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Beauty Needs No Name
Fri Jan 6, 2006 18:14 (XFF:

Allael and Soradrelle traveled for over a week before anything of note happened. For some time after they had left the clearing, it seemed as though the curse followed them. The forest was unnaturally quiet, and they were solemn and subdued, not speaking much. But as they continued on, the feeling of oppression began to lift, and they could once more hear the sounds of the birds in the trees. By their second day of travel, Allael was able to relax more. She still kept a careful watch on her surroundings, vowing to herself to never let anyone get that close to hurting her again. She and Sora took it in turns at night to stay up and keep watch-Sora with strict instructions to wake her at any sign of danger. It made her even more nervous to be without her bow, but she determined there wasn't any point in trying to make one while on the road. She had a spare at her father's; her hunting knife would have to be enough till then. Still, it was a pleasant time; with the leaves on the trees showing a wonderful profusion of color. Allael took great delight in Soradrelle, who seemed to view the world with the wonder of a child. Everything fascinated and amazed him, and she found herself appreciating the beauty in the simple things that she'd long taken for granted as he pointed them out and showed them to her through his eyes.

Now it was nearing evening on their eighth day of travel. They had stopped for a moment, so Soradrelle could point out another bit of interesting fauna. He'd found a nest of plover's eggs under a bush, and was staring in fascination as the mother plover danced about, protecting her brood. "Aren't they amazing?" She said, taking a moment to enlighten him about what he was seeing, "It's called a Plover. They are one of the only birds who build their nests on the ground. It's distinguished from others by the fact that all the eggs point toward the center."

Soradrelle turned to look at her and blinked. "Why does it have to be called anything?" He asked. Feeling slightly puzzled, Allael studied the Plover for a few moments, pondering what Sora had said.

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat, but always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance
and when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance, I hope you dance

Then, a noise made her look up sharply. The sound of music was drifting on the wind, coming from somewhere nearby. Before the wind shifted, masking the sound, Allael also heard the laughter of children at play and the murmur of adults as they went about evening chores. She motioned for Soradrelle to stay put while she went to investigate.

Leaving him with the packs, Allael stealthily made her way through the underbrush. Her hunting knife was clutched tightly in her fist, and her heart was beating a little faster than normal. It was silly to be nervous when she'd heard the sounds of women and children, but the feeling persisted. She was as alert for danger as any Tinker, and the easiness with which she had always greeted strangers was coming harder than it used to.

When she emerged from the brush into the clearing, however, she saw that her fears were misplaced.
She was greeted by the sight of many wagons, painted in colors that were vivid and clashing. The people that surrounded them were just as garishly clad, in colors nature never intended to co-exist. It was a band of Tuatha'an, and Allael couldn't believe their luck. Maybe Sora wouldn't have to go to the White Tower after all. Maybe he could make a home where he truly belonged, with his people. Smiling broadly, Allael hurried back to the roadside to tell him.

"Soradrelle!" She said excitedly, emerging from the trees with leaves clinging to her clothes and hair. She brushed them absently away as she continued. "Sora, you won't believe our luck. There's a band of Tuatha'an nearby. I think it might be a good idea to stay the night with them, rather than alone in the woods. Are you comfortable with that?"

He seemed a little nervous, but as usual he was willing to follow where she led. "Sure." He replied, "If you think we're safer with them than we would be hidden under a bush."

Allael smiled and said, "I do." Then they both took up their packs and headed into the trees. Before long they reached the clearing, and Allael looked to Sora to see if there was any hint of recognition in his eyes. She wasn't sure that she saw recognition, but he watched everything with open curiosity. The tinkers were dancing to a lively tune, doing turns about the fire in the center of the camp. The children she'd heard earlier darted in and around the wagons, playing games. Allael smiled at the sight. She occasionally encountered Tuatha'an in her travels and always enjoyed her time with them. Her mind drifted back to previous visits, when she'd left her bow in the woods, so as not to upset the peaceful people. Don't have to worry about that this time, she thought bitterly. Shaking off dark thoughts, she motioned for Sora to continue with her and they approached the camp.

Sora jumped as several vicious looking dogs bounded toward them, growling and with hackles raised. "Don't worry," she said quietly to Soradrelle, seeing his fright, "The dogs are only for show. They are as gentle as the Tuatha'an themselves." He seemed to relax at that, and she led him closer to the animals and reached out a hand to pat one on the head. The dog immediately calmed and accepted the attention with a wag of its tail. The people in the camp were all watching them warily now, and they were approached by several young men. Allael smiled at them. "Will you bring us to your Mahdi?" She asked politely. The men nodded and led them into the camp. Their escorts walked With a grace Allael had seldom seen outside the wagons, and Allael noticed that Sora had that same unconscious grace. If she hadn't known him for a Tuatha'an before, she would surely know it now. He also had that same expression of wary alertness, as though ready to run at the first sign of danger. Yes, these were definitely his people.

They were led to the very center of the wagon circle, where stood an older man and woman. When Allael and Soradrelle were presented before them, the man bowed gravely and said,

"You are welcome to our fires. Do you know the song?"

Allael placed both hands on her chest and bowed in return before giving the customary response. "Your welcome warms my spirit, Mahdi, as your fires warm the flesh, but I do not know the song."

The Mahdi replied, "Then we seek still. As it was, so shall it be, if we but remember, seek, and find." Then he smiled, and waved a hand that encompassed the camp. "Please join us, I am Kadar and this is my wife Elisha. "

Allael smiled and nodded, and set about making their own introductions. "I'm Allael, and my friend is Soradrelle. We're traveling to visit my father. He lives somewhat to the west of here."

After everyone was introduced, the people of the camp settled in for the evening meal. Bowls were passed around, filled with a vegetable stew that smelled positively delightful. Chunks of crusty bread were served as well, along with some cheese that had a wonderful nutty flavor. Everything tasted so good that Allael hardly noticed the lack of meat. Both she and Sora partook with alacrity and ate their fill. It was a welcome change from the dry rations in their packs.

After everyone had finished, men lit their pipes and the women and children took to dancing about the fire. Allael and Sora were given places to sit near the Mahdi and his wife, and Allael regaled them with a few stories about her travels. After a while, Kadar excused himself from their presence. Allael looked to Sora, but found him absorbed in watching the dancing. The firelight played across his smiling face, and she smiled in return to see his foot tapping to the music. Seizing upon an impulse, she also excused herself, and went off in the same direction as Kadar.

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Living might mean taking chances, but they're worth taking
Loving might be a mistake but it's worth making
Don't let some hell bent heart leave you bitter
When you come close to selling out, reconsider
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance (time is a wheel in constant motion always)
I hope you dance (rolling us along)
I hope you dance (tell me who wants to look back on their youth and wonder)
I hope you dance (where those years have gone)

She searched among the wagons for a few moments, but the camp wasn't a large one and she soon found him. He seemed to be deep in conversation with another member of the band. Allael waited silently in the shadows for him to finish, and as the other person drifted away, she approached him politely. "Mahdi, I was wondering if I could have a word with you, privately."

Kadar seemed surprised by this, but replied, "Of course, and please, call me Kadar." Then he motioned for her to take a seat on the steps of a nearby wagon. Which, Allael noted, were painted bright green. She thought about how to approach Kadar on the subject of Soradrelle, and decided it would be best to get to the point.

"My friend Soradrelle is in need of a home. I was wondering if he might find one with you."

Kadar smiled at her. "We welcome all who come, who seek, all who are willing to keep the Way of the Leaf. Is your friend Soradrelle willing to keep the Way? And why are you asking me this, and not him?"

Taking a deep breath, she continued, "He is a Tuatha'an." Kadar's eyebrows rose at this, but Allael pushed on. "At least, he was raised Tuatha'an. I don't know why he wasn't with a band. But he's had an accident, and has little or no memory of his past. I was going to bring him to my father's farm, but when we came across your band, camped here in the clearing…I thought maybe he would be more at home among his people. I wanted to make sure you would take him first though, before I asked him. I didn't want to disappoint him in case you said no."

"But if he left his band, then perhaps he was Lost. What makes you think he would be willing to follow the Way again?"

"He was a healer, and in the brief time I knew him he refused meat when I offered it. Does that sound like someone who is Lost to you? No, Soradrelle would readily adopt your ways again. I think he would be happy here. When I found him injured, I promised I would take him to a safe place. This seems like the best place for him."

Kadar then fell quiet for a time, having taken in all she had said. He seemed an intelligent man, and he took the time to mull everything she'd said over in his head. He seemed to come to a decision, then said.

"We have no reservations about adopting anyone who will adopt the Way. Perhaps you will find that this is the best place, and the best way of life, for you as well." He smiled at her, and she was reminded of the few times her own father had smiled. Kadar continued. "We are also traveling west. Stay with us for a few days - if you decide not to join us, you may continue on to your father's farm. If not, it will be no interference."

Allael smiled, pleased that Kadar was so willing to help a person in need. She wouldn't stay herself-she knew wasn't Tinker material-but at least she could see Sora settled. She wasn't worried that Sora would object-he would be happy to feel he would no longer be a burden to her, though that was furthest from the truth. She very much enjoyed his company. She gave Kadar her heartfelt thanks, then made her way back to the center of the camp. Everyone was busy getting ready to go sleep for the night, and it wasn't long before she found Sora off by himself, already setting up a sleeping space for the two of them. She smiled at him, and he returned it before wrapping himself up in his blanket. A quiet "Good night." floated to her on the evening breeze and moments later she heard the soft, even breathing that told her he was already asleep.

Praying that Sora would finally be safe, Allael lay staring at the moon until she caught a flicker of movement at the corner of her vision. Turning her head towards the firelight, she spied a young mother, cooing over a newborn baby. The baby reached up a tiny fist and waved it in his mothers direction, while the young woman just smiled. Just before she drifted off to sleep Allael thought, Sora's right. Beauty doesn't need a name…

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean.
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens.
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance.
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

OOC: Thanks to Will/Sora for his help with this post.

Song Lyrics: LeeAnn Womack-I Hope you Dance

  • On the Road Again. . . (Continued from Fleeing the Curse)Runaway Soradrelle, Mon Dec 19 13:01
    Soradrelle stirred and woke at the sound of his name and a soft touch on his shoulder. He slowly rolled over and looked up, smiling with relief to see Allael whole, alive, and unharmed. She sat down... more
    • Beauty Needs No Name — Allael al'Cantar, huntress, Fri Jan 6 18:14
      • Dancing in a MemoryRunaway Soradrelle, Sat Jan 7 16:16
        OOC: Thanks to Allael/Dawn for her help in this :) For the first several nights following the. . . events in the clearing, Soradrelle had a hard time sleeping. Partly, he was afraid of being ambushed ... more
        • Two's company, three's a crowdAllael al'Cantar, Sat Jan 14 06:20
          Allael woke in the morning, listening to the bustling sounds of the Tuatha'an getting ready to break camp and begin their day's walking. Turning over with a slight groan, Allael spied Soradrelle,... more
          • Living might mean taking chances, but they're worth taking.Runaway Soradrelle, Sat Jan 14 06:47
            Umm, the other one lost a couple paragraphs in the middle, and the period at the end of the title (I think it was too long). This is the correct version - could an offie please delete the other?... more
            • Adrift in a Unforgiving World...AgainAllael al'Cantar, Mon Jan 16 11:08
              After Allael left Soradrelle and his friend, she went in search of some children to tell a story to. Though she had fibbed a little at the time, if she found some kids and really did tell a story,... more
              • Awakening to RemembranceRunaway Soradrelle, Fri Jan 20 18:50
                And thank you, Dawn. ;) Sora trailed along behind Allael, crying inconsolably. At first, he’d cried out of guilt, because of what he’d done to the bandits, and even more for what he’d done to Allael. ... more
                • Happy NamedayAllael al'Cantar, Mon Jan 23 15:42
                  Soft rays of morning sunshine filtered down through the sheltering trees, lightly caressing the braided blonde hair of the sleeping woman. With a sigh, Allael turned over in her sleep and woke... more
                  • Presents!Runaway Soradrelle, Fri Feb 17 12:39
                    As always, thanks to Dawn :) Soradrelle slipped quietly off into the woods - it was clear his sister needed time to think, to sort through things, but he hadn’t lied when he’d said he could use some... more
                    • The Light's MercyAllael al'Cantar, Thu Feb 23 18:49
                      The days after Soradrelle regained his memory seemed to go too quickly for Allael and she took great joy in her brother. As she no longer had to pause and explain the meanings of the simplest things... more
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