Andarien Aldrich

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Andarien Aldrich

Post by Nara-pyon on Thu Feb 19, 2015 7:40 pm

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Name: Andarien Aldrich
Birthday: Jan 2 2011 / 1 Tuilë
Stage in Life: Youth
Likes:
- his musical egg - it's the only thing that can make him stop crying!
- mechanics and technology
- vegetables and not too sweet sweets
Dislikes:
- physical training
- learning other languages
- strong tastes
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Re: Andarien Aldrich

Post by Nara-pyon on Thu Feb 19, 2015 7:42 pm

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Andarien
Index
First Stage: Musical Beginnings
Second Stage: New Arrival
Third Stage: Toddling Around
Fourth Stage: The Learning Years
Fifth Stage: A Time of Change
Sixth Stage: Experimental Years
Seventh Stage: Life and Discovery
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Re: Andarien Aldrich

Post by Nara-pyon on Thu Feb 19, 2015 7:45 pm

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In the year 112 of the Fourth Age, only a few short weeks before the end of the year, Miyuki and Lin returned to the Borderlands for a visit to Arda. On the day that Lin and Earendil married, Miyuki gave to her ada as a gift this musical mechanical egg, wanting him to have a part of her world, since he was at that time unable to visit and see for himself. It played a pretty little tune that Earendil very quickly grew quite fond of. He kept it on the night table beside his and Lin's bed, playing it often.
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Re: Andarien Aldrich

Post by Nara-pyon on Thu Feb 19, 2015 7:46 pm

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Andarien was born at the exact moment that his sister grew her fifth tail, and there was so much chaos going on that no one was even sure what was going on until they found the source of the crying. He was completely unexpected, but was welcomed by all.

There are few things that can make Andarien stop crying at this stage: one is being fed (he is a baby after all), one is his sister, Miyuki, and the third is his music from his musical egg.
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Re: Andarien Aldrich

Post by Nara-pyon on Thu Feb 19, 2015 7:47 pm

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At this stage, Andarien has learned to walk and run, and despite the fact that they're constantly traveling takes every chance he can get to practice both walking and running. He is also learning to talk, and that at a very quick pace. One of his favourite activities is to mimic his older sister.

His favourite word: "Mi!"
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Re: Andarien Aldrich

Post by Nara-pyon on Thu Feb 19, 2015 7:49 pm

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Andarien loves spending time with Miyuki, though he doesn't hold her back from doing her own things. As long as he can see where she is, he's fine. He has discovered that he has a love for building things, for designing things, and that he has a knack for architecture. His true passion is in mechanics - building things that can do specific jobs. He's a great puzzler and loves to solve problems.

That being said, there are two things he hates: learning other languages (because within five minutes, he's guaranteed to forget whatever he's learned); and physical training, because he just plain sucks at it.

In his travels, things have changed. Iorlas, the romantic interest of Andarien's uncle Daeron, was until recently a dragon hiding in the form of an elf, and she offered her blood to give Andarien the gift of language. Now Andarien is able to speak any language
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Re: Andarien Aldrich

Post by Nara-pyon on Thu Feb 19, 2015 7:50 pm

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Andarien has become a bit of a loner, spending most of his time studying, learning from Shiro, or designing something at his desk. Eon and Ponydash, his Pokemon, are the only ones he really confides in. As a result, a distance has grown between him and Miyuki, and he has difficulty understanding her thought processes, which at times leads to arguments. Andarien always feels terrible afterwards, and his apologies are always sincere.

He is also somewhat self-centered at times, believing that things should be done his way or to his benefit, without taking the time to think of others and how his actions and decisions might affect them. By the time this was caught, it was doubtful that it could be helped. However, his parents hope that by exposing him through their travels to all kinds of people and situations, this might be helped.

When the family arrived in Caras Galadhon, Andarien almost immediately became apprentice to Corazin, the gearsmith, and stayed with him during their time there.
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Re: Andarien Aldrich

Post by Nara-pyon on Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:16 pm

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Almost all of Andarien's experimental years were spent traveling with his family as well as some other friends across the continent of Arkandia. They became mixed up in many different things, from overthrowing a dictator to running into some people from Gaia who fell through a tear between the worlds. Eron and Shoneah both became an important part of Andarien's life. Eron, a teacher from Barton, helped Lin and Earendil to understand Andarien's apparent lack of maturity, unofficially diagnosing him as "too exceptional". As the group grew to understand the term and what it meant regarding Andarien, they changed the way they interacted with him, which also helped his interactions with other people.

During this time, Andarien also spent most of his time in his own personal forge, a special room in the tent Miyuki created with runes so that he could do all of the metalworking he wanted. Shoneah also knew metallurgy, as her father had been their village's metalsmith, and she joined him in the forge on most days. Over time, they forged a bond of friendship, which eventually turned into love. Finally understanding what that meant, Andarien asked Shoneah to marry him, and she said yes.


Last edited by Nara-pyon on Wed Oct 12, 2016 11:47 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Andarien Aldrich

Post by Nara-pyon on Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:16 pm

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Re: Andarien Aldrich

Post by Nara-pyon on Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:18 pm

Pokémon -- Ponyta/Rapidash



Ponydash
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Evolution: Rapidash
Height: 5'7"
Weight: 209.4 lbs
Type: Fire (Fire Horse Pokemon)
Mate: None
Nature: Adamant
Ability: Flame Body - Contact with Rapidash may cause burns.
Attacks:
Regular attacks:
Growl
Tackle
Tail Whip
Stomp
Strength
Double Kick
Low Kick
Body Slam

Special attacks:
Ember
Flame Wheel
Flare Blitz
Fire Spin
Inferno
Fire Blast
Protect
Rest

Notes:
Rapidash is capable of reaching speeds up to 150 mph.
Reaches top speed in only 10 steps.
Very competitive, loves to run.
When running at full speed, its fiery mane sparkles.
Average HP, attack and defense.
Very high speed stats.
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Re: Andarien Aldrich

Post by Nara-pyon on Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:24 pm

Pokémon -- Eeveelutions

Eon
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Eeveelution: Umbreon
Height: 3'3"
Weight: 59.5 lbs
Type: Dark (Moonlight Pokémon)
Mate: Ai (Espeon)
Nature: Brave
Ability: Adaptability - Increased power boost received by using an attack of its own type.
Attacks:
Regular attacks:
Quick Attack
Bite
Scratch
Tackle
Body Slam

Special attacks:
Dark Pulse
Shadow Ball
Protect
Trump Card
Rest
Double Team
Heal Bell
Flash

Notes:
Umbreon stats are high in HP, Defense, and Special Defense.
All stats rise at night, the fuller the moon, the more they rise.
Heals better at night.
Umbreon can spray a poisonous sweat whenever it gets agitated.
Its bands blink during the day and glow softly at night.


Zeus
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Eeveelution: Jolteon
Height: 2'7"
Weight: 54 lbs
Type: Electric (Lightning Pokémon)
Mate: None
Nature: Quiet
Ability: Quick Feet - When Jolteon is injured, its speed increases.
Attacks:
Regular attacks:
Quick Attack
Bite
Scratch
Tackle
Body Slam
Double Kick

Special attacks:
Thundershock
Thunder Fang
Wild Charge
Discharge
Flash
Thunder Bolt
Heal Bell
Rest

Notes:
Jolteon has high stats for Special Attack and VERY high in Speed.
Jolteon generates its electrical energy from ions in the air or from the static electricity in its fur.
Jolteon are very sensitive and easily become sad or angry.
Every time its mood changes, it charges power.
When startled, its fur stands on end and bristles with electric charge.
When charged, its fur is becomes sharp spikes that can be shot out at enemies.
The electricity in its fur makes constant sparking noise.


Kaede
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Eeveelution: Leafeon
Height: 3'3"
Weight: 56.2 lbs
Type: Grass (Verdant Pokémon)
Mate: None
Nature: Impish
Ability: Chlorophyll (When sunny, the Pokémon’s Speed doubles.)
Attacks:
Regular attacks:
Growl
Sand Attack
Quick Attack
Bite
Scratch
Tackle

Special attacks:
Heal Bell
Rest
Razor Leaf
Magical Leaf
Grass Whistle
Solar Beam
Energy Ball
Grass Knot

Notes:
High Attack and very high Defense.
Low HP, Special Attack, Special Defense.
Leafy ears and tail can perform photosynthesis, allowing it to clear the air when dozing in patches of sunlight.
Pacifist, prefers not to fight.
Like a cat, Leafeon enjoys climbing trees and snoozing in sunlight.
Mews like a cat, yips like a fox.
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Re: Andarien Aldrich

Post by Nara-pyon on Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:25 pm

A New Apprenticeship
Location: Caras Galadhon, Caras Galadhon, Arkandia
Date:10 Stirring, 115 of the Fourth Age

Finding a gearsmith in Caras Galadhon was something Andarien had never dreamed of doing, and when it had happened, he had been ecstatic. But that was nothing compared to how it felt to be invited to become the gearsmith’s apprentice, even if he could not complete a full apprenticeship because his family would travel eventually. Still, he was eager to learn all that the smith could teach him, and it was only after a few days of working with him that Andarien began to fully appreciate just how complicated it was to create gears.

On the first day, Corazin, Andarien’s new master, had asked Andarien all kinds of questions to see just how much Andarien already knew about gears. He was very impressed by the watch that Andarien had designed, especially when he learned that Andarien had not had any formal engineering training.

The second day, Corazin had closed down his shop for the day and taken Andarien to his furnace, and it took Andarien all day just to learn the names of the tools and what they were used for. He fell asleep that night the moment his head hit his pillow, and Eon poked him awake in the wee hours of the morning, complaining that Andarien was muttering in his sleep.

On the morning of the third day, Andarien was very sleepy when Eon prodded him to the breakfast table. Corazin chuckled and scooped up some porridge for him, adding a side of sliced fruit before he brought the boy’s meal to the table.

“Good morning, Andarien,” he greeted his young apprentice cheerfully. “Trouble sleeping?”

“Nine hundred and twenty,” Andarien replied sleepily. He yawned. Halfway through the yawn, Eon nipped at his ankle, and Andarien yipped and was suddenly very wide awake. Corazin laughed heartily as Andarien blushed hotly.

“Brass on your mind?” he chuckled.

Andarien ran his fingers through his hair and eyed his breakfast. “Good morning, Corazin,” he mumbled.

Corazin sat across from Andarien and watched him thoughtfully for a few moments. His eyes narrowed slightly and he pursed his lips, and then he leaned forward and put his elbows on the table.

“Andarien,” he said softly, “did you sleep well last night?”

Andarien raised his gaze to meet his master’s. “I think I was too thoughtful,” he admitted. “Eon woke me up and told me I was talking in my sleep.”

Corazin nodded. “What were you thinking of?”

Andarien rubbed his eyes. “Everything. Trying not to forget anything.”

“If you forget, it’s not the end of the world,” Corazin told him seriously. “We can go over things as much as you need. You’ve not even been here two full days, Andarien. You’re already learning things faster than anyone I’ve ever seen. You must have had a good teacher before. Didn’t you?”

Andarien shook his head. “I’ve never really had a teacher for this stuff,” he told Corazin. “Shiro – he’s my cousin – he taught me how to read and write but Nana and Ada bought me a gear kit for my birthday and that’s how I learned about gears.”

“Your most recent birthday?” Corazin asked curiously. “Or an earlier one?”

Andarien blinked at Corazin. “I’ve only had one.”

Corazin stared at him, stunned. “How old are you? Surely, you must be at least eight or ten …”

Andarien nodded. “Ten months. Yup.” He kept eating his breakfast, oblivious of the look his master was giving him. Suddenly he stopped and looked up at Corazin again. “No, not ten. Nine and a half. Almost.”

“Do you count your age in months or years?” Corazin questioned him, his brow furrowing.

Andarien shrugged. “However you want me to count it. I know most people count it in years but I’m little enough that months are still easy to count.”

“Then you …” Corazin shifted and rested his chin on his hand, staring incredulously at Andarien. “But … but you …”

Andarien smiled at Corazin, more awake now. “I grow fast.”

Corazin nodded dumbly. That much was clear. He stared right up until Andarien finished his breakfast and gave Eon the bowl to lick out, and then he pushed himself up from the table. “Well,” he decided, “let’s take a break from the furnace today and just mind the shop. Yeah?”

Andarien grinned. “Kay.”
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Re: Andarien Aldrich

Post by Nara-pyon on Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:26 pm

New Clothes … Again
Location: Caras Galadhon, Caras Galadhon, Arkandia
Date: 25 Stirring, 115 of the Fourth Age

Since beginning his apprenticeship with Corazin, Andarien had gotten pretty good at getting up early in the morning. Once he’d realized that he did not have to remember everything the first time he was shown or told it, he became more relaxed and slept much better. Corazin had gotten used to Andarien being at the table for breakfast at the proper time, fully dressed and ready for the day, without needing to call him, and he made sure that Eon and Ponydash were also provided for – though Ponydash of course remained outdoors when he was outside of his ball. So when on this particular day, Andarien did not come to the table at his usual time, and didn’t respond when Corazin called him, he became somewhat concerned.

Taking their breakfast off the stove, he went down the hallway and knocked on Andarien’s bedroom door. “Andarien?” he called through it. “You awake?”

There was no reply, and he knocked again, harder this time. “Andarien? You all right?”

Again there was no reply, and he called through the door, “I’m coming in.” He put one hand on the doorknob and turned it slowly, giving Andarien the chance to stop him if he wanted to. But he didn’t, and so he opened the door and peered inside. The first thing he noticed was Eon, lying on the floor next to the bed, still asleep – which was very odd, because even if Andarien slept in, Eon was usually trying to wake him up. Then he heard soft snoring and saw that Andarien was still lying in bed, his blankets covering him completely.

“Andarien,” he said again, feeling relieved when he saw that Andarien was just sleeping in. “Andarien, it’s time to get up. If you want breakfast before the shop opens you’d better come get it now.”

Eon’s ear twitched, but aside from that, there was no reaction from either of them.

“Odd,” Corazin murmured, beginning to feel concerned again. He stepped up to the bed, careful not to tread on the sleeping Pokémon, and pulled the blanket down from Andarien’s face. “And-”

He cut himself off and stared in slack-jawed astonishment when he saw the boy. He had to blink, rub his eyes, blink again, and stare some more before he was finally convinced of what he was seeing.

It was Andarien … but … at the same time … it wasn’t. He was bigger now, more grown up. Gone was the childhood chub that he’d had, gone his childishly innocent appearance. His face was thinner now, his hair slightly longer.

Corazin placed one hand on the boy’s bare shoulder and gave it a bit of a shake. “Andarien,” he said firmly. “Wake up, Andarien.”

Slowly, Andarien began to stir, and then he blinked and looked up at Corazin sleepily. His eyes still retained their violet hue, but they were no longer wide and round. Instead he looked quite a bit older, more mature, intelligent.

He blinked at Corazin for a moment, then yawned and stretched his arms above his head. His fingers brushed against the wall behind the bed, and he pushed against the wall and stretched his toes as far as he could. When they peeked out from the bottom of the blanket, he froze and stared down at himself. Then he held his hands in front of himself, looking at how they had grown. He sat up and shivered as the blanket fell away from his naked body, and only then did he look up at Corazin.

“Oh yeah,” he murmured quietly, his voice deeper than it had been, the voice of a boy whose voice was changing to the voice of a man. “Now I remember …”

Corazin wasn’t sure what to say or how to react, but he looked around now and spotted the boy’s night clothes on the floor, torn at the seams. He ran his fingers through his hair, trying to make sense of things, and then looked back at Andarien, who was looking back at Corazin sheepishly.

“Um … Corazin … can you pass me my chest? I have to see if the clothes my uncle made for me will fit me …”

Silently, Corazin crossed the room and brought Andarien his gear-locked chest. None of the gears were in their place, but in less than twenty seconds, Andarien had the chest open and was rummaging around in it. He pulled out some pants and shook them out, laying them on the bed over where his legs were, covered by the blanket. He clicked his tongue thoughtfully, then pulled out a shirt and held it up in front of himself.

“I’ll be at breakfast soon as I’m dressed, ’kay?” he told Corazin, who still hadn’t spoken. “You go so I can get dressed.”

Corazin nodded dumbly and left the room, closing the door behind himself. He went back to the kitchen and finished preparing breakfast for himself and his apprentice, and only then, once he did not have the evidence of Andarien’s drastic change in front of him, did he finally come to himself once more. Less than a minute later, Andarien and Eon came into the kitchen, and he took a good long look at Andarien.

The boy had grown quite a bit. He had been about five feet tall just the night before, but now he was nearer six feet. He was wearing new clothes, the same style as his old clothes, but they were already too small on him: his pants, which were supposed to be full length, stopped a few inches above his ankles, and his shirt was too tight. Its sleeves were also too short, stopping halfway between the boy’s elbows and wrists. He was barefoot, too, which was odd for him: apparently he did not have footwear his new size, either.

“Well, you weren’t kidding when you told me that you grow fast,” Corazin quipped as he brought their meal to the table.

Andarien grinned and pulled out his chair. “Nope. And I’m still just ten months old.”

He winced slightly as he eased himself into his chair, but he tried to hide it.

Watching him carefully, Corazin asked, “Would you like to wear some of my clothes until we can get you some that fit you? They might be a bit big on you, but it’s better than being too small.”

A grateful look crossed Andarien’s face, but as quickly as it had come it was gone, replaced with a look of anxiety. “You’re sure? It might be a while, because I have to find Nana and Ada first and let them know that I grew and that I need new clothes and-”

Corazin held up one hand to stop Andarien before he could get on a roll. “You’re my apprentice, and it’s my responsibility to feed and clothe you,” he said firmly. “You eat, and I’ll call the tailor over to measure you right away. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we have something for you that fits.”

The grateful look returned to Andarien’s face, and this time it stayed. “Thanks,” he grinned.
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Re: Andarien Aldrich

Post by Nara-pyon on Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:28 pm

Archery Lessons
Location: Suncliff, Caras Galadhon, Arkandia
Date: 20 Stirring, 116 of the Fourth Age

“So,” Andarien began, glancing at his companion as they made their way through the town, “where are we going to do this?”

Syradelle, more commonly known as Sy, grinned at the young man, her green eyes sparkling. “Well, we can’t very well practice near the town,” she teased him. “If you’re as bad a shot as you claim to be, I will not be held responsible for you shooting anyone. What would people say?” She feigned a shudder. “I’d never hold a teaching job again!”

Andarien chuckled, fully recognizing the humour in her statement. “Are you Alaric’s teacher?”

He expected an amused denial or perhaps a sheepish admission, but he was surprised when, instead of either of those, she sighed and curled her lip, showing distaste.

“If I were,” she said, clearly trying to hold back her disdain, “your friend would not have been shot. Alaric’s father should not be trying to teach him the longbow; he himself knows nothing but a hunting bow, which is quite different.”

“Ah,” Andarien murmured. He offered her a slight smile as apology for bringing up the subject. “Then I can suppose that I’m in good hands. When it comes to weapons, I’m hopeless.”

“You?” Sy blinked at him incredulously. “No way! I mean, look at you!” She gripped him by the elbow and raised his arm so that she could put her other hand on his bicep. “You’re so strong! Just look at these muscles!”

Andarien blushed and gently removed his arm from her grasp. “Well, I spent a year apprenticed to a gearsmith in Caras Galadhon,” he muttered in explanation. “Worked the forges and stuff.” He found he couldn’t quite bring himself to meet her eyes. “Doesn’t mean I can use weapons.”

Sy hummed and looked at him. Young though she was, she’d seen people like him before. After a moment’s consideration, she grinned to herself. Lack of confidence, she’d stake her life on it.

“Well, we’ll see about getting you using a bow,” she told him, completely at ease.

It was a while before they reached a spot that Sy agreed was a good place for shooting. Andarien was already wearing his gear, and though he’d had lessons before, Sy took the time to show him each and every part of the bow and the arrows, explaining what each part played in the overall scheme of things. Then she showed him how to stand and how to hold the bow. Before letting him take a single shot, she explained the physics behind it all – and as she’d explained the day before, the knowing and understanding of how it worked helped Andarien to remember all of it.

At first, Sy had him just shooting in general, focusing on the physical aspect of it, using his judo arrows: arrows with tips that had rounded hooks on them to catch the grass and ground so that the arrows couldn’t bury themselves into the ground and be lost forever. But after about two hours, she put up a target for him, a coil of braided rope, and had him change to field tips so that he could start practicing with his aim.

“Looks like we’ve got company,” Sy commented, looking behind Andarien after he had done a few rounds of target shooting.

Andarien lowered his bow and looked around. Coming up on them were Ponydash, Eon and Zeus. He smiled at his Pokémon. “Hey, guys,” he greeted them. “What’s up?”

Ponydash and Zeus stopped a safe distance away, but Eon, always the most parental of them all, strode up to Andarien and started yipping at him.

Andarien winced, and Sy giggled. “You understand him?” she asked curiously.

Andarien nodded. “Yeah … I hadn’t realized it was lunch time already, though.” He knelt down and patted Eon on the head to calm him. “Don’t worry, Eon,” he murmured, smiling. “I’ll eat.”

Eon sat back on his haunches and looked up at his master, his red eyes filled with suspicion. Andarien chuckled and reached for his bag, which he had set aside for the lesson. He opened it and pulled out a bundle wrapped in cloth. He held it up to show the protective Umbreon. “See?”

Eon nodded his head and trotted back to join Ponydash and Zeus. The three of them stayed there together.

“Oh, they’re just adorable,” Sy giggled, sitting next to Andarien. Once he had opened the bundle, she reached over and grabbed one of the sandwiches inside. “You’ve had them long? You all seem to understand each other so well.”

Andarien chuckled. “Yeah … well, Eon has been around since … well, I think I was maybe a year old or so. Ponydash came soon after. Zeus, on the other hand … he’s only a few months old.” He paused to take a bite of his own sandwich and made sure he had swallowed before continuing. “Eon is Zeus’s father, Miyuki’s Espeon, Ai, is Zeus’s mother. And he’s got a brother, Yasu.”

Sy was impressed. “Very nice. And what do they do? I mean, are they pets? Or …”

“Friends and protectors,” Andarien said proudly. “They each have their own abilities. Nana and Ada bought them for us – well, Ponydash and Eon and Ai – to protect us since we were little when we started traveling, and since even then we knew that Mi and I aren’t much good with weapons.”

He paused, then added, “Me especially.”

Sy punched his shoulder – none too softly, at that. “Let me tell you a secret,” she told him, unusually serious. She glanced at the Pokémon. “And this is something the three of you can remind him of, too.”

Eon squeaked his agreement, and all three Pokémon listened intently. Sy turned back to Andarien. “No matter what it is you’re doing in life,” she told him, “the only things you can’t do – the absolute only things you can’t do – are the things you tell yourself that you can’t do. And nothing shows it better than archery.”

She stuffed the rest of her sandwich into her mouth and jumped nimbly to her feet, brushing her hands on the back of her pants. Then she picked up his bow and nocked an arrow.

“In archery,” she told him as soon as her mouth was empty, “the physical part – how you stand, how you hold the bow, how you draw, all of that – is only ten per cent of shooting.”

She drew the string back to her chin, touching the nock of the arrow to her lips as she took aim.

“See that flagpole back at the town?” she asked Andarien, pointing at it with the arrow.

Andarien pushed himself to his feet and moved to stand behind her, wiping his own hands on his pants as he did so. He had to squint to see it, but eventually he saw the flag waving in the distance above the city.

“Yes,” he murmured, nodding slowly.

Sy smiled, keeping the bow up and ready to shoot. “The other ninety per cent of archery is mental,” she told him softly. “You have to believe that you’re going to make the shot. Visualize it. Feel it. Know that you can do it. If any part of you doubts, even just a little, you will not hit your target.”

She lowered the bow slowly and turned to look at Andarien. “How far away do you think that flagpole is?” she asked him.

He thought about it for a moment. He was no cartographer, but over time he had learned to judge at least some distances, and now he took a guess.

“Half a mile?” he suggested.

Sy smiled. “Close. Just a bit more. Think I can hit it?”

Andarien was doubtful. “Can my bow even shoot that far?”

Sy just grinned and turned back to face the town. In a single fluid movement, she eyed her target, raised the bow, drew back, and released the string. The arrow arced above the trees and was very quickly lost to sight.

Andarien was shocked. “Are you mad?” he choked out. “What if you missed? You could have killed someone!”

Sy laughed again, but she didn’t answer him. Instead, she handed him his bow and started packing up their things. Once she had everything in hand, she turned back to Andarien and grinned. “Shall we go see?”

Andarien was too anxious to make conversation on the way back to town, but Sy was at ease and chattered away incessantly. The first thing they did when they returned was head to the town square, where the flagpole was located, and looked up at the tip of the pole.

As promised, Andarien’s arrow was sticking out of the spherical knob on the top.

“See?” Sy grinned triumphantly at him. “It’s all about what you tell yourself you can or can’t do.”

Andarien glared up at the arrow. “And how do we get it down?” he asked sourly. “Unless you can fly …”

Sy waved away his worry. “I’ll give you another arrow, free of charge,” she promised him. “Come on, let’s go back to the shop and get it right away.” She looked at the Pokémon, who were still following them. “You might need to ask your friends to wait somewhere else for us, they won’t be allowed inside …”

Andarien turned to the Pokémon. “They can come with us,” he decided. “I’ll let them rest when we go inside.”

He could tell that Sy didn’t understand, but he was feeling vengeful and didn’t bother explaining about the Pokéballs. She had lost him an arrow, after all – and it smarted that she seemed to be making fun of him for being such a poor shot.

As they were walking down the street, another girl, about Sy’s age but appearing to be Light Elven instead of a mixture, called out to Sy in another language. Andarien understood it of course, though he didn’t know what language it was.

Morning, Sy!” the girl called in greeting. “New friend?

New student!” Sy called back in the same language, laughing. “Isn’t he handsome?

Andarien felt it better to pretend not to have understood, and he let his brow furrow slightly as if he was confused. The girls waved to each other and he and Sy continued down the street while the other girl headed in another direction.

“Friend of yours?” he asked when they reached the bowyers’ shop. He took out his Pokéballs and recalled the Pokémon before returning the balls to his belt, and he felt a smug satisfaction when he saw the astonished look on Sy’s face.

Sy blinked and shook her head as if to clear it. “Um, yes,” she replied, finding her voice back. “Yes, her family arrived here about five years ago and we’ve been good friends since.” She cleared her throat and opened the door for him. “Come on.”

Instead of simply writing down his information and letting her brothers take care of the arrow, Sy picked out the necessary materials and invited Andarien into the back room to watch as she prepared it herself.

“Are you sure you don’t have magic helping you to shoot that well?” he asked as he watched her. “I mean, I’ve only ever seen one person shoot like that before, and it’s a magical gift for her.”

Sy looked at Andarien thoughtfully before shaking her head. “Of course it’s not magic,” she replied as if the answer were obvious. “I have mixed blood, I have no magic.” She looked up at him again. “What about you? I mean, you obviously don’t look a thing like either of your parents, but you must be of mixed blood, too. Your father’s a Dark Elf, and your mother …”

She hesitated. “Well, I don’t know what she is, to be honest,” she admitted.

Andarien smiled. “She’s an angel, and before you ask, it’s a race that doesn’t exist in this world, just like Miyuki is a kitsune and there are no kitsunes in this world.” Then he shook his head. “But no, I’m not sure you’d say I’m of mixed blood. I mean, yes, they’re my parents, but … I’m adopted.”

He had learned that keeping the explanation that simple was really the best way for people to understand. They never understood when he said he was born from a mechanical musical egg.

Sy blinked. “Oh!” she exclaimed, breaking into a smile. “Then you must have some magic!”

“Well …” Andarien hesitated. “Sort of … but … it’s not helpful. The only magic I have – if you can call it that – is the ability to see magic. But it’s blinding, which is why I need these.” He tapped his goggles. “They block it out – filter it, really. Without them, it’s painful to look around sometimes. The more powerful the magic, the brighter it is.”

“But hardly anyone here has magic,” Sy pointed out, “and if they do they usually don’t use it and rub it in. We’re mostly mixed-bloods here.”

She pursed her lips and set the arrow on the counter she was working at, then turned to face Andarien squarely. “I wonder …”

Andarien blinked. “Wonder what?” he asked, curious to know what she meant.

Sy’s eyes narrowed slightly as she looked at him, and she tilted her head thoughtfully. Without speaking, she stepped towards him. She reached up and carefully took hold of his goggles, one lens in each hand. Gently, slowly, she lifted them up and pulled them over the top of his head.

Andarien blinked as the cool air of the shop reached his formerly protected eyes, and when they stopped watering, he found that Sy was looking quite pleased with herself.

“What is it?” he asked hesitantly.

Sy grinned and twirled the goggles around one finger. “I was right,” she just about purred. “Much better without.”

With that, she returned to working on Andarien’s new arrow, leaving him to puzzle out what she had meant.
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Re: Andarien Aldrich

Post by Nara-pyon on Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:38 pm

A Special Gift
Location: Winum, Dolerum, Arkandia
Date: Mid-Autumn, 117 of the Fourth Age

Having arrived in Winum, little had changed for Andarien. He still woke up with Eon in his face (or a jolt from Zeus, if Eon was off with Ai somewhere), ate breakfast (hurried if no one had prepared anything special, taking his time if someone did), and headed off to his forge, generally waiting for Shoneah to join him, if she hadn’t beaten him there already. Often enough, he stayed in there all day, even for lunch (which was the only meal he could safely skip, and Shoneah always brought him food anyways).

Lately, he had been skipping lunches more often than usual. It wasn’t that he was slighting his family and their companions, or that he wasn’t hungry, or that there were any problems: he used the time alone in the forge to work on a very special project. A secret project.

Spending so much time with Shoneah, Andarien was well aware of just how much she missed her family; and while he also noticed that she seemed happier the longer she was with them, every once in a while he would see that look in her eyes that showed how homesick she still was. Even taking care of Xipil, which he knew she loved, couldn’t distract her from that. He tried to help her, and while they worked, she would spend hours telling him about her family and about growing up, what life was like (not entirely dissimilar to the group’s nomadic lifestyle, it turned out), and some of the tales and songs from her people.

He didn’t know many stories or songs himself, so he listened, spellbound, and learned from her. When he had asked her to teach him her favourite song, she had complied eagerly, and now he knew it by heart. Already then, he had been planning his surprise for her.

With Shiro’s help, he had created a musical box that was more complicated than the one in the egg from which he had been born. With Shiro’s musical knowledge and ear for music, Andarien had managed not only to reproduce the song Shoneah had taught him, but also added harmonies to it. He had housed the mechanical bits inside a simple wooden box, lacquered in white with silver pinpricks all over it as well as silver trim. Mounted on top of the box was a dragon, shaped to resemble Xipil, painted the darkest blue he could find. He had taken the time to make each individual scale for the dragon, and it fitted together as well as fish scales; and the tip of each scale had a silver edge on it, like Xipil. He had rigged the box so that when the key was turned and the gears played the music inside, the dragon would move as if walking.

It had taken him many weeks and many late nights, but at last it was finished, and now it was time to give it to Shoneah.

He didn’t know when to do it, or how – he wanted it to be special, something … noteworthy. But every time he ran through a scenario in his head, he decided that it sounded silly, and that it wouldn’t work. Finally, he decided to simply give it to her before they left the forge for the night. Besides, that way it would be even more of a surprise.

When the morning came, he was nervous, and he grew more nervous throughout the day. Finally, just before dinner, Shoneah commented on it.

“Are you all right?” she asked, looking at him with a puzzled expression on her face. She wiped some sweat from her brow and leaned against one of the tool benches.

Truth be told, Andarien’s heart was racing and his throat felt a little constricted, but he nodded his head so as not to worry her. After all, he reasoned, it would pass eventually. It always did.

“Are you sure?” Shoneah pressed, pulling her gloves off and setting them aside. “You look a bit pale.”

“I’m fine,” he insisted, smiling at her. “I just have something on my mind, is all.”

Shoneah looked doubtful. “Something worrying you?”

He shook his head. “No, I …” He bit his lower lip, wondering if he should just do it now and get it over with. At this rate, she was definitely going to suspect something by the time night came. He took a moment to consider it and decided finally that it wouldn’t make a difference either way.

He smiled at Shoneah again. “Well … I … I have something … I … well, I’ve been noticing …”

Why wouldn’t the words come out of his mouth? What was wrong with him?

He sighed. “Stupid tongue,” he muttered, feeling the need to blame something. He pursed his lips and then tried again. “Well I know you still really miss your family and everything about being home, so I … I made you something to … to at least hopefully help you to feel better, at least for now because I know you’ll make it home eventually but it’s probably going to be a while and I want you to be happy when you’re with us instead of always wondering-”

He cut himself off, feeling his face growing warm. “Anyways,” he mumbled, lowering his gaze as he pulled his own gloves off, “I made you something.”

He put his gloves on the work bench and stepped around it to where he had hidden the music box, inside the large drawer of the table where Xipil often spent his time. Shoneah watched him curiously and took a few steps after him.

The drawer slid open easily, and, his heart pounding harder than ever, Andarien reached inside and carefully lifted the musical box. For a moment, fear gripped him: what if she didn’t like it? What if something had happened to it and it didn’t work properly? But then he swallowed down his worries and turned towards Shoneah.

“Here,” he murmured shyly, holding it out to her with both hands. He was tempted to lower his gaze again, avoid looking at her in case she didn’t like it; but he wanted to see the look on her face, so he forced himself to keep his eyes on her.

Shoneah blinked in surprise. She recognized of course the dragon on top. Xipil was her constant companion, and the two of them grew closer with each passing day. For a moment, she stared, transfixed, and then she reached out with one hand and gently ran her fingers over the mechanical dragon’s form.

“It’s … beautiful,” she breathed, her eyes lighting up with the smile that adorned her face.

Andarien’s face grew even warmer. “It’s not just the dragon,” he told her.

Holding the box carefully in one hand, he turned the key that stuck out of the side of the box. He had done his best to prime the song so that it would start from the beginning the next time someone turned it, but unfortunately he had missed by a few notes. Two or three notes pinged out, and Shoneah’s brow furrowed with confusion. Then there was a brief pause, and the song began from the beginning.

It was a good thing that Andarien was holding the music box, because he could see almost right away that if Shoneah had been the one holding it, she would have dropped it on the floor. Her eyes were as wide as Andarien had ever seen them, both hands were covering her mouth, and tears had begun to course down her cheeks. Both of them stood, unspeaking, as the song played through, then began again, and repeated its process three times before coming to a stop midway.

“Andarien,” Shoneah breathed finally, her eyes moist as she looked at him again. “How – how did you …”

“Shiro helped me a bit,” he replied, fidgeting uncomfortably. He balanced on one foot and used his other to rub the back of his opposing leg. “I just … I know it’s your favourite song, and you used to sing it with your tribe, so … well, I thought that maybe, when you’re lonely, you could listen to it and it might help you feel better, like my egg does for me …”

He trailed off, uncertain what to say or do next as she stared at him with a look on her face that he didn’t recognize. He swallowed down the lump in his throat. “You … you don’t like it,” he stammered. “It’s … it’s ok, really, I-”

“I love it!” she exclaimed, throwing her arms around Andarien’s neck and hugging him tightly, careful of the box that was still in his hand. A smile crept over Andarien’s face, and suddenly he found it much easier to breathe. With his free hand, he returned the hug, and he was also the first one to let go. It wasn’t until he took a step back again so that he could hold the music box out to her that she finally released him.

Andarien was feeling quite warm by now, but he met Shoneah’s gaze as he handed over the box. Her smile was wide, her eyes bright as she took it from him with both hands. “Thank you,” she whispered. Holding it close, she leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. Andarien blushed hotly. It was the first kiss he’d gotten from anyone other than Sy back in Suncliffe, but this felt different. This time, he knew there was a reason for it, so it didn’t leave him confused. It made him happy to know how much Shoneah liked the gift he’d made for her.

“Come on,” he smiled warmly at her. “Let’s go wash up for dinner.”
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Re: Andarien Aldrich

Post by Nara-pyon on Thu Sep 10, 2015 11:37 pm

Family Chat
Location: The Beach, Eaulir, Arkandia
Date: Early Winter, 119 of the Fourth Age

Once Wren had given Eärendil her mirror, he went with Andarien to Andarien’s room so that the two of them could have some privacy while they spoke with Ruel and (possibly) Lúthien. Not that they would be talking about any secrets, but there were a lot of people in the tent now, and Eärendil’s hearing still hadn’t improved since he had been taken captive and tortured.

Getting the mirror set up wasn’t a problem, nor was making the connection. It was morning in the Southland, but not quite early enough that they managed to catch the prince and princess in their bedchamber. Thinking fast, Eärendil remembered the mirror in his great-grandmother’s study, on the wall, and connected to that one instead, figuring that even if the queen was not in there, there would be guards who could send a message. He was right: Atalya wasn’t in her study, but he did manage to send a message for Ruel to meet them back in his bedchamber. Once that was done, he reconnected to the mirror in his parents’ bedchamber and settled in with Andarien to wait.

Andarien was tired and grumpy, and both these factors made him fidgety and impatient. When at last the large oaken door opened, Andarien was pacing along one wall of his room.

“Eärendil?” Ruel smiled as he approached the mirror. He sat down in front of it. “It’s good to hear from you again.”

“Hello, Father,” Eärendil greeted his father warmly. “It’s good to see you again. And I’m sorry to pull you away from your work-”

“No bother,” Ruel assured him.

Eärendil’s smile widened. This was a new side to his father, one that he liked. Never before had Ruel been fine with being called away from his work.

“Glad to hear it. But Andarien’s encountered a problem with something he’s been working on, and he’s looking for some advice,” he explained.

Ruel leaned slightly to one side as if trying to peer past his son. “Is that him I see pacing behind you?” he asked.

Eärendil turned around. Sure enough, Andarien was still pacing as if he hadn’t noticed yet that Ruel was there – which was possible, the way the boy’s mind worked. Eärendil snapped his fingers to get his son’s attention. “Andarien, your neko’s here.”

Andarien’s eyes lit up, and he ran over to sit next to his father. “Hi, Neko!” he said eagerly. “We found Littinum here, a whole bunch of it! But I can’t do anything with it!”

Ruel bit the inside of his cheek to keep from laughing aloud at the boy’s narrow focus. “It’s good to see you, too, Andarien,” he teased him; and Andarien blushed and shied away. Ruel coughed and grew serious. “Littinum, then. The most difficult metal to work with.”

“I figured out that part on my own,” Andarien grumbled.

Eärendil nudged Andarien to remind him of his manners, and the boy sighed. “Sorry, Neko. It’s just that everybody keeps telling me what a good metal it is, and I don’t have any trouble with anything else I make, but … I can’t even get it hot enough to do anything when I hit it.” Tears welled in his eyes. “Am I just too weak?”

“No,” Ruel said firmly, “you are not too weak. Littinum is a very difficult metal to work with. While you do need physical strength to work with it, if you can get it hot enough that won’t be a problem at all. It’s just the heat required. How hot have you been trying to make it, do you know?”

The corner of Andarien’s lip twitched as he thought about Lashrael’s measurements. “Close to twenty-eight hundred degrees.”

Enough to melt him, Shoneah and Lashrael, just about. He was certain that the only reason the forge and the room were still in one piece was because the room was made of stone.

Ruel nodded. “Then you’re close. Three hundred degrees more will do it.” He fell silent for a moment, and there was a thoughtful expression on his face. Andarien waited patiently for him to speak again, and when he did, he asked, “can you show me your forge?”

Andarien looked to Eärendil, who nodded. “Sure, just give us a minute.” He leaned forward and picked up the mirror, careful only to handle the frame so that the connection would not be broken, and he and Andarien made their way to Andarien’s workshop. There, he held the mirror while Andarien gave his grandfather a tour of the room.

“I’m impressed,” Ruel said after he’d seen it all: and he sounded impressed, too. “That’s all in your tent?”

“Mi’s tent,” Andarien corrected him. “But yeah.” He waited a second to see if Ruel would explain anything more about the Littinum, then blurted, “Well? How can I do this?”

“Well,” Ruel murmured, rubbing his chin thoughtfully, “as far as I can tell, you need fuel that can burn hot enough to get you to the temperature that you need. You might also need something that can protect you from the heat, because let’s face it, those kind of temperatures will incinerate just about anyone or anything that come close enough.”

He fell silent once more, then spoke slowly. “If … you could somehow … redesign the forge …”

“I can always ask Mi if it’s possible,” Andarien shrugged.

Ruel nodded. “Then leave it with me for tonight, I’ll come up with some blueprints that will make it safer for you. Contact me again tomorrow at the same time – I’ll make sure to be here waiting for you – and you can let me know if it’s possible to change things around.”

Andarien smiled faintly and nodded. “Thanks, Neko,” he murmured.

Ruel smiled warmly at him. “You’re welcome,” he replied softly. “Now you go rest – you look like you could really use it. But Eärendil,” he added quickly, “I’d like to talk to you a bit in private before you go.”

Eärendil put the mirror down on a table, propped up so that he could stand in front of it and still see his father. “Go ahead, Andarien, I’ll make sure the mirror gets back to Wren,” he assured his son.

Andarien nodded and left as he had been instructed. As he headed off to bed, he couldn’t help but wonder from the tone of his grandfather’s voice if maybe, just maybe, his father might be in a bit of trouble.
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Re: Andarien Aldrich

Post by Nara-pyon on Sat Oct 17, 2015 12:56 am

Daishō
Location: The Beach, Eaulir, Arkandia
Date: Mid-Winter, 119 of the Fourth Age

The first four weeks of Winter had been good for Andarien. Not only had the forge been changed so that he could now work with the Littinum that the group had discovered, but he had also learned how to use it, and use it well. In fact, he had succeeded in copying (not to the same quality, but still fairly well) the katana and wakizashi that Kaito had had custom-made for him in Wing Hove. It had taken him a while, especially since he’d had to ask so many people for their expertise – Shiro, Kaito, Shoneah, his father and uncle: even his grandfather, using a mirror and the help of whichever magic-user was available – but he had managed it, and he was both proud and afraid of his creations.

But it did mean that he wasn’t the only one learning to use them, now. Shoneah had joined him in his lessons with Kaito, despite already being quite familiar with regular swords. She had suggested that he might be more receptive to the lessons if he weren’t the only one learning, but she had also told him (honestly) that she liked the design of them. What she didn’t tell him – but she did tell Kaito, and he agreed with her – was that they could probably use his affection for her to make him want to learn how to properly use his weapons.

A bit low, but with Andarien sometimes that was necessary.

Of course, they did have to convince him it was still necessary to even learn to use the blades, because now that he had some pistols, he was quite adamant that they would be enough for him. It wasn’t until Shoneah had pointed out that they could quite easily run out of bullets in a big fight that he had reluctantly agreed to once more take up his lessons.

It had been such a long time since Andarien had practiced that Kaito had started him once more at the beginning – five hundred repetitions of a single move before he would even consider introducing something new. The first move was easy, and didn’t even require anything to be in his hands: a simple crossing of his forearms in front of his face. He didn’t understand the point of it until one day, when he was complaining about it, Shoneah moved as if to hit him on the head and his arms came up of their own accord to block the blow. It surprised him so much that he did an extra hundred repetitions before going to Kaito for the next exercise.

The second move was intended for Andarien to learn to control his sword. It was a simple overhead slice, straight down, and his first set of repetitions went well. But when it came time to add in something for him to swing towards but avoid hitting, they hit a wall. It didn’t seem to matter how many times Andarien tried, he either stopped his swing at least a foot above the object, or else he would hit it so hard that his shoulders ached from the force of the jolts.

“This is stupid,” he muttered after an hour of practicing one afternoon. He tossed his bokken aside, frustrated. “Even when I manage it, I can only do it once and then I mess up again. And Kaito says I have to start counting over again every time I mess it up!”

Shoneah was silent. She had conquered the challenge on her first try, without a single fault, but she was well aware that was due not only to her natural ability with weapons, but also with her training. She had no desire to rub that in Andarien’s face, however – but she did want to help him.

She walked across the dojo and retrieved his bokken for him.

“Why does it even matter?” he scowled as she went. “I mean, if I’m defending myself, I can just keep swinging, right? Gotta kill them before they get me, right?”

“It’s about controlling your weapon,” she told him, returning with his bokken in hand. “When you hold a gun, you control when and in what direction it shoots. If you want to frighten but not kill someone, you haven’t got much option. But a blade is different.”

Perhaps with understanding would come more effort, she reasoned; and when she reached Andarien again she kept his bokken in her hand. Fingering the wooden blade, she pondered how to go about this.

“Pretend you’re the last person alive in a group that has just attacked us,” she decided at last. In a single fluid motion, she gripped the bokken, whirled it around, and brought it down in the motion Kaito had asked them to practice, and stopped the blade so close to Andarien’s forehead that her smallest finger could not have squeezed in between.

Andarien was staring at her, his eyes wide, and sweat had broken out on his forehead. His nostrils flared, and she could see how afraid he was. She smiled at him to reassure him, and gently lowered the blade. “See? You’re frightened, but alive – you can give answers to questions we might have. Or perhaps you’ve given up and simply no longer wish to harm us. Then there is no reason to kill you. Either way, you have control of your blade, you are no out-of-control killer.”

She handed him the bokken and moved to stand behind him. From there, she reached out so that her arm was alongside his, and placed her hand on his so that they were both gripping the wooden sword.

“Start gentle,” she murmured into his ear, her hand guiding his as they raised the sword together. Their bodies moved as one as they practiced the motion of bringing the sword down towards an imaginary foe. When their arms were extended straight outward, Shoneah stopped them, and then repeated the motion. “If you begin slow, you get used to the feel of it, and get used to stopping it. Then, as you get comfortable with that, you can try it more quickly.”

Andarien swallowed hard, but he nodded silently and repeated the motion a few times until Shoneah let go of his hand so that he could try it on his own. The first time, he did well, and the second time, as well; but on his third swing he let it go low enough that he hit the log he had been using as practice. Though she was no longer in contact with him, Shoneah saw his shoulder and back muscles tense up with frustration at his failure. An idea entered her mind, and she stepped around him again.

“Let’s get rid of this,” she murmured, moving the log out of the way. Relief shone in Andarien’s eyes, but was quickly replaced with alarm when Shoneah sat down where the log had been. She crossed her legs, straightened her back, and looked evenly into Andarien’s eyes.

“Again,” she told him firmly, clasping her hands in her lap.

Andarien was shaking, almost fumbling the bokken. “No,” he begged, his eyes pleading with her. “I don’t want to hurt you.”

“Then don’t,” she said simply. “I’m not moving until you do this.”

He swallowed hard again, and his face had grown quite pale. “Please,” he said in a strangled whisper.

Shoneah didn’t move.

Trembling, Andarien lifted the bokken above his head, then froze and stared at Shoneah.

She still didn’t move.

He started to swing, but stopped almost immediately.

She didn’t flinch.

He started the swing again, this time stopping a few inches from her head.

Still she didn’t flinch.

“Aren’t you afraid I’ll hit you?” he asked her in disbelief.

She smiled at him. “Not in the least.”

His brow furrowed. “Even accidentally?”

She shook her head, moving for the first time since she had sat down. “No,” she assured him. “You care too much to allow anything to happen to me, even by accident. I’m not afraid. I trust you.”

Andarien still wasn’t sure, but he knew that if he questioned her further, he would be showing a distrust in her, and he didn’t want to make her feel bad. He would just have to be super careful, that was all.

He took a deep breath and swung the bokken slowly downwards, coming to a stop just a breath above Shoneah’s head.

She smiled at him. She hadn’t winced, hadn’t flinched, only stared confidently into his eyes.

“One,” she said softly.

Andarien swallowed and raised the bokken again. He had done it once – but he had done it before, too, once or twice, and then, inevitably, had come failure.

His grip tightened and he took a deep breath to calm himself. He couldn’t fail this time – he couldn’t!

He swung again, just as slowly.

“Two,” Shoneah counted.

Once again.

“Three.”

And again.

“Too high, start over.”

Andarien’s temper rose briefly at the familiar sound of failure, but he swallowed it back and clenched his jaw in concentration. He swung again.

“One.”

Deep breath. Another one.

“Two.”

His arm was aching already both from half an hour of failed attempts and from holding the bokken so tightly. But he was determined to do this, for the first time ever.

“Seven.”

“Eight.”

“Nine.”

The number kept rising, and slowly Andarien’s confidence grew. The speed of his swings increased slightly – less at first, but then a bit more as he got the feel for it.

“Twenty-eight.”

“Twenty-nine.”

“Thir-”

“No!” Andarien exclaimed, raising the sword again. Tears sprang to his eyes, and he squatted down, grabbing his hair with his free hand.

Shoneah blinked and in an instant was by his side, a hand on his shoulder. “Are you all right?” she asked him anxiously. “What happened?”

Andarien sniffled. “I messed up,” he whimpered. “I have to start over again!”

“What?” Shoneah blinked again, surprised. “No, you didn’t. I was watching – you were doing fine!”

He shook his head. “No, it was too high – I didn’t get close enough.”

Shoneah smiled and stroked his back gently to calm him. “I thought it was fine,” she murmured persuasively. “Come on, don’t give up. You’re doing fantastic.”

He peeked at her from between his fingers. “You think so?” he asked in a quiet voice.

“Thirty,” she grinned at him in reply. “Now come on. You can’t give up. Just like you didn’t give up on the Littinum, you can’t give up on this. Come on.”

Slowly, Andarien straightened up again, his eyes fixed once more on Shoneah. “Thirty,” he murmured thoughtfully. He raised the bokken and brought it down once more.

Shoneah grinned at him. “Thirty-one.”
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Re: Andarien Aldrich

Post by Nara-pyon on Thu Oct 29, 2015 12:03 am

Day Off
Location: The Beach, Eaulir, Arkandia
Date: Mid-Winter, 119 of the Fourth Age

Between working in the forge and training with either his pistol or his bokken, Andarien was almost always kept very busy. Every once in a while, though, he would take a break and go swimming with some of the others, though usually only if Shoneah was also joining them. Usually, he would plan his next day’s activities the night before when he was getting ready for bed, but once in a while Shoneah would make a suggestion in the morning and he would happily change his plans to make her suggestions possible.

On this particular morning, her suggestion was simple.

“Let’s just take a day off,” she said as they walked together to the breakfast table. At Andarien’s look of surprise, she laughed. “I know. I’ve never done it before, either. But maybe we can give it a try.”

Andarien was thoughtful. “What will we do, then?” he asked.

Shoneah grinned at him. “How do you feel about leaving it to me, and I can let you know as we go along?”

“Then how will I know what to wear or what to have with me?” Andarien pointed out.

She winked. “I’ll let you know.”

Once they had finished their breakfast, she escorted him back to his room and helped him to pack his bag. Swimming was part of the plan, and since their swimming clothes were smaller and tighter than their regular clothes, they put on their swimming clothes right away and put their regular clothes overtop of them.

When they left the tent, Shoneah brought Andarien into the jungle, and as the two of them passed amongst the vibrant flowers and trees, she taught him a little bit about what she knew of them. As much as Andarien liked spending the time with Shoneah, he was more curious about their destination than about what surrounded them.

“Where are we going?” he asked eventually. “We haven’t been this far from the tent since we got here.”

To his shame, he didn’t even know which direction they were traveling in anymore.

“I was here with Jassin and Lashrael that time I went with them for a few days,” Shoneah explained to him patiently. “Don’t worry, we’re not lost. We may not get back before dark, but we’re not lost.”

Andarien accepted her at her word and didn’t ask again.

Finally, they arrived. Shoneah didn’t have to tell Andarien when they had arrived, either: he could tell immediately.

It was a pretty piece of shoreline. They were standing at sea level, only a few feet from where the waves lapped against the sand, but only a few dozen yards from where they stood was a sheer rock wall. It was at least fifty feet or so high, and there were trees and green plants growing out of its sides. It followed along the shore, then turned inland at almost a ninety degree angle, going far enough that it continued out of their sight. A small waterfall fell from the top of the cliff into the ocean, with barely enough water flowing over it to keep from blowing entirely into mist by the time it hit the surface. And, like anywhere else in the jungle, just about every surface was covered with green plants or brilliantly coloured flowers.

“It’s so pretty,” Andarien grinned, stopping to look at it all.

A noise made him look up at the top of the cliff, and there he saw a group of monkeys playing around. Some were grooming each other while others seemed to be playing some form of tag. He laughed.

Shoneah grinned at him, pleased that he seemed to like it. “I thought maybe we could swim here,” she told him, setting her bag safely out of the water’s reach. “I know you get a little self-conscious around the others … and I thought it might be nice if it were just the two of us for a while.”

Andarien looked at her, surprised, and when she said that she wanted it to be just the two of them, his ears grew rather warm.

“Just us?” he repeated, not entirely sure that he’d heard correctly.

She smiled at him. “Well, we’re together all the time, pretty much, but with so many other people around, we never get the chance to really talk. I mean, not about things that … well, things that we really should talk about.”

Andarien nodded slowly, still not entirely sure what she meant.

She laughed softly. “Would you like to swim first, and then talk?” she asked him.

After a moment’s thought, he shook his head. “You’re making me curious,” he admitted.

“Why don’t you set your bag down then,” she suggested, gesturing towards the ground, “and we can sit.”

She knelt next to her own bag and pulled out a blanket so that they could sit on it rather than on the jungle floor. Andarien helped her to spread it and smooth it out, and then both of them sat down, cross-legged and facing each other.

Andarien was nervous. He had no idea what this was about, but if it was serious enough that Shoneah thought they had to be alone and so far away from anyone else, it had to be huge. He chewed the inside of his lip nervously and waited for her to begin.

She seemed to be searching for the right words, because it took her a moment.

“Andarien,” she said at last, softly and slowly, “I … have a question for you. Over the past several months, I’ve had … a number of people all come to me, to … ask me about something, and to warn me. Something having to do with you.”

Andarien blinked in surprise, but before he could say anything, Shoneah continued.

“What they said, each of them, was that I had to be careful.” She paused and looked at him. “Careful, because you … were growing very fond of me. I couldn’t believe them for a long time, of course, because if ever anyone said anything when you were also present, you would deny it.”

“I did?” Andarien was as surprised at that as anything else.

She smiled sadly at his innocence. “Remember Silas and Sandor?” she reminded him. “When they teased me about being your girlfriend, and you told them flat-out that it wasn’t the case? Three times at least, they said something to the same effect … and others, too.”

Andarien nodded slowly, his cheeks growing warm again.

“But then I started thinking,” Shoneah went on. Then she checked herself. “At least, people starting pointing out things that got me thinking. The music box you made me. The watches you kept trying to give me.”

“You’ll accept one someday,” Andarien interrupted with a grin.

Shoneah laughed softly. “Perhaps. But don’t let’s get off topic, here. Out of all the people we’re with, friends and family and … whatever they are to either of us, you are the only one who … well, let’s just say, you treat me differently than the others do.”

For once, Andarien had a ready answer to why that might be.

“That’s easy,” he grinned at her. “That’s because no one else-”

He cut himself off and blushed hotly. It was one thing to talk to Miyuki and Eron about his feelings, but to admit them to Shoneah was something else. There were consequences if he confessed his feelings to Shoneah. She might accept him, or she might turn him down, but regardless of which way it went, it meant that things would be different between them – and he wasn’t sure if that was something he could handle. He didn’t like change. He never had.

Not to mention, it was a bit embarrassing.

Shoneah wasn’t going to let him off that easy, though. Her expression didn’t change, but she tilted her head slightly to the side like she knew already and was teasing him – not that it occurred to him that it might be just that.

“No one else…” she repeated.

Andarien rubbed the back of one ear and looked away from her. “NooneelselovesyoulikeIdo,” he mumbled, so fast that it came out in a single slur of consonants.

Shoneah blinked at him, then leaned slightly closer. “Pardon?”

His face grew even hotter, and he started to pull on the tip of his ear. He swallowed hard, then cleared his throat and swallowed again. “No one else loves you like I do,” he said, a bit more loudly and clearly.

There. He’d said it. The world hadn’t ended, and – so far at least – she wasn’t smacking him upside the head or walking away from him. He wanted to look at her, to see what she would do, what she would say; but he was also afraid.

Shoneah smiled at him and rested her chin on her hand, bracing her elbow against her knee. “That wasn’t so hard to say, was it?” she murmured softly.

Andarien looked at her sharply and stared, surprised. Of all the responses he might have expected, that was not one of them.

“Then you- you knew,” he breathed.

Shoneah smiled and lowered her gaze. “Kind of hard not to, when so many people came to me and warned me that if I broke your heart, I’ll be in trouble,” she murmured.

Andarien wasn’t quite sure what to say to that. “When?” he asked instead, feeling sheepish.

“Quir. Maybe earlier.” She shrugged. “I didn’t want to say anything for … a few reasons. At first, I just didn’t believe it. You never said anything to me, and you weren’t treating me any differently than you ever had before. And I didn’t know what to do, what to think. At that point, my only thought was that I wanted to go home. Get back to my family.”

Andarien lowered his gaze once more. That had been why he hadn’t wanted to say anything in the first place – because he knew she wanted nothing more than to go home, and he didn’t want to make things complicated for her.

“But then I went out for a few days with Jassin and Lashrael,” Shoneah went on, “and, to put it simply, things changed.”

“Changed?” Andarien looked at her, confused.

Shoneah looked around, running her fingers through her hair. “Are you sure you don’t want to walk or swim or something?” she asked in agitation.

Andarien shook his head. “We’ve gotta talk about this and if we stop we’re both gonna regret it.”

Despite his immature vocabulary, it was quite possibly one of the most mature things he had ever said – or realized.

Shoneah nodded and bit her lip, trying to settle down. Andarien could tell that she was having a difficult time with whatever it was she was trying to say, but he also knew from experience – how many people after all had told him the same thing over and over again? – that it would be far better for her to just get it out, get it over with, and be done with it. He reached out and put one hand on her knee to help her calm down.

She looked at him and sighed. “While I was out with Jassin and Lashrael, I … still missed my parents, and my brother. Grandmaster. My friends. But I missed others, too … those I’ve been traveling with since falling into this world. But most of all, I … I missed you.”

“Me?” Andarien wasn’t sure how to take that, and he simply looked at her and waited for her to expand on it.

Shoneah clasped her hands together and took a deep breath. “You,” she repeated softly. “Maybe I’m not like most people, but … I don’t know what it is. I don’t know if it’s love, but I did realize that …. I like you. I like you very much.”

Silence reigned for nigh on a minute as Andarien processed her words and as she took her own turn realizing that the world wasn’t coming to an end.

“So … now what?” Andarien asked at last, running his fingers through his hair. “I mean … I just … I don’t know …”

“Neither do I, to be honest,” Shoneah admitted. “It’s just that this has been going on behind everything else for months now, and it wasn’t doing anyone any good to ignore it any longer …”

There was another awkward silence, and once again, it was Andarien who broke it.

“So … you don’t mind that I …”

Shoneah smiled at him and reached out, taking both his hands in her own. Her touch was warm and gentle, and Andarien blushed.

“If I minded,” she murmured, “I would not have said anything. You’ve already made me quite happy here, happier than I would ever have been otherwise. And who knows? Perhaps my very strong like of you will grow into something more. I don’t mean to give you false hope,” she added quickly, seeing how his face lit up at her words; “but only to assure you – and myself – that it is possible. My world … my world is a distant thought now. A memory. And from now on, I shall try to stop holding so tightly to it, and try to make new memories. Here. With you.”

Andarien’s violet eyes sparkled brightly, and he squeezed her hands tightly. “That’s good enough for me,” he grinned happily.
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Re: Andarien Aldrich

Post by Nara-pyon on Sun Nov 01, 2015 12:46 am

Unexpected Companion
Location: Up the coast from the tent, Eaulir, Arkandia
Date: Mid-Winter, 119 of the Fourth Age

After their serious talk, Andarien and Shoneah went for a refreshing swim. They goofed off, splashed each other, and took turns jumping off each other’s shoulders into the water. Then they had a long, leisurely picnic lunch which Shoneah had prepared the night before (Andarien was amused when he realized just how much she had planned ahead for the day), and once they had eaten, they just lay there on the blanket, their bellies full, half-dozing in the humid heat of the afternoon sun. It being just the two of them, they hadn’t bothered to change out of their swim clothes, and while Shoneah’s brown skin suited the climate quite well, Andarien’s torso and legs were so pale that they almost glowed.

All of a sudden, the peace was shattered by a long shout and a large splash.

“What was that?” Andarien gasped, sitting bolt upright and looking around in a wild panic.

Shoneah was calmer, though equally alert. “I’ve no idea,” she murmured. She held a hand out in his direction, palm downward. “Wait here,” she cautioned him; and taking her hunting knife in hand, she moved towards the water’s edge.

At the base of the nearby cliff, a few yards out into the ocean, small waves were still rippling away from a swirl of bubbles, as if someone had just jumped into the water from the cliffs above. Shoneah tried to peer past the bubbles to see who or what was below them, and she jumped, startled, when a head popped up in the middle of it.

Wow!” exclaimed a youthful male water elf. “That was even better than I thought it would be!

He caught sight of Shoneah and grinned at her, and in a few powerful overhead strokes he was in the shallower water and on his feet, walking out of it.

Hi!” he beamed at Shoneah, holding one fist to his chest and smiling at her. It was as if he didn’t even see the knife she still had in her hand. “What are you doing all the way out here? You’re quite far from your country, if I’m not mistaken.

Andarien, meanwhile, had scrambled to his feet and now strode over to Shoneah’s side. “We’re spending the Winter here before we keep going with our travels,” he explained defensively. “Who are you? And what are you doing here?

The man laughed, not at all put off by Andarien’s tone or Shoneah’s suspicious look. “Hey, you’re the ones in my homeland, not the other way around!” he grinned. “Although, I have to say,” he added, sidling up to Shoneah and putting one arm around her shoulder, “if everyone in your land is as beautiful as you, I wouldn’t mind making the trip.

Shoneah glared at him and pushed him away. “Keep off me,” she scowled, though she was blushing lightly. “You’re wet.

Forgive me.” Grinning, he stepped back, bent forward, and shook his head violently, like a dog shaking itself off when it came out of water. His hair was spraying water everywhere, soaking both Shoneah and Andarien (though Andarien stepped between the man and Shoneah in an effort to shield her from the water), and when he straightened up again, his hair was sticking out in every direction.

Better?” he winked at her.

Back off,” Andarien told him, sounding braver than he felt. But he didn’t like the way the man was talking to Shoneah – or looking at her, for that matter.

Oooo, someone’s protective,” the water elf chuckled.

Shoneah glared at him. “Most people are, of their loved ones,” she retorted.

Understanding crossed the man’s face, and he backed off, hands raised defensively. “All right, all right, cool your jets. No harm done, right?” He looked from Shoneah to Andarien and back. “You two a mixed pair, huh?

Not that it’s your business,” Andarien frowned, not at all impressed with the man. “I’m Andarien Aldrich.

Shoneah Adoeete Silverbirch,” Shoneah added, staying where she was, right next to Andarien. She nodded at him. “His girlfriend.

Andarien blinked and looked back at her, surprised by her use of the term. She smiled at him, and he smiled back, warmth spreading through him.

And I,” said the water elf, grinning at them and ignoring the looks they were giving each other, “am Killian. Shark-wrangler, cliff-jumper, and all around good-looking guy.

Shoneah rolled her eyes. “In other words, a nut,” she translated. She turned back towards the blanket where she and Andarien had been laying and set her knife down. This guy didn’t seem like trouble – at least, not the dangerous kind, though he was rather annoying.

Andarien snickered a bit, but Killian just smiled. “Think what you like, I just happen to think there’s more to life than simply swimming,” he told them. “You can’t tell me you’ve never wanted to do more than just the same thing day in, day out, never going anywhere or meeting anyone new. I mean, why else would you be traveling in a country not your own?

Shoneah looked at Andarien again. He knew what she was thinking. She wasn’t traveling by choice- at least, she hadn’t been. Now she was glad of it, but she had never wanted to leave her home or do anything other than what she had been raised to do.

Killian arched one blue-green eyebrow. “I’m wrong?

Andarien turned back to Killian. “You’re awfully nosy,” he frowned at him. “What do you want?

Want?” Killian repeated. He smiled. “A chance to meet someone new. Maybe learn something new. Experience something new. Get my blood going! Because honestly, that jump was good, but meeting new people – better!

Andarien and Shoneah exchanged another glance. “What do you think?” Shoneah asked him, speaking in her native Aquinnashua tongue because it was one language she knew for a fact that Killian wouldn’t understand or speak. “Do we take him to meet the others?

I think first we better find out more about him,” Andarien replied with a slight shake of his head. “If he’s like this with everyone he’s just going to drive them all crazy.

You do know it’s rude to speak in a different language around someone,” Killian said with a pout.

Shoneah eyed him warily. “No more so than putting your arm around a woman you’ve never even met before.

All right, all right, I’m sorry.” Killian smiled easily and took a half step back. “Look, I’m sorry if I upset your plans. I was just excited to meet someone new. Hoping to have someone else to do something with. No one back home ever wants to do anything.

Like what?” Now it was Andarien who was eying him suspiciously.

Killian grinned and looked up at the top of the cliff, where the monkeys were still playing around. “I dare one or both of you to climb up there,” he challenged them.

Andarien swallowed hard. “Not me,” he said firmly, shaking his head.

Shoneah was eying the cliff’s face. “It does seem to have good footholds and supports,” she murmured thoughtfully.

Are you kidding?” Andarien’s eyes bulged from their sockets as he looked at her. “Can’t you see how high up that is?

She looked at him evenly. “Killian must have gotten up somehow,” she pointed out.

Killian gave her a thumbs up. “Sure did!” He grinned. “Not this spot, exactly, but I did have to climb.

Shoneah leaned over and kissed Andarien’s cheek – just a quick peck. “Don’t worry,” she murmured softly to him in English. “I’ll be careful.”

A warm blush crept up Andarien’s face, and he nodded silently.

“Ooo, Common Tongue, eh?” Killian grinned at them. His own command of the language seemed to be pretty good, though he spoke it with a bit of an accent – Australian, if one had to make a comparison to a Gaian accent, though not as strong. “Always wanted someone to speak that with.”

“And now you’ve got it,” Shoneah told him shortly.

Killian looked affronted. “Hey, no need to bite my head off,” he said defensively. “Allow me to be excited to use a language that took a lot of time and effort to learn!”

Shoneah sighed, and Andarien put one hand on her shoulder and smiled at her encouragingly. “Go ahead,” he told her quietly. “But be really careful, okay? If something happens to you …”

She reassured him once more, then turned back towards the cliff face. She approached it thoughtfully, her eyes finding hand- and footholds before she would need to use them. When she felt she was ready, she turned back to Killian.

“Race?” she suggested, jerking one thumb towards the top of the cliff.

A broad grin split Killian’s face. “Too right!” he exclaimed. He glanced at Andarien. “Want to start us off?”

Andarien shrugged. “Go,” he said noncommittally.

Like a shot from her pistol, Shoneah was off, starting quickly up the cliff wall. Killian was taken by surprise by how little time Andarien had given them to prepare themselves, and he dashed towards the wall without the time to plan his route first. Needless to say, Shoneah was at the top long before Killian was even halfway up. When he finally made it up there, he looked at Shoneah in amazement.

“That was incredible,” he breathed.

Shoneah shrugged. “You ready to jump?” she challenged him. “Or do you need to catch your breath first?”

From where he stood below, Andarien couldn’t hear Killian’s reply, but almost immediately the two disappeared from his sight. He hurried to the water’s edge to watch for them. It wasn’t long before they were both there, a small distance from where he waited, but rather than jumping, they seemed to be in quite a discussion. He couldn’t hear from where he was, but whatever they were talking about, they seemed to come to some kind of agreement, because they shook hands and walked away from the cliff’s edge, out of his line of sight.

He sighed a sigh of relief. It looked like they weren’t going to jump, after all.

He was about to turn away when he heard a shout, and he looked up just in time to see both Shoneah and Killian take a running jump off the edge of the cliff. Killian’s arms and legs windmilled in the air, but Shoneah was the very form of gracefulness as her arms came in front of her in a flawless dive. Killian hit the water first, with an enormous splash, and then Shoneah landed, further out into the ocean, with hardly a ripple.

Andarien’s heart pounded anxiously in his chest as he waited for Shoneah to surface again. “Come on, come on,” he muttered to himself, his fists clenching at his sides.

It seemed an eternity before her head appeared above the water’s surface, and Andarien just about cried with relief. She’d made it! He let out his breath slowly as she began to swim towards him again.

“Are you crazy?” he couldn’t help but call to her as she approached. “Head-first? What if there were rocks under the water? What if it wasn’t deep enough?”

“I made sure to ask Killian first,” Shoneah called back to him, using a simple breast stroke so that she could talk to Andarien was she swam. “He assured me there are no rocks here, and that the water is plenty deep. Besides,” she added with a grin, “it was worth the risk. He’ll talk to us now without any more challenges.”

Andarien blinked. “What? Why?”

She smiled at him and opened her mouth to answer, but before she could she disappeared under the water with a jerk. She reappeared a few seconds later, coughing and choking; and Andarien panicked and ran into the water towards her.

“No,” she coughed, holding one hand up to him. She got her feet under herself and stood on the sand, still chest-deep in the water. “I’m fine. Killian just wasn’t as finished with his tricks as I thought he was.”

Andarien kept going towards her anyways. He wanted to make sure she was all right.

“Where is he, anyways?” he asked curiously as the gap between the two of them closed.

Shoneah stopped next to him, now knee deep in the water, and pulled her silver hair in front of one shoulder. “He was right behind me a moment ago,” she murmured, squeezing the water out of her hair.

As if he had been waiting for them to look for him, Killian popped up just behind Shoneah. “You beat me, fair and square,” was the first thing he said, and he actually sounded a little disappointed.

Shoneah turned to him and smiled in satisfaction. “I did. Now we talk, but without any challenges, tricks, pranks, or smart comments.”

“Yes, yes,” Killian said soothingly. As he left the water, he once more shook his hair dry like a dog, and while Shoneah and Andarien used their towels to dry themselves again (which even Andarien had to do because of Killian, and because of wading into the water to make sure Shoneah was all right) he simply sat on the blanket and allowed the sun to dry him.
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Re: Andarien Aldrich

Post by Nara-pyon on Sun Nov 08, 2015 10:02 pm

The Talk
Location: The Tent, Somewhere in Eausin, Arkandia
Date: Mid-Winter, 119 of the Fourth Age

Only an hour had passed since Kyrie, Wren, Lin, Shoneah, Daeron, Mailon and Jassin had left, but already Andarien had shut himself away in his room, all alone, to worry about them and what they were doing. Of course, the focus of his worry was Shoneah. Even now that he knew why he felt ill when she was gone, it didn’t make him feel any less anxious.

He jumped visibly when there came a knock at his door. There was no need to get up to answer it, because by the time he raised his head to look, the door slid open and his father stood in the doorway. He tried to smile, but it was difficult.

“Hi, Andarien,” Eärendil smiled at him. “I thought I might find you in here.”

Eon and Zeus peeked past him at their master, and Eon padded forward to join him on the futon.

Andarien glanced at Eon, then looked back up at his father. “You were looking for me?” he asked dully.

Eärendil chuckled softly. “Clearly. Come. Walk with me.”

Andarien looked at him for a long moment before pushing himself to his feet. He might as well pass the time with someone, rather than alone. He wasn’t feeling the best, but he didn’t feel as sick as he had other times with Shoneah had been gone. And maybe some exercise would help him to feel better.

“You shouldn’t worry so much,” Eärendil told his son gently as they walked down the hallway.

Andarien was surprised. “Aren’t you worried?” he asked incredulously. “Nana’s out there, too. We have no idea where we are or what’s going on or what kind of danger they might be in.”

“Agreed,” Eärendil nodded. “But ask yourself this: when you tell yourself that something’s going to happen to them, are you showing trust in them?”

Andarien blinked. “What?”

Eärendil brought him to the temperate, non-humid garden. “Kyrie, Silverbirch, your mother … everyone out there. They’ve all worked hard to gain the skills that they have. To fight. To track. To defend themselves and others. To survive.”

Andarien nodded slowly. “Yes …”

“So the question is, do you trust their skills? Or are you so afraid that you think they’re not good enough for whatever is out there?” They meandered down a row of vegetable plants. “To worry is one thing, to hope for their quick return, to want them to be all right; but … you also have to have faith in them.”

“I want to,” Andarien admitted. “but … I’m just … so scared …”

“That Silverbirch may not return?”

Andarien looked at his father in surprise, but Eärendil just smiled at him. “You really love her, don’t you?’ he asked his son softly.

Warmth rose in Andarien’s cheeks, and he nodded. “I’m always thinking about her,” he murmured. “When she’s here … when she’s not …”

“And she’s very fond of you,” Eärendil added.

“She doesn’t know yet if it’s love,” Andarien nodded, “but she really likes me.” He smiled widely. “Yesterday she said we should take a day off, so we went out to where she had gone with Jassin and Lashrael that one time, and I think she really just wanted to talk to me where no one else was going to be around, because that’s what we talked about, at least a bit we talked about it. But then Killian showed up.”

“So you’ve spoken about your future?” his father asked him.

Andarien shook his head. “No. I mean, kind of. We both kind of said ‘now what’, but neither of us knew. So we thought there’s no rush and we just went swimming.”

Eärendil smiled softly. Well, if it had been their first discussion, then that wasn’t bad at all. “And do you have hopes for the future?” he asked, probing now. He was surprised when Andarien hesitated, but he waited patiently for his answer.

“I … don’t know,” the young man admitted at last. “I mean … I guess that if I love her and she loves me eventually, then maybe we’re supposed to get married? But some people don’t get married, and I don’t know what’s the difference if people love each other and they do get married or if they don’t get married or … what it even really means.”

Eärendil clasped his hands behind his back. “Are you asking what marriage is?”

Andarien looked at him and nodded. “I asked Mi and Eron but they didn’t really tell me anything that made sense.”

Eärendil nodded. In a murmur, he explained, “Marriage is something that can mean different things to different people. In its most general sense, it is a public acknowledgement that a man and a woman have entered into a union together. They make vows to each other to remain faithful to one another. They begin to live together – share a room, a bed … begin a physical relationship …”

Andarien looked at Eärendil, curious. “Physical relationship?” he repeated.

Eärendil nodded. “That’s where natural babies come from,” he smiled at his son. “Don’t worry about that just yet, we can talk about that later. Before you get to that point, there are other things you need to know, just about … relationships in general. How to treat the woman with whom you have the relationship.”

“Shoneah.”

Eärendil smiled. “Yes. Silverbirch.”

Andarien was perplexed. “Do I have to treat her more special?”

Eärendil couldn’t help but chuckle at the way Andarien said it. “Well, I suppose that depends on what you mean by ‘more special’,” he grinned.

“More special than I treat other people,” Andarien shrugged.

“Well, I was thinking along the lines of putting her needs first, before yours,” Eärendil smiled. “Respecting her. Taking her opinions into consideration, rather than simply making decisions on your own. Going by her preferences, rather than yours.”

Andarien snorted. “I thought you meant things I didn’t already do, Ada. That’s the easy stuff.”

Eärendil chuckled again. “Well, I have to admit, I’m not the most observant, and most days we only see you with her at meals …”

Smiling faintly, Andarien shrugged one shoulder. “All I want,” he murmured, “is for Shoneah to be happy. She tells me about her home, her family … and she’s always happiest then.” He paused thoughtfully. “That … and when I made her the music box with the dragon on it.” He grinned. “She was crying, but she kissed me for it.”

Eärendil arched one eyebrow. “Indeed.”

Andarien grinned. “Well, it was a surprise for her,” he explained, “and the tune in it is a song her nana used to sing to her, back when she was growing up. She taught it to me and Shiro helped me to figure out how to make it work in a music box. And I made the dragon look like Xipil.”

“So you know a lot about her childhood now?” his father asked with a chuckle.

Andarien beamed and started telling Eärendil all about Shoneah and her people. Eärendil listened attentively. He could see in Andarien’s stance and hear in his voice that he had calmed down, and he was hoping to keep him so calm until the tent was set up again and their loved ones returned.
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Re: Andarien Aldrich

Post by Nara-pyon on Sat Nov 14, 2015 5:49 pm

On Guard
Location: Outside The Tent, Somewhere in Eausin, Arkandia
Date: Mid-Winter, 119 of the Fourth Age

For the first time ever, Andarien was allowed to join someone as part of a watch around the tent, but this fact quite escaped his thoughts. His only focus was on Shoneah, and watching for her return.

His revolver was holstered on his right side, ready to use, and his katana was sheathed on his left. He was outside with Kyrie. With the security runes deactivated, it was essential that someone be on guard at all times – and two pairs of eyes were better than one. Andarien had asked to join her because if he had stayed inside, he would have been doing nothing different – waiting and watching – but he would have had less to occupy his mind while he did so, and he would have been rather more anxious, of this he was certain.

At first he tried to stay in one place, though his eyes were constantly moving, watching for any movement at all; but after a short time Kyrie urged him to move about – but as silently as he could.

Time continued to pass, but for the first time, Andarien’s mind did not wander. He was focused so intently that he reacted to every movement and every sound. He had never before been aware of just how many sounds a jungle could make. There was the wind in the trees, of course, and the birds, and the monkeys; but now that he was listening so consciously, he was hearing things he had never heard before: the buzz of mosquitoes, of bees, of other flying insects that he couldn’t recognize; he could now hear differences in the songs of the birds; there were grunts and growls and roars from animals he couldn’t identify. Occasionally he heard the faint tap-tap-tap of woodpeckers in the trees, or the song-like chorus of frogs.

After a while, Kyrie joined up with him again.

“Holding up all right?” she asked him softly.

He blinked at her. “Nothing’s happened,” he replied. “Why wouldn’t I be all right?”

She smiled. “Just wondering if perhaps you might be getting tired, that’s all. It’s been a few hours now, and it’s your first time keeping watch. You’re not getting bored or anything?”

“I’m waiting for Shoneah,” he said evenly, without blinking. “How could I possibly be bored?”

“Ah.” Kyrie nodded. “Of course. Forgive me.”

Andarien’s brow furrowed. “For what?”

“Never mind.” She put one hand on his shoulder and gave it a light squeeze. “Forget I said anything. Let’s just keep watching.”

From above them came a sharp rustling sound, and in an instant both of them were facing upwards, weapons drawn: a sword for Kyrie, and the revolver for Andarien.

“It’s all right,” Shoneah’s voice came from the foliage above them. “It’s just me.”

A moment later, Shoneah herself dropped to the ground next to them. There was a light cut on one cheek, and Andarien couldn’t help but reach up and brush it lightly with his fingers.

“I’m fine,” Shoneah assured him with a smile. She put one hand over his. “I just wasn’t moving carefully enough and walked into a branch.”

Andarien nodded and holstered his pistol again. “What did you find?” he asked her quietly.

Shoneah looked at Kyrie. “It’s a fortification, all right. Walls all the way around – spiked pikes, like … well, I don’t think you would understand the reference. Anyways, there’s one main way in and out – guarded, of course – but there’s a small opening on the opposite side, probably for emergency escape only. I can draw the layout.”

Kyrie nodded. “Go ahead, inside, you and Andarien. Someone has to stay outside and keep watch. I’ll do it.”

“We’ll send someone else out to relieve you,” Shoneah nodded. “Thanks.”

“Thanks,” Andarien echoed with a smile. Taking Shoneah’s hand, he led her inside the tent.
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Re: Andarien Aldrich

Post by Nara-pyon on Tue Dec 22, 2015 2:19 am

Aftermath
Location: The Tent, Somewhere in Eausin, Arkandia
Date: Mid-Winter, 119 of the Fourth Age
 
The walk back to the tent from the mercenaries’ fortification was a long and slow one for Andarien and Shoneah. It was also a quiet one – not that they were trying to be quiet: they were no longer in any danger, to their knowledge; but it had been Andarien’s first time truly participating in a fight, and he was subdued. Shoneah was quiet, and every few moments she would glance at Andarien as if trying to think of what she could say to him.
 
When they got back to the tent, Andarien headed straight to one of the bathing rooms to wash up and then to his bedroom, where he sat on his bed and stared at the wall. Eon and Zeus sat next to him, and when Eon climbed up into his lap, Andarien put his arms around the Umbreon and held him close.
 
Half an hour later, there was a knock at his door. He hardly heard it, and paid no attention to it. The knock repeated, but he still didn’t respond. Zeus padded over to the door and nosed it open an inch or so.
 
“Andarien?” came Shoneah’s voice. The door slid open all the way and she stepped inside. She was freshly showered and had on a clean set of clothes. “You all right?”
 
Andarien’s eyes flickered towards her and then back at the wall across from him. “Mm.”
 
Shoneah frowned and stepped all the way into the room, closing the door behind herself. “I knew it wasn’t wise to let you come in here by yourself,” she muttered. It was warm in the room, but she went to the corner of the room and picked up one of the extra blankets. Calmly, she opened it up and shook it lightly, then returned to Andarien’s side and slung it around his shoulders.
 
“It’s not easy, coming to terms with taking a life,” she murmured, crouching next to him, “even in self defense. And that’s not even what we did today.”
 
She took his hands and began to rub them gently between her own. “I know it doesn’t feel like it,” she smiled softly at him, “but you did very well today. I’m proud of you, Andarien.”
 
“Doesn’t feel like I did well,” Andarien mumbled. “Killed two people.”
 
“Who would have killed both of us, given the chance,” Shoneah pointed out. “And you weren’t with us, but I saw what they did to the Water Elves. Broke their arms and legs so they couldn’t escape, threw them on top of each other, piled wood around them … and lit them on fire. Burned them alive. They didn’t deserve any mercy, and in all honesty what we did to them was better than what they did deserve.”
 
Andarien shrugged one shoulder. “I guess.”
 
Shoneah stopped rubbing his hands. He was warmer now, and the light had returned to his eyes, so she could see that he was getting over his shock. What he needed now was drink and rest.
 
“Have you had anything to drink since we got back?” she asked him, rising to her feet again.
 
He shook his head. “Don’t want anything.”
 
“I’ll be right back,” she told him. She squeezed his shoulder lightly. “Right back.”
 
As much as she knew he would need nourishment, she was worried that he might be sick later on, and water would be the best thing for him at the moment. She filled a flask in the kitchen and brought it to his bedroom. He still hadn’t moved when she returned, and she had to convince him to drink from it.
 
“Shoneah?” he asked when he’d taken a sip.
 
She smiled at him. “Yes?”
 
He looked at her, his expression troubled. “Why do their eyes go dark when they die?”
 
Shoneah blinked. She could understand where the question came from, but it surprised her nonetheless. She wasn’t entirely sure she had an answer – at least, not a technical one. Not one that Khetal or any other medico would probably agree with.
 
“Well,” she murmured, “you know how … when people get excited about something, you can tell by looking into their eyes? You see the light in their eyes … it’s what makes us describe people as ‘lively’. The light in their eyes is their life, their soul. When they die, the light is extinguished. Their life is gone.”
 
“And what happens to them after that?”
 
“After that?” She blinked at him again. “What do you mean, after that? They’re dead … they get buried …”
 
Andarien shook his head. “No, I mean … their life, their soul. What happens after they’re dead? Where does the light go? I mean, you said it’s extinguished … but what is … extinguished? Where does it go when it’s gone?”
 
Shoneah sat down and crossed her legs. She didn’t know how to answer that question, and the action gave her an extra moment to think of what she could say.
 
“I don’t know,” she admitted after a moment’s thought. “I am not of this world, and I have not learned that much about it. I know that … Lancaeriel and Cael have both been reborn, and I think Mailon may also have been. Perhaps they would know. Or Khetal. He is a scholar, a doctor. He would likely know about death.”
 
“I just wish I knew that by killing them, I wasn’t becoming like them,” Andarien murmured anxiously. He looked at Shoneah, and his brow was creased with worry. “I don’t want to be a killer …”
 
“Oh, Andarien!” Shoneah leaned forward and put her arms around him, drawing him close to comfort him. “You’re not a killer. They did what they did for personal gain. Perhaps even out of pleasure. You – we had little choice. They had to be stopped. If we didn’t do it, they would have gone on to commit more atrocities like what they had already done. They liked what they did. You don’t. That is the difference, what makes you not a killer like them.”
 
Andarien’s lip twisted slightly upwards. “I dunno …”
 
Shoneah tried to think of another way to put it. “Answer me this, then,” she said. She sat back again and folded her hands in her lap. Her eyes on Andarien’s, she asked, “How do you feel now? I mean physically, your body. How does your body feel?”
 
She already knew that he was confused. To get him to think about that would only confuse him further. But if she could get him to realize what his physical symptoms were, then perhaps he could sort out his thoughts – at least a little.
 
He had to think a moment before he replied. “My stomach feels … kinda floppy,” he said slowly. “Like I used to feel when Nana and Ada tried to give me language lessons. And my head feels weird, too … I don’t know how to describe it. Like … when we go swimming and I’m under the water too long and I don’t get enough air.”
 
Suddenly he looked down and hugged himself, rubbing his arms gingerly. “And my arms hurt, and my hands,” he added with a frown.
 
Shoneah nodded. She understood all of those symptoms, and she only hoped that she could explain them to Andarien in a way that would help him make sense of everything that was going through his mind.
 
“When we do something that we’re not comfortable with,” she began thoughtfully, “especially something that we really don’t want to do, our body reacts in ways that make us feel just how much we didn’t enjoy doing whatever it was. Anxiety, fear, disgust … they have similar symptoms. I know you’re a bit anxious about being like those men, but unless I’m mistaken, you were feeling like this before you started thinking about them, right?”
 
Andarien nodded.
 
“Then my guess would be,” she went on, “that your morality, your sense of right and wrong, is so strong that your body is telling you just how much you hated doing what you did. Nausea, dizziness, light-headedness … you’re still in a fight or flight state of mind. If you were like those men, then you would be calm by now.”
 
He looked at her doubtfully. “But what about my arms?” he reminded her.
 
She held her hands out to him, palms up, and he obligingly set his hands atop hers. His hands were balled into tight fists, and she could see – had seen already, in fact – that his muscles, from his fists all the way up into his shirt sleeves, were taut.
 
“You’re still very wound up,” she murmured. She began to massage his hands, prying his fingers open so that she could rub his fingers as well. “It wouldn’t surprise me if your shoulders were sore, too. It’s the same thing. Your body is just telling you that what you did was not something you liked. It had to be done, but that’s not something that your body can know – not until your mind accepts it first.”
 
The seconds passed slowly as Andarien thought about what she was telling him, punctuated by the gentle tick, tock of the pendulum clock by the wall. His eyes were fixed on Shoneah’s hands, watching her as she massaged out his aching muscles. At length, he looked up into her face.
 
“So why isn’t your body doing the same thing as mine?” he asked her quietly. “Are you like those guys, then?”
 
Shoneah smiled faintly and shook her head. “No,” she murmured. “I am not like those men. I don’t enjoy taking lives, and I especially don’t like to cause suffering to those around me.”
 
Andarien frowned. “Then why isn’t your body doing the same thing as mine?” he asked again.
 
Shoneah shrugged lightly. “Because it was not the first time that I have had to kill,” she replied simply. She sighed. “It is a sad thing, perhaps, but we can get used to doing almost anything – even things we hate. Back home, I had to kill in order to protect my people. I also am required to kill in order to supply meat to myself and those I’m with. And while it is different, killing animals and killing people, neither is a particularly easy thing to do. And it never should be. Life is life, and once gone, it cannot be restored. Even for people such as Cael and Lancaeriel, who have died and been reborn, it is not the same.”
 
Andarien nodded thoughtfully. “Is that why … when you hunt … you always take the time to thank the animal you kill?”
 
“Yes.” She smiled faintly at him. “Taking a life should never be done lightly. In a case such as today, taking a life is punishment. Judgment. Those men did horrible things to other people. But when we hunt, the animals we kill have done nothing to us. Their death is a sacrifice that allows us to continue to live. They lend us their strength, their spirit. There is not much that we can do to honour that … so I thank them.”
 
She was well aware that those with whom she traveled did not hold the same level of respect for the animals they killed as she did, but she didn’t hold it against them. It had taken her a while to get used to their flippancy towards killing animals, but she had also discovered that it had taken them quite a while to grow accustomed to her customs as well. But since the day that Andarien had first discovered her habits, no one had expressed any desire for her to cease. They were respectful of her, as she was of them.
 
Beneath her hands, she could feel Andarien’s muscles relaxing; and all of a sudden he let out a deep sigh.
 
“I’m really tired all of a sudden,” he murmured. He sounded sleepy, too, and Shoneah knew that his mind had finally come to terms with what had happened, at least enough to no longer feel threatened.
 
She smiled at him. “Why don’t you lay down and take a nap?” she suggested.
 
He looked at her worriedly. “You’re not going to leave me alone, are you?”  
 
“I’ll stay right here,” she promised. She released his hands and moved back to give him the room he would need. “Go ahead and lie down.”
 
Eon and Zeus moved out of the way as their master lay down on his futon. As he made himself comfortable, Shoneah took the blanket from his shoulders and instead used it to cover him. Almost as soon as he stopped adjusting his position, his eyes drooped closed and his breathing evened out. He was asleep.
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Re: Andarien Aldrich

Post by Nara-pyon on Fri Jul 08, 2016 6:51 pm

Culture Talks
Location: The Tent, Saldalien, Keliac, Arkandia
Date: Mid-Winter, 119 of the Fourth Age
 
When Shoneah told Andarien of her conversation with Miyuki (leaving out Miyuki’s unsettling reaction to her request to expand Andarien’s rooms so that she could move in with him completely), Andarien was more than pleased. He hugged Shoneah and then immediately began to take down the things on his walls in preparation for the expansion of the room.
 
“I didn’t know what exactly you would want,” Shoneah cautioned him as she helped him, “so I told her I would have to first talk with you.”
 
“Well, it’s not just up to me,” Andarien pointed out. “It’s going to be your living space, too.” He paused, then amended, “More than it already is.”
 
Shoneah understood what he meant. At this point in time, she still had her own room that she could retreat into if she wanted to be alone, one that she could decorate and furnish to her own preferences (not that she had done anything with it, even now). But by moving in entirely with Andarien, his space would become their space. His room would become their room.
 
And the catch was – and this was something she had thought quite a bit about before agreeing to Andarien’s suggestion – this was irreversible. If she changed her mind for whatever reason, it would crush Andarien, likely irrevocably. Knowing this, she had taken a long time to consider the idea before agreeing.
 
“Shoneah,” Andarien murmured thoughtfully, his brow furrowing slightly as he worked, “can I ask you something?”
 
She smiled at him. “Always.”
 
He kept working, speaking without looking at her. “Back in Gaia, in your tribe,” he murmured, “what are the customs like about people who want to get married? I mean, what is marriage about in your tribe?”
 
Shoneah felt her face grow warm, and she also turned back to her work, glad that he was not looking at her.  “Well,” she replied softly, wrapping a pocket watch in a soft cloth so that it wouldn’t get scratched when it was packed away, “marriage in the tribe is, I suppose, like marriage in most places. A man and a woman pledge their lives to each other and take each other as husband and wife. There are some places where marriages are a matter of politics, but among my people, it is almost always a matter of love. We are fortunate that way.”
 
“And how do they know if their love is enough?” Andarien pressed, frowning.
 
Shoneah pressed her lips together, thinking. “Well … how does anyone know their love is enough?” she asked in return. “But … I think it has to be beyond love. There has to be a friendship beneath it, and respect. Love is an emotion, and sometimes emotions can play with our minds. If there is respect and friendship as well as love, then it is one that can last, and one that a marriage can be built upon.”
 
It was an interesting question to have to answer. Back home, Yohto and Hoowenneka had both shown interest in her, but though they were both dear friends, she had never had even the slightest romantic interest in either of them. In fact, marriage had never even entered her mind – not as anything more than a brief thought about her future, at least. How strange it was that it was only here, a world away from home, living among people who were so very different from her own, that she thought about marriage for herself – and more than thought about it, but was considering it in her near future.
 
“How do people decide if they want to marry?” Andarien asked after a moment of silence.
 
“Through discussion, I suppose,” Shoneah mused. “Talking together and concluding that they’re ready for it.”
 
“Ready?”
 
“To take responsibility not only for themselves, but for the one they will marry,” she explained. “And for any children they might have. Traveling as we are, we’re in a unique situation, but generally, one or both spouses has to work to support the family, whether at a job that pays coin to buy food and clothes and a home, or as a hunter or farmer to catch, gather or grow the food to feed or trade. There is also the need to be prepared to become a parent, to raise a child, or children. To be a teacher of everything – language, morals, academics, physical training, weapons training … everything they will need to face the world, to find their place in the world, and to someday perhaps become a parent as well, ready in their turn to raise children of their own.”
 
Andarien nodded and fell silent once more, this time for so long that Shoneah looked over at him to see what he was thinking. His lips were pursed as he packed his notebooks carefully into the drawers of his writing desk.
 
“You all right?” she asked when he stopped and stared at the drawers without closing them.
 
Another few seconds passed before he muttered, almost under his breath, “Don’t think I’ll ever be ready to get married.”
 
The comment struck Shoneah like a physical blow, and she lowered her hands to her sides, her fists clenching slightly. After all they had gone through to reach this point? He was giving up? Just like that?
 
She closed her eyes to calm herself. It would do no good for her to grow angry. Andarien needed her to hear him out, no matter how she felt. She could always vent to someone else later if she needed to, but there was every possibility that he was just misunderstanding something, or simply saying something different from what he meant.
 
“Why do you say that?” she asked him once she was certain she could keep her voice neutral. She looked at him and was immediately glad that she had not reacted instinctively to his comment. There was a look of intense sadness on his face, so strong that it threatened to break her heart.
 
He looked over at her. The corners of his mouth were turned down, but quivering, as though he were having trouble controlling them. “What do you mean, why?” he asked in return, his voice shaking. “Look at me! I’m no good with anything physical and even worse with weapons-”
 
“Hey,” Shoneah protested; but he went on as if he hadn’t heard her.
 
“-not to mention how hard it was for me to learn languages, let alone have to teach it!” He caught himself, his chest heaving.
 
“Oh, Andarien,” Shoneah murmured. She hurried over to him and put her arms around him, holding him close. “Andarien. I didn’t mean – oh, how foolish of me.”

She should have realized, should have known that he was asking about her people in order to compare himself to what she might expect of him! It was just like him to do that.
 
She kept her arms around him and stroked his head gently. “I told you,” she murmured, “that’s what is typical in my tribe. But I also told you that we’re in a unique situation here. There are plenty of people around who have all kinds of skills. I’m sure you would never have to worry about educating your child on your own.”
 
“It’s not just that,” Andarien whimpered, pressing his face against her hair. “How could I raise a child to be grown up, to be ready to be everything they have to be, when I’m still a kid myself? I don’t know anything about the world, or about my place in the world. I can’t help someone else with that stuff!”
 
“Don’t sell yourself short,” Shoneah scolded him, hugging him again and then pushing him back to look into his eyes. “You know far more than you give yourself credit for, and you learn more every day. No one knows all the answers – not even your parents. What counts is that you do your best, that you love your family, and that you show it. You are not a child, Andarien, and anyone who says so doesn’t really know you. I know that there are things you don’t understand and that sometimes people have to explain things a few times for you to really understand it – but there is nothing wrong with that, and it doesn’t make you any less capable than anyone else. If anything, it makes you a better teacher – because you will have more ways of explaining things than people who don’t need explanations to know things. You’ll have more experiences to draw on, more help to offer, more encouragement, more incentive never to give up – and that’s something that a lot of people don’t have.”
 
Andarien took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “You think?” he asked, his voice shaking.
 
“It’s also a learning process,” Shoneah nodded. She took his hands in hers and squeezed them lightly. “Ask anyone. No one knows really how to be a parent until they are one, and even then they make mistakes and learn from them and move on. Ask your own parents. Ask anyone here who is or has been a parent. None of them knew what they were doing ahead of time. They all learned through experience.”
 
Andarien nodded slowly. “So I’m not hopeless.”
 
“Never.” She leaned over and kissed his cheek.
 
He smiled. “Thanks, Shoneah. You always can make me feel better.”
 
Her silver eyes sparkled. “That’s what I’m here for,” she murmured with a grin. She ruffled his hair and went back to work.
 
Andarien followed her cue and began to fold up his blanket. “You still didn’t answer my one question, though.”
 
Shoneah blinked and looked at him, surprised. “Which one?”
 
“About what the custom is for people who want to get married.” He looked at her over his shoulder. “Like … for angels, they give their loved one a promise feather. Or … for the elves here, they usually give a ring. In Amon Darthir, I think someone said they just ask and then when they get married they get their names burned into each other’s hands with magic.”
 
“Oh.” Shoneah thought for a moment. “I … don’t really know,” she admitted. “I don’t think there was any set custom. A gift of some kind, I believe. My father was a smith, so he crafted a … a locket, I think, for my mother. Some give flowers. I once saw a woman accept a man who offered the heart of a dragon he had killed.”  She laughed. “I suppose he was proving he could take care of her, protect and feed her.”
 
She had a feeling she knew where this was going, but she didn’t let on, even when he asked, “What’s your favourite custom that you’ve heard of?”
 
She continued to work as she thought about the answer. Thankfully, Andarien didn’t rush her, but gave her the time to think. If she were to give him a specific answer, she wondered if he wouldn’t copy it exactly when – and if, though she was fairly certain it was a when – he did ask her to marry him.
 
“Truth be told,” she said at last, “I don’t think any. By which I mean to say,” she added, sitting back and looking up at the ceiling, “they’re all very predictable. What I would like best, I think, would be to be taken by surprise.”
 
She turned to Andarien and smiled at him. “Why do things like everyone else? Why do things according to custom? We’re not in Gaia. We’re certainly not with my tribe. We’re not in Amon Darthir. We’re not angels. We’re not of the same background or even of the same race. Who says we have to do things like other people do?”
 
She went back to her work when she saw the look of intense concentration on Andarien’s face, and a moment later she heard him do the same. It was a few minutes before he murmured softly, “Thanks.”
 
She smiled to herself. “You’re welcome.”
 
Despite how long she had fought her own feelings, she suddenly found herself looking forward to seeing what he might come up with. Somehow, she had the feeling that whatever he did, she would say yes.
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Re: Andarien Aldrich

Post by Nara-pyon on Sat Jul 16, 2016 7:27 pm

On A Mission
Location: The Tent, Eaulir, Arkandia
Date: Late Winter, 119 of the Fourth Age
 
After his talk with his parents, Andarien had something very specific he wanted to see his uncle about. He wasn’t sure where Daeron would be: he hadn’t walked the entire trip like Eärendil, opting instead to stay inside with Iorlas whenever she grew too tired to walk, but that didn’t necessarily mean that he was resting. In fact, Daeron and Iorlas’ room was empty when Andarien checked them. He checked his uncle’s workshop, the sewing room, the dojo, the foyer, the kitchen, the dining room – everywhere they would normally be found. It wasn’t until he poked his head into the gardens – specifically, the temperate, moist garden – that he found them, walking hand-in-hand. The nightly scheduled rain would not begin for another few hours, but it seemed Amir was already in bed for the night. Unsurprising, as it was quite dark already.
 
When he spotted them, he hesitated. If it had been him and Shoneah out for a walk, he was pretty sure he wouldn’t want to be interrupted. But how often would he have the opportunity to speak with his uncle without Shoneah present? Or knowing that he was talking to him? If she knew, she might become suspicious …
 
He was saved the burden of making the decision when he made a noise with his foot and his aunt and uncle turned around and spotted him.
 
“Oh, Andarien!” Iorlas smiled widely. Releasing Daeron’s hand, she beckoned for him to come closer. “Were you looking for us?”
 
Andarien nodded and moved to join them. “Well … I was looking for Ada-tôl, actually,” he said hesitantly. “I … was hoping to ask a favour …”
 
Daeron grinned and stepped closer. “Sure. What is it?”
 
“Well … I want to ask Shoneah to marry me” – Iorlas’ eyes lit up, and she and Daeron both broke into wide grins – “but I don’t want to do it so that she would be expecting it or something that other people do, I want it to be special.” He took a deep breath and explained his idea. It would be a lot of work for him and for Daeron – and for Cael, if he could get him in on it, too – but he hoped it could be done.
 
Daeron looked thoughtful. “It’s been a while since I’ve done any carving,” he admitted. “Aside from furniture, anyways. I think I’d like very much to go back to it.”
 
“So you’ll do it?” Andarien looked hopeful.
 
Daeron grinned. “Yes. Yes, Andarien, I will help you, and happily.”
 
Andarien’s grin was wider than his uncle’s. “Thanks, Ada-tôl.”
 
He wanted to talk to Cael as well, but he knew that Cael and Lancaeriel were outside with most of the others, so he decided to leave it for another time. Besides, his part – if he agreed (and if he didn’t it wasn’t the end of the world) – wouldn’t come until later, anyways.
 
Now he could either go back outside and wait for Shoneah to finish her swim, or he could go back to his room – his new study – and get to work on the design he wanted.
 
The design won out. He wouldn’t be able to speak with Shoneah again until after she finished swimming anyways.


Last edited by Nara-pyon on Sun Aug 14, 2016 2:58 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Andarien Aldrich

Post by Nara-pyon on Sun Jul 17, 2016 7:02 pm

Secretive Chat
Location: The Tent, Eaulir, Arkandia
Date: Late Winter, 119 of the Fourth Age
 
Andarien was so absorbed in his design that he didn’t hear when Shoneah returned from her swim.
 
“What are you up to?” she said suddenly from behind him, making him jump.
 
He dropped the pencil he’d been sketching with and turned around in his chair, his heart racing from being surprised. “I didn’t hear you come in,” he said sheepishly. “Did you have a good swim?”
 
He closed his notebook casually and rested his arms on the back of his chair. Shoneah was still in her bathing suit, and was using a towel to rub her hair dry. He watched her, a goofy little smile rising to his lips without him realizing it.
 
Shoneah had had her back to him, but she flipped her hair over her shoulder and grinned at him. “Fantastic. It is absolutely incredible how good it feels to swim for a while, work out stiff muscles.”
 
“Good.” Andarien’s eyes grew bright. “I’m glad.”
 
“Maybe you should join me next time,” she teased him, leaning over and pressing a kiss to his cheek.
 
“Yeah, maybe,” he nodded, his smile widening. “You heading to bed then?”
 
She shook her head. “No, shower first. As much as I love the beach, the sand is a bit much. Unless you’d like to sleep in a bed full of sand, of course.”
 
She winked at him, and he chuckled softly.
 
“No,” he agreed. “Not so nice. And hey, maybe when you’re clean, if you’re not too tired, maybe you can tell me some more stories from your people?”
 
Her eyes lit up and her smile widened. “Yes,” she said softly, her voice filled with warmth. “I would like that very much.”
 
She headed to the bedroom to get fresh clothes and after letting him know that she was going, she left.
 
Andarien waited about five seconds, then slipped his notebook into the drawer of his writing table and pulled the table top closed. He passed his Pokémon on the way to the door and paused only long enough to give them a slight grin before he also left the room.
 
If Shoneah was back inside, the odds were, he reasoned, that the others had also returned inside for the night. He hoped Cael wasn’t using a bathing room at that time.
 
He headed down the hall and knocked at the door of Cael and Lancaeriel’s suite. It was Cael who answered, half-dressed and comb in hand.
 
“Hi,” he grinned at Andarien when he saw him. “What brings you here this time of night?”
 
“A favour, actually,” Andarien replied. “Can I come in?”
 
Smiling, but clearly confused, Cael stepped aside and motioned for him to enter. “How can I be of service?” he asked as he slid the door closed again.
 
Once again, Andarien explained what he was hoping for, though this time he spoke as quickly as he could. He wanted to be back in his room before Shoneah returned so that she wouldn’t suspect anything.
 
“What do you think?” he asked when he had finished his explanation. “Will you help?”
 
Cael looked thoughtful. “Well … if you’re that keen on it, I will,” he said slowly, “but … do you really think it’s necessary? If Daeron’s carvings turn out as well as I’m sure they will, then I can’t see that adding colour – painting them – will improve its appearance. I mean, my paints look good on paper – white background canvases, maybe – but … on wood?”
 
He hesitated. “Honestly, I think you’d be better of staining it. Something dark, good and rich. And I can help with that, too, if you like.”
 
Andarien thought about it, but he was distracted by his desire to be the first back to his room. “Um … give me a few days to think about it?” he asked instead.
 
“Of course.” Cael smiled. “It will take Daeron a while to finish the woodwork, anyways. No need to decide before it’s ready for me to work on it.”
 
Andarien nodded. “Yeah. That’s right.” He smiled back at Cael. “Thanks. And I forgot to say, but-”
 
Cael held up one hand to stop him. “No need. No need. I got it. Secret.” He made a motion as if sewing his lips together. “Do not worry, my young friend, she will not hear of any of this from me.”
 
Andarien grinned. “Thanks.”
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Re: Andarien Aldrich

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