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Erran

Preparations

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[Before we begin, a few words about what to expect in here: This one is feelings and thoughts of a personal nature, more - such preparations, or rather preliminary steps, that may be said to take place within one´s personality. The matters of obtaining knowledge, developing skills, or purchasing travel items, are barely mentioned, or just alluded to. The quests are not brought up. As background, half of a usual day, from the period closest to Errandûrr´s departure, is shown. The present time is used for highlights, while the general time of the narration is indefinite, as suits a collage of behavior patterns and of activities characteristic to a period of one´s life. It´s a transitional part of the story, between the more generic style used so far, to a style where thoughts and feelings will serve to give contrast to actions, dialogs. For your convenience, I place here also the links from my signature: the character sheet, part one of his definition, the second part, containing his early story, and this blog category. Enjoy your reading!]

For a few moments, Errandûrr´s hand stood hesitantly above the sentence he was to close. It was a little past noon, when the sun makes all shadows small. Would he have moved an inch only, there might have remained no trace, on the page, of his hand´s shadow. And soon, it would be forgotten...

He waited, therefore, until a slight pain sensation took over his arm. And then, with just as slight a relief sigh, he let his hand move away. The page, in its innocence, would perhaps not have noticed, and trustful, undisturbed, would have just waited for that full stop to come, in its right time. ¨There is... something particular to a book´s patience...¨, he thought, ¨Like they care little, or not at all about time. Even this one, that is still far from finished. It looks... as if it only ever knew itself complete; as at the end, when I would be done writing...¨

Errandûrr raised his eyes from the page. Sunlight had just changed the tone of the room´s colors slightly. He often stopped to experience this feeling of change, if only a short one, as soon after he recognizes the same old room where he has spent his last years copying books. Then, as he sometimes does, he turned towards the large nearby window. And in its light he saw himself, for a moment or so, letting go of his shadow, of time, like a book, like he would know already how his story ends... He doesn´t, of course. But the light would know...

Another kind of slight pain, suddenly, brought him back to a more earthly consideration of his condition. It was lunch break time. And as he gave way to that nudge in his stomach, his hands went before him and reached for the backpack. He bought it recently, in view of his planned expedition, as he more cheerfully sometimes called leaving the town. And he carried it with him, to get used to it, and to the notion of a life spent on the road. Right now it served mostly to hold a small bundle which he took to work, every day - a piece of cloth wrapped around bits of cheese and of bread. He searched inside one of the pockets for the fork, picked up the bundle, and, after setting it on his lap and untying, carefully, the knot, he slowly started to appease his hunger.

These minor gestures, carefully guided by the attention, like in a ritual, ending, in his belly, with that bland sensation of simple comfort, always succeeded in bringing to Errandûrr´s spirit a sense of peace. A gentle following up of the descent, from such heights as that of feeling at one with daylight, down to the order of natural laws. And as he finished eating, while pondering on the implications of these aspects of life, he felt the comfort and the peace turning into a sense of gratitude and joyful willingness to take on whatever life has in store for him next. ¨That would be... looking over a book on wilderness, at this time. Great!¨

He wrapped the fork in the piece of clothing, while making sure not to drop any crumb, put that away in his backpack and reached towards the pile of books that lied on a side of his work area. He had touched a large volume on wild plants and medicine, but delayed pulling it out. His eyes had chosen a different book, it seemed... And he thought for a while, but then gave in, as he was in a better mood. ¨Only a little¨, he allowed himself. It was a book of hunting stories, a rare one, that had pictures.

He browsed for a few moments, aimlessly, until he reached the drawing that showed a lady adventurer holding up, proudly, a beast´s fresh pelt. And the usual thought came: ¨Could I... ever... put myself through doing that?¨. There were trees too, on the background. He reached and touched them with a finger. He felt the paper against his skin, and, as if guided by lines on a tree´s bark, he moved, slowly, reticently, towards the beast. The paper felt the same. ¨But still...¨, he thought. And, while not paying attention, his finger slipped and touched the lady´s hand...

Errandûrr snapped the book shut and put it back quickly. Then begun to busy himself with that bulky herbology treatise he earlier passed over, while trying, furtively, to catch, on his peripheral vision, any bystander´s silhouette. But there was usually no one around, at that hour.

He liked to work in a public room, to be in others´ presence, quietly. Just to know them around, without interfering in their private matters, they in his. It was like him with the trees, perhaps, something to compensate, in small measure, for a lack of closeness with other people. And he imagined they were like really old friends, who understand each other without having to speak. Thus, when the occasional reader took a chair nearby and whispered hello, Errandûrr´s quiet smile and nod meant much more than what he used to evade social dangers. Although, he probably relied on assuming that they could not tell the difference...

His mind was pretty much made up about what he can expect, on a personal level, from others. Although his soul, ever young, seemingly, kept showing interest in their company, desire. Lately, however, the seriousness demanded by his preparations, made him look at these habits of approach, of reacting, as something of an old self. And while nothing may change in what he can share with others, or feel among them, these personal tendencies, he decided, must not be allowed to get in the way of making useful contacts, or of behaving professionally. And there was also the matter of that darkness lurking within... something which he seemed to have been keeping in check, so far, with his way of living; in which those mild, occasional diversions from staying disciplined could not allow evil any developments. He had to keep balance of all these things inside, while moving into an unknown of social interactions. He could not, whatever would happen, allow the curse to surprise and take over him. He must now find new ways to indulge his soul´s wishes, new ways which he can control...

With these reflections, he always managed, somehow, to invoke a sense of resoluteness in his heart. And, as if drawing some strength from it, he could, after, spend hours working, or studying, cut away from other feelings; mechanically almost, like a construct. Let the daylight change the room´s tones, let sounds, let shadows pass, he wouldn´t notice. All the known things were to him, then, at the far edge of his attention, as small and as faint of shape as the unknown ones. And would Errandûrr have raised his eyes´s anchor from this bottom of hardened will, he may have been surprised by how equally possible would have, in the horizon, seemed that notion he only began to invest feeling in, of taking care of others, as a ranger.

A whole afternoon sometimes passed like that. And when he stepped out of the library´s large doors, the darkening of the sky, the familiar lines of the buildings, the cold, the slowness with which all these perceptions seeped inside him, made it feel as if he found himself at a beginning of things, when all or nothing could take shape and grow. And with what was left of his resoluteness, he searched, then, in his mind, as in fresh soil, the recently planted knowledge of the outdoors. Are the roots strong yet? Have seeds sprouted, at least? He couldn´t be sure of most of the things read. He couldn´t say why, either, in many cases. Were there contradictions? Or was his lack of a true foundation, his unpreparedness for that ranger role causing a mix-up in his understanding...

His feet, while he walked on the streets, so preoccupied, would eventually lead him outside the gates, to the trees. And there, among his already accomplished friends, Errandûrr could feel like his burden is eased, somewhat, as he opened to them and they listened.

He would share everything with them, from how dangerous a place wilderness seemed to really be, to how difficult is for him to even imagine killing an animal or wounding a wooden being for resources. How complex and intricate the functioning of organisms and of ecosystems is, compared to the approximate, simplistic way people interact with nature and life. How magic, that he is so reluctant to approach, seems capable of both causing wondrous, unexplainable things, and bringing as mysterious an end to all manifestations. And how the world and life have become for him something extending not much farther than the limits of a book´s pages. And how he feels a stranger to the boy who once was a part of the forest...

Answers did not come while he was with them. His load of thoughts and of feelings always seemed unchanged when he picked it back up and left. But he believed, he kept telling himself, that their connection was made stronger with each visit. And that it may, that it will be strong enough, eventually, to receive, by it, the woods´ guidance. He put all he had, himself, his soul, into it, to make it happen. He cared not, then, for the curse´s growth into that feeling of distance, of separateness, taking over his vision until all he knew left of the relationship with the forest was his faith. It was safe that it could do no more harm to him there. And when the words had gone, soon, he felt, also did all his troubles. He then approached a tree, with his body, his cheek, resting, with no more heaviness, against the bark, hard, cool; to him gentle, and kind. ¨I love you...¨, he whispers. Not being sure what that really means. But the forest would know. The trees would know. They would have not forgotten who he was before leaving in search for happiness elsewhere, and having got lost. Within book covers, and shoal acquaintances, and stone walls...

Their intimate time together had, lately, occasioned not much else. As his learning of the real world, far outside the town walls and his youth´s responsibilities, grew, it was harder and harder for Errandûrr to let out from within himself the poet, or at least to find and keep him unblemished by the ever stretching inner shadows. He could do little else but leave to chance the fate of that side of his soul, which so seldom and so unpredictably made itself known, so far. ¨...But what joy it brought, when it did show up.¨ Bringing hope... By allowing a bit of that happiness at the end to be experienced. From when he would be released of the curse, or when... ¨being... accomplished? ...whole? will mean to live with the curse, and that to no longer matter...¨

The return home was marked, usually, by attempts at sharpening his senses and finding bits of that resoluteness left inside - with these to meet, once more, the presence of people. And if he felt strong enough, he would go to some tavern for dinner. It was uncomfortable, but he had to get used to being among strangers more... And most of the times he got away without anyone to engage him in conversation or try to make him a part of some form of group entertainment, like singing. When that did happen, in the past, he either froze or found a way to get out of there quickly, with only their laughs following him a short while. He would let a long time pass, then, before returning. But his recent assumption of a new role in life brought him also a consciousness of greater social responsibility. And while it may have been only a passive form of answering the challenge of daring tavern patrons, Errandûrr changed his reaction to smilingly excuse himself. Should they become angry, he´d get up, apologize formally for impoliteness, and then slowly, calmly, walk out the door. Luckily such episodes never ended in a fight, so far. And he was mindful enough to avoid a tavern which welcomed him with the sound of loud voices.

But most of the time he returned home, directly. The lady of the house always left for him some bits of food in the kitchen, as well as a pot of water he could find at least lukewarm, for washing. He was, by now, trusted enough to have his own key, for the side door, and he could come back as late as he wanted. There was usually no one at that time around, and he ate alone, quietly, with just a candle beside him. Right next to the kitchen was a large pantry, and that room was where Errandûrr had been accommodated.

A thin, improvised wall of wood separated the small place where he slept and kept his few belongings. There was a tiny window in the wall too, letting in the dim light of a street lamp at night, and a narrow, bright beam in the morning. And in that light he spent his last and his first hours of wake practicing fencing and bow shooting postures. He kept away from imagining any opponents, although the darkness did tempt him, at times, with frightening apparitions. Learning to fight was to Errandûrr an unavoidable necessity, but he hoped never to make use of this training. And it may not have been so much a matter of opposing the curse in this way, as a tendency to value life in others, like in himself. ¨Life, and a chance at happiness...¨

He was aware that he could not count much on this practice, that those patterns of movement and the calculated tensing of his body were not enough to prepare him fully, at least, for the physical part of combat. But he counted on being able to thus develop some modicum of precision, which, combined with a knowledge of anatomy, may allow him to incapacitate, rather than kill; although he knew that to be wounded, in the wilderness, soon often proved to mean the same thing. Ideally, to cause a warning, superficial wound, in the attempt to put an end to a fight before it gets out of hand. He also counted on his emotional control training to help with that.

Evenings, the slow exercise helped him get rid of any traces of worry, of doubt about his future. And he would fall asleep soon after he laid his head on that rolled-up blanket which served as pillow. He would just look for a few more moments at the light, before his eyes closed. And, sometimes, he would last know himself to reach, slightly, through the cool, empty space for... something; he could not say what... exactly... And like before an actor who forgot his line, then, as a curtain, the black of sleep slowly descends, equally, over known and unknown, past and future.

[Now, at the end, a few words about what would follow: According to the plan anticipated in Foreword, after a next blog post dealing with guidelines for playing in these pages (and maybe elsewhere), I should be starting a first episode of Errandûrr´s life on the road. It would be very unlikely of him to move towards foreign, distant lands, not knowing if he will ever return to the place he grew up in, without seeing his tree parent for one last time. And so this visit and the time spent in the woods, while traveling, will constitute the background of that episode. It may not be the best place for you to introduce a long term character, or any at all, considering that it was not usual for outsiders to walk through those woods. Also, the fey folk may no longer recognize him as one of the forest, and hide. However, a chance encounter with one of their kind, could occasion dialog, and thus an episode stop where you might come in. The attempt to communicate with some less dangerous animal, like a singing bird, or a deer, or even a fox maybe, that would react through behavior, through movement, may also give a suitable point for your input. To take the story faster, past that first episode, towards usual PbP content, I will probably use a style of disconnected sequences, taking more time only at the dialog with the awakened tree; which, by the way, may be too personal for your entries... Well, this is all for now. See you next time!]

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Updated 03-15-2018 at 06:56 PM by Erran (changed some color-Bold combinations)

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  1. Erran's Avatar
    I briefly deal here with two matters that couldn´t easily be found a place in the story. The first is that of Errandûrr living in his benefactor´s home. The second is that of his starting equipment´s price. What these two have in common is that he couldn´t afford much on a copyist´s salary.

    A suitable history of his lodging may have him move out of that man´s house after a first few months, there to be again lodged from the moment when he announced his plans of travel. The reason would be to help him save money for traveling expenses. Factors that may have contributed to this decision are: that family not having children, Errandûrr´s good reputation, a very low local crime rate.

    By leaving out certain items, the function of which either can offered by other items, or would be better justified when he has become an experienced ranger and regular team member, I managed to bring his equipment down to a minimum, worth about 35gp. It includes a few items not mentioned so far: some thin cordage, a toothbrush, a comb, and a waterproof cloak. I will make the appropriate changes to the sheet at a suitable time. The reduced list would be found under Other Notes.

    :)
    Updated 03-07-2018 at 07:48 AM by Erran (added comb to new items)
  2. Erran's Avatar
    a list of the colors used in each paragraph, for those interested

    Before, a few observations:

    While Black is emotionally neutral, of the closest hues used - DarkBlue and Purple, only the second borrows from Black´s meaning. Purple makes here the transition of embarrassment from a romantic (tendency) spark towards not feeling anything. DarkBlue, on the other hand, is placed between an undefinable bottom of spades-emotions and the less negative blues of the spades - most of the hues in use placing emotions around a border between spades and hearts.

    Of the other blues used, SteelBlue is seen as a mix of Grey and Blue, with a meaning of ¨steeling one´s self¨ while still feeling vulnerable. Then, RoyalBlue stands for deep melancholy - a contemplation of limitations, at the age of suffering (not necessarily crossing). CadetBlue is between the blues at the border spades-hearts and the greens. It stands for compassion, acceptance, and for having overcome and incorporated difficulties into normality. CornFlowerBlue is romantic and involves distance which can´t be estimated or crossed. DodgerBlue, the brightest of the all, is used for the highest hearts-emotions.

    The use of other colors may not need additional explanations. Teal makes an obvious good transitional color in between CadetBlue and ForestGreen. PaleVioletRed seems to work best for expressing romantic-closeness surprise. For everything else, the comment to my Foreword blog post should be sufficient.

    The list of colors used, now:

    ¨Before we begin, a few words(...)¨ - MediumOrchid, BlueViolet, Black (links), BlueViolet

    ¨For a few moments, Errandûrr´s hand(...)¨ - SteelBlue, Black, SteelBlue, RoyalBlue

    ¨He waited, therefore, until a slight(...)¨ - SteelBlue, CadetBlue

    ¨Errandûrr raised his eyes from the(...)¨ - Black, CadetBlue, CornFlowerBlue, DodgerBlue, CornFlowerBlue

    ¨Another kind of slight pain, suddenly(...)¨ - CadetBlue, Black

    ¨These minor gestures, carefully guided by(...)¨ - Black, CadetBlue, Teal, ForestGreen

    ¨He wrapped the fork in the(...)¨ - Black, CadetBlue, CornFlowerBlue, Black

    ¨He browsed for a few moments(...)¨ - CadetBlue, SteelBlue, CadetBlue, CornFlowerBlue, CadetBlue, CornFlowerBlue

    ¨Errandûrr snapped the book shut and(...)¨ - PaleVioletRed, Purple, Black

    ¨He liked to work in a(...)¨ - Black, CadetBlue, CornFlowerBlue, Black, CadetBlue

    ¨His mind was pretty much made(...)¨ - CadetBlue, SteelBlue, Black, DarkBlue, SteelBlue

    ¨With these reflections, he always managed(...)¨ - CadetBlue, SteelBlue, CadetBlue, CornFlowerBlue

    ¨A whole afternoon sometimes passed like(...)¨ - Black, CadetBlue

    ¨His feet, while he walked on(...)¨ - Black, CadetBlue

    ¨He would share everything with them(...)¨ - CadetBlue, SteelBlue, RoyalBlue, CornFlowerBlue

    ¨Answers did not come while he(...)¨ - CadetBlue, SteelBlue, CadetBlue, CornFlowerBlue, DarkBlue, RoyalBlue, CadetBlue, CornFlowerBlue, DodgerBlue, CadetBlue, CornFlowerBlue, SteelBlue

    ¨Their intimate time together had lately(...)¨ - Black, CadetBlue, CornFlowerBlue, CadetBlue

    ¨The return home was marked usually(...)¨ - SteelBlue, Black, SteelBlue

    ¨But most of the time he(...)¨ - Black

    ¨A thin, improvised wall of wood(...)¨ - Black, CadetBlue, SteelBlue, CadetBlue, CornFlowerBlue

    ¨He was aware that he could(...)¨ - Black

    ¨Evenings, the slow exercise helped him(...)¨ - CadetBlue, Black, CadetBlue, CornFlowerBlue, Black

    ¨Now, at the end, a few(...)¨ - MediumOrchid, BlueViolet
    Updated 03-08-2018 at 06:26 AM by Erran