He Said, She Said: Meet Andric Al’Maera, Part 2

My two brothers came to me and held me in their arms.  I could see their eyes full of tears that they tried to suppress.  They were sad to see me go away, but they knew that reading was not enough for me, that I wanted to see the world, see things that I wouldn’t see in this town.  No words were said.  After a few minutes, I left them, ran to the farm, grabbed my things and joined the army.  I didn’t say a word to my parents as I knew I wouldn’t be able to leave if I met with them.

So I joined the army, ready to follow the elves into their forest, at the boundary of the Feywild.  So many things to see, to do, to discover.  The elves welcomed me in their ranks.  Part of them was looking at me with curiosity, part of them congratulated me for my battle, part of them had contempt in their eyes, and some even hatred.  That wasn’t going to be easy, but nothing in life is.  I was ready to fight for what I wanted.

The trip was silent, in memory of the dead, but everybody was still happy that this orc band was obliterated.  The forest around us was slowly turning into something wild.  I don’t have the words to explain how it is to live so close to the Feywild.  Even after spending many years there, I’m still amazed by this place.

During the trip I made a few ‘friends’ that would help me to settle the first days and integrated me in their troop.  After being a captain, I was again a simple soldier, but I had everything to learn again.  And I learned a lot.  Even if I was well considered, I was just like any other people and soon, they forgot who I was and focused on whom I could become.  They taught me many things, their tactics being very different from the human ones I was used to.

One day, we were sent in the forest to track some magical beast that was predating on our cattle.  To help us, some wizards were sent, because it seems that these beasts are better killed with magic than steel.  And she was there, in the group, this half-elven girl that their leader spoke to when I choose to tie my life with the elves.  She looked so fierce, so confident and so stingy when I tried to talk with her.  I know her eyes were often on me, but she was gauging me, as if she was trying if I was worth what everybody was telling.

One of my companions told me that the orc leader I had killed had killed her father before she was born.  He was a great human fighter, someone that their people really liked.  She was probably wondering how a young one like me had been able to defeat the one that had killed such a great warrior.  Yes, she looked young, but she was part elf, she could have been 100 and I wouldn’t know.  I felt so young, so inexperienced, so stupid that because of a feat that may have been a question of luck, I was there now, far from my family, far from those that love me.

And then, when I was not paying attention, the beasts were on us.  There were several of them; the fight was going to be tough.  We had to be a wall protecting the wizards while they were killing them.  I felt the magic around me, strong, powerful, killing the beasts one by one.  Then only one remained.  Their pack leader, the most powerful of them, and the mages were all exhausted.  They only had petty spells left, and those magic missiles, were not doing much damage.

The beast just decided to charge us and I was ready to give my life to protect the elves so I stood in front of it.  I felt the wizards trying desperately to cast one last spell, I felt the magic, and without knowing how, I joined them.  I could feel the flow of Arcana around me as they were trying to tie their small spells in a bigger one.  I gave them my strength and I directed their energy into my blade and sliced through the beast.  The flow was so strong that I passed out, in pain.

I woke up several days later, with almost no memory of the fight.  I was told by my friends what happened and I could feel the taste of magic in all my body, as well as the pain.  Near my bed, was an old elf (or at least he looked old, as much as an elf can look old you know) and this girl, Joelle.  They explained me that I had some affinity with the Ars Arcana and they were ready to help me train my magical aptitude as well as my combat abilities.

Joelle was asked to be my trainer as it was part of her study to train a young one.  But I learned later that I was barely a few months older than her.  This is how my life was really changed forever.  Oh, believe me, it’s not always easy to live with her, she is too witty for her own good if you ask me, but she is smart, independent and sweet when we are alone together.  I let her be ‘in charge’ when we are in company.  I’ve learned that with the hardest element in a group, the better way to lead them is to let them believe that they have chosen the right path.  You know… let them feel responsible.

Anyway, the following years have been really intense.  Joelle is a wonderful person that taught me a lot.  Spending so much time together I grew fond of her and fell in love.  We got married about one year after the fight in the forest.  I love so much her practical mind and her dedication.   She is more strong willed than me.   And she says she needs that to teach me magic.  I’m not a really proficient magician, but I’ve learned a lot of the Ars Arcana.   Joelle will probably still instruct me on the road, as we are going to leave the elves for a while.

We decided to leave for a few weeks as I wanted to present her to my family.   After all, it was about time after more than 3 years together.   So we left the forest to go to Jolzin.

The town is doing well and I’ve been really happy to see everybody.   But my family was not there.   It seems that lately pirates have raided the area.   They come from Punjar, this filthy place in the north-west.   A troop has been sent there to investigate, and my two brother have been there.   As for my parents, they were not in the farm and nobody knows were they are.   They have been missing for 2 weeks now.   They only have found tools in one of their fields.   They wonder if they have not been kidnapped by the pirates.

Joelle and I have decided to go to punjar and look for my brothers, and maybe my parents.   I hope that everything will be fine…

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