Campaign of the Month: February 2009

Silent Winter

Aidan's Journey, part 1

Posted by Relimited

Aidan cursed darkly under his breath. Another instant with his smothering, doting mother, the Countess Constance Louise Ann de Frimere, and he would go insane. He walked quickly to his room, ears strained for the call of his mother to run back and try on another stupid outfit that looked terrible or try to learn some awkward dance, or remember some impossible mannerism. It’s not like she would be happy with his performance in any of those areas anyway.

His brisk pace took him to his chambers. He collapsed on his bed, worn out from dealing with his mother all morning. He laid there for a minute or two, realizing slowly that he had something else to do today; he just couldn’t remember what it was. He rolled over, his face blank with concentration. What as he supposed to do today? Ah, it was probably nothing, and if it was important, he’d remember before it was too late. And his bed was warm, and soon the only heir to the Frimere bann fell asleep.

The sound of his door being thrown open jolted him awake, and the distinctly elven face that ran to his bedside had him up in a flash. He scrambled from his bed, while the elf started yelling things in his language. Aidan found himself with his back to the wall; hands clenched, and heart pounding. The elf ran around his room, rummaging through his things. Finally Aidan recognized the offending elf, and said,

“Thatcher! You scared me half to death, how many times do I have to tell you that I really don’t like it when you just barge in here? I don’t know how you knife ears do it, but we humans tend to think it courtesy to knock before we enter!” The elf looked up, in the middle of stuffing a large traveling pack with his clothes. Aidan looked at the pack and hotly continued, “And what are you doing with my things!?”

Thatcher continued with his work, answering, “My prince, have you forgotten? You were talking about it all week, even to me, which you never do. Today’s the day your father let you go to your good friend Arthur’s estate, around a day’s journey from the castle.”

He had forgotten, the morning with his mother had made him so frustrated. “Ah, yes Thatcher, I remember now. But, what about you’re barging in? I want an explanation for that!” The elf bit his lip, and then responded fear making his voice quiver a little, “Your father, prince, he ordered I help you pack your things, to make sure that everything was in order.” “Well, you should have told my father that I am perfectly capable of packing them myself.” “I know but Lord Donal wouldn’t take no for an answer, sir.”

Aidan nodded. He knew that his father treated his elf servants like slaves sometimes, punishing them severely when they didn’t do things right. This always made the young prince uneasy, after all, did father never read? There were countless stories of slaves rebelling against their masters, killing them. Treat the elves like slaves and maybe, one day, they’d wake up to find a lot of daggers in their backs. All it would take was one of those Dalish elves to embolden the Alienage elves here, and they could all wake up dead. So, Aidan never trusted any elf, and tried to stay away from them. If Thatcher had knocked, he’d have held their conversation through the oak door. If he had entered quietly, Aidan would have positioned himself next to his sword while they talked. Also, Aidan tried to show them a little respect, and never, ever, punished an elf servant, not even a slight pay dock. He didn’t want to give them another reason to kill him.

After a moment’s consideration, Aidan said, “I understand Thatcher. I am going to don some rougher clothes for travelling; this outfit from my mother isn’t meant for any wear and tear” Aidan grabbed his clothes and left, making a mental note to go through his things after Thatcher was done, to make sure the elf didn’t plant anything on him.

He changed quickly in a more private space. By the time he returned to his room, all his things were neatly packed and ready to go. He grabbed the traveling pack, and then looked over around his room to see if Thatcher had forgotten anything. He saw his sword, resting in the corner, and on an impulse, decided to belt it on. He smiled to himself. Finally, a week away from father and mother, and a whole journey to take by himself. As he grabbed a hardly used hiking staff, he marched out into the autumnal sun, totally forgetting his promise of checking the bag.

He walked through the main avenue, bright smile shinning in the blaze of autumn’s colors. The whole town looked great, framed in the brilliant color of the trees, and he marched out. He started whistling a bit, thinking about his coming journey. No, not a journey, this was his epic, his great story. He’d be famous like all the men and women he’d read about, wielding his blade for Andraste and fighting the Darkspawn.

He approached the gates of the walled town, and as the guards opened it for him, he pulled out his sword. It glittered in the sunlight, its point pointed toward the great open road. Sure, part of him knew that he was only going out for a day’s walk to an old friend’s house, but right now he felt like one of those adventurers he so often read about, like he was going out to rid the world of some vile threat. He marched out of the gate, soon leaving his home for the slowly falling leaves on the trees on the road.



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