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Apprentice Scribe

Joined: 10 Nov 2011
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re: Katerien's Back-Story

Katerien was born in a small village in Rohan, the sixth child to her exhausted mother and overly-virile father. She was the only girl, which her mother desperately wanted. Unfortunately, her mother died in childbirth, leaving Katerien with five older brothers, and a father who didn’t have a clue what to do with a little girl. Her eldest brothers, twins Mathias and Markus, took her under their wing. They gave outfitting Katerien in dresses and putting pink bows in her hair a great effort, but finally decided they just weren’t cut out to be moms. So, they handed her a very different kind of bow and took her hunting with them for the first time when she was five. She tuned out to be an excellent right-handed archer. When she was six, she fell off her first stallion and broke her wrist. She learned to shoot her bow left-handed. At seven, she felled her first wolf. When she came home wearing the pelt, her father began to suspect his daughter was not turning into the fine young lady his wife would have wanted, and maybe he should not have left her education to her brothers.

In addition to quickly learning to eat fast, and run faster to keep up with the boys, she grew up on the stories of orc-fighting and goblin smiting from her second eldest (and favorite) brother Jeremiah, who rode with the Rohirim. Katerien began to dream about adventure and seeing the world. Dragons, trolls, and excitement sounded much more interesting than sitting at home trying to learn needle point from a brother who, on his first attempt, stabbed himself in two separate fingers with one stroke. (It should be mentioned here that Bill, the youngest brother, should have been the one to teach Katerien to sew, as he had begun working on his not-particularly-manly cloak-making skills in secret, and had he been in charge of Katerien’s education things could have turned out very differently.) Wanting to equip her with the ability to follow her passions, Mathias and Markus (with great sighs of relief) gave up on sewing and worked on developing her tracking skills, giving her the tools to survive in the wild if she needed to.

At the age of fourteen, Katerien was an accomplished archer, decent sword-fighter, and excellent horseback rider. She was the family’s best tracker, and recently put the family’s hound to shame finding a rabbit for dinner before he did. One evening at dinner, her father casually mentioned at dinner that oh by the way in two weeks Katerien would be married off to a 47-year-old drunken captain of the guard, which a passion for “fixing” reckless 14-year-old girls. Feeling passionately that this was not going to work out so very well, (and also not considering “reckless” and “not a helpless wimp” to mean the same thing) Katerien conspired with her brothers, and together they searched for a way out. Jeremiah purchased for her a mangy and slightly lame mare that had been retired from it’s work with the Rohirim. Mathias crafted a bow and as many arrows as he could in the short time he had. Markus donated their uncle’s old, rusted sword. Josaih, the entrepreneur gave her as much silver as he could spare. Trimeous gave her an old saddle and pack to carry her food and money. Bill (Katerien’s mother and father had run out of family boys names by the time Bill came along, and wanted to name him something exotic) gave Katerien one of his secretly-made cloaks, and sent her along with well-wishes and a reminder to keep her socks dry. Jeremiah, the only family member who had been outside the village, suggested she head towards Bree, and look for the aide of anyone who called themselves a Ranger. He warned her they would be tough and likely hardened looking fellows, but they would always be willing to help a traveler in need. Two nights before the “wedding” Katerien hugged her brothers for the last time and, in the dead of night, began making her way down the road away from her home, and everything she had ever known.

After what felt like the longest and most sleep-deprived week of her life, Katerien came across a traveling band of minstrels. By this time, Katerien was feeling much less appreciative than she had been towards Jeremiah’s “head towards Bree and hope you run across a Ranger” advice, and wondering how bad a drunken 47-year-old captain whom she could probably best with a sword would be really. Though Katerien had never been particularly fond of the minstrels that came through her village (she was too busy with target practice for silliness like dancing and story telling), this group was a sight for very sore eyes. They, who did not sound very convincing about their knowledge of the local geography—or any subject beyond the most popular song and what they would have for dinner—claimed their were heading towards Lorien, in hopes of meeting an elf and learning some new songs. From Jeremiah’s stories, Katerien was not sure any elf would be very willing to impart their musical knowledge to these scruffy, smelly minstrels, who had questionable opinions on what “in tune” music sounded like, but she was tired of travelling alone and the minstrels were thrilled to find someone who could successfully catch dinner more than once every two weeks or so. It took almost six months of traveling over rivers, through woods, up and around mountains, and circling back at least three times (Katerien was sure she had seen that mountain at least twice before) for the minstrels to finally decide maybe they didn’t need to meet an elf so badly after all. Hobbits, they claimed. They knew the best stories. And, even if they didn’t, they knew good ale better than any other race in Middle Earth. Katerien, disappointed about not meeting an elf, but beginning to think the only good lute was one burning on the campfire, agreed that they needed a new destination, perhaps one they had hopes of actually finding, and she would travel with them a bit longer.

After another tedious six months of traveling (this time, Katerien was sure she had seen that mountain before) and more lute lessons than you could shake a considerably sized stick at, Katerien told the friendly minstrels that while they were all wonderful people, really, but she thought she should set off on her own, she felt her life was destined for more than wandering in circles and if she ever did make it to Hobbiton in her travels, she would be sure to send them directions. Sad to see her go, the minstrels gave her some of their colorful traveling cloaks, what little money they could spare, and waved as she rode off on her slightly less mangy but still slightly lame mare. Katerien may have felt some of her time with the minstrels was wasted, but she did leave them with a few good stories to tell, and (much to her brother Bill’s delight, if he had known) finally a bit of fashion sense, imparted to her by the matronly elder minstrel women, who insisted a lady should at least know how to dress properly. Naturally, she learned how to ride a horse in a dress, too.

Realizing she was actually close to where she had started over a year ago, Katerien decided to try to seek the Rohirim and her brother Jeremiah. Employing her tracking skills her brothers had thoughtfully taught her for situations such as these, Katerien tracked the Rohirim near Helm’s Deep. In fairness, a large herd of horses that leave large piles of, well, horse-poo, whenever they travel anywhere made them one of her easier targets. Jeremiah was thrilled to see her, but counseled her against returning to her home, as her father’s inability to produce her for her wedding had caused quite the commotion in the village and caused her father to lose a significant amount of money. The news that Katerien’s father had actually been intending to SELL Katerien to the drunken captain had been a shock to all the brothers, and in their anger they had abandoned their father and home and were now scattered across Middle Earth. They had all been hoping to run into Katerien, who had likely missed them while she had been circling the mountains with the minstrels. Katerien was able to stay with Jeremiah for a few days, and all the members of the Rohirim were impressed to hear of her travels, including the time she fought a troll all by herself (she carefully left out the part about it being sleeping when she came up on it, and the fact that it’s leg was caught in a snare she also felt would be detrimental to the story so she left that out too). Jeremiah told her that the Rohirim had recently run across a group of Rangers who called themselves the Rangers of Ithilien. He had personally met their captain Alganon. Jeremiah spoke of Katerien and her excellent skill with a bow to Alganon (you WHAT?! said Katerien in slight panic, not feeling there was anything about her bow skills worth bragging about to a real Ranger) and he promised to be on the look out for her in his travels. Jeremiah related to Katerien some of the stories of Alganon’s adventures, which intrigued Katerien. She hoped she would eventually run into these Rangers, and maybe learn something from them. They seemed to find just to sort of excitement and do just the sort of good deeds Katerien was interested in. How exactly does one become a Ranger of Ithilien? Katerien fell asleep wondering.

Once Katerien parted ways with Jeremiah, promising to seek him out again, she traveled through and explored the lands of Gondor. There she ran into her brother Bill, who was making a name for himself as a tailor of the finest cloaks. Katerien noticed that there seemed to be an air of impending doom about the lands of Gondor. Men traveled with sharper swords than they did in other parts of Middle Earth, where many men travelled without swords or weapons at all. In taverns in the evening, people left in small groups, and there were whispers of a shadow growing in the East. On one such evening in a tavern, she met a young man named Saerneth. Saerneth practiced an art of wizardry Katerien did not fully understand, but she did know that it allowed him to communicate with animals. The two laughed together, and enjoyed each other’s company greatly. When they finally had to go their separate ways, they hoped they would run into each other again. Unknown to Katerien until much later, Saerneth continued to think about Katerien quite a bit, and he was thinking about her one day when he was doing some research in a scholarly library in Anuminas. He ran across Katerien’s surname, and learned something interesting. Though she claimed her family was from Rohan, it looked as though they had migrated there only recently and in Katerien’s past was a female who was well known among the Wardens of Anuminas. Saerneth hoped he would run into Katerien to give her this interesting information.

Without any other particular destinations in mind, Katerien asked around town for some advice about finding the elves in Lorien that she sought long ago with the minstrels but never found. This time she found them, and the first elf she ran across, who called himself Legolas, was so impressed with a young girl travelling alone in the woods that he brought her to meet the rest of his friends. Amazed by her already considerable skills with a bow, Legolas tutored her and Katerien’s confidence with a bow grew. While Katerien’s time with the elves was enjoyable and relaxing, she noticed that there was an air of impending doom about the elves as well. Again, she heard talk of a shadow growing in the east, and several elves spoke of leaving Middle Earth all together. Not all of them agreed, though. Once elf in particular, Saerilliel, insisted it was the elves’ duty to fight alongside men for the fate of Middle Earth. Katerien liked her, a female equally determined to break the “traditional” female roles and set out on her own. Not long before Katerien left the elves, Saerilliel disappeared, much to the relief of the less-aggressive elves. Katerien hoped one day she would come across her again.

Katerien eventually found herself wandering the North Downs, killing wights (which always seemed to come back no matter how hard she tried to get rid of them) and just generally making the area a safer place to be. Katerien’s skills as a hunter were beginning to precede her, and as she passed through small towns many people would ask her for help with tasks they could not complete on her own. On one of these tasks, Katerien ran into a young woman named Leyeth. Katerien helped her defeat a particularly nasty warg, and the two began chatting over the campfire. Leyeth told Katerien about her time in the slave trade in Gondor, a time that ended when she was rescued by a man named Philomandros. Katerien heard a lot about Philomandros’s spectacular looks and wondrous deeds, and she was beginning to wonder if such a man even really existed, when Leyeth (finally) got around to mentioning, almost as if it wasn’t important, that Philomandros was a Ranger of Ithilien. Katerien told Leyeth that her brother Jeremiah had met some Rangers of Ithilien once a few years, and did Leyeth know if a Ranger by the name of Alganon still traveled with them? Leyeth said yes, he was their captain, and she had met the great hunter herself, but personally preferred another officer, Kylore, as his sense of humor was much better. Quickly, before Katerien could hear about the wondrous looks and exceptional deeds of Kylore, she asked if she thought possibly Leyeth could introduce her to them. Leyeth said no problem; she was heading towards their kin house anyway. Katerien slept deeply that night, and dreamed of being a Ranger of Ithilien and having her next great adventure.
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