As narrated by Raff Goldenstrings
May 8th, 695CC
Thirteen years prior to the events in The Acolyte's Map
The fox has instructed me that I'm t'tell this truthfully and completely, leaving out nothing this time. I feel silly speaking t'naught but the air- and my pet mouse and the bossy fox, I suppose- but Felix says that I needs must speak what's true t'atone for the false I told the healer earlier. I don't understand this. I've been taught t'bend the truth when I needta and I didn't speak false so much as leave bits out. Why are the words I use around Saef so important that I must be chastened so by his- our- animal guide? Maybe I shouldn't of- shouldn't have- even bothered telling Saef anything, but I'm not sure he was convinced I'm what I say I am. Okay, and I was also kind of hoping my story would get a smile out of him. He never smiles and I'm not entirely convinced that he knows how t'laugh. I wish I knew why he's always so grumpy and prickly. I mean, he wasn't the one captured...
But that's nothing t'do with what I've been instructed t'say. I must do as I'm bid, especially when it comes from a fox, and hope I finish before Saef returns. He already thinks me crazy for talking t'animals. I can only imagine what he'd do if he found me talking t'the sky! Most of what I said t'him was true. I am a priest of Hermes. Two months ago I was ordained and given the title ″Prior″. (Maybe a bit longer than two months, now as I think on it. I was in the dark place so long, I don't rightly know today's date.) I know I don't seem old enough t'be more than an acolyte, but I truly am older'n I look. I'm twenty-two, 'though if I'm t'be honest, were I human it would perhaps be more like seventeen. The other Messengers were never really sure what age t'treat me, so it was assumed I was of age with the young acolytes I trained with.
'Tis somewhat strange for me t'be a Messenger, with my pointed ears and all, but we all do come from different walks of life. Farm boys, children of merchants and traders, young people who grew up knowing the woods as I did, even nobles. My mate's a nob, as is a lass who trained with us. Any can be picked for this order, so long as they have something that makes them fit. Generally that trait is mischief, but our skills and hobbies vary as much as our backgrounds do. All this is the truth, as is what I told Saef about my life 'fore entering the priesthood.
I was raised by my mother and grew up around her animals companions and sometimes her kin. They're trackers, rangers, and various woodsy sorts. My da would visit us, but he was never so good at spending time in the wilderness and my mum always says she isn't comfortable in cities. (I still don't know how that relationship ever worked... but now that I'm older and have a love, I guess I can personally attest that sometimes opposites do attract!) My father was always amused that I joined up with a human priesthood despite my upbringing which should have left me more elf- or maybe coyote- than human. He never got t'see me ordained though. He passed a few years back. My mum's always refused t'tell me exactly what happened and she'd become distraught whenever I asked, so I stopped. Maybe someday she'll tell me, but I haven't the heart t'upset her. This, too, is all truth.
Where it got a bit hazy was when I started goin' deeper with my tale of how I came t'be a Messenger. At the fox's request, I'll try t'speak clearer and tone down my accent so I'm more understandable. Felix, ye know no one's listening, aye? ... You know no one is listening, correct? Better? You are worse than the priest who instructed us in languages, ye know- I'm amazed that dealing with me didn't make him hand in his robes and run off t'be a hermit, far away from stubborn and thickheaded elves.
((This narration takes place during "In the Cards" [my in-progress novel that's also currently a messy rough draft], shortly after he meets Seph [whose name he can't pronounce yet], and is introducing a short story about Raff's past. I'll be posting the next part at some point!))