Sir Tormund Ellis: A Documentary: Part Two
Sir Grayson Duval (Colleague of Sir Tormund Ellis. Species: Lupe. Colour: Green. Gender: Male.): I'm not going to lie, I was incredibly envious of Tormund when he first came waltzing in through the castle's doors. I was.
I was a squire before him, you know. Four whole days. I mean, I guess that doesn't seem like a lot... but it is, I swear. I trained officially with my sword before him, and I got sent into those disgusting sewers before him, and I woke up at the crack of dawn before him, and I think I might have even been Master Torak's favourite before him — I swear. But, you know, the day he came in, there was this... aura around him, like he was constantly surrounded by light motes. I mean, he did seem to always be carrying motes around, and have them equipped to his weapons and all that, but that's not what I mean. I mean he just seemed special, you know? Like he was meant for great things. He had a hero's glow before he was even a hero. I really, really, envied that.
But, I'll be honest... I don't really envy him anymore.
I'm sure being known now as a great hero of the realm is having more than enough perks for him. Like, Skarl has thrown him several banquets, and he gets deeper bows than any of the other knights around the castle — uh, save for Sir Jeran, of course — but... his face has fallen. I swear it has. I mean, sure, he's still got that hero's glow about him — like, this feeling that makes you want to bow down — but it... doesn't match his face. Does that make sense? I swear, it doesn't. It's like he's seen too much.
See, when... wait, what? I'm getting off topic? Oh... what am I supposed to be talking about, then? Isn't this about Tor and his, well... Tor-ness?
Oh, you only want to know about the day he walked in, not about current times? Well, I suppose this is a historical thing... My apologies, I wasn't thinking. Hmm. Let's see...
Well, I remember that he and I we were bunked together as squires. Well, I mean, all the new squires were, but he seemed more outgoing than the others, and actually made an effort to talk to me. He really is a nice person, you know, I just... was jealous, I guess. But that doesn't really matter.
I remember him doing his chores so quickly, and he was always so excited, no matter how awful the work he was sent to do was. Seriously, I've yet to see another squire actually get excited when sent on clog duty. But he was — I swear. Bleah. It was very strange, really, but, well, that's Tor. He really did seem to just love being in the castle. Everything about it was so intriguing to him. Even the most boring of places like the storerooms and the construction zones caught his eye as something amazing. There was just no end to his awe.
It was actually kind of odd, thinking about it now.
Patricia Ellis: (she laughs) Oh, well, that doesn't surprise me at all, really. Tormund used to spend so much of his childhood dreaming about the great castle and what wonders awaited inside. He used to draw little pictures of what he thought the interior would look like, and where all the knights would sit, and where the princes and princesses would sleep... he read quite a few books detailing the castle's design as well; though, you know, at such a young age, I don't think he really understood all of the fancy architecture talk. But he tried his best to learn... and mostly looked at the pictures. (she giggles)
Sir Grayson: But anyway, even though he was somewhat peculiar, I could tell he was meant for great things. I think we all could, actually — I swear. Especially when that call to help Cogham came, and he...
Well, you know what he did? He disappeared. That's what he did.
He just up and disappeared, and when he came back, he was a hero.
Less than three days after joining.
No, really, I swear.
Sir Harlag d'Andre (Colleague of Sir Tormund Ellis. Species: Grarrl. Colour: Green. Gender: Male.): Pah! They sent a squire to me, of all people. I thought it was ridiculous. Insulting, really! As if no other knight was fit to ride alongside me...
And beyond that, they send me to Cogham! That pathetic flyspeck of a town... I told the boy to forget about it! I told him I'd get to it after my dinner. No use in letting good meat go to waste, you know?
Hmm? What's wrong with Cogham? Pah, are you sure you're a historian? Cogham is always under attack, being underneath the camp of the Ixi Raiders and all. If you ask me, I think that if they didn't want to be attacked all the time, they shoulda moved in under someone else's cliffs. It's not like the Steppe Plateau is the only place to set up a town 'round here. The Ixis were there first, you know. Not that I'm sympathising with them, mind you — the big, furry savages that they are — I'm just sick of being sent to save a bunch of whiny villagers when their ramshackle huts get lit on fire for the hundredth time by the tribe they decided to bother with their presence.
But that's just me, obviously. And anyway, they only send me on important rides nowadays — none of that squire stuff. That's what it was, honestly. Tormund may be a hero now, but he was just a squire then. If he could save that rotten town on his first day, anyone could've.
Mayor Jurgin Ide (Mayor of Cogham. Species: Kacheek. Colour: Blue. Gender: Male.): Of course I was nervous when I saw they had only sent us a squire... in fact, I was beyond nervous! I tell you, I was about to write a strongly-worded letter to that Skarl about it. You know, he acts like he's so smart and kind, but he doesn't care about anyone other than his cooks, and that's just because, without them, he wouldn't get his oh-so-precious banquets! And the knights of Meridell have begun to get on my nerves as well, you know. They always act like we aren't worth saving — like it's our fault the Ixis didn't like us moving in! I tell you, I think the Ixis should be happy about us building our town below their camp. We bring such life to the mountains, we do! And we only take some of their food, and we—
Huh? I'm off topic? Wh—... oh! Oh, right, this is about the squire — er, the knight — Sir Tormund... not us... although, I do think our story should be heard. We have quite an interesting history too, you know. (he clears his throat)
Well, like I said, I was nervous when I saw they'd only sent us a squire. Those Ixis are a tough bunch, you know. Tor managed to run them off, but only back to their camp. I told him that, I did. And he seemed upset with me! I thought he was rude, I did. I suppose I've come to learn that he isn't like that today, but, it was still frustrating. Acting like it was our fault that we would surely be attacked again...
But my initial opinion of him changed after he took off into the mountains to finish off that awful chieftain of theirs. I guess I didn't realise how truly heroic the lad was until he came back with proof that the chief had been defeated. Oh, we did rejoice then, we did. We thought that would have lasted.
It didn't, of course... in fact, it got much, much worse once the clouds came... but, for the moment, there was peace. And all thanks to Tormund, yes, of course.
But now... are you sure you don't want to hear my reasons for why the Ixis should be glad we're there?
Sir Grayson: My jealousy hit its peak when Tor came back from Cogham — I swear. Like, a part of me always knew Tormund would be knighted before me, for, again, it was obvious that there was something special about him... but never in my dreams would I have thought it would be so soon. Less than three days! Really. I swear, if I wasn't just upset, I was definitely confused.
(he sighs) You know what, though? I, uh... I don't want to make it sound as though I am still jealous, or anything like that. I'm not — I swear. All that passed once Tor, uh, saved the world and all. It was always destined to be, I guess. I'm not a great mythical hero like he is, so, it doesn't really bother me anymore. In fact, he and I have remained very good friends, once my, uh, jealousy subsided. He's always doing whatever he can to help me around the castle, and I'm always his go-to when he needs a partner for missions. He really is trying to help. He's a very caring person. In fact, you know, I shouldn't be talking about these early times in such a negative light, honestly. Without any of this happening, well... we would have all been crushed to death, and... I suppose I also wouldn't have tried so hard to live up to the standard he'd set.
But that all came after the Werelupes.
Sir Harlag: Now, a Werelupe attack, that is more my style! And in Illusen's Glade, too, no less. I thought for sure that the dumb beasts would have left her be after their ugly King Fluffy-fangs or whatever got turned into a Doglefox by Lady Illusen all those years ago. (he laughs) Ah, you should have seen the look on that pup's face when he got chased back to the Werelupe Woods, cowering with his teeny-tiny tail between his teeny-tiny legs. Not so big and tough then, he was! (he laughs harder)
Right, right, but anyway, some of the knights got called out to the Glade again, but... eh, I still didn't go. I was... busy... (he shrugs) Not sure if that makes me one of the lucky ones or one of the unlucky ones, honestly. It was either go there and get locked up as a chew toy for a day or stay back at the castle while that crazy faerie took over. Ah well. Point is, I wasn't there. Go ask someone else.
Sir Lawrence Elliott (Colleague of Sir Tormund Ellis. Species: Techo. Colour: Red. Gender: Male.): (he sighs heavily) Yes, yes, I was one of the knights that the Werelupes captured... and, no, it is not one of my more pleasant memories as a knight... But thank Fyora for Tormund.
Hmm, mind if I backtrack?
See, my first impression of Tormund wasn't quite as shining as it became after his ordeal with the Ixis, and then especially after that afternoon in the Glade. See, when he first entered the castle, I thought for sure he was just gonna be another one of those bright-eyed kids that had this fancy romanticised vision of what it meant to be a squire, and who would eventually have all their dreams crushed by the reality of the castle. Er, does that make me a bitter person? Let me explain...
See, Tor had this sparkle in his eyes, and it's a sparkle I only ever really see in kids who don't know what they've gotten themselves into. Almost every squire comes into the castle thinking it's gonna be a faerietale, and they're gonna go on spectacular quests to rescue princesses, riding on Unis' backs, clad in brilliant, shining armour and blah, blah, blah... None of it is true, honestly, and I think those stories end up doing more harm than good to those kids. They all come in with this eagerness and then immediately lose all their life within the first few hours. The faerietales say nothing about cleaning the sewers, and getting up before sunrise, and cleaning the Whinny stalls, and practicing the same sword manoeuvres for hours on end, blah, blah, you get the picture.
But that's what made Tor special. In my eyes, at least.
I've never seen a squire come out of clog duty with a smile on his face, 'cept for this kid. He didn't mind the filth or the smell, and he didn't mind the darkness and the loneliness... he was just happy to help, and proud of accomplishing the task, and that sparkle only continued to brighten with each awful errand. Truly incredible.
Sir Grayson: Yeah, "sparkle in the eyes" is a really good way of describing Tor's aura. And, yeah, I do remember the day that the Werelupes attacked Illusen, and the following day when the knights didn't return. I remember because that was the same day the clouds came...
But that was after Tor went off and disappeared.
Sparkle in the eyes... that's what he had when he found out the clouds hadn't left, and the knights were gone. See, there was this... strange old Lupe knight — all white, long hair, kind of archaic-looking cape and armour... he would loiter around the castle sometimes, but only when Tor was around. Haven't seen him since the faerie left though — I swear, I'm not making this up. It was incredibly odd... but that old knight was the one who told Tor about the clouds' presence, and the knights' disappearance. See, Tor was passed out after fighting off those Ixis. He had talked for such a long time about wanting to help the other knights defend Illusen, much to my dismay, as I was still incredibly jealous of his being knighted, but... he really just wanted to help. I swear, I admired that, even in all my envy. I did.
But, like I said, sparkle in the eyes when he found out. He came charging back in to where we were bunked, grabbed all of his armour and weapons, then, in true hero's fashion, off he went into Illusen's Glade without a second thought. He had no fear. He was so eager to help, and protect, and save.
No, really. Absolutely fearless.
Sir Lawrence: Uh, I mention all this, of course, because... well, I suppose a part of me always figured Tor would be the one to get me out of the cage that the Werelupes'd locked me in. It was probably fate that Tor was told to stay back at the castle for that mission. If he had ridden to Illusen's Glade with us, who knows what would have happened? Although... now that I've said it out loud, I'm sure that if, by some twist of fate, he had come with us, he still would have overcame the oppressive purple clouds, and defeated the four-armed beast Gnarfas, and chased off the Werelupe King and blah, blah, you know, all that, all the same.
But... perhaps not.
Eh, what do I know, right? I know nothing about fates and destinies. (he snickers)
Well, what I do know is that Tor came and found me and rescued me — effortless. I picked at that dumb lock every second the Werelupe guarding my cell turned her back, but I couldn't escape. Even if I had managed to unlock myself, I doubt I would have been able to fight the beast off. But Tor could — immediately. Such strength, honestly.
I was a bit in shock when I was rescued, and my mouth sort of ran without my permission. (he snickers) I suppose I mentioned the "monster" that was after Illusen without fully realising it. But, of course, he heard that there was a giant monster after the faerie, and he got that sparkle again. Most squires and knights would have feared the words and turned their cheeks to the mission, but not Tor. He took off, up into the trees without hesitation.
But that was when the Darkest Faerie took over...
Sir Grayson: The clouds took over, and I was out cold. I fell terribly ill and couldn't find my way around the castle anymore. We all locked ourselves away — zombified, almost — as if all of our actions weren't really our actions. I swear.
Lucy Ellis: The clouds were really, really scary... and all the plants turned into monsters, and all our crops went bad...
Patricia Ellis: I was so, so worried when the clouds swallowed the castle, for I knew Tor was there. When those clouds settled over the farm... I suppose that's when the actual panic set in. We all just got... colder. In our hearts, we did. And, Fyora, did I ever miss my little boy then...
Prince Tourin: Oh, the clouds! The dreadful, horrible, monstrous clouds! How smothering they were — how cruel, how unclean! I felt their sickness wash me over, and I felt my heart turn to stone! Oh, how rotten it felt — how wretched did I become! My heart yearned for my love, and worried she was ill. Oh, how my cheeks were stained with tears, for the pit of my stomach grew sick with worry. My love, lost in the darkness of the clouds, lost forever, wandering, alone! (he sighs dramatically)
I turned my gaze to the heavens, and I asked Fyora to save me. T'was funny, though, that the one I should have been begging for safe passage was the young hero that was Tormund.
Mayor Jurgin: Honestly? I had forgotten about Tormund at that point. All I knew was that the clouds took over, our crops began to wither, and I could already hear the Ixis stirring above us, aching for trouble...
Sir Lawrence: I remember Tor ascending the trees towards Illusen's chambers. I remember hearing his cry of peril, though I never knew what for. I remember hearing that horrible Werelupe menace howl fiercely and take a mighty leap from the branches of the canopy, landing on the ground like it was nothing, then charging away, back to his woods.
I remember the clouds grew blinding, and I remember hearing Tormund scream as he plummeted to the ground.
Then all I remember is blackness.
Coldness, cruelness, and blackness.
Hmm. I suppose I'm not much help anymore, now, am I? (he chuckles uncomfortably)
We'll be right back after these messages...