A/N: For those of you waiting on my next chapter of Interludes, it's coming! I have a Luke chapter written and plan to post it on Monday. I've got my fingers crossed for three chapters being posted next week. In the meantime, this is another little project I've been working on. Good People is a sequel to my story A Thoughtful Young Man and features two of the characters I play on the role playing community, Warden's Vigil. In the first story Andy was in Denerim and out of his element (when is he not?) and ran into Leliana at the Royal Palace. She sings to him, listens to him talk and they form a tentative little friendship. In this story they meet again, by chance, on the beach in Highever. Both of them are weighed down by heavy thoughts this time and looking for a quiet place to think things through. It's really interesting to see what your characters think of one another and I think that's one of the things I really enjoy about writing Andy and Leli together. I decided to post this here on as well as on the boards for two reasons. One, it is a sequel, and two, the story provides a basic background of the lives of both of my characters and an introduction to the plots they are both involved in, which I hope will demonstrate for those interested in both role playing and writing, what fun we are having over there. A link to the site is available on my profile page.
A/N: For those of you waiting on my next chapter of Interludes, it's coming! I have a Luke chapter written and plan to post it on Monday. I've got my fingers crossed for three chapters being posted next week. In the meantime, this is another little project I've been working on.
Good People is a sequel to my story A Thoughtful Young Man and features two of the characters I play on the role playing community, Warden's Vigil. In the first story Andy was in Denerim and out of his element (when is he not?) and ran into Leliana at the Royal Palace. She sings to him, listens to him talk and they form a tentative little friendship. In this story they meet again, by chance, on the beach in Highever. Both of them are weighed down by heavy thoughts this time and looking for a quiet place to think things through.
It's really interesting to see what your characters think of one another and I think that's one of the things I really enjoy about writing Andy and Leli together.
I decided to post this here on as well as on the boards for two reasons. One, it is a sequel, and two, the story provides a basic background of the lives of both of my characters and an introduction to the plots they are both involved in, which I hope will demonstrate for those interested in both role playing and writing, what fun we are having over there. A link to the site is available on my profile page.
When the sergeant handed him the package, Andy simply stared at it for a few moments, taking in the loose brown paper wrapping, the string and the familiar handwriting scrawled in one corner. A throat cleared to the side of him and a gruff voice sounded behind him, "Move along mate, you're not the only who got mail, eh?"
Blinking, he stepped aside and followed his feet to the barracks. He sat on his bunk, the lower one, which he didn't particularly like, and stared at his parcel. Pat's handwriting addressed it to: Guardsman Banvard, Highever. A simple salutation and one that Andy had tried to use for himself, but kept failing. Just as he'd not been able to picture himself as Ser Andrew, he had a hard time calling himself Guardsman Banvard. But lately he'd wondered if even the simple version of his name, the less formal Andy, suited him either. He didn't feel like the young and carefree Andy anymore.
He sat with the package in his lap for a long time, almost afraid to open it. He had a gut ache again, much like the one he'd had the day before. Though yesterday's had been due to the obscene breakfast he'd eaten, this one had to do with the bundled paper in his lap, the reminder of the family that had been on his mind the day before as he'd told Ser Rhiannon in no uncertain terms that she was not a part of it. Maker, he couldn't remember ever saying something so rude or uncaring to another person. Particularly not someone who had gone out of their way to be so nice.
All in all, it had been a crap few days. Thankfully he couldn't blame himself for most of it; the funeral yesterday had not been his fault. He'd still avoided it though, uncomfortable with the press of people, the public outpouring of sadness and the reminder of all the awful things that had happened since he'd come to Highever. Breakfast yesterday had been his fault, sort of. Waking up with a knight he'd been avoiding standing over his bed had not been the best way to start his day. But still, he'd been rude. And he'd not seen Aerion since the match with the Warden, his friendship with Linette had exploded unpleasantly and he'd made a deal with an assassin. All in all, it had been a crap few days.
Looking down at the parcel, he touched the letters and then plucked at the string, unraveling it, pulling it away. Inside the paper he found a shirt, a pair of pants and two new pairs of socks. He didn't need to examine the seams and stitching to recognise his mother's handiwork, but he did it anyway and felt a lump form in his throat as he imagined her nimble fingers pulling the stitches tight, her hands smoothing the blue material of the shirt out across her lap. Periwinkle blue, the colour of your eyes, or so his mother insisted every time she gave him a shirt this colour. The pants resembled the ones he wore now, simple linen pants, serviceable, plain, just as he liked them. The socks had his initials embroidered on the cuffs. Andy sighed as he realised he smiled at them.
A letter lay tucked within the fold of the pants and it slipped into his hands as put the new clothes into his trunk. Andy unfolded it and read: Dear Andy, We miss you…
The lump in his throat became painful and Andy swallowed and then hastily folded the letter over once again as the door to the barracks opened and a pair of guards wandered in – the stinker and the snorer. They nodded to the figure crouched in front of the trunk and walked to the tables and chairs at the end of the room, talking quietly. Standing, Andy tucked the letter into his pocket and stepped to the door, through it, out into the hall, and then into the yard. He followed the path to the castle gates and walked into town.
Leliana quite liked Highever, but it did not call to her in the way she hoped someplace one day would. The bard still held out hope that one day she would arrive somewhere and instantly know it as her place, her home. She had traveled for so long and while there was still much of Thedas left to see, secretly she hoped one day for a home, perhaps in a town like this. She could be a minstrel here, a simple songstress and story teller. She could pass her stories on to children and teach music to those interested. She could spend her idle hours hunting with her bow or even teach that skill as well. Leliana enjoyed passing on what knowledge she had.
Living within Highever were some agreeable people, men and women she would like to count as friends. But perhaps the proximity to the sea would prove her undoing. She would wander the docks and look at the ships and wonder where they had come from and where they were going. Of course, she had looked to the distant Frostbacks from Lothering and had the same thoughts. She seemed to ever live at the horizon and probably every place had a distant feature that would draw her wandering eye.
Highever should have been a place of respite, a holiday of sorts from her current purpose. In some ways, it had been. But the events of yesterday had her doubting everything: her companions, her mission, her resolve.
When her life became chaotic, Leliana missed the chantry in Lothering and the quiet sisters whose lives were filled with such a peaceful purpose, whose ears had never heard tales of the sort she could tell. Whose innocence and purity she had never had, not really. Sometimes she wondered if she'd sought just that for herself. Of course, she'd not found it, not properly. Since her experience at the Urn of Sacred Ashes, Leliana's view of the Chantry had changed once more. She still retained her faith, she still preferred her version of it, but she kept it to herself now and sought less comfort from the established Chantry than before. She looked for the Maker in other places instead, peaceful places, beautiful places, unusual places, and sometimes, forgotten places. It seemed more fitting to find the presence of a being that had turned his back on the world in a place men had also turned away from.
This particular evening she sought one of those places, a forgotten nook where she could cast aside her masks for a while and simply be not herself, though she was always herself, in one way or another. Not be a minstrel or a bard, an adventurer or a hero. Be just a woman, quiet and somewhat lonely. She had told Jenna that she intended to play at the inn and she would, later, when she felt centered once more.
Her wanderings led her along the shore to a cove some distance from the docks and the town itself. As she climbed around the rocks spilled down from the cliff, a promontory of tumbled stone reaching out into the water, she noted that as the tide continued to rise, she would be cut off from the rest of the beach. A quick glance at the small cove showed it deep enough to provide respite from both the wind and the rising sea. A forgotten place? Leliana clambered down the other side of the informal wall, glad she had worn her leathers and boots instead of a dress as the wind tugged relentlessly at her.
Making her way up the slope of sand, she moved into the shadow of the cliffs towering above and settled down into a cross legged position, hands resting gently on her knees. With a soft sigh, she let her face fall into repose, her muscles ease, and parts of herself drop away entirely until only the essential Leliana remained. A woman, nearly twenty nine years of age, feeling at times older, at other times younger. A lost soul, but for her current purpose and the hunters at her back. A hardened heart she wished would soften. A complicated person she yearned to simplify. A head full of memories and thoughts she wished she could leave behind.
Leliana did not often shed tears. She had learned they did little for her. Tears had met only admonishments from Lady Cecilie, her eyes would puff and become red rimmed, unattractive. After the first occasion, she had never dared let Marjolaine catch her cry. Sunny smiles and obedient words were what her former mentor had looked for and she, naïve fool she had been, gave them. Tears had not saved her from torture, they had only goaded her captors, guided their hands. Crying for herself, on a bare dungeon floor had accomplished nothing but the bruising of her heart. Still she had wept, on her journey from the Dales, into her thin pillow at the chantry in Lothering, until one day she had stopped.
For the most part, she had been too overwhelmed by events during the Blight to stop and cry. Some things had been too awful; others had not easily fit within her thoughts, too big to contemplate. In fact, the first tears she had shed in three years had been recently, in Denerim, when Aedan had told her his Grey Warden secrets.
So why were her cheeks wet now? Touching her fingers to them, she almost wondered if the spray of the ocean had fooled her. Then her breath caught, her shoulders hitched and more tears welled in her eyes, obscuring her view of the ocean. Drawing her knees upwards, she hugged them to herself and hummed softly beneath her sadness, a tune from long, long ago.