You think kings and nobles prattle on with their titles, you should hear the full name of most kenku bards. Turns out "Waves-Against-the-Hull" rolls off the tongue a little better than "Waves gently washing against the hull of a ship sailing into twilight on the last day of autumn, dolphins playing in its wake as a lone gull circles the mast." Probably why they dont have kings and nobles, can you imagine, it would take all day just for introductions.Okay, first off let's get one thing straight, Kenku bards have a naming convention unlike any other in the world. The more skilled they get, the more detailed a scene they can mimic, and as such as their career progresses their translated name gets longer. Proper etiquette, if one is going to shorten the name, is to shorten it to the first part. For those in the know, not following this protocol is considered extremely insulting. This "Lone Gull" figure is most likely not even Waves-Against-the-Hull as that would put the poor bird at well over 2,000 years old.
As with nearly every other record from the time before the Necromancer Wars spread across the world, almost everything about Waves-Against-the-Hull's early life has been lost (including his original name). We know he was an intelligent (same say blessed) child and that he apprenticed to the Chroniclers. There are a few rumors that persist about things Waves-Against-the-Hull accomplished in his early days, but almost all are third- and fourth-hand accounts heard from the friend of a friend.
In those days kenku Chroniclers were welcomed in many lands, (the elves called them Those Who Witness History, and are one of the few races that, to this day, will welcome a kenku with open arms) and recorded many events for posterity. The Chronicler's Archive in the Kenku's homeland of ██████████████ were said to hold the entire history of the world, from the Rise and Fall of the Storm Giant Empire to the start of the Necromancer Wars.
- The Coining of the phrase(s) "a devil's memory and god's own luck." - with the loss of the original kenku language there are several different translations abounding in cultures throughout the world today. Elven scholar's maintain that the original phrase was "The Luck of the Fae with a memory to match." Dwarfs maintain that it is 2 separate phrases, and the Fae, who could clear up the matter, are as tight lipped as they are with anything else involving the Kenku. Demons and devils have been consulted but maintain that there are some secrets that are not theirs to tell.
- The invention of the Đàn bầu and monks spade - Illustrations of both of these have been found that predate the Necromancer Wars by some 200 years, he just combined them into the Bard's Spade.
Necromancer WarsWith the rise of the necromancers and their undead legions in 2341, one of the first casualties, and some say the greatest loss, was the sacking of ██████████████ and the destruction of the Chronicler's Archive. Waves-Against-the-Hull was away, witnessing the wedding of Crown Prince Farvalur in Feywillow Forest, on the Vernal Equinox, as is custom. (and coincidentally, picking up some materials for a project he was working on with the Outh craftsmen in Osect) At the reception feast, a messenger came and told Waves-Against-the-Hull he was urgently needed at Florown Abbey. One of his kinsmen was dying and had a message of grave tidings.
The Fell Wind Blows, and so Rise the Tides of War, Naxxrak and Phur Algoz lie open, and the Undead Horde makes for Annussi. Progenitor must be warned The Home Roost has fallen, The past is lost, along with what Lessons it may have taught. A shadow lies across the land, But a deep enough shadow may yet hide salvation from those seeking to snuff out hope. ████ ███████ Long has Shadow lain in you heart and in your mind. It is Time to set the shadow free As our people pass into twilight, look to Summer for shelter, for Winter brings the cold hope of salvation, All is not lost, the shadows remember.
Waves-Against-the-Hull left Feywillow Forrest heading home with all speed. On his flight home he encountered more of his people, though never as many as he would have expected. You see, at the time the kenku still possessed the ability to fly. Its how they were able to range so far and wide recording the stories of the world. Little did that avail them, according to the kin that Waves-Against-the-Hull encountered. If he was going home, they warned, he should be prepared. The first attack had come as a surprise, By the time an alarm was sounded the massacre had already begun. Last rites could not be performed, and the bodies were left unburned, trapping the spirits of the dead in this plane. As he met more and more groups, Waves-Against-the-Hull started to worry, for in none of the groups did he meet another Chronicler. No one had seen another since they fled their homeland. He could not be the last, could he? Who would tell the tales of the Storm Giant's Folly and Fall, who would fend off the long nights of winter with warm tales of far away lands, who would remember those who had given their lives. No one, for apparently there were none left but him. And so he set out for home, to lay the spirits of his people to rest, to bury a city, even if he must do so alone.
The Summer Court and the Fall of the Kenku
And so it was that underneath the Full Moons Titania came upon a raven chick. This was odd as, though ravens are accepted in much of the Fae lands, Titania had made it know that she found their dull colors offensive to her vibrant Court of Summer. But still, it was a chick, a child, a baby. And like all Fae Titania knew it was something new, to be treasured and cherished, for in the Undying and Unchanging lands that make up Faerie something new is a rare thing indeed. Picking it up and cupping it in her hands, she breathed life into the weak little creature. where do you come from, little one? But the chick could give no answer, for it did not yet have a voice. where is you family, little one? But the chick had no memory of such, and still had no voice with which to answer. where did you come from, to be in my court, little one? And direction was the one thing the chick had knowledge, and he stretched out its wing, pointing upwards to a simple arch made of the branches. And Titania peered through the arch back to our world and saw the 3 full moons in the sky, and knew that this little chick had hatched in the night, and fallen from its nest to her court. i see now, little one, lucky are you to have been born into the world on this night, for any other night you would have died on the forest floor, or landed elsewhere in Fae. you will spend the night celebrating the Solstice of Summer with me and my court, and I shall return you to your nest with the coming of Dawn. So it was that a raven chick was guest of Honor at the Summer Court. And as morning approached, Titania left the celebrations, to return the chick to its family. you will forget us for a time little one, but fear not, when you have need of summer we shall know, and you shall have our aid, for ever is the presence of a child in the Court of Summer a gift, and a gift to the Fae we must repay in kind. And as she walked the raven chick back to its home and placed it in its nest, Titania hummed a simple tune, a lament for the dying of the night, a greeting to the coming dawn.And as childhood memories of a summer night spent lost in the woods came rushing back to Waves-Against-the-Hull a gentle voice whispered, BOOMED, caressed "hello, little one, it has been long as mortals reckon such things, yet you sing my aubade. tell me, what can summer do for you?" and as she spoke, Titania herself stepped from behind a pile of rubble. "I would have my people back," Waves-Against-the-Hull started, then, letting out a sigh, he continued "...but I know that we are not like the Fae, undying and unchanging, so I would ask that you grant my people the ability to get revenge on those who have done this to us. I would have us be as inescapable as their shadows. Able to hound them from the darkness in which they revel." "my boon is for you and you alone, ask for something else and we shall be happy to grant it... the death of the one who perpetrated this, perhaps" "What need have I of your boon then, if we cannot bring justice to those who would do something like this, who would destroy the living memory of the world... I dont need the death of one, for I saw how this plague spreads across the lands. It cannot be fled, unless one could hide in ones own shadow. Keep you useless boon, for I shall tell the world what the Promise of the Court of Summer is worth." Fire flashed in Titania's eyes, and Waves-Against-the-Hull knew that in his anguish he had spoken out of turn "very well, then, little one, I shall grant your wish, you who would speak for your people, you say you would hound those who do evil as shadows, then shadows you will be. but know this, little bird... shadows have no name, no voice but what others give them, and though they may have wings even the shadows of dragons are cast upon the ground, every land has shadows, so shadows have no land to call their own, so too shall your people shall have no home, no history... so take you boon and be happy....i give you and yours the shadows, still you, YOU will be the Chronicler of history, to tell it exactly as it happened, for shadows witness" And so magic swept out from what had once been a prospering city and center of learning. Kenku everywhere lost their voices, and though they may have wings, no kenku to this day can fly under their own power. With the gift of shadow magic he and the rest of the kenku helped to end the Necromancer wars, although it took the better part of 2 decades to do so. As for Waves-Against-the-Hull, that name he became known as much later in life. Afterwords his people rejected him, for Titania made it known who was responsible for the loss of their voices, their flight, their history and their homeland. So he wandered the world, tugged by an unseen thread to witness history.
While Waves-Against-the-Hull traveled much in the decades following the Necromancer Wars, he did pass on, at least one assumes. There has been, however, a recurring figure through the centuries since. Across the world there are stories of a lone kenku Shadow bard, putting on solo shows so amazing as to boggle the mind, and carrying with him a most peculiar Monk's Spade. There are those who have tried to find him, but he always seems to be in the next town over. Always the stories refer to this bard as Lone Gull.
I knew it was him, Lone Gull that is. Watching him set up for our simple caravan was a magic all its own. Pulled out his stool to set next to the fire, then scooped up some of the flame into the end o' his spade... the flame mind, not a branch or some coals. Next he reached into his pack and with a flick of his wrist there was a screen that he placed in front of his newly captured flame. Lighting his pipe, he released a hidden catch in the spade's handle, stringing what we now recognized as a bard's spade. After some quick tuning, he puffed out some smoke that got...caught, behind his screen, and he started to play. Late into the night he recited his tales, only ones I rightly remember are "King with the Golden Touch" and "The Immortal Chameleon"