Rehstaed (pronounced with a trilled R-eh-stayed) is introduced in Dark Fey: Standing In Shadows and becomes one of the central, supporting characters in the story. He is a Fey in his early 30’s, about the same age as Veryth, although his nature is far different. Having been a Fey Guard Captain, he is fearless and fierce; yet he suffered so horrifying a loss in his personal life that he now simply exists day to day, lost in an addiction to temple wine that makes his life bearable. He is the personification of grief and depression and the choices we all make in dealing with loss. This is collection of a few snippets from Dark Fey to help illustrate him better. Of course, the image is an inspiration and sadly, does not show his magnificent bronze-hued wings.
….“Our revelry must seem,” he paused, seeking the correctly word, “tame, in comparison t’ wha’ you are used.” The glare that met this statement encouraged the youthful malefey to elaborate hastily.
“Being in The Temple, under the watchful gazes o’ The Elders, it makes a Fey… cautious in his merriment.” His smile was enough to soothe the irritation Gairynzvl suddenly felt at the approach of the unexpected stranger; nonetheless, he stood guarded and merely nodded. The other tried again.
“You do no’ find the wine palatable?’ Gairynzvl looked down into the full chalice he held and shook his head.
“I find it very palatable, too much so.” The other concurred with a knowing smile and nod.
“Temple wine. Best there is.” He raised the flagon he held, meant for mead though filled to the top with crimson wine, and drank with a pleased grin turning his lips.
“Goes down easy; sneaks up on you slow, but like as not, if you drink too much, you shall feel as if one o’ th’ Elder’s themselves kicked you in th’ ‘ead in the mornin’.” He chortled, as if he knew from experience, and Gairynzvl could not resist his infectious wit. Chuckling dryly, he raised his own cup and drank.
“I’m Rehstaed.” The other said offhandedly.
“Gairynzvl.” He answered, equally unceremoniously. They considered each other for a moment and Gairynzvl could not help wondering over the other’s striking, coppery hued hair, violet eyes and bronze shaded wings; all colors he had never seen before. In their mutual silence, the musicians struck up another long awaited tune and, amidst cheers and sharp peals of laughter, a large circle of dancers gathered in the center of the hall.
“Have you ever ridden a tryngalith bareback?” Rehstaed queried without preamble, as if riding one of the monstrous, six legged, hooved and horned tryngalith from the northern countries was the simplest thing in the world. He received a markedly bewildered expression in answer.
“No. Why would you do that?” Rehstaed shrugged carelessly.
“I dunno. Too much Temple wine, perhaps?” His wry wit was inescapable and Gairynzvl could not contain a hoarse laugh………….
Native to the north realm, he was once a captain of the Fey Guard stationed on the northern isle of Vrynnyth Gahl. Fierce of virtue and courageous of valor, he had thwarted more than a few attempted crossings by the Reviled, which were a common occurrence in those lands where many ancient pools of quiet water created glassy portals that were easily traversed. Wed to a beautiful shefey who had born him a son, the small family lived in the outlying countryside renowned for its loveliness, though it was quite far from any native settlements.
Reydan then explained that Fey Guard captains were often rotated through their various stations for the sole purpose of protection. If they were not frequently relocated, the Reviled would quickly discover where they made their homes and come seeking retribution for the wrongs they felt done to them, yet in such a far distant region, rotation of The Guard was difficult to achieve. There simply were not enough Fey stationed there to make the practice feasible and, as a result, a legion of Dark Ones crossed over and located Rehstaed’s cottage.
Even before he described what then occurred, Gairynzvl winced with bitter insight, but he did not interpose his own memories of similar events, in which he had been forced to participate as a young Legionnaire, while Reydan continued in a lower tone. His voice took on a heaviness of controlled emotion as he explained that the legion, numbering some twenty or more, although Rehstaed confessed he was uncertain of the precise number, bound him to a tree with leather lacings studded with spikes of metal designed to impede escape.
They then dragged his beloved from the house and brought her before him. Helpless to protect her, he was compelled to watch as they stripped and beat her and spent much time forcing such brutal acts of debauchery upon her that the life force within her was ultimately extinguished. His infant son had been bound in a sack to be taken with the Dark Ones into their realm, but in his monumental rage and anguish at having to witness the horrors visited upon his loved ones, Rehstaed dragged his hands through the jagged spines of his bonds, in spite of the injuries they inflicted, and attacked.
The sun was already rising; the Reviled could not linger, so, in order to distract him and ensure their escape, they tossed the sack, with his son inside, down the cottage well. Although he tried countless times, he could not withdraw the body of his son from the depths of the well any more than he could restore breath in his dreadfully abused wife.
Since that time, Rehstaed lived among them in Hwyndarin, but spent much of his time separated from them by his unbearable grief. Though many had tried to aid him, including several Temple Healers, the only way he managed to tolerate continued existence was through the consumption of copious amounts of Temple wine…..
Original artwork by omupied at Deviantart.com