The Exile of Osmorn
IN WHICH Osmorn, son of █████ █████, is exiled, for loving none too wisely, but perhaps too well. He is given his orders to leave the land of his home, and reflects generally on the relations between elf, human, and those who find themselves betwixt those two worlds. He is enchanted, and given decent advice.
“The accused will please rise,” yelled a dwarf in the livery of the Law of Rhys. I stood up.
I was seated in a small booth, to one side of the Great Hall of house █████. To my left there was a raised platform, and onto this platform came █████ █████, my father. Also my judge. And, oddly enough, my accuser. He settled himself onto the throne, some ten feet above me, and leaned over the railing to look down at me. His voice, always strong, was carrying particularly well this morning.
“Osmorn, son of █████ █████, you have been found guilty.” He said. Which was a bit odd, since he was my father. Odd time to choose to talk about himself in the third person, but there you are, that’s dad all over.
I mean probably. I honestly don’t remember a ton about him, and you’ll know why in a few moments. He kept talking.
“You are hereby banished from Rhys, from its surroundings and holdings. Should word of your deeds get out it would bring shame on the house of █████, and therefore, as you are to be sent into the world, no word must get out. To this end, you shall be enchanted. From this moment on you will no longer be able to hear nor speak the name of your father, nor do you any longer have his surname. You shall not ever hear nor speak that surname. Once the enchantment is carried out, you are then banished from this land for all of time. Do you have any questions?”
“Will you tell me where my mother went?” I asked. It seemed like the last chance I was going to have to ask that question, a question he had dodged many times before, but maybe this would be the one time that I got a straight answer.
My father looked at my not-mother, his wife, the Lady Laniette █████. She was still as a statue, but true elves need almost no motion to convey meaning. Father turned back to me.
“It is no concern of mine where a human servant goes when she leaves the employment of House █████. Nor did I ask from whence she came.”
“It was worth a shot,” I said but he was still going.
“Let it not be said that House █████ is unkind nor unfair. You will be supplied with good clothing, rations, money, and your instruments.”
“Your sword you may keep.”
“My fencing foil? How much good will that do me in the wilds?”
“That is not my concern. Have you any last requests before sentence is carried out?”
“Would it matter if I did?”
For a moment my father was silent. He considered me with his supposedly wise eyes. Watching my face closely.
He wasn’t a bad man, really, my father. Just an elf who wasn’t all that concerned with the treatment of a half-elf bastard like me. And honestly, could you blame him? I’m half human, meaning I’ve got a human lifespan. Before too long I’m dead, either way. And he’s got to be married to Laniette for *centuries* yet.
He smiled a little. He used to do that, before Laniette. He was honestly pretty kind to me for a lot of my life.
“What do you think, Osmorn?”
“Right then. I guess I’ll be off.”
“Don’t let the sun set on you in this town, Osmorn, of no house.” My father said. He stood and left. My trial had not been well attended, and that quite on purpose. Only me, the bailiff, my father the judge, and the Baron Ildroun, the father of my former lover, and the reason I was in this mess. Baron Ildroun followed my father out without looking at me a single time.
For a moment I was alone in the Great Hall. My father had been seated on a raised platform, the one he used to perform his duties as Master of the Revels in the good times and as Master of the Law in times such as this. The platform was dark wood, curiously worked and still suffused with the vital energy of the forest, not cut and planed and sanded like humans would do, but encouraged and grown into shapes that fit the hall.
The house druid came forward. “Well well well, young Osmorn, it’s not often I get to perform this spell,” he said, gathering a few things onto a tray. He seemed quite chipper about the whole thing.
“I’ve never seen it before, Wise One. Will this hurt?”
“Oh, stars no, there’s no reason to cause pain. No, we’re simply obfuscating the name of your father and this house. From now on when you hear the name of this house it’ll sound like meaningless wind. When you try to read it you’ll see it in a script you can’t read. Should you try to write or pronounce it you’ll find your thoughts quite uncooperative. Simple really. But…deep magic nonetheless.”
“Quite so, young Osmorn. Still, keep your chin up, it’s a wide world out there, lots of room for a young man to seek his fortune!” The druid said. He patted me on my shoulder and then when he was reaching for his satchel, he looked me in the eye, and dropped something into the backpack that had been filled for me. I knew enough not to react visibly, even though it seemed we were alone.
“Well, then. All ready? It doesn’t really matter what you say, I’m afraid, I have to cast this spell either way. Here we go!”
And his spell was worked on me. As far as I know that was the last time I ever heard the name of my home. I was given my lute, my pack filled with good clothing and good rations, my boots and a new pair as well, some bedding…and fencing foil. Beautifully worked and almost useless anywhere but in a fencing arena.
“Osmorn. For what its worth you were done wrong,” The family guard said as I walked past him.
“Thank you for saying it,” I started but he wasn’t done. Nobody seemed content to just leave a sentence alone that day.
“Still, you and the Lady Chaedi Ildroun? Are you mad? You a half-breed and her with those family aspirations? A three-quarter wouldn’t wouldn’t have been able to inherit and you both should have known it.”
“What can I say? The heart wants what the heart wants,” I said and the guard just laughed. “That’s the most human thing I’ve ever heard. Hearts have no place in politics, not in Rhys at any rate.”
“I noticed that. Right about the time my own father passed sentence on me.” I replied.
“Well, good luck to ye, lad,” he said, as we approached the city gates, the very edge of Rhys.
“Don’t come back, on pain of very sharp arrows. I’m sure you’ll find somewhere out there where you can make a name for yourself. Ah, look, this is my last chance to ask, what the blazes kind of name is ‘Osmorn’ anyway?”
I shouldered my backpack, adjusted the straps, made sure my lute was safe and turned to face the guard.
“My father thought it was a human name. He didn’t consult with my mother. She apparently never corrected him.”
“Well, may you find good luck amongst the humans, Half-breed.” He said and I nodded.
And that, my friends, was the last time I ever set foot in Rhys, the home of my birth and land of my birthright, if I had one, which I don’t, and honestly never would have.