|Araleene the Dragon Knight and her Family
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|Author:||Mal [ Fri Feb 15, 2019 8:05 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Araleene the Dragon Knight and her Family|
Araleene, The Dragon Knight
Main Character: Araleene
Supporting Characters: Quaree the Blind, Mara the Silent and Seliden
Araleene was born into odd circumstances for a drow. She was found in cave, alone, as an infant by a human. The human Seliden took in the abandoned baby and gave her the name Araleene. Seliden was a scholar and researcher by trade. He was a kind and gentle father to Araleene but she often found him completely engrossed and captivated in his work. He would often jest that he was married to his tomes when asked why he did not take a wife. He always followed his joke by saying, “A man does not require a wife to have a family.” In her formative years, Araleene found the only true way to spend meaningful time with her father and get his approval was to take part in his research. Thus, she learned to read, write and draw in the field at Seliden’s side. Being the adopted daughter of nature scholar not only gave her a strong affinity for animals but also afforded her the experience of traveling the world. With each journey ventured Araleene became more the scholar. However, one event would dramatically alter the course of her life. On an excursion to a mountain range west of Trinsic, Araleene would fall victim to her own curiosity. That day she learned the sad truth that the fate of scholars unprepared is one of remorse and possible death. Her actions that day left her adopted father torn and vitally injured. Seliden recovered but with a limp and at the loss of one of his arms. Seliden told Araleene that the catastrophe was his fault. He explained that he should have never taken a child to a dragon’s den, no matter how much that child was interested in her father’s work. It was on that day she finalized her thinking. She vowed she would never allow a tragedy like what happened that day to happen again. It was on that day she decided to retire her quill for a spear and her robes for a suit of mail.
Time continued on as did Seliden and Araleene’s life together. She spent most of her teenage years taking in the different arts of combat. She, of course, made time to study with her father occasionally because it was the only way she knew how to spend time with him. However, the event that left her adopted father crippled continued to weigh heavily on her mind. It drove her determination to one day be a slayer of dragons, the same type of beast that injured Seliden. With each passing year her ability grew but so did her disdain for draconic beings. Her adopted father took note and in his own way attempted to curb the contempt taking root in her. His gentle guidance fell on ears deafened by the arrogant pride of youth. She slew lizardmen with cruelty. Her slaughter of wyverns was vindictive. Her hunting of drakes and the destruction of their nests was without pause or pity. Seliden did not need to worry who would keep him safe during his field research. Araleene became a warrior in her own right and through her progress his safety was ensured. Yet, his old fear was replaced by a new one. Araleene would protect him but who would guard her from herself?
The answer to his question came from a very unlikely source. On a research excursion Seliden found himself in the sudden company of a clan orcs. The orcs, after beating and robbing him, decided to take him back to their fort. He was meant to offer the orcish band a night of entertainment but instead his presence brought them ruin. Araleene panicked and overcome by the idea that she may have lost her adopted father furiously tracked the trail of footprints leaving from his research outpost. Evening had fallen by the time she found her way to the fort and the dread filled day had widened the scope of her scornfulness. She beset upon the fort with fury and an unyielding rage. She would never allow that horrible event from her youth happen again. The orcs were ill prepared for the storm that swept over their fort that night. Her eyes were hard as stone and her heart beat frost into her veins. There was no mercy to be had that night, or so one would have thought upon watching her cut her way through the orcish settlement. Painted in the blood of her fallen enemies, Araleene was a visage of terror. She pressed forward paying no heed to who or what she was killing. The only thought that drove her forward was “never again.” Then, as if she was suddenly woken by being thrown into lake in winter, she was back. Her blade rested shakingly in her hand, poised to strike. She heard it again, the thing that brought her back. It saw Seliden. It was his voice, high and urgent. She blinked, only then feeling the heat of the raging fires that surrounded her. The fires she had set. Her gaze refocused and she then saw why Seliden was yelling. Before her, in a huddled mass, rested two orc children. Neither could have been over two years of age. Was she about to slaughter children? Had she already murdered more like them? In a quick wash of sensation her muscles ached from the massacre that had ensued. The smell of blood sharpened with each breath she drew. The glow of fire became something real before eyes. She dropped her stained blade and mudderded the only words that could escape her mind, “What have I done…” By morning’s light the fires had died and an eerie silence had settled over the remains of the fort. She had spent the last hours of the night, with Seliden’s help, collecting herself. She could not change what she had done. She knew this. However, she could do something. She looked upon the faces of the orcish sisters. She would be their salvation from the horrors she brought upon them. In an odd way, they were actually her salvation from horrors she brought upon herself. Following in the footsteps of her adopted father, she decided she would, for the sake of the sleeping sisters, take in the orcish twins as Seliden had done for her. She promised she would provide them with a good life and that she did.
What followed were pleasant years for the odd family. It was an odd sight for most people but they got by just fine. Araleene had initially been very worried as one of orcish sister was blind and the other mute, both circumstances possibly because of her. Yet, the girls proved their adopted mother’s worries to be unfounded. At first, Araleene had the girls work for local mining groups. She assumed the girls needed to be readied for a life of hard physical labor. It was Mara the Silent who first showed signs that perhaps the life of simple miner was not for the sisters. A collapse in a mine lead to the lead miner becoming injured. It was Mara who saved the man by forming a salve of ginseng. Upon hearing the news, Araleene decided to hire the girl a mentor for their travels. She could only guess that the girl was daughter to a shaman or perhaps a bomber of the orcish clan. Araleene fostered Mara’s interest in other trades as well and in time Mara became a highly skilled worker. Mara’s sister, Queree the Blind, took a different path. Unlike her sister, Queree could speak and to Araleene’s surprise did so often. The younger of the two girls, Queree didn’t seem take on any skills from her prior family. However, in her youth she grew close to Seliden and from him she learned to love learning. Her cognitive abilities were a rarity for her kind. On Seliden’s suggestion Araleene allowed the girl to be mentored in craft skills. “If she can not learn with her eyes then let her learn with hands,” Seliden had said. Queree excelled in any field she was allowed to study. Her greatest love came when she took to blacksmithing study. She told Araleene that she could “hear” the metal, that it spoke to her. Each place Araleene and her family moved allowed for the girls to take on new mentors and learn new skills. And with each place Araleene’s rage and vitrial softened.
However, the calm between storms is easily forgotten once storm winds come upon a person. Over the years sleep became elusive for her. She lost her ability to focus and with that she lost she ability to keep her edge in combat. With each passing year she spiraled deeper. Something at the core of her was ill. She questioned herself constantly. Had she not done enough to atone for the sins of her past? Had she not reached, and reflected, and changed enough? Araleene found herself slowly being driven toward the brink of madness. It was late one evening when she found herself saddling up her horse. She questioned herself at every turn yet still she acted. She was about to ride into the night when a stern voice called to her, “You’re leaving us,” Quaree stated flatly but Araleene could feel the tinge of disdain that was always present in the girl’s voice when she addressed her. “I am.” Araleene could Quare but somehow she could feel that the response expected but not well received. “Fifteen years I have listened and did as you bid me,” Araleene reminded herself that the girl was at an age of defiance, as she had been at one time in her life. “I have never kept you against your will, you have always been free to do as you will,” The orc girl snorted at Araleene’s words. “Allow me finish before you berate me with your parental grandstanding.” They sat in a long moment of silence. “You have been...sick. I am unsure of where you will go or what you must do but know that I will care for Seliden in your stead. Do what you must and return us. He needs you...as do Mara and I.” And with that Quaree left without another word.
Araleene rode hard and far that night. She carried on for days with no plan or rationale. She only knew she had to ride...to move. She continued in this until one day her horse reared. She could feel the animals sudden fear and its uneasiness seemed to bleed out into the air. It was then she realized where she was...where her aimless wandering had lead her. She was at a cave mouth...to the west of Trinsic. She slowly lowered herself from the saddle. Her thoughts were finally taking shape. It was all starting to make sense. Everything had changed on that day. It was if that event was a wound that had festered her entire life. She had tried to treat it but never seemed to find the proper cure. And there she stood before the gaping maw of the mountain that housed the defining moment of her existence. She did not notice as her horse ran off nor how her spear had found its way into her hand. Almost as if summoned by her racing thoughts, two glimmering yellow slits opened within the darkness of the cave mouth. The great beast stalked from the cave with grace of a panther and the confidence of a lion. She watched as the dragon came forth and towered over her. Her grip tightened. Her breath quickened. She was ready to face herself.
Fiery breath raced in waves across the open field as the battle began. She dipped in an evasive twirl to safety and pressed forward. Her spear twisted with her a flick of her wrist and fell into a striking position as she neared her target. The beast sent claws crashing down into the earth but they had missed their target. Araleene had shifted, evading the blow and leaving her in a perfect position to strike. Spear met scales sending sparks to light the night. Her blow was deflected but she had felt scales giving way under the pressure of the strike. She pirouetted away as the beast spit another burst of burning fire at her. Giving the creature no quarter she pressed forward again. This time the dragon sent its tail with the intent to crush the warrior. And again the attack met nothing but solid ground. Araleene’s counterattack shot forth like lighting and shattered the beast’s plated scales. The spear sank deep into the dragon’s heart, sending it rearing in agony. Slain, the mighty creature fell before Araleene. She stood in the silence of her victory. The thoughts in her mind shifted and jumped. Yet, as she stood before the slain dragon, her thought finally became clear. Dragons...she finally understood it in that moment. It was dragons the whole time. It was her study of dragons that brought her close to father. It was also dragons that had scarred her all those years ago on the day she almost lost him. It was the thought of dragons that drove her to train and become a storied soldier. Yet, it was dragons that grew her rage and malice. Without her training brought by the thought of dragons she would have never been able to save her father and find the girls. However, it was the the very rage built by her experience with dragons that allowed her to fall into the frenzy that destroyed the girls’ home and family. It all came down to dragons. She was made, forged, and defined by the great beasts. The good and the bad all came from that experience. She slowly freed her spear from the chest of the mighty beast. She let a deep breath out through her nose. Before she reflect further she heard a high cry from inside the cave. The cry sounded again and again. Araleene made her way to the source of the cries to find a dragon hatchling fighting to free itself from its egg. Her expression softened at the sight. “You too, little one.” She mused kneeling upon the cave floor. “And just as your mother aided me...I shall aid you,”
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