Stoyan Insights

These are Stoyan Mihaylov insights to aid character development. The player is responsible for adding what they want to enhance the character.

“Wake up Stoyan,” she said softly, gently shaking the young boy asleep on the ground. “You need to get up now.” Stoyan rolled over and sleepily opened his eyes. His mother was leaning over him, her brow creased in worry and concern. “You have to get up now, and dress as quickly as possible. Coat also.” Slowly Stoyan sat up and stretched, “But Mum, it ain’t time, still dark.” “Stoyan Milhaylov, get out of that bed right now and get dressed,” for the first time raising her voice and giving him a stern glare, before exiting the small tent the family shared.

Stoyan got dressed as quickly and quietly as possible, the tent walls only slightly muffling the sounds of the other campers as they continued their slumber. He walked out to see his mother wrapping a small bundle and tying it closed with a dirty cord. “Follow me.”

She lead him to the edge of the camp that reached into the forest, as though trying to find shelter there. “Stoyan, I need you to do something for me, ok?” Stoyan nodded mutely. “You are a big boy now, and I need you to be brave for me, alright?” Another nod followed. “Daddy has gone to fight the Horde, Stoyan, but he and the others are going to need all the help they can get. But you, you are going to make it , I need you to make it,” tears beginning to form in her eyes as she went on. “Take this bundle and put on the canteen. There is some food and money in the bundle, as well as your dagger. You take this bundle and start walking Stoyan.” By now tears were streaming out of her eyes. “You keep walking until you can’t walk anymore. When you sleep, climb a tree. Don’t come back here. Walk until you find the road, and get to Fareen. You will be safe there. If we make it, we will come find you there.”

“But Mum, I don’t wanna-”

“No Stoyan, you have to go. Now. Get away from here.”

She leaned down and kissed the crown of his head, dampening it with her tears, gave him one last hug, and then pushed him further into the forest, before turning swiftly and rushing back into the camp.

But Stoyan did not follow her directions well. He walked away, but came back the next day in the hopes that she would let him come back to be with her and Daddy.

There were no survivors left.

Mother Winn said I had to leave today, that I needed to stop moping around and get out there facing the Horde. But if I leave, who will teach the others? Tomason? He can barely find his backside, let alone the hilt of a sword. Edgar is still learning his more advance technique, though I will give him that he is acceptable when it comes to the basics. But not to his face of course. Can’t have him getting uppity about it.

And what if Veth comes back and I am not here? Mother said to send word about the company I join so that she can send any news, and to keep in touch, but what if he needs my help and I am not here to offer it?

She also said that he would want me to go, rather than sitting here waiting on him, not even knowing where he is or what he is doing. I guess she is right about that. I can hear him even now, “Stoyan, the time has come for you to move on with your path, to discover what awaits for you further on down the road.” Then he would give me a pat on the shoulder and a swift kick in the pants, and bar the door behind me.

Least Mother Winn will allow me the chance to pack.

Internal monologue while walking from the broken statue

Crap, crap, crap.

How in the name of Tempus did that statue break? That was not supposed to happen! I didn’t hit it, push it, barely touched it! But as soon as the sword is over, crash and crumble! I was sure that Paladin was going to remove his sword and take a whack at me then and there. He was not happy, though to be fair his face did turn an interesting shade of red. Perhaps a mixture of rage and disbelief. Is that even possible?

Anyway, when he gets down to the other one, and shares what I did, we are not getting the Vernal Bloom. And Veth is going to die because of it.

Stupid, stupid, stupid Stoyan!!!! Always rushing into things before checking them out. Mother Winn always said I needed to think before acting, but it is hard to do that. Veth warned me about it too, with the addition of “reinforcement” sometimes, but no, I never did learn that one. In battle I can get away with it because that has always come so naturally to me, it is my ‘crease,’ the place where I am always ready. But everywhere else…

Why do I keep doing this to myself?

Oh Tempus, if we get out of this tomb alive, Orcen is going to kill me. Heck, Paladin Rylin is going to kill me if he hears about it. Not good…

There were two terms Stoyan had learned in his time with the Paladins; “The dominance” and “the crease,” they were called. The “dominance” was the clash of wills, the war of personal confidence fought before the first blow was struck to establish who held psychological domination over the other. But the “crease” was something else, a reference to the tiny wrinkling of the forehead when the moment of decision came. Of course, “crease” was only a convenient label for an infinite set of permutations. Every swordsman had one; it was something that could simply not be trained completely out of oneself. But because there were so very many possible creases most emphasized the dominance over the crease, for it was a simpler and a surer thing to defeat your opponent’s will than to look for something one might or might not recognize even if one saw it.

But the true master of the sword was he who had learned to rely not on his enemy’s weakness, but upon his own strength: he who understood that the difference between the practice arena and battle—between swordplay, the art, and life or death by the sword—was always in the crease, not the dominance.

This is copied and slightly edited from one of my favorite book series. I did not actually write it, but in the many times I have read the book, is always a section that strikes a chord with me.

Stoyan Insights

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