Of Iloysia: The Story of Terin and Naclia

Writing done for Aserra, both by the creator, and works by members.
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Of Iloysia: The Story of Terin and Naclia

Post by Naclia » Tue Sep 27, 2016 4:18 pm

Of Iloysia: Terin and Naclia
Warm spring sunlight filtering through the tree tops and through his bedroom slowly brought young Terin to waking. The Fayl’Idayn boy was comfortably wrapped in his winter blanket, as it was still too cold to break out the summer bedding. With his back to the window, the warm light gradually spread across the back of his golden-brown haired head and his long, tapered left ear that stiffly lay against the side of his head, slightly angled upward while he rested. The growing warmth along his ear is what woke up. With a soft sigh, the boy rolled to his back and shielded his sky-blue eyes while they adjusted to the morning light. Usually, his father woke him to help with chores and give lessons, but for the last few days Terin had been allowed some respite as his mother was heavy with child, due to be born any day. His father was devoting more attention to her needs than to the house, and he made sure that Terin knew that the next two or three months might be a little more hectic with the new baby.

Terin didn’t mind the chance to relax and play a bit more than usual, though he still didn’t completely neglect his chores. He had mixed feelings about the new sibling—for a Fayl’Idayn he actually made a rather young brother as women could only become pregnant about once every ten years. Many couples who yearned for more children would put that off until the previous child was around twenty, so that they could devote their energies to one at a time. Not his mother, though. Iloysia loved children and wanted an abnormally large family. His father, Firion, went along with her wishes, though Terin remembered seeing him balk when Iloysia mentioned that she might like to try for a third the next time her cycle came around. They were quite a young couple, and Terin was their first born. On one hand, he was intrigued by the prospect of a younger sibling, and felt a sense of responsibility by his position as the eldest, but on the other, he was reluctant to relinquish his position as the only child. Though, at this point, he realized that there was nothing to be done. Soon enough he would have a little brother or sister, but he didn’t realize just how soon that would be...

Slowly, scratching his bare chest, the Fayl’Idayn boy swung his legs off the side of his bed, then gave a shiver at the morning chill. He pulled his blanket over his shoulders, then shuffled across the solid wood floors of his room to the depressions in his smooth wood walls that served as cubbyholes. The whole home was grown from a tree to suit the family’s needs. Terin’s room had a rounded form to it, though the floor was at least flat. His bed’s frame was grown from the wall, a mattress of linen stuffed with down-like seed fibers of cattails laid on top of it. The cubbyholes were a part of the entire structure as well. The union between Fayl’Idayn and fae allowed for this; individuals wishing to grow a home would make a contract with the faeries of the tree, whom in turn would encourage the tree to grow a gall-like structure in which the Fayl’Idayn family could live. The homes rose high off the ground, climbing higher and higher as the tree grew, but a spiraling staircase always remained around the trunk to reach the ground, as well as a series of catwalks and bridges between each building of the Fayl’Idayn village.

Terin took the last clean tunic from the cubbyhole where he kept them, and pulled it on over his head. It was dingy green and cotton, trimmed with yellow embroidery. His mother made it, along with all his clothing, but it looked like it was time for him to take his wardrobe down to the creek and wash it himself. The boy glanced sourly to the pile of dirty clothing gathering in a corner of his room. Before he could change from his loose sleep pants to a clean pair of breeches, hurried footsteps echoed down the hall, coming to his room, and his father flung back the curtain that hung over Terin’s doorway. He hadn’t even changed out of his own nightshirt and pants and his golden blond hair, falling just beyond his shoulders, was mussed from sleep. Despite this, Firion was alert; his ears perked high, his body tense, and blue-gray eyes wide. “Your mother is going into labor!” he gasped. “Quick, go fetch the midwife!”

Terin stared blankly at his father for a moment, wondering why he was the one assigned this task. He of course knew where to find their midwife; she was a member of the Odoco clan of Ochae’nafod that lived below on the forest floor, but he barely had any dealings with her—at least, not since he was born, and he certainly couldn’t remember any of that. However, he realized that he was probably better off being the one to find the midwife rather than sitting awkwardly at his mother’s bedside while she labored away. With the briefest of nods to his father, Terin darted by him, Firion stepping out of the way just in time to let the boy through before following Terin down the hall. At the entry to the kitchen, Terin shot left, while Firion went right, climbing the stairs to the second level of their home where he and his wife slept.

Terin dashed out the door, across the deck, and snatched a rope hanging from a branch over head. It swung under his weight, and he scurried down it. IT was quicker than the stairs that wound around the trunk of the tree. Once he hit the ground, he paused to catch his breath. He wasn’t ready for such exertion first thing in the morning, before breakfast even! A second later, he was off again, heading toward the thicket where the Odoco clan made their home, tearing through the forest duff with bare feet.

The thicket was not far at all. While the Fayl’Idayn kindly asked trees to bend to their whim to provide them homes, the Ochae’nafod did the same to the plants on the ground. Often, this was to serve as camouflage, but as this particular community was safe living alongside the Fayl’Idayn, they were not so concerned with hiding. Instead, a graceful arch of berry brambles marked the entrance to their own little community, which was only about ten individuals strong, each on with their own small home of soil and brambles.

As Terin hurried in, the slim and graceful people living within spared curious glances for the boy. They all looked rather similar, all with brown hair, though they did vary somewhat with shade, and large, expressive brown eyes. Though they were rather akin in looks to Fayl’Idayn with their long, tapered ears, fair skin, and lean bodies, their facial features were vaguely reminiscent of deer, the animal which they were bound to and could shape-shift into. It took Terin a good minute to identify their midwife, but she noticed him first.

“Young Terin?” the Odoco woman inquired, gracefully striding toward him on long legs, bared by the split skirt of her off-white robes. “Is your mother ready to deliver?” she asked calmly. Terin looked up at the midwife and nodded eagerly. “HOLONE!” the midwife shouted toward her small home. “Fetch my kit!”

A doe-eyed girl’s head peeked out of the low-laying hut, then ducked back inside. A moment later, the girl re-emerged with a rough flax satchel slung across her narrow shoulders. Holone was almost two years older than Terin. They played on occasion, but she didn’t play as rough as the Fayl’Idayn boy. He liked her though, she was always so gentle and graceful, and a good friend to talk to.

The young Fayl’Idayn turned on his heel and jogged back toward his home, the Odoco midwife and her daughter following behind him with long strides. Lillia, the midwife, was a bit taller than his mother, though not quite as tall as his father, but when he was alone with her, her lean frame and lanky limbs made her feel much taller than she really was.

“How long has your mother been laboring?” the midwife inquired as they continued toward the stairs.

“I dunno,” Terin said with a shrug. His lack of insight seemed to have told the midwife enough, as she asked no further questions.

At the stairs, Terin opted for a slower pace, walking instead of running. It would be even worse to climb the stairs at a run. While they climbed, a cry echoed distantly from the home above, giving Terin a momentary fright. “Do not fear,” the midwife soothed from behind him. Terin glanced back to see a serene smile on her doe-like face. “Birth can be painful, but I will let no harm befall your mother.”

Terin responded with a silent nod, but increased his pace. The sooner the midwife could be there with the Ochae’nafod healing powers, the sooner he would feel assuaged about his mother’s well-being.

Finally, they reached the patio and Terin let the midwife into the kitchen. She listened for a moment to the sound of Iloysia laboring upstairs—not quite as loudly as they had heard down the trunk—she went directly to Firion and Iloysia’s room. She had been to their home many times and knew her way around. Terin, curiously, followed her upstairs a few steps behind.

Iloysia’s whimpers and gasps could be heard more clearly as they reached the bedroom, which the midwife let herself into.

“Oh, thank Entra you’re here, Lillia!” Firion greeted the midwife anxiously. “Her water has broken. I think it will be soon.” As Lillia the midwife entered, Terin let his curiosity get the best of him and peeked behind the curtain hanging over his parent’s doorway.

“Well, let’s hope that it will be,” Lillia said reassuringly to Firion while she sat on the bed beside Iloysia. “Second children always come easier than the first. Do you feel the need to push yet?”

Terin wondered momentarily if his own birth had been hard on his mother. Apparently not too hard, as she was quite eager to go through it again.
“No,” Iloysia’s response to the midwife came raggedly.

Terin watched Lillia’s brown hair bob with a nod while the midwife drew back the blankets. “Holone, my bag,” she ordered her daughter, who obeyed. Just then, she caught Terin peeking. “Firion, please send the boy away. Holone, join him.”

The boy? Is that what I’m reduced to? Terin wondered bitterly, his fears of the new baby taking his place in the family rearing their heads. As asked, his father moved to the doorway. “Terin, please go downstairs and fix some breakfast for you and Holone, hmm? I know you’re curious, but there’s no need to see your mother in this condition.”

Terin glanced up at Firion, somewhat disappointed, but relieved as well. “Yes, father,” he replied meekly.

Firion laid his hand on Terin’s shoulder, offering him a small smile. “Don’t worry, mother will be fine, Lillia takes good care of her.”
With a nod, Terin turned away, then scuffed downstairs to the kitchen. Holone followed silently and seated herself at the table while Terin dutifully went about collecting biscuits and jam from the cupboard and prepared two servings—one for him, and one for Holone. However, with the sounds of labor upstairs, he barely felt interested in the food.

He set a pottery plate on the table in front of Holone, then sat down across from her. His eyes were on the stairs the whole time. Holone began to eat, unconcerned with the sounds. “Your mother will be fine,” she tried to assure Terin after her first bite. His worry was hard to ignore. “Mama can heal her if anything goes wrong. She said Iloysia has big hips too, should make it easier!”

Terin’s eyes finally wandered back to the Odoco girl. She was talking about his mother’s hips so casually and he stared at her with wide-eyes. Holone blushed. “Sorry, mama has been training me to be a midwife too,” she said. “I forget that people don’t usually talk about having babies over breakfast.” She gave him a sweet smile.

Terin looked down at his jam-smeared, uneaten biscuit. “It’s fine. I’m just…” Terin was at a loss for words. “It’s weird. I can’t help being a little scared.”

Holone shrugged. “This is the way life starts,” she offered. “You’ll see. Maybe one day I’ll be delivering your baby!” she said with a smile.

A final, hearty cry rose from his mother upstairs, but it didn’t sound as painful as before. A moment later, a small, shrill cry followed. Terin looked to Holone, his blue eyes wide. The Odoco girl grinned. “Congrats, big brother!” she cheered.

Re: Of Iloysia: The Story of Terin and Naclia

Post by Naclia » Tue Sep 27, 2016 4:19 pm

Over the course of the day, their neighbors arrived to help the new parents and see the new member of the community. They came bearing gifts of food, drink, and home-made baby supplies. The newlywed couple from the next tree over, Melara and Luthais, decided to help out around the house. Luthais began with packing the gifts of food into the cupboards, then cleaning the dishware that Firion and Terin had yet to attend to. Melara saw to sitting at Iloysia’s bedside to see how she could help. Terin had caught a glimpse of his new sister, but Lillia had insisted on limiting visitors for a few hours while they tended to his mother and the baby. He felt like he was underfoot now, but Holone was right along with him.

Most of the visitors had made their deliveries and say their congratulations, but Holone and Terin told them to wait longer before the baby was revealed. Most were content to let the family have a little space, except for two other guests. A neighbor further out, Anaiya, had brought her lover, Aiden, to help. Once more assistance arrived, Melara started barking orders. She and Anaiya went upstairs to switch Iloysia’s mattress out while Terin and Holone were sent to collect buckets of water that were hauled up to the treehouse by Luthais and Aiden. After an hour of hauling buckets, the children were finally called back up.

Terin and Holone were panting when they reached the balcony again, but they were greeted by a smiling Melara. The ranger looked as though she had been hard at work. She had her long blond hair piled on top of her head, haphazardly kept out of the way, but strands stuck to her sweaty brow. Her shirtsleeves were rolled up to her elbows but sweat had soaked the underarms and back. “Come on Terin, let’s get you in to see your little sister, hm?” Melara said kindly, extending her hand to Terin.

Terin took the woman’s hand and she led him upstairs by her side. As he entered his mother and father’s room, the scene was far more serene than when he was last in here. His mother sat in the center of the bed, covered in fresh linens, her pale blonde hair cascading over the pillows she had propped behind her back. With a gentle, loving smile, she gazed down at the tiny new Fayl’Idayn nursing at her breast. Iloysia was radiant.

Terin was so stunned by this scene that Melara had to give him a push to his mother’s bedside. As he came to her, Iloysia’s loving gaze turned on her first born child. She seemed tired, there were dark circles under her eyes and a sheen of sweat on her brow. Despite that, she glowed with life. Iloysia reached up to stroke Terin’s cheek. “Terin, my dear son. This is your sister, Naclia,” she said.

Iloysia removed Naclia from her teat and wrapped a tiny blanket around her naked body. The baby protested with a small cry, but when she was placed in Terin’s arms, she looked up at her brother with pale blue eyes. Her tiny hands grasped at nothing. She seemed peaceful, despite having been disturbed. Terin studied her tiny, scrunched face. She had a crown of fine, downy hair, colorless for now. “We have the same eyes,” Terin commented.

Lillia chuckled, then Iloysia. “Perhaps,” the Odoco midwife said. “Many babies have blue eyes.” Terin’s joy faltered slightly, but Lillia seemed to sense that. “She is your sister. In the years that come you may notice that you share many things,” she assured Terin.

Terin smiled and hugged the baby close to his chest, then looked at the gathering in the room, around his mother’s bed. His father sat on the other side of the bed, looking on his son and newborn daughter proudly. Anaiya and Aiden, the half-human lover she had taken, looked on. Tears were brimming in Anaiya’s blue eyes, though the half-human did not seem as moved. To Terin’s left, Luthais stood beside his wife, one arm wrapped around Melara’s shoulder. To his right, Lillia stood with Holone, holding onto her daughter’s shoulders.

“Ah!” Luthais exclaimed suddenly, and Terin looked back at him to see him wipe a tear from his eye. “I remember when Elyon was that tiny!” he declared and hugged his wife closer. They had a child too, a five-year old son. Terin could only assume they had left the boy in someone else’s care when they came to help their neighbors.

Melara laughed and patted his chest. “I don’t remember him being that tiny!”

“Oh, he was,” Luthais insisted. “Right Lillia?”

The midwife nodded. “First babies are often smaller than second ones, girls smaller than boys,” she explained, matter-of-factly.

Across the room, Anaiya sighed. “Oh, I can’t wait to have one of my own,” she said. “Four more years and I may be calling upon you, Lillia!”

“Anaiya, please,” Aiden whispered. Even to Terin’s youthful awareness, there seemed to be trouble between the pair. He knew a little of the half-human’s background—he was the son of Ledra, a retired ranger who had lived long enough to have served in the war nearly five-hundred years ago. His father was a human who raised Aiden, but he carried his father’s human surname, Silvermoon. He tried to accept being Aiden L’Ledra, but he seemed to be more accustomed to being Aiden Silvermoon.

No one seemed to want to address what had just passed between the two. “Well, Naclia should rest. She’s had a very hard day!” Iloysia announced to break the awkward silence. Terin returned his baby sister to his mother.

“Yes, and mother as well,” Lillia insisted. “I will return in the morning to see you both.”

“Anaiya, you and Aiden should go home. Luthais and I will take care of things downstairs, alright?” Melara said. “Firion, you take it easy and help Iloysia. We will handle dinner and any other chores that need to be done.”

“I appreciate it,” Terin’s father replied. “Terin, give them a hand, alright?”

Terin nodded to his father. Anaiya nodded to Melara, but she seemed at a loss for words. Her eyes were puffy, as though she were holding back tears, but she quietly departed with a very uncomfortable Aiden slinking along behind her. Melara and Luthais followed them out of the room, then Lillia and Holone. Before they left, Holone hopped back to Terin and gave him a hug. He blushed deep red.

Re: Of Iloysia: The Story of Terin and Naclia

Post by Naclia » Tue Sep 27, 2016 4:22 pm

Terin woke as he always did, rising swiftly from slumber to full awareness with the touch of the sun upon his face. With awareness, came the memory of what was planned for today. His eyes flicked toward the window and he squinted, gaging the position of the sun in order to determine the time of day. He had not overslept, though his sister may not agree. He didn’t doubt that she was already awake, eager to begin the journey that they were due to depart on today. Why Naclia was so keen on seeing the humans’ lands was beyond him, as it always had been. You’d think that the ruffians we chase from the Ardir would be enough to satisfy her curiosity, he thought to himself as he rose in one smooth movement, stretching his arms over his head.

Terin raked his fingers through his hair, loosening bedraggled knots. Their village had a long-running tradition of sending young Fayl’Idayn out into Kosony as a means to understand the events of the world outside. It was a tradition that Terin had put off until now, though he had been due to make the trip ten years ago. Instead, he had opted to go when his sister was ready for her own journey. Naclia had always been far more eager than he. Terin was satisfied enough to do their duty of keeping trespassers from threatening their resources and making footholds in their lands, but Naclia craved more than that. She didn’t always say it aloud, but it was apparent in her eyes when she looked longingly to the north, particularly in the last five or so years, since Elyon returned from his own journey. To go out into the humans’ world seemed unwise at best, tradition or no. Still, Terin admitted grudgingly to himself, there was something exciting about this trip, about going out of the wood to see things he’d only read or heard of in stories.

Crossing the room to his chair, he gathered up the clothing he had set aside for today. Terin stripped out of his bedclothes and tossed them aside into one of the baskets he had relegated to hold dirty laundry. His frame bare, Terin was a lean and well-toned young man. He stood taller than the average male Fayl’Idayn at around six feet in height with a taut physique, telling of his combat training. Few scars marred his skin though, showing that he had seen very few actual fights. Beginning with smallclothes, he dressed. I’m sure all will be fine, he thought as he stepped into his breeches. They were a mix of hemp and flax; strong from the hemp, and softened by the flax. They were dyed deep green to help him blend into the shadowed forest. We’ll head into Kosony, see some sights, and be back within a month, he continued as he donned his vest, a light-weight flax sleeveless shirt that buttoned half-way up the chest to his neck on its high collar. In warmer weather, he opted for wearing it without a shirt underneath. As it was mid-spring—Areria III, by the human calendar—the weather was warm more often than not, but spring showers were still expected. Terin pulled back his golden-brown hair and bound it loosely behind his neck in a ponytail. And maybe this trip will scratch whatever itch Naclia is suffering from, he added to his own thoughts. With this hopeful premise, Terin stepped out of his room, drawing back the hemp canvas curtain between his room and the hall, and headed to the common room. He would handle final his final preparations after breakfast.

Terin and Naclia had claimed this two-bedroom treehouse several decades ago when their parents decided to have another child. With little space in the family home, and no immediate plans for marriage on either of their behalves, the two adult siblings had leapt at the opportunity to take this home when the previous resident married and moved to another village to be with his new spouse. It provided them with much needed solitude while their mother and father dove headfirst into parenting again. Perhaps when one of them decided to start a family of their own, this would be the perfect starter home, though the other sibling would have to move elsewhere. Who would marry first was the question. While both would have an easy enough time finding a partner if they applied themselves, neither sibling was quite ready for that commitment yet. Naclia had many admirers, but she dodged them all, teasing her suitors with a chance only after she had seen the world. She had taken up with Elyon once, and Aiden L’Anaiya, neither proving suitable partners for her. Terin had the same luck as his sister thus far, but both were still young. On the other hand, he had focused much of his energy on his duties to the community, and perhaps too much on watching out for Naclia. She was a capable young woman, Terin was very much aware of that, but big brother instincts were hard to snuff out—especially when Naclia seemed to need someone to pull her feet back down to the ground. The village astrologer told them that Naclia had been born in a year under the element of Air, while Terin was born aligned with Earth. He was the practical one with his feet on the ground, while Naclia too often kept her head in the clouds. After one-hundred and twenty-five years, the two siblings had found a balance in that difference.

As Terin expected, Naclia was already awake. His sister sat at their table, which had been carved from the wood of fallen trees (the Fayl’Idayn never cut down healthy trees for their resources). An empty wooden plate with scattered crumbs and a smear of blackberry jam sat in front of her. Across from her on, on what was typically Terin’s side of the table, was a plate with their mother’s homemade bread and a jar of jam. A ceramic teapot was in the middle of the table, but Terin worried it had gone cold by now. Naclia’s gaze was fixed out the window of their kitchen, and it took a moment for his sister to notice his presence. She looked quite a bit like him, they both had the same fair skin, sky-blue eyes, and light golden-brown hair. Naclia was like a feminine version of himself.

Drawing herself out of her reverie, the female Fayl’Idayn smiled at her brother. “Good morning,” she greeted him, her tapered ears perking upward. “I set out your breakfast for you,” she said, then reached out to feel the teapot. “It’s just barely warm still. Do you want to heat it up some more?”

Terin could tell she was excited to leave today. She wanted him to eat, pack, and be out the door on her schedule. “No, that’s fine,” he replied, shaking his head. Honestly, he would have preferred warmer tea, but that would come at the risk of her impatience, despite the fact that she was the one offering to warm it.

She was already completely dressed for the trip. He hadn’t even put his boots on yet, and she was wearing her favorite dress; a bright blue sleeveless tunic with silver trim along the high collar and chest. A heart-shaped keyhole in the chest revealed a bit of cleavage. His sister had taken after their mother, inheriting a shapely figure. She was trim and lean with large hips, a narrow waist, and a generous bosom. She already had boots and gloves on, which matched the dress. The gloves were long, rising up her biceps, as were the boots, which climbed to mid-thigh, near where her hemline fell. The clothing was her finest, never worn scouting, but she always loved to dress up in it on special occasions. Her long hair was braided into two long, thick plaits that hung down her back. Thick bangs hung over her brow, ending at the level of her eyebrows, but not obstructing her vision. The bangs made her appear to many as innocent and naïve, and in some ways she was, but not quite to the extent that the childish hairstyle gave the sense of.

Terin crossed the room and took his seat in the chair across the table from her. He poured himself some tea into a ceramic cup already set out above his plate, then slathered jam onto his bread. Naclia’s attention drifted back toward the window with an expression that worried Terin all over again. He wished he could understand the fascination his sister had with the outside world. By and large, it seemed like borrowing trouble to him. “It’s a bit late for daydreaming, isn’t it?” he asked her before biting into his bread.

His sister’s gaze turned back to him and she offered a shrug in response. “I can’t help it,” she said. “We’re going someplace completely new to us today,” she added optimistically, smiling across the table at Terin.

He finished chewing his first bite and washed it down with lukewarm tea. “Well, I’m glad you’re so excited about this, but you’ll want to come back down to Aserra before we leave,” Terin replied with a smirk. “After all, if you’re off in a dream the whole time there won’t be much point to our adventure, will there?”

Naclia offered a smirk in response, but had no retort. “So...” he started, looking up from his plate after finishing one slice of bread and jam. “Where shall we go first? We’ve looked at hundreds of maps. Have you seen any place names that sound promising?” he inquired before starting into his second piece.

Naclia’s ears perked up again at the promise of a conversation that stimulated her interests of the moment. “I would like to see the cities of Kosony; Anche, Lertur, and Ady,” she started. “There is a lot of history in those cities, for both us and our neighbors to the north. After that, maybe we should take a boat out of Anche and sail across the Green Sea to Kalestine,” she suggested further. “It seems to be the easiest way to travel, since there is that big swamp that blocks the westlands out of Kosony,” Naclia continued.

Terin knew there were many other places that his sister would want to go. Truthfully, even he wanted to see some of those places. It was really only Kosony that gave him pause, knowing the sort of people that came out of that nation and into their forest. Though, many of the other human nations intimidated him as well, but there were other peoples to meet. The Zaedyn and Brech’mar of the Gayntos and Perdraser Mountain Ranges. Asath of the Ertian jungles. The exotic Ertian Ochae’nafod tribes as well...

Naclia rose from her seat and cleared her dishes off the table. Taking one last swig of her tea, she took them to the countertop and cupboards on the west wall. The built-in furnishings were grown from the tree, shaped with the help of spacers and blocks to form the surfaces they needed. Atop the counter was a pail of water, which Terin had brought up from the forest floor last night. Naclia tipped her plate out the open window and brushed the crumbs off, then washed off the smear of jam with a rag and water from the bucket. She set the plate aside to dry, then washed her tea cup in the bucket as well. They were done drinking from it for the day—Naclia had set aside their canteens on the counter, filled with the last of the Ardir spring water they would probably taste for a long time—so it would be used to clean up dishes, then tossed out.

“We should go see mother and father soon,” Naclia said as she tidied up one last time. “They may try to keep us too long and force us to set out later. There’s a town we can stop at by nightfall, but if we wait too long we’ll be hiking in the dark.” For a moment, Terin wondered why she knew of a town, but dismissed the thought as simply seeing it on the map. After all, a number of farming villages had been marked on the map along the border.

“Human cities...” Terin said thoughtfully. Great avenues of stone buildings, with the closest thing to a woodland being a park. “That would be a sight to see.”

Glancing toward his sister, he read the subtle cues of her impatience from the tension in her shoulders and fidgeting feet. “Sorry, I don’t mean to be dawdling. Just let me finish this...” Terin chewed the last of his bread slowly, savoring the sweet taste of home. He suspected that even the supplies they brought with them would taste differently once they left the Ardir, even if it was only in his mind.

Swallowing his food, Terin stood and stretched. He still wasn’t as rested up as he would have liked, but there was no chance of Naclia allowing him to laze about for another hour or two. “There, now I’m fortified against whatever awaits me on the outside!” he stated optimistically. Naclia looked back at him and smiled, a bit of relief in her expression that he was finally ready. “Let’s go. If I wait too long between eating and talking to mother, my courage may fail me.”

Re: Of Iloysia: The Story of Terin and Naclia

Post by Naclia » Tue Sep 27, 2016 4:25 pm

Naclia and Terin made their final preparations to leave, cleared their house of perishable foods that could mold while they were gone, shuttered the windows, and made sure their door was securely closed so that winds or wild animals wouldn’t ransack their home. They were unconcerned with theft by their fellow Fayl’Idayn or Nafod neighbors, it was simply unheard of in their communities.

Footbridges of wood and hemp rope connected the tree-top homes to each other, and it took three bridges to reach their parent’s home. The bridges were relatively stable, and well-looked after. While they often swayed a bit under the momentum of those who crossed them, Naclia and Terin were well accustomed to it. Their parents’ home was much larger than their own, standing at two stories, merged into the dense branches of an ancient oak. It began with two small bedrooms (along with a sitting room and kitchen) on the main floor, and a larger bedroom on the second floor. Naclia, having taken the lead across the bridges, reached the front door of their parents’ home first. With a rapping of her knuckles on the door to announce their arrival, she stepped in¬side without waiting for a response. Their family home was much more hectic now than it ever was in their youth, as they now had a five-year-old baby sister, a fifteen-year-old brother, and of course, their sister Eina, now eighty-five, who had first prompted them to move out.

It was Eina who first stepped out to greet them. Rather the odd one out, she was a whip-thin young woman with their mother’s pale blonde hair. Naclia always felt that Eina would eventually grow into her curves, but she had to keep reminding herself that, physically, Eina was fully-grown. Aside from a difference in coloration and build, Eina’s face still had similar subtle features marking her as their kin to those with a keen eye for details.

“Hello!” Eina greeted her older siblings with a cheerful smile. Making her way to the door, she stepped gracefully around scattered toys and over a tipped child-sized chair. “You’re both ready to leave? I want to ask a couple things before you leave...” Eina eyed them askance. She seemed excited about something, which seemed out of place considering that her elder siblings were about to leave for an undetermined amount of time.

“Is that Terin and Naclia?” called their mother’s voice from upstairs.

“Yes mother!” Eina called. Immediately, footsteps approached from across the house.

“I’m glad we moved out when we did,” Naclia murmured aside to Terin. Despite this being her family and the home she grew up in, she felt so out of place here. Her youngest siblings were practically strangers to her, while Eina felt more like a cousin than a sister. While she did mourn this fact, she was more grateful to not have to come home to this chaos every day.

Terin gave a secretive smile. “Indeed, I think there may be more Fayl’Idayn living here than in any other single home in the forest,” he whispered in response. He cast a glance toward Eina, who had stepped back inside to pick up the toys in the entry way. “Eina does know we’re going rather far afield, doesn’t she? You’d think she’d be a little more emotional,” he added.

“Hmm... I think she wants something,” Naclia replied with an amused smirk. “Access to our house, perhaps?”

Their mother came downstairs with their youngest sister balanced on a round hip. Some familiar features were shared between her and eldest daughter, but Iloysia’s skin had a warm golden cast to it and pale blonde hair cascaded down her shoulder in thick waves, while Naclia and nearly all her other siblings had inherited their father’s straight golden-brown hair. There was ever a glow about Iloysia, especially around children, and while her skin was supple and unlined by age, there was a distinct agelessness about her that betrayed the three centuries she had seen thus far.

“Ohhh... all ready to go, I see,” Iloysia cooed, taking a sweet and pleasant tone to soothe the tired child clinging to her. “Say hello to brother Terin and sister Naclia, Shaiya!” she encouraged the five-year old, but the little girl’s sky blue eyes only passed disinterestedly over her eldest siblings as she rubbed one with a fist. Like most of her siblings, Shaiya inherited the golden-brown hair, currently cut rather short and pulled up into messy pigtails on either side of her head. She was still in a sleeping gown, and had apparently just been taken from bed. Noticing Shaiya’s nonchalance toward Terin and Naclia, Iloysia apologized; “Sorry, she’s a bit tired.”

It was a half-truth. Shaiya barely knew Terin and Naclia as some of her closest kin. They were distant relations in her life, no more familiar than other neighbors amongst the trees. Iloysia swung about from the door, and motioned for her elder children to enter. “Come in and sit,” she insisted, “I have some things for you.”

At their mother’s request, Terin and Naclia filed into their childhood home and sat down at the familiar old dining table. Their father sat there with his breakfast, a plate of bread with jam and a steaming cup of tea. Firion always seemed harried with the demands of three children at home, and now with two adult children entering the dangerous, wide world beyond the Ardir, but he never complained. Still, he seemed more aged than their mother, though Firion and Iloysia were close in age. There were faint lines on his face, about his eyes and brow, but to a human he would seem no older than his early thirties. Iloysia set sleepy-eyed Shaiya into a chair next to Firion, who immediately set about feeding her pieces of his breakfast.

“Good morning Terin,” Firion greeted his eldest son with an incline of his head while caring for his youngest daughter. “Naclia,” he added, regarding her much in the way he had greeted Terin. Their father was a somewhat stoic man, and Naclia expected very little emotional fanfare from him, but he had his moments of overwhelming warmth that came out in unexpected moments, usually when it was most needed.

Naclia stepped up to the kitchen table, leaning against the back of a chair. “Good morning father,” she returned her father’s greeting with a smile, unable to contain her excitement in front of him. Behind Firion, Iloysia was collecting food supplies from her cupboards. She had set a fresh stack of acorn bread on the table so far, along with a few small earthenware jars. Naclia was far too eager to be on her way, and sitting seemed unbearable. She hoped that their mother didn’t load them down with too many jars. This was the reason she wanted to get an early start, and hopefully their mother and Eina wouldn’t keep them long.

“Here, I have a fresh bread, baked yesterday, some jam, herbal tea, and honey,” she explained, pointing everything out for them. Naclia and Terin had anticipating their mother’s concern packaged as food, so they had kept their own food stock minimal.

“You two are weird,” came a young man’s voice from the hall behind them. Terin and Naclia turned back to their younger brother, Rethas. At fifteen years old, what his elders wanted to do was always the opposite of what wanted, and right now, his significantly older siblings were looking forward to their first foray out of the forest so he had to find fault somewhere. “Why would anyone want to leave here anyway?” Rethas scoffed, leaning against the wall casually.

Terin arched his brow at Rethas, a very slight smirk on his lips. “Jealous, are we?”

“I’m not!” Rethas exclaimed, outrage written across his face for a brief moment. “Really, I’m not,” he insisted, directing the comment at Naclia.

Naclia smiled to herself and started packing away their food. “Oh, of course not,” she teased. “You know you’re curious about what’s out there.” Given another twenty or thirty years, Rethas would be chomping at the bit to get out, especially when his more relatable older sister was coming of age.

Firion shook his head, though he seemed amused. “Aren’t you a bit old to be teasing like that?” he asked Terin mildly.

Terin reacted with a suitably chastised expression and gave a respectful nod to Rethas, who tossed his head arrogantly. “I’m not jealous,” he asserted one last time, with all the solemnity he could muster.

“Let’s not go filling their heads with fantasies of adventure!” Iloysia piped in. “If this doesn’t stop with your generation, one of these three will be bringing home a human for a spouse!” she jerked her thumb in the general direction of her younger children. Naclia’s mischievous little smirk disappeared and she became intent on fitting the jars into her pack for a moment. The shift was missed by most of her family, but Terin had just barely caught it out of the corner of his eye. “Do take care not to let that jam go to waste,” Iloysia instructed. “It should last you a week and by then I certainly hope your curiosity is satisfied.”

Naclia gave a light sigh and bit her tongue. There was no way that she would be satisfied with a measly week. There was so much more to see than just a bit of Kosony. Even Terin anticipated staying out longer than that. Elyon had been gone for an entire year. There was no time limit on the journey, but contact with humans was the least that was expected.

“You’re too kind to us, mother,” Terin said.

Firion sighed. “This is so strange,” he said, his voice somewhere between sad and proud. “You’ve both grown up so much and now you’re leaving to see the wider world. I never really thought this day would come so soon, but here we are.”

“It has been over a hundred years, papa,” Naclia said, taken aback by their father’s sudden display of emotion.

“We’re not going to be gone forever, father,” Terin pointed out awkwardly.

Firion gave Naclia a disapproving look. “One day, a hundred years will seem like nothing to you.” He rose from the table and came to embrace his eldest daughter. “And it may seem that way to you, my son,” he addressed Terin. “But you may be surprised how long it feels to those left behind.”

Terin and Naclia exchanged a helpless look between each other. “We really should be on our way,” Terin said softly.

“Before you leave, would you like a home-cooked breakfast?” Iloysia quickly suggested as a ploy to get even more time with her oldest children.

Naclia sighed reluctantly. “Sorry mama, we already ate,” she said. “I promise we won’t stay gone too long, but a year is what the elders advise.”

“I think the elders and I have very different ideas on what is ‘too long,’” Iloysia protested, but made her way over to her eldest daughter to hug her. Firion edged over to Terin’s flank and laid his hand on his son’s shoulder, then pulled him into a hug as well.

After debating their parents, Naclia and Terin were finally able to slip out of the house, their bags much heavier than before. They said goodbyes multiple times and hurried across the balcony to the rope-pulley system that offered a quick descent to the forest floor. Naclia grabbed the rope and had one foot on the bar at the end when the front door of their parent’s house creaked open just after Terin shut it. Their sister Eina slipped out.
“Hey… I just wanted to ask for something before you left,” she said sheepishly.

Terin and Naclia exchanged a knowing glance. Without waiting for her to struggle with her question, Terin pulled a carved hardwood key from his pocket. “The house?” he asked his little sister.

Eina’s freckled cheeks blushed deeply. “Yeah,” she replied.

Terin smiled and pressed the key into her hand. “Keep it clean.”

Eina grinned and clutched the key to her chest. “I will! I swear! Thank you so much!” She suddenly threw herself at her elder brother and hugged him tightly. She was probably more eager to be out of their parents’ house than sad to see Naclia and Terin leave. Eina returned to the house and left Terin shaking his head.

“I called it,” Naclia grinned.

“That you did,” Terin replied and stepped onto the footrest at the end of the rope as well. The two siblings, with no patience to take the trip down one at a time, stepped off the balcony and let their weight bear them down to the forest floor rapidly. The rope gave a jerk as the counterbalance hit the top of the pulley, but Terin and Naclia had prepared for that and jumped off just as it snapped back. The pulley system clanked far above their heads. Terin stood for a moment under the tree that held the house where he and Naclia were born, looking up into the branches as they filtered the morning sun and sent it dappling across the floor. A meditative look was on his face as he took in the moment and committed it to memory. Naclia watched him quietly, sharing the moment of reverence.

“You know, it will be very different to meet humans who aren’t pointing weapons at me,” Terin commented as he came back to the present. “I’m not sure I’ll know how to react,” he laughed.

“A little role-reversal, perhaps?” Naclia added with a smirk.

Re: Of Iloysia: The Story of Terin and Naclia

Post by Naclia » Tue Sep 27, 2016 4:27 pm

The two walked across the village to the trailhead. They passed the briar-guarded village of the Odoco clan, waving farewell to their neighbors. As they reached the border of their home village, some of their closest friends were waiting for them. They had celebrated together two nights ago, but one last goodbye was in order. Newlyweds Elyon and Holone stood side-by-side, holding hands, while Aiden stood just to their side, looking like the odd-man-out.

“You two ready for the adventure of a lifetime?” Elyon called out, grinning at his childhood friends as they approached.

“Damn straight I am!” Naclia called out.

Terin walked up to Elyon and embraced his friend. Holone wrapped her arm around Terin from the side of her husband. “It’s about time you finally headed out, Terin,” Elyon commented as they pulled back from the embrace.

“Yeah, yeah,” Terin said, shaking his head.

Holone took Terin’s hand in hers. “At least you will not be alone,” the Odoco woman said. Terin still blushed when she took his hand, but his long-nursed crush on the doe-eyed girl was abandoned years ago. She had fallen in love with Elyon, and when he left on his journey five years ago, Terin and Naclia had watched her pine and fear for her beloved. Once he returned, they married. It was never meant to be between Terin and Holone, but he was happy she found someone else to love.

Naclia was standing across from Aiden while Elyon and Holone said goodbye to Terin. Aiden watched her with his piercing blue eyes. As Terin once pined for Holone, Aiden still pined for Naclia, but they had once been lovers. Very briefly. “I wish I could join you,” Aiden said. However, his motivation for leaving was not as much following Naclia as it was finding answers on his background.

“It’s only four more years, Aiden,” Naclia said gently. His father, the half-human, had abandoned his mother not long after she conceived him. Perhaps out of spite, or following in human traditions, Anaiya named him Aiden, after his father. It was considered a faux pas to name a child after the living, but Aiden Silvermoon was such an outsider that the social transgression was largely ignored. Aiden L’Anaiya still was determined to find his father when he was granted his Journey.

Aiden gave a deep sigh and nodded. “Four more years,” he agreed with reluctance. Naclia kissed his cheek and gave him a hug. “While you’re out there, could you see what you can find about the Silvermoon name?” he asked as she withdrew.

“I’ll ask where I can, but seeking your father is your journey, not mine,” Naclia said sagely.

Reprimanded, Aiden nodded and dropped his gaze.

“Well, let’s not keep these kids any longer!” Elyon declared.

“I’m five years older than you,” Terin protested.

“Yeah, but who’s leaving for the Journey ten years late, eh?” Elyon joked, slapping Terin’s arm.

Holone giggled. “Oh, let him be! It’s only fair for them to travel together. Who else has two children so close together in age but Iloysia?” It gave Terin pause to think that one day Rethas and Shaiya could be taking this Journey together too.

“I jest! I jest, my love!” Elyon laughed, then kissed his bride on the brow. He returned his green-eyed gaze to Terin. “Good travels, my friend,” he said sincerely to Terin, patting him on the shoulder.

“Good travels,” Holone echoed, smiling sweetly to Terin.

“Farewell,” Aiden offered, loud enough for both to hear, but directed at Naclia and filled with longing.

“See you later, Aiden,” Naclia said, markedly more casual about it than Aiden as a counter to his emotional intensity. She moved onto Elyon and Holone. The couple hugged her close, despite the fact that she had once been intimate with Elyon. It had been so long ago, and it was that short-lived romance that led to Holone finally declaring her love for Elyon. “I want to see a cute little doe-eyed baby from you two when I get back!” Naclia teased the couple.

“Oh, you will return long before that happens!” Holone gasped incredulously. Naclia laughed and said her last goodbyes to their friends. As they departed the village, the glanced over their shoulders until their friends were nearly out of sight and gave one last wave before becoming lost in the greenery.

As they traveled north on the trail they had walked many times, Terin had to take in his familiar forest home, appreciating every tree and spring flower as though he would never see them again. We’ll be back, Ardir, he silently promised. No matter how long we’re gone or how fascinating the outside is, these two wayward children will return to you.
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