutching his father for support.
The man’s face twisted into a cruel smile, “you never were a very good liar brother,” he said turning and heading for the door.
Gulmont’s father’s eyes followed the man as he left the house, “Mary, take the boy back to bed.”
“What about you?” she asked her voice laced with concern.
He gave them both a kind, reassuring smile “I’ll be fine,” he said, “I just need to make sure of something.”
“but he’s leaving isn’t he?” Mary asked.
Aaron sighed in exasperation, “my brother didn’t come here to night to get me to come back. He came to make sure I didn’t. He’s manipulative like that,” turning to his son he said “get to bed Gul, you need your rest, we’ll go hunting in the morning, how does that sound?”
Gulmont nodded eagerly before being lead off the bed by his mother.
In his bed room, his mother lay Gulmont down on his bed, tucking him into the covers and stroking his hair while singing to him softly.
“Mummy, who was that man?” Gulmont asked.
His mother smiled kindly, shaking her head, “no one you need to be concerned about little one, he’s gone now.”
“Okay mummy,” Gulmont agreed, settling in to sleep with the sound of his mother’s sweet singing to sooth him.
Her singing was cut short by his fathers strangled scream coming from outside. What followed was a deathly silence before the sound of a large group of men, laughing and gearing, shouting out foul language.
Gulmont’s mother, a panicked expression on her face got Gulmont out of bed again and stuffed him in his small wardrobe saying “stay in here until I tell you it’s safe, and not a sound out of you, understand?” Gulmont nodded his understanding and his mother closed the wardrobe door. Gulmont sunk down the wardrobes’ back, putting his eye against the key hole just in time to see a group of badly dressed men barge through the bedroom door.
They were evil looking men, some badly scarred by blade and burns, all smelling heavily of intoxication.
“Well well well, what ‘ave we ‘ere,” their leader slurred, staggering over to his mother and grabbing his mother’s face in one grubby hand, “quite the pretty on ain’t ya?”
Mary gathered up her courage and spat in the man’s face. The man closed his eyes as the spittle his him square in the eye. The man put a hand to his face, wiping his hand down the entire length of his ugly mug before glaring at Mary and drawing his hand back, back handing her across the face, sending her sprawling to the bed. Gulmont almost cried out, but stopped himself when he remembered his mother’s words.
“You know lass,” said the man who was staring cruelly down at her, “I’m a nice guy, so I’m going to forgive you for that, on one condition,” he put his dirty boot up on the bed and leaned in close to her as he spoke, “tell me where the boy is.”
Mary looked defiantly up at the man and seeing an opportunity, punched the man in the genitals. The man swore loudly and fell to the floor, grabbing his privates and curling up into a ball. Two of the other men grabbed the woman, holding her down until their boss had regained his composure.
“Right boys,” the ugly leader said once he had righted himself, “I’m going to look around for the brat, while I do that why don’t you boys,” he paused mid-sentence to give Mary a cruel grin, “entertain, this wench.”
The men chuckled and unbuckled their belts as the leader left the room, what followed was a series of strange movements Gulmont didn’t understand while listening to his mother’s muffled cries of protest.
It was over by the time the leader came back.
“want a turn boss?” one of the men asked, but the leader shook his head and walked over to the woman, getting out a small dagger and slitting her throat the a spray of crimson.
The leader looked the men over before speaking, “ I can’t find the brat anywhere, but we’ll soon see to that,” he chuckled and waved his hand at his men, “come on, we’ll have to report this to “his highness,”” he spat and the men laughed at their leaders insult of their employer.
A long while after the men had filed out of the room and everything had fallen silent, Gulmont crawled out of the wardrobe. He didn’t know how long he stood there, staring at his mother’s corpse, clothes bloodied and dishevelled, but it was long enough for the flames to start to lick at the bedroom door, the smoke making his breathing laboured.
He numbly clambered out of his bedroom window and began to just walk. He passed his father’s body on the way, his stomach split open and his insides splattering the ground, but Gulmont didn’t really care, his mind had long since left him at that point.
And in this way he walked on, into the dense canopy of the forest, leaving the ashes of his childhood behind him.
Savatry filled her lungs with the clear air of the forest, basking in the smell of recant rain fall. She was a tall, slender, second born Sylvari, with a startling blue colouring and inquisitive, dark red eyes. She looked around, taking in the forest and all its magnificence.
The damp leaves on the forest trees let go of small droplets of water, which fell slowly to the forest floor to moisten the ground. Bird song filled the air and several insects flitted from flower to flower, taking in pollen to take home to their little nests with them.
The Sylvari sighed contentedly as she took all of this in, turning to her companions to smile at them. the small group of wardens had been stationed in the area for a little over a week now, having received strange reports of unnatural noises and the disappearance of a some of the animals, but so far, they hadn’t seen hide nor hair of anything that might had been considered out of the ordinary.
Aldavon, an impatient Sylvari with a tendency to overthink things and get frustrated with himself as a result, grunted angrily, “we’ve been out here for ages and nothing’s happened, I think we should give up and just go home, there’s clearly nothing here to see or we would have found it by now.”
Savatry put a calming hand on his shoulder and nodded, “you may be right, we’ll finish up our patrol here and start to head back.”
Aldavon took a deep breath and nodded, continuing on eagerly.
As they began to enter the denser part of the forest, Savatry became increasing aware of the presence of something following them. The felling was subtly, but it was there. She held her hand up for the rest of the party to stop and crouched down low so as to make herself a harder target to hit. The others followed her example.
The group crept along silently, ever alert of ant danger that might present its self. It wasn’t long before whatever it was let its self be known by way of a shuffling in some nearby shrubbery. Savatry turned towards the foliage cautiously. All too cautiously it seems as in a flash of speed something jumped out at her and leaped on her chest, flattening her to the ground. Within moments the wardens had their weapons trained on the creature, ready to make the kill and save their sister.
“No don’t!” Savatry yelled out suddenly, causing the others to take pause.
The creature grabbed hold of Savatry’s breast plate, leaning in close
“Do you know of the light?” it asked, its voice hoarse, like it was not used to being used. The others gasped as they heard the creature speak, but Savatry merely smiled kindly, taking a betted look at the creature.
It was human, she could see that now. Its dark, straggly hair was greasy and unwashed. It covered most of his face which was dirty any stained with blood, especially around its mouth, probably from its last meal, whatever that had been. Its eyes were wild, its pupils pinpricks in the whites of its eyes. They danced around its eye sockets, blurred and unfocused, trying to take in everything at once. Its features were gaunt and shallow, it clearly hadn’t had a good meal in a while, and judging by its fingernails, what it had eaten, it had killed with its bare hands. it had a matted, unkempt beard that was straggly and had pieces of its last meal still in it. Its breath smelt of rotting meat combined with the fact that it clearly hadn’t wash in a while was quite the over powering stench.
“Do you know of the light?” it repeated, “do you see how it dances its dance in the cold noon light, and tells a tale that grants you pale insight?”
Aldavon spoke up, a hint of fear in his voice, “what’s it saying? It’s complete gibberish.”
“I’m not sure,” Savatry replied, her voice strange, as if under some sort of spell.
The human tilted its head to one side and look into the distance, even though there was nothing there to see. “Yes I told them,” it said angrily, to who, know one knew, “I spoke the words in the way they are to be said, but did not get the response.” It turned its head to the other side, as if now speaking to someone else, “then they are not the ones? No they can’t be, if they were they would have given the response.” The human got off of Savatry and she slowly got to her feet so as not to startle the deranged human, a look of wonder on her face. The human started to back away, its posture hunched over, its knuckles almost dragging on the floor. The Sylvari began to relax when they saw the human retreating, but to everyone’s surprise Savatry called out to it. The human paused and eyed her curiously.
“I saw you in my dream,” she said in a hushed whisper.
The human gave her a twisted, insane grin. “It has given the response,” it said simply, “it will follow?”
Savatry nodded and took a step towards him. Aldavon quickly grabbed her hand in a panic to stop her.
“What are you doing? You can’t follow that thing,” he said, his voice raising an octave.
“I must,” she responded, “it’s like I am drawn to him; I think he is my Wyld Hunt.”
Aldavon’s face dropped, now not trying to mask his fear, “you are sure?” he asked.
Savatry nodded before pulling him in for a hug, “worry not, all will be well.”
Adavon reluctantly uncoiled himself from the hug and watched as the two disappeared into the trees.
A few hours passed as Savatry followed the human, she tried to engage him in conversation a number of times, but all he ever did was mutter incomprehensibly to the disembodied voices in his degraded mind.
They eventually came to a large, grassy clearing in the middle of the forest. Savatry gasped as she saw what lay in the centre of the clearing. A in light of incredible brightness emanated from an unknown source. It whispered barley audible whispers of untold secrets and prophesies, now long forgotten.
“Come come,” the mad man said, beckoning to the Sylvari, “commune with the light, and embrace it!”
Unsure, Savatry stepped forward, walking towards the light. As she drew closer the whispers grew louder, until they were almost unbearable. Both the mad man and Sylvari covered their ears in pain before everything went black and both fell into unconsciousness.
Gulmont awoke, rubbing his face to get the sleep from his eyes, waiting for the voices to start, but they never came. He sat in the clearing for a long time waiting for them to start hurling insults at him, telling him how everything was his fault again, but they never came. He felt like crying. For So long he had spent with the voices, so that he had lost track of time, and now they were just gone? It seemed like a dream. It was then that he heard it, the soft weeping of a woman. He looked around, trying to find the source, to on avail. He walked over to the light, his only comfort in the dark times he had spent with the voices, thinking that maybe it had come from there, only to find a strange wooden bow on the ground. He picked it up curiously, marvelling in the intricacy of its design, the small Sylvari looking thing carved into it. It was then that the bow spoke in a voice full of remorse, “what have you done to me?”