Parlay

ParlayAs is the custom with his people, Parlay came of age and went to make his mark in the world, to seek out his vision quest sent by the totemic spirits of his tribe, the Shriikirri-Quah (Hawk Clan). Parlay travelled for three bright moons and three dark moons, according to the reckoning of his people. In this time he saw many strange and wondrous sights: stairs carved by the ancient gods the Azghat, an ancient pantheon of war-bringers and punishers of the dishonorable; twisted nightmare forests; great rents in the earth disgorging foul acid. Yet he despaired not, for it is said by the wise and aged of his clan that the wind must blow forever, and so it is with the  Shriikirri-Quah. The axe may break, the spire may fall, the moon waxes and wanes, but the wind blows forever.

It is the turning of the seasons and his tribe abandoned the summer hunting grounds, moving east to escape the ravishes of the Linnorm and in turn bring war to the hated orcs of Belkzen – driving them east to their winter retreat. At this time also, the Varisians celebrate the rebirth of their goddess, Desna with the release of hundreds of Swallowtail butterflies. Though Parlay’s tribe did not share their beliefs, this has always been a time of shared festivities and rituals. Perhaps if there are Varisians and Shoanti in this wilderness, Parlay can share again in the rites of his ancestors.

Following the sun, Parlay came at dusk upon a Varisian tribe encamped upon the grasslands within scent of the sea. He camped nearby but remained apart from the Varisians. Their ways are not his though they are friendly with Parlay’s tribe and often trade goods his people cannot obtain in the wilderness. When the rising sun withdrew the shadow and the Varisians broke camp, he followed. They arrived at a stone wall where many of the pale men and Varisians and – he was shocked to see – some Shoanti make a peaceful gathering by the sea in a place they call Sandpoint. Within the encampment – if it can be called that – Parlay soon meet a brother Shoanti, Garridan Viskalai of the Shriikirri-Quah (Hawk Clan), who offered him the hospitality of his grand stone hut (the White Deer Inn, of which he is the owner).

Parlay’s Story:

Watching Wolf had always been quicker and stronger than most other boys, starting from an early age. In tests of talent he was always infine form. As most Shoanti games and later trials are known to be both a test of agility as well as strength. As Watching Wolf was always faster than those stronger than him, and always stronger than those faster. He often came out on top it contests where both were required. Like all his six older brothers
Watching Wolf was rarely ever ill. His family was well known for hunting long into the winter climates when others could/would not.

Watching Wolf’s life came easy, perhaps too easy. His people were skilled hunters, but they found that when they traded items between low landers and other more reclusive Shoanti groups they prospered. They slowly began to realize they didn’t have to live a Nomad existence and follow the hunt. They simply needed to be able to be found by both the Low landers and the other trading Shoanti tribes. This allowed them to begin building permanent structures. They could stay warmer in the winter and stockpile more goods. All this prosperity left Watching Wolf with a lot time on his hands as a youth. He was fond of
climbing tall pines and tossing rocks at those below or gathering the attention of trader’s daughters, fishing, riding or just lying under the sun or moon. He rarely took to fighting practice and the discipline to train. So, many talents came easy, he would often disregard anything that was difficult.

Early in Watching Wolfs teens, he began to argue more with his brothers and other young village males. The circumstances of his birth are known by only his parents and only a few Village Elders. As predicted by Trac the village Shaman, his mother gave birth on a fully red moon.  After his difficult birth his father saw the largest wolf he’d ever seen, in the village. His first impression was that this must be a Dire Wolf and he drew his hunting knife. Although upon closer inspection he saw that this beast was indeed a true wolf. The wolf was either white and glowed red due to the red moon or was truly red in color he couldn’t tell. He could never tell exactly why he didn’t attack a wolf within his village, but he said he felt an uneasy calm come about him. After a short time of gazing at the
wolf it tossed his head and headed into a densely packed thicket with a long sorrowful howl. After his father told the Elders about this event he was told it was an Omen from the spirits. They didn’t understand it’s meaning, but said it would become clear when The Spirits people were ready. In spite the fact the village was busy at the time of the birth; Watching Wolfs father was the only Adult to report the wolf. Later the next day a few kids told stories of a giant blood wolf. The Elders decided that since the wolf didn’t appear to all, that his visit should be kept secret. And when Watching Wolf was questioned about
his name he and others were told a simple grey wolf was seen outside the village.

This omened birth was often favored; village Elders and his parents would tend to allow Watching Wolf to get away with things that others would be punished for. He tended to gain approval easier and close contest were often swung in his favor. Watching Wolf heard others complain that he received special treatment, but since he rarely cares to examine it closer he disregarded it as jealousy and looser justification.  Over time this began to grow into a rift between his brothers. His parents having seven sons realized they shouldn’t
treat any child didn’t from the rest, but it seemed the Elders favored this child so they allowed his indulgences. His eldest brother Grathi, figured it was because he was the seventh son of a seventh son like his father and this was the reason his parents liked him more. He was also the best at disguising his dislike and slights toward the favored child. He made sure Watching Wolf was the butt of most jokes and would seek to influence others to exclude him from group activities.

One hot summer day many of the villagers were at the river catching fish, while the younger kids were overturning rocks and looking under banks for creatures to play with. Watching Wolf stood on the bank skipping stones across the river. More than once he had told to stop, for he didn’t really care if others were hit with a stone, only if it messed up a good skipper. His niece Dawns Dew sat in the water nearby. Watching Wolf heard a shriek nearby and turned to see Dawns Dew sitting in the shallows as a large Water moccasin swam towards from under the disturbed bank. All Watching Wolf could think of was
that if he acted the snake might bite the girl. He could hear a roaring sound in the back of his head. As he froze in place the snake swam up to and past the child while she cried. As the snake began to swim past the girl she stomped her feet and shouted “no” at the snake pointing her finger. Watching Wolf knew the girl’s movement was a mistake but all he could do was watch and suffer the blaring pounding in his head. The motion attracted the snake and it turned toward Dawns Dew and bit her on the leg. Once the snake had sunk its deadly fangs into the child the roaring began to gain clarity. It was the sound of many adults running and shouting toward the girl. He heard the clear sound of “Watching
Wolf run! Get to her! Go! Don’t stand there! Run! Stop the snake!” Just then the grip that had held his mind and body so firmly released. His brother Grathi ran past him as he dove into the shallow stream. He grabbed the snake receiving a bite on his arm as he twisted the snake head and tossed it in the water. His daughter was holding her leg and crying. As Grathi scooped up his daughter he glared up to Watching Wolf and held that stare until he walked past toward the Shaman.
Watch Wolf noticed many other adults were staring at him as well. Later that night Dawns Dew died, and her father deathly ill. Many of the adults being swayed by his brothers demanded the Elders put out Watching Wolf. They reasoned Watching Wolf hesitates and this will cause others in the village to be in danger. Can we now expect him to perform watch over us? He has been shown to freeze when under pressure. “Would we want or trust him any longer? If he won’t even save his own family, then why do we want him here? He endangers us all. Would you want him to watch over your child or wife?

The village Elders wanted to calm things down, but his older brothers kept the group worked up and had to put the youth out of the village to restore peace. As is there way, all his possessions went to the wronged party (his brother’s family) and he was cast out.

After being cast out of his village he traveled toward the border. He didn’t know why he froze, but vowed it would never happen again. He would always act first, always. He began to take up his weapon training as they became available.  He made crude weapons from stones and sticks. He quickly used the stones to kill small animals and then make a sling. He sharped and burned staves to makes spears. He used these spears to fell larger game. He found his trading nature came in handy, as he traded pelts and meat for coin.

He came upon a small man gathering mushrooms into a large sack hung over his shoulder. As luck would have it (or not) he found a large concentration of mushrooms near where Watching Wolf was cleaning and preparing a hide. After many attempts to strike
up a conversation or at least learn Watching Wolfs name, he began to talk to himself and his neighbor. Watching Wolf didn’t want to give his name because he felt that name belonged to the tribe, he was no longer part of. And since nobody needed to call him he didn’t need a name. The next morning the small man decided to call the stranger “Parlay, cuzzin youz chats so much”. It wasn’t until midday that Watching Wolfs job was completed and the small man began to bother him. He told the man to “go away”, but hearing this the small man wanted to talk about why he was to leave. So,  Watching wolf picked up a few rocks and threw them at him. The man after being struck several times left the area.

It was when he had begun to sell more pelts the furrier wanted to know his name and the first name he thought of was Parley. The merchant smiled at the name and said “I see yer folks have a funny wit about em”.  He used this coin to purchase metal weapons and bow. With these weapons he began to gather enough coin for armor and basic living supplies. He heard there was a small village named Sandpoint that had goblins nearby. He thought that the villagers might not be able to hunt with the threat of Goblins about, and he could make more coin.

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