Author Topic: Troubles of a Teenage Empath  (Read 361 times)

Doran Ilnaren

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« Reply #15 on: July 16, 2018, 11:18:53 PM »
May 30, 2018

The late spring air was filled with the scent of sweet grass and flowers, warm but not so humid that it was uncomfortable. Indeed, it was a perfect day for riding, and so Doran was out in the meadow, astride a chestnut-brown mare. Another horse trotted alongside them, this one grey like the clouds before a thunderstorm.

Spring was nice but it meant the snow was all gone for a while. It was disappointing! Snow was fun! But all in all she wasn't all that disappointed. Her garden was coming along nicely - winter peaches were asleep for the remainder of the year, her flowers were budding, and a few of the others she had snuck in were starting to produce. She was on her way back from the little hide-spot of place she had started the garden at, out of the way and all that. In her arms was a damp napkin, wrapped over something or another.  She heard the horses before she saw them, curiosity of the sound drawing her over. When she spotted them, and their rider, a hand quickly shot up to wave.

Naturally he waved back and guided his steed towards Sylva. "Hullo!" Drawing to a halt, he grinned down at her and nodded towards the napkin in her hands. "What have you got there?"

She watched the horses rather closely as Doran and they approached, as if she wasn't exactly sure how she felt about them. Animals, at times, acted odd around her. His question seemed to pull her attention away from the beasts of burden and up to him. "Huh? Oh!" With a big smile she looked down and began to unfold the napkin. Inside were a number of small strawberries. Ripe but not exactly the largest. One was plucked up and she offered it up to him. "I grew them!" Was that a proud tone? You better believe it!

Dismounting, he looked at the strawberries with unabashed astonishment. "You did? Wow!" Taking the one she offered, he bit down upon it and closed his eyes. "Mmmm, that's good! I've never tried growing anything. I'm more of an animal person."

"Yeah. But the peaches are gone now." She was a little sad with this news. A light blush of color touched her cheeks when he seemed to like it and her smile grew. "It is different for me." Making something instead of destroying it. Growing was sort of like hunting as it required patience and care in what you were doing.  

When he spoke of animals her smile waned, just a touch. "Animals sometimes don't like me." Which was very much the reason she was standing so still at the moment.

"Really?" He looked from Sylva to the horses and back. "Perhaps you just need a good introduction." At his gesture, the smoky-grey horse approached, giving Sylva a soft whinny. "This is Running Cloud."

Her mouth opened to explain but quickly snapped shut when he gestured to the horse. Mismatched eyes went slightly wide and turned up to the horse. You could almost hear her silently praying for the horse not to do anything, especially if it meant hurting Doran. "H-Hello Running Cloud." She made no attempt to move to pet or touch, at least not yet. "Pretty."

Running Cloud whinnied again, then took another step forward, nose inching towards the strawberries in her hand.

She instantly started to take a step back but when she saw it was sniffing at the strawberries she looked to Doran then the horse. A strawberry was taken from the lot and offered out to the horse. "I'm sorry. I should have offered one to you too, huh?"

The horse ate the strawberry, taking it gently from Sylva's outstretched hand and chewing it in that slow, deliberate was that horses have.  Out of the corner of her eye, Sylva might notice Doran feeding his own horse a slice of apple.

She smelled the apple and she looked over, her head tilting curiously. "They like all fruits?" With the strawberry gone her fingers twitched, almost as if she were tempted to try to pet the horse. Instead she lowered her hand to rest over the remaining ones. Eventually she picked out the plump of them all and offered it to Running Cloud.

"Not all fruits, but apples, pears... strawberries, apparently." Doran gave a little chuckle. "Food is a good assist towards earning an animal's trust. Food, a safe place, and honest affection."

"Those are good fruits." She agreed. She giggled as the horse gobbled up the strawberry and this time she dared to touch her fingertips to its velvety nose. It wasn't exactly a pet but more of a simple touch. She was afraid to do much more at the moment. "Why are you riding out with two horses? Are you jumping from one to the other while you are riding?" It would be her to think up something like that.

"No." He grinned in a most impish manner. "I was wondering if you'd like to join me."

That grin. Should she be afraid. "Riding? On your horse with you?" He wasn't suggesting she was going to ride one by herself was he?

"With me, for starters... eventually by yourself."

It was as if you could see the lightbulb above her head. Ding! She blinked at him. "Oh! You want to teach me to ride!" They had talked about it before, sorta, but it had been nothing but talk. She was a bit between nervous and excited. "Okay!" was quickly spilled out.

"Yes. This is Mudball," he said, indicating the horse he was riding. "She was born during after a heavy rain, and always seemed fascinated with running and rolling in the mud."

She was wondering about the odd name and was going to ask but he beat her to it! "I was going to say that was a weird name but it fits. Are these both yours? Or your papa's?"

"They're technically Pa's, but I'm pretty much the only one who rides Mudball. Cloud doesn't have a regular rider."

Her eyes swept to Running Cloud as if she were trying to figure out why he didn't have a regular rider. She knew Cratos loved riding horses when nobody was looking. Carefully folding the napkin over the strawberries she tucked it into her bottomless bag and looked to Doran with a smile. "So you are hoping that if I learn to ride that I will keep Cloud company?"

"Well, I figured it wouldn't hurt to let you two get acquainted, Would you like to ride?"

As nervous as she was, the idea of spending time with Doran wasn't something she was so quick to turn down. Besides! He was going to teach her something new! "Yes. Please?"

"All right... come over here, and stand beside Mudball. Don't be nervous, she doesn't spook easily." He stood next to the brown mare, gently stroking her neck and mane as they waited for Sylva to approach.

Her tongue peaked out to wet her lips. Don't be nervous. Easier said than done! She did as she was told, however, moving to stand next to the mare though she was keeping a close eye on the animal. Any wrong muscle movement and she was gunna tackle Doran out of the way and flee!

Once she was standing next to Mudball, Doran gestured to the stirrup hanging down from the saddle. "Put your left foot in there, then grab this," indicating the saddlehorn, "and pull yourself up, swinging your other leg over and down on the other side. Let your right foot find that stirrup. Once you're up and settled, scoot forward a bit,"

While he waited for Sylva to suck it up and mount, he made sure the saddle was cinched tight enough--but not too tight--under Mudball's belly.

[size=9]((from live chat with Sylva))[/size]

Doran Ilnaren

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« Reply #16 on: September 08, 2018, 05:36:41 PM »
5 September, south side of Old Market near the river

The night was dark and overcast, with both moons merely hazy shapes barely discernible through the clouds. Still, the rain was holding off, which meant that Rhydin's streets were busy yet, between late evening shoppers and night folk. The streets were abuzz with discussion of the upcoming election, the weekend festivities for Citizens Day, and the recent book burnings and missing people. In some ways, the activity across the city was going on in spite of the disappearances.

Not all the passages throughout Rhydin were bustling, though. Some were quiet, even peaceful, while others lay in resless silence, disturbed only by the furtive noises of those who preferred to go unseen. Dark cloth rustled softly as three figures slipped down a backstreet alley, on the hunt and intent on their prey.

The young couple ahead of them was oblivious to their danger, focused solely on each other, their thoughts romantic, even erotic, and an aura of glamour surrounded them. The three dark-clad hunters edged closer, one of them clearly directing the others with swift gestures. Still heedless of the threat, their prey kissed and then one gestured to conjure a flower for the other, getting a brilliant smile in return. Seeing that, the leader of the hunting party sneered, and raised a hand, ready to signal.

"Good evening!" The voice rang out, bright and clear, from the other end of the alleyway. A young man stood there, silhouetted against the street lights. "You may all go now!"

Startled, the couple looked down the alley at the speaker, and then in the dim light they spied the three who had been set to take them, and gasped in shock. The interruption had left their stalkers frozen for a moment, and the pair took the opportunity to rush out into the safety of better-lite and more populated avenues.

Deprived of their targets, the hunters rounded on the intruder, two of them gazing at him with stone-faced expressions while the third, their leader, narrowed her eyes. Unperturbed, the youth approached them, his face as unreadable as a master gambler in a high-stakes poker game. As he drew closer, a faint sapphire-blue glow could be seen in his eyes, and the woman smirked, seeing that perhaps their efforts would not go wasted tonight. "You interfere with our righteous crusade, boy. Sinners must be punished... as you will be! Name yourself, that we may know whose wicked soul we will be purging."

One of the young man's eyebrows arched elegantly as he stepped into the circle of light from a lamp high above. "That's not a very polite introduction," he mused, lips twitching into a grin. "Doran Ilnaren, at your service. And you... you're some of those book-burning nuns, aren't you?"

"We serve Our Lord faithfully, unlike your ilk who have dragged this city into sin and wickedness." As she spoke, the other two moved to either side, ready to come at Doran like pincers of a lobster's claw. "You're a fool, boy, to face us alone."

"Do tell." Then something flashed in Doran's eyes, and a wave of pain washed over the nuns.

Caught  unaware, the leader of the trio doubled over as searing agony flooded her senses. "Aaaah! Get him!" The other two, seemingly unaffected by the empathic assault, blinked once and then rushed at him from both sides.

It had been Doran's turn to be caught by surprise when only one of the nuns fell to his psionic attack. Their instant of confusion, however, gave him time to recover, and he quickly withdrew a small cylinder from his belt. With a quick shake, the cylinder sprang out to form a Minbari fighting pike, and he struck left, then right, catching one nun in the gut and then smashing the other across her jaw, which broke with an audible crack. Disconcertingly, neither of them seemed to be adversely affected by the blows, and Doran was forced to backpedal when they rounded on him and kept coming. Then he stumbled, and the one to his left grabbed his pike, jerking it free from that hand. Snarling, the two of them struggled for control of the weapon, but the other nuns were soon upon him.

The pike was torn from Doran's grip and then jabbed hard into his chest. He dropped his head, straining to catch his breath, while the lead nun turned as whistles sounded in the distance. "The Watch, roused at last, but too late. You will burn for your sins, foolish boy, burn forever. I told you, you should not have faced us alone."

"Alone?" There was an odd echo in the lad's voice, and when he looked up at her, the blue glow in his eyes fairly gleamed. "Who said he was alone?" With that, a ghostly form burst from Doran's body, and then another and another, unsettled spirits now circling around them all. "Foul woman, you and yours have defiled the peace of this city, and we say enough! You are the ones who deserve to burn... and you SHALL!"

As Doran slumped back, the alley walls echoed with the screams of the robed women as the raging ghosts enacted their own justice.

 * * *

Someone shook Doran and he roused to consciousness, his nostrils greeted with the gut-wrenching scent of burnt hair and scorched flesh. "What hap-?"

"That's what I was going to ask you, kid." The Watch officer crouching beside him turned to look over his shoulder, where three charred bodies in well-singed robes lay. "I came into the alley to see a bunch of glowing folks swarming all over, and those three sisters going up like torches. Looks like they were some of those whacked-out nuns we've been trying to round up, which makes dying like that more than a little ironic."

"It seems that you're not the only one that thinks so," replied Doran as the officer helped him to his feet. "There are more than a few ghosts in this city, and I'd say that they aren't too happy with those ladies right now. Ironic justice, indeed."

[size=9]((cross-posted from here))[/size]

Doran Ilnaren

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« Reply #17 on: May 13, 2019, 09:49:50 PM »
March 11, 2019

The young man settled on a sturdy limb, leaning back against the thick trunk of a majestic oak. He was as still as the forest around him, even moreso as a breeze set branches to swaying. Sapphire-blue eyes peered into the surrounding forest, seeking a sign through the foliage, some hint of his elusive prey.

Then, at last, he spotted a flash of white amid the trees. Afternoon sunbeams slanted through the canopy to shine upon one of the wood's regal, many-antlered white stags. Inching forward, the youth gauged distance, watching the stag as it made his way into a clearing. Dipping its head, the deer nibbled at some leaves, then looked up slowly, as if sensing eyes upon it, yet not threatened. The watcher waited until his target moved a bit further into the little meadow, until it presented itself in full display, turning it's head towards him. He raised his arms, took aim, and....

*click*

The shutter flashed open and shut, then again and again, the sound too faint to carry the distance. Doran smiled as he lowered his camera, and checked the viewer to see what images he'd captured. "Perfect," he muttered, almost breathlessly. "Azure will love this one, she might even make a pattern of it." Tucking the camera into his belt pouch, he looked up at the stag once more, admiring its majesty. It did not surprise him that the great deer were held in so many cultures as kings of the forest.

Suddenly the stag's head jerked, startled, and Doran narrowed his eyes as he reached out with his gifted perceptions. His lips curled downwards into a frown as he picked up an impression of ugly reality.

Hunter. Not for food or warmth, not for necessity; that, he could understand and accept. This was a man seeking nothing more than a trophy to claim. "We'll see about that."

* * * * *

Nergan Trueshot had traveled all across the wilds of Rhy'din and into world beyond, always hunting for new and exciting prey. He had earned his sobriquet by his skill with the bow, and his home was bedecked with many a beast's head, pelt, or other reminders of past hunts. When he heard of the Guild's rewards, he knew he had to come back to the city and the woods beyond its walls. Perhaps this would be his time to add one Rhy'din's great white stags to his collection?

He crept through the underbrush, swift and silent, taking care not to disturb leaf or twig with his passing. Dropping to one knee, he reached down to examine the tracks before him. Fresh, he determined, looking up to peer into the trees ahead, not far ahead of me and moving at an easy pace. He hasn't realized that I'm tracking him. Good. Standing once more, the hunter moved forward, not so quickly now, but with deliberation and stealth. It wouldn't do to spook the stag when he was so close.

Finally he spotted it! There, in that clearing, the great deer stood, grazing calmly without a care. Excellent. As the stag grazed, Nergan edged closer to the tree line. He froze when the prey's head rose and it looked around, checking for threats. For a moment, it turned to look off in the distance, and he crept forward. Then a squirrel dashed, chittering, through the underbrush,startled by his unexpected nearness, and he froze in place, ducking his head as the stag's head jerked towards him, letting his camouflaged hood shield his presence. Did it see me?

After a long moment, he slowly lifted his gaze until he could spy the stag once more. It had closer to the far edge of the clearing, but was no longer looking about, having returned to its grazing. With a self-satisfied smirk, Nergan slowly stood, hiding behind a thick trunk as he nocked an arrow in his bow. The wind rustled the leaves above him, but he paid it no mind, leaning forward to find his target. He lifted his bow, taking careful aim.

"....hunter...."

Ducking back out of sight, Nergan frowned and glanced around him, into the surrounding trees. Had he really heard a voice just then, whispering? It had sounded as though it were coming from someone leaning close into his ear, but there was nobody there. He peeked back to see if the stag had reacted, but no, it simply stood there, looking away from him, heedless of any danger. Clearing his mind, the hunter once more took aim.

"....for shame...."

Gasping, he froze in place, bow lifted but unable to let the arrow fly.

"....i'm here... i see you...."

Now that had definitely been a voice, soft but edged with menace. Someone was watching him, and he felt a tingling in the skin of his neck. Who was out there? Who spied on him from the wooded boughs and branches? "Enough!" he hissed under his breath. "You're imagining things." Taking a slow breath to gather his wits, the hunter looked back out into the clearing.

The stag was calmly looking his way. More than that, he knew with certainty that it was staring. Right. At. Him. Frozen in place, Nergan could hear his pulse pounding in his temples. He couldn't tear his gaze away from it as the stag took one step towards him, then another, and as it approached, its bright pelt seemed almost to burn with a white-hot fire. Surely, he thought in a panic, his doom was fast approaching, but he could only stand there, transfixed as awe blended with terror in his mind. My heart, pounding as if about to burst from my chest!

Suddenly the great deer snorted, almost contemptuously, and stamped at the ground. The spell broken, Nergan dropped his bow and arrow heedlessly and spun around, not caring about anything except getting away from there, as far and fast as he could.

A figure stood there, a young man, practically a lad, his sapphire-blue eyes shining with a faint, eerie glow. "Hello there," yhe youth said, and in that moment Nergan recognized the whispering, unseen voice that menaced him so recently. There was a blur of motion, and then something struck hard against his temple, sending the hunter reeling as he fell to the forest floor.

* * * * *

Dropping his staff, Doran reached down to grab the man by his tunic and haul him roughly upwards, stronger than his lean frame would suggest. He shook the hunter, his smile an almost-malicious grin as the other groggily met his gaze. "Let's see how you handle being hunted."

* * * * *

Nergan's eyes blinked once, then again before locking on the young man's face with a gaping, slack-jawed stare. Those blue eyes seemed to swell, filling his vision with a sapphire haze... and within that haze, images arose, a sense of something ever behind him, stalking, toying with him as he ran, endlessly through a nightmare forest. All around him, roars of anguish and bleating, helpless calls rang out, and beyond them were the raucous baying of hounds in chase. No! He had to escape! Had to get out, but the trees, the trees closing in all around him, and then the arrows, the spears, cutting deep into his flesh! It hurt! So much! Gods above... the pain!

He stumbled, exhausted and bloody, and then the pack was upon him, nipping and tearing his flesh to bring him down. A wordless scream erupted from his lips as he collapsed, only to have his head yanked back and something cruel and hard pressed against his throat. Cold, it slid across, and then the chill was washed away by a wet heat that flowed down his body as his vision faded to black.

* * * * *

The next day, a pair of riders came up to the Hunters Guild hall. Behind one of them rode another man, clad as a hunter, bow and quiver slung across his back, his eyes wide in a sightless stare. The two men helped their mindless companion down, leading him inside as they spoke in hushed tones.

"Maybe the Guild will be able to find someone to help him."

"The way he is? Not likely! I'll tell you, though, I sure don't want to run into whatever fell spirit did this to someone like Nergan!"

Across the street, sapphire-blue eyes watched for a moment, until the trio had disappeared inside. Then Doran smiled and, raising a flute to his lips, began to play a jaunty tune as he strolled off into the mid-day crowd.

Doran Ilnaren

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Metamorphism
« Reply #18 on: September 21, 2019, 10:46:14 PM »
Saturday, 21 September

....shards... ice and fire, shadows grow... elements unleashed....

Murmuring while he slept, Doran turned and twisted in his bed, his fingers clutching the sheets as though his very life depended on it. Suddenly his eyes flew open and a sharp gasp escaped his lips. A glance out the window told him that it was still night, as moonlight shone down to blanket the room. The youth swung his feet over to sit upon the edge of his bed, rubbing his eyes to try and drive out the dream, the disturbing vision that had woken him.

But why? What could it mean?

Rising from bed, he put on moccasins and a robe, and slipped out of the room, treading softly down the hall so as not to wake anyone else at the manor. Once outside, he headed out across the fields, following an unseen path he knew by heart. Soon enough he had reached the copse at the fields' edge, and started up the spiral stairway to the tree house above. The door opened with a faint creak, and he entered quietly, not wishing to disturb the young woman sleeping within.

"Doran? What?" Not quietly enough, it seemed, as Sylva stirred and turned to look up at him.

"Sorry, Sylva. I didn't mean to wake you, I just..." His voice trailed off as words and excuses failed him. "I couldn't sleep. I had a dream."

Sitting up with the sheet held close to her chest, she looked at him with equal parts curiosity and concern. "You? What about?"

He shook his head and sat at the edge of the bed, "I'm not sure. It almost felt like I was feeling echoes of other dreams, other visions. I can't really make any sense of it. There were flashes of color, elemental forces. Shards of glass scattered all about." He shrugged helplessly. "It was a dream, they have their own logic. I just-" He paused for a moment. "I just didn't want to go back to sleep alone."

With a smile, Sylva scooted over to make room, and Doran crawled in beside her, letting her wrap her arms around him as if to keep him safe.

Together they drifted off to sleep, but in the depths of Doran's dreamscape, the light of five shining stones glittered in the darkness.

Doran Ilnaren

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Re: Troubles of a Teenage Empath
« Reply #19 on: October 26, 2019, 06:32:56 PM »
October 20, 2019

"What?" Doran's tone was flat, his expression unreadable.

"Renna told me to give you this. To protect yourself. From her." Ebon held up an open box, within which lay a single item. It was a weapon, a handgun. Not just any such gun, but a unique weapon of untapped power. "There are five bullets, each laced with Renna's technology, what she called SCHISM. It rends its target in space, so that--as she put it--a man struck with one of these bullets will find his chest lying across the room. She implied even advanced regenerative qualities would not save such a victim." He handed the box to his son, who simply stared down at it, silent and unreadable. "She couldn't bring herself to give it to you personally, claiming that you hate her."

Slowly, Doran shook his head. "I don't hate Renna." There was a pause. "I used to hate her. Gods above and below, I despised her!" The venom in the youth's voice, unlike anything he had ever before expressed, led Ebon to step back as if recoiling. Doran looked up, releasing a weary sigh. "There's nothing to gain by hatred, except for a gnawing emptiness inside. You learned that lesson, Pa, with Grey."

Eyebrow arched, Ebon nodded, impressed by his son's understanding. "I told her that I thought you pitied her."

"No, it's not that, either. I'm just... numb, when it comes to Renna. If she threatens Sylva, or our family... or me, I suppose," he added with a wry grin, "then I'll respond accordingly. Until then, I honestly couldn't care any less."

That gave Ebon pause, and he was left briefly speechless. Recovering after a moment, he gestured to the gun. "She said to save it as a weapon of last resort, when you or those you love are in the most grave danger."

"Fine." Doran closed the box and set it on his nightstand for now. "I suppose if I'm going to have something like that, I'd best learn to use it properly. You know of any good shooting ranges in town?"
« Last Edit: October 26, 2019, 06:34:46 PM by Doran Ilnaren »

Doran Ilnaren

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Re: Troubles of a Teenage Empath
« Reply #20 on: October 26, 2019, 06:35:25 PM »
October 22, 2019

Renna told me to give you this. To protect yourself. From her.

With his father's words echoing in his mind, Doran stared at the box sitting in his lap, or more accurately at its contents. A gun. She had sent him a gun. Was he supposed to just take it at face value and everything would be all well and good once more? No, of course not. The Betrayer--he couldn't even think her name anymore--had to have an ulterior motive.She *always* had plans, plans within schemes within plots.

So why in all the hells would she give him a gun that could kill her?

There was a knock on his bedroom door. "Come in."

It opened to reveal Cratos, wearing his usual grin. "Your pa said to tell you that dinner will be ready in a little bit." The Cormyran youth stepped inside, intrigued by whatever gripped his friend's attention. "What's that?" When Doran made no reply, he edged closer and peered down. "Wicked. Where'd you get that?"

Doran looked up, his expression stony. "It was a gift from the Betrayer." When comprehension failed to dawn on Cratos' face, he sighed and elaborated. "Renna."

Now that name, Cratos had heard before, from tales told by Doran, Ebon, and even young Azure. His usual cheer faded, and he drew back a step. "Her?! Why?"

"That, my friend, is the question. According to Pa, she meant me to use it to protect myself, my family, those I love."

"From what?" asked Cratos.

"From her." Doran shook his head slowly. "She was a terror to this city, time and again... but over time, she changed, seemingly reborn into a kinder, more peaceful soul. She became-" His voice suddenly broke off, and he closed the box lid, setting it aside before rising. "Renna was my friend. She seemed happy. Then... it all went bad again. She tried to kill Pa, swore service to Bhaal. She betrayed me! How can she expect me to trust anything she says or does now?"

His auburn bangs hung down over his eyes as Cratos pondered the question. "You told me once that nobody is just one person inside. If there was ever a part of her that you could trust and call friend, trust that part of her. I know what it's like to want to protect a friend. Maybe that part truly wants to protect you from the rest of her." Beat. "Or maybe it's all a trick. Trust, but don't trust blindly."

That actually made Doran grin, then laugh softly. "When did you get so wise?"

"It's all part of my winning outlook on life! Now come on, I'm hungry and I can smell the roast down in the oven." Cratos stood and headed for the door, then turned back and pointed to the closed box. "I hope you have a safe place for that."

Doran nodded, picking up the box and placing it in a small safe that rested on the bottom of one bookshelf. "Pa already thought of that. Come on, let's go eat!"

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Re: Troubles of a Teenage Empath
« Reply #21 on: October 26, 2019, 06:36:30 PM »
October 23, 2019

Riding across the fields of Stardreamer Manor, Doran found his thoughts occupied with weighty matters. Life and death, love and hate. He barely registered the thudding of Running Cloud's hooves against grass and earth, or the bright autumn colors that blazed all along the wood's edge.

On the surface, his life seemed fairly idyllic. He had a promising career on the stage ahead of him, he was healthy with plenty of friends and family around him, and even the lurking threats that always seemed to be on life's edges seemed to have taken a step back into the shadows. it was definitely not a life fraught with troubles.

Yet there was something missing.

Coming back to his surroundings, Doran gently reined Running Cloud to a halt and looked around him, The manor house was out of sight beyond the hill crest, and the gates to the estate were some distance ahead. To his right, he spied the treehouse he'd constructed--with help, admittedly--years before. It was his place of refuge, and more recently had become home to one he held dear.

He had never dared to truly admit to himself the depth of feeling he held for her, but why? Scared of rejection? Scared to make her a target of his father's enemies? He considered both suggestions, and as he pondered, he could picture Cratos rolling his eyes, heard his friend's voice. You're just being silly!

That was true. He was being silly, and dumb. In his mind's eye, Doran envisioned his place of peace, afloat upon a vast ocean, gentle waves lapping at the sides of his boat. He looked down at his hands on the oars... and then another pair of hands lightly rested on his. Looking up, he found himself gazing into eyes like pools of cool green, and a smile that soothed and enticed him.

She wasn't truly there, and yet the thought of her presence left him feeling whole and contented. A broad smile spread across his face.

"Sylva."

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Re: Troubles of a Teenage Empath
« Reply #22 on: October 26, 2019, 06:49:16 PM »
October 24, 2019

Sylva was just making her way through the marketplace - yes at this late hour. It helped avoid certain places and kept her mind on things like 'oh look. pretty thing in the window there'. She did a whole lot of window shopping but not really much shopping-shopping.

Over by the fountain stage, Doran leaned against a post, and the music of his flute drifted through the night air. There were a few folk who stopped to listen, pausing for a moment on their way home, or to the nearest tavern, depending on how they preferred to end their day. He would occasionally spy a listener who seemed particularly enrapt, and play to them awhile, until they smiled, or blushed, and moved on.

Music. It did pull her from the depths of her pondering and from the shiny in a window. She was well aware that Doran was not the only one who played the flute but it still drew her. As she drifted closer she indeed saw it was the young man who was playing. Clasping her hands behind her back she drifted closer but not enough to be in the small crowd of people that gathered. She was listening but she seemed to be watching him more intensely than she was listening.

He felt her presence long before he saw her. She shone within his perception like a blazing bonfire, unable to be ignored. Still, Doran played to his auddience, but as he played, he incorporated some of the tunes crafted while helping Sylva with her dancing. The tempo was akin to a body's rhythm. The drawing of a breath, the beat of a heart, the subtle play of muscles as they moved.

It didn't take her long at all to realize that he was mingling some of the tunes in - like he was saying hello to her with music and a smile began to bloom. Slowly her hands unclasped and her gaze softened. Whatever she was thinking about may have lingered but it was now somewhere in the depths of other things. If anything, Sylva was patient. She'd watch as people left, obviously talking about the melodies they had heard.

Soon enough the fountain courtyard was empty, save for Doran onstage and Sylva at the edge. Now he turned his gaze towards her as he played, and the tune became something new. It was not one that she had ever heard before; indeed, not one he had ever played. This was a melody born from Doran's soul, full of the feelings he had for her, his heart laid bare in music.

She squinted at a couple as they left, apparently the last to leave. The music wooed her attention back to Doran and she blinked. That was a new song as far as she knew. Tipping her head to the side she listened and eventually drew closer to him.  For a moment, just a moment, she met his gaze but after that she lowered her eyes.
 
Finally the trilling of the flute rose to a flourishing crescendo, peaked, and faded. Doran lowered the instrument and jumped down from the stage, walking over to stand before Sylva. He drew her gently into his arms, and leaned forward to touch his forehead to hers.
 
Music didn't feel as difficult as words, maybe that was why she liked it so much. Not that she could play a tune to save her life. Staring at her feet, she focused on not the one who played it but the melody that was created. As the music faded she became more aware that he was on the move and she looked up just in time to be embraced. Instinct had her wrapping her arms around him. Small things like the forehead tap made her smile. He didn't think her weird for her differences. It was..nice. "That was beautiful," she murmured to him about the song.
 
"I was inspired by you, that's why." He pulled his head back to look at her, but didn't let go of the embrace. "I'm sorry if I've been a dumb-dumb lately. Not sure how to say what I feel, hesitating, too worried about how people might look at us." He held her gaze and smiled. "I should have simply spoken from the heart, the same way I play for you. I love you, Sylva, and I am yours for as long as you will have me."
 
Geh! Ebon spilled the beans! Or Rhi. Or Gory. She almost groaned out loud as her arms dropped. "Worried about how people might look at us?" Her brows began to drift down but stopped and instead shot up. Like disappearing under her bangs, up. "Wh-what? D-Doran. You..You don't need to say that. I am sorry for what I told your da. Don't feel like you have to say anything like that to me!" She was practically stumbling over her own words.
 
"What you told...? Pa didn't say anything to me about you." He raised an eyebrow, looking very much like his father's son in that moment, and grinned. "I'm saying it because it's how I feel. You make me happy when you look at me, your smile brightens my heart and your voice soothes my soul."
 
Her face went red when it seemed Ebon didn't say anything and only seemed to go moreso red the more he spoke. Poor Sylva looked like a red balloon about ready to pop. Her mouth opened and slowly closed. She was lost on words. "Why...did you seem hesitant to call me girlfriend when I met Yuino?"
 
It was his turn to redden at that question. "I wasn't sure if you would be comfortable, being introduced like that." He shrugged. "It's silly, I know, I've called you that before. It's just, at that moment... I didn't want to treat you like a trophy."
 
That is where it confused her. She tipped her head as she peered at his face. "Have I given you reason to think I thought you were treating me like that?"
 
"...no." He actually hung his head a bit. "Like I said, I was a dummy."

She practically melted and released a loud breath. "I thought I had done something wrong and made you not like me no more." She was soooo happy to know otherwise and her arms went around to hug him tight. For like two seconds then he was released and she shuffled back. "Um..." was mumbled and she dug into her bag to pull out the puzzle box he should be familiar with by now. She offered it out to him.
 
With a quizzical look, he took the puzzle box and held it. "I never did figure out how to open this."
 
Her lips pursed briefly before she nodded. "I..know. I took out what was inside. That was actually suppose to be your birthday gift. But... I... chickened out. But then I, um..." She reached back into her bag and pulled out a small folded piece of paper and offered it to him. "I was... Um... going to put this one in there before giving it back to you."
 
He took the note, looking a little shamefaced. Then he read it.

And he read it again.

When I first made this box I had put a note inside for you to find. It said "like you lots". As weeks and days went by that feeling became a known and grew more. It scared me because I don't know how to be normal and say things right. I do know I am thankful for you and you have done so much for me I can't put it all on this tiny paper. When you didn't figure out the puzzle I took the puzzle and put this paper in instead. Maybe you will figure it out. Maybe you won't. Maybe I will be brave enough to tell you one day that I don't think I like you lots. I think I am in love with you. So if I act weird, I am sorry. Tell me to stop. K? K! Congrats on figuring out my weird birthday gift to you!

~Sylva


Doran's jaw dropped. "I- I- I-" Beat. "I am the luckiest man in the multiverse."

She looked confused when he looked like that. Puzzles were hard so it isn't like she was upset that he didn't figure it out. That confusion bled nervousness and she subconsciously took a step or two back. "Huh?"
 
"You love me." It was a simple statement, but Doran's voice seemed to swell with heartfelt emotion as the meaning of those words filled him.
 
Hearing him say it like that made her red in the face again. She nodded softly and she tugged on the end of her shirt.  "I do love you, Doran. I just wasn't sure if it was okay for me to say or feel that." Her brows slowly began to knit. Things were complicated in ways she didn't like. "Do you think people...find that weird? I mean ..us?"
 
"No, but even if they did, it wouldn't matter to me. You know how you feel about me, and I know how I feel about you. That's what is important."
 
She gave him a slightly confused look but decided not to say anything. Instead, she giggled and nodded a few times. "Okay." She exhaled again in a rush, like she had been holding her breath. "Thank you, Doran."
 
"Thank you, Sylva. And you're welcome."
 
The realization of his words earlier had hit her and she felt a bit giddy but at the same time it was counted by the nervousness in the pit of her stomach with everything. Saying those words but then warmly received.  Her stomach was all topsy turvy! Rubbing her cheek, she tried to get rid of the warmth she felt there. "How long have you been out here?"
 
"A while," he admitted, and shivered at Sylva's touch, though whether from that or the evening chill, he honestly couldn't say. "Do you want to go somewhere warm?"
 
"Yes, please!" she quickly agreed with a sheepish smile. "We should start wearing our coats, huh?"
 
"Well, it gives us an excuse to cuddle when we get home."
 
Well that didn't help the color in her cheeks none. Slowly she reached a hand out, fingers offered to him. "Does that mean you are staying tonight or just for a little while to warm up?"
 
He took her hand. They were a bit of a matched set, at least in terms of cheek color. "I'd like to stay."
 
"Okay. I'll make sure to wear socks." She did have a bad habit of tucking her cold feet under him. Opps? She grinned sheepishly and when he took her hand she leaned into him for a sort of hug before she took a step for home.


((written with Sylva))