So at least for now, I’m thinking I’ll use Fridays as a little buffer zone, filled with bits of writing in my various worlds. This gives everyone a chance to meet some of my characters and see some of the worlds, and gives me a chance to keep myself occupied and inspired. So! Since I’ve been re-reading some things lately, I’ve gotten sucked back into the last piece I started as a serial (and will hopefully re-launch), THE QUEST TO KARANTIRI. We follow Celita, a girl of the kingdom of Karantiri, who dreams of adventure and magic, not knowing just how close to it she truly is.
But for this piece, I’m focusing on one of the sideline characters: Tarenthal, a mixed-blood elf living in the eastern woods, and a guard who meets Celita very early on in her first trip to Kalvara, the elven lands. A misfit ill-matched to both elven worlds he came from, the human child speaks to him at a deeper level than some of the others. This is his point of view, around when he first met Celita.
My mind was still reeling from how my morning had played out. How did the child manage this long, not saying the Caller’s son’s name? She’d mentioned that she wasn’t meant to tell anyone she knew him, but… Had I been locked in a cell, I would have shouted that name at the top of my lungs, hoping that this “lord of sorts” had any kind of sway in the kingdom.
…at least, I like to believe I would have. I know myself better than that; I would still be in that cell, silent and hopeless.
My fingers found the clasp of my cloak, the symbol of my position. A Guard of the Hall, keepers of the Caller and his family. A position most of Kalvara scarcely believed I deserved…one I was still not sure I deserved. But His Honor the Caller Meridnar is and was a fair ruler, and he gave me a chance. Gave the haren’said guard a place in the sun. The word still jarred me, and I could hear Mithran’s voice, caustic in my memory. Out of all of the guard, Mithran held the most contempt for me…for what I was.
Haren’said. Bloodied. Those of fouled blood. Tarnished to the core of a person. There was no way to soften the blow, as some of the other terms could be lessened. You did not use haren’said for anyone you held respect for. Anyone who was worthy of their place.
Mithran had never missed an opportunity to ensure I knew where he believed my place was.
But the girl… Lady Celita, still but a child of the western plains, locked away in the dungeons for a crime she did not commit… she insisted on seeing past it all. Perhaps not surprising, given her lack of bred-in hatred for the dark eyed, but I was so out of practice at being accepted that I knew not how to react. Something about her had reached out to me, even that first moment when I saw her in the cells. A child, but so well-versed in her world, tucked behind bars and labeled as a thief.
I always believed her to be innocent. It had been such a great relief to learn I was right.
But seeing her walk away with the Caller’s son, our ser’then…it had twisted something in my core that I had not felt before. The one being who saw me for simply how I was, no more and no less, still had a first connection back to the light. Back to the pure ones. Back to the unsullied, the untarnished, the worthy.
I would be her guard, but the elves in her mind would forever be represented by ser’then Carinth.
And I, poor bastard that I was, would forever see the humans as the child who looked at me with kind eyes from the start.
Perhaps one day I would see how wrong I must have been about that as well. It would be my luck.