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Registered: 10-2011
Posts: 10
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Nerith's Proving

She was out on the hovel again, staring out across the open expanses of the grassy plains of Westman with hazel eyes. Though her gaze seemed sharp and attentive, Nerith’s mind wandered. She thought of her older brother, Talaar, gone for almost three years now to find his glory in battle, as was custom. She remembered the day he had left so clearly, how he had ruffled her then-short hair, affectionately bumping foreheads with her, promising his return. She remembered the silly little wooden carving he had given her, which she now had tied around her neck on a string. As she thought about it, her hand went up to fiddle with it. It had been three years since she had watched her brother walk across that ocean of green, off into the distance to join the crusade. It had been three years since they had heard a single word from him.

Nerith rose from her sitting position on the small hovel and turned back towards home, her mood gloomy. Her village consisted of mostly farmers and herders, gentle, self-sufficient, hard-working people who enjoyed the protection of her clan. They were an extended family of warriors, men and women who upon coming of age, would have to leave the safety of home to venture out and prove their worth in battle if they wished to have any level of respectability within the clan. As Nerith passed the various fields of crops and entered the village, she passed by the statue of the clan’s guardian, the great warrior wolf Oka. It was a habit of hers to touch the head of the statue, which reached the height of her shoulder, upon passing, a gesture of respect and just a little something that gave Nerith a feeling of comfort. Her path weaved through the collection of buildings and yurts all organized around a large clear area centered by a fairly good-sized fire pit. She entered one yurt on the edge of the clearing to find her father sitting in a chair, whittling away at a carving of some sort. He barely glanced up as she entered, and she remained standing just inside the doorway. Her gaze dropped, hesitant to look at him.

“Father,” she began.

Before she could finish her thought, though, his deep voice rang out, “Are you ready then?”

Nerith sighed. She had come of age the day before, and it was now time for her to leave. Her two younger siblings and her mother were nowhere to be seen, and when she inquired about them in an attempt to change the subject, her father replied,

“They are out doing chores, but that has nothing to do with whether or not you are ready.”

She finally raised her eyes to see that he was now looking at her as well, and his gaze held hers, forcing her to stay in place.

“It matters not whether I am ready or ill-prepared,” She managed to say after a long moment of silence. “It matters only if I go with the blessings of my family and clan.”

The large, burly man smiled at that, standing and moving up to place a huge hand on her shoulder.

“Of course you have my blessing, and my prayers for your safe journey and return.”

Nerith returned the smile. She had been fearful at first that she would not receive the blessings customary to a young warrior leaving the clan for the Proving, because she should have left yesterday instead of stalling until today. She had been hesitant to share the same fate as her brother. He may still be alive, but if he were, then he dishonored his clan and family by not paying the annual homage that is customary. It is not a difficult thing, a simple letter giving thanks and honor to the guardian Oka and promises of true tribute upon his return would have sufficed, but not a single word for three years can only bode the worst, be it death or dishonor.

His blessings given, Nerith’s father returned to his whittling as she went to go pack her things. She strapped her shield, bearing the clan symbol of a wolf with a sword, onto her back, and tied her sword belt around her hips. It was her intention to join the crusade, like her brother, but by a more indirect means. Word of a unit searching for the main body of the crusade near Belegar had reached Nerith’s small village, and it was her plan to join up with them, to find her worth in battle while fighting against the dark forces. She did not see her mother or her siblings before leaving, nor did she need to. She knew, deep down that she would see them again, even as she made her way across that ocean of green, the spirit of Oka empowering her strides, and the promise of good fighting with the Fury of the Called on the horizon.
11/22/2011, 6:10 pm Link to this post Send Email to Nerith920   Send PM to Nerith920 Blog

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