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His Heart Knows Only Virtue.... (Closed)

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Continues from here...


The old elezen's laughter filled his corner of the Quicksand. A dapper gentleman were there ever such a man. His polished black shoes, white spotless slacks, crimson threaded smoking jacket, he stood out in both style and fashion. The people gathered around him would agree he was a joy, "So what happened then Master Tellah?" called out an exceptionally beautiful young miqo'te. Tellah smiled a smile for a man fifty years younger as he winked at her, "Well of course my dear, I rescued the girl and we rode off into the sunset." As the crowd nodded at the expected yet fulfilling answer a shadow cast over the elezen from behind. "As I have heard the tale you did more then ride off into the sunset." said a voice. Tellah looked back and smiled, "Come to collect me Boy?" Erik shook his head, "No, to have a drink with you before Clio collects us both." Tellah raised an eyebrow, "You want a drink..... oh my something must be troubling you." He turned to the people who had been listening to his stories, "I am sorry children, but my Boy needs me it seems another time perhaps."


It took a few minutes for all to say goodbye to the old elf, slaps on the back from the men, kisses from the girls, and laughter of children as they all left to carry on with their day, a good story lifting them. Tellah saw the last off then turned to the barman. Raising two fingers the barman soon brought two glasses and a bottle. Tellah opened the bottle, his slender fingers making the task seem more elegant then it was. He filled both cups and sat the bottle down, "Tell me what troubles you boy."


Erik took the cup and stared into it, spinning the liquid before raising it to his lips, "I tell you Old Man, I am starting to wonder why I do it." Tellah downed his drink and sat the cup down to refill it, "How do you mean?" Erik told Tellah of his day, the meeting, the girl, the Sworn who treated her ill. "Sounds like you took care of her. So what's the problem?" Erik took another drink, "Its not the girl Old Man, its the Sworn. Indecisive, heartless, even corrupt. I find myself questioning my place among them. They just do not stand to my idea of knights." Tellah laughed so hard the drink came up his nose. He shouted as the alcohol burned his nose, "Shit... No but really, they don't seem like knights Boy because they aren't knights. Surely they love the "Ser" title, and the armor is right, but they are not knights, they are glorified bodyguards." Erik took offence, "But we Sworn..." He was cut off by Tellah, "That's your problem My Boy. You are no Sworn, you never have been. You don't see the world the way many of them do. You're a knight, not a Sworn. That's why you always butt heads with them." Erik looked to the other end of the bar and thought.

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~Gyr Abania - 1555~


Winter was not yet here, but one could feel the approach. The mountain air cut across the dry grass at the base of the mountain. A single thick furred aldgoat grazed in silence until the noise of two travelers caught its ear. As the rattle and clank of the two grew close the aldgoat tensed, then bolted as an older elezen and a young hyur emerged from the path into the clearing. The older man carried nothing, his clothes clean for his current activity, but well suited to the environment, leather mainly. The boy fared not so well, his clothes were thinner, though of his own choosing. On his back he carried a large pack, "I do not understand the point of this Tellah. And besides I do not think mother or father would approve of this." Tellah turned, tapping Erik's head with his long pipe, "I'll worry about all that."


After a bit more time they came to a stop. Erik, his frame small and weakly, dropped to his knees when Tellah told him he could stop. "Good boy, now be a good lad and set camp. I'm going to have a look about." As the old elf walked off Erik groaned and dropped the pack from his back and began to do as he was told.

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Soon after sunset the camp had been set finally. Tellah had returned and the two sat next to the crackling fire. Erik's face was somber as he poked the fire with a stick. Tellah finished his wandering thoughts and looked over to the boy, "How is that eye of your's Boy." Erik looked up, startled by the break in the silence, "Um? Oh, it is better. There was no mark, how did you know......" Tellah interrupted, "That those boys beat you? I'm not so old I don't notice a limp, a wince when one blinks. Remember Boy, the world and everyone in it tells you their story freely, even when they don't want to. Observe the world around you, always take note of everything." Erik nodded as he looked away, taking the old man's words. Tellah did not let go, "So what happened?" Erik swallowed, the fear of the moment coming back to him. "They hate me, all they do is stay on me. I do not even know why.... that is not true. They keep calling me a name before they fight me...." Tellah looked up, "What are they calling you Boy?" Erik looked away, only eleven, he was not comfortable saying such ugly things. Tellah lowered his voice, "Erik... what do the other children call you?" Erik looked up, and in a low whisper replied, "Knifeson." Tellah sighed and nodded, letting the silence return.


After a time, Tellah grew tired of watching the boy hold his own legs, "Do you know why I brought you here?" Erik looked up confused, he had wonder that since he had left. The day before he had come home, shuffled by the fight. His father had only asked what had become of the other boys. Ulrich heard how his son had been beaten in the fight and had not tried to fight back. Even his mother, who always encouraged him to avoid fighting seemed troubled by the story Erik told. That night he could hear them in the kitchen from his room, his ears were always sharp. This was not lost on his family, during the conversation between Tellah, Erik's father and mother, both the old elezen and Heather both stopped talking, then whispered that they thought Erik could hear them.


Erik finally answered, "I am in trouble?" Tellah nodded, looking to the sky as he drew on his long pipe, "Yes and no. Your parents and I agree that you have a potential, but you are not going to reach it at this point. For instance..." he paused to draw on his pipe, "... there is no excuse for those boys to be without crutches." Erik's eyes shot wide, "What?!? I could not hurt them even if I wanted to." Tellah put his pipe down and sat forward, an irritant in his eye, "That is shit Boy, pure shit. Because you were born different, men will fear you... try to drive you away like those boys do everyday. But those differences are what make you a force to be reckoned with, you simply need taught." he pauses again and looks to the stars. "Your mother hails from one of the great Houses of Ishgard. And as for your father, here has always been a Mynhier standing in defense of Ala Mhigo, since the beginning of that nation. You have the blood of warriors, soldiers, knights, priests, and lords all swimming in those veins."


Erik seemed interested but frightened, he was always a timid boy, "That is a lot to live up to Tellah." The wily old elf laughed, "Oh no boy, we aren't here to teach you to live up to it." He takes a flask from his pocket and sips from it, "Oh no, we are going to put those dead bastards to shame. When I'm done with you you'll either be a man.... or dead. Your choice of course."

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Erik gasped for breath as the chill of the water shocked him from his sleep. Shooting up he saw Tellah smiling with a bucket in hand.... where did he get a bucket out here? "Good morning Boy, seems you are all wet. May I suggest you dry by the..... oh dear the fire is out too it seems. Best gather some wood." Erik, sopping wet, grumbled as he wandered off to look for the wood. When he returned some time later, the petrified sticks cutting into him, he was again shocked to see camp had been packed.


All that was left was a raging fire and a tree stump that was when he left, a full grown tree. Tellah sat polishing the old sword he had brought with him, "Oh you are back, hurry and dry yourself. We have much to do today and I don't have time for you to play around." Erik's face turned red from frustration. He tossed violently the sticks into the fire as Tellah stood and ushered him to sit close to the fire.


As the fire warmed him he watched the old elf return to polishing the blade of his sword. He had always like the sword. Tellah would swing and swish it as he told stories to Erik when he was younger. Later on Tellah would let him hold it sometimes. "Tellah, you never told me where you got that sword." Tellah smiled, not taking his eye from the blade, "I once on my travels saved an entire village from a mighty flood. The daughter of the mayor was so happy she rewarded me the way only a young girl can.... then the mayor used the sword to try and kill me for deflowering his daughter. We settled that I would leave, but keep the sword." Erik's face once again turned red, but from the idea of a young girl thanking someone.


Tellah laughed, and Erik shook it off and asked again, "Seriously Tellah..." The old man sighed as he set the blade on Erik's lap. The Boy took ahold of it and raised it. Tellah spoke, somber and serious for once, "I'll tell you the real story when you are ready to hear it." he paused as he watched Erik swing the blade with the ease of a natural. "What do you notice about it Boy?" Erik watched as the blade swung and cut the air, "It is lighter then Father's sword." Tellah stepped closer, "Yes and no, where as your father swings a greatsword, that blade is paired with a shield. Both use two hands in that sense, but where as both hands work together with a greatsword, you must keep both hands with a sword and shield independent." Tellah drew a shield, as old looking as the sword, from the camping pack. Handing it to him he continued the lesson, "Do you see what I mean?" Erik nodded as he examined the heavy shield, having trouble holding both.


Tellah walked to the edge of the encampment, set on a hill one could see far. In this case to a large farm, easily twenty malms away. "I have a task for you Boy." Erik walked over and leaned to see out where Tellah pointed, "I want you to walk to that farm house." Erik strained at the thought of the distance. He shook his head and turned to face the old elf, "Tellah that is to... far?" The camp pack was gone, the fire was out, and Tellah had vanished. Erik turned back and swallowed, looking at the sword and shield in his hand, he understood. "That old man will not take me home unless I do this thing, and most likely kill myself....... FINE!" he shouted in frustration as he started walking.

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  • 2 months later...

The trail had been deceptive leading from the encampment to the foot of the mountain. A clear path to the foot, but truly full of loose rocks, throne bushes, and blockages by fallen vegetation. A true man would have made the climb before night, but this was no man. Erik struggled, his learner's feet were sore, his conjurer's hands torn and cut. Reaching the bottom the following night he huffed and puffed. His face was dirty, this clothes ripped, seeing the flat road before him filled the boy with joy. Slumping against a tree on the side of the road, he made up for the lack of sleep the next morning.


The next day, somewhere between sunrise and midday he was startled awake by the sounds of growling and snarling. Opening his eyes to the sight of three Lone Wolves, "Usually found in the Shroud" was his first thought. Followed by information beyond, "near enough to the border to be logical", all the study he had done feeding him facts that did not help as one snapped toward him. His scholarly examinations dropping as he scrambled to his feet, holding his sword and shield in shaking hands. One snapped again toward him, rearing back as Erik pointed both arms at him, only to have the others lunge at the opening. Fortunate for the boy, he was quick, hopping from one to the other in defensive and frightened form, the sight of prey.


He thought first of his father, seeing in his mind's eye how his father would have dealt with them. Swinging his great sword, cleaving the three monsters with his great strength, a jolly laugh followed by some good natured pun. Erik often wondered if his father secretly was ashamed of him, he would never match his father in power and respect. Everyone knew of "The Captain" leading his team of palace guards. One of many such groups, to be sure, but a respected group, waving the banner of the Phoenix on the white field. No... that was to high to reach in this case. These wolves were going to kill him he thought.


Then he turned his mind to his mother, as he did looking to a small fresh fallen limb at his feet, the tree having shed it within the last few days. He thought on his mother's defense of these three. Raising her staff high, it's crystal orb at its crown shining, her woat blue robes billowing in the aether as she casted some great spell. A barrier of Asylum, some mighty Aero, nature lending her strength, as her stoic, serious, and quiet mind works to call forth such power. He considered throwing down his arms for the limb, but thought better of it. He could not yet even conjure stones, never would he reach her piety. The wolves crept closer, drool dripping from their fangs.


A scream shook him from his thoughts, turning he saw them, children. One was his age he though, no more then ten or eleven, the other a bit younger. The noise called the wolves' attention. They turned away from the armed, all be it unskilled meal, to the unarmed meal twice in amount..... Tellah.....


...... Tellah was a Steward of his house, so full of stories and tales, Erik never knew what was truth and what was fiction, but.... there was more. Tellah held secrets, he was easy going when needed, and serious when needed. Part of Erik knew the old elf was more then a Steward. Everything he said of knights, honor, the shield, "A knight's worth is only shown by those he protects." He had seen him fight before, against a beast, a bandit once that tried to rob him, "Knights of old would draw their strength from faith, but not in the divine. Faith given by those they are charged to protect." Protect.... protect...PROTECT!


As the wolves turned away from him Erik moved with his quicken form and stood between the children and the wolves. A glint of fear in his eye,but something else now too, "You two.... get ready to run."

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