Lost Chapter #18

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                      *    THE ADVENTURERS    *
                    *                           *
                      *     Lost Tales...     *
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*    Many of the locations, non-player characters, spells, and      *
*  other terms used in these stories are the property of TSR, Inc.  *
*  However, this does not mean that TSR in any way endorses or      *
*  authorizes their use, and any such items contained within these  *
*  stories should not be considered representative of TSR in any    *
*  way, shape, or form.                                             *
*    The player characters contained in these writings are copy-    *
*  right 1991-8 by Thomas Miller.  Any resemblance to any persons   *
*  or characters either real or fictional is utterly coincidental.  *
*  Copying and/or distribution of these tales is permissible only   *
*  under the sole condition that no part of them will be used or    *
*  sold for profit.  In that case, I hope you enjoy them...         *
*                                                                   *
*                                  Thomas Miller                    *
*                                  tmiller@cimmeria.ns.gatech.edu   *
*  Songa        13th level human huntress                       (N) *
*  Date:        various                                             *
*  Time:        various                                             *
*  Place:       the Fruzti (Frost Barbarian) lands in the far north *
*  Climate:     cold                                                *
*  "Never underestimate a woman."                                   *
*                                                    - anonymous    *

                        XVIII.  Wild Thing

I.  Infancy (551 C.Y.)

  The village midwife held the screaming baby aloft.

midwife:  Llerg be praised!  It's a girl!
mother:  (half-conscious from the pain, she falls back on her furs,
  crying with joy)
father:  A girl...(he comforts his wife for a moment, but when she
  dozes off, he leaves the tent)

  It wasn't that he was a heartless or uncaring man - perhaps he just
didn't know _how_ to care.  The swaddling of babies in cloths, the
cleaning of them, and such tasks were best left to those who knew of
such things.  The newborn's father was not such a person; he was a
warrior, and cared little for dealing directly with babies...even his
  Especially since it wasn't a boy.

  Rolfgar had been learning and practicing the arts of war since the
days before he had hair on his face.  For more than ten winters, he
had fought, competed, drank, raided, and caroused with the other men
in the village.  All of these were people he'd grown up with - boys
who'd grown into men alongside one another.  Rolfgar had been looking
forward to having the first of many sons who would follow his path.
He'd been looking forward to watching it happen as he slipped into
old age, thereby having a reason to enjoy his autumn years.
  But now - at least, not anytime soon - it wasn't going to happen.
He had a daughter, and while she might grow up to be tall, strong,
and capable, it just wasn't the same.  Rolfgar knew that this was a
selfish view, in a way, but he just didn't care.  He had worked hard
for his entire life, and he felt that he deserved to have the family
he wanted.  Perhaps the gods were playing a trick on him - it wasn't
unheard of.
  Still, now he had a daughter, and he had to do his best.  He had to
give her the same effort and attention that he'd have given a boy -
even if he didn't like it.

II.  First Steps (554 C.Y.)

  Songa (for so had she been named) was a rather active three year-
old now.  She ran and pranced about with nearly reckless abandon;
one of her favorite tricks was to ram things with her head.  While
her mother thought this surely made her stupid, her father remained
convinced that it was a good sign.  Their daughter had also shown
herself to be bright and clever.  She'd already learned that fire
could be spread and carried around (after setting a fur ablaze) and
she enjoyed wrestling with the family's hunting dogs.  The toddler
had also gotten into the tools, the most memorable time being when
Rolfgar had found her smashing rocks with a small hammer.
  There was no doubt about it:  the girl had potential.

III.  The Spark  (560 C.Y.)

  In more civilized parts, children got in trouble for beating
each other up on playgrounds and other such places.  In the
barbarian village, far from anything even remotely resembling
civilization, children got into scuffles during food-gathering
missions, the building of new cabins, and even hunting trips.
Most recently, in Songa's case, she'd turned around and slugged
a boy who was taunting her.

Hildegard:  She's definitely got your spirit, husband.
Rolfgar:  (laughs)  Yes, she does.
young Songa:  You're not mad at me?
Rolfgar:  Tell us this, Songa:  why did you strike young Wulfis?
Songa:  He was bothering me...running around and pushing me and
  trying to pull my hair.  (she shakes her shoulder-length mane,
  of which she is quite proud)  Besides, I gave him a warning
  before I hit him.
Hildegard:  That boy lost some teeth, I hear.
Songa:  Good.  That means he learned his lesson.
Rolfgar:  (smiles)  And what if he hasn't?
Songa:  Then I'll hit him again.  Maybe harder.
Rolfgar:  (smiles broadly)
Hildegard:  Well, enough of that.  You need to go do your chores
Songa:  Okay.  (she hops up and scampers off)
Rolfgar:  A spunky one, that daughter of ours.
Hildegard:  She's only nine...
Rolfgar:  And already over five feet tall.  (he beams proudly)
  She will be a big, strong one.
Hildegard:  Almost like a son, eh?
Rolfgar:  (shakes his head)  No, but I'm happy with her anyway.
  (he frowns)  Maybe we should strive to give her a brother.
Hildegard:  (also frowns)  We have been.

  Outside, Songa was oblivious to her parents' problems and worries.
All she knew was that she'd punched a bully in the face, and now all
the other kids - even the boys - respected the hell out of her.  It
was a feeling the girl liked.

IV.  Tomboy  (564 C.Y.)

  By the age of thirteen, Songa had a reputation.  To be fair, most
women in the village had some kind of reputation.  Enja, for example,
was by far and away the best animal-tender the village had ever seen.
Olga possessed cooking skills that made others drool with envy.
Helga could knit the warmest, most rugged clothes in the village.
The sultry Ilsa, on the other hand, was known as one who would roll
in the hay with any boy who would have her.
  Songa's reputation was pretty much the opposite.  She spent no time
flirting with boys - because she was too busy competing with them.
Any and every test of speed, strength, endurance, or skill attracted
her attention, and she gave such trials everything she had.  She
didn't always win, but other people never discounted her potential
to.  Songa often had bruises, cuts, and other physical marks, but
they didn't matter to her at all.
  She'd also taken an avid interest in hunting, tracking, and other
related skills.  Her uncle, a grizzled old veteran of many campaigns,
had been the tribe's head scout and forager until age and declining
health had slowed him too much to do the job regularly.  Old Oxbar
was delighted to have a pupil - especially one who learned with such
frightening speed - and he made it his mission to pass on all of his
extensive knowledge and experience to the young girl.  In turn, she
made it her mission to learn everything he had to teach.
  Songa's drive to succeed came partially from her father - the girl
knew that Rolfgar had wanted a son, and she felt that she had to do
the same things a son would have done.  Still, most of her desire to
excel came from within; she'd inherited the willpower and sensibility
of her mother, along with the size and strength of her father.  She
felt that she had the best traits of both of them, and she was fully
determined to live life on her own terms, and by her own hand, if

V.  Hormones  (567 C.Y.)

  By the time she was sixteen, Songa was known to be the best all-
around hunter, tracker, and scout in the village.  She was given
important tasks and responsibilities, ones that had always been
reserved for males who'd seen at least twenty winters.  People now
relied on her for deeds and advice, and she was fairly happy.
  Happy, that is, except for one thing:  the young men wouldn't leave
her alone.  She was one of the most beautiful girls in the village -
and that alone would have made her a prize catch.  The problem was,
she wasn't really ready for that yet.  Oh, she had the same desires,
urges, and drives as all young women.  She simply didn't let them
control her.  Songa didn't want her life and her potential to be
wasted by choosing the wrong man - or by choosing one too early.
Consequently, she chose no one.
  The problem was, they didn't give up.  She had to think of some
answer to this problem, and soon.  Her father suggested that she
simply figure out which of the young men she liked the most, and
then wed him.  Then again, her father had a different outlook on
life.  Her mother told her to bide her time, and supported her when
necessary, despite her father's frustration at this.

VI.  Tragedy (569 C.Y.)

  Shortly before her eighteenth year, Songa lost both her parents to
a terrible sickness that swept the village.  Most of the fatalities
occurred among the older and weaker; while neither Rolfgar nor Hildegard
was quite at the fragile stage, they both perished from the sickness.
She took it a lot better than most people expected her to, and when
the fresh round of suitors came a-calling, she surprised them all by
maintaining her stance from before, even more firmly.  She worked off
her anger and sadness by training, both with weapons and without.  She
climbed trees, and then mountains.  She stayed away for weeks at a
time, testing herself by living off the land and braving the elements.
She hunted the largest, most dangerous game - and was triumphant.
  As others would soon learn, Songa was pushing and conditioning
herself for another reason besides forgetting about her grief.

VII.  Challenge (570 C.Y.)

  Half a year after her parents' deaths, Songa again surprised every-
one in the village by offering what seemed like a good deal:  anyone
who wanted to be her mate had to beat her in unarmed combat first.
Some would-be suitors backed off at this point, but others tried,
because they had to.
  They tried, and they failed.  Songa was much like a wild panther:
sleek, supple, fast, and deadly.  More often than not, she broke
bones and dislocated joints when she fought - and she never lost.
Nine young men had gone up against her (and failed) before it was
accepted that Songa didn't want to be married.
  The villagers all thought this, but they all thought wrong.  What
they didn't realize was that she _did_ want a mate, but just hadn't
found the right one yet.  She didn't quite piece it together, but
life in the village bored her, as did the men there.

VIII.  The Coming of Rillen (573 C.Y.)

  In late autumn of her twenty-second year, Songa led a special hunt
into the snow-covered wilderness.  The village had some special
guests, one of whom Songa had known as a child.  When Arnold returned
to the place of his birth, he brought friends - adventuring companions
like himself.  The village chief invited the outlanders to participate
in the Great Hunt, wherein they would track and eventually fight the
Great Beast.
  It was Songa who succeeded in tracking the Beast, but during the
ensuing battle, she was gravely wounded.  One of the outlanders, a
big monk named Rillen, risked his own life to save hers, and then
stayed at her side while she recovered.  It was then that Songa felt
the first stirrings of attraction - the sort of attraction that had
been absent from her life until then.

  The rest, as they say...is history!

next:      Bosco's soul's time in the plane of Water
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homepage:  http://www.gatech.edu/oit/oe/design/thomas/adv/adv.html
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notes:     Please realize that I'm not necessarily espousing the
  views and opinions of Songa's father.  I'm simply making up a
  character here.
    This was an unusual format to use for a story - I came closest
  to it with the Ged lost tale - but it seemed right.  Initially,
  this lost tale was supposed to detail Tanya's past, but I didn't
  want to get into that - I'm not a big fan of slavery, especially
  in the case of women, and I just didn't feel like doing that
  story.  I probably never will.

    Thanks to Nathan Weismuller for pointing out a canon error made
  when I wrote lost tales #12:  Halbarad got his scar because of
  that mission, not from an ogre king as he claimed in episode #193.

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