Sea of Madness
My name is Faunus. I was born in the Feywild, but did not have the luxury of growing up there for long. Mentally, satyrs mature much faster than the mortal races I have encountered, so I have very clear memories of my early years in the woodlands with the satyrs and nymphs. It was during these early years that I was kidnapped by mortals.
I was chasing frogs by a shallow stream one day when they came out of the bushes and grabbed me. I was still only a few years old, so I was not able to defend myself in any way. They took me to the mortal realm and kept me in a small cage. There were others from the Feywild there with me. Next to my cage was what I now know is a birdcage. Inside the birdcage was a pixie. The pixie’s name was Chrysa, and she kept speaking to me to keep my spirits up.
We were actively guarded at all times, so escape was not really feasible. After languishing in my cage for several days at least, a human I had not seen before entered. He turned out to be some noble who was an avid collector of exotic creatures. He was looking to add to his collection.
Several of us were loaded onto a large covered wagon and brought to Lord Greymoor’s estate. I was grateful that Lord Greymoor purchased Chrysa as well, as she had become my only friend since I had been taken. When we arrived at the estate we were all brought to holding pens built into a large hall in one of the estate’s wings. Greymoor called it his “Marvelous and Monstrous Madcap Menagerie”.
Chrysa and I were given a pen to share, since pairing either of us up with some of the other creatures probably would have resulted in our deaths. Our pen was three stone walls, and the fourth wall was reinforced bars. The space between the bars was filled with a thick, transparent glass, save for a few holes left open near the top for air. There was a slot in the door through which they would feed us. The pen was furnished with some plants native to the Feywild, kept in pots, as well as a few inches of soil on the floor. The hall outside the pen was patrolled by some guards and dogs regularly. Every so often Greymoor would come and visit, sometimes with guests. He’d regale them with tales of how HE was the one who captured us on one of his many hunts.
Chrysa and I lived in the pen for a couple of years. Over that time my horns grew in. Every night for several weeks while Chrysa slept, and whenever none of the guards were around, I would try to work one of my horns into the seam in the metal casing on the door that contained the lock. I refused to give up, despite the slow progress. Finally, one night, in the early hours of the morning, two of the bolts cracked and the plates separated enough for me to pry the back plate off completely. I was looking at the lock mechanism from the opposite side of the keyhole. At first I just stared at it. The tumblers and pins meant nothing to me at that time. I studied the lock for a while before finally pulling some long thorns off one of the larger flowers in our pen. Using the thorns as makeshift tools, I started to manipulate the tumblers. Through a lot of trial and error, I grasped how the whole thing worked. Finally, I heard what has now become one of my favorite sounds in all the world, the slide and click of unlocking a lock without a key.
I slowly and carefully opened the door to the pen slightly, just enough to peek out and look down the length of the hallway in both directions. I could see two guards talking at one end, with a dog by their feet. The other end was clear. Both ends of the hallway seemed to have a large arched opening that lead to another area of the estate. I darted over to Chrysa and woke her. When I showed her what I had done she was both exultant, and horrified. She told me that it was too dangerous to try to escape, that the guards would kill us; we were replaceable commodities. I told her that I was leaving and I wanted her to come with me. She refused to let me go alone.
We crept out of the door and made our way to the exit opposite the guards. As we rounded the corner we found ourselves in another hall full of pens, but there was no exit! We were at the end of the wing. Chrysa quickly tugged on my arm and begged me to go back to the cell with her before we were discovered. I was already looking at the creatures in one of the pens though. The creatures were big and scary looking. Chrysa told me they were trolls. I told her that if I could pick the lock on the troll pen then we could let them be a distraction! Chrsa was leery, but agreed.
It took me several tries, but finally, I picked the lock on the door to the trolls’ pen. I hollered as loud as I could, and then Chrysa enchanted me with pixie dust so I could fly. Her magic could only let me fly for a few seconds, but it was enough time for me to swoop up, grab her, and cling to a chandelier hanging from the ceiling. The trolls burst through the door and barreled out into the hallway just as the dog, followed by the two guards, rounded the corner. As they all fought, I dropped down from the chandelier, with Chrysa following me, and we hurried past the fracas. We knew it would not be long before more guards arrived.
We made it to a hallway that had windows. I grabbed a heavy candelabra and threw it through a window. Just as we were about to dash out though, more guards arrived, with two more dogs. Before I knew what was happening Chrysa flew into my backside at full speed and shoved me right out the window. I fell into the bushes below. I looked up and waited for her to follow, but only a few seconds later I saw a piece of one of her wings waft out the window and land next to me.
I had no idea I could run so fast.
I made my way through the forest to a city inhabited mostly by humans. There were a few elves and dwarves, but otherwise they were all human. I took to thievery to survive, which was difficult at first. Being the only satyr in the city, I stuck out. I remembered something that Chrysa once told me though, she said, “You will always be fey, and that makes you strong.” Remembering that, I learned to harness my natural magical abilities and use them to transform my appearance. I could make myself look human, or elven, or like an eladrin. It was remarkably useful for maintaining a low profile. And with my ability to disguise my true nature I taught myself the way of the streets. I learned how to take what I needed, and what I wanted.
Then I got cocky. I started planning bigger and bigger heists. And I kept working alone, refusing to let anyone get too close. It was only a matter of time before I got caught, and that is exactly what happened. His name was Wraythwicke, and he was a merchant that everyone knew was trafficking in illegal merchandise. It was after the third or fourth time they hit my face with a club I remembered the word, “hubris”.
Wraythwicke sold me to a slaver, Beryl, who ran an underground gladiatorial arena outside the city in an old abandoned theater-in-the-round. I had gone from being a zoo attraction, to a street urchin, to a gladiator before I was twelve years old!
They gave me a few daggers and threw me in the pit with mostly animals at first. Wolves, boars, rabid badgers, if it was a mean mammal smaller than a bear, I fought it. I quickly learned how to fight with small blades and came to favor their speed and versatility. When I got older and they finally started pitting me against other gladiators, rather than take up learning a more formidable weapon, I decided to use a shortsword. Even then, my daggers were still always with me.
I became a bit of a crowd-pleaser for the way I would dart around the arena and viciously cut into whoever I happened to be fighting. The arena master would always tell me I was “very entertaining to watch”. “You hit them hard and fast, but also with style,” he’d say.
Then came the day when I was fighting a particularly tall half-orc. You see, our fights in the arena were the only time outside the holding pen when we were not chained to a wall or a stone column. It was at this moment I seized the opportunity to escape. I used another trick I had discovered while meditating on my fey heritage. I hummed a little tune that enchanted the half-orc and threw him off his guard, and I lead him right next to the wall of the pit. I did not waste any time, since I knew my little trick with the song would be fleeting. I ran right up the half-orc’s back and jumped as high as I could. I grabbed a hold of the top of the wall and pulled myself over. The audience began to scream and flee the theater as I quickly ran for an exit. Some of the arena master’s thugs tried to intercept me, but I was able to dodge past them. For the second time in my life I found myself hurtling out of a window with several armed men just behind me. I made it, though. I escaped.
For the next few years I worked as a thief-for-hire, and occasionally I was hired to do some strong-arming. When I had finally saved up enough money I hired guides to take me back to the Feywild. I could not tell them which forest I was from, I could only describe it. They knew of several different places that I might be from. They lead me through a known fey crossing and brought me to one of the places they knew satrys lived. My family was not there.
My guides have now returned to the mortal realm, our contract is complete. I am now searching the Feywild for my family, my satyr father and my nymph mother. Even if I should never find them, I must know more of what it is to be fey. I have been robbed of so much knowledge of what it is to be a satyr. And then once I know that, I will return to the mortal realm, and both Lord Greymoor, as well as Beryl, will both suffer for what they have done.
THEME SONG: Gogol Bordello – ‘Undestructable’