Living might mean taking chances, but they're worth taking.
Sat Jan 14, 2006 06:47 (XFF:

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? Thanks :)

Thanks also to Dawn/Allael, as usual. :)

Soradrelle woke early, well rested by the relaxing evening and uninterrupted sleep. Stretching, he quietly made his way over to their packs to help himself to some dried fruit. The morning was beautiful, the breeze only slightly chilly and easily warded off by the blanket he still wore around his shoulders. The happy sounds of children, adults, and birds rising and beginning their day brought a smile to his lips. He ate quietly, and watched Allael as she slept. In truth, he spent more time watching her than their surroundings during the nights he was on guard - staring into the empty blackness terrified him, but watching her made him feel safe. He felt safe already, though, here among the Tinkers. Maybe they wouldn’t raise a hand to protect him if he were in danger, but at least they weren’t alone.

Soon, Allael rose as well, and sat down beside him. Her mood seemed similar to his, probably affected by precisely the same things. Getting some food for herself, she spoke pleasantly. "Good morning. Did you sleep well?"

Sora smiled back at her, his answer quiet in the early morning. "Yes, thank you. It was a very enjoyable evening. Where were you?"

"Actually, I wanted to talk to you about that.” Allael hesitated, apparently reluctant to continue, and Sora wondered why. However, it soon became obvious. “I spoke to Kadar, the Mahdi. I hope you don't think it too forward of me, but after we ran into this band of Tinkers I had an idea. I thought instead of going to the White Tower, you'd maybe be more at home with your people. I know they seem strange to you now, but perhaps staying with them would help you to regain your memory…So I asked the Mahdi if he would be willing to take you in and he said that as long as you are willing, that you were welcome. What do you think?"

Every day, every evening like the last, every morning like this? It sounded, honestly, like a dream come true. But something was ominously missing. You she’d said. Several times. Soradrelle answered seriously, quietly. "They don't seem strange to me. And. . . I do like it here. But what about you?"

Her answer was slow in coming, and when it did come, she seemed to remain hesitant. "Well, I plan to travel with you for a while, if you don't mind. Just until you get settled. The Tinkers are going the direction of my father's farm, so it wouldn't be an inconvenience. And that way, if you decided you didn't want to stay here, then you and I could continue as we were. I wanted to give you the chance to really make up your mind. It's your future."

Looking seriously at his food, Soradrelle considered. This. . . felt like home. And even if it wasn't what his home had been, he could make a home here. But Allael. . . He took a moment to glance up at her. Allael was all the family he knew, now. Perhaps not related by blood, but she'd watched over him, guarded him. . . . Still thinking, he munched an apple. Wasn't home where your family was? But then, he was nothing but a burden to Allael. He could never be a hunter like her. He would be much less of a burden here, in this community. And perhaps in time they would become his family. Perhaps. "I'll. . . I'll think about it."

Again, her reply was hesitant, but Sora didn’t notice or even remember a minute later what she’d said. His mind was still on the offer - the opportunity and challenge - which had been extended to him. It was a difficult one, and, in a sense, the first major decision in his life, since he couldn't remember any earlier decisions. He wished he had something to draw on, some way to know what to do, but for the life of him the only thing he could find was the tingling sense of deja vu that had been with him since the previous evening.

As they got underway, however, Sora couldn't keep his mind on the subject of losing Allael. Even as they traveled music played, and Sora even found himself walking and half dancing to the tunes, and focusing on the present instead of the unpredictable future. He supposed that was the only way the Tinkers could live - the future provided no security for them - but they could be content, even happy, in the present. And he enjoyed the easy pace they set, as well - it was a relief not to be running any more. He enjoyed the conversations, and easily deflected the questions about his past, not pausing to think about how he did it. He was gradually learning that he did things best when he allowed them to come naturally, though it was a frightening modus opperandi, not knowing what he would do or say next.

During a moment's pause Soradrelle walked with his eyes on the clouds and a hand on the wagon to guide his steps. His distraction wasn't allowed to last long, however, as he felt a pluck at his sleeve and turned his gaze from the heavens to see Allael nodding her head off to their left. "I think someone would like to talk with you."

Sora blinked, and followed the direction of her nod with his eyes, finally seeing the girl he'd danced with the night before waving at him. Adria. "Oh," he mouthed, not quite sure what to say to Allael, and approached the girl, hoping she hadn’t been offended by his apparent inattention.

"Hi Soradrelle," said Adria happily. "How are you today? Did you sleep well?"

Soradrelle nodded and smiled back, also happy to see her. "Hi, Adria. I'm fine. I slept fine, thanks. What about you?"

"Oh I slept well, thank you. I think we'll be stopping for noon meal soon. I wanted to know if you would eat with me? Maybe we could even go for a short walk together?"

Sora blinked. What did she want from him? Dancing, a walk. . . they could walk and eat together here. A bit confused, he looked to Allael, almost out of habit. In his preoccupation he missed Adria’s reluctance in the extension of the invitation, and started to extend it himself. "Allael. . ."

She interrupted him quickly. "Oh that's alright. You two go on ahead. I promised some of the younger children last night that I'd tell them a story at noon meal today. I'd better go and find them."

Sora blinked, a bit surprised by Allael's rapid departure. She hadn't seemed in such a hurry five minutes ago. Adria left him no time to ponder this, however, or why Adria's cheeks were so red, for she quickly grabbed his hand and led him off at a trotting pace. As the wagons slowed to a stop, the women of the band began to bustle about, handing out food. Adria got some for both she and Sora, and then led him away from the main group of people. They found an old oddly shaped log some distance away, with a convenient smooth place where Adria set their food. Both of them then sat on the ground to either side of it. When they were finally situated, she said, "I'm glad to see you're still with us. You won't leave before tonight, will you?"

Sora shook his head slowly in response. "I don't know. I mean, no, not before tonight. But. . . I might not be leaving at all. Allael seems to think this is a good place for me."

Sora thought he saw something flash in her eyes, but he wasn’t sure what it was. Anger? "Oh, Allael thinks it's best? What about you, what do you want to do?"

“I. . . I don’t know. I do like it here. As much as anything I can remember. But Allael knows a lot more than I do, even about me. That’s one reason I’m scared of staying - she won’t, and I wouldn’t even be alive right now if it weren’t for her.”

“Oh. Well. . . I guess I know what you mean, sort of. I wouldn’t be alive without the band - none of us would be alive without each other, and I can’t imagine life without them. But that doesn’t mean she always knows more than you, especially about yourself. You always know yourself better than anyone else can.” Adria paused for a moment, seeming to consider something. Finally, she said, “She is right though. The wagons are the best. Please do stay, that would make me so happy. I could teach you all about the Way of the Leaf and how to live by it. Do you know what the Way is?"

Sora shrugged. She didn’t understand, and it was too much effort to explain everything. Besides, maybe she was right anyway. “I don’t know. Maybe.”

Adria tsked, and Sora recognized irritation at least. “Look, that’s what you said about dancing. And you’re one of the best dancers I’ve ever met! And I can’t believe you know as little about yourself as you say. And anyway, you must at least know whether or not you know what the Way is. Give yourself a little credit!” Suddenly, mischievousness seemed to replace her irritation. “Do you know how to kiss?”

For the second time since they’d met, Sora choked on his milk. Blushing furiously, and without knowing why, he bolted for the only escape hole left available to him, and one he’d been avoiding up until then. “Light! You don’t understand! I don’t know what I know, because a little more than a week ago I woke up with no memory of anything. Until we came here, Allael has been the only person who treated me with any kindness. She said she rescued me. She told me everything I know about what I am - a Channeler, a Tuatha’an - but I don’t remember being any of those. I have no way of knowing if she told me the truth or not about her rescuing me, but I know something terrible happened or I wouldn’t have woken up with no memory. The only reason I didn’t eat meat was because she told me I didn’t use to, and. . . and even if she didn’t save my life, she’s taken care of me since I met her. I have no reason to doubt her words or judgment, and even if I did, I don’t have anything else to go on.” He realized his voice had grown in volume as he’d been speaking, and he looked down at his food and continued quietly. “I don’t have anyone else to take care of me. And if I don’t even know who I am, I know I can’t take care of myself. I’m just scared.”

At first, Adria's only answer was a quiet, "Ohhh. . ." Then, after a moment's pause, she left her food and got up and slowly stepped over the log to give Sora a gentle hug. "I'm sorry. . . I didn't realize. . . I mean, I had no idea things were so bad." She hugged him a bit tighter, then continued. "Please don't be scared, Soradrelle. I don't want you to be scared. I know what it's like. I don't think there's a Tinker alive who doesn't. Maybe warriors aren't ever scared, but we know that whatever happens, all we can do is accept it. Kind of like you, I guess." She gave him a slight smile, and continued just as quietly. "I. . . I'll take care of you, if you stay. But I understand, if you want to leave with Allael. I know it's scary, but it's your choice, and I know you can make it. And either way, the Song will be sung."

Comforted, Sora breathed out slowly and quietly, without even knowing where the words came from. “In this year or in a year to come.”

Adria stared at him for a moment, in surprise, and then a voice came from the wagons, calling her name. She looked over quickly, then back at Sora. “Mother.” Giving him another quick squeeze and a peck on the cheek, she said firmly, “You are Tuatha’an.” Glancing down at their barely touched food, she continued, “But we’ll have to eat like chickens if we’re going to finish before we get back to the wagons.” Gathering it up swiftly, she yelled “Coming!”

Sora blinked after her in confusion. Chickens? Despite his confusion, he gobbled his food quickly as he followed her, and by the time they’d rejoined the wagons he’d made his decision. “Allael? I. . . I think you’re right. I want to stay.”

  • 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
      • 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
                • As it Once Was. . .Runaway Soradrelle, Wed Mar 22 18:18
                  The first several days after he regained his memory, Soradrelle simply drank in the moment, thinking of neither future nor past. He knew he would return to the White Tower, eventually, but for now it ... more
                  • There's no place like homeAllael al'Cantar, Thu Mar 23 16:52
                    Allael woke up that morning feeling refreshed, and glad to be home. She'd given Sora her bed, so she'd slept on the floor-but for a person who was used to sleeping out of doors for the last few... more
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