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Old 03-11-2007, 03:13 AM   #1
Spiritwood Ranger
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Surrey, BC, Canada
Posts: 268
Default War Heroes

Ruden Solic leaned against the bar and looked over the three younger men, bandaged, bruised and with their heads low in defeat around the tavern table.

The youngest, a half-elf under twenty summers, sat with his foot wrapped and raised on another chair at the table. He had Ruden's green eyes and similar human features, but his mixed heritage included long black straight hair and angled features of the elves. His uniform of the Aegis Academy was torn and bloodied and the buckles undone for his comfort. He glowered out the window at the unseen enemy of his thoughts. Occasionally he sipped from a goblet of elven wine.

Another older, taller, exotic human, leaned slightly favoring his right side with a bandage wrapped tightly around his middle. His skin and eyes were dark, but he carried the long red hair of the elder Ruden. His once fine, bright courtier's clothes were in no better shape then the adolescent's uniform, with the more hardened breast plate and leathers showing beneath the tattered remains. He strummed a lute absently playing out a somber melody. A bottle of spiced rum lay forgotten on the table before him.

The last, near the same age as the second, bore no resemblance at all to the others. His hair a dark black and his eyes a striking blue, he was unremarkable expect for the red glow that issued from his one hand. His other arm was in a sling resting snugly against his robes, marred with a darker stain down one side. The glowing hand directed the pages to turn in a similarly glowing book before him. He read silently as his forehead furrowed in frustration. A few empty shot glasses sat on the table beside the book.

The three were too lost in their own thoughts to even notice the old ranger watching over them. He had checked over their injuries, made sure they were comfortable and then let them rest a little, ensuring the heat of battle ebbed from their bodies. The youth, Maeglin, steamed for a long time before the wine took it's effect and his hatred turned to resignation for the moment. Only then did Ruden speak.

"Seems tha battle dinnae go so good fer us this day," he started and raised his hand to halt any comments on his understatement.

"Been thar lads. Many times and I donnae hold, nor anyone else hold it against ye. Though ye all think ye's heroes and all, I know better at least."

A serious look and a stamping of his staff silenced the coming complaints of the group.

He directed his attention to the tall warrior-bard. "Faris, me lad. Ye served the fae Queen as one of her best guards, though in times of peace. Yer enemies were few. Mere skirmishes! This is war. Yer fancy sword and witty words will make ye a bigger target in the throng of battlers." The words visibly bit deep into Faris, but he nodded in agreement with the wisdom.

"Colin." The mage looked up from his book and but attempted to shirk the attention in the collar of his robe.

"I have no doubt in yer knowledge in the magical arts or... well.. knowledge in anything fer that matter. But yer a librarian first lad. All tha books in the world won't give ye experience and tha confidence ye need in the field."

"Yer are right, Mister Solic," conceded Colin as he placed his good hand over his face, feeling a headache coming on.

Maeglin clenched his teeth together and shut his eyes for the coming scolding that seemed common to him lately.

"Me grandson, Maeglin. I've been blessed with yer presence fer but a short time, but already I seen the Solic fire with in ya. That fire will threatened ta consume ye and lead ta yer soul being a fine trophy fer the Ancient Ones. Bloody impulsive youth!," the elder ended in a growl, causing the half-elf's shoulders to slump in shame.

"Yet that fire guided with patience will make ye a great crusader against tha darkness someday. But none of ye will do it alone. Not now, when our enemies are so strong. Alyssia has worked too hard ta garner our allies together fer tha' opportunity ta be wasted. Tomorrow at the council will be the shining moment. Yet if you, them, all of us, do not learn ta support each other, it'll be all fer naught. Let our enemies gain some ground now. Fer when the more of us are tagether we can sweep them back, shoulder ta shoulder. Rely on their experience and learn my sons. No one being can be a hero. It takes a PEOPLE ta be HEROES."

The three men at the table looked at each other. Their once fallen faces, raised to see a new understanding in the old ranger's words.

"Take yer respective defeats as a lesson. Ye know more of yer limits this eve then ye did last morn. What ye lack, yer kith and kin will make up fer. Have no fear o' that!"

Faris smiled at his nephew, his friend, and held out his hand while quoting, "The Ranger of the Heart is not a hunter, nor a warrior, nor a mage. Nor is he a hero, or villain."

Colin placed his freed hand upon the other's and continued, "The Ranger of the Heart, is who swears to follow the code of the ranger. To abide by the customs of the Mother, to protect and tend her lands, and to bear arms against those who would defile her."

Maeglin reached out with his own hand and said what was said to him since his childhood, "The Ranger of the Heart seeks no glory, no fame, only truth, and justice, within one's self. To follow the Heart, is to follow the code of the Ranger."

Ruden came to the table, smiling with pride and took all their hands into his and completed the oath, "Such is the way of the Rangers of the Heart."

Last edited by Ruden; 03-11-2007 at 03:27 AM.
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