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treydog
So- this story kind of came out of nowhere- which is as good a way of describing my mind as any... And it does not fit into Blood on the Moon, but it really wanted to be told. And so, here we go. Before Athlain became "Athlain of the Imperial Legion" (trumpets sound dramatically), he had a childhood on Vvardenfell. I am not sure how many of these stories will appear- more, I hope. Anyway- as ever, thank you for reading...

-----------------------------------

Athynae was away, visiting the Ashlanders with her mother. Serene had maintained close ties with the Ahemmusa for all the years following her elevation to head of Great House Redoran; she was determined that the House Dunmer and the Ashland Dunmer would not be divided as they once had. Father had a similar relationship with the Urshilaku, but his was much less formal. Mostly, that was because of his nature, which was to avoid formality whenever possible. But mostly, the difference had to do with Athynae herself, or perhaps better to say, Athynae’s existence. The best way to illustrate it would be by noting that the Ahemmusa name for Serene’s eldest child was “Yan-Ti.” It came from the Ashlander word for “One,” and literally translated as “Small One.” But its true meaning was “First.”

Whenever I felt myself chafing at my father’s disinterest in world affairs, I considered Athynae’s situation and decided I had nothing to complain about. No one expected me to go and visit the Ahemussa on my 11th birthday, or show up at official functions (except just a few, or the ones ‘Thyna dragged me to). My father wore his role as a Redoran Councilor lightly. I do not mean that he did not take the position seriously, just that he refused to take himself seriously, Councilor or not. And he did not allow it to spill over onto the rest of us any more than he could help. Beyond that, he spent the majority of his time writing or working on alchemy. Better still, whenever he could, he brought me with him to the outdoors or the laboratory, gathering ingredients and preparing them. His attitude toward potion-making was… relaxed. If I suggested a formulation, his invariable response was, “Let’s try it and see what happens.”

He was more cautious with the results of those experiments, some of which he would not even tip down the drains, remarking, “Even the cave rats don’t deserve that.”

But, on this particular day, he was away at a Council meeting, and Mother was deep into a new painting. When she was in her studio, she disappeared from this world and entered the one from which her images came. What all of that meant was this was a perfect opportunity for me to go out and harvest some fresh ingredients. Maybe I could go as far as the Bitter Coast. That would be useful when Athynae got back and made an issue of the fact that she was now 11 and I was still “a child” because I would be 9 for another few weeks. She sometimes wielded that difference in age like a club.

I definitely wanted to get past the barren hills that lay west of my house. The plants I sought only grew on the far side of those hills, where there was more rain. That reminded me- I should take along a couple of water bottles. What else? A small knife, to make the harvesting easier and also to cause less damage to the donor plants. That was one of the places where my father was firm.

“Never take all of anything and do as little harm as possible with what you do take. These plants are a gift to everyone who might pass this way. It is wrong to take more than you need.”

I considered bringing along a staff, but shook my head. I didn’t want to look like a pilgrim, and besides, I just could not see it as a “real” weapon. Anyway, I wasn’t hunting mudcrabs or slaughterfish, and a spear or net would be better for those, anyway. And a kagouti or alit would just use the staff for a toothpick after it ate me. Of course, if Athynae were coming along, she would have carried enough weapons to outfit the entire X Legion. Well, maybe not the whole Legion. But at least a century’s worth. Whenever I asked her about all the darts and stars and daggers, she just said, “You never know.” She didn’t explain what I “never knew.” She could be so annoying, sometimes.

But anyway, all that was silly. I was just going for a walk, to gather some supplies. I wasn’t going to poke around any caves or tombs. Which she would have- with that same not-an-answer if I asked her why we needed to go into one of those places. “You never know.” Yes I did know. Nothing good ever came out of caves, and tombs were for dead people, some of whom had apparently not been told that they were dead and therefore should not be up walking around. Athynae had never yet seen a fire that she didn’t think needed poking or a cave that didn’t need to be explored. After some of the trouble she had gotten us into, I was beginning to believe “not knowing” might be a good thing. Some of the time.

The Expedition (as I thought of it) was harder than I had expected. The hills between Bal Isra and the coast were steep and unforgiving. But trying to go around would have delayed me too much- and put me on well-traveled paths, where someone might see me and ask what I was doing out by myself. I thought wistfully of the rows of potions in the laboratory, especially the ones sealed with purple wax and marked with Father’s symbol for levitation. But it had seemed silly to take potions when my purpose was to harvest ingredients. And my parents had rules about the use of potentially dangerous potions- like levitation. Still, I did pick up a few useful things from the dry lands, like trama root. After I had crested the third or fourth hill, the burning in my legs caused me to reconsider my definition of “silly.” In fact, I was beginning to think that my whole plan qualified for Athynae’s favorite word. I could almost hear her saying, “Well- that was stupid.”

But then I could see the green of the Bitter Coast just ahead, and the sun glinting off the sea beyond. I had not come for the view though, so I hurried down the final slope to search among the trees and pools. The buzz of insects filled the air, and the humidity was like a heavy blanket that seemed to weigh down my limbs. The abundance of ingredients made it all worthwhile though- mushrooms and swamp flowers, all the plants that grew in profusion on the coast. In addition, I harvested bark from the trees, the emperor’s parasol and Vvardenfell cypress. The cypress bark was fibrous and peeled away in long strips; that of the mushroom trees came loose in palm-sized flakes. No one had ever noted any alchemical properties from those substances, but maybe they just had not done enough research.

I saw a few mudcrabs, but they were small and easy to avoid. Father told me that the Council sent patrols along the coast every few months to look for sign of the big crabs that sometimes threatened the guar herds. The trees provided concealment from gliding cliff racers, but I still kept an eye on the sky and was careful crossing clearings. The density and height of the trees was so different from the land around Ald’ruhn and Bal Isra, and I had to remind myself to watch where I was putting my feet, instead of constantly staring upward. The patterns of light and shadow shifted in the breeze, reminding me of the pebbled hides of alit or kagouti, both of which could be found in this area. The creaks and hums of the insects seemed to take on a more sinister tone, which only heightened my thrill of fear when a low, barking cough sounded behind me.
minque
What a nice surprise seeing this! Of course they all have a childhood....and how awesome it is to read about it! We know quite a bit about Thyna.....from her very talented interpretor and now Athlain! This was very very amusing to find on this sunny afternoon! Thanks ever so much treydoggie for giving us this!


QUOTE
I considered bringing along a staff, but shook my head. I didn’t want to look like a pilgrim, and besides, I just could not see it as a “real” weapon. Anyway, I wasn’t hunting mudcrabs or slaughterfish, and a spear or net would be better for those, anyway. And a kagouti or alit would just use the staff for a toothpick after it ate me. Of course, if Athynae were coming along, she would have carried enough weapons to outfit the entire X Legion. Well, maybe not the whole Legion.


Just hilarious! yayyy
haute ecole rider
I always have fun reading the Princess Diaries, but felt that something was missing from them.

Then you post this, and I think to myself, "Ah-ha!"

When writing about a couple, I've always believed in equal opportunities for each. And I'm happy to see this coming about for Athlain as well as Athynae.

And I hear you about those little stories coming from nowhere! Which reminds me, I have three that need updating . . . blink.gif
McBadgere
happy.gif ...Oh, I loved that...Loved it!!!...

I think anything that expands on the Trey-verse in any way is awesome!!...

Loved all the idea of mini-Athlain just deciding to go off on an Hexpedition!...And people thought Athynae was trouble... laugh.gif ...

Just so much of Awesome™ contained in that bit right there...

Absolutely Nice One!!!...

*Applauds most heartily*...
SubRosa
A fun beginning told with Athlain's characteristic sardonic (or is it merely ironic) attitude. I note that even at the tender age of 9 (almost 10), his mind is already preoccupied with Athynae. Certainly a portent of things to come there. But before our musings wander down that path, there is the mystery cliffhanger of the mystery cougher to unravel!
treydog
@minque- So glad to have you reading. I think the rest of this story will please you- and the one that will follow, even more so, as Serene will have a prominent role.

@haute- Yes, Julian’s “what happened after” stories are a definite inspiration. The hard part has been getting Athlain to speak up about what he did back when…. And I think we will see why.

@McB- My thanks to my Constant Reader Badger. And it is nice to discover that Athynae was not always to blame.

@SubRosa- He comes by that sense of… sardoniry?… naturally- what with his father and his red-headed mother. And Athynae has definitely been the center of his universe for quite some time. And now… to find out who it was that coughed on the coast…

-------------------

Nix hound, my mind identified the source of the sound. And where there was one, there was usually a second. They were tireless trackers and could traverse steep slopes with their clawed feet. And, and this was the important bit of information, they made that particular noise when they were on a scent. Such as perhaps the scent exuded by a 9-year-old explorer who had no weapons and who had not bothered to tell anyone where he was going. That would have been an excellent time to use one of the potions I did not have. Like a “Let’s Make It So this Didn’t Happen” potion. I could probably whip something up from all the ingredients I had in my pouch, but I didn’t think the beasts would wait while their meal cooked something up- unless they wanted an appetizer or garnish. What I needed was a place to hide while I figured a way out of this mess.

I visualized the large map of the coast that Father kept in his study. He marked it every time a patrol came back, noting smuggler activity, creature sightings, and so forth. I wondered what sort of symbol he would use for “last resting place of idiot firstborn son.” That was not helpful. But the memory of a notation for a cave just a bit to the north was. At least as recently as last month, nothing had moved into it; mostly because it had flooded during the last spring storm. The Redoran patrol had scouted it and replaced the door, but nothing else. Still, it was a cave. And I didn’t like caves. Another hunting call sounded off to the right, answered by one from behind me. Yes, A wonderful, secure cave, with a nice, more-or-less solid door. With a latch. It would be perfect.

My feet flew down the path and my grateful eyes saw the fresh wood of the door. I tumbled inside and slammed it shut behind me. As I looked around the entry chamber, my mind raced. If my mysticism skill was better, I could have cast a recall spell to get me out of there. That is, I could have if I had set a mark to recall to before I left home. I also could have invited a pair of armed retainers to come along with me. Or I could have just stayed home, reading a book. But I hadn’t done any of those things. “You work with what you have, not what you wish you had.” Still, I sort of wished Athynae was there. Even if she would have been sarcastic at me for going out with nothing but a pruning knife for a weapon.

Fine then. What did I have? A small knife; two bottles of water, with more pooled inside the cave; a small mortar for grinding; a lot of ingredients; my field notebook…. Be precise! I could hear my father’s words as he helped me write down the results of our experiments. “Some” or “a little bit” or “a whole bunch” are not precise measurements. What did you mix, in what order, in what amounts- by weight? So I forced myself to slow my breathing and ignore the growls and scratching sounds from the other side of the door.

I sorted the ingredients carefully, making a list in the notebook. Somehow, seeing the names written down helped me consider the properties of each component. It was just like being back home in the laboratory- except for the whole “alone in the wilderness with things that wanted to eat me” part. But the names on the page seemed to move in front of my eyes, joining and separating in a complex dance of possibility. With those patterns came resolve. I could do this.

Some of the plants would yield their benefits from simple grinding and mixing. Others needed to be steeped. There was sufficient water, but I was afraid the mortar would crack if I exposed it to fire. Then there was the question of whether I could make a fire or not. A second look around the area near the cave entrance showed piles of driftwood, left over from the flooding. But I still needed a vessel. I looked once again at my ingredients and remembered something my father had shown me one night in the garden. It was magic of a different sort, the magic that is inherent in the nature of the elements. I took the large pieces of emperor’s parasol bark and used the tip of my knife to make a series of holes down each of the long edges. Then I pulled fibers from the cypress bark and twisted them together into a kind of twine. I wet the parasol bark and pressed it around the mortar to shape it. Then I threaded the twine through the holes in the edges and made a bark cup. I sealed the seams with mud mixed from the cave floor, and finally made a twine handle for my vessel. While it dried, I gathered firewood and lit it with a spell. As long as I kept the bark bowl suspended in such a way that the top of the water was higher than the flames, the bark would not burn. It was the best kind of magic. And then it was time to mix up some potions.

Potions were good, but a weapon would also be useful. ‘Thyna was right about that, even if I wasn’t ever going to tell her so. I had a blade, even if it was a small one. And it was sharp. What I needed was something to allow me to use the blade while staying out of reach of the nix hounds’ claws… or the beaks and tails of cliff racers, if everything else worked out. Rummaging through the piles of driftwood produced a springy limb about five feet long and an inch or two in diameter. I used some more of my cypress fibers to lash my knife to one end. It was not a great spear, but it was what I had. Coating the knife blade with the last of the concoctions I had mixed might help. And then- it was time. I gathered up all of my gear, swallowed the other potion I had created, and slipped outside.

* * * * *


Father sat behind his desk, not saying anything. He closed my journal and placed it beside my homemade spear, my bark bowl, and everything else I had brought back from my journey. He wasn’t frowning, but he wasn’t smiling, either. He just… looked at me. And at the things lined up precisely on his desk. Just when I had decided I was either going to fidget or explode from trying not to, he spoke.

“So. You made a levitation potion from coda flowers and trama root. And you used that to get back over the ridges.”

He laid a hand on the “spear” and continued, “You also mixed a paralysis potion from ampoule pods and hackle-lo, which you used for your… weapon. And you did all of this in a cave, without proper equipment or assistance. And you made detailed notes of everything you did.”

Despite the phrasing, those were not questions, so I didn’t have to answer. Which was good, because I had no idea what to say. His next non-question was even worse.

“How can one person be so clever and so foolish- at the very same time? You left without saying anything to anyone about where you were going, alone, with no way to get back quickly if you got into trouble…” he paused. “And then, when you did get into trouble, you managed to get back, unharmed, through your own knowledge and efforts.”

He looked at me again, with an expression on his face as if he was not sure who I was. His hands again reached down to touch the things on the desk, seemingly of their own volition.

“What am I supposed to do about this? No- please- don’t try to answer. Why couldn’t you give me a simple problem, like trying to set the house on fire? Don’t answer that one, either.”

He looked at the door of his study, his blue eyes seeming to pierce the thick wooden panels. “Your mother is currently advocating sealing you in your room for the next fifteen years. I think I can talk her out of that- or at least reduce the length of your confinement to a more reasonable figure.” He finally smiled, just the least bit, and I remembered to breathe.

His hands stopped their restless movement among the items on the desk and he clapped them together, once. “Here is how it is going to be. You must, from this day forward, inform a responsible adult whenever you leave the house. You will describe your destination, your purpose, and your companions, if any. However, that responsible adult may, purely at their own discretion, modify or veto your plans. If that occurs, you will not argue, whine, wheedle, or otherwise attempt to change that decision. Are we clear?”

“Yes sir.”

“Wonderful. You begin to show signs of a rudimentary intelligence. Perhaps you will not have to spend the next ten years as a kwama forager. Now. As to the immediate future. You are restricted to the house for the next two weeks. During that time, you will take meals with the family; work under supervision in the laboratory, kitchen, or studio; assist the house staff in any way they may request. You will do these things willingly and with at least the guise of cheerfulness.”

Then he stood up and came around the desk. Dropping to his knees before my chair, he embraced me tightly. “You are my son,” he whispered into my hair. “If you want my trust, you need to trust me in equal measure. Exploring is fine, as long as you tell someone first, as long as you are prepared, and as long as you do not go alone.”

He released me, and I saw moisture in his eyes that matched the tears running down my own cheeks. “Your mother also wishes to speak with you. I think she has something to give you.”

That made me nervous- because Mother had a temper to go with her red hair. At least, that’s what I heard Father say to Sethyas one time, when they did not know I was listening. But on the other hand, I thought it would work out, because the two weeks I was to be restricted just happened to be the length of time Athynae was going to be gone. And I knew my parents knew that.

* * * * *


Athynae had only been back in Ald’ruhn for a few hours when she came to find me.

“So, I bet things were pretty dull while I was gone.”

I touched the intervention amulet Mother had given me two weeks previously and smiled before I answered, “You never know.”
haute ecole rider
Oooh! Even at the tender age of - what? Nine? Eleven? - we see the resourcefulness that marks Athlain's presence. How wonderful it was to see him mentally kick himself for being so stupid and at the same time begin plotting his way out of his predicament! Aye, 'e's a canny lad, 'e is. (I've been watching All Things Great and Small and soaking up that Yorkie dialect!)

I especially loved how he recalled the arcane traits of the plants he had, and figured out how to brew potions with what he had with him.

QUOTE
“You work with what you have, not what you wish you had.” Still, I sort of wished Athynae was there. Even if she would have been sarcastic at me for going out with nothing but a pruning knife for a weapon
And this made me chuckle! Just the way thoughts of 'Thyna pops into his head at times like this is endearing.

And the parents' - umm - 'punishment' was quite appropriate. I see already that the opinions of his parents are matters of great weight to young Athlain, as we know they are to the adult Athlain.
McBadgere
Athlain is just seven shades of awesome, even at that age... biggrin.gif ...

One wonders how he puts up with Athynae's constant not noticing how awesome he actually is at stuff... laugh.gif ...

I loved the way he calmly does his job in that situation and gets it Done Properly™...

I absolutely loved (Geez, really showing off that vocabulary skill you have there...*Ed) Shut up!!...Um...that reaction from Trey...*Blinks away sudden moisture again*...Must be the sun...Yeah...(It's dark numb-nuts...*Ed)...What? huh.gif ...Oh...Yeah...A truly beautiful moment...I loved that...

Amazing stuff, me old matey...

Loved it massively...

Nice one!!...

*Applauds heartily*...
SubRosa
I keep getting this thread confused with Morrowind Mischiefs! I just went over there to read more of the Young Athlain Chronicles, and found myself scratching my head at what I found. wacko.gif

Uh oh, the hounds are after Athlain! I applaud his sudden attack of wisdom in deciding to withdraw.

Taking comfort in old habits. Good thing those die hard! wink.gif But that is another story. At least Atlhain brought his brain with him, and his putting it to good use with his potioneering. He even made a spear! An art lost upon the denizens of Cyrodiil and Skyrim, along with how to levitate.

Now the real trouble. Father. I always loved how you write that, the name looms like a great stone statue, drowning Athlain within its long shadow.

a temper to go with her red hair
That seems to be contagious! laugh.gif
treydog
@haute- Thankee, mistress. He spent a lot of time with two outstanding alchemists (Serene being the other)- and those lessons actually ‘took.’ And poor Trey was quite torn between wanting to express his pride in his son for being so clever- and the impulse to let Baria wall him up in his room… I seem to recall seeing that expression on someone’s face once or twice… just cannot recall when.

@McBadgere- The thing about Our Boy is that he tends to assume “anyone can do” the difficult things he does. And then he frets over the things he CAN’T manage…. Eh… Fathers and sons… what can I say? I was more fortunate than many- as is young Merle…

@SubRosa- Athlain does not know it, but he reflected his father’s experience- falling into being overly-analytical when faced with danger… You know, I had not considered sending him to the mainland to teach spear-crafting… hmmmm. All of your commentary has me laughing, which is a very good thing indeed. Thank you. And that is another truth- boys may seek their fathers’ respect… but they are most fearful of their mothers’ tempers.

And now, a different snapshot of the life of young Athlain. Better Mischief through Alchemy or Rah and Athlain’s Alchemical Adventure. Be excellent to one another!

-------------------------------------


“Mistress Athynae is not available to visitors at this time.” The houseman at the door to Sarethi Manor was new, and judging by his accent, fresh from Cyrodiil. He was so stiff, he appeared to have swallowed a poker, and his inclined head gave me a view of his nostrils I could have done without. As I sidestepped him to get into the main hall, I wondered how long he would last in this particular house. Aunt Serene would not mind his stiffness, and Uncle Athyn treated everyone with courtesy… but ‘Thyna? Not to mention Rahvin.

Meanwhile, Ser Officious was trying once more to assert his authority. “If the young master would be pleased to wait in the antechamber….”

I waved a hand dismissively. “That won’t be necessary; I can find the kitchen without assistance.”

He opened and closed his mouth several times, looking like a beached slaughterfish, only less attractive; his determination to carry out his “duty” at war with his inability to deal with someone who refused to play by the rules. I pondered the implication of the fact that none of the other staff had bothered to tell him that our families were in and out of each others houses so much it was hard to tell who lived where. And it was also a good bet that “Mistress Athynae’s” unavailability had something to do with His Pomposity. At any disruption of the “social fabric” of Ald’ruhn, everyone’s eyes automatically went to wherever ‘Thyna was standing. Just as, whenever anything exploded or caused clouds of noxious smoke, we looked for her brother, Rahvin. That gave me an idea. No- not blowing something up- finding Rah.

Rahvin was probably doing something fun in his lab, and he would know what trouble ‘Thyna had caused. One benefit of doing alchemy experiments with Rah was that he tended to be less… stuffy… than my father when it came to testing the results. He was careful with poisons, but more than willing to try non-toxic substances.

* * * * *

“She threw him to the floor when she found him dusting her weapons. Mother pointed out that he was wearing Redoran livery, but you know NayNay. She decided to be offended that anyone would think her weapons needed ‘dusting.’ It went downhill from there. Hand me that bottle of muck sponge.”

I did as he asked and noted, “She has a point. There isn’t a dust speck on Nirn that would dare to light on her gear. Now if it had been her school books….”

He grinned back at me, but then his expression became thoughtful. “That’s just it. She doesn’t trust him. And I think she’s right. Now, the wickwheat.”

Rah was one of those people who could carry on a conversation while his hands went about something else entirely.

“What do you mean? About not trusting him?”

“Now we need to add essence of comberry and let that heat just under a boil for ten minutes.”

Rah stared at the flame of the naptha burner while he considered. “Well… besides the fact that ‘Thyna is always right…. He really did not have any reason to be in her room; he was hired as a houseman, and Kausha is Athynae’s maid.”

He picked up a mortar and began grinding dry ingredients as he continued meditatively. “And then there’s the fact he’s here at all. Cervicatus Superbus. What is an Imperial servant, straight from The City itself, doing on Vvardenfell? Even a servant with impeccable references? In fact, especially one with the glowing recommendations that brought Ser Superbus to us? He should be working as a butler in one of the mansions in the Talos Plaza district.”

I tried to consider the problem carefully, a practice my father had suggested might prevent me from making “quite so many mistakes.” While I thought, Rah was reducing his second mysterious compound in the calcinator.

“Um. I will admit all that is suspicious, but it is hardly proof. He could have left The City for any number of reasons- a family squabble, a desire to see the provinces, a failed love affair….” I stopped there, laughing along with Rahvin. The idea of Pompous Maximus having a love affair with anyone except his own image in the mirror beggared belief. “Fair enough then- not that. But still, we have no proof.” I wanted to be fair, after all. Just because I thought the new servant resembled the northern end of a southbound scrib was not enough to convict him of… whatever we suspected.

“Exactly,” said Rah with a smile. “And that is just what we are going to get. Proof.” He waved a hand at the bubbling, fizzing, and smoking substances on the laboratory table. “With this.”

“Oh,” was all I could think to say.

He lifted a clear, odorless liquid off the burner and let it cool before he decanted it into a small flask, which he then corked. “The thing is, we need to prove beyond question that he is trying to gain access to places he shouldn’t. After ‘Thyna tossed him to the floor and pinned him, he has avoided her rooms. We can’t just follow him, not even using invisibility. First, because Mother has forbidden it,” he looked embarrassed. It appeared that Athynae was not the only Sarethi to have fallen afoul of the new servant. “And second, because he has an uncanny ability to detect anyone who tries. He’s probably using a detect life item or spell.”

Rah removed a fine powder from the calcinator and poured it into a paper packet, which he folded and sealed. “So, we will catch him with Science.” I could hear the capital letter as he pointed proudly to the flask and the packet. “By themselves, these substances are inert and undetectable.” He brought his hands together, intertwining the fingers. “Combined, they will allow us to catch a spy!”

I wanted to stand up and applaud; when Rah started talking about alchemy, he exuded a surprising charisma. It was a trait all the Sarethi children shared; it just manifested in each of them in different ways. Caught up by his enthusiasm, I asked, “What can I do?”

“Two things. Distract him while I sprinkle Mother’s confidential files with the crystals. Then you need to find a way to get this,” he held up the flask of clear liquid, “onto his gloves. You can’t let him see you do that part, in case he changes into a different pair. The liquid is the activator. It is essential to make the crystals work.”

My tasks proved to be simplicity itself. I stopped by the kitchen to see if anything was baking; Cook would have been sure something was wrong if I didn’t, and besides, plotting to catch a spy worked up an appetite. So, while I was happily working my way through a fresh berry tart, Cook and the laundress talked about the newest addition to the staff.

“As if I don’t have enough to do. And as if I haven’t been doing the washing for Sir Athyn and Sera Serene for all these years. But, oh no, Ser Nose-in-the-Air has the gall to give me instructions on his laundry. The gloves too.” Her voice changed to imitate one of the “posh” characters from the plays that came through Ald’ruhn every now and then.

“‘Hot water only, you understand. And kept separate from anything with dyes or tints.’

I’ve a mind to dump the basket of washing over his swelled head!”

And that was the opening I needed. “Why don’t you stay here and talk with Cook? I can carry the washing to the servants’ quarters for you.”

“Bless you, Athlain. The man just aggravates me so. I’m afraid of what I might do if I have to see him again.”

Meanwhile, Cook beamed at me and wrapped two more tarts in a towel. “Now one of those is for Rahvin- mind you give it to him.” She knew he would forget to eat when he was working on his experiments, and she trusted me to deliver the food to him. It was a test of my honor, though.

I stopped out of sight of the kitchen and treated all of the white gloves in the basket with the mysterious liquid, which soon dried and left no trace. Then I went to Ser Pompous’ room, where I delivered his laundry, along with an insincere apology for my actions earlier in the day. He accepted both with ill grace, but I managed to drag the apology out long enough that Rahvin could have gone to Balmora and back. I just hoped he didn’t get lost in his thoughts and forget his part of the plan.

When I got back to the lab, Rah gave me a nod and I did the same. Then I swept clear a place on the lab table and opened up the towel with the tarts. Rah’s disappeared as quickly as mine; but I am not sure he actually tasted it; he was deep into another experiment. I started to ask if it mattered that I had spilled some of the liquid on my hands, but then remembered he had said both parts were necessary for a reaction and quit worrying about it.

With school the next day, Mother had given me permission to stay overnight, rather than walk all the way back home, so I was curled on a pallet in Rah’s room when a tremendous knocking sounded on his door the next morning. It was followed by Aunt Serene’s voice, which held the unmistakable air of command, even though it was not loud.

Rahvin Sarethi and Athlain Treyson! I want both of you out here- this instant!

Usually the only person who got that tone was Athynae, so we practically tripped over each other getting up and out the door.

Along with Serene were two armed Redoran guards and the new houseman. Serene was clearly furious, her face pale except for two spots of red high on her cheeks. Her eyes should have set the woodwork on fire and I just hoped I wasn’t any more flammable. Meanwhile, the unfortunate Cervicatus was purple. I do not mean he was enraged, although he probably was. I mean his face, his hands, every visible inch of skin- was covered with vivid purple… fuzz.

Athynae stood across the hall, just inside the door of her room, watching everything but keeping quiet. Aunt Serene’s voice dragged my eyes back to her.

“As you know, I expect proof before I accuse someone.” She paused. “But in this case, the guilt is literally all over your faces.” She pointed a condemnatory finger at Rahvin and me. Wait. What? “Our faces?’ I looked at Rah and he looked at me. I reached a hand to touch my face… and felt … fuzz. I was sure it was the same purple that afflicted Cervicatus… and Rahvin.

“The tarts,” he whispered. “They were made with comberry, weren’t they?”

I nodded. Aunt Serene had folded her arms and was tapping her foot, giving us the raised eyebrow look I knew so well- except that usually Athynae was on the receiving end. She spoke once more. “I am glad to see that a lengthy interrogation will not be necessary. However, I do have one question- is anyone else likely to be affected?”

Rah had a peculiar expression on his face- well, even more peculiar than that caused by his visage being covered in purple fuzz. It was composed of equal parts satisfaction that his experiment had worked and chagrin that it had caught us as well as the supposed spy.

“Well?” How Aunt Serene managed to put so much into that one word, I don’t know, but it snapped my attention back from ‘Thyna, who had been making the signs for “run” and “hide,” only to finish with a shrug that clearly meant- “too late; you are on your own.”

Rah’s eyes turned up toward the ceiling and his voice took on his “scientist” tone as he said thoughtfully, “Only people who have been exposed to comberry juice, and…,” his eyes came back down to stare at the fuming Imperial houseman. “And who have also touched the powder I sprinkled over your confidential files, Mother.”

‘Thyna’s dagger appeared in her hand as if by magic, and she started to take a step forward. But Aunt Serene’s magic was even stronger, a magic that only mothers possess. The Arch Mistress quelled her eldest child with a gesture that Ser Pompous Purplus Maximus could not see. And, since Athynae was standing behind her, and Serene did not turn her head, and especially because Athynae actually stopped- it had to have been magic.

Aunt Serene turned to face the fuzzy purple house slipp man and shrugged elaborately. “Ser, I find myself in a difficult position. It is obvious that you are the victim of a plot, arranged by two foolish boys. However,” she nodded to the guards, who each took one of the man’s elbows. “It is it also obvious that you would not have been victimized if you had not been somewhere you shouldn’t. I hope that lesson will be taken to heart by certain others present. Take him away.”

The guards’ footfalls had barely receded when ‘Thyna bolted from her room to stand in front of Aunt Serene. “I want it recorded, signed, and witnessed that I had nothing to do with this!

Serene sighed and shook her head. “Please Athynae. Let me deal with one problem at a time.”

Rahvin spoke up, “But Mother, this means NayNay was right! He is a spy! My experiment proved it.” His expression was one of injured pride.

Serene rounded on him. “Of course he is a spy!” She threw her hands up in exasperation. “I knew that before he ever got here. I planned to use him to feed bad information back to the Hla…. Never you mind. Now I have to see what I can salvage.”

She started to follow the guards, but turned back to us. “You two- get ready for school.”

I stammered, gesturing at my empurpled visage, “But… but… ah, Aunt Serene… we… you… we can’t…”

Her smile was wintry. “Oh yes. Yes you can. And you will.” I will have Galviso escort you, so you do not lose your way.”

She started away again, only to be confronted by Athynae. “I still want that document, stating that this was not my fault!”

Serene looked at her and nodded. “Yes. A written statement will be just the thing. In fact, two written statements.”

So Thyna got her document, embossed with Serene's own seal. And Rah and I got to go to school, wearing placards that read- "This is what happens to boys who are too clever for their own good.'"
McBadgere
laugh.gif ...Caught by the fuzz, indeed... biggrin.gif ...

A most awesomely crafted tale...Proper brilliance...

I absolutely love the way Rahvin keeps working and talking at the same time...Reminds me of TV geek characters... biggrin.gif ...

Fantastic stuff!!!...

QUOTE
Fathers and sons… what can I say? I was more fortunate than many- as is young Merle…


Well, I thank you for that...*Bows*...But your Dad was Awesome in the extreme, from what I can tell...Me, I do what I can, but I am, and will always be, in all things...Merely Alright... biggrin.gif ...One thing McBoy and McDaughter will not be complaining about (one of the few things...*Fac-e-palm*) is lack of is being loved (and told about it too) and told how proud of and how awesome I think they both are...

In that, I will make sure I am Awesome in the extreme... biggrin.gif ...

But the story...THE STORY!!...

Loved it!!...

More!!!...C'mon!!!...Get on with it man!!!...No, that doesn't apply to me at all...Nope... biggrin.gif ...

Nice one!!!...

*Applauds most heartily*...
haute ecole rider
What a delightful little episode! I enjoyed it because it was complete in its own right. No need to continue this further - it is absolutely divine like this.

I really enjoyed your development of Rah's character. We get to see a little more of him from Athlain's POV, and it is priceless! I knew geeks (and was in awe of them) like him in high school! Oh, and the little CSI touch - especially loved, loved, loved that! The scientist in me was hunting for the twirl icon! Unfortunately, that is one little touch that is missing here, so I'll have to settle for the panic.gif.

QUOTE
Cervicatus Superbus
When I first read this, I did a double-take. I do understand a bit of rudimentary Latin (comes from my medical training), and I knew right off how appropriate this name is for this character! Super stiff-necked indeed! It has me rolling! Oh, and this earlier:
QUOTE
. . . his inclined head gave me a view of his nostrils I could have done without.
Being a short person myself, I get this view all too often! blink.gif

The purple peach fuzz is priceless, especially on the two boys! But loved how Serene handled this - she let them know that she is not to be underestimated. Of course she knew Mr. Stiff Neck was a spy all along! Never underestimate your mother's intelligence, both in the real world and in the TES sense! nono.gif

All in all, a precious story and a wonderful gift for Mother's Day!
Grits
What a delightful story. I’m so glad it appeared out of nowhere. May many more follow!

Athlain’s child-thinking hits just the right note. I believe he is capable, resourceful, and ambitious at the same time I flinch at his youthful oversights.

Athynae looms large in his mind even while she’s absent. I love the complicated way he already sees her.

The parts with Athlain and Trey, or even the parts where Athlain thinks of Trey are pure magic to read. Their relationship shines through everything you write about them. Watching Trey be the Father through his son’s eyes is fascinating. As a parent I know what Athlain does not know in the story, but it’s there in his observations. Beautiful.


Rah and Athlain’s Alchemical Adventure, lol. Great start!

How funny that Athlain assumed that Athynae was grounded. And he was right! laugh.gif

QUOTE
Rah was one of those people who could carry on a conversation while his hands went about something else entirely.

He also carried on two conversations at once. Love it!

QUOTE
I tried to consider the problem carefully, a practice my father had suggested might prevent me from making “quite so many mistakes.”

Snort. The headaches that must have preceded that advice!

QUOTE
I wanted to stand up and applaud; when Rah started talking about alchemy, he exuded a surprising charisma. It was a trait all the Sarethi children shared; it just manifested in each of them in different ways.

This is wonderful, the story had me thinking that very thing! Rah is likeable and impressive, especially through the eyes of someone who is not his sibling.

QUOTE
She knew he would forget to eat when he was working on his experiments, and she trusted me to deliver the food to him. It was a test of my honor, though.

That was a great young mage detail, and also a reminder that these kids are expected to be the future greats of House Redoran.

QUOTE
“Well?” How Aunt Serene managed to put so much into that one word, I don’t know, but it snapped my attention back from ‘Thyna, who had been making the signs for “run” and “hide,” only to finish with a shrug that clearly meant- “too late; you are on your own.”

laugh.gif She was watching his back even then! (Yikes, I seem to have gone on a quote-spree. embarrased.gif )

Oh, I love the ending! Serene is awesome, of course she already knew! What a fabulous story! biggrin.gif
minque
Definitely made my day! reading these two latest installments made me smile more that I've done for days now..and I usually smiles a lot!

I won't even try to quote, because then I'd quote the entire story....just amazing stuff, I second everyone who posted about this..its really a lovable enjoying story...treydoggie you actually make the kids very sympathetic, human and soooo easy to love!

I can see Rahvin, the lil' scientist, handling his bottles, fluids and other stuff, gah he's a chemist...like myself! Love the interaction between him and Athlain..oh my...

Still smiling.....
treydog
@McBadgere- Rahvin came to life as I wrote him. More you want- more you shall have.

@haute- I admit to having lived around- and wished I could be- scientists. And also to watching CSI programs- both fictional and real. And I am so pleased you caught my little dog-Latin joke. I spent more time trying to come up with a name for the guy than almost the whole rest of the story… And writing Serene was a great pleasure- especially showing how on top of things she always is.

@Grits- The quote-fest makes me very happy. When that many moments out of a short bit catch your discerning eye, I know I have done well. Well- yes, in fact he did carry on two conversations. I have known a very few people who could operate simultaneously on two tracks--- it is almost scary to watch. I hope over time we will see more of the Sarethi siblings. And I really need to think of some mischief for Athlain’s sisters- AKA the Red Terrors. Naturally Athynae was watching things- if only to make sure she did not get blamed.

@minque- The thing is, all those discussions we have had over the years don’t go away- they just swirl around amongst the cobwebs and pebbles in my brain. And I am beyond thrilled that you are happy with my portrayal of Serene and her children.

-----------------------------------

“So look.” Athynae’s face took on the expression that meant she was about to attempt a feat of “logic” that would leave a philosopher cross-eyed- if not sobbing quietly in a corner. She swatted the back of my head. “Pay attention. I heard Aunt Baria telling Mother about a particular kind of stoneflower that only grows in the Grazelands. She wants some for her garden, and you and I are going to get it for her.”

That was a carefully phrased sentence, as the word “permission” did not appear anywhere in it. I opened my mouth to point out that the restrictions from my previous “adventure” were still in effect, but ‘Thyna kept talking, anticipating my concern.

“You told a ‘responsible adult’ that you were coming here to see me, which you did. Now the two of us are going to the Grazelands. You aren’t going by yourself, so there’s no need to tell everybody. And besides, we’re getting something for your mother.”

She folded her arms and stuck out her chin, daring anyone to argue. As logic, it had more holes than a slaughterfish net- probably one some idiot had used to try to catch Old Bluefin. But I didn’t much care. I had spent so much time on the road between Bal Isra and Ald’ruhn that I was about to start giving names to the individual rocks. If I stayed cooped up much longer, something bad was going to happen. And then something worse would happen … probably to me. So I just nodded.

“Good. Anyway, I want to pick some fresh saltrice for Lumhara.”

She got a silly look on her face when she mentioned the name of her new guar. Although my father’s attempt to introduce guar as riding animals had been a failure, at least where I was concerned, others had taken the idea to heart. It seemed as if overnight everyone was discussing the merits of this or that bloodline, the proper design for saddles and reins, and who knew what else. And the girls, my own sisters included, were worse than the boys. They got the same glassy-eyed look when they talked about having “a guar of our own.” Every one of them was suddenly “guar-mad.” It made no sense. Horses, I could have understood, even if I had only ever seen them in books. They were noble creatures, with elegant limbs and an aesthetically pleasing conformation. Guar, on the other hand, were… lumpy, dumpy, and grumpy. A charitable soul might have called them “cute,” but that was not a word I used.

However, I now understood Athynae’s desire to go to the Grazelands. Ever since the Ahemussa had presented the beast to her, Athynae had doted upon it. Sorry- upon “her.” It was more than your life was worth to refer to Lumhara as “it.” Regardless, her obsession with what was going to be “the finest racing guar in the history of Vvardenfell” caused the usually even-tempered Uncle Athyn to have to lay down some rules. The first was- “No guar in the house.” That after it became obvious to everyone, except Lumhara’s starry-eyed champion, that the corridors of a house were not made for even a half-grown guar. Immediately thereafter came the corollary- “No sleeping in the stable when you have a perfectly good room.” The near-mutiny which followed gave rise to the amendment- “Except on non-school nights- and you still have to take meals with the family.”

With her real reason established, Athynae moved on to the logistics. She began going through the various chests and cabinets in her room. “I will be taking my bow, of course. And my dagger. And some darts and throwing stars. And a sword.”

As she suited action to words, I objected, “Are we planning a raid on Tel Vos?”

She continued to place pointy objects in various sleeves and pockets. “There might be bandits, or smugglers, or Ashlanders who don't like Mother, or dangerous creatures...."

For most people, those would have been good reasons to stay home- Athynae actually sounded hopeful. She also attempted, with limited success, her mother’s raised eyebrow look. "Some people are stupid enough to go out into the wilderness without being properly armed. They don't even take potions, for Azura's sake! We, on the other hand, will take mixtures for healing, restore fatigue, and….”

She continued listing “essentials,” but my mind wandered as she piled up boxes and vials and bags into an ever-growing mound on her worktable.

“Ah… Thyna? I think people might realize we aren’t ‘just going outside’ if they see all of that.”

Her leathers and weapons would not cause any comment- I imagined she would have preferred to appear at the dinner table so accoutered. She looked at me scornfully. “Of course they would. That's why we are going to use the old vent tunnels to get it outside the walls. Then we'll pick it up.” She paused, “Or rather, you will pick it up. I’ll need to keep my hands free for my weapons. But you’re just going to have a staff, so you can carry the extra gear. It will be good training.”

Even Athynae had the grace to look as if she wasn’t so sure about that last.

“Training for what?” I yelped. “To become a galley slave?”

“Shhh! Do you want Kausha to hear you?”

Whatever doubts I harbored wilted at the prospect of spending another week- or day- confined to Ald’ruhn. So I picked up the bulging pack, stifling a grunt of exertion as I did so. We slipped down the halls, using the routes we had mapped out long ago to avoid family members and household staff. Thyna worked the latches on the old vent cover and I shoved the pack through to the end. When I returned, she replaced the cover and sprinkled some dust on the retaining clips.

“Now we need to put in an appearance. If we stay out of sight and hearing for too long, Mother will come looking- or send Kausha. Besides, we need to get a little something from Cook.”

The “little something” turned out to include bread, fruit, dried meat, and a few other odds and ends. Cook was used to our appetites, and did not even turn a hair at the quantity and variety. Still, my nerves caused me to open my mouth, with some idea of providing an explanation. Before I could do so, Thyna shot an elbow into my ribs and stepped down hard on my foot. When I stumbled, she chided me for being “clumsy,” and cadged an extra sweetroll from Cook, joking that, “perhaps poor Athlain is weak from hunger.”

One of the first things Aunt Serene had done after the end of the Blight was to negotiate a new silt strider route to Tel Vos, a task made easier by her friendship with the Telvanni wizard, Councilor Aryon. What that meant for us was that we would not be struggling through the foothills and foyada north of Red Mountain. I think Athynae was a bit disappointed that we would be traveling in comfort; she mumbled something about Navam Veran, the driver, being an inveterate gossip.

“Well,” I said, “if you give him a couple of Cook’s sweetrolls, that will be enough to buy his silence.”

She did so, but I could tell she would have preferred to threaten him with bodily harm, which would have simply ensured he had a great deal more to report to Aunt Serene. The rolls, on the other hand, would keep him quiet for at least a day or two.

One good thing about using Tel Vos was that no one there would notice our presence; the Telvanni were so wrapped up in their research and feuds, they might not notice if Masser or Secunda crashed into Nirn. Unless, that is, one of them had caused the collision as part of an “experiment.” I eyed the sky warily and made a note to ask Rahvin what he had heard about the wizards’ current projects. Meanwhile, Athynae had done that peculiar sort of shake and shuffle that meant she was settling all her weapons and gear. And I lifted the pack of “essential supplies,” which had not gotten any lighter during the strider trip. If I could have gotten away with it, I would have dumped half the items overboard, but ‘Thyna probably had every one of them cataloged. It would not be beyond her to insist on an inventory before we set off.

We spared only a glance at Tel Vos, the twining branches of the mushroom tower embracing the stone blocks of the ancient Imperial fortress. It was an odd sight, but one that my father said suited Master Aryon. I wasn’t sure what he meant by that, but then, most things about the Telvanni did not make sense to me. The Grazelands spread out before us, running west and south in rolling hills and grassy plains. How we were supposed to find the “special stoneflower” for Mother was beyond me. We could wander around out here for weeks with no success. Of course, the stoneflower wasn’t really why we were there, as Athynae proved by going to the shore to harvest saltrice. She managed to gather only a pound or two before she grew tired of the work and led the way inland.

As she handed the sack of guar food to me, I refrained from pointing out that Lumhara would inhale that much with one swipe of her purple tongue. My thoughts must have been apparent, though, as Thyna paused to explain. “The point is that it is fresh. It will supplement her other food and add flavor. Besides, wild saltrice is better.”
Having asserted her superior knowledge of guar digestion and of matters agricultural, she decided to climb to the top of a hill for a look around. I shifted the straps on the pack and puffed along after her. Despite my labored breathing, I had to agree that making a survey was a good idea. Predators still roamed the area, even if most of the daedra summonings had been banished. We had only been there a few moments when Athynae’s sharp eyes picked up movement in a dry rill lined with low trees. I shaded my eyes, but could only discern that something was down there, moving in a peculiar fashion. Whatever it was, it blended into the tan-colored rocks and soil, meaning even Athynae could not distinguish very much. She checked her weapons and laid an arrow on the bowstring, then signaled me to follow as she moved down to investigate. I had anticipated that, knowing it would have been easier to stem the tides than to stop her, so I stifled a sight and lumbered after her.

As we got closer to the line of trees, the ground showed clear signs of a fierce struggle- there were marks of clawed feet and large splashes of blood. We paused before entering the tree line and could hear the sound of irregular, raspy breathing. Athynae held up a hand to indicate that I should stay where I was, then began moving from tree to tree, until she could peer over the edge of the rill. Whatever she saw froze her in place for a moment, and then she turned back to face me, forgetting all about signs and stealth. “She needs help,” she shouted, her face as pale as I had ever seen it. Then she disappeared over the bank, scrabbling through the low brush. I followed as quickly as I dared, dreading what lay in that rill.

When I could see, my heart nearly stopped. A guar and a kagouti were tangled in a lethal embrace. Or rather, the kagouti was already dead and the guar was dying. Her hind feet had torn into the predator’s abdomen and chest- in fact, the claws of one foot were still caught in his ribs. But his tusks had also done their deadly work; the guar had been gored in at least four places, and the flow of blood was slowing only because she had almost none left. Thyna was on her knees beside the guar, cradling her head and crying. And that scared me more than anything. Athynae never cried, at least not where anyone could see. She turned her haunted eyes to me and said, “Get out the healing potions and bandages and… and… anything else that will help. Don’t just stand there. Move!

“Athynae. If you want to help her, the best thing to do would be to ease her pain. She is beyond any other help we can give.”

No! No she isn’t! I can fix this! And if I can’t, then Mother can! Why won’t you help me?”

I let down the pack and moved to kneel opposite Athynae, placing my hands gently on the guar’s neck. “Athynae. Please give me your dagger.”

“Why? What are you going to do?”

“What I can do. What I must do.”

“Why are you giving up? Why won’t you help me fight?”

“Because I understand when a battle is lost, and the best thing to do is end it with honor and kindness.”

“I don’t believe any battle is ever lost, not unless you give up.”

I did not argue, just gestured with my eyes to indicate how much the creature was suffering. Athynae pulled her dagger from her boot and glared at me as she handed it over. But she never looked away, and her hand joined mine as I found the great vein and opened it with a quick slice. I cleaned the blade on my trousers and handed it back. Soon, the ragged breathing ceased and there was silence, except for the wind and the buzzing of insects. And… something else.

Athynae was on her feet, berating me in a low voice, when I told her, “Be quiet for just a minute. There’s something wrong here.”

“What? Besides the fact that you were too weak to help this wonderful animal?”

“Athynae- think. Why would a kagouti attack a full-grown guar? And why wouldn’t the guar run away? They are faster than kagouti. Listen.

And then the sound came again, from somewhere behind- or beneath- the twisted bodies. A honking, muttering sort of protest.

“Help me,” I told Athynae and bent to roll the body of the guar away from the earthen bank. Between us, we were able to shift the weight, revealing a shallow cut in the soft soil. Inside, something… moved. Before I could react, a rounded head, about the size of my torso, emerged from the hole and butted me in the chest. It was a guar hatchling, not more than a few weeks old.

He butted me again, sniffed the blood on my trousers and honked once more. Without a thought, I grabbed Thyna’s pack of saltrice and held some out. The guarling took it and began munching happily, placing a forelimb on my arm as he did. I suppose I must have had a silly expression on my face- at least Athynae tells me I did- but all I remember was whispering, “Cos Mear. His name is Cos Mear.”
haute ecole rider
Awww!

QUOTE
And the girls, my own sisters included, were worse than the boys. They got the same glassy-eyed look when they talked about having “a guar of our own.” Every one of them was suddenly “guar-mad.” It made no sense.
And in this world, boys don't get the same about horses! But apparently Athlain is one of the few who does, as you so clearly indicate in the next sentence.

QUOTE
"Some people are stupid enough to go out into the wilderness without being properly armed. They don't even take potions, for Azura's sake! We, on the other hand, will take mixtures for healing, restore fatigue, and….”
Was this a dig at Athlain for his own adventure not a few weeks ago? huh.gif I thought he acquitted himself rather well in spite of his lack of foresight! tongue.gif

The scene with the dying guar captures the vital decision anyone who works with animals must make at some time or another. In wildlife rehab, we ask the question: would this animal be able to return to the wild and survive? If no, then we euthanized them. If yes, then we did everything we could to rehab them. Likewise the same with pets, farm animals, etc. It's a tough call sometimes, but one that is all so familiar to me. That's why this whole thing resonates so powerfully for me.

Then we have this:
QUOTE
Before I could react, a rounded head, about the size of my torso, emerged from the hole and butted me in the chest. It was a guar hatchling, not more than a few weeks old.

He butted me again, sniffed the blood on my trousers and honked once more. Without a thought, I grabbed Thyna’s pack of saltrice and held some out. The guarling took it and began munching happily, placing a forelimb on my arm as he did. I suppose I must have had a silly expression on my face- at least Athynae tells me I did- but all I remember was whispering, “Cos Mear. His name is Cos Mear.”
Athain has the guar-fever now! laugh.gif In any case, I was reminded quite strongly of the hatching scenes (called Impressions) in Anne McCaffrey's Dragons of Pern series. So I look forward to more of Lumhara and Cos Mear! Wonder if those two will reflect their owners' personalities - if so, it would be fun and interesting to see how these guar interact with each other! blink.gif
McBadgere
QUOTE
She got a silly look on her face when she mentioned the name of her new guar....

...And the girls, my own sisters included, were worse than the boys. They got the same glassy-eyed look when they talked about having “a guar of our own.”


rolleyes.gif ...Girls and their animals... tongue.gif ... biggrin.gif ...

Loved this story...So wonderfully done...It goes from funny at the start to heartwrenching at the end...I absolutely loved the way you did that...Proper amazing stuff...

One thing that everyone says about Morrowind is that the scenery is pretty insane...I really must look up some gameplay videos, 'cause the grazelands - and the area you had Athlain at in the other story - sound awesome!...Love the descriptions of those places...

Another amazing story, loved it!...

Nice one!!...

*Applauds most heartily*...
minque
Awww what a heartwarming story....Athlain my boy you never stop impressing me! As I said in my previous comment...quoting here would be.....well all of it!

Lovely bed time story! I love what you're doing with the Sarethi-kiddos!
Grits
Oh, I had a good laugh over Uncle Athyn’s rules for his guar-mad daughter. Just because the pony guar can get onto the porch doesn’t mean she should be on the porch! laugh.gif

Athynae’s plan for their exit right down to the detail that Athlain carrying all of the stuff would be good for his conditioning was a beautiful piece of early-Athynae thinking. I smiled and smiled.

Still, my nerves caused me to open my mouth, with some idea of providing an explanation.

Oh no! Excellent recovery by Athynae. These two are a delight.

I loved the description of the grazelands. It was just enough for me to fill in the picture around our explorers but keep my focus on them.

Their disagreement over the dying guar rang so true to the young adults they have become in another story. I especially enjoyed the way Athyane handled herself. Her conflict came through without having her say a word.

Aww, Cos Mear! happy.gif What a heartwarming ending.
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