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Old 12-17-2002, 09:28 AM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Switzerland
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Default The Story of Andredien - Chapter 1 (warning, fairly long post)

This is my first attempt at this sort of writing... There's three chapters so far, but I'd like to know what people think of it before I go on...

Chapter One

"He's doing it again," Sylia said to her guest. "Singing with the Voice."

"I know. I think it is time for him to learn." The voice, a deep baritone, had a dark, dusty quality to it. Sylia looked over into the shadows in the corner of the room, but failed, as always, to make out her interlocutor clearly. Sighing, she replied, "How much should he learn, though?"


"As you wish," she replied, resigned. "And that will mark the end of my Debt."

"Yes. After that, you'll only see me again... Once."

"You know, I never understood this. Why him? Why me?"

"Why?" the voice seemed to chuckle, in a gravelly way. "'Why' is such a... mortal word. I cannot answer that with mortal words."

"You never answer anything with mortal words." Sylia was close to exasperation.

"True. Things are. I am. Accept them. And... don't forget your duty." The figure stood up; Sylia hadn't realised it was sitting. The dark-in-dark outline was too difficult to make out. It seemed to brush some invisible specks of dust off its... cloak?

"Farewell, Sylia. We'll not meet again soon. That much I can tell you."

And then it was gone. No magical lights, no spell was cast. It was always like this: it would appear, silent as a shadow, and leave the same way. It had always been like this, she thought she could remember. She knew she'd forget soon; or not exactly forget. The memories would sink away, just below her consciousness, and nag at her mind like the tongue that worries the beginning of a cavity in a back tooth. And her mysterious visitor was right: in the end, asking why was pointless, because the only answer was 'because'.

As she stood, musing and looking out of the window at the setting sun over Kelethin, she could hear the youngeters and children playing outside. Andredien's voice, now well past breaking, rang out clear and true above the others. She sighed inwardly: it was beginning. She'd hoped this day would never come, that her son (after all these years, she couldn't think of him any other way) would show his Talent in the forest, or with the animals, or the Elements.

But of course it was not to be. He had too much violence in him and, if he didn't have the Voice, he would probably have made a fine warrior, although his temper was perhaps too chaotic. Complaints from the Warrior Guild certainly seemed to indicate a certain unwillingness on Andredien's part to follow rules, even when sparring with the other youths.

No. It was decided. A Bard he would become, and that was that. She would Teach him... everything. As her shadowy visitor had said. It wasn't even an order, it was a plain statement of the way the future would unfold.

She sighed again, wiping her face with her hands, and turned away from the vista of the tree city. It was getting close to dinner-time, best check on the cook, set the table, do little things to try and drive the big ones from her mind, at least for a short while.

Suddenly, running footsteps were followed by a door slamming open and closed again, and an exclamantion of: "Mother?"

"Over here," Sylia called back.

She put down her glass of Elven wine and looked at her 'son'. He cut a fine figure: taller by almost a head than all the other children (the blood will out, after all), strong yet not thickset or brutish in appearance. His hair was, strangely, already starting to show white streaks through the black, and so was the little goatee beard (more like black peach-fuzz) that he was so desperately trying to grow. Penetrating blue-grey eyes took in the scene, before he said: "Drinking again, eh? Did you have a bad day?"

"Yes and no," she answered noncommittally. "Want some?"

He grinned impishly. "You know I do, and you know I'm not old enough yet. What would the Council say if they found out?"

"Oh - I don't think they're likely to, are they? Not the way you keep everything else from them," she replied.

A faint reddening of his ears told her she'd caught him off-guard. "What are you talking about, Mother?"

"Oh, you know... Going out and killing bats with your fledgling warrior friends instead of going to school, that sort of thing."

Andredien mumbled something incomprehensible under his breath. Sylia just managed to catch the word 'rogue' somewhere in there.

"Yes you are a bit of a rogue, aren't you?" she said, grinning at him. Then, she took another sip of wine, and poured him a glass. Handing it to him she said, "Here, take this and sit down. I need to talk to you." Her face had gone completely serious, the grin wiped away as if it had never been there.

Seeing his mother's serious expression, Andredien took the wine and sat down. He took a sip, savouring the rich flavour and fine smell of the wine. Ah, the '31. That was a good year. Best not show her I know, though.

"There are many things I must now tell you, Deeny," Sylia announced, using her pet name for him. "A very important time is coming for you."

"The Choosing, you mean?" he asked, referring to the ceremony that all young people of Kelethin went through just after puberty, when the lucky ones chose their Class, and the unlucky (or less-gifted ones) were assigned one or worse, became merchants.

"Yes, the Choosing. Among other things."

"I've been thinking about this a lot, Mother. And I'm happy to say that I've made my Choice at last."

Sylia looked into his eyes, and put down her glass, her expression stony. Dawning realised upon Andredien as he heard her say the words "You will not be allowed to Choose."
Andredien Sto Helit,
Virtuoso of the 60th missed note
Officer of Les Irréductibles

"Nobody notices what I do - until I stop doing it." -- Ancient Bard Motto
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