On the distant continent of Eramor, Calico was born and immediately left on the doorstep of the human orphanage "The Sanctuary of Meranth". On a sunny spring morning, after the petals of lotus blooms just tasted their first light of the sun, so was Calico left on the doorstep with naught but a note "Calico" and just over a year of age.
No parent, no caregiver, nothing to indicate his place in the world, he was taken in by The Sanctuary, a deeply religious establishment of the sun god Pelor, and a place of strict law and good.

As other children played swordfight, learned the lessons of nobility, and longed to be knighted by the king of Meranth, Calico was more drawn to the sun itself, it's warmth, how it nurtured not just humans, but plants, animals, even the insects and spiders feared by the older girls. Where they saw fear, he saw opportunity and life.

As is the way of children, Calico was not very popular for appreciating nature and life. Whereas other children strived to learn about Eramor, how the tribes formed empires, how the empires formed kingdoms, how the kingdoms fell into split regions, and the choices of the children of Meranth, Calico was more interested in lapping up the details of what made people live, think, and extending that to the plants, the animals. More than once he would leap to the aid of a clipped bird, a malnourished cat, an ant underneath the burning gaze of magnified glass.

As such, he never felt comfortable around people. He always felt different, separate, as if he didn't get something, and others wouldn't get him too. He left as soon as he could at the age of 16, exploring the many regions and kingdoms to find his true calling. No matter where he went, he wouldn't connect with anything comfortably, until he came across Rooftrellen.

A small sect of robed men were gathered around a large tree. Not hidden underneath hoods like the mages of Meranth's Arcanery, not chanting secret tongues like the evil warlocks of his bedtime stories. Just sitting, next to each other. Some talking, most silent, All resting in the speckled shadow of this large, foreign tree. As Calico watched, a bird flew into the beautiful scene and rested on a man's shoulder. An elven man. It chirped a sweet song in his ear gently. Suddenly, a large dark wolf revealed itself from the bushes, approaching the bewildered boy. Panicked, he reached for his knife, but faltered as he saw the look in the wolf's eyes. There was no malice or threat. It walked past him towards the group, then looked back at the boy. An invitation? Calico approached and sat with the robed men, silent and still. The large wolf sat next to Calico, resting her head on the boys' foot. There was no talk of the wars or the kings here. Only the pleasant feel of the world and life. Calico felt comfortable here.

The tree was called Rooftrellen, one of the oldest on the continent. And the men were druids and followers of Obad-Hai, the god of balance and nature. Where others saw tools to be made, money to be earned, and resources to be exploited, these men saw balance. Everything breathes, everything exists for a reason, whether it is to flourish, or to allow another to grow. The men knew the circle of life. The wolf hunts the rabbit so that it may live, the man hunts the wolf so that he may live. The long forgotten secret is balance, and to take not more than is needed, for the world is filled enough with gluttons and scavengers. The druids gather not to stop the effects of civilization on the natural world, but to record and observe it. They seek to appreciate the place nature has in the world, and explore its beauty before it becomes overwhelmed with industry.

Calico would soak up the teachings of Obad-Hai and his teacher Tequoia. The group would traverse Eramor searching for the wonders of the natural world. The underground mushroom steppes, large caverns full of glowing fungi as far as the eye could see. The large tree Rooftrellen, having no company as the continent's only member of it's species, and said to be older than Eramor itself. Calico traveled with the druids, exploring the world's wonders with them, and learning their appreciation. The balance and poise in a feline's pounce. The extraordinary evolution of a tree's leaf allowing it's roots to absorb moisture from the earth. And as he learned more of the natural world, the more he became a part of it.

Calico was not the only member of his group ill-at-ease with the civilised world, and as such they would often avoid major cities and towns, communicating with the outside world as little as possible. Rarely, however, they would need supplies from towns. While most would remain outside, a few would enter the town with that man or woman delegate. To maintain distance from civilisation whilst still observing the culture, the druids took on the forms of beasts and animals, hiding in plain sight as creatures such as a bird perched on an elf's shoulder, singing sweet tunes in his ear. As they had learned the value of both nature and Obad-Hai, he had granted them the experience of those values for themselves. It didn't take long before Calico was accepted to this sacred practice as well.

to be continued

Calico keeps a journal on his person, where he documents noteworthy creatures and events.

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