Here he is
Born into a smith’s family in a rather untamed land north of the borders of the Empire, Gerwulf had the prospect of a rather predictable life – take over father’s business, work hard, marry and have numerous children. Except for raids from neighbouring tribes, and the sky falling on his head, he had little to worry about.
As the reader will have already guessed, this was not to come to pass.
Mainly, it was Gerwulf’s fault. While not dumb or clumsy, he always cared about other things than father’s honest trade. Whether it was chatting with the village witch, the travelling storyteller, or trying to find fairies in the forest, his curiosity led him away from the forge.
His younger brother, Wilhelm, was much more to father’s liking, for he took to the hammer naturally.
With five other children, all of them daughters, the old smith was more than glad when his good-for-nothing son left with an itinerant bard, and all he wanted was one hammer, “to learn the trade one day” and a week’s provisions.
The trade learn he did, though he became a mediocre smith. Gerwulf’s real talent was what one would call the Gift of Tongues – and excellent memory and ability to pick up new languages as he went. His tutor, Marwald, provided him with a vast repertoire of songs and poems, as well as the skill with the lute and harp – as well as ways a traveller can fill his purse when the desire for song is low: theft, scams, and similar. For thievery, Gerwulf was less than suited, being almost seven feet tall, but his pleasant manner, honest face and quick wit allowed him to trick many a merchant, or win the heart of a lonely lady.
So he became what he is today – a free-spirited voyager, ever curious and lively. In some places, sharp tongue and overly hot blood have made him enemies, in others, friends.
Besides for the passion for damsels, Gerwulf was fascinated with another kind of elusive creature – the fey. Collecting all stories about them, and visiting all places where they were supposed to dwell, he strived hard to catch a glimpse of the elusive elves – with little success, I must add. Gerwulf has made up a few stories about his encounters with the magical critters though. Well, truth and Gerwulf tend to walk different paths when he deems it necessary. He calls it “improving” the truth and making it “pretty and interesting”.
Being quite successful, bad conscience caught up with him – thus he decided to visit home once more, and leave a little of his fortunes, as to help Wilhelm and father to grant his sisters a decent dowry.
Ah, this is another point where it becomes obvious that something unpleasant was to happen. Indeed, when Gerwulf arrived at the old smithy, it was far less lively than he had it in memory: his sisters were gone. Married? Not so. One night not long ago, they had vanished without a trace. No signs of violence were to be seen, and both the parents and Wilhelm slept hard, as if drugged. The windows and the door were all barred from the inside, and all the possessions of the girls neatly packed. That surely was a work of witchcraft.
Though the villagers accused their resident witch for a while, they all soon realized that she was too puny to pull off such grand magic.
To Gerwulf, the case was clear.
You are right, of course.
He though the Elves did it.
So, now we have Gerwulf, armed with a thousand songs, insatiable curiosity, and a huge hammer, chasing after fairies of which he is sure they exist, but lacks any evidence, or even a hint of the place where he should start looking.
Gerwulf is a tall redhead, standing six feet six inches. Rather broad of build, he might appear as a brute at first glance, if not for the tricky spark in his eyes, the brazen grin and colourful attire.
The hair in long braids, goatee and moustache to complement it, and wearing a broad-brimmed hat with feathers and ribbons, he’s quite noticeable. And, though he’d never admit it, that is the way he likes it, centre of attention. Quite often, he employs a sidekick to pilfer a few pockets while he distracts the audience.
When travelling, he wears a long coat of dull leather, yet it is striking red and orange from the inside - Gerwulf turns the coat when performing. Underneath, he wears an embroided shirt, and a striking red scarf. When not trying to be sneaky, he adds a few jingle bells for good measure.
As if this was not enough, he has trained a raven that he found when it was a chick, fallen out of the nest, a few tricks, as well as several words, most notably “donations!”
Currently, he's nearing the end of his twenties, a thing which actually scares him. For, intrepid and bold as he may be, Gerwulf is afraid of getting old. It is as simple as that. There's a certain drive inside him to accomplish >something< before he passes away, but he has no clue as to what it should be, and how he should do it.
Generally, Gerwulf is a happy-go-lucky type, quite irresponsible and irreverent, a little too full of himself. Sometimes, he has problems with the concepts of private property and marriage. He has a general dislike of authorities, and gets genuinely angry when somone tries to command him. After all, he's a bard, he is free.
Quite a hedonist, he likes comfort, good food and drink where he can get it, and can be a wastrel from time to time. Still, he prefers to get the luxuries for free, even if he can afford them, this being a matter of pride. Ah, pride. Yes, he's quite proud. To round up his flaws, Gerwulf is susceptible to the lure of gold: he likes to steal it and recieve it. Honest work carries little interest for him.
Most often, he has lots of pals, but only a few friends, here and there. Those are a different matter: one thing Gerwulf can really value is friendship. What he cand stand are long and sour faces - the more dire the circumstances, the more he tries to lighten things up.
As for skills, he's a good bard, with a strong voice, and the proverbial spark.
Speech, memory and music are his greatest assets.
Gerwulf is decent at smithing and subterfuge; fighting is not one of his greatest assets - his size and strength most often must compensate for a lack of skill - he's not inept, but rather untrained.
Besides this, he has picked up basic skill in a few trades that are useful on the road - like leatherworking, cooking, and poaching. While he owns a sturdy horse, he's not a battle-hardened rider.