The wind howled. It was a dark and stormy night, and all was silent except for the sound of raindrops hitting leaf and stone. But the quiet would not last.
The sound of brigands and bandits whooping and shouting filed the forest, and then the sound of footsteps grew ever louder. The small cabin was no match, and was only occupied by a family and a few servants.
The farmer told his wife to grab their child and go, and that he would meet them at the river. Tearfully, she gathered up the boy in her arms, and, with a goodbye kiss to her husband, fled into the night.
Wielding rake and shovel, the farmer and farm hands tried to stop the bandits. Their leader walked forward.
He wore a black vest, with puffy white sleeves, and had a rapier hanging on his belt. Near it, he had a pistol.
“I am Zargand the brigand, True ruler of this wood. You are a trespasser, and shall be removed from these lands.” He spoke his words with a grin, and seemed to think rather highly of himself. “Of course, Zargand wouldn’t mind sparing you… provided you surrender peacefully.”
The Farmer stepped forward, and spat at the brigand’s feet. “ My Pa, and his Pa, and his Pa before him have farmed here. We’ve survived famine and plague, wolves and bandits… And we’ll do it again!
He raised his shovel. “Get em’, boys!”
Zargand smiled. “ I had feared that you would cause Zargand trouble… No matter.” The brigand raised his hand, and let it fall.
The bandits behind him raised pistols, and fired. The farmhands fell, each pierced by several bullets.
Zargand smirked, and drew his rapier. “ A simple matter.” He said with a wide grin.
Zargand saluted, and sidestepped the clumsy blow the farmer aimed at him. He neatly and precisely stabbed the farmer in the heart, and pulled his blade out. The farmer slumped to the ground, dead. The brigand crouched, and cut off a bit of flesh from the farmer’s arm. He popped it into his mouth, unashamedly. “ Ah, nothing like good muscle… a tad too tough, though…”
The Farmer’s wife ran from the farm, ran as fast as she could. She could hear gunshots, and she wept for her husband. She heard horses galloping nearby. Then she heard the pistol fire, and the bullet struck her in the arm. She collapsed, and started crawling. She had to save her infant son.
She entered a deep part of the woods, and she was starting to get light-headed from blood loss. She began calling for help, and the she collapsed near a tree stump. She let out a final cry, and then fainted.
The Boy began to cry, and then he heard a tree creak above him.
Suddenly, the bark shifted, and the tree opened Large, brown eyes. He smiled down at the poor boy, and lifted him up into his branches.
He offered some berries to the boy, and tucked him into a small bed of leaves. He then sent a squirrel messenger to his great-uncle twice removed, and asked for advice. As a Treant, he spoke the language of the forest, known only to plants and animals. To teach it to a human would be a terrible sin.
A bird returned, and told him to keep the boy alive, as the Treants are kind and merciful, and they could easily save him. The mother, however, must be allowed to succumb to her wounds. She has the mindset of humans, he said, and mustn’t be permitted to live.
He also was to let the boy be with birds and beasts, but not to teach him the sacred language. The Treant agreed, and thus the boy survived his family’s destruction, with the only souvenir being his family talisman, left in his tiny hand by his mother, as she passed on.
The boy was thirteen now, and he was a part of the wildlife of the forest. He had been helpful to the predators, as he warned them of danger with his favorite sound. “Squawk! Squawk!” he would shout.
He also helped the prey, and they appreciated him scaring away predators.
One day the boy was scavenging for fruit when he heard the sound of metal striking metal. He went to have a look, and witnessed fencers fighting bandits. He saw a bandit sneaking up on one of the fencers, and so he shouted a warning.
“Squawk! Squawk! Squawk!”
The fencer blocked the blow headed for his heart and neatly sliced the bandit’s throat. “Thanks, bud!” He said with a warm smile. The boy didn’t understand, but he could tell the man was happy, so he smiled back.
The fencers claimed victory, and headed back to the Training Grounds. The boy tagged along, and one of the fencers tried to strike up conversation.
Through sign language mixed with some words, she managed to convey to him that she was called Yip. Yip decided the boy needed a name, and she decided to call him Sir Squawkers. Once they were within the keep, Shayen Locke, lieutenant of the Order of the Rose, Thought he needed a first name, and she called him Jay.
Thus, Jay Squawkers joined Terrasylvae. He was taught by the scholars of the Order how to read, write, and do basic arithmetic. He seeks to do honor to the Order. That is how Jay met the Terrasylvans.