A five year old human boy was cloaked, stowed away in a small convoy of wagons heading down a trading road in the middle of the night not far from the borders of Cloudrun territory. The Rafters could be seen up the mountains, their scattered lights the only stars in this star-less night as heavy cloud cover cast the forest in near pitch black darkness. He had no name, reason to be where he was, nowhere to go, and yet he could feel fear. He wasn’t supposed to be with these people, but had no power to escape and no direction to go even if he did; he certainly couldn’t climb those behemoth trees leading up to the lights. At the darkest point in the night they attacked: a group of marauders that overwhelmed the convoy. They killed the adults and plundered any valuables within the wagons. While his captors were distracted fighting off the raid from the marauders, the boy hid beneath one of the wagons. Before leaving the site the marauders, as was customary, torched the vehicles and bodies of the fallen. And just as the enemy was leaving, as the boy could barely standing breathing in the smoke any longer he made it out from beneath the burning wagon, off the path and into the forest. Alone, cold, and wet, as the rain soon came down, the boy was found by a kobold and brought to his hut on the outskirts of the Rafters.
The kobold’s name was Killian Cook. After rescuing the boy, Killian would continue to take care of him until he could find his way. The human was given the name “Gray”. The kobold wasn’t very creative at naming things, but the human had this empty look in his eyes when he was rescued and for the following months until opening up. He seemed…empty. While not very social, Killian was well known in the Cloudrun area to be a fantastic chef, who’s tasty entrees would fuel Gray’s passion for food. Killian was a scavenger, making trips into the dark forest and returning with the most exotic ingredients to create his culinary masterpieces. He would tell Gray about the city in the skies, the Rafters of Cloudrun atop the trees on the steep mountainside, and its residents the avians. “Perhaps one day you’ll get to live up there Gray”, he would often say. Was he teasing the boy? Gray could only dream about what it was like up there, although he has seen many avians that have come down from the Rafters to the nearby Base Camp.
Around three years after the kobold took him in, Gray was in the forest near dusk when he heard the skirmish. A large mountain lion was pursuing a young avian girl and had her trapped, injured, underneath the roots of a large tree. It’s claws were razor sharp and were shredding through the wood; the girl didn’t have a lot of time. Armed with a short spear for hunting, Gray had just one chance to hit his mark, as a miss with the throwing spear would leave him without a very effective killing weapon vs an animal many times larger, faster, and stronger than himself. But as Gray was drawing his arm back, and the lion was almost breaking through the roots, the avian yelled out to Gray to “just do it!”. The mountain lion reared its head the backwards towards the human just as the spear pierced through its open mouth, the back of its skull, and finally embedded into the trunk of the tree above the avian. She was saved.
Gray returned the injured avian, Ren, to her father who happened to be the current Highfeather Lord of Cloudrun, Aeroth. This was Gray’s first trip into the canopy. This feat of heroism by Gray earned him status as an honorary citizen of the Rafters, and he was even offered to be taken in by Aeroth himself to live in the trees like he had dreamed of for years. Gray accepted the offer, pretty much pushed out the door by Killian who always wanted Gray to have a more proper upbringing.
The human became close friends with Ren, as the elder was often busy with his responsibilities running the town and convening with the representatives at the Base Camp of Cloudrun, the merchant town down by the river below. She is an adept hunter, mastering two-weapon fighting as well as archery where Gray found and ax and shield to be his calling. Living in the trees isn’t easy for a non-winged person, something Ren teases him with every now and then, so Gray became a great climber to compensate. He also helped himself get around by aiding in the construction of rope bridges and such throughout the elevated town. Avian society is much more communal, so Gray knew just about everybody up there and everybody knew and took care of him.
Gray spent his teenage years growing up with Ren and hunting with her, making trips down the ziplines to the base camp below, and eating the delicious creations of Killian Cook.
Around the time Gray was 15, Killian became more reserved over a few weeks’ time,, speaking of orbs and strange magic. He was accused of stealing a valuable piece of artwork by Raurosian authorities, captured, and executed. His hut was burned to the ground. Gray was out on a hunt and busy up in the trees and had not been to see Killian for a week. After coming back to the hut Gray was devastated at the sudden loss of his friend, and heard the rumors from townsfolk as to Killian’s fate and the reason for it. Gray still isn’t 100% convinced he believes them.
Winters in the rafters are cold, so Gray became used to it before long, but he could always check out the hot springs near the base camp if he needed to warm up. It took longer to get used to the ziplines though. While most were tame and fun, there were some that went straight from the rafters up the mountainside to sea-level below. Until Gray built up the confidence and ruggedness to handle those, Ren would help to slow down the descent with her wings, an embarrassment to Gray to this day that she isn’t going to let him forget.
As the lifespan of an avian is dwarfed by that of a human, Gray has seen many of his avian family change or pass over the years. This has motivated him to really want to get out and see the world as every moment is precious, and to try all the delicious foods he can. The view from atop the trees, while vast, is but a tiny portion of what is out there to see and experience. Gray wants to see it all.
Gray is 19 at the present. He has grown to be an impressive 6’2", muscular build. His full plate armor actually makes him look quite a bit larger than he actually is, but despite its weight Gray can maneuver effectively while wearing it. He wields a large one-hand shield as well as a battle axe
He is cheerful and kind, and generally quick to trust people, growing up in an avian society. He remembers the fire from when he was ambushed as a child but not much else, and nothing before it. He is strong-willed, and will lay his life on the line for his friends, or anybody in dire need of his protection. He does however believe that if you are capable, you should work hard to help others and to be self-sufficient. Gray is wary around fire, with the exception of flames for cooking or lighting, a result of the trauma from his childhood.
Character motivations include but are not limited to:
- opportunity to eat delicious foods
- opportunity to see new places, to leave the nest and visit places he has only heard of in stories
- learning about who he was before the fire
- unraveling the mystery behind Killian’s death
- protecting Cloudrun
- protecting those who are weak, and unable to protect themselves
Birthday is 27th of Winterhaven