Eylul Massal – The Black Wolf amongst the Willows ‘It seems to me that in this place, the hardest business to mind is your own.’ The gypsy songwriter who raised and taught Niscar to be a bard. In his mid-forties. Once a ranger of the Far-Woods, Massal was an excellent hunter who refused to stoop for nobody – not even the Gods. Recruited by chance by the proud she-elf Dai’ar and the apprehensive Warlock-Prince Lestel, he traversed across the lands, becoming one of the famed heroes of the Past. Because of his behaviour, cold mannerisms and sudden, violent outbursts, Massal was named the ‘Black Wolf’. He was untameable, wild and ferocious – but always, he kept the pack together. It is likely that he was brought up by elves. How he came to be in their company is uncertain, but there are rumours that he is the 25th bastard son of Salacek (Sallah-jek) the White Pirate. He speaks the tongue of the Bla’desh, the Druid Elves and is able to recall their ancient stories by whim. His name too, means ‘The Autumn Tale’, his purpose set before he could utter his first words. Beforehand however, his arrogance drove him to betray the growing party, instead siding with Cad Agalathor’s nemesis, the Necromancer Talmut, seeing it as the ‘winning side’. As a reward for his loyalty, the dark wizard gave the ranger a taste of water from the Sarcophagus of Aesgul. Massal believed that it could give him eternal life, jealous of the elegant youth bestowed upon the elves, but it only retained his youthful looks, rather than lengthening his life. … Not that he didn’t put this to use. It was enough to keep the ranger as Talmut’s right hand man. For the moment. His selfish instinct remained utterly intact, before he came across a childhood friend of his, slaughtered by his own hands during an assault on a surrounding village. He was never the same. He began asking questions, became closed-off and soon enough, there were plans of mutiny amongst the living generals of Talmut’s clan. Massal escaped before it could take place, the in-fighting serving as a weakness in the Necromancer’s plans. _ Massal is economical with the truth, meaning, in short, that he is a compulsive liar. A trait that, thankfully, never passed onto Niscar, but influenced the level of coyness in her actions. The reason for the scar down his left eye always rotates between: Fighting the Dwarf King Jeorg (after comparing Dwarven Pride and Dwarven manhood to be smaller than those who retain it.) Falling off the edge of the Celestial Cliffs. A rough night with a gypsy queen. In truth, the scar was from Dai’ar after he betrayed them. During a battle, he and Dai’ar clashed weapons, the relentless anger which had boiled up between them suddenly exposed on the field. Before, the two of them violently argued and while Massal never told Niscar about how he received the scar, he told her; half-seriously, that there was no-one else that he’d share his passions than her mother. _ He wields the handmade bow named ‘Delitrian’, named after the Goddess of Nature in the Willows. Being an excellent shot, his skills are perfectly honed to strike at game and mortal alike. _ Although his demeanour is rather unwelcoming, the dark brown shadow of facial hair and the rugged appearance make him appear rather handsome. He often appears on his guard; his leather normally mottled by age, yet kept in perfect, vintage condition. On the back is a symbol of the Nakchal, the Talmut’s dark guard. He encourages enemies easily as a result. It isn’t because he wants to be hated – he is just bored out of his skull. Until Dai’ar bequeaths a small bundle of whimpers into his arms, Massal was – and still is – a constant source of mischief, problems, spite and disaster, retained only by the calmness of his ward. At least until her back is turned. In the company of her allies – and in her absence, the grizzled ranger is likely to snarl at her friends, showing his dislike fairly quickly. It is his belief that respect is not immediately granted, but earned. Should it be lost, it can’t ever return again.