Raelyn McKie, Companion of the Wild Raelyn McKie was born in the quiet, stoic woods of Yew to Markham and Paulette McKie. Before Raelyn could even walk, her parents relocated to an island west of the Britannian mainland called Skara Brae. The town appealed to the business-minded McKie's, as it was undergoing a fantastic revival after fire ravaged the lands. The McKie's had in mind to open a tavern, and to this day, Markham can be found behind the bar, telling tales and slinging mugs of ale while Paulette offers her ear to weary travelers and ambitious rangers alike. Skara Brae is a town of virtue. Its people are good people, introspective people. They seek harmony with nature and strive to commit only acts that will be recorded as gifts to the world. Raelyn fit in well with the people of Skara Brae. Early on, she displayed a love of all creatures and a strong inclination toward peacemaking. She walked the woods around the town, enchanting rabbits and squirrels and hinds with magical songs from her flute. Each creature became her dear friend, and in exchange for sweet melodies, her dear friends offered secrets of the wilderness. On weekends, Raelyn's father would bring her to the mainland. After a wondrous trip on the ferry boat - dolphins dancing and sea spray glistening, hanging in the air - Raelyn and her father would make the trek to Yew: specifically, to the Empath Abbey. Raelyn loved to wander the vast woods of Yew - the giant Yew trees seemed to reach out their great branches to greet her! - But on many occasions, Markham would not allow Raelyn to play. He instructed her to sit quietly while he spoke in hushed tones to the monks of the Abbey. Sometimes, Raelyn saw faces familiar to her - rangers that were more at home in the woods of her hometown, searching for something there at the Abbey. She did not understand as a child why they were there or what they were looking for. During one visit to the Abbey, when Raelyn was barely 13 years old, her father for once obliged her wish to run and play amongst the creatures of the woods of Yew. Raelyn jumped at the opportunity, taking no notice of her father's tense and solemn tone. She spied many creatures unlike those of her native woods of Skara Brae. In the distance, a great horned beast with a glimmering aura of light danced on the horizon. Mesmerized by the light of this great beast, Raelyn approached quietly, humming a tune of calm and peace. The great beast was not startled. Instead, it bowed its great head and allowed Raelyn to reach out and stroke its fine mane. It nuzzled Raelyn, and she knew at that moment it was her calling to protect the wild. A skittering hopper jumped past, and from the darkness of the woods and into the clearing stepped a young girl. Raelyn felt something she'd never felt before, as if she could see through the eyes of the great creature beside her. The unicorn bowed once again, and Raelyn pronounced, "You are Taryn Sullivan." Raelyn instinctively knew the girl meant no harm to her or to the fine creatures of the woodlands. She offered a smile to the young Taryn Sullivan, and Taryn tucked a strange book under her arm and extended her hand in friendship. Suddenly, the sound of limbs cracking tore through the woods. The girls turned in horror to see a man - but not a man - a man-beast, with great wings and great fury inside. They watched as flames shot from his hands, scorching the grasses and sending the rabbits and hoppers fleeing. The unicorn, once serene, glowed a more piercing light. Its eyes turned fiery to meet the man-beast, and it too conjured spells of energy and fire. Raelyn ran for her life, scared of what she perceived as evil incarnate. Raelyn reached the Empath Abbey breathless and afraid. She thought of Taryn and wondered what would become of her. There was no time to mourn, though, as a great unrest had besieged the Abbey. Inside, the typically hushed voices were gruff and harsh. She could hear her father yelling at a man named "Donal." She did not know who Donal was, nor did she dare find out. She peeked inside a small office within the Abbey just in time to see a chair dissolve into splinters as it hit the wall with reckless force. Raelyn had never seen her father act with such violence, and after her encounter in the woods, the young girl was shaken to the core. The monk just stared at Raelyn, and at that moment her father realized what he had done. He glared once more at the monk called Donal, and sputtered, "They are not men. They are daemons!" Markham turned and grabbed Raelyn's arm and dragged her back to the ferry boat. The ferry ride to the island was silent. Markham never again brought his daughter to Yew. For months, Raelyn considered what she had seen and heard that day. What was the man-beast she had seen? Was it a daemon, as her father said? Her father refused to speak of the incident, and Raelyn did not share what she saw in the woods. She tossed and turned at night, her love of the woodland creatures weighing on her heart like a stone - the fear of encountering evil stalking her at every turn. After one particularly sleepless night, Raelyn sat on the docks of Skara Brae, skipping stones across the water. Skish, skish, skish, *plunk* She watched the ferry boat's oars plug away, plunging into the water and heaving back out. She knew what she had to do. She had to find the truth. Summoning every ounce of courage she could muster, Raelyn boarded the ferry boat and made the long journey to the mainland. Her heart pained as she laid her hand on the empty seat beside her - the seat her father once occupied. She crossed through the woods, but did not sing. The birds, too, were quiet, sensing her sadness. She approached the Empath Abbey with resolve. The evil of the woods could not harm her. She would not back down. Upon entering, she heard the low hum of men praying upstairs. She saw familiar faces of the rangers of Skara Brae, and for once, understood their plight. These men prayed for enlightenment. They prayed for the courage to fight any man or monster that abused nature for personal gain. They prayed for the souls of the creatures they could not save. Down the hallway, a door cracked open. Raelyn stepped forward and gently pushed the door open. She jumped as it creaked, and was startled to see a monk standing before her quite expectantly. "You are Donal?" she asked, though she did not have to. She remembered this man's face and the sounds of his pleas as he begged her father to reconsider his stance. Donal told Raelyn of a great race of winged beasts with sharp minds and intense passion. Donal had made allies with these gargoyles, and they considered him to be enlightened. Donal had urged Markham to befriend the beasts, citing the continued happiness of "the girls" as one of his many motivations. But Markham would have none of it, insisting that the beasts took pleasure in others' pain. He could not accept an ally with no compassion. Raelyn admitted to Donal that she had encountered a great gargoyle, and as Donal explained more of the great race and their virtues, Raelyn's fear was squelched. She thanked Donal for his time, and while she was not yet of age to seek alliance with the gargoyle race, she would not forget what the monk had told her about them. Donal was sympathetic to Raelyn's quest to find her place in this world, and as she turned to leave, he handed her a tattered book. Strange symbols were etched into its cover. Their hands met, and Donal looked deep into Raelyn's eyes and said, "Ánte ista terreg máníte múr anísh zen." She did not understand these words, but took comfort in them anyway. On her journey home to Skara Brae, Raelyn considered all she had learned from the monk. She traced the outlines of the etchings on the old book with her fingertips, and considered the paths that lay before her. She wondered how Donal had come to know both her and Taryn Sullivan. She wondered how Taryn had fared at the hands of the gargoyle. Through this time, Raelyn had come to know love, truth, and courage. For the first time in her life, she was truly a citizen of the town of Skara Brae - a town based on the virtue of Spirituality. The Codex of Ultimate Wisdom describes Spirituality as a virtue that touches all three principles of love, truth, and courage. Raelyn had much to learn of the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom - of its history, of its own journey through the hands of time, of its relation to the gargoyle race. As she learned, she would devote herself to protecting the wild and fighting its enemies. She knew all too well that in this land lived many strange creatures.