Shoneah Adoeete Silverbirch

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Shoneah Adoeete Silverbirch

Post by Nara-pyon on Tue Jul 08, 2014 12:20 am

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Name: Shoneah (Silver) Adoeete (Big Tree) Silverbirch
Race: Elf
Age: 17 upon arrival in Arda in Fourth Age 117
Height: 6’0”
Weight: 130 lbs
Build: Slim and toned
Appearance: Long, silver-blond hair, silver eyes, tan complexion. Long ears with multiple piercings in her left ear and none in her right. She dresses for action: loose half-length shirts to keep her weapons clear and ready to grab; fitted soft-leather pants for protection and ease of movement; and soft-leather boots for silent steps. She is left handed, and she wears a fingerless metal gauntlet on her left hand, to protect it when she uses her sword. She wears her sword on her right side and a flintlock pistol on each hip. She also wears a pair of goggles around her neck, which have multiple uses: sunglasses, night glasses, and magnifying glasses, depending on which lenses are in.
Personality: Shoneah is a no-nonsense kind of person and has no patience for stupidity, but when she’s with people she likes, she’s friendly and has a good sense of humour.
Skills/Abilities: Shoneah is superbly skilled in one-handed swordsmanship, though she can also use a two-hander if necessary. She’s also quite skilled with her pistols, and even knows how to make her own bullets, when she needs to. Having grown up in a mountain tribe, she knows how to survive on her own.
History: Shoneah was born in the mountainous regions of Europe in a tribe of nomadic Elves called the Aquinnashua. Her father was a metalsmith, and she learned the trade from him. Her mother was a hunter for the tribe and taught Shoneah everything she knew about tracking and stealth. Shoneah was a natural at both, but her true passion was for combat. She trained under their tribe’s Grandmaster and quickly rose to become ranked among the best fighters in the tribe. At seventeen she is considered an adult among her people, and while there are a few young men who show interest in her, there is no reciprocation.
Family: Father: Kele (Sparrow Hawk); Mother: Dyami (Eagle); Younger brother: Tokala (Fox; 12 years her junior)
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Re: Shoneah Adoeete Silverbirch

Post by Nara-pyon on Tue Jul 08, 2014 12:22 am

Training – Age 8
Somewhere in the mountains of southern central Europe
Gaia


… seven … eight … nine … ten.

The silent count of ten seconds began what children in most cultures would consider a game, but what to the children of the Aquinnashua Elves was a matter of training. Stealth and tracking were vital skills to the nomadic people, and their lessons began with their learning to walk. By eight years of age, they were expected to be proficient in the skills, and by ten they would be expected to join in hunts.

There were high expectations especially of Shoneah, daughter of the tribe’s most skilled huntress. Though she herself preferred face-to-face combat, she was most often the seeker in these training sessions. Her fellow students had ten seconds to flee, and then she had to find them before she would be allowed a meal.

She had only gone without a meal once due to one of these training sessions.

Her silver eyes took in the scene around her as she listened for the sounds of footsteps. There were no undue movements in the forest around her, but she expected that. She would have to rely on her tracking skills. Well, that was a challenge she enjoyed.

Yohto, two years Shoneah’s junior, would be near the settlement, she knew, hoping to be one of the first found so that he could eat. His stomach was always empty, or so he claimed, and Shoneah would not give him that satisfaction. Not today. She would leave him for last.

Niabi, only a few months older than Shoneah, preferred hiding in small places: animal dens, if they were empty, tree hollows, niches in rocks, holes in the ground; and wherever she chose to hide, she would remain there and hope for her trail to go cold. She would be easy to find.

The third and final student that Shoneah would have to track down was Hoowanneka. A full year Shoneah’s senior, son of the tribe’s Grandmaster, he was mature for his age and rather wise. He knew how this game was meant to be played, and he was the only one Shoneah would consider a challenge to find. He would keep moving from place to place until Shoneah found him – and he would make her work hard to do so.

She would start with him.

Though he was the heaviest of them all, being the tallest and most muscular, his prints were the most difficult to see as he was so skilled in hiding them. He made it more difficult by alternating his stride length, avoiding soft earth, walking on rocks when he could, and, when possible, taking to the trees. She had seen him go for miles without touching the ground before, and she had pestered him that day until he had agreed to teach her to do the same thing.

But no one was perfect, not even Hoowanneka, and there were few more determined than she to find him.

She didn’t need much. A faint impression. Some scuffed moss on a rock. Chipped bark on the side of a tree. She could trail him. As long as she didn’t give up, she would find him. And that was when the real challenge would begin.

It took her the better part of two hours to find him this time, and when she did she was relieved. His trail had taken her not only along the ground and through the trees, but she had even had to track through a stream, and she was still soaked. She didn’t appreciate being wet, and she was determined that she would get him back for it this time.

When she found him, it was from above. She had been following his trail through the trees when it had suddenly ended. She could see no sign of him anywhere: not in the branches around her, not on the ground. There was, however, a pile of leafy branches nearby that had fallen during a recent storm. She reasoned that he might be in there. If he was, she would have to wait him out: if she left the tree and he wasn’t there, she would be hard pressed to get back up here again and make sure she found the right branch back; if he was, she could simply wait for him to move and get him from above.

The waiting game was her specialty. Especially when revenge was the reward.

For nearly another hour she waited before there was any movement. Then, at last, she saw Hoowenneka’s sandy brown hair slowly rise out of the pile of branches. He turned his head left and right, looking and listening, clearly trying to make sure Shoneah was nowhere nearby; and when he deemed it safe, he picked his way carefully free of the branches.

That was when Shoneah struck. Silently, she leapt down from her branch and landed on her friend’s shoulders. Both of them hit the ground hard, though Hoowanneka broke her fall nicely.

“First caught,” Shoneah hissed gleefully in his ear before she rolled off his back and got to her feet again.

The older boy frowned at her. “You did that on purpose,” he complained, sitting up and rubbing his shoulders.

Shoneah grinned at him, her silver eyes sparkling. “Payback. I hate crawling through the stream looking for your tracks.” Then, taking off again and heading back to her starting point, she called over her shoulder, “See you back at the home fires!”

Within the hour, she had also found Niabi and Yohto, and the four of them were back at camp, at the fire of the Grandmaster. The four of them were sitting on their knees in a semicircle around the fire, across from the silver-haired elf, and he was looking at them solemnly.

“Yohto,” he said, and the boy bowed his head and awaited his results. The Grandmaster shook his head slowly. “You are too predictable. Always you hide in the same place. Though you are always the last one found, you are the quickest to be found. Your focus is in the wrong place. If you are slave to your belly, it will be the death of you. You must conquer your hunger.”

With the gnarled staff in his hand, he hit the ground once, the signal that he was passing judgment.

“Yohto, you will sit at the center of the meal tonight, but you will not eat until morning,” he pronounced.

Shoneah kept her face expressionless, but inwardly she was laughing. The same punishment every time, but Yohto still didn’t learn.

Yohto simply bowed his head lower and murmured, “Yes, Grandmaster.”

Then the man turned his gaze to the next person. “Niabi,” he said, equally solemnly. “You are improving, but you must vary your position. A rock may be stumbled upon by even the most careless of passersby, even when lying between two mountains; but a fox is difficult to track down.”

There was a moment of silence as everyone waited for Niabi’s judgment to be passed. It took a few moments, but at last, the Grandmaster said solemnly, “You will spend what remains of the afternoon practicing hiding your tracks down by the river. Before you eat dinner tonight, you will need to hide successfully from me within a stone’s throw of the Laughing Rock.”

Shoneah winced at her friend’s fate. Hiding from the Grandmaster was next to impossible even when they were allowed to hide in the forest; but being forced to hide where the ground was always soft … Niabi would be fortunate indeed to eat dinner tonight.

“Hoowanneka,” continued the Grandmaster, his voice as solemn as when he had spoken to the first two, “you must still work on your patience. You are swift and you are skilled, and had you remained in your hiding place, you might not have been found. Your patience must exceed that of a monk.”

Hoowanneka bowed his head deeply. “Yes, Grandmaster,” he replied humbly.

Then the Grandmaster smiled. “That being said, three hours is very respectable, and the path you left was not easy to follow, even for myself. Well done.”

The boy bowed deeper, and Shoneah could sense how widely he was smiling. It was really something to be complimented by the Grandmaster. He did not hand out compliments freely.

“Shoneah,” the Grandmaster said then; and Shoneah was surprised that he hadn’t said anything more to his son. Or had ‘well done’ been enough of a judgment? Still, she kept her face impassive as she looked at her teacher and mentor. He went on, “your skill continues to improve. As I said to Hoowanneka, his trail was very difficult to follow. Yet you did so without faltering. Your patience in waiting for him to emerge from his hiding place is admirable, though I suspect your father might suggest it is your stubbornness that won out, rather than your patience.”

He chuckled softly, and Shoneah blushed hotly. She bowed her head to hide it.

“But not only did you find Hoowanneka, you also found Niabi and Yohto, and both of them very quickly,” continued the Grandmaster, pride in his tone. “You did so quickly and without faltering. You used your skills and your wisdom, both of them very well.”

Shoneah had to fight to keep from smiling too widely. Pride was not something her people extolled, but it was difficult to keep from feeling proud about her accomplishments that day. She bowed her head lower and waited for the Grandmaster’s judgment.

“Tonight,” he said, looking at all four of the children, “our feast will be in honour of Shoneah.” He looked down at her again, and she could feel his eyes on the top of her head. “Let her be an example to the rest of you.”

Shoneah bowed her head so low that her forehead brushed against the grass. “Thank you, Grandmaster,” she said humbly, though she was trembling with excitement.

The Grandmaster chuckled again. “Someday, Shoneah, you just might replace me as Grandmaster of our tribe,” he told her warmly. When she looked up at him in astonishment, he winked at her. “You already show great aptitude for meting out punishment. You knew where Yohto was immediately, did you not?”

Blushing, Shoneah nodded, and the Grandmaster’s grin widened.

“And yet you saved him for last,” he murmured. He looked at Yohto, but rather than adding insult to injury, he simply dismissed them all. “Niabi, I shall look for you in three hours’ time. The rest of you, I shall see you at the feast tonight.”

The children bowed their heads again as he turned away from them to enter his tent, and then they went their separate ways.
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Re: Shoneah Adoeete Silverbirch

Post by Nara-pyon on Tue Jul 08, 2014 12:23 am

Passing On Knowledge – Age 15
Somewhere in the mountains of southern central Europe
Gaia


Summer was one of Shoneah’s favourite times of the year, and far from being an exception, this year Shoneah was especially excited for it when it arrived. This year, her brother, Tokala, was three years old, and he was finally old enough to start learning the ways of the tribe. Shoneah had requested, and been granted, permission to begin his training herself, though under the auspices of the Grandmaster as well as her parents.

Of course, she wouldn’t begin with anything heavy. The boy could barely talk, after all! Still, the weight of the responsibility of it all was heavy on her shoulders, and she was determined to live up to the honour that had been granted her.

On this day, she had been granted full charge of her little brother, and she planned on spending it not too far from the camp itself. She took a flask of water, her sword, pistols and hunting knife; and with nothing more than these, she took her brother’s hand, assured their parents that they would be back by dinner, and set off into the woods.

“Nee, where we going?” Tokala asked curiously as they passed by an old, gnarled tree that marked the edge of the camp’s safe zone.

Shoneah smiled down at her brother and squeezed his hand. “We’re going out exploring,” she said cheerfully. “Today is your day. You can ask me any question you want, and I’ll try my best to answer it. And you’re going to learn a lot about the forest around us.”

Tokala blinked up at her, his pale gray eyes filled with amazement. “Mama said okay?” he asked her excitedly.

Shoneah’s grin widened. “Grandmaster said okay,” she replied.

“Wow …” As young as he was, even Tokala recognized the significance of that fact. The Grandmaster’s word had more authority than anyone’s, save the chief’s.

Shoneah winked at her little brother. “Right. So today it’s just you and me, and we’re going to start your training.”

“T’aining!” Tokala cheered, skipping a bit.

Shoneah giggled. “Do you have any questions yet?” she asked him. They came to a fallen tree, and she lifted her brother over it. “Careful.”

Tokala watched Shoneah as she climbed over the tree after him. “Will I get big like you someday?”

Shoneah laughed and brushed her hair away from her face. “Probably, yes,” she giggled. “Any questions about training?”

Tokala reached up for her hand, and she took it again. “Nee, what’s t’aining?”

That was a question Shoneah hadn’t quite expected, but it was something that was very important, when she thought about it.

“Well,” she answered slowly, thinking as she spoke, “you know how our people live, right? We hunt for our food, and we sometimes have to fight to protect ourselves, maybe from animals or maybe from other people … or … when we move, we need to know where we’re going and if it’s safe … and … when we go into the forest, we need to know how to keep ourselves safe, and how to get back to camp, and what is safe to eat, and how to find water …”

She trailed off. There were so many more aspects to cover of course, but for a three-year-old, it was enough.

She waited a moment for all of that to sink in, and then she knelt next to Tokala and asked, “Do you think you could find our way home from here?”

The boy blinked up at her. “Why? We lost?”

“I’m not, but you are.” Shoneah grinned at him. “What if I weren’t here? What would you do?”

Tokala looked at her blankly.

Shoneah knelt next to him, put one hand on his shoulder, and gestured towards the forest around them. “Which way did we come from?”

The young boy looked around. He hadn’t been paying attention, and he had never been this far from the camp. He turned in a slow circle, looking for something familiar. He looked up at the sky, though what he was looking for there, Shoneah wasn’t sure.

She decided to help him.

“Do you remember when I had to help you?” she asked him. “Over something big?”

His pale eyes lit up, and he nodded brightly. “Big t’ee that fell down!” he exclaimed. He looked around for it, his silver hair dancing as he looked in every direction. “There!” he pointed, and looked up at Shoneah proudly.

Shoneah arched one eyebrow. “You’re sure it’s that tree that I helped you over?” she asked him. She pointed at another tree in another direction. “You’re sure it’s not that one?” She pointed at another, a bit further away. “Or that one?”

Tokala stared at each of the three fallen trees in turn. He couldn’t see any difference between them. Shoneah felt sorry for him as she watched his expression grow more and more afraid, but she remained silent. He wouldn’t be as eager a student if he didn’t thoroughly understand why it was so important that he learn these things. It wasn’t just their way of life – it was their means of surviving.

There was panic in his eyes when he finally turned to look at Shoneah again. “Nee, where’s home?” he asked, his voice little more than a squeak.

Shoneah smiled at him calmly and pointed to the ground where he was standing. “See this?” she murmured, bending over so that she was about his height. “See how the grass is bent?”

Tokala squatted down to take a closer look. He tilted his head one way, then the other, and then he reached out and poked at the grass tentatively with his index finger.

“Why does it do that, Nee?” he asked, looking back up at her again.

Confidently, Shoneah began to explain to her little brother the basics of following a trail.
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Re: Shoneah Adoeete Silverbirch

Post by Nara-pyon on Tue Jul 08, 2014 12:23 am

Odd Fellow – Age 17
Shiezin – Day 35
Arda


Shoneah was a bit wary of Miyuki leaving her alone with Andarien when the boy offered to show her his metalworking tools. It wasn’t that she was afraid of him: she had no doubt that she was more than a match for him physically. But he was strange, odd in a way that made her feel slightly uncomfortable. She didn’t understand him. The pale neko had utilized his knowledge of pressure points to render Andarien’s arm useless and cause him unbearable pain, which had left the boy in a foul temper – and understandably so. But the moment metalwork was mentioned, it was as if the pain had never happened. It was like … a child, distracted by a treat of some kind. Candy. New toys. First served at dinner.

Miyuki called it social awkwardness. Shoneah didn’t agree.

Still, she followed him into his tent and sat cross-legged on the floor as he opened a sizable chest.

“This is the kind of stuff that I make,” Andarien chattered away, pulling things out of the chest and putting them on the floor around him. “At least I make them when I can, but I don’t have a forge to use anymore since we left Dekra. That’s where we were before this.”

While he prattled on, Shoneah cast a casual gaze over the items he was pulling out. Some pocket watches – Eron would like one of those, she mused – some creatures on boxes that looked as if they could perhaps move …

“I use gears, like clockwork and things,” Andarien went on, oblivious to Shoneah’s silence. “I learned how in Caras Galadhon. You know Kyrie, right? Of course you do, she’s the one that brought you to us. She has a nephew there, on account of her husband Ahkshi has a brother who lives there with his family because they’re a mixed couple and – you know what, that doesn’t matter. Anyways, her nephew Corazin is a gearsmith, and I always wanted to work with gears, ever since I was little …”

Shoneah couldn’t help it. She stopped paying attention. It was like listening to Yohto talking about nothing in particular. She listened enough to make sure she wasn’t missing any important information.

At length, Andarien pulled out his toolkit and turned to face Shoneah.

“Here they are,” he grinned at her, unrolling the leather and revealing the tools inside. “Does it have what you need?”

Her attention captivated once more, Shoneah leaned forward to look at the tools. It was a very nice set, she had to admit, equal to if not better than her own father’s tools. But she did need particular ones. She ran her fingers over them lightly as she looked for the specific tools she needed, and very quickly she found what she needed. She smiled softly and nodded.

“Yes. These will do nicely,” she murmured.

Andarien grinned. “Cool. Now all we need is a forge.”

“Fire pit’s enough for me,” Shoneah said as she rose to her feet. “Now all I need is the proper ingredients for the bullets, and I’ll be set. Thanks.”

“Ingredients?”

Shoneah smiled. “Nothing a gearsmith would have, or any kind of metalsmith. Don’t worry about it. I’ll collect it as I find it; Eron can help me with that.”

“I can help you, too,” Andarien said eagerly.

Shoneah took a half-step back. “No,” she murmured, “it’s all right.” She smiled at him, but she was put off by his enthusiasm. He wanted to be helpful, she could see that; but to her it felt as though he were too eager. Again as if he were a child.

She thanked him again for the use of his tools and excused herself. As she headed back to the tent she was sharing with Miyuki and Wren, she thought about Andarien. The puzzle he represented. He looked to be at least her age, if not older – he was growing a beard and was highly skilled, after all – and yet he acted like a child.

It made no sense to her. None at all.
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Re: Shoneah Adoeete Silverbirch

Post by Nara-pyon on Tue Jul 08, 2014 12:24 am

Disastrous Lesson – Age 17
Shiezin – Day 42
Arda


It was the first particularly sunny day in nearly a week, and Shoneah was eager to spend it outside. She needed something to do, though, and her weapons had been so well taken care of in the past few days that if she did anything else to them, she would only end up damaging them.

Still, a little more practice could never hurt, she mused, and she ended up taking her bow and a quiver of arrows out with her. She left her sword behind, though she wore her pistols on her hips just in case. She had her hunting knife with her, and she found that one blade was usually enough.

As she left the tent, she spotted Andarien leaving his, also with his bow and quiver in hand. Her first instinct was to wait and see which way he would go so that she could go in a different direction, but she knew after her talk with Eron that she had to forget that Andarien was an adult and treat him like a child, and ignore anything he did that might come across as creepy. Besides that, she was going to be traveling with the group for quite a long time, and it would not do to be afraid of one of her companions – especially the one who, in Eron’s opinion, was the least dangerous to anyone at all, friend or foe.

She took a deep breath and called out, “Andarien.”

The youth turned towards her voice and smiled when he saw her. “Oh, hi Shoneah,” he greeted her cheerfully; and Shoneah was surprised when he called her by name – mostly because he was the only one to have pronounced it correctly since her arrival in this world. “What’s up?”

She held up her bow and walked towards him. “Thought I’d get some practice in so I don’t get rusty,” she replied softly. “I saw you heading out with your bow as well … I thought we might practice together.”

She didn’t miss the way Andarien’s eyes filled with pleasure at the idea, and once again she had to fight away the feeling that it was creepy.

“Yeah, I’d like that!” he agreed happily.

She swallowed back her discomfort and joined him.

Near the river, only a few short minutes’ walk from the camp, a target had been set up – a thick coiled rope hanging against a tree. She had seen others using it for practice, but until now she hadn’t bothered. It was here that the two of them went, and she let Andarien choose his position before she stood next to him to shoot as well.

“How long have you been learning to shoot?” Andarien asked as he nocked his first arrow.

Shoneah raised her bow. “For as long as I can remember,” she murmured, letting her arrow fly. It hit just off the center of the target, following a moment later by Andarien’s arrow, which just barely caught on the edge of the coiled rope. “Thirteen years, at least, I’m sure.”

Andarien didn’t seem too bothered by his poor shot, and simply nocked another arrow to try again. “That’s a long time,” he mused. “You’re really good.”

Shoneah shot again, and this time her shot went slightly above the center. “I could do better with a better bow,” she muttered, wishing not for the first time that she had her own with her.

Andarien lowered his bow and looked at her over his shoulder. “But if you’re that good, why do you need to practice?” he asked her, confused.

She took another shot, this time shooting instinctively rather than taking the time to aim, and finally she hit the center of the target. “I’m bored,” she replied simply.

“Oh.” Andarien looked at her a moment longer, and then he faced the target again and took another shot. He still hadn’t done much better than hitting the edges of the rope, and Shoneah found herself pitying him.

“Can I give you some advice?” she asked him hesitantly.

He looked at her again over his shoulder and nodded eagerly. “Please! I want to be good at something!”

Shoneah again felt pity for him, and she set her own bow aside. She moved to stand on the other side of him so that she could see what he was doing. She corrected his stance, reminded him to keep both eyes open, held his bow shoulder back so that he wouldn’t hurt himself; and gradually his arrows started getting closer to the center of the target.

Finally, she picked up her own bow again. “I know you don’t like to practice much,” she concluded, “but the only way to improve is though hours and hours of practicing. Hundreds of arrows, every single day. Slacking off for even a few days will put your skill back rather than forward. Eventually, you’ll get a feel for it and you won’t have to analyse every single shot you make before you make it.”

She spotted a rabbit near the river, nibbling on some grass, and nodded at it to point it out to Andarien. “See the rabbit? It’s further away than the target, and on the ground, which means I’ll have to make adjustments to my shot in order to hit it. But since I’ve been practicing so much, I know instinctively how to aim for it.”

To prove her point, she nocked an arrow and loosed it in a single swift motion, using her years of experience to aim correctly. Sure enough, the arrow hit the rabbit through the chest, pinning it to the ground. She headed over to it immediately. “See?” she continued, still speaking to Andarien as she used her hunter’s knife to end the rabbit’s suffering. She withdrew the arrow and wiped it on the grass, then picked up the rabbit and cradled it in one hand. “No thought at all.”

She wasn’t going to waste it now that she’d killed it, and she thought it would be a nice addition to their dinner that night. So, doing what she always did when she caught something, she used her knife to carefully open the small animal’s chest and cut out its heart.

For your strength and your spirit, I thank you,” she murmured in her native tongue, bowing her head to show respect to the animal that would nourish her. Then, in a single bite, she ate the heart, using her fingers to wipe her lips afterwards. She heard a gagging sound behind her, and she turned to see Andarien, his face pale, one hand over his mouth, looking as though he was trying not to throw up.

“Are you all right?” she asked him, concerned. She stood to face him, but he staggered back, away from her. His eyes were wide, and she didn’t know if he was shocked or afraid. She looked over her shoulder to see if an animal had appeared, but there was nothing there; and when she turned to face him again, her brow furrowed in confusion, he was slowly backing away. “An-”

“No!” he gulped, stumbling over a log and falling backwards to the ground. He shimmied back, away from her.

Shoneah frowned. “What’s wrong, Andarien?”

“You – you ate a heart!” he shouted at her, his voice high-pitched. He sounded terrified. “You ate … a heart!”

Shoneah blinked and stopped in her tracks. Had she done something strange? She knew Eron wasn’t comfortable with her practice, but she had assumed it was because he was a city dweller. Did these people not understand the absorption of the strength and the spirit of those they consumed?

“Is there something … wrong?” she asked hesitantly.

Andarien swallowed hard and pushed himself to his feet. “That’s disgusting!” he squeaked, looking at her cautiously now.

Shoneah was equally confused. Had he never gone on a hunt before?

Or maybe these people really didn’t know about the spirits of the animals.

But before she could say another word, Andarien had run off, leaving her alone with her thoughts.
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Re: Shoneah Adoeete Silverbirch

Post by Nara-pyon on Tue Jul 08, 2014 12:24 am

Unexpected Friend – Age 17
Shiezin – Day 98
Arda


It had been about a week since Miyuki had finished the tent, but this was the first time Shoneah had ventured into the forge. Since it was to be primarily Andarien’s work place, she wanted to give him the first opportunity to get used to it – and, though she would admit this to no one but herself, she wanted to see if there would be a time when he wouldn’t use it, when she would be able to use it on her own, without him being around. It wasn’t that she didn’t like him; it was just that he was so unpredictable that she never knew how to act around him.

It seemed the only time he wasn’t in it was when he was training with Kaito or when he was asleep, and since his time asleep was the only time the forge was guaranteed to be empty for more than an hour, she had asked Cael to put up a sound barrier for one night so that she could do some work, too.

She loved the way the tools had been organized. Easy to find exactly what she needed, when she needed it. Andarien even had the metals she needed, and with the mould she’d made, she was able to make some bullet casings.

It didn’t take long for the motions to become automatic. Melt, pour, harden, cool, adjust, set aside, repeat: exactly as she had been doing for years. Her father had taught her when she’d been quite young.

As her actions became routine, her mind wandered. She thought of her father, who had taught her metallurgy. Her mother, who had taught her everything she knew about tracking. Her little brother, whom she had begun to teach.

A tear slipped down her cheek.

The Grandmaster. Her friends. Brilliant Hoowanneka. The ever-hungry Yohto. Niabi, who was like a sister to her.

The casing she’d just pulled from the mould fell to the floor with a clatter, but she didn’t notice. Her memories of home were overwhelming her, filling her with such longing that she felt as though she would implode.

She fell to her knees and buried her face in her hands. The tears came hard and fast, and there was nothing she could do to stop them.

Suddenly she felt a hand on her shoulder, but she was beyond being startled. She didn’t care who it was. She turned towards the hand, and she felt arms going around her. It was a comforting touch, but somehow it only made the tears come harder. She missed her parents, her family, so badly …

When she finally calmed down, she was exhausted. She rubbed her eyes with the back of her wrists, but the action did little more than make the burning of her eyes worse.

She tried to speak, but there was phlegm in her throat, and she had to clear it away first. But before she could speak, a soft voice murmured, “It’s okay. I know it doesn’t feel like it, but you’ll be okay.”

Shoneah sniffled and looked up, and she was shocked to see that it was Andarien who had his arms around her. Her entire body went rigid with surprise, and Andarien’s forehead creased with worry.

“Are you all right?” he asked anxiously.

She rubbed her eyes again and pushed herself gently away from him. “I’ll be fine,” she croaked.

Andarien sat back and looked at her thoughtfully. “You know,” he murmured, “I know everyone thinks I’m like a kid in how I believe everything but … I don’t believe you.”

He had been crouching, but now he sat on the floor and crossed his legs, making it clear that he wasn’t going to go anywhere.

“You’ve been with us a while now,” he said quietly, looking at her seriously. “I know sometimes we don’t understand each other … and I’m trying. And you’ve been really sad, I know that much. I don’t know what it’s like to not be with Nana and Ada and Mi. Even when I was apprenticing in the city and I didn’t see them a lot, I knew they were close by and I could see them whenever I wanted. So I don’t know what it’s like to be without my family. And I don’t know what it’s like to be away from my home, because I’ve never had a home. I was born when we were traveling and we’ve been traveling my whole life.”

Shoneah pulled her knees to her chest and hugged them. For the first time, she wasn’t creeped out by Andarien, and as strange as it was, his voice was comforting. Soothing.

He moved closer to her so that he was sitting right next to her. “But you know,” he went on softly, “even though you’re away from your family and your home … you don’t have to be by yourself. I kind of get the feeling that you … you kind of stay away from the others. You really don’t have to. You need to … just … talk to people. Let them get to know you.”

She sniffled again and looked at him. His goggles were up on his forehead now instead of over his eyes, and she was surprised to see genuine concern there.

She cleared her throat again and lowered her gaze. “I’m sorry,” she murmured softly. “I … I’m so used to being the one in charge, the one who … who is always confident, always right. I’m not used to leaning on others.”

Andarien blinked. “Well, if you’re dizzy, then you should just sit down or lay down,” he said, sounding a bit puzzled. It took Shoneah a moment to remember that he often took things literally, and she smiled despite herself. Before she could explain what she meant, however, Andarien went on.

“But you can do things with other people,” he pointed out to her. He gestured towards the forge, which was still roaring only a few steps away from them. “You don’t have to hide in here at night to use it. You can come in any time. And if you and I are both working at the same time, then … then at least we both won’t be alone.”

He offered her a smile, and Shoneah smiled back.

“Thanks,” she murmured quietly. She sniffed and rubbed her eyes again, one at a time. “I … I guess …”

She trailed off, not really knowing what to say.

Andarien just smiled at her warmly. “It’s okay,” he assured her softly. “If you don’t want to say anything, you don’t have to. But if you do want to talk … then we’re all here for you. Me, too. I know I’m not always a good listener, but … I try.”

He patted her on the shoulder again and stood up. “So,” he grinned, holding one hand down to her. “Do you want to keep making things? Or are you ready to go to sleep? It’s halfway through the night, you know.”

Shoneah felt her face warming, and she reached for Andarien’s hand and allowed him to help her to her feet. Truth be told, she had more casings than she could use in a month – barring any major fights – and she really was tired. But more than that, she just didn’t want to be alone at the moment.

“Maybe …” She hesitated.

Andarien let go of her hand and took a half-step back. “Whatever you want,” he murmured. “No pressure.”

She thought for a moment. Cael had created a sound barrier for her so that she could use the forge for the night, and she didn’t want to let that go to waste … but …

“Even if you just want to talk,” Andarien smiled at her.

She hesitated a moment longer, and then she nodded. “I’d like that,” she murmured, allowing herself a small smile.
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Re: Shoneah Adoeete Silverbirch

Post by Nara-pyon on Tue Jul 08, 2014 12:25 am

Unexpected Friend – Age 17
Wolsic – Spring, 118 Fourth Age
Arda


It felt good to be working again, doing something that needed to be done, dong what was familiar with her. Keeping her hands and mind busy was the only way to keep Shoneah from thinking too much about her family. It was the middle of Spring, according to Shiro the equivalent of early May back in Gaia, and the weather was beautiful.

The group had camped the day before on a plateau near a volcano, and today, Kyrie was taking Shoneah and Eron into some tunnels where she regularly collected her own supplies of sulphur and saltpeter. Both would be relatively simple to collect, especially compared to the work that would go into the purification process. Kyrie had told Eron that they wouldn’t need his abilities to extract what they needed, but Eron had simply smiled and replied that he was interested in collecting his own for personal reasons.

“It’s a bit of a maze down here,” Kyrie said as they descended into the darkness, “so make sure to stay close.”

Shoneah was typically quiet as they made their way forward, but Eron was practical as always.

“Could we not have taken a light source down here?” he asked, one hand on the wall so that he could feel his way forward.

Kyrie glanced back at him over her shoulder. “Not an open flame, no,” she told him. “Gasses down here … if there’s an earth tremor while we’re down here, gasses could be released and ignite.” She paused. “Then again …”

Shoneah blinked. “You have another idea?”

Kyrie smiled. “I do. Prepare yourself, you’re about to see yet another ability of the Volcano Dragons.”

Shoneah exchanged a glance with Eron before looking back at Kyrie, curious to see what Uruloki would do to help them in the darkness. There was a slight ripple as the dragon emerged from the mark on Kyrie’s torso. In an instant, he grew from hatchling-size to Kyrie’s height.

“Fascinating,” Eron commented softly. “I’ve read about such things, but never seen it in person …”

But even he was surprised when Uruloki began to glow, his entire body expelling a light bright enough to see by, but gentle on the eyes.

Kyrie grinned and put one hand on Uruloki’s shoulder. “This is going to be interesting,” she chuckled softly. “Usually I can see in the dark, thanks to our bond.”

“Oh, grow up,” Uruloki chided her good-naturedly, his deep voice rumbling as he teased her.

Shoneah laughed softly. It was only the second time she’d seen Uruloki, but she liked him. He had a good sense of humour and she wasn’t at all afraid of him.

“Well, this is helpful,” Eron smiled, placid as ever.

Shoneah grinned at him as they started forward again. “So how often do you come here?” she asked Kyrie curiously. “How did you find it?”

Kyrie smiled to herself, and even in the darkness her eyes sparkled with amusement. “Remember yesterday when I told you about finding Uruloki here? This is the tunnel. Ahkshi doesn’t like me coming back here, but you know the old saying.” She winked at them. “What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him.”

They continued their descent, and eventually the light that Uruloki was joined by a red glow that grew brighter as they went on. Finally they reached a large underground cavern. It was quite hot in there, and very easy to see why. Aside from a rocky path that led through the middle of it, the cavern was an enormous magma chamber.

“You’re certain it’s safe for us to be here?” Eron asked, wiping some sweat from his brow.

“Yes,” Kyrie nodded. “Unless the volcano is erupting, it’s perfectly safe. Come on, it’s just on the other side here.”

She led them across the rock bridge, and there the tunnel started going up again. There also started to be holes in the walls, openings to smaller chambers, and it was into one of these chambers that Kyrie brought the two of them.

“This is the best place to find saltpeter,” she told them, gesturing towards the walls. “Watch your footing.”

Shoneah looked down and arched one eyebrow. She was surprised to see that the ground had puddles of lava in it. “You weren’t kidding,” she murmured. She stepped gingerly towards the wall, pulling her hunting blade from its sheath in the back of her pants. She started scraping deposits from the wall, sliding them into a cloth bag, and for a while, the three of them worked in comfortable silence. Suddenly she noticed Eron touching his forehead gingerly every few moments, and she frowned gently.

“You all right?” she asked him softly.

He turned to her and smiled. “Yes. I think … there may be an earthquake coming, that’s all.”

“Doorway,” Kyrie said immediately, ushering both of them to the opening of the smaller room. No sooner had they arrived when the ground around them – below, around and above – began to shake. Dust trickled from the ceiling, then a few bits of rock, and Shoneah looked around, her heart rate picking up. This was unlike anything she’d experienced before. Being in an earthquake aboveground was one thing – but this was another. Here, they were trapped.

Then something rolled past Shoneah’s foot.

“What …”

Her eyes followed the object as it rolled down towards the larger magma chamber, and as it approached the glowing magma it was backlit by it, and she could see a silhouette of a tiny creature inside it.

An egg.

“Shoneah, no!” Kyrie cried, grabbing after her and missing as Shoneah ducked out from the doorway and dove after the egg. “It’ll be fine!”

But her warning fell on deaf ears. Instinct was instinct. Shoneah dodged a rock the size of her fist, her eyes fixed on the egg. She kept running after the egg, which bounced a bit as it rolled down towards the magma.

“Got it!” she gasped, diving for it and skidding on her stomach; but her fingers caught nothing but air. The egg was just beyond her reach, and as she skidded to a stop at the edge of the rock bridge, the egg fell to the magma below.

“Shoneah!” Kyrie called her again. “Don’t worry about it!”

The quaking stopped, but Shoneah didn’t notice. She scrambled forward on her hands and knees and peered over the edge of the bridge to see what fate befell the egg and the baby it contained.

To her surprise, the egg was nowhere in sight, but there was a tiny baby dragon sitting on top of the magma, stretching its little wings.

“It’s … fine,” she said, her tone filled in wonder.

The dragon looked up at the sound of her voice, but Shoneah pushed herself back to her feet and brushed herself off.

“I did tell you it would be,” Kyrie pointed out with a bemused smile as she made her way down to where Shoneah was. “I told you yesterday, that’s how Uruloki hatched, too.”

Shoneah blushed. “Well … now that you mention it …”

Kyrie laughed. “Come on, let’s get back to work. We probably shouldn’t stay down here too long. After that tremor, everyone will be worried about us.”

Eron had already gotten back to work, and Kyrie and Shoneah joined him presently. Only about a minute had passed when Uruloki’s deep voice rumbled softly, “Huh …”

All three turned to see what he was talking about. It was still fairly dark in the room, and they were all looking in different directions, and Eron was the first to see what Uruloki meant.

“Silverbirch,” he murmured, looking at the ground just behind her. “I think … you have a new friend …”

Shoneah and Kyrie followed his gaze, and Kyrie giggled. It was the baby dragon that had hatched only a few moments before. In the darkness, it looked black with a lighter underbelly, but the red glow of the magma and the pale golden glow from Uruloki made telling the real colour a bit difficult.

Shoneah looked at Kyrie blankly. “What do I do?” she asked her.

Kyrie laughed. “Think of a name. It’s yours now.”

Shoneah blinked. “What?”

Eron chuckled softly. “Well … she did warn you,” he shrugged apologetically.

Shoneah sighed and knelt down, holding out one hand to the little dragon. It crawled into her hand and sniffed at her, and when she stood up again it perched and snuggled against her chest. Shoneah stared at it as if it were a completely foreign object.

Kyrie grinned and put one hand on Shoneah’s shoulder. “Congratulations,” she chuckled. “You are now the proud companion of a Volcano Dragon.”
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Re: Shoneah Adoeete Silverbirch

Post by Nara-pyon on Thu Sep 25, 2014 8:15 pm

A Useful Project – Age 18
Jielam – Late Stirring, 118 Fourth Age
Arda


They weren’t entirely sure how long Mailon would take, finding them a safe place to set up the tent and come out again once they were in Jielam, but they did know that it would be at least a few hours. Shoneah wasn’t entirely sure what to do during that time, but she was spared having to make the decision when, about to leave the kitchen and go to her room, Andarien came out of the hallway and called out to her.

She turned towards him curiously, Xipil in her arms. “Yes?”

Andarien had his notebook open in his hand, and he held it up to show her. “It’s finished!” he said excitedly. “Check it out!”

After nudging Xipil up to her shoulder, Shoneah reached out and took the notebook from Andarien. Holding it with both hands, she cast her eyes over the open pages. She was impressed. He had taken the design for her pistols and reworked them to hold multiple bullets so that she could use them many times before requiring a reload. It was something they had been working on since a week or so after he had first found her working the forge on her own at night, when she had shown him her pistols and he had questioned the point of something that took so long to be useful, and was not useful for very long. They had tried many designs together, and while Shoneah had been quite willing to leave them as they were, Andarien had persisted; and it seemed that now, he had finally come up with a design that would be functional and practical.

“Do you have the materials to make it?” she asked, looking into his excited face.

“I think we do,” Andarien replied hopefully, and Shoneah was surprised by his change of pronoun to include her in the ownership of the supplies. “And I don’t think making the moulds will be too much work, either – maybe we can get started on it today!”

Considering that Shoneah didn’t have a lot else to do – Xipil didn’t require any training, really, he was highly intelligent and very well-behaved – she didn’t see why they couldn’t. And it would be nice to give her something to really keep her busy.

“Well, we’ve got time now,” she pointed out with a grin. “Who knows how long Mailon will be?”

Andarien grinned. He knew what she meant. Without a word, he started off towards the forge. Closing the notebook, Shoneah followed after him.
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Re: Shoneah Adoeete Silverbirch

Post by Nara-pyon on Sat Oct 04, 2014 11:16 pm

Testing – Age 18
Jielam – Late Spring, 119 Fourth Age
Arda


It took several weeks and several failed attempts, but at last, Shoneah and Andarien made a seven-shot pistol that had a good chance of working. Thanks to their time in Wolsic, Shoneah had plenty of gunpowder, so she was willing to use bullets to test it out.

“Do you think Miyuki would mind if we tried out her new range?” Shoneah asked Andarien excitedly as she loaded the gun.

“As long as we don’t wreck anything, I’m sure it will be fine,” Andarien grinned. There was a twinkle in his eyes, and, with Eon, Zeus and Xipil following behind them, he led Shoneah out of the forge and into the new range. “Might want to use a different target than the archery ones, though,” he added, opening the door for the others.

Shoneah nodded. Yes, if the gun worked properly, it would go clear through any archery target. “Any ideas for what we can use?” she asked. “It’s not like we have any trees in here.”

Andarien blinked. “Actually … we kind of do,” he murmured. Once the others were in the range, he stepped back into the hallway. “I’ll be right back.”

While he was gone, Shoneah looked around. It was the first time she had come into the range, though she knew Andarien had already given it a try. It was impressive, really. Like being outdoors, except that she knew that it was limited. Even the sky seemed real. The fence that ringed the perimeter was taller than she could see over, but Miyuki had done a good job with making it feel open.

Soon Andarien was back, and in his arms he had a few logs from the storeroom that they used for the kitchen fire and campfires.

“We can pile these up and use them for targets,” he said cheerfully.

“Perfect,” Shoneah grinned, impressed that he had thought of it. While Andarien went to put the logs at the far end of the range, she checked the new pistol once more, making sure it was properly loaded and that there were bullets in it.

Very soon Andarien was back, and he grinned at Shoneah as he passed her so that he could stand behind her. “I hope it doesn’t blow up on you,” he said, joking, but clearly worried about it at the same time.

Shoneah chuckled softly. “The bullets are the same as I always use. We checked the barrel several times. They won’t get stuck, which means that they will not blow up on me.”

Her only concern was that the cartridges might not eject properly, and if they didn’t, then she would have to manually eject them before she could fire again. It still wouldn’t be a cause for concern, only an annoyance. But she was confident in Andarien’s design. He had done well.

Well, the time had come for the real test of the firearm. Shoneah looked across the range at the target, then raised the pistol and took aim. She slowed her breathing, calming her heart rate, and slowly squeezed the trigger.

BANG!

The shot was louder than she had expected it to be, and it made her flinch, but there was a sense of satisfaction that went with it when she saw the log at the far end of the range topple over. Almost simultaneously, a gentle clink on the ground next to her told her that the cartridge had ejected just as Andarien had designed it to do. Grinning, she took aim once more, and this time she pulled the trigger again and again until a click told her that the clip was empty.

She looked to Andarien and grinned again. “Now we just have to see if its aim is consistent,” she said contentedly.

“I’ll check that if you want to collect your shells,” Andarien offered.

Shoneah would have preferred to check her shots herself, but she agreed. It had been Andarien’s design, after all; it was his right to choose the job he wanted.

It didn’t take her long to collect the seven spent shells – all of which were in sufficiently good condition to use again – and she quickly made her way to the end of the range to join Andarien as he looked at the log she’d used for a target.

“Well,” he said as she approached, sounding a bit apprehensive, “it’s not bad, anyways.”

Shoneah knelt next to him and looked at the result of her shooting. While it was nowhere near her usual accuracy, the spread of bullets was smaller than the size of a large coin, and she was satisfied.

“At this point we can’t say for certain whether it’s the design or my shooting,” she assured Andarien cheerfully. “Personally, I would call this a success, especially considering that this is the first weapon you’ve ever designed.”

A blush rose in Andarien’s cheeks, and he stood and looked away from Shoneah. “Yeah … that is what I designed, isn’t it?” he said softly, rubbing the back of his neck.

Shoneah straightened up and looked at him, puzzled by his sudden change in attitude. “Are you all right?” she asked him, concerned. “This is something to celebrate, but … you don’t seem …”

Andarien shook his head, cutting her off. “It’s just the thought … of me designing a weapon that works. You know how bad I am with weapons.”

Shoneah smiled and impulsively reached out and hugged Andarien. He was so childlike that it just seemed to be the appropriate thing to do to make him feel comforted.

“Maybe this is your opportunity to become proficient with a weapon,” she grinned. She put one hand on the small of his back and directed him back to the shooting line, and once they arrived, she quickly reloaded the pistol.

“Here,” she said, positioning him on the shooting line. “Give it a try. It’s simple: look at what you want to hit, point the gun like you’re pointing a finger, and squeeze the trigger.”

She stood behind him and helped him to stand properly, showing him how to aim. Andarien took all seven shots, and then both of them went to see how he had done. None of his shots had hit the log, but four of them had come very close, and the other three were not much further away.

“That’s better than I’ve ever done with a bow,” Andarien beamed, looking at the pistol with a new appreciation.

Shoneah grinned at him. “And with practice, I know you can do even better,” she assured him. She put one arm around his shoulders. “And even if you miss, the noise alone will scare most people.”

Andarien blushed brightly at that thought, but he grinned widely. He was proud of what he had done, Shoneah could tell, and in her opinion, he deserved to feel that way. Reverse-engineering a weapon that had never before been seen in this world was no mean feat, and to create it using only a rude forge was indeed quite a skill.

“Come on,” she encouraged him warmly. “We can get some more practice in, maybe double check that it’s my aim and not your design that gave me such varied shots. Wouldn’t it be even better to know for certain?”

His eyes sparkling brightly with excitement behind his goggles, Andarien nodded and handed the pistol back to Shoneah so that they could do some more practicing.
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Re: Shoneah Adoeete Silverbirch

Post by Nara-pyon on Sat Apr 11, 2015 8:30 pm

Exploring – Age 18
Quir – Late Autumn, 119 Fourth Age
Arda


With all the traveling they’d been doing, it had been a while since Andarien and Shoneah had managed really to accomplish anything in the forge, but despite that it felt wonderful to be able to go out and explore for once rather than work their free time away. Shoneah knew Andarien agreed with her opinion, too: he didn’t say anything, but it was easily apparent in his expression, in the wonder in his eyes. And the wonder wasn’t surprising: Shoneah was equally impressed by the area in which they now found themselves. She had grown up in a forested area, certainly, but she had never seen trees as large as these.

“I wonder how old they are,” Andarien breathed as they meandered through the forest. “I mean … they’re so … so big.”

Shoneah smiled. “And beautiful,” she murmured softly, looking around. And it was: the leaves were mostly green, though some were beginning to show their autumn colours; the air was clear, the sky was cloudless (what was visible of it through the thick canopy above), and though there were undoubtedly elves around, the birds were singing freely and there were wild animals visible around them as well.

Andarien, for the first time since Shoneah could remember, did not have his goggles on, but was seeing things without his vision being hampered. There were rings around his eyes from where the goggles usually rested, but they were already lighter than they had been when they’d first left the tent. His hair had grown over the past while, and without his goggles to hold it back, it fell just past his ears in a shaggy fashion. He had not shaved that morning, and there was a shadow of hair around his chin.

Shoneah couldn’t help it. She smiled to herself, looking at him. He was so … so typically him, and yet so different from usual. Calm, but not a concentrated calm. Excited, but not energetically so. Filled with wide-eyed wonder at what was around him, but awed into silence rather than chattering away to the point of babbling.

It was good to see.

There was a snort ahead of them, and Shoneah’s thoughts were jolted back to the present. Xipil was several meters ahead of them, his head turned back to look at them, and there was a look of impatience in his glowing eyes.

“Come on,” she smiled at him, taking Andarien’s arm at the same time. “We’re not in any rush. Just let us wander.”

You won’t get anywhere that way, Xipil retorted in her mind, annoyance evident in his tone.

“It’s not as if we have a destination,” Shoneah pointed out with a laugh.

Andarien couldn’t hear Xipil’s rebuke, but from the dragon’s expression to the way Shoneah had responded to him, he could guess what had been said. He chuckled. “Well, we did promise Miyuki we would look for the market and find out what herbs they use,” he pointed out. Then he shrugged. “Not that we would have any idea where to look for that.”

“We’ll have to ask someone if we see anyone.” Shoneah looked around, trying to spot anyone who might be nearby. It seemed impossible that there should be no one around, but she wasn’t having much luck seeing anyone, either. There were tracks – faint, but visible – but nothing else.

“Kinda creepy,” Andarien couldn’t help but comment, frowning slightly.

Shoneah knew what he meant, though she wouldn’t classify it the same way.

“Woo, newcomers!” came a voice from behind them said cheerfully.

Shoneah and Andarien turned around to see who had spoken, but there was no one in sight. Shoneah kept her eyes moving, scanning the outlines of the trees and plants, looking for inconsistencies. It was possible that the speaker was behind a tree, out of sight, but it hadn’t sounded like it. The voice had been too clear, not muffled or echoed.

“Looks like your idea worked, Sandor,” a female voice laughed, this one coming from above them.

Shoneah stood a little closer to Andarien and put one arm in front of him protectively. She didn’t like not knowing what was around her, and in the space between the massive trees, she felt rather vulnerable.

“There,” Andarien told Shoneah quietly, pointing to a spot halfway up one of the nearest trees to them.

Shoneah frowned. She could see nothing. Then, suddenly, there was a movement on the tree, and a section of bark seemed to peel back, revealing a young man in forest greens clinging to the tree, a blanket of some kind hanging from one wrist. A moment later, a similar blanket fell to the ground just beside her and Andarien. The suddenness of it made Shoneah jump slightly, and she looked up to see a young woman holding onto a rope that was hanging from a branch high up in another tree. Both elves were laughing, and Shoneah felt no threat from them; but the way they had managed to hide themselves so well from her sight made her feel a bit frustrated – more with herself than with them.

“Well, boy,” the girl said to Andarien as she slid down the rope towards them, still laughing, “it looks like your girlfriend is none too pleased with us!”

Shoneah realized with a start that the girl had been referring to her, and she felt her cheeks grow hot. She was about to protest the assumption when Andarien replied, sounding rather puzzled, “Girlfriend? What are you talking about?”

Andarien and his naïveté. It had been a long time since it had been apparent, and Shoneah had nearly forgotten about it, but there it was again. She couldn’t help but laugh softly.

“You surprised us, that’s all,” she told the Light Elven girl. “I can’t remember the last time anyone managed to do that to me.”

The young man had been climbing down the tree, and about ten feet from the ground he let go and dropped, landing in a roll and springing back up to his feet again. “Need to keep more alert, it sounds like,” he grinned. “Know what’s around you, and all that.”

He put one arm around the young woman’s shoulders and winked at Shoneah. “Of course, if you’re out on a romantic walk with your man, I suppose I could understand if you weren’t paying attention.”

Once again Shoneah opened her mouth to protest the assumed relationship, but again Andarien spoke first.

“I don’t belong to Shoneah,” he said flatly. “I don’t belong to anybody.”

Shoneah sighed. “We’re just traveling companions.”

The two Light Elves exchanged a grin and shook their heads in unison.

“Nah, we don’t believe it,” said the man, removing his arm from the girl’s shoulders and instead holding his elbow out to her.

The girl giggled and slipped her hand into the crook of the boy’s elbow. “I can’t think of any other reason you would walk like so through the forest.”

Now Shoneah blushed. She had been the one to take Andarien’s arm as they’d walked. She hadn’t thought anything of it at the time.

The Light Elves laughed again. “Sandor,” said the young man, grinning at the two of them and holding out his hand. “And my fiancée, Silas.”

The girl also shook their hands energetically. “Great to meet you!” she beamed. “And you are?”

“I’m Andarien, and this is my friend, Shoneah.” Andarien gestured towards himself, and then Shoneah.

“Welcome to our forest,” Silas grinned. “Come on, we’ll show you around!”

“Yeah, you were saying something about asking where to look for something?” Sandor said questioningly, wrapping the mottled blanket around his forearm.

“Is there something for you to show us?” Andarien questioned. “There’s just trees everywhere, it’s all the same.”

Shoneah and the Light Elves all stared at Andarien. The words he had uttered were completely bizarre to Shoneah. How could he think that everything here was the same? They were as different as the houses in the city were, if not even more so!

Andarien blinked at them, his face flushing red. “What?”

Shoneah just shook her head. He was what he was, after all. “Nothing.” Turning back to their new acquaintances, she explained. “We were asked to look for the market and find out what kind of spices are sold here.”

“Market?”

“Here?”

Silas and Sandor both laughed again, clearly amused by the idea. “No buying and selling in this area of the country,” Silas informed them, her eyes shining brightly. “What’s the use of coin? It doesn’t feed us, it doesn’t clothe us, and it doesn’t shelter us. We simply help each other out and live far more peacefully than most other places.”

“But if you’re interested in spices,” Sandor added, “we would be happy to introduce you to the most famous cook among our people.”

“Well, if she can tell us about spices,” Andarien grinned.

The two elves burst into laughter again, and this time it was Sandor who explained what was going on.

“Actually, it’s my father we’ll be taking you to,” he chuckled.

“Everyone waits for an invitation to Konak’s fire,” Silas added, grinning widely. “That’s how Sandor and I got so close, actually. We grew up together, climbing trees and whatnot, but there were other kids then, too. It wasn’t until Konak invited my family for dinner and Sandor and I were the only kids there that our friendship really took flight.”

“We found Shoneah trying to get back home and invited her to join us, since we’ll be going back there someday anyways,” Andarien spoke up, smiling. “I’m really glad she agreed to come with us.”

Shoneah knew he had been speaking to their new acquaintances, but she couldn’t help but feel touched all the same. It was the first time anyone had ever expressed their happiness that she was with them. They had always made her feel welcome, and she had never felt unwanted; but it was different from knowing that they were glad that she was there.

“You were looking for your home?” Silas asked Shoneah curiously.

Shoneah smiled at her. “It’s a long story.”

“Yeah, and we gotta be back by lunch because we have a bunch of people coming for lunch,” Andarien explained to them.

“Then we’d best be going,” Sandor grinned. “Come on. And … you might want to keep that dragon of yours close; dragons are not generally well-liked here.” He smiled as he gave the warning, but Shoneah had the feeling he was being entirely serious. She gathered Xipil in her arms and let him crawl up to her shoulders. Eon and Zeus moved closer to Andarien’s feet, both of them looking up at the Light Elves.

Silas was all ready to go, but Sandor’s smile faded slightly as he looked at Eon and Zeus. He nodded at them. “What about them?”

Andarien blinked. “They’re not dragons. Aren’t they okay on the ground?”

“What are they?” Silas asked, her tone curious. “I’ve never seen anything like them before.”

“Pokémon,” Andarien grinned.

“They’re not from this continent,” Shoneah added quickly in hopes of avoiding the inevitable questions. “They’re completely tame. They’re a threat to no one who isn’t threating Andarien.”

“Or Shoneah,” Andarien interjected firmly.

Sandor chuckled again. “You’re sure she’s not your girlfriend?”

Silas laughed and threw her arms around Sandor’s chest, squeezing him tightly and pressing her head against his back. “Stop teasing them!” She chided him, though she was giggling. “Come on, they’re on a schedule – let’s just go see your father, all right?”

“Yeah, yeah,” Sandor laughed. “All right, let’s go.”
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Re: Shoneah Adoeete Silverbirch

Post by Nara-pyon on Tue May 19, 2015 9:08 pm

Special Mission – Age 18
Illsbruic – Late Fading, 119 Fourth Age
Arda


The only thing stranger than going with Daeron into an army base was going with Daeron into an army base while he looked like one of her people. An Aquinnashua elf.

“What are you thinking?” Daeron asked her as they approached the base. “You have this … amused look on your face.”

Shoneah looked at him and arched one eyebrow. “You look like you could be my brother. It is amusing.”

Daeron chuckled. “I keep forgetting about that. I don’t feel any different.”

Shoneah drew her sword and held it lengthwise in front of Daeron so that he could see his reflection on the smooth metal. He looked, tilted his head back and forth, and laughed.

“All right, I see your point,” he grinned. “I guess I can see why Amir was afraid of me.”

“You’re still making me uncomfortable,” Shoneah teased him as they approached the wall around the base. There was a gated entrance, a guard on each side of it, and it was towards them that the two of them walked.

“Hold,” one of the men said, holding one hand out to stop them. “Identify yourselves.”

Shoneah gave him the names that Lashrael had chosen for her and Daeron, names that sounded as if they were Earth Elven. “Shalheira and Delsaran, researchers from Kelxit. We’re here to see Commander Deldrach. We have some questions for him regarding the ruins of a village we found up north.”

The guards exchanged a glance, and then nodded at them. “That must be Nygard,” said the second guard.

“Sounds right,” Daeron agreed. “May we proceed?”

The guards stepped aside and opened the gate. “Go ahead. Straight ahead, the smaller building in the center. First door on the left.”

“Thank you,” Shoneah smiled. Glancing at Daeron, she started forward.

As they passed by many elves, males and females both, some in armor, some not, some training, some walking, some in conversation, Shoneah couldn’t help but wonder which of them might possibly be Lashrael’s fiancé. Lashrael had given them no physical description, but Shoneah had the feeling that even if she had, the description might have fit several of the people here.

They found the building easily enough, and when they knocked on the first door on the left, a voice bade them enter. Shoneah opened the door and led the way through, and Daeron followed right behind her. There was a man sitting at a writing desk, though he was not writing at the moment. He was wearing a uniform with an emblem on his sleeve, though Shoneah didn’t recognize the symbol.

She introduced herself and Daeron with their false names again and then added, “We are looking for Commander Deldrach. Something has come up in an investigation of ours that requires some information from him.”

“This way,” the man told them, motioning for him to follow them.

He led them into another room, where two men were in conversation while they both examined a map that was on a large table between them. They both looked up when the three entered, and one of them said in a gruff voice, “Yes?”

“Shalheira and Delsaran of Kelxit, Commander,” the man who had led them into the room said crisply. “Civilian researchers. They have been looking into the Nygard incident and have some questions for you.”

“Thank you, stay,” the commander ordered the man. The man saluted and took a step to the side to await further instructions.

Then the commander looked at Shoneah and Daeron. “It has been a long time since anyone has spoken of Nygard,” he told them suspiciously. “What brings you here?”

Shoneah reached into her bag and pulled out Lashrael’s notebooks. “While examining the area around the ruins, we found these,” she explained, holding them out to him. “Extensive, detailed drawings and diagrams, notes about experiments that were done shortly after the catastrophe occurred. They have given us some small insight into the event, but we were hoping to find the author of these books for some more information.”

The commander opened the first book and grimaced. “Impossible,” he said shortly. “The person who wrote these books is long dead.”

Shoneah allowed her expression to turn sympathetic, and Daeron took a turn speaking.

“That is most unfortunate,” he murmured. “Then he cannot help us … but it seems that these books were written in two hands.”

He looked at the commander expectantly, and the commander smiled faintly at him.

“Well,” he said, “the truth is that the main person who was assigned to the investigation is dead. Her liaison officer is still here – that would be Lieutenant Oakwood. The one who died was Lieutenant Lashrael Erlshade.”

Daeron smiled hopefully. “And is this … Lieutenant Oakwood available to speak with?”

The commander hesitated for a moment before nodding his head once. He turned to the man who had brought them into the room. “Take them to Lieutenant Oakwood,” he ordered him. “Let them speak, and then bring them back here.”

“Yes, sir.” The man saluted the commander, then turned to Shoneah and Daeron. “Follow me.”

He led them out of the building and into another, much larger, building. There were many more people in this building, going in and out of various doorways, and their guide brought them to a large door. He knocked once before opening it and leading them inside.

It was an enormous room, and in a way it reminded Shoneah of the dojo in the tent: wooden floors, stone walls, and racks of weapons and pieces of armour all around the walls. There were soldiers training in there, practicing their hand-to-hand combat, and a few who were walking around and correcting them.

“Lieutenant Oakwood!” their guide called out, looking across the room.

One of the men, tall with shaggy hair layered down to his neck, held one hand up to a trainee he was helping and made his way across the room. He was quite handsome, Shoneah had to admit. Smooth mocha skin and warm brown eyes that matched his hair, his movements sure, no hesitation in his bearing … she could understand how he could have caught Lashrael’s eye.

“Sergeant.” The lieutenant spoke to their guide, but his eyes swept over Shoneah and Daeron, his expression curious.

“These two would like a word with you,” the sergeant told him.

Shoneah took the books out of her bag again and held them up to show the lieutenant. “We’re looking into these books and we were told that you were one of the authors.”

Surprise mirrored in the man’s eyes, but it was quickly masked again. He turned back to the sergeant and said, “I’ll speak to them outside. I’ll send them back when we’ve finished.”

The sergeant saluted and the lieutenant returned the salute, and then the sergeant headed back the way they’d come while the lieutenant led Shoneah and Daeron towards a door in the back of the training area and ushered them outside.

This area of the base was far different from what Shoneah and Daeron had seen so far. It was a large wooded plateau that ended in a sheer cliff, overlooking miles of open country below them. There was a light breeze that ruffled their hair, but it felt good in the heat. Lieutenant Oakwood led them through the trees, away from anyone who might overhear them. Finally, when they were right at the edge of the cliff (which made Shoneah sweat a bit), he turned back to them and spoke.

“What in particular did you want to ask me about these books?” he asked them evenly.

Shoneah could see in his eyes that he was anxious for the answer, though he didn’t otherwise show it. She passed one of the books over to him. “We wanted to ask you about the last entry,” she told him, making eye contact with him.

He accepted the book and opened it slowly, his eyes scanning the pages until he reached the last entry. Shoneah had no idea what Lashrael had written there – something discreet, in case others had wanted to read it, no doubt – but this man clearly understood it. Tears sprang to his eyes, and his breath caught in his throat.

He looked back up at Shoneah and Daeron. “When was this entry written?” he asked, his voice husky.

Shoneah glanced up at Daeron. He looked back at her evenly and nodded. She turned back to the lieutenant. “Yesterday,” she said quietly.

The lieutenant closed his eyes and knelt slowly to the ground. “So she is alive,” he whispered, burying his face in his hands.

“And eager to be reunited with you,” Daeron replied softly. He put one hand on the man’s shoulder. “She has found her answers. All she needs is you. She sent us because she is afraid that if she returns, you both will get into trouble, possibly killed, if your ruse is discovered.”

The man was silent for a moment, and Shoneah murmured, “Lieutenant-”

“Jassin,” he corrected her. “Just Jassin.”

Shoneah smiled. “Jassin,” she repeated. “She has been traveling with us. We are prepared to get both of you out of the country if you wish.”

Jassin set his jaw in determination. “I wish. I can’t leave with you, but tell me where to find all of you and I’ll come just as soon as I can. Tonight, if all goes well.” He held the book out to Shoneah again and gripped her hands tightly when she moved to take it from him. “Thank you,” he said gratefully. “Thank you both.”

He released Shoneah’s hands and gripped Daeron’s instead. “Please, tell Lashrael-” He cut himself off and shook his head. “No, don’t. Just tell her that I’ll be there as soon as I possibly can.”

Daeron explained to Jassin just where to find the tent, and then Jassin brought them back to the commander who, after asking if they were satisfied with their inquiries, had them escorted back off the base.

“I really don’t think it could have gone better,” Daeron grinned at Shoneah when they were safely on their way back to the tent. “Lashrael will be happy.”

“I only wonder how Jassin would have thought she was dead, if he would visit her every so often,” Shoneah mused. “I mean … Lashrael said she hardly visited the village after a while … so wouldn’t that mean that she should be more likely to be found at her hut?”

Daeron shrugged. “I have no idea. I suppose we’ll find out when he shows up.”

Shoneah smiled. “Well, at least he and Lashrael can be together. Neither of them thought they would see each other again. How much better could things go for them?”

Daeron chuckled. “They’re not the only ones. Andarien will be glad to see you back safe and sound, I think.”

Shoneah blushed faintly. “He did seem very protective, didn’t he?” she murmured.

Daeron just grinned at her, remaining silent. It was sometimes better to leave things to the imagination after all.


Last edited by Nara-pyon on Wed Sep 23, 2015 11:20 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Shoneah Adoeete Silverbirch

Post by Nara-pyon on Sun May 24, 2015 12:53 pm

Concerned Visit – Age 18
Illsbruic – Late Fading, 119 Fourth Age
Arda


Shoneah was worried about Andarien. When she had met him, she had been afraid of him – he’d had such sudden and inexplicable mood swings that he was far too unpredictable for her to be comfortable around him. But in the nearly two years that she had spent with him, she had grown quite fond of him. She had grown to understand him – at least as well as anyone could, she figured – and they had spent a lot of time together. He had comforted her when she missed her family, given her free use of his forge, given her the most extraordinary gift she had ever received, and helped her with whatever problem she’d had.

And now he was suddenly ill, and she was worried about him.

As she made her way down the hallway with the bedrooms, Xipil scurried out from her bedroom and flapped up to her shoulder, where he curled himself around her neck and made himself comfortable.  She smiled and stroked his neck gently with one hand, making her way further down the hallway to Andarien’s door. There, she knocked gently, hoping that he wasn’t asleep.

“Andarien?” she murmured, pressing one ear to the door. “It’s Shoneah … may I come in?”

There was an unintelligible reply, and the door slid open slowly. It was Zeus who had opened it, and the usually energetic Jolteon was strangely calm. It only made Shoneah more worried. She stepped inside and slid the door closed behind herself, then made her way over to where Andarien was lying on his futon. He was curled up in a ball, facing towards the wall, still fully dressed, his blanket pulled up to his waist. Eon was sitting next to him protectively, and he looked silently at Shoneah as she made his way over to him.

“Andarien,” she murmured, kneeling next to him. “Are you awake?”

She reached over and put one hand on his shoulder, and Andarien turned his head towards her. There were tear tracks on his cheeks and his eyes were red. Instinct took over, the same instinct that had made her so protective of Tokala. She put one hand to his forehead, checking for a fever, and brushed the tear tracks from his cheeks.

“What’s wrong?” she asked him softly, her brow furrowed with worry. “How are you feeling?”

Andarien licked his lips slowly. “My tummy hurts,” he murmured.

Shoneah frowned. “Did you eat something strange?”

Andarien shook his head. “No … I was just sitting outside and talking with Mi and Eron and then all of a sudden I felt sick.” He turned onto his back, keeping his eyes on her. “But I feel a bit better now.”

Shoneah wasn’t sure what to say. If his stomach had been the problem, why had he been crying?

“Did it hurt badly?” she asked him, looking around for a basin of water. She saw a small bowl with a cloth in it, and she stood up to get it.

Andarien watched her go. “Not like … not like stepping on a nail kind of hurt, but more … here.” He put one hand on his chest. “I don’t know … I can’t really say what it felt like …”

Shoneah retrieved the cloth and used it to wash Andarien’s face. “And is it better now?”

For a moment, he was silent; but then he smiled faintly and nodded slightly. “Yeah. Yeah, I feel better now.”

While on the one hand, that made Shoneah feel much better because it meant that it probably wasn’t anything serious, on the other hand it made her wonder what it could possibly have been.

“Can you tell me what happened?” she asked him, smiling at him.

“Um …” Andarien looked up at her, thinking hard. “Well … I was watching you and Ada-tol go … and Mi came out … and she was saying I wasn’t okay, even though I was, and then Eron came out and they were talking about me, and then all of a sudden I felt sick.”

Shoneah thought carefully. There had to be some kind of connection. He had no fever, he had begun feeling better quite quickly … Eron had to be right, she reasoned. Andarien wasn’t physically sick, but something had bothered him emotionally, which had ended up giving him some physical symptoms.

“What were they saying?” she asked him gently.

Andarien’s brow furrowed as he thought about it. “Well … they were saying why it was you and Ada-tol who went to the base and why I couldn’t go … and … Eron said … well, you went because of how you look, like an Earth Elf … and … Ada-tol went because he trained in the military … and … and … how you were trained … for … something.”

He swallowed hard. “I feel funny again.”

Shoneah bit her lower lip lightly. So it had something to do with talking about her …

“Just don’t think about it,” she murmured, dabbing his forehead with the cloth. “Just rest; maybe try to get some sleep. I’ll go let the others know how you’re doing, and then I’ll be back to keep an eye on you. All right?”

She smiled at him, and Andarien smiled back and closed his eyes. His entire body went limp as his muscles relaxed, releasing their tension, and after directing the Pokémon to watch over him, she left to let the others know that Andarien was all right.
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Re: Shoneah Adoeete Silverbirch

Post by Nara-pyon on Fri Sep 25, 2015 10:51 pm

Pensive Promenade – Age 18
Eaulir – Early Winter, 119 Fourth Age
Arda


Shoneah felt a bit guilty leaving Andarien by himself for the day, but she needed to be on her own for a while. It had been a long night of tossing and turning for her. She didn’t have the energy for working in the forge today – and after her discussion with Miyuki the night before, she really didn’t feel like facing anyone. And to be honest, she really didn’t think anyone would notice if she was gone for the day. Why would they? Then only searched her out when they wanted to talk to her about Andarien, and since Miyuki had done that only the night before, she figured she wasn’t due for another few days at the very least.

She shook her head to clear it as she headed into the jungle. She didn’t like thinking that way about her traveling companions, but that she couldn’t help it. They didn’t seem to notice her all that much. And maybe she brought it on herself – it wasn’t as if she ever sought out any of them, or did anything with any of them. Especially not the way she spent time with Andarien.

Come to think of it, neither of them really spent time with anyone aside from each other. It really wasn’t any wonder people wondered about the two of them.

She sighed silently as she slipped between a tree and a large fern. She had to figure out what to do about the situation … and hopefully soon. The others were really starting to drive her nuts – even Andarien: she knew it wasn’t exactly fair to Andarien, but if he felt the way that everyone said that he did, how could he not ever show it? Never give her a hint, even unintentionally?  She knew he could be dense, but if he liked her – no, loved her, as everyone claimed, she would have noticed, right?

“Grandmaster,” she muttered to herself, “did you really train me to look out for everything I would need to? To pick up hints of even the most indistinguishable-”

“Shoneah?”

A female voice startled her out of her reverie. Shoneah whirled around, furious with herself at having been taken by surprise. Right behind her, close enough that they could have reached out and touched her, were Lashrael and Jassin. They were dressed for hunting, and Lashrael also carried a bag with her. Their expressions were concerned, and Lashrael murmured softly, “Are you all right?”

Shoneah felt herself blushing, and she forced a smile. “Lost in thought,” she replied.

“Just make sure that’s the only place you get lost,” Jassin cautioned her. “We’ve only been in the area a few days: make sure you can find your way back.”

“You don’t have Xipil with you today,” Lashrael reminded her. Something in the way she said it made Shoneah wonder if it was also a question.

“I know,” she nodded. “I just wanted to be by myself today. That’s all. And I’ll be careful not to go too far – or if I do, I’ll make sure I can find my way back.” She smiled grimly. “It’s what I’m trained for.”

Though when was the last time she’d actually practiced her skills?

Jassin didn’t seem convinced. “You need to get your head on straight first,” he told her, his tone concerned, but a bit gruff.

“What’s bothering you?” Lashrael asked gently, taking a more helpful approach.

Shoneah hesitated. She had never really spoken with either Lashrael or Jassin before – aside from going into the army base to tell Jassin that Lashrael was alive, and then reporting back to Lashrael afterwards – and she still knew very little about them. But then, could she say much more about her relationship with others in the group? And perhaps it would be to her advantage to talk with someone – or some people – who hadn’t spent time observing her and Andarien together. They might have a fresh perspective, some advice that might help her out.

With a sigh, she leaned against a tree, brushing some vines aside, and explained everything from the beginning: her unexpected arrival in this world; how she had met the group here and begun to travel with them; the time she spent with Andarien and their interactions together; and how, for the past several weeks, people had been approaching her and asking her about her feelings for Andarien when he had shown no special attention towards her – at least not that she could see. She also told them about how badly she missed her family and how homesick she was, and of how Andarien had been helping her to cope with being away from them for so long.

“And it’s not like he goes out of his way to do anything spectacular,” she concluded, her fists clenched in frustration. “It’s small things – just asking how I’m doing, or encouraging me in how far we’ve come and convincing me that I will be going back, that I will see my family again. He doesn’t point out how much longer we’re going to be traveling – he doesn’t try to make me feel like this is my home. In fact, he asks me about my home – and he listens when I talk about it. He even went so far as to ask me to teach him some of the things I learned when I was a child – songs and such. And he made me a mechanical dragon that’s also a music box and plays a song my mother used to sing to me.”

Here she paused and admitted, “Now that was something out of the ordinary. And pretty incredible.” Then she shook her head and frowned again. “Still! That doesn’t mean he’s in love, does it?”

“Not on its own, perhaps,” Lashrael murmured thoughtfully. “And it isn’t about how much time you spend together – or apart. Jassin and I hardly saw each other for centuries. It’s about the quality of your time together, and what it means to you. To both of you. We may be new to your group-”

“Hardly my group,” Shoneah muttered under her breath.

Lashrael caught her breath, held it a moment as if trying to decide how to react, and then sighed. “Perhaps not possessively,” she murmured, “but certainly you are a member. But as I was saying, we may be some of the newest members of the group but even we’ve noticed the way Andarien goes out of his way for you. Always letting you go first, making sure you have everything you need, looking for things that make you happy …”

Shoneah frowned. “That’s just the kind of person he is.”

“Only for you,” Jassin pointed out.

Shoneah opened her mouth to protest, but no words came out. It had hit her all of a sudden that she really didn’t know what Andarien was like around other people – except Kaito, when Kaito was training him, and that was bad news, most of the time. Still, that wasn’t exactly social time.

“But you’re only thinking so far of whether or not he has feelings for you,” Lashrael added quietly, clasping her hands together and crossing her ankles. “Have you considered whether or not you have feelings for him?” She spread her hands, gesturing her own ignorance. “As I said, we have no idea. It’s not something we’ve either thought about or looked for. I really don’t think we can help you out by telling you our observations.”

Shoneah closed her mouth and swallowed. It was a very fair point. How did she feel? Did she love him? Or was he simply a friend? She knew she relied on him, but she had always thought that was because he was the one who tried to help her with her homesickness. Yes, he had made her nervous when she had first met him, but since that first time he had comforted her, she hadn’t been afraid of him – though a few times, she had been afraid for him, such as when he had been sick – or simply felt sick, as when she had gone into the military base in Illsbruic with Daeron.

“I don’t know,” she admitted finally, reluctantly. “I’m very fond of him, and that I admit freely. But whether or not it’s more than simple friendship, I have no idea.”

Jassin leaned forward. “Perhaps,” he suggested, “the problem is that you spend too much time with him. Everything is too routine – for both of you. Spend some time apart. See if you miss your time together or not.”

He looked at Lashrael and reached for her hand. “I knew the first time she was given leave and I wasn’t that I loved her, because watching her leave and then waiting for her to return was sheer torture.”

Lashrael smiled and squeezed her husband’s hands in her own.

Shoneah looked at the two of them, glancing from one face to the other and back, and then looked at their clasped hands. Jassin was right – she did spend almost all of her waking time with Andarien.

“How?” she asked softly. “I haven’t anything else to do in the tent. Everyone is busy with their own thing, their own relationships. Everyone is stuck in their own routine.”

The two Earth Elves exchanged glances, and then, with a consensual nod, they turned back to Shoneah.

“We were planning on going into the jungle for a few days,” Jassin began. “We hope to do some hunting, perhaps, but mostly harvesting. There are foods we haven’t had in a long time that we both would like very much, and from our understanding they’re not available further north. Why don’t you come with us? I’ve been told that you’re quite capable of taking care of yourself, and it would give you the opportunity to see how you feel being away.”

“Besides,” Lashrael added, smiling sheepishly, “it really is about time we started to get to know some of our companions. We’ve been keeping to ourselves probably more than we should. We owe you everything, but so far we’ve done nothing for anyone else.”

The idea appealed to Shoneah, but still she hesitated. “You’re sure you wouldn’t mind?” she asked, aware of how much the two loved to keep to themselves.

Jassin chuckled softly. “Absolutely. As Lashrael said, it’s shameful how much we’ve neglected everyone else. Please, we would be honoured.”

Shoneah smiled softly and nodded. “Then thank you. I accept.”
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Re: Shoneah Adoeete Silverbirch

Post by Nara-pyon on Sat Sep 26, 2015 4:44 pm

Time Out – Age 18
Eaulir – Early Winter, 119 Fourth Age
Arda


Though she had debated before leaving whether or not to leave Xipil in the tent with the others while she went off with Jassin and Lashrael for a few days, Shoneah was glad that she had decided to keep the dragon with her. The warmth of his skin against her neck as they walked through the jungle was comforting, reminding her that she was not alone with strangers. And she had to admit, even reluctantly, that being with Jassin and Lashrael felt good. She was out in the jungle again, she was using her hunting and tracking skills, and she was with people who looked … while not entirely, at least somewhat similar to her and to her people. And when they needed to be quiet, or when it was night and they were taking turns sleeping and keeping watch, Xipil made excellent conversation.

By the end of their second day out, Shoneah knew as much about the two Earth Elves as they knew about her. Considering how little they’d spoken with anyone else during their weeks in the party, she found them pleasantly open about their histories. She was amazed at how similar their lifestyles were – hunting, tracking, hiding – despite their dissimilar situations and cultures. Overall, she was enjoying her time with them. She was even amazed at how open they were to watching her eat the hearts of the creatures she killed – to the point where they expressed interest in her reasoning behind it, which led to discussions about their different cultures.

But her time away from the rest of the group was turning out to be quite the revelation for her in other ways as well. She didn’t know whether it was because she was just getting used to being away from home, or whether Lashrael and Jassin were just so much like her own people that she felt as if she wasn’t so far from home, but she didn’t miss her family as much as she had thought she would, being with strangers again. Instead, her thoughts were drawn to the people in their group – and most especially Andarien. She wondered almost constantly how he was getting along without her, whether he was still feeling all right, or whether he might have closed up and hidden away from others.

“You look thoughtful,” Lashrael teased Shoneah, smiling and handing her some dinner as they sat around a tiny fire.

Shoneah blushed and smiled back, accepting the food with both hands. “Always,” she murmured softly.

Jassin glanced at her curiously. “Thinking about your family?”

Shoneah’s brow furrowed and she shook her head slightly. “Not exactly,” she admitted. “The thought just struck me … how little I’ve been thinking about them these past few days.”

“Oh?” Lashrael resumed her seat next to her husband. “And what have you been thinking about instead?”

Shoneah smiled softly. “How much I’m enjoying this,” she murmured. “Being out in the forest again – well, jungle, but close enough. Using the skills I spent my life learning. Spending time with the two of you, without any pressure for anything.”

She hesitated, and Lashrael smiled knowingly. “And?” she prodded gently.

A warm flush crept into Shoneah’s cheeks. “And wondering how Andarien is doing.” She brushed her hair away from her face. “I miss him. I mean, it’s not the same as missing my family, obviously, but … I do miss spending time with him.”

“Looking forward to being back with him again?” Jassin asked with a chuckle.

Her blush growing brighter, Shoneah smiled and nodded. “I still don’t know if I love him,” she said quietly, “but … I think I could. I know I like him, but it’s not the same thing.”

“No one said you had to know by the time we get back,” Lashrael pointed out. “And you’re not on a schedule of any sort. Don’t beat yourself up over it. And if people bug you about it when you get back, just tell them to push off, it’s not their business. That’s the truth. It’s not their business.”

“Calm down, Lashrael,” Jassin chuckled, putting one hand on his wife’s shoulder.

She wrinkled her nose at him. “It’s not right, people bothering her and asking her such personal things all the time. They really should just leave her alone.”

“Yes, but you don’t have to get so worked up about it.”

“Someone has to! And if she’s not going to, then why shouldn’t it be me?”

As the two debated back and forth, Shoneah just smiled to herself and held up a piece of meat to Xipil, who was on her shoulder, so that he could eat it. Lashrael had become very protective of her in the past few days, and a few times – now included – Shoneah had felt as if she had been unofficially adopted. It was a nice feeling, though she was curious to know why Lashrael had taken on such a motherly role with her.

You could always ask, Xipil pointed out in her mind.

Shoneah turned her head and nuzzled him with her forehead. “I know,” she whispered softly, unintentionally interrupting the others.

The two Earth Elves stared at her. “Pardon?” Lashrael blinked. “Did you say something?”

Shoneah let Xipil climb down from her shoulder and into her arms. “I was just curious,” she smiled. “I feel as if you’ve adopted me. I mean, you’ve both been very helpful, and I’m grateful, and I really am enjoying our time together. But Lashrael, you’ve really gone out of your way to help me. I’m just curious as to why …”

Lashrael smiled and gazed fondly at Shoneah. “I hadn’t thought it was obvious,” she murmured, “but you’re right. I guess I do feel a … a bond with you.” She sighed softly, sadly. “You remind me so much of my little sister, Shalana … She was one of the ones killed in Nygard by that cloud, and it was for her sake that I stayed there for so long, trying to find out what had happened. I felt responsible for it. You … you remind me of her so much that … I suppose what I feel for her, what I’ve always felt for her … has transferred, at least to a degree, to you.”

She blinked. “It … I’m not being too overbearing, am I?” she asked, suddenly anxious. “If it bothers you-”

“No,” Shoneah assured her hastily. “Quite the contrary. It’s nice to know that there are others looking out for me.”

Lashrael smiled warmly. “Good. Then I propose that we do things like this more often, the three of us. At least for as long as we can.”

“As long as we can?” Shoneah repeated, alarmed. “What –”

Lashrael giggled. “Oh, don’t panic,” she smiled, reaching out to reassure Shoneah. “I just meant that Jassin and I are hoping very much to begin a family of our own soon as well, and once that happens then … things like this might not be possible.”

Shoneah let out a sigh of relief, smiled, and relaxed. “I see. Well, I think it’s a wonderful idea. Thank you.”

With the meal over, Jassin began to clean up a bit. “How about we stay here for the night and then tomorrow head back to the tent?” he suggested.

Lashrael and Shoneah both agreed. Shoneah might not know for certain how she felt about things, but she was at least ready to go back and find out what the future would bring.
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Re: Shoneah Adoeete Silverbirch

Post by Nara-pyon on Wed May 25, 2016 10:59 am

A Talk  – Age 18
Keliac – Mid- Winter, 119 Fourth Age
Arda

 
It was the morning of their fourth day in Saldalien, Keliac, and for the first time, Shoneah was on her way to the forge alone. Andarien was going into the town for a few hours in search of more or different forging materials, and she was going to check on the glass they’d made the day before. If it was smooth enough, they were hoping to cut it and prepare it for the mirrors she and Andarien had promised the others.
 
She had barely entered the hallway going towards the forge room when she heard someone behind her calling her name. She turned around to see who it was, and was surprised to see Eärendil walking towards her.
 
“Are you looking for Andarien?” she asked hesitantly.
 
Eärendil shook his head, smiling gently. “Actually, no, I was looking for you,” he replied. “I know Andarien’s gone into town for a bit.”
 
Now Shoneah was puzzled. “Is there something you need?”
 
“Not exactly.” He caught up to her and gestured for her to keep walking, so she did, heading towards the forge. “I just thought I’d see how you’re doing.”
 
That didn’t help her confusion at all. “With Andarien, you mean?” she guessed. Jassin and Lashrael were really the only ones who had ever spoken to her about anyone or anything else, and seeing as Eärendil was Andarien’s father, it stood to reason that he would want to talk about her relationship with his son.
 
Eärendil only chuckled softly. “No, no, just about you,” he assured her. “I’ve never seen Andarien as happy as he is now. I just wanted to see how you’re doing – I mean, still being so far away from your family and all. Still in a different world ...”
 
“Oh …” Shoneah blinked a few times as she took that in. It was a moment before she could relax and smile. “Thanks. Um …”
 
She hadn’t really spoken with Eärendil before, so she wasn’t really sure what to say to him. When she’d met him, he had been recovering from – to her understanding – having been captured and tortured, so he had understandably been distracted. Aside from that, she really didn’t know much about him. He seemed fairly scholarly, at least as far as mapping was concerned, and devoted to his wife.
 
He was also the father of the one she had been sleeping with for a few weeks now.
 
“I’m doing much better than I was,” she said finally, leaning against a work table. “I have Andarien to thank for that. I mean …” She hesitated. She didn’t want it to sound as if he had been doing things for her to help her feel comforted. It wasn’t the gifts he’d given her. It wasn’t even the attention he had been giving her.
 
“I don’t know if I can explain it,” she sighed, lowering her gaze. “I suppose … it’s that I have something more to think about … someone who captures my thoughts more than the thoughts of my family back home.”
 
Eärendil’s smile grew softer. “You sound like you’re at peace now.”
 
Shoneah thought about the comment for a moment, her eyes fixed on the project on the table. He was right, she realized. She did feel at peace. She was content. More than that, she was happy here, in this foreign world, living among strange races.
 
She looked up at Eärendil and smiled warmly at him. “You know what?” she murmured, her eyes growing bright. “I am. Very much so.” She paused briefly before adding, “It’s a very strange thought, and I’m just realizing it now, but I think that at this point, it would be much more difficult for me to return home and leave Andarien than to return and possibly not see him again. I mean, I’d like to see my family again, but … I’m in no rush anymore.”
 
“For your sake,” Eärendil smiled, his eyes warm, “I am glad to hear you say that. For a while, some of us were worried about you, but we didn’t quite know how to approach you.”
 
“Some people didn’t have that problem,” Shoneah interjected ruefully, thinking of the many people who had come to talk to her about Andarien. It was odd, she reflected briefly, that Lin and Eärendil had not been among those to speak with her about him. Had they not realized? Or had they simply not wanted to interfere?
 
Eärendil only chuckled softly. “I know. And while I will admit that part of me was relieved to know Andarien was being looked out for, I still think it put too much pressure on you.”
 
That explained it, then.
 
“That being said,” he added, “if there’s ever anything you need help with, or are troubled with, or would like to discuss – about Andarien or anything else – don’t hesitate to call on any one of us. I know that each and every person here would gladly help you out, even if only to lend an ear. Andarien … isn’t always the easiest person to understand, and if ever you’re frustrated-”
 
“Never,” Shoneah interrupted him, shaking her head. “I don’t know how or why, but I don’t have trouble understanding him.”
 
Eärendil looked first surprised, then pleased, and he chuckled softly. “Well, then. Perhaps we should be coming to you.”
 
He put one hand on her shoulder and gave it a light squeeze. “Regardless, my point stands. Any time.”
 
Shoneah smiled back at him. “Thanks. I’ll remember that.”
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