With the death of his adoptive parents, Traegus learned of humans short lives. Having been placed into the local orphanarium he kept to himself, often mocked as different by the almost entirely human children. Traegus would spend his days roaming the woods and grasslands near the small village. He didn’t often speak of it but he felt an affinity to the living things he found there. The slow rush of trees constant lumbering motion, the staccato thrashing of the grasses, the symphonic tones of the winds as they twisted and warped around it all. But his mind was always drawn away by flights of fancy. Daydreams were where he felt at home. He often found himself battling hordes of imaginary enemy’s who inevitably fell to the prowess of his makeshift wooden swords and spears. One afternoon Traegus was at war with a particularly nasty giant warlord who had him pinned in the thicket that acted as his base of operations. Things were looking grim, the giant had smashed through to the interior and Traegus’ weapons had been broken defeating the last of his troops. The giant raised up his enormous boot to smash the defenseless elf when suddenly the giant was bowled over by a rushing force from his right flank. Traegus couldn’t believe his luck as he hopped back to his feet. Grabbing a sword fallen from the hands of one of his enemies, Traegus leapt atop the fallen giant and with expert precision, ended his reign of terror. Traegus looked to the edge of the thicket and found his savior. A mass of formless energy, the savior advanced upon the young elf where they embraced in the glory of their shared victory. “Gramsci”! Traygus yelled. “I’m so glad you’ve finally made it!” Gramsci nodded knowingly.

Kath was the human leader of the kids who played bruiseball behind the orphanarium. The kids who played bruiseball took special pleasure in ridiculing Traegus whenever they found him, eyes glazed, mouth agape and drooling. Fantasizing about his adventures with Gramsci. Taking on the hordes of evil who were always looking for a fight. Today wasn’t the first day that Kath flicked Traegus’s long, pointed ears. The elfs head snapped up, drool flying up to accentuate the humiliation by landing with a splat in his eye. Kath and the other boys laughed. Traegus still half filled with heroic fervor from his most recent fantastical adventure, leapt to his feet and pushed the bully pathetically in his shoulders. Kath broke into hysterics, which spread like wildfire through his group of flunkies. Traegus stood tall as if he had willed them to be overcome by magical laughter. “Your lucky I don’t have Gramsci teach you a lesson Kath!” The elf threatened. Kath, wiping the tears of laughter out of his eyes asked “who’s Gramsci?” As he hunched over in another peal of laughter. Traegus was taken aback for a moment, having to wrap his mind around the idea that his boon companion was a figment of his imagination. “Never mind.” He whispered as he plodded away dejectedly. The human boys were still laughing uncontrollably as he made his way back to his room.

It was a few days before his birthday, the day that he would finally be able to go out into the world, to take in it’s many pleasures, to find the glory and wealth he had fantasized about for so many years. He was elated that he would no longer be the butt of Kath and his friends jokes. They had taken to feigning fear of the elf and his mysterious, invisible bodyguard. Often begging him to never set the almighty Gramsci on them. They would always have a good laugh at his expense and move on, so Traegus didn’t say much to them. That afternoon Traegus was wandering out beyond the wooded back lot behind the orphanarium as he did nearly every day, fencing with trees and practicing hand to hand combat with an old gate, when he thought he heard a muffled yelp coming from the woods. He puffed out his chest and grabbed his favorite spear branch. “Come Gramsci!” He beckoned as he furrowed his brow and stoically made for the troubled townsfolk of his imagination. His senses were assaulted by something filthy as he neared the area he thought he had heard the noise. He saw Kath scrambling up from a ditch before something dragged him down with a tackle. As Traegus crested the ridge he was frozen for a moment as a pair of huge rats were pulling at Kaths clothes. As the young human struggled to verbalize anything more than terrified grunts, adrenalin coursed through Traegus’s body and like the hero he was in his mind he dropped into the ditch, smashing one of the rats on top of its head with his branch. The rat hissed menacingly, backing off to size up this new threat. It’s companion sensing trouble let go of the human to assess the newly developing situation. The rats who had been looking for an easy meal were enraged at the elf for spoiling their easy pickings. Kath paralyzed with terror, glimpsed the scene out of the corner of his eye. Traegus could see the relief and utter confusion as the human realized who had just leapt to his aid. Then the rats were on him. He swung at the one he had hit already but the rats were quick and it darted away from the blow, then just as fast bit the branch and snapped it in the middle. Traegus’ heroism quickly turned to fear as his weapon was destroyed. One rat tripped him with a vicious bite on the ankle, the other pinned the arm that held the broken stick. A tear fell from his eye with the realization that the smell of rat would be his last sense. In desperation Traegus raised his arm out to fend off the snapping jaws of the rats, and cried out in terror for his only friend. “GRAMSCI!” He begged the universe. The hairs on the back of Kaths neck sprung to immediate attention, as a whirling mass of force side swiped the rat that was about to sink it’s disgusting yellow teeth into the elfs neck, smashing the vermin to shreds of reeking flesh. The second rat paused for just a moment, stuck in a sudden fight or flight response, confused as to what had just happened to its mate. That moment was enough for Gramsci to end it’s life with a bite of his own, shaking the vermin to its death. The blood flushed out of Kaths face as he fainted at the impossibility of what he had just witnessed. Traegus was thankful for his unconsciousness as he disbelievingly tackled his friend and protector with a shout of relieved gratitude. The two friends instinctively knew that Gramsci would watch over the unconscious human while the injured elf would run for help. It was also known to both of them that Gramsci would not be there to be discovered by whomever Traegus brought back. They both knew that there would be a lifetime to get to know each other.

Traegus and Gramsci wandered the countryside for over a year. Traegus would take odd jobs in towns and villages they found, learning what he could about how to take care of himself. He would let Gramsci back into his imagination so the townsfolk wouldn’t be scared, but the two always travelled the countryside together. That’s when Jamis found them. Jamis was a rotund human and knew immediately what Gramsci was. He introduced them both to Talisman, Jamis’s own Eilodon. Eilodon was an unfamiliar term to the elf and his friend but it seemed to fit so they went with it. For the next several months Traegus agreed to do the cooking and cleaning for Jamis, and in return Jamis would teach what little he knew.


Burnt Offerings chronometron