Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Timothy Underleaf

Timothy was somewhat put out. He'd been all set for his upcoming duel with that utter bore, Stevens, when his cousin Missy had grabbed him on the way to the east hall.

"Timothy, you're being an idiot!" Missy stood right in front of him, hands on her hips. Timothy stopped. He couldn't swing around her, the passage through the rootway was too tight - she'd pin him to the wall with one of those elbows. He rubbed his sternum in remembered pain.

"What is it now, Missy?" Timothy smiled, putting on his most innocent smile.

Her eyes danced with little blue fires. Perhaps she wasn't buying it. "This duel is ridiculous. It's a good way to get yourself killed." She poked at his chest through the back of his hand. "Stevens won the last three tourneys. The last three! Did you see the roster of injuries after those bouts? And those were against his friends, Timothy."

"Well, that is as may be, but I challenged him, didn't I? It would be dreadfully poor form if I didn't show up."

"Poor form, Timothy? You're going to walk to your death because it would be poor form not to?" She sighed, and put her face in her hand. "You're hopeless, Tim-tim, hopeless."

Timothy put a hand on her shoulder. "Look, it's not as bad as all that. I might even win!" She grimaced at him. Timothy put on what he was told was his serious face. "Really, Missy, do you think I would have challenged Stevens if I didn't think I could win?"

"Yes." Honestly, now she looked on the point of tears.

"Well, perhaps. But I had to! I can't have anyone insulting my favorite cousin, even if they are a tourney winner." He straightened his lapel. "Makes me look bad." The tears vanished, replaced once more by the fire. "And you deserve better."

"I can't stop you?" she said.

"I'm afraid not. I'm, what's the word, determined! No, that's not quite it. Resolute? Unswayable? Wait, that last one's not even a word." Timothy searched his memory. It was right on the tip of his tongue. Maybe it was determined?

"Fine then. At least let me give you a good luck token." Timothy brightened. This was a bit more fitting.

She led him off down a branching rootway through some twists and turns. Timothy had lived in the old treemanse his whole life, but the way grew quickly unfamiliar.

"Look, Missy, this isn't going to take too long, is it? I am on a time table."

"Not long," she said, all seriousness. Timothy scowled. It better not. Being late would be almost as bad as not showing up at all. She stopped suddenly in front of a doorway, stroked the door, and opened it. "It's in here," she said, and ducked inside.

Timothy followed. Inside the room was a large silvery pool with a small shrine on the opposite end. He was certain he'd never been here before. The room was dark, except for the light from the pool, which danced up and down around the walls of the room and over the shrine's statue. It looked unfamiliar - one of the minor goddesses, perhaps? Timothy was always horrible at his religious studies. He walked up to the edge of the pool, peering across to get a better look.

"We're not here to pray, are we? I certainly don't have time for that."

"No Timothy, we're not." Missy's voice was right behind him. He half turned, and saw her thrust her arms toward him. "I love you Tim-tim. Be safe."

Her shove knocked him off balance and he fell into the pool. The last thing he thought before he blacked out was "That's odd. She always hated it when I pushed her into pools when we were small."

Timothy woke up, and found himself outside. He was in one of those ridiculous little groves he'd heard about from travelers - places where the trees were only a few feet around and a few dozen feet tall. It was cute, in its own way, but hardly seemed practical. He picked a direction, and started walking. There must be someone else around here somewhere.

After a little while, he emerged at a village. More travelers' tales. Dead and cut wood and stone, piled into mounds with holes in them. What a quaint way to live. They'd even cut stone for the passageways between some of the mounds! Houses! And roads! His tutors would have been proud. It must have been a dreadful amount of work.

The late afternoon sun cast long shadows between the houses. Now, what had Missy done with him? There was obviously no way he could make it to the duel. Oh, he'd get her back for this. Let's see how she liked it when he convinced the treemanse to keep her in her rooms for a week. After he got home. He saw some lights ahead, where the road seemed to widen. Perhaps there were some people ahead who could let him know where he was.

He emerged into the square to see an array of townsfolk, seated out front of a big building with a swinging sign. Obviously some kind of pub - they all had steins on their tables, and the thick sound of conversation suddenly hit him. Timothy sighed, and relaxed. He could definitely do with a drink. He walked towards the pub.

One of the townsfolk turned his way, then back to his conversation, before doing a double take and staring at him. Several others began to stare, and the conversation died. Timothy smiled, slightly uncomfortable.

"Drow!" one of them yelled, and the crowd scattered. Tables abandoned, chairs and steins knocked over, within five breaths there was no one left in the square. Well, that was rude. You didn't see him calling humans "monkey-ears" to their faces, did you? And why had everyone run? He peered in the pub's window. Missy hadn't hexed his face - he wasn't kidding himself, he wasn't stunningly handsome, but he wasn't bad. With his inheritance, he should be able to do alright for himself when it came time to get married (may that day be some distance off).

Suddenly, the window broke, and he felt the whoosh of something fly swiftly right past his head. Timothy focused past the broken window pains to see an old man with an empty crossbow in his hands. The old man saw Timothy looking at him, startled, and fainted.

Something odd was definitely going on.

Timothy Underleaf was raised in the upper crust of elven society. The Underleafs were one of the older Shade Elf families (or, as the epithet had it, "Drow"). He was classically trained in all the proper arts for a gentleman: fencing, music (his favorite), history and religion (both of which made his tutors despair), as well as self-tutored in the gentlemanly practices of drinking, dueling, and gambling his allowance away.

When his cousin Missy pushed him into the pool, she'd been intending to send him away, keep him safe. Something obviously went wrong. Perhaps he was flung to a far away time, or an alternate reality, or something even stranger. Whatever the case, this is not Timothy's world. His family's patron deity is known to be dead, the entirety of his race is enslaved to some evil goddess Lloth, and he seems to incur fear wherever he goes. It's quite vexing.

If you like, you could have Timothy encounter other (drow and non-drow) elves that either remind him, or are the spitting image of his peers and friends from home (sure would make for fun role-play). Working out exactly what happened is a matter for you and your DM.

In battle, Timothy's a little foolhardy, but quite the inspiring companion. He knows well enough to stay out of the way when something a bit too fearsome takes the field (and may have to swallow his impulse to run), but will certainly get his hits in when he can. He's quick to make friends, and still on some level sees this as a grand adventure, great fun, that will make for a wonderful story when he gets home. On the other hand, he is troubled by the fact that he doesn't know how to get home, and any sort of hint or hook towards a solution to that will easily tease him on.

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