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Messages - Arandir

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31
The Shanachie Theater / Re:
« on: September 24, 2016, 02:24:26 PM »
There was someone else who was also worried about the sudden rash of violence in Rhy'Din. Though not a native, Arandir was of mixed blood. His mother had been elven, and his father human on a world where his mother's people were discriminated against and hunted nearly to the brink of extinction. It was why he was here in Rhy'Din, after all. His mother had sent him here to keep him safe, but now it seemed as if Rhy'Din was proving to be as dangerous as the world he had escaped.

He didn't really understand what the violence and hatred was all about. He hadn't understood it back home either. Why could people not live together in peace and harmony? Even after everything that had happened, he could not bring himself to hate those who had killed his people. How could he when their blood flowed through his veins, as much as that of those they'd murdered?

His grandfather had once told him that it was fear that was to blame. Fear of that which they did not understand. Wasn't it better, then, to get to know those who were different in order to understand them better? Aran knew most people only wished to live in peace, to raise their families in peace, no matter their race.

Oh, there were those who craved power and domination, but wasn't that in part what this election was all about? To weed out those who only craved power? Who had given this Humanity First the right to interrogate, torture, and condemn those they believed were against them. He was not sure if the fae woman was guilty of the crimes of which she had been accused. He was not sure of anything. It saddened him that lives had been lost and that racial hatred was being used as a platform upon which to build a candidacy. Was this truly justice, or was it vengeance?

He understood that everyone in Rhy'Din was being given a chance to speak up and choose who they thought would make the best candidate, and he intended to cast his own vote for who he thought would serve Rhy'Din best. He had heard both good and bad and had weighed his choices. What Rhy'Din needed, he thought, was unity. He had seen first hand what could happen if hatred was allowed to fester and grow. Though his birth had been meant to unify the people, in the end, it had only served to pull them farther apart.

Aran fingered the amulet at his throat that was said to carry the memories and history of all his people. If you could not learn from the mistakes of the past, you were bound to repeat them. He hoped the people of Rhy'Din would be wise enough not to make the same mistakes that had been made on his own home world.

He did not only have himself to think about now, but Carina and her family, as well as all the friends he'd made in Rhy'Din. No matter what happened here, he was not going to run away again. This time, he would stand up and fight for what was right, no matter the cost.

Maybe it was a good thing he had been given a small part in the theater's current production. It would give him a little time to look into doing something to unify Rhy'Din against those who might try to tear it apart. Maybe he'd talk to Mataya and see if something could be done right here at the theater to promote peace. After all, the theater was a place where diversity was not only endorsed but welcomed. It was worth a try. The worst she could do was tell him no.

32
The Shanachie Theater / Re: I'm here. Let's get the show on the road.
« on: August 28, 2016, 04:24:33 PM »
Despite his shyness, Aran had the voice of an angel, or more accurately, the voice of an elf. Though traditionally sung as a duet in the musical, he had chosen to perform "Stranger in Paradise" from Kismet as a solo, demonstrating the uniquely lyrical quality of his voice perfectly.

Quote
Company Applied for (Theater/Repertory/Ballet/Band):Please include a preference to be a regular or guest performer

Theater (Regular)

Name (inc. title):

Arandir of Ilyethlin

Address:

743 Dragon's Heart Lane
Rhy'Din City


Is there anything concerning your medical history or state of health that is relevant to your application? Yes*/No (*If you answer Yes please give details):


No

How much notice do you need to give to your current employer, if currently employed?


None/Currently employed with the Shanachie Theater Company

Previous training pertinent to this application (if any):

None

Previous experience pertinent to this application (if any):


Shanachie Theater Company 2014-2016 Seasons


Do you have any criminal convictions? Yes*/No (If you answer Yes please give details):


No

Please note - The positions offered by the Shanachie Theater are full time and salaried. Members of the Company and Band will be expected to keep to a strict rehearsal and performance schedule. Sick and holiday pay is non-negotiable and subject to duration of employment. The directorship withhold the right to terminate employment, should contractual obligations not be met.
[/i]

33
The Shanachie Theater / Re: The Secret Garden (Musical)
« on: May 29, 2016, 02:08:58 PM »
A couple of days into the current run  ...

To say Arandir was confused by his role as Neville Craven was a bit of an understatement. He'd read the novel in preparation for the musical, and he remembered seeing the previous year's performance of the stage drama. He'd even discussed the story ad nauseam with anyone who'd lend an ear, and still he couldn't quite grasp his character's motivations.

Once again, he'd found himself cast as a character who went against everything the young elf believed in. He understood he was playing the part of a man whose broken heart had led him down a dark path, and yet, he could not understand Neville's motivations, especially where Colin was concerned.

It had been fellow actor and friend, Josh Stuart, who he'd finally gone to for advice, when all else had failed.

"You can't think like yourself," Josh had explained, as the two actors discussed the role over lunch in the theater cafe. "Neville Craven is not you. He's let his jealousy blacken his heart until all he can see is his own misery. He doesn't care about anything, but stealing what little happiness he can from his brother."

"But why?" Aran asked further, clearly confused. "I don't understand the theater, Josh. Mataya only hired me because I can sing. Maybe I should resign and do something else," he added, frowning with worry.

"What would you do?" his friend asked, curiously.

"I don't know. I could work in Carina's parents' shop. I know a little about herbs and healing," Aran admitted with an uncertain shrug.

"I thought you loved the theater," Josh pointed out.

"I do! I just ..." Aran trailed off with a sigh, unsure how to explain. Back home in Ilyethlin, there was no such thing as theater, and it was a confusing concept for him still, even after a few years. "Why do I keep getting cast as the ... what do you call it again?"

"The antagonist?" Josh asked with a smile. "You were a fantastic Hook! Everyone could see what fun you were having up there. What's different about this?"

"It just doesn't feel right to me," Aran replied, worriedly. "Maybe you should take my place."

Josh's expression turned serious, as he glanced at his friend. "Aran, it's not real," he pointed out. "It's just a character in a story. Don't take it so seriously. If it's bothering you that much, I'll ask if I can take over, but I really think you should finish. Have you talked to Carina about this?"

"No, I don't want her to worry," the half-elf replied, frowning further.

"Maybe you should. I think maybe you're overthinking this. You're not Neville Craven. You're Arandir pretending to be Neville Craven. That's all."

"I know. I understand that. It's just ..." Aran said, trailing off, at a loss for words again. There were times he wished he could explain himself better, but some things just couldn't be explained in words.

"It's a challenge," Josh said, filling in the blank, and smiling in understanding before he explained further. "The best roles - the ones that make us grow the most as artists - are the ones that are the most challenging. Your job is to make the audience not only despise Neville, but sympathize with him, too. He's as much a victim of fate as everyone else in the play. The only difference is that he lets his jealousy and his grief corrupt him to a point where he's no longer redeemable. Think of it as a lesson to others of how not to live their lives. The way I see it the whole play is a lesson. It's a difficult part to play, I admit. The audience is going to cheer for the good guys, but the more you make them believe you are Neville, the more they are going to appreciate your performance. In the end, it's not about who's playing who. It's about the play as a whole. The more convincing you play your part, the easier it is for those around you to accept you in that role and play theirs. Do you understand?"

After a long moment, Aran nodded. "I think so." He still wasn't sure he fit the part of Neville Craven, but if he understood Josh correctly, it wasn't about whether he fit the part or not - it was about creating an illusion and making the audience believe he was Neville Craven, and that was something he understood very well.

"To be honest, playing the villain is a lot more fun than playing the hero, once you wrap your head around it," Josh added with a grin.

"Why?" Aran asked, curiously.

"Because you can do things on stage you'd never dare do in the real world. It's liberating, in a way."

"Well, I would never treat anyone the way Neville does. I would try to help my brother, and welcome Mary, and cure Colin," Aran pointed out.

Josh laughed. "Of course, you would, but that's why they call it acting. If it gets to be too much, I'll talk to Ludo. Promise! But I really think you should finish."

"I'll try," Aran replied. "Thank you for talking with me, Josh. I think I understand now. It's about creating an illusion and teaching a lesson, right?"

Josh chuckled at his friend's innocent misunderstanding. "Partly, but mostly, it's just about having fun and entertaining people. Try not to take it too seriously and just have fun with it, Aran. Trust the director and your fellow actors. You're not alone. You're all in this together. You can do it! I believe in you," he added, giving his friend's shoulder a squeeze.

Aran nodded again, absorbing everything Josh was telling him, and trusting his friend implicitly. It was a lot to ask, but he hoped he could manage it. Everyone else seemed to believe in him; somehow, he just had to figure out how to believe in himself.

34
The Shanachie Theater / Re: Prima Donna
« on: February 20, 2016, 11:39:07 AM »
Arandir was mostly quiet while he readied himself for that night's performance. There wasn't much for him to do really. His own good looks would carry him through, and with the help of a wig, a little makeup, and a costume, he would become the handsome, young Vicomte de Chagny - the Phantom's only rival for the heart and hand of the lovely, young ingenue, who just happened to be played by his wife.

He looked over at Eregor, whose handsome face was being transformed into something hideous, and wondered why the man was thanking him and Carina. He could not deny Carina was amazing, despite it being her first time playing such a role. Like Aran, she was half-elven and gifted with the art of song, so it was no great surprise that she had an extraordinary voice, but it was Eregor's own talent that had won him the title role, nothing Aran or Carina had done.

The truth was that a lot of what Eregor and the other cast members at the theater said didn't always make sense to a half-elf who hadn't been in Rhy'Din very long, though he'd learned not to take people too literally. Meaty he understood as meaning something with substance, and giddy meant happiness, but then his co-star mentioned ham, and Aran was completely lost.
 
Before he had a chance to ask for an explanation, however, Eregor was taking his leave. The half-elf had never quite worked out why everyone was always telling their fellow cast members to break a leg before a performance. He knew it was supposed to be another way of saying good luck, but he couldn't understand what was so lucky about it.

"Break a leg, too!" Aran replied, though he thought perhaps he should be hoping for the opposite. Whatever happened, Aran knew his friend was going to be an amazing Erik - so long as he didn't actually break a leg.

35
The Shanachie Theater / Re:
« on: February 14, 2016, 10:42:16 AM »
Why does it make me giggle to see Yas cast as Carlotta? A diva playing a diva. ;)

36
The Shanachie Theater / Re: WHAM! 101.1FM Presents: Live at the Shanachie
« on: December 04, 2015, 10:16:45 PM »
The Christmas Song
Performed by Arandir

Arandir's Introduction:
Mae g'ovannen. I'm Arandir, and I'm one of the members of the Shanachie Theater Company. Some of you might remember me as Captain Hook from Peter Pan! This is only my second Winterfest in Rhy'Din, so I'm still learning about all the customs and traditions of the holiday season here. I've chosen a song about some of those traditions. It's called "The Christmas Song", but it could just as easily be about Winterfest. I hope you all enjoy it!

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
Jack Frost nipping at your nose
Yuletide carols being sung by a choir
And folks dressed up like Eskimos.

Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe
Help to make the season bright
Tiny tots with their eyes all aglow
Will find it hard to sleep tonight.

They know that Santa's on his way
He's loaded lots of toys and goodies on his sleigh
And every mother's child is going to spy
To see if reindeer really know how to fly.

And so I'm offering this simple phrase
To kids from one to ninety-two
Although it's been said many times many ways
Merry Christmas to you.

And so I'm offering this simple phrase
To kids from one to ninety-two
Although it's been said many times many ways
Merry Christmas to you.

37
The Shanachie Theater / Re:
« on: November 20, 2015, 11:24:59 PM »
It's already been said, but I just wanted to thank and praise Yasmin's player once again for the interviews. They not only make for fun reading, but are a lot of fun to participate in, as well. And it allows the characters being interviewed to share some insights into themselves that others might not know about them. Thanks again, Yas, for all your hard work. You're awesome.  +heartu+

38
The Shanachie Theater / Re:
« on: October 04, 2015, 02:56:05 PM »
I've been looking around online at various performances of Les Mis, and wow, this one just blew me away, so I had to share. What an amazing voice. :)

Ramin Karimloo singing "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables".

39
The Shanachie Theater / Re: WHAM! 101.1FM Presents: Live at the Shanachie
« on: October 04, 2015, 01:27:07 PM »
Les Miserables
"Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" - Marius, as performed by Arandir

Arandir's Introduction:
"Mae g'ovannen. My name is Arandir, and I have been asked to introduce this next song from the production currently playing at the Shanachie Theater. It is a sad song about loss and grief, and one I'm sure many people can relate to. The song finds Marius lamenting the deaths of his friends after the failed uprising. As the only survivor, he feels not only grief and loneliness at his friends' deaths, but a sense of failure and guilt that he has survived when his friends have not. I think the song speaks mostly for itself. I would just like to add that I am eternally grateful to everyone at the Shanachie Theater for allowing me to be part of it, and especially to Mataya and Ludo for believing in me. Also, to all those who come see our productions, and to my beloved Carina, who is my reason for being."


There's a grief that can't be spoken.
There's a pain goes on and on.
Empty chairs at empty tables
Now my friends are dead and gone.

Here they talked of revolution.
Here it was they lit the flame.
Here they sang about tomorrow
And tomorrow never came.

From the table in the corner
They could see a world reborn
And they rose with voices ringing
And I can hear them now!
The very words that they had sung
Became their last communion
On this lonely barricade at dawn.

Oh my friends, my friends, forgive me
That I live and you are gone.
There's a grief that can't be spoken.
There's a pain goes on and on.

Phantom faces at the windows.
Phantom shadows on the floor.
Empty chairs at empty tables
Where my friends will meet no more.

Oh my friends, my friends, don't ask me
What your sacrifice was for
Empty chairs at empty tables
Where my friends will sing no more.



((Here is Michael Ball singing "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables". And for those who prefer the film version, here's Eddie Redmayne in the same role. Though I prefer Michael Ball's voice, I think Eddie Redmayne's performance is closer to Arandir's than the other.))

40
The Shanachie Theater / Re: Les Miserables
« on: October 04, 2015, 11:56:43 AM »
When Arandir stepped out on stage each night, he became Marius. It wasn't an illusion or elven magic to blame. Marius was simply a part Arandir had been born to play, and it was a role that sometimes hit a little too close to home.

It was Cara who had suggested "Empty Chairs At Empty Tables" for his audition, perhaps knowing how much he could relate to the character of Marius and the grief he'd felt after losing everyone he'd held dear. She knew Aran best, after all - better than anyone. He was a quiet soul, a bit of a loner, and though he was friendly, he had not made many friends in the theater, save for his Carina.

His singing, however, was second to none, and his audition had not only brought Ludo to tears, but had unintentionally cinched his role in the musical. Each time since that he had taken the stage to sing it, pouring his own grief and loneliness into the song, there wasn't a dry eye in the house. Though he had no way of knowing what affect he had on those who heard him, each night ended with a standing ovation, not only for him but for the entire cast.

Though Les Mis, as it was affectionately referred to by cast and crew, was a story full of grief and tragedy, it was also a story of love, friendship, and loyalty, and in a way, it was a story that mirrored Aran's own life, such as it was. Like Marius, he had been willing to die with his friends for what he believed in, but had been become the sole survivor. Like Marius, he had lost everyone he had ever cared for, and yet, he had somehow managed to find love, and it was that love that had given him hope and a reason to live.

And so, when the curtain opened each night, Arandir, Half-Blood Prince of Ilyethlin, became Marius Pontmercy, beloved of Cosette, friend of Enjolras, and member of the doomed revolution.



((Here is Michael Ball singing "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables". And for those who prefer the film version, here's Eddie Redmayne in the same role. Though I prefer Michael Ball's voice, I think Eddie Redmayne's performance is closer to Arandir's than the other.))

41
The Shanachie Theater / Re: Auditions 2015
« on: September 06, 2015, 04:08:57 PM »
Quote
Company Applied for (Theater/Repertory/Ballet):
Shanachie Theater Company

Name (inc. title):
Arandir

Address:
743 Dragon's Heart Lane

Is there anything concerning your medical history or state of health that is relevant to your application? Yes*/No (*If you answer Yes please give details):
No

How much notice do you need to give to your current employer, if currently employed?
None

Previous training pertinent to this application (if any):
No formal training

Previous experience pertinent to this application (if any):
Shanachie Theater Company 2014-2015 Season
Mama Mia - Sky
Miracle on 34th Street - Fred Gaily
Fiddler on the Roof - Motel Kamzoil
The Sound of Music - Rolf
Spamalot - Patsy/Mayor of Finland/1st Guard


Do you have any criminal convictions? Yes*/No (If you answer Yes please give details):
No


- For his prepared song, Arandir chose: "Empty Chairs At Empty Tables" from Les Miserables.

- For his prepared scene, he chose: "We Are the Republic," also from Les Miserables.

42
The Shanachie Theater / Re:
« on: August 23, 2015, 12:12:16 PM »
Like Yasmin, Arandir didn't really understand the musical. He wasn't too familiar with Monty Python or any of the shows at the Shanachie, though most were easier to understand than this one. Thankfully, Carina had explained about Arthur and his Knights and, more importantly, about satire. It wasn't that elves didn't have a sense of humor, but it wasn't really in their nature to poke fun at dramatic events, historical or otherwise.

He also wasn't quite sure why Yasmin kept storming off stage the way she was. It wasn't in the script, and he knew from experience that he wasn't supposed to waver from that. Even Eregor surprised him with his little improvisation, but Arandir stuck to his lines, amazed every time the audience laughed at something he said or did.

To his great relief, his big number never failed to draw cheers and laughs from the crowd, though he wasn't quite sure why it was so funny. If anything, he agreed with Patsy's advice. It was good advice, and advice he was trying to put into practice in his own life. After all, back home, his own people might be trying to destroy each other, but here in Rhy'Din, he was trying hard to "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life".

https://youtu.be/wcNpDJ80iqQ

43
The Shanachie Theater / Re:
« on: June 06, 2015, 01:43:51 PM »
"You don't want to know," another voice piped up, quietly responding to the boy's question.

Aran understood only too well about prejudice and hatred. He had been born and raised on a world where elves and humans were at war with each other, and as one of half-blood, had just barely escaped with his life.

As always, he had been more than up for the challenge in playing the part of Rolf. Mataya had chosen him personally for the Shanachie, seeing something in him - some raw talent he didn't know he possessed - and based upon his singing audition alone, had immediately signed him on. He had come a long way since then, only getting better and gaining more confidence with each play he was privileged to be part of.

He'd practiced the part of Rolf with his girlfriend Carina standing in for Lirssa, especially the part where he had to kiss her. It had taken a few tries before he could actually do it without blushing from head to toe, but Lirssa had been patient and encouraging, and after a while, the two were laughing their way through their only number together.

Now, here he was with opening night jitters, hoping, as always, that he didn't make a fool of himself up there on stage. Knowing the others around him were as nervous as he was helped a little, and he'd tried to be helpful and encouraging, especially to the younger ones in the play.

"Try not to focus too much on that and just remember that at the heart of it, the play is about family," Aran suggested to the younger boy, hoping there was no more talk about Nazis or racial cleansing. He was nervous enough as it was without worrying about someone asking why a full-grown half-elf was playing the part of a human boy.

44
The Shanachie Theater / Re: Rhy'Din Actor Database (RAD)
« on: October 18, 2014, 02:02:43 PM »


Arandir
Musical Theater Performer


Arandir comes from the Elven Kingdom of Ilyethlin, somewhere on the other side of the Nexus. Though not formally trained for the theater, it was his exceptional singing voice that garnered him a personal invitation from Mataya De Luca to join the Shanachie Theater Company. He was a member of the theater company from 2014-2017, before leaving to focus on his people and his family, but returned to the theater in 2019.

Physical Statistics
Height: 6'
Weight: 175 Lbs.
Hair: Brown
Eyes: Blue

Filmography
None

Television
None

Theater
Member of the Shanachie Theater Company from 2014-2017 and 2019-present.

Other Works
None

Trivia
- Star Sign: Unknown, but closest equivalent is Cancer.
- His name means "of noble birth" in his native Elven.
- Married to Shanachie theater performer, Carina Cox.
- Half-Blood Prince of the Elven Kingdom of Ilyethlin.

45
Motley Menagerie of Myriad Marvels / The Last Born of the Elves
« on: September 14, 2014, 03:38:04 PM »
"This isn't a battle. It's a slaughter," declared the tall, fair-haired elf who carried himself with the haughtiness and arrogance of a high-born lord, though he was neither haughty nor arrogant. He looked out from the relative, though momentary, safety of a high tower upon the battle ensuing below. "They are pouring over us like ants. There is no hope of winning this battle, no matter how hard we fight," he continued, though it was unclear whether he was speaking solely to himself or to the lady who stood nearby, her fair face as white as chalk. The outcome of the battle was a foregone conclusion. Sheer numbers would overwhelm them eventually. It had been foretold a long time ago.

"Then we must do what we can to save those we are able before it is too late," she replied, her voice as calm as still waters amidst a stormy sea.

"It is already too late," the other said as he drew his sword and moved with elven grace toward the door. He had lived a long life and was unafraid of death. Death was but the start of a new adventure. All of them were old. Too old for this world that was changing far too quickly for the likes of them. Their time was over. It was time for a new age of men, who were spreading as rapidly as a disease across the lands. As numerous as ants and as short-lived, it seemed. They had done what they could to keep the peace, and yet, it had not been enough. Greedy, hate-mongering, selfish children mortals were. Could they not see the folly of their ways?  They would kill every last one of them, and then where would they be? There would be no more magic in the world, no beauty, no song. Jealousy had blackened their hearts, and now it seemed all they cared for was destruction. Well, let them destroy us, then, he thought. But we will not go down without a fight. He paused upon reaching the door, turning slightly as if with an afterthought. "I will buy you as much time as I can, daughter. I fear there is precious little of it left."

"I love you, father," she replied too quietly for him to hear, though she knew he'd heard her in his heart. The door did not close after him, as another took his place. The two of them exchanged a knowing glance, and then he was gone. She knew she would never see him again.

"You called for me, lady," the newcomer said, with a small incline of his head. He did not need to offer such courtesy, and yet, he gave her that. She turned to regard him a moment, and her heart ached with longing. The love she felt for her father was nothing compared to the love she held for this one.

"Yes," she replied, resisting the urge to reach out and touch him, to brush the wayward, sandy hair from his brow.

She need not explain to him the gravity of the situation. He, like all the rest, already knew. There was a bow strapped to his back, and a sword held in his hand. He had been on his way to join the others in battle, no doubt, when he'd received her summons. He had only paused momentarily to greet his grandfather on the way up the long flight of stairs before reaching this, his destination.

Her heart ached to look on him - so young, the youngest among them. Young, untried, untested. He would be tested in battle one day, but that day was not today. He looked so like his father it was like a dagger to her heart. She had loved him well before she'd lost him, before they'd taken him from her. This youngling standing before her - in her eyes, more boy than man - was half man, half elf - the best of both races. An abomination to some, a treasure to others. It seemed like only yesterday he was a small boy - the only child among them, loved by a people who honored him as the prince he was, the last born of the elves of this world.

"What is it you wish of me? I am needed on the parapet," he pointed out.

So young and so eager for battle, she thought. So willing to throw his life away for a people who were not wholly his. "I have more need of you here, Aran," she told him in that calm tone of voice that belied her fear and trepidation. They would all die here this day, if she did not act quickly. "You are the last born of our people," she told him, as she'd told him many times before. "You are the only hope for continuing our race. It grieves me to ask this of you, but you are our only hope."

She stepped toward him with that fluid grace that always made him think she was floating on air, rather than walking. He thought himself a clumsy thing, compared to her. How he had come from her flesh and blood, he could only wonder.

He watched mutely as she drew a gold chain from around her neck from which hung a small, white stone, which seemed to throb with life. Indeed, it was almost as if it was a living, breathing thing - warm and translucent and pulsing with life. He had always wondered at it, and now it seemed he would wonder no longer. He bent his head as she slipped the chain around his neck, the small white stone beating like another heart against his chest. Her hand lingered on the stone a moment before retreating, and she touched his cheek for what she knew must be the last time. He looked into her eyes - deep violet and brimming with tears - and knew without asking what she wanted of him.

"You cannot ask this of me," he whispered, in horror. "I cannot leave you. I will not leave you. Not like this. Not when..." Her fingers touched his lips to silence him, just as his voice caught in his throat. Not when you need me most, he thought, though the words never passed his lips.

"You must and you will," she replied, making no attempt to hide the tears that now flowed freely down her face. "You carry the seed of our people in your blood and our memories in the stone. You were born for this very purpose, Aran. It is what you must do." She stroked his cheek, remembering more innocent days. Long, lazy days spent laughing and lounging in the warmth of the tree-dappled sunlight. Everything she knew, everything she felt, everything she remembered seemed to pass through him like an arrow to the heart as she touched him. Hundreds of years of memories. Memories of love and honor, tragedy and triumph. Memories of a father he had never known, taken from them before he'd been born. His birth had been meant to bring hope to a dying people, and perhaps it still would.

"Please," he pleaded. "Please do not make me do this." His own face was wet with tears, his heart feeling as though it was breaking. This was his home and these were his people. Where would he go, what would he do, and why couldn't they come with him?

She smiled at him, as though she had long ago seen the possibility of this day and had accepted it and prepared for it. If he only knew how important he was. He was their salvation. They would live on through him. "I will make you do nothing, but if you love me, if you love our people, you will do this. You will find a place where you can live in peace and you will remember; and in remembering, we will live on in your heart and in the hearts of all those who come after you. And perhaps someday when the world changes, some of you will return and know this place again."

As grievous as he felt, he knew he could not deny her. Like his father before him, he loved her too much to ever deny her anything, even something as grievous as this. He wanted to stay and fight and die with them, but she would not let him. "Come with me," he pleaded further. If he could not stay, then perhaps she could go with him, but somehow he knew before the words left his lips that she would not.

"I cannot abandon my people, and where you go, I cannot follow," she told him gravely but truthfully. Her heart would die if she left this world, but he was not wholly of her blood. He would live on. "Come," she told him, taking his hand in her own as she had done so many times before and leading him to a corner of the room where stood a great pane of glass.

A mirror or a window, he was not sure which. Whenever he had asked before, she had told him never to touch it or be lost forever to a place where she could not follow. He had disobeyed only once, and that mistake had nearly killed him. She had hidden it away after that, where he could not be tempted, but here it stood once again, like the stone around his neck, pulsing with life, a kaleidoscope of colors that flowed and blended like colored water in a pool. His heart froze in his chest at the sight of that thing, knowing that once he touched it, once he stepped through, there would be no finding his way back.

"Naneth, an ngell n?n," he pleaded again in their native tongue, the tears coming fast and furious, his heart heavy, as though a heavy weight lay upon his chest, though there was only the stone.

"There is no more time," she told him sadly, turning to wave a slender hand across the shifting colors of the mirror.

He knew she was right. It was either fight or flee. He would rather fight, but it seemed she was giving him no choice.

"Live on, my son, and always remember."

How could he ever forget when she had been his whole world?

He wept openly as she embraced him, and she wondered at how he had grown into a man. Far too quickly, but it was better to send a man on this quest than to send a boy. He would become a man soon enough. Among mortals, he would have no choice.

"Farewell, beloved," she whispered, brushing a kiss against his cheek so warm it seemed to burn his flesh. Her fingers touched the stone he bore against his breast, soft as a lover's caress. "So long as you keep this close, I will always be with you."

The moment was interrupted by a soldier at the door. He had just enough time to notice the blood on the soldier's sword and armor that did not seem to wholly belong to the enemy. "They come, my lady," the soldier told her briefly before shutting the door again. There was no need to lock or bar it. That would only further delay the inevitable.

"Now, you must go," she told him and without another word of farewell or plea for time, he was shoved through the portal. The last thing he heard as that world faded from sight was the sound of the door breaking open, followed by a woman's scream. Then he knew no more.

When he awoke, he found himself in a woods, not unlike the woods he knew back home. There was magic here - he could feel it in his bones - but it was not the same magic. It would take time to learn and to master, but for now, he cared nothing of that.

His fingers gripped the stone that hung from his neck, and he remembered his mother's face and voice and words. He remembered everything from the very first moment of his birth. He fell upon his face on the cool grass at the heart-wrenching loss and grief of those memories. He wept for what seemed like days. Hours passed, and the sun sank low in the sky.

When at last he had no more tears left to weep, he composed himself enough to lift his head from the earth and found that daylight had turned to night. Twin moons hung high in the night sky, caressing him with their cold, silvery light, not unlike the orb that pulsed upon his breast. He climbed to his feet, hunger and weariness and grief tugging at his heart and making him choose. He could die of grief or choose to live. It seemed an insult to those he'd left behind to choose the former, and so he chose the latter. He put one foot in front of the other and set off in search of prey. First, he would fill his belly and then he would seek shelter. Once that was done, he would learn all he could of this world and try to understand why the mirror had chosen to send him here.

And he would remember.

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