Thursday, June 3, 2021

Duendewood vs. Solari: Departures

"It has been our great honor to stay with you here," Geddy was saying, when Ruin staggered out of the monastery and over to the wagon. 

The woman who stood facing the gnome was human, willowy but imposing, with dark skin and salt-and-pepper hair. A handful of other robed figures stood behind her, but none of them spoke and all seemed to have their attention focused on the gnomish bard. The tall woman, who had to be the Abbess, replied: "It has been a great pleasure to meet with emissaries of Mythrandril, and I pray that your efforts will help end the war and reconcile our peoples." 

"This is our hope as well..." Geddy was saying, when Martini caught Ruin's arm and helped him sling his pack into the luggage bay of their wagon. 

"What is wrong with you?" she whispered, as Ruin leaned on the back panel and resisted the urge to toss himself in with the luggage. 

"Tired," he whispered back. "Haven't slept in two days. It's been busy."

Martini looked around suspiciously. "You haven't gotten us in trouble, have you? I stole Lilly's diary again, and it said something about a... girlfriend?" 

Ruin looked around, but the only people nearby seemed to be the abbess and her attendants, and none of them were looking at him. "He has no idea," Ruin said, "and don't tell him. If anyone comes looking for me before we're away, tell them I'm dead." He paused, and then added: "Of exhaustion." 

Martini turned her head, looking speculative. "Oh, really?" 

"Really," said Ruin, and stepped up into the carriage before stretching himself out to die. Or sleep. Or whatever caught him in between. It was a horribly un-Elvish thing to do, whatever it was, but at this point he didn't care. As long as they all got on their way and nobody else wanted him... Yes. Please. Corellon, Amun, any other deities who might want to throw people at me... I beg you: mercy. Let me be. At least give me a day or two to recover.

Eva settled in beside him and handed him a water bottle. "So I've been talking to Rita," she said, and Ruin nodded out of reflex and took a long drink of water.

"She's back in the forest, and she isn't planning to leave again. But she talks to grandfather too sometimes, and she's wondering about maybe trying out this people-thing that you keep doing, if we ever pass that way again..."

Ruin groaned, and pulled his cloak over to cover his face, and stayed still until the carriage started moving at last.

So here's one of those fun facts: when I originally conceptualized Ruin, he was very different from the way he's worked out in play. He was Nameless, for one thing, refusing to answer to his childhood name but not yet ready to choose an adult name, as elves usually do upon reaching maturity. He was a barbarian, but one who dressed in nothing but fancy clothes -- Conan with the fashion sense of Prince. "Ruin" was going to be an appellation of convenience, reflecting his current mood and outlook; he would use others, including Regret, Triumph, and Caution, and expect people to ask how he wanted to be called at any given time. That part hasn't worked out the way he'd expected; people have just taken Ruin and essentially made it his name. 

But the big thing about Ruin that I'd thought out in creating him but never managed to bring into play was that as a child of the Rebirth, the first generation of True Elves born after the emergence of the Hierophant An'Drow, he would be an absolute man-slut -- convinced that increasing the number of elves in the world was a moral imperative and willing to sleep with essentially anyone to achieve that end. But that never came up in the game, and his prejudice against humans blocked off a couple of situations where maybe he could have acted on it. So, I never had him act on it. 

I don't know where he's going or where he's likely to end up, romantically speaking. And Ruin-in-actual-play is a lot more restrained and conflicted than what I originally conceived, at least when it comes to relationships. But this is, maybe, a glimpse of what he could have been all along. 

Now I just have to decide what to do with Werendril...

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