And There My Heart Will Follow - Standalone

Established by Atrician Bronzerider Ar'vis, Evanoria Weyrhold is one of the newest establishments in the South, but that doesn't mean it is without strength. An ally with Atricis, Evanoria Weyrhold houses dragons and holdfolk alike, making it one of the few territories outside of New Atricis Weyr to house dragons.
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Shaihulud
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Pronouns: She/Her They/Them

Wed Aug 29, 2018 1:03 pm

Prologue
Mid Autumn 2048
Harper Hall - Evanoria Weyrhold


A mist slipped over the southern mountains during the night, blanketing the valley of Evanoria with the chilling prelude of Winter's promise. Slowly, the cold began to seep into the stone, zapping the warmth from Emalia's room. When the bite of Winter nibble at her hands and raked its teeth along her toes, the young woman bundled herself deeper under her furs with Ciri, yet even there, she could not escape the grip of frigidity. Her room grew so cold that the thin fractals of frost that splintered across the window's edge had accumulated on the inside of the window. Her breath fogged into the air in long streams as she passed a glance about the dark and lonely room. Had her sister still been her, she would have crawled into bed with her to preserve their warmth together. Instead, Emalia froze in solitude.

Never had Emalia recalled so deep a chill outside of the void of [i[between[/i]. As a girl of New Atricis, she thrived in the warmth of the weyr with its long Summers and mild Winters. In all her life at New Atricis, Emalia could not recall a day of snow or even the crisp frost underfoot after a cold night. Only the heavy mist ever accompanied her visions of the darkened season. It came every evening, a wall of billowing clouds that swept over the weyr, and when she awoke the next day, all she could see was the thick grey clouds that hindered her ability to see in the distance beyond a dragon's length. The grass always sopped under foot when she emerged those mornings to venture down to the craft halls for lessons, and when she descended down to the weyr yards on dragon back with Angela, the ground did not reveal itself until the dragon backwinged for a landing. An Atrician always came late in the Autumn, and always with the faint cool moistness upon her cheek. In Evanoria, however, she felt the cold of Winter in mid Autumn, even in the heart of night.

Gradually did she dare emerge from her bed when the first called bugled out at the start of the seventh candlemark. During Summer, Emalia had already dressed herself before that first call. Now she wanted nothing more than to huddle with Ciri under the furs. Minute by minute, she counted them away, knowing full well that the headmistress would pound on the door and open it if Emalia did not do it herself. The day would still come, even if Emalia found it near impossible to ready herself for it. And then the door shook and swung open, revealing the weather worn face of the headmistress.

"Emalia, you aren't up already?"

Lyria's summon was enough to yank her out of bed. "I'm up, I'm up," she assured the woman.

As the headmistress moved on, Emalia found a thick pair socks to cover her feet before they touched the icy cold floor. From there, she gathered her attire, piece by piece: leggings, a chemise, a skirt, bodice, frock, and shawl. After she pinned up her hair, she finished dressing. Last were her shoes and the accompanying Ciri, who buried himself in the bunched folds of the knitted shawl. He shrunk from the chill of the morning, and nestled close along the length of her neck, providing her with a glimpse of warmth in the autumn morning. Still she felt the cold when she emerged from the corridors into the courtyard that morning. The frost had painted the dark world white. Never in all her life had Emalia ever seen such a sight. The glimpse she stole through the open gates revealed a landscape of ice that stretched deep into the valley. It were as though the night had painted the world when no eyes were open to see. Unknown to Emalia, this would be come a common occurrence, and within a sevenday, the snow would soon follow. She wondered with a final glance at the frosted courtyard what Angela would have thought of the coming winter. Later, she would write to her sister about the cold that greeted her that morning, but for now, Emalia made sure to mind her steps to the dining hall lest she fall before the day had truly begun.
Last edited by Shaihulud on Tue Sep 04, 2018 10:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Shaihulud
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Mon Sep 03, 2018 12:27 pm

For the duration of the day, Emalia found herself horribly distracted by everything and nothing. It helped little that her first instruction took place in a classroom where the windows provided a clear enough view for her to marvel at the outside world. Through the thick glass with its frosted edges, Emalia found herself admiring the icy scape. She traced the line of the white hills, and smiling at how they sloped into the valley. Early morning excursions melted away several threading pathways through the pallid terrain. Each one was made by a curious wanderer, and each one led to the gates of the craft hall.

I should have gone out there, Ciri, she reached to her fancy flit.

Slowly, the images of white seeped into her mind. Rather than perch around the Harper Hall, Ciri had taken it upon himself to enjoy a leisurely flight out in the wilds, marvelling at something neither of them had ever seen before. Naturally, he shared his view to her in a vision. Wings filled with the crisp air of the morning as he soared high over the hillside. Even further still, he saw the southern mountain range where the crags broke the frosted lands with their dark jagged faces, building upon one another until they diminished with the high reaching spires that touched the low cloud line. The first snow of the mountain ranges covered those peeks, fresh and untouched. Only a dragon could ever reach those heights to disturb the snow the graced roof of the mountain range.

"Emalia."

Had someone called her?

"Emalia," the voice reached her once more, more perturbed than the first summoning.

Her instruction! "Yes! Journeyman Wi'mak," she said in surprise, failing to mask her distraction. She looked to the man, gauging the disappointment in his kind blue eyes and the slight frown hidden only partially by the wiry red scruff that sprouted unkept along his jowls. Even his gentle demeanour could not hide the fact he was upset with her.

Though he said not a word about hit it, she knew he expected better of her. "What are your thoughts on Cicero's conclusions?" he asked as he slowly began to walk away from her and return to the front of the room. "And what criticisms did Cicero have in regards to Vigaro's work Silence in Step?"

Thankfully Emalia had completed her assignment the previous night, and was therefore able to answer her instructor's questions. As she spoke, noting the details he wrote on the board, the apprentice knew just how unusually it was for him to approach her as he did. Her distractions must have been that obvious, giving him sufficient reason to intervene. Wi'mak was not a disciplinary sort, though he had found gumption enough to point out her behaviour in front of the classroom. The unspoken reprimand was justly deserved. Succumbed to the guilt of her error, Emalia realised she owed her instructor an apology. For the duration of class, she bid her time until Wi'mak saw it fit to dismiss them all. It was the least she could do.

Half of the apprentices slipped out the door without a second thought, while a handful remained to speak with the instructor. Unlike them, Emalia had no question of clarification to ask, but instead collected her thoughts on how she might apologise. With the class ended, Ciri returned to her as she stuffed her journal into her rucksack, along with her ink well and quills. Wi'mak had a strict policy about pets in the classroom during instruction. She passed a glance to the man at the front of the room as one of the girls pored over the reading in frustration. Wi'mak had a gentle temper, and showed much patience as he assisted the apprentice. He reminded Emalia of her own uncle, Micah, though he lacked much of the hard features that Micah himself possessed, both in countenance and conformation. An undeniable ginger, for his close cropped curls held to those rich red tones, Emalia even suspected Wi'mak came from Ruatha for all he said he hailed from Fort Weyr; however, he lacked any hint of an accent. Perhaps he Impressed his blue there, but his mannerism suggested he was holdbred.

"Journeyman Wi'mak?" she called to him once the other apprentices had left.

He seemed not at all surprised, though she could tell by the way he packed his books that he was in a rush. "Emalia. How can I help you?"

"Um..." She gathered Ciri onto her shoulder and approached the journeyman. "I just want to apologise. I didn't mean to be distracted like that. It's unfair to you, and the time you're taking to instruct us." It was the honest truth. Emalia recognised the value of his efforts, and saw the disrespect in her actions. "I'm sorry."

It was enough to slow his efforts and regard her properly. "Ah, it's all right. Don't worry about it." He offered her a warm smile of understanding. "I'd be a hypocrite if I said I was upset, considering I did worse at your age."

"What's worse than not paying attention?" she asked, surprised by his reply.

"Sleeping in class."

Eyes widened at the confession, surprised by the fact he was willing to disclose that particular detail of himself to her. Yet on second thought, she realised she had come to know the man since her arrival to Evanoria last season, and Wi'mak had always been a willing and open instructor. "I could never do that." She offered him a coy smile of her own, though she could not prevent the second hand embarrassment she gained from the confession. How could someone do such a thing?

"I know-" he leaned against the corner of the lectern- "You're good student, Emalia, though... I can't help but notice a bit of a change in you for the last few weeks. Has something happened?"

A melancholy laid claim on the smile she gave him. "Yes, ummm... my sister, Angela, she returned to New Atricis to become a candidate." It hurt to recall, she quietly admitted, allowing the smile to quiver ever so slightly before she turned away from him to regain herself. It hurt so much to think upon. "I think I'm still adjusting without her. We've never been apart before."

The journeyman nodded in sympathy. "I'm sorry about that. It must be hard. Are you going to be all right?"

Would she? At times it felt like a part of her had vanished into the void of between. Did Angela feel the same loss as she? Or did she feel freed from the burden of Emalia? It would be a lie if Emalia denied the fact she often controlled Angela, though she did so out of worry rather than a want of power. Did Angela not see this? Had Emalia pushed her too far? "I think so," she answered, though she lacked the confidence he likely wanted to hear.

"Emalia." She looked to him, only to find herself overwhelmed by the warmth of his eyes and the kindness of his voice. "Be happy for your sister. I know it's hard, but... Impression is a powerful force of unconditional love."

The young woman only vaguely knew of what he spoke of. She had Ciri, but the Impression to him had not been nearly as moving as the Impression he spoke of. "Is that what it was like for you and your dragon?" she asked as she let her fancy flit twine his platinum tails around her offered hand.

The demure features of his face softened. Every ounce of love he held in those blue eyes, he held for his lifemate. "Yes, yes it was." Wi'mak drifted off for a moment, distracted by the connection he shared with his dragon before he looked back to Emalia once more. "You going to Stand someday?"

She offered a slight chuckle. "Maybe." Only a maybe. While she grew up with dragons, she lacked the obsession that her sister had for them. The world was too big to settle in single place for the rest of her life like Angela was so keen to do. "But I haven't decided yet. I like it here in the Harper Hall, and I'm enjoy everything I'm learning. I just... I know it's selfish, but I wish Angela at least waited until we walked the tables. It's hard being without her, and I'm not ready to Stand yet. I want my knots." So many I's she spoke, but she felt every one of them was well deserved.

He sighed, though the reason for it eluded Emalia. Did he do so in memory of his Impression? The heave of relief he had his bonded? Or did he do so out of a sense of disappointment that she did not share his passions, and exhaled as a way of dismissing his private reservations?

"I'm sorry if it's not what you wanted to hear," she answered, not at all liking the sudden sense of uncertainty.

The smile returned. "No no, I'm not upset. It's your choice ultimately, though... I hope someday you'll give yourself that chance. I think you'd make a wonderful dragonrider, and Derrith agrees."

"Your blue?"

He gave a nod of his head and regarded her for several breaths, several breaths long enough that Emalia noted the silence, the same as he. At the sound of footsteps passing the doorway, they both recognised that both had outstayed the welcome of the other. His elbow left the lectern, and he reached to collect his belongings. "I should go, and you'll be late... down in the archives?"

A blush bloomed along her cheek. "Dancing," she corrected him.

"Ah, well, we'll talk again soon. If you ever have any questions, you're more than welcome to visit my office."

"Of course, thank you Journeyman Wi'mak," she answered, embarrassed that the silence had even transpired. Why did that happen? And why did he allow for it?

It was his turn to correct her. "Wi'mak will suffice, Emalia."

Though initially stunned by the abandonment of formality, slowly a smile came to her features, and she allowed for the offer. "Wi'mak."

He gave her a final nod, and left her to her thoughts, though she knew not what to do with them.
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Shaihulud
Posts: 808
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2015 9:07 pm
Pronouns: She/Her They/Them

Fri Oct 05, 2018 5:44 pm

Chapter One
Early Winter 2048 (Fuzzy timed)
Harper Hall - Evanoria Weyrhold

After a sevenday of preoccupation, Wi'mak had come to accept he had procrastinated enough. He had a stack of parchment to read through, several if he was honest with himself, and his apprentices were eager for their mark. The bulk of the evening, and late into the night, the harper pored over the hides by candlelight. Perhaps a basket of glows would have been a wiser choice in providing him with a clearer view of his work, but, alas, the glows had flickered out in the early evening, and he knew the headmistress could not be bothered. Thus by candlelight did the journeyman work, his red inked quill marking every egregious error and every striking success made by his apprentices, until the final mark scrawled across the final leaf in conclusion of his efforts just as the halo of the dawn silhouetted the eastern horizon.

At last, he had finished.

Though his body begged for sleep, Wi'mak recognised that a bed was a dangerous place to rest in at this hour. If he dared brave the cradling cushions of his mattress with such inviting warmth and comfort wrapped about him in the form of a fur, he knew his lifemate would fail to wake him for class. Instead, he compromised for the table. The hides set aside, he folded his arms and rested his head upon them for a long nap. It proved just comfortable enough for him to recover his mind and body, without running the risk of sleeping through Derrith's alarm raking through his mind. As always, he awoke with a startle.

Good, I thought you were going to make me try more than once, the dragon replied smugly as the rider recovered.

No, only once is necessary, he assured the blue as he wiped the sleep out of his eyes. In a daze, Wi'mak scanned his dark room, and smiled softly when he spotted the stack.

Did you remember to mark them in your grade book? Derrith made sure to ask him.

Wi'mak paused, and then with a huff, he leaned back in his seat and crossed his arms across his chest in visible frustration. "Fuck me!" he blurted out. With a pinch of his nose, the bluerider calmed himself as best as he could while realising that he had, in fact, forgotten to do that very thing.

***

Yet despite the error, the journeyman was resolved on handing back the assignments to his apprentices. He explained to himself on his walk to the first class that he would note the marks when he returned the hides. This worked out successfully for his first class, albeit with more delay that he would have liked, but he managed to make it to his second class with a minute to spare. Already, he spotted the way their eyes fastened upon the pile he cradled in his arms. While the previous class had completed a simple assignment, this one was far more valuable to the senior class.

"Good morning everyone. Since all of you are eager, I'll hand out your assignments now. And don't worry. None of you failed." Still young enough to remember his apprenticeship, Wi'mak easily recalled a day when all he wished was to pass. To hear such an assurance was always a boon to his ears in his youth, just as he was sure it was a boon to theirs. One by one, they arrived at his desk. He fished out every assignment, marking the grades in the process. "Good job" and "Well done" were given to those apprentices who did remarkably well, impressing him with their efforts. Some journeymen would sneer at the idea of an apprentice impressing anyone, but Wi'mak knew better than to assume instruction could only be gained by a superior. Apprentices in the Harper Hall often proved themselves to be both clever and well articulated, shining a glow on old questions in a way illuminated unseen answers. Wi'mak liked to believe it had to do with their minds, and how they naturally challenged the boundaries society imposed on them. They were old enough to recognise them, yet rebellious enough to question them. The young often possessed the most scholarly of minds, they only needed minimal guidance unfettered by seasoned assumptions.

"Emalia, well done," he offered to the rather familiar student.

But rather than smile back to him, she merely acknowledged him with a nod and returned to her seat near the back of the classroom.

That was strange. The girl was well of questions and energy that even Wi'mak had to admit was overwhelming at times. When he failed to satiate her desires for knowledge, he often found it difficult to contain her focus, for her energy easily caused her thoughts to wander. Not that Wi'mak considered this an unfavourable trait in an apprentice, but it was surely a sign of her excitement to expand her understanding not only about the theories he presented to her, but about those unspoken ones poised by the world. How many times did she pipe up in class with such unrestrained passions, or glowed when she noted her success scribbled upon the hide?

Today, however, her response remained subdued. It was enough to rouse the man's concern as he noted how she returned to her desk as Ciri churred his assurances to her.

Something was not right. But what was he to do? As a man, his ability to intervene with his female students was limited at best. There was also the pressing matter that as a teenage girl, whatever drew such a frown upon her face could prove so volatile that even a man as empathetic as he would not have the tools required to help her.

Perhaps it would be best for you to speak with a woman on the matter then?

Naturally, Wi'mak knew exactly whom the blue indicated, though he dare not acknowledge the suggestion, not when he sat before his students. Instead, he resolved to let the matter be, and watch over Emalia for the duration of his instruction. Later, he would ask the woman suggested by his beast for advice.

She's merely a colleague, he assured his blue.

Derrith knew better than to believe him.

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