Category Archives: Arancon

The Winter Ball

Aeramin glanced up as his father sat down at his table. He had chosen this table as it was out of the way and quiet. It wasn’t near the food tables nor was it near where other people had chosen to sit. Most importantly, it was far from Imralion. He flicked an ear as he resumed bouncing the baby on his knee, causing her to squeal in delight. She loved watching all the people dance. Aeramin watched as well, not moving his eyes back to his father.

“Not even going to say hello?”

Aeramin twitched an ear, remembering this time to continue bouncing the baby on his knee. “I’m a little angry with you right now.”

His father frowned, “Do you want to talk about it? I’m not even sure what you’re angry about this time. I can’t fix it if I don’t know what it is.”

Aeramin chose not to respond as he watched Imralion approach the table.

“Hi Aeramin, Arancon.”

Aeramin refrained from flicking an ear. He was doing his best to not remind Imralion that he was spending time with his daughter. He couldn’t do that if he was walking up on him like that. He scanned the room for Kavia. Shouldn’t he be with her?

Arancon turned around to face Imralion, “Oh, hi.”

“Enjoying the party?” Imralion asked.

Aeramin brought Lyorri back onto the bench beside him. It wouldn’t be best to flaunt how much she means to him in front of Im. Luckily, Lyorri was really good at sitting now, and only needed one hand on her to make sure she didn’t fall.

“Yes. Are you?” Arancon answered Imralion as Aeramin steadied Lyorri next to himself.

“Yeah. Just getting drinks.”

Aeramin glanced at his wine glass.

“They have juice too.” Arancon said.

“That’s good.”

Aeramin grabbed his glass with his free hand, and took a big sip. He was already on edge just having Lyorri in the same room as Imralion, but she really seemed to enjoy watching people dance. She loved the music too. Aeramin could tell by the way she was trying to sway to it on the bench next to him.

They both looked at him as he put his glass back down.

“There’s a lot of other babies.” Imralion said.

Aeramin looked at him. He wasn’t fooled for a moment. The next thing Imralion said proved it.

“If you want her to play or whatever.”

Of course. He wanted her off in the playroom set up for the babies so that he wouldn’t have to see her.

“Yeah, sorry. I’ll just take her to the other room.” Aeramin muttered.

“I just mean if she gets bored.”

Aeramin got up, balancing the baby in one arm, the bag with her diaper change and milk over his shoulder, and his wine glass in his free hand. He knew what he really meant. Thankfully, he didn’t say it in front of his father. “It’s fine.”

“I should– oh. Okay.”

Aeramin walked briskly to the door and down the hall to the room where the babies were supposed to be. There weren’t any in there. At least, not currently. It was just him and Lyorri for now, and Lyorri was not happy about leaving the ballroom. He placed his wine glass on the table and dropped the bag on the floor. He walked back and forth, bouncing the girl in his arms. “Don’t cry. Look, there’s toys here.” He stooped to pick up a stuffed animal. This one was a hawkstrider. He tried to distract Lyorri with it, putting it in front of her, but she only batted it away and cried louder.

He picked up his wine glass and took another big sip just as his father walked in. He saw the older elf twitch an ear as he passed through the doorway. “Do you have to keep following me?” Aeramin asked over the baby’s cries.

“I was hoping you would want to talk. Maybe it’ll be easier here away from the crowd.” Arancon frowned as he looked at Lyorri, “Why don’t you let me hold her for a bit? I think she knows you’re upset.”

“That’s not why she’s crying. She liked the music.”

“Then take her back to the ballroom.”

Aeramin turned to glare at his father, “No.” He turned back around to continue bouncing Lyorri in his arms as he walked around the room.

Arancon waited silently for a few minutes as Aeramin tried to calm Lyorri. She hadn’t stopped crying when he said, “Your glass is empty. Why don’t you go refill it. I’ll watch her while you’re gone.”

Aeramin hesitated. His father was telling him to go get a drink. This was the same guy who was drunk off his ass for almost 100 years. True he was sober now, but Aeramin didn’t think he had any business telling anyone when to drink. Still, another glass sounded relaxing. He handed over Lyorri and picked up his glass. He noted Lyorri stopped crying almost as soon as she left his arms. He frowned and stormed into the hall.

He almost dropped his glass as he bumped into Imralion and Kavia.

“Hi.” Imralion said.

“Hi.” Aeramin replied.

“Hi.” Kavia greeted him as well.

There was an awkward pause before Imralion said, “We’re going to the garden.”

Aeramin held up his glass. “I’m just getting a refill.”

Imralion nodded.

“Have fun!” Aeramin tried to put on a smile, but he was certain the corners of his mouth twitched. He was far from being in a smiling mood.

“Okay.” Imralion replied.

Aeramin quickly moved past them and back into the ballroom where he made his way to the table with the wine. He refilled his glass, and returned to the other room where his father and daughter were. He sat on the floor next to them. While he was gone, his father had gotten out the blocks, and was building towers of three to four blocks tall. Lyorri’s part was to knock them over. Aeramin joined in on helping with the tower construction.

“Are you ready to talk now?”

“About what?”

“Anything. You could start with why you’re angry with me, if you want.”

“Why shouldn’t I be angry with you?” Aeramin looked up with an eyebrow raised for a moment before restacking the blocks that Lyorri knocked over.

“I’m trying my best now. I’m sorry I wasn’t a good father to you in the past.”

“That’s not what I mean.” Aeramin twitched an ear.

Arancon stacked up another three blocks, “Did I do something more recent?”

Aeramin twitched an ear. Did he really not know? “You can stop talking about my ex’s around Imralion for starters.”

“I figured he knew you’ve been with other people.”

Aeramin looked at his father. He looked at his daughter, then back at his father, raising a brow.

“See, he does know.”

“And I’d rather not remind him.”

“Okay.” Arancon nodded. “I see.”

Aeramin stacked the blocks again with one hand while picking up his wine in the other. He took a long sip from the glass before putting it back down on the floor behind himself.

“Is that why you try to keep her away from him?” Arancon asked.

“What?”

“Lyorri.”

“He doesn’t want to be around her. She reminds him.” Aeramin twitched an ear.

Arancon waited a few minutes before speaking again, “That bothers you.”

“Of course it does. I feel like I have to hide her from him like some shameful secret, but she’s not– I’m not ashamed of her. I’m proud of her, but with him, I feel like I can’t be. She hurts him.”

“Have you talked to him about it?” Arancon asked.

“Yes, multiple times. I just really don’t want to bring it up anymore. She’s a reminder, and talking about her is a reminder she exists. I feel like I have to live some crazy double life because I love her, and I love him, but the two can’t be together. I thought I was okay with it, but there’s just so many things I want to share, but I can’t. Not with him.”

“I’d advise trying to talk to him again.” Arancon said as he put up a few more blocks. Lyorri laughed as she knocked them over.

Aeramin shook his head. “This is my problem. I just need to get better at dealing with it.”

“Does this have anything to do with Kavia?”

“No. Not really. I mean, I’m upset and I’d like to be with him now, but that couldn’t happen tonight anyways. I have to watch Lyorri. I can’t be with both. I’m afraid I’ll have to choose for real some day.”

Arancon placed another block on a new tower. “Who would you choose?”

Aeramin glared at his father again. “I won’t tell you.” He reached back for his wine and took another big sip.

“Fair enough. Do you want me to watch her for a bit for you?”

“No, they went to the garden.”

“I mean just so you can have a little room to breathe and relax. Maybe you could go out front. I’ll take her back to the ballroom so she can enjoy the music a little longer.”

Aeramin hesitated a moment before nodding, “Yeah, sure. Thanks.”

Arancon smiled, “She’ll be fine with me. Go get some air.”

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A Break from Practice

Arancon Firewind raised his bow and drew back the string. He took aim at the target.

“Keep your elbow up,” a familiar voice called out from behind him.

Arancon paused and raised his elbow a little higher following Sunashe’s instruction before focusing on his aim once more. He let loose the arrow sending it to the target with a thud. His aim wasn’t perfect yet, but it had gotten better. The arrow had hit within the third inner circle, better than he was when he had first started with the rangers. Back then he was completely missing the target altogether.

“Good. Keep practicing,” Sunashe said. As Arancon drew another arrow out of his quiver, Sunashe spoke again, “Or not. It looks like you have company. I should probably go find Lin anyway.”

Arancon turned in time to see Sunashe nod to the visitor approaching. His son was here. He hadn’t seen him for a few weeks. He wondered what he had come to yell at him for this time. He walked over to the bench near the practice area and put his bow on the rack next to it before taking a seat. His son joined him, taking a seat on the other end of the bench.

“Hello, Aeramin. It’s been a couple of weeks. How is everything?”

Aeramin shrugged. “Okay, I guess.”

Arancon frowned. He could tell right away that his son was in one of his moods. He decided to take the bait, bracing himself to be yelled at for something that happened years in the past. “You guess? What’s wrong?”

Instead of yelling, his son was quiet. Arancon turned towards him and raised a brow while waiting for an answer.

After a moment of staring at the ground in silence, Aeramin replied quietly, “You were right.”

Arancon blinked. Those were definitely not the words he expected to hear. “I- I was?”

His son continued looking at the ground as he leaned forward to rest his elbows on his knees. After another silent pause, he answered, “I should have kept Lyorri. I can’t take her now because I know how much Kes and Ordinicus love her. They’re good parents, and I can’t take her away from them. But I also realize now that I should have never given her away in the first place. It was more than just me being worried that I didn’t have a good example to go on when it comes to being a father. I was worried about losing Imralion too. I’m sorry I blamed you.”

An apology? Arancon blinked again, unsure he was hearing him correctly. “It’s fine. You don’t have to be sorry. I know I wasn’t very good to you.”

Aeramin sighed, “My biggest reason for getting her out of my home as fast as possible had nothing to do with you. You were secondary. Maybe not even that. I think the shock of it all was secondary, but my point is, my first reason was Im. I didn’t want him to leave. I think he’d already be gone if I had kept her there.”

“You know, it’s okay. I’ve already forgiven you for blaming me.” Arancon paused as he thought about the rest of his son’s words. “You said he’d already be gone. Are you afraid he may leave still? Is that what this is about?”

Aeramin shrugged, but didn’t answer. Arancon figured that meant he was at least getting close.

“Has something else happened to give any indication that he might still leave?”

Aeramin shrugged again, but spoke this time, remaining calm as he did. “He’s looking for a girlfriend. He wants to have his own kid. He thinks his future girlfriend and I should get along and everything will be great. I thought I would be fine with him having a girlfriend, but that was before I knew he wanted to have kids. I brought it up one night because I was thinking and I used to believe I’d adopt one some day, but now with Lyorri existing, I don’t think I can. It wouldn’t be fair to her, and I don’t think it would be fair to me either. It would feel wrong to give your own away and raise another. But that was when he mentioned having one with his future girlfriend. So I’m supposed to happily help him raise his kid- no, their kid, all the while he won’t even see mine? I just don’t see it working out. It’s not fair to me for him to ask me to do that, and it’s not fair to him for me to ask him not to do that. Either way, one of us winds up being unhappy. I want to be fair to her too. I didn’t ask for her, but she’s here now and she’s my responsibility. I have to do what’s good for her.”

Arancon frowned in thought for a moment. His son continued to look at the ground, scuffing his shoes in the loose rocks under the bench. Arancon broke the silence, “You have to do what is good for you, too.”

Aeramin’s ear twitched, “Like you did?”

“I didn’t, and that’s my point. I did what I thought was right for you and Maena, and it wound up being wrong for all of us. When we moved to Silvermoon, I knew I wouldn’t be able to find work there. I’m not skilled for any kind of city work.”

“You mean except the jobs you quit?”

Arancon twitched his ear this time. “I was fired. I didn’t quit.”

“What about the first one; the one you first had after we moved?”

“Yes, I was fired from that one too. I lied to your mother about that. I told her the job just wasn’t working out, which, in a way, it wasn’t. It was while I was there that alcohol started being a problem. I wasn’t happy trying to get by in the city, and I was hiding my drinking at the time. I was still able to then, but I was caught with it at work and they let me go. I didn’t want your mother to know. After that, things just got worse. I’m not trying to make excuses for what happened, but if I were able to do things over, I’d do things differently.”

Aeramin raised a brow, “Oh, so you would have kept us in Eversong and let the trolls eat me like they ate Tannethus? Great.”

“No,” Arancon frowned, “I would have moved you and Maena to the city while I stayed in Eversong. I could have visited on weekends and brought money so you could have lived there comfortably. We would have never wound up on Murder Row. I would have had a job that I liked, and there would have been enough gold to keep the house in Eversong and pay rent on something decent in the city.”

“Was that an option?”

Arancon nodded.

“Why didn’t you do that?”

“I was worried.”

“About?” Aeramin questioned, raising a brow.

“About you. About Maena. I was worried Maena would be upset if I suggested that she go with you to the city without me. You, I worried you would think I abandoned you, and that you would think I didn’t care. Which wound up happening anyway even though I went with you, just worse. I thought you wouldn’t like me, but now you hate me.”

They both stared at the ground in silence for a moment before Aeramin spoke. “I don’t hate you.” He paused as he resumed kicking the rocks under the bench. “I’m angry about a lot of things that happened, but I don’t hate you. If I hated you, I wouldn’t have checked in on you after moving out. I wouldn’t have made sure you had food. I definitely wouldn’t have helped you move away from Murder Row. I’m just upset about things. I don’t hate you, but I do worry that Lyorri will hate me.”

“I’m sorry I was upset with you when I first learned that you had given her to your friends. I’ve had some time to think about it, and I realize you were just doing what I should have done. I should have done what was right for me first. Instead, I gave everything up. I started resenting it, which in turn made me feel guilty, and from there it just spiraled downward. I started drinking to feel better, and I regret that. I don’t want you to have to go through anything similar. Do what’s right for you, and find a way to make it right for Lyorri.”

He was met with another long pause. At last, Aeramin said, “I don’t know what’s right for me.”

“You have time. You can figure it out. Kestrae and Ordinicus both adore her. She’ll be just fine with them. If, after all I did, you don’t hate me, then I think there’s a good chance she won’t hate you. I won’t say there’s no possibility at all. Plenty of good parents have children who hate them, and there’s always certain ages they reach where anything an adult says is wrong. I think as long as you do what’s right for you, while keeping what’s right for her in mind as well, you’ll find a way to work through the difficulties.”

His son paused again before nodding, “I’ll keep that in mind.” He shifted his shoulders back as he looked up from the ground and towards the ranger building. “Im wanted to come to talk to someone. He’s probably about ready to go now. I told him I was coming out to warn you that there would be large amounts of alcohol at the party we’re planning for Hethurin and Terellion before their wedding. I don’t know if you’re tempted or not, so I thought you should know ahead of time so you could avoid it if needed.”

Arancon nodded, “I figured there would be. I’ll probably ask Sunashe if I can crash on his couch for the night.”

“It might be for the best.” Aeramin said as he stood. “Anyway, I should go.”

“Goodnight Aeramin.”

Aeramin was already crossing the lawn to the building, but he stopped to look back. “Goodnight.” He turned back around and made his way to the ranger building as Arancon watched him go.

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Diving

“Are you sure you won’t help?” Sunashe asked as he pulled himself up on the muddy bank of the river.

“I am helping.” Arancon looked up from his book he was reading under a nearby tree. He knew his friend wasn’t the best swimmer, but he had been in luck that the rains hadn’t been too heavy over the past few days. While there had been a drizzle now and then, the river was lazy and calm which meant for much easier swimming. Still, Sunashe only had one and a half legs. He shouldn’t swim alone. “I’m making sure you don’t drown.”

Sunashe pulled himself up onto a rock and wiped his face with the towel he had left there. “I’m hungry. Did you bring the sandwiches?”

Arancon nodded as he grabbed the bag sitting on the ground next to him. He opened it, and took out one of the sandwiches. He took it over to where Sunashe sat while wiping the mud off his hands.

“Thanks.” he said while taking the sandwich. He started to unwrap it as Arancon sat next to him.

“Do you really think you’ll be able to find the ring?”

“I threw it right here. It should be around here somewhere.”

“It might have been washed downstream or maybe the mud covered it.”

Sunashe shot a glance at Arancon, “I’ve been looking through the mud. The current isn’t very strong. I don’t think it was washed downstream.

“We have to leave for patrol in about an hour, less than an hour if you consider that we have to go back for Kavia first, and it looks like it’s going to rain more.”

“I know, but I can keep looking until then. I have to find it!”

Arancon sighed, “It wasn’t very smart to throw it in the river in the first place.”

Sunashe twitched an ear as he took a bite of his sandwich.

“You’re going to get a cold if you keep this up. The water is freezing.”

“The air is worse. It doesn’t matter. I have to get the ring back.”

“Why? You’re not going to ask her to marry you tonight.”

“No, but the longer I wait, the more likely I’ll never see it again. Like you said, it could get buried in the mud or washed downstream. I spent every copper I had on it, and I’d like to find it in case I do decide I’d like to ask her.” Sunashe stood up, unsteady on one foot in the mud, and handed the other half of his sandwich to Arancon. “Can you put this back for me?”

Arancon sighed, “Sure.” He headed back to his spot under the tree while his friend hopped carefully in the mud back to the freezing water. As he was placing the remaining half of the sandwich back into the bag, he noticed an envelope. He took it out just far enough to see Sunashe’s name was written on it. He glanced towards the river in time to see his friend take a deep breath and disappear beneath the water’s surface. It was too late to tell him now. He placed the letter back into the bag and picked up his book. Hopefully, Sunashe would find the ring soon, and they wouldn’t be late getting back for patrol.

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Arancon’s Log

Things have been going fairly well. The winters here in the Ghostlands are much colder than they are in Silvermoon. Luckily, the ranger building was built with that in mind. I only freeze while on patrol. The scar hurts more in the cold, so that slowed me down a bit, but then there were some days where everything was covered in ice, which slowed Sunashe down more with his prosthetic leg, so it evened out. I think both of us are happy that it’s starting to warm up a bit.

I’m keeping busy most days. It’s kind of funny. Sunashe and I are good friends, and when he started pursuing a relationship with Linarelle, I was worried I wouldn’t have anyone to talk to, no one to distract me when I needed it most. I was worried that I’d be alone and I know there’s wine here. I feared that I’d start drinking again. Then a miracle happened. I became a grandfather. My granddaughter has stolen my heart and that’s helped my resolve not to drink. Of course things are complicated. They usually are when they involve my son. He blames me for everything that’s ever gone wrong for him, and maybe there’s a little truth in it. I wasn’t a very good father, but then again, so far, neither is he. I wish I could go back and do things differently, but then I wonder if it really would have helped. Maybe things would be worse. I can’t let myself dwell on it though. There’s nothing to do to change it now. I can only move forward.

I’m going to do my best for Lyorri, and I’m going to try to do my best for Aeramin. I’m not sure there’s much left to salvage to build a relationship on with him, but I know that he cares, even if he’ll never say it. He came to check on me now and then, and he helped me move out here, which is something I’m extremely grateful for. I met the rangers, and found support to quit drinking. Without his help, I’d still be drunk in Silvermoon. He’s also come to see me a few times, though usually it is to yell at me. I let him yell. He’s angry, and I don’t blame him. If he needs to yell, then he can yell. I’m here for him now whether he realizes it or not.

Last night, Orledin had made extra bread. I get along well with him now too. I think he was scared of me at first because he knew me before, and I knew him before as he was seeing my son. I didn’t like him so much back then as he showed up right after Aeramin and a really nice girl broke off an engagement. It was pretty easy to figure out what had happened.

Anyway, there was extra bread and he gave it to me to give to the people raising Lyorri. I took it when I visited. She’s growing so fast. It makes me want to visit more often so I don’t miss anything! She’s smiling now, and rolling over. It won’t be long before she’s able to sit up on her own. The people raising her are good people, and I can tell they love her. Kestrae is very protective of her, and watches me constantly while I’m there. Ordinicus is a little more relaxed. I gave them a couple of the loaves of bread.

I decided to take the last loaf to Aeramin. I usually avoid visiting him. I don’t want to force it. At this point, I think it’s better if he comes to me. However, Orledin makes some really good bread, so I thought he might like it, as long as I didn’t mention where it was from. Perhaps it was fortunate that he wasn’t there when I arrived. Imralion was though. He let me in. I gave him the bread and we talked a bit. I haven’t really spoken much to Linarelle about what’s going on with them, but I have heard through Sunashe. I guess they’ve sent someone to research the records and find out who their parents are. Their father was a noble who had an affair, and they’re the result of that affair. Their mother was paid to keep quiet, and they were placed with the Matron. Their father died, but they don’t know about their mother as she stopped appearing in the records after that, most likely she changed her name. Aeramin needs to get better at talking with Im, as I got the feeling that they hadn’t discussed it very much. Of course, he wasn’t there, so I listened and talked to him.

Kestrae showed up shortly after me, which was odd because we thought he might be visiting Lyorri. He did come home eventually, but I don’t know where he was. He asked me to leave almost as soon as he was in the door. I imagine he told Imralion and Kestrae, but he wanted me to leave, so I left.

I hope Imralion and Linarelle have news about their mother soon. It must be awful not knowing.

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Arancon’s Visit

“Aeramin, your father’s here.”

Aeramin glanced toward Imralion, raising a brow briefly before continuing to chop vegetables that he planned to include with the stew he was making. “Tell him to leave.” Aeramin was surprised Imralion didn’t already know to send Arancon away.

The voice that responded to him surprised him more. “I’m not leaving until we talk.”

Aeramin tensed up and turned back towards the archway between the dining room and the kitchen. His father was standing there now. Aeramin looked back towards Imralion who stared at him pointedly now. “Im, why did–”

“It’s not his fault. Come sit. We need to talk.”

“No. We don’t.”

Arancon crossed his arms and leaned against the frame of the archway. “I’ll wait until you’re ready then.”

“You’ll be waiting a long time.” Aeramin muttered as he turned to put the vegetables in the pot with the rest.

“I’ll leave after we talk. The longer you make me wait, the longer I’ll be here. You were just saying you didn’t want me here. Just come talk, then I’ll go after.”

Aeramin frowned. “Fine, five minutes. I have a stew to make. Im, could you stir this, please?” He handed the stirring spoon to Imralion as he passed him on his way to the dining room. He took a seat at the table and waited for his father to join him, watching as he walked with his slight limp and took a seat across from him. “What is it?”

“I’m disappointed with you.”

Aeramin shrugged, “Were you ever not?”

“Never as much as I am now. Your daughter is in the care of other people because you refuse to take responsibility for her.”

“Oh, you heard about the baby. It’s not mine.”

“I saw the baby. I held her. There’s no doubt in my mind that she’s my grandchild. She looks just like you when you were–”

“So what if she looks like me? She’s not mine!”

“All those times you told me what a piss poor job I was doing as a father, but you can’t even admit to having a child. You need to stop. She’s yours. Start acting like a father.”

“You’re lecturing me on how to be a father?” Aeramin laughed in disbelief, “How many drinks does that take each day? What’s your recommendation for how many times I should push her around while yelling each month? A good punch in the head every now and then should keep her in line, right?”

Arancon sighed and leaned back in his chair. “I have a lot of regrets, Aeramin. I wish I had never started drinking, or that I had stopped sooner. I missed a lot with you. I messed things up a lot, and I know I wasn’t the best person, but I never once abandoned you. I never denied that you were my son. You always had family to come home to, even if we weren’t a happy family. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t live with regret of how I used to be, and how we lived. I wish I could go back and change it, but what’s done is done. We can only move forward. I don’t want you to have those kinds of regrets. I want better for you. I want better for her.”

Aeramin sat in silence as he thought about what his father just said, vaguely aware that the sounds of the pot being stirred in the kitchen had stopped.

Arancon spoke as he started to get up, breaking the silence. “My five minutes are up. I’ll be at the ranger building if you need to talk.” He walked to the door and put his cloak on. He turned towards the dining room to look at Aeramin one last time before going, “Please, go see your daughter. Let her know she has a father, one she can be proud of.”

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The Sword

Arancon Firewind packed the long box with clean straw. He had decided it would be best if he paid to have the sword delivered to his son. If he showed up on his son’s doorstep by himself, it was likely the door wouldn’t be opened for him. He could have asked Ty or Sunashe to deliver it, but even then, his son, or his partner, might figure out the package was from him and refuse it. Paying someone to take it there was the best way.

He didn’t think his son would refuse the gift after he knew what it was. Aeramin had always displayed an interest in the sword when he was younger. Arancon felt he must still want it, though they saw each other much less frequently now. The last time they had discussed the sword in any way, Aeramin had told him that he didn’t deserve it. He held the blade up, inspecting it one final time. It was a fine sword, imbued with magical properties centuries ago when it was made. It had been in the family the whole time, passed down through the generations from father to son. Its first owner, Arancon’s great-great-great-grandfather, had been a mage, or so he had been told. His great-great-grandfather had been as well, though his great-grandfather had stopped his studies before becoming a mage and had taken off to Eversong with some girl who became Arancon’s great-grandmother. From there, the next few generations became farm workers. A local militia was formed to help deal with nearby troll villages, and the sword was used to help repel the trolls more than once. Arancon himself had fought them with the sword, many years ago. He had been taking it now on patrol, feeling more comfortable with it than the bow, but that didn’t change the fact that it was a mage’s sword. It belonged in a mage’s hands, and his son had become a mage. He knew it hadn’t been easy for him. Lessons in magic were expensive and they had been poor, especially after moving to Silvermoon. The sword would be more suited to Aeramin now. He laid the sword down in the straw-packed box.

He penned a quick note to include with it.

Dear Aeramin,

I know we haven’t been on the best terms with each other, and I know you may never forgive me for the things I did and said to you. Saying I’m sorry isn’t enough, and I know that. I do hope that we will be able to talk someday, but I know it may be difficult for you. If you ever want to, you know where I am.

I’ve been sober for a while now, and it’s kind of put things into a better perspective. I’m sorry, not only for the way I treated you, but also for not being able to help you when you needed it. You’ve gone so far on your own, and I did nothing but try to hold you back. I’m very proud of you for overcoming the obstacles, and becoming who you wanted to be, even when the obstacles were of my making.

I thought it was time to pass the sword on to you. I thought you might not answer the door if I was there, so I’m having it delivered.

I wish you and Imralion all the best and a happy Winter Veil.

Arancon

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Sunashe’s Letter

Dear Linarelle,

Your ears are like arrows pointing to the moons–

“What is that supposed to mean?”

Sunashe put his pen down and looked at his friend, Arancon. “It means she has nice ears.”

“It sounds like her ears are about to shoot the moon. It doesn’t even make sense. Try something else.”

Sunashe sighed and crumpled up the paper. He started again on a new sheet.

Dear Linarelle,

“You know, you should try using ‘dearest’.”

Sunashe flicked an ear as he looked up again. “Why? I thought ‘dear’ was nice, and it’s not over-doing it.”

“It lets her know she’s the dearest, just not one of the dears.”

“Just how many dears do you think I have?”

Arancon shrugged. “Right now? None. If you want to change that, you have to let her know that she’s the one.”

Sunashe frowned in thought before picking up the pen again and crowding in ‘est’ after ‘Dear’.

“You should make it look good too.”

“I’ll write it over again when I’m done composing it. That way I won’t waste a hundred pieces of paper.”

Arancon nodded and took a bite of his sandwich as Sunashe looked back down at his paper. He started writing the next line.

Your ears are like arrows released in the forest at midnight.

Arancon raised a brow. “That’s no better than before.”

“Why not?”

“It doesn’t make sense. You’re still not conveying that you think her ears are nice.”

“Well, this was supposed to go with the other part. It was supposed to be, ‘Your ears are like arrows pointing to the moons that are released in the forest at midnight.’ It makes more sense that way right? So I should put the whole thing after all.”

Arancon looked at Sunashe a moment before shaking his head, “No, it doesn’t really get the meaning across.”

“So what am I supposed to write?”

“It has to come from you, but it really should make sense.”

“I’m trying to be romantic!”

Arancon tried not to laugh, “I think you’re trying too hard. Just tell her how you feel. Forget about trying to make it sound poetic for now.”

Sunashe frowned. The others had told him that girls liked things like that. “Fine, but you have to stop looking.” He waited until Arancon carried his lunch to another rock to sit on. He crossed off the first sentence, and started writing again.

Dearest Linarelle,

I think your ears are pretty great, and I really like dancing with you. I’m nervous a bit because I know you’ve had an offer, and there’s no way I could ever match all that gold, but if gold is all you want then I suppose he’ll be better for you, and I want you to be happy above anything else.

If you’re like me, then you know there’s other things besides gold. I share some interests with you. We both love the forest. I really like your moth too. We’re both rangers and we both share a love of archery. I love dancing with you, which has the added benefit of being able to hold you. I’m afraid to tell you these things to your face, as I’ll just sound like the ones who came before me, the ones who hurt you. I want you to know I’m not like that. I would never hurt you. You mean too much to me.

I was hoping you would want to go camping with me soon. Maybe in Outland. Let me know what you think.

I love you.

-Sunashe

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