Chapter 1: Leaving Home

Pavlen stood in the doorway of his small room where he had spent eighteen years of his life. His eyes picked up every little detail and each detail held a story. It was a ten foot room holding a lifetime of memories. He looked at the bird skull hanging over his bed and remembered his father's cry of excitement when Pavlen had shot the flying vulture with a slingshot. He looked at the blanket and remembered the story of his mother knitting it while she hobbled around with young Pavlen still in her belly. He looked at the rocks he had collected as a boy, hiking into the northern mountains with his father. He wasn't sure if he would ever see this room again and though he hadn't left yet, he already missed it.

Pavlen stepped outside of his family's farmhouse and into the chilled autumn air. Large gray clouds billowed across the sky. The autumn breeze blew dead leaves against the log house. Pavlen smelled the clean burning wood of the house's stove in that air. Pavlen pulled his cloak tight around his shoulders. His parents stood on a hill nearby, their bodies contrasted against the gray sky. They stood hand in hand and the sight nearly broke Pavlen's heart. It was a sight he would remember for the rest of his life. His mother, tall and slender, stood straight and smooth, her raven hair blowing over her pointed ears and creamy skin. His father slouched slighty from a lifetime behind a plow but a wide grin and shining eyes filled the stout man with life. His father, nearly ten inches taller than his high-elven wife, wore a wide-brimmed leather hat older than Pavlen.

For nearly all of his eighteen years Pavlen dreamed of adventure. He talked of traveling to the reaches of Antonica ever since his father read him tales of lore when Pavlen was just a child. Now, with his leather pack full of provisions over one shoulder and a plan to travel east to the city of Qeynos, Pavlen didn't want to go. It would take only one reason or request from his parents for him to stay. They gave him none.

His mother's deep brown eyes spoke volumes. She knew the danger of sending her son into the wilds of Norrath. She knew the danger of keeping him home was worse. Breaking his spirit of adventure would kill him as surly as a knife. He might live sixty years if he stayed home but those years would be hollow. She smiled at her son and brushed his brown hair over his own pointed ear, her people's legacy to him. She smiled and hugged him tightly. When she broke the embrace she handed him another leather satchel. Three books, two large and one small, sat inside along with three quills and a bottle of black ink. Pavlen recognized the two larger books. His parents both read these books to him many times and he read them himself many more. The tales of adventure within fueled his fire for adventure and lead him to this day. He opened the small leatherbound book to discover a blank journal. Pavlen marveled at the ivory paper threadbound within the small black book. The paper alone must have cost a month's work at the farm.

"Now you can write your own tales." Pavlen's mother smiled at him again and a tear fell down her ivory cheek. Pavlen's father sniffed and Pavlen embraced him. His father kissed him on the cheek and Pavlen smiled at the way his father's whiskers ticked his skin.

"I love you, Son."

"I love you too, Dad."

Pavlen held the embrace a long while and then stepped back.

"Go." Pavlen's mother smiled and pointed west. Pavlen tightened his leather pack on his back and took his first steps as an adventurer of Norrath.

Above him, the shattered moon of Luclin marked the broken lands that lay ahead.