The Children of Valon
Ruhwyn is a 19 year-old woman with medium long, almost black hair, green eyes, and tanned skin. She’s 5’4", thin and wiry. A bit mousy. She has slightly stooped shoulders, but she is extremely fit and healthy. She can walk or trot for miles in rough terrain and shear sheep all day without any trouble. She is used to being self-sufficient and will stand her ground against any animals threatening her flock.
She wears wool tunics, pants and leather boots with a heavy cloak and fur lined boots during the winter. Usually her tunics are green, her pants, boots, and cloak tan or brown. In the hills, when she is sitting perfectly still for long periods of time, she is extremely hard to spot. She gets secret enjoyment out of surprising visitors.
She is used to being alone with her sheep and her two Hjarohunds, Blithe and Brand, for weeks on end. This makes her seem slightly out of place when in the village. She has a tendency to look people right in the eyes when they are speaking but gives soft, short answers. Her hounds respond to her gestures and quiet commands in an almost preternatural way. All this makes people uneasy around her.
Ruhwyn’s mother was a shepherdess working for the Queen, guarding and caring for her sheep and owning a few herself. When Ruhwyn was born, her mother took her along into the hills and taught her the skills she would need to also become a shepherd. Once she was proficient with spear and sling, and old enough not to run off exploring, her mother let her take up watching some of the herds on her own. When her mother had to begin taking care of Ruhwyn’s aging grandmother, she turned over the shepherding duties completely.
When Ruhwyn was very young, she came down with an illness that almost killed her. Miraculously, she survived and has never been sick another day in her life. She credits the skills of Maergyth the midwife and her life in the elements with her strength and health.
Her father was a skilled carver, but Ruhwyn proved completely unskilled with a knife. People are a bit shocked that she didn’t inherit an ounce of his skill, especially since her two brothers proved to be very talented with wood, one going on to build fine buildings and the other to carve decorations and furniture. Even her three cousins, children of her father’s sister, were skilled craftsmen; one was a basket weaver, one a boat maker, and one a clothes maker. Ryhwyn loves her family dearly despite their talents.
When she was about 13, she witnessed the murder of a stranger near where her herd grazed. The murderer saw her, so she ran all the way back to the village and reported what she had seen. The next day she returned to her herd to watch over them. The murderer attempted to sneak up on her and attack her. Unbeknownst to him, she was being watched over by Grimwulf who over powered the man and dragged him back to stand trial. Ruhwyn was called upon to testify, and the man was convicted and executed.
When she was 14 years old, she was courted by Sigenoth, a slightly older fisherman, and fell in love. They were married when she turned 15. A few months later she gave birth to a son, Sigeson, who looked very much like his father. Shortly after her son’s birth, she went to visit her father and found him dead on the floor; the physician said his heart had given out.
One day when she was 19, she came home from the hills a day early and found her husband in bed with Aelfswith, a neighbor and discovered that a few friends knew about the on-going affair but didn’t tell her. This shook her entire world view. She fled to the hillsides and wept. When she looked up she saw that the goddess Celestia was weeping with her. The stars were falling all around. Her tears stopped immediately, and she watched in awe, finding strange comfort in the sight.
She wanted a divorce but her husband would not consent, mostly because he could not bear to lose his son. Aelfswith sneered and stuck her nose in the air whenever Ruhwyn saw her. Slowly word of the event spread around the village and people who once greeted her warmly now looked at her with pity, disdain, or amusement. Over the next several weeks she found that she could no longer even stand the sight of her four-year-old son who seemed so much like his father.
After years of worshiping Jessene, she now found herself looking and praying to Celestia and longing to leave Ceorlfeld. She wants to see where Celestia’s tears had fallen.
Maergyth – The midwife/wisewoman tended to and saved Ruhwyn when she came down with a deadly illness as a child. Ruhwyn and her family are forever grateful and would do anything to help Maergyth. When Ruhwyn became pregnant, Maergyth was the only midwife she trusted to take care of her and help her give birth. Later, anytime Sigeson became ill, Ruhwyn always take him to Maergyth.
Reod – He is one of the men trusted by Ruhwyn’s family to supply quality wood for their crafts. As a carver himself, he can spot just which pieces would be best for a carver and which for a builder. His knowledge makes him a highly prized supplier. Ruhwyn admires his skill as a carver and often wonders if he shouldn’t have been a member of her family instead of her.
Deodric – The sheep herds are a regular part of the Vigilants’ patrols. Ruhwyn enjoys the news and messages Deodric brings. He is a welcome distraction and tie to civilization. His status as an almost-outcast and his family’s low reputation do not bother Ruhwyn in the least. She doesn’t hold much stock in civilized opinions and prefers to judge people on an individual basis.
Grimwulf – Used her as bait to capture a murderer when she was nine. Her testimony was crucial in convicting the man. Her courage at such a young age impressed Grimwulf, and she took secret pride in the slight praise from this gruff man. To this day they still nod and speak when they see each other.