Ruins of Timberport
Touched by Melora, this fey exile returned to town on a mission from his Goddess.
Timberport is a hard place, full of rock and stone and steel. The buildings roast in the summer and freeze in the winter, and even the bounty of the sea fails it, when Melora withdraws her favor. There are no dirty plates in Timberport, because there is no food to waste. But how much softer rock and stone and steel than the heart of a mother who knows that she can not risk her children for her newborn, who will not even suckle at her breast.
So a baby, born of the storm and touched by Melora, is returned to Her. But cast upon Her waters, the waters cast the baby back. A sunset, and a sunrise; the baby was no more lovable in Sehanine’s light. Cast once more upon Her waters, the waters cast the baby back. A third day of arguing, and Avandra has abandonded the baby also; there is no change in it. This time, resolve the priestesses, we will cast not the baby into the waters of the bay; but into the waters of the deep, now that the storm has passed and that we can not see the lightning, nor hear the thunders. And yet, on the third day, the wind blew into the bay, and the seas raged against the breakwaters; and the whole of the town saw that no thing could pass out onto the deeps, not even a baby. And to this the priestesses said, if Melora casts the baby back, and Sehanine loves the baby not, and Avandra will not change it, then who will have it?
And they went to the priests of the glass room, but the priests said no, see; he has no light in his eyes; we can not take him. And they went to the dour and learned warriors of the Queen of Cities; and the warriors made no answer, but trembled behind their gates. And while the priestesses hectored them, a ranger came upon the scene to say that, in the storm and the thunder and with the wind, there was a great bounty of wood on the ground, and that all should come, and gather, that many may be warm that winter. And all did, and there was, and many were. And the baby was forgotten in forest, but not by the forest.
Or, as Boris put it:
Twenty years ago, in the midst of one of the most ferocious storms that Timberport has ever seen, a baby was born so ugly that his own parents did not want him. The boy was grotesquely large, his fragile bones contorted by abnormally developed muscles, and a face so misshapen that the priestess of Melora presiding over the birth involuntarily intoned, “He was born to be hated.” Ugliest of all were his eyes, watery and milky, with pupils are pale as autumn fog. As the storm raged, its crackles and booms drowning out the anguished wails of the mother, the birthing room a den of commotion, the baby lay silent. It never cried; it never moved; it never probed feebly for its mother’s breast. Every once in a while, the boy merely coughed, and in the coarseness of his chords one could hear the echoes of thunder.
The grotesque baby was deeply unsettling to be around, let alone to look upon. The parents did not want him. The high priestesses of Timberport held a conference and hotly debated for three nights and three days what to do with him. As he was clearly a child of the storm, it was the priestess of Melora who had the final say. “He is born of thunder and touched by Melora. She has given him an aspect that repulses all of us. I say this is a sign that he is not ours, but hers. Let her have him.” And so it was that the rangers, accompanied by the high priestess of Melora herself, ventured as far deep into the forest as they dared, and deposited the baby there, to be devoured by the Eladrin or worse.
Fifteen years later, a hideous giant of a man walked out of the forest and into Timberport with nothing but the hide on his loins, an enormous quarterstaff — and a suit of mail of unmistakably Eladrin make. His body had grown muscular and big, but his face was still misshapen and oblique. And as before, his ugliest feature were his eyes. They held a look of infinite fatigue and made the whole of the giant seem frail and beleaguered, as though his every step were a trial and each breath, a regret. There was no light in those eyes, but if one gazed into them, the light seemed to go out of them even so, till nothing remained in those pupils save the haunting echoes of ageless thunder.
When asked, the giant gave his name — “Zivg” — and his reason for coming — “The forest is my home, but I have no home there.” Once again, the priestesses debated what to do with the creature. His mail and his talents indicated some association with the fey, and the obvious fear was that he was an Eladrin spy. On the other hand, if the Eladrin wanted to wipe out Timberport, they surely didn’t need spies, and if they did, they surely wouldn’t send one so conspicuous. He could work in the woods with the best of the rangers, but his divine gifts made him valuable for combating the terrors of the city’s center as well, and he seemed to want to make his way in the town. And so. by consensus, he stayed, though nearly everyone had dark eyes for him.
The darkest eyes of all were the high priestess of Melora’s, who feared that he might someday challenge her power. When the Eladrin princess arrived, the priestess commanded Zivg to accompany the team of adventurers that would return the Eladrin, ostensibly for “supervision,” but in truth because she was certain the mission was suicide. And so began the heroic tale of the five adventurers who improbably but profoundly affected the strange little world of Timberport…