Closed Journeying with Open Eyes

[Weekend Challenge]Draven on his way to Syliras meets an acquiantance of his father, and learns some new truths

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While Sylira is by far the most civilized region of Mizahar, countless surprises and encounters await the traveler in its rural wilderness. Called the Wildlands, Syliran's wilderness is comprised of gradual rolling hills in the south that become deep wilderness in the north. Ruins abound throughout the wildlands, and only the well-marked roads are safe.

Journeying with Open Eyes

Postby Draven McNiel on June 15th, 2019, 4:01 am

Date, 516 AV

Summer was always a murky season, especially now that the winters have faded. The journey had been a long one, and for one of the participants it was certainly his first. A

Things were rather difficult for Draven all things considered. He was running the last leg of his first real journey beyond the safety of his home city. He had cowered, letting his adventurers spirit be dulled by the hard hitting edge of danger, he was joining a merchant ferry; even paying a fee in of itself. Rather than having been hired; he had opted to move homes, he’d sold off his promises behind him, he’d cut off his own return home, he was beginning his adventure. These were the types of thoughts that Draven tried to peddle to himself as he moved. But in reality, he had simply paid to join their travel. He adjusted the bag over his shoulder again, uncomfortably heavy and fixed the swords on his belt, one wooden which looked silly while travelling.

Was it degrading? It most certainly was. But they were in the last leg, half-way through the pass. Draven had kept his head to the ground and paid attention to his surroundings, well as best as he could. The group was fairly small consisting of a set of merchants, a cart, a pair of hired guards, which didn’t include him, and a couple others like himself. Zeltiva was a well vaunted after location supposedly, but he’d only picked it as it had propped up in his father’s stories.

It was while he was lost in these thoughts that Draven had lost awareness of the world around walking into something in front him. He looked up and found a pair of green eyes stared back at him. ”Everything alright there son?” Brown eyebrows speckled with grey rose up, creating small peaks and valleys across their forehead. Draven took a few seconds, before he responded. ”Yeah, it’s going great.” He nodded before turning his eyes downward again. His nostrils were filled with the scent of the man’s perfume, yet a hint of something else came through when the man spoke again. ”It doesn’t look like it. You’ve been staring at the ground most of this journey.” It was a different scent, slightly stronger and of mint; some kind of paste most likely.

Draven looked back up and gave him a sheepish smile. ”Just trying to sort out my thoughts, it’s my first time away from home you know?” He stretched out the last syllable and ran a hand through his black hair. The brown haired older male nodded slowly, before moving in step with Draven. The pair began to walk in order to catch up to the rest which had moved in ahead of them. ”So you chose to come to Zeltiva? Think things will be better closer to the sea? It can be hard. The city has suffered through a few famines, and it has only gotten worse now Winter is gone, I won’t sugarcoat it, it’s not a paradise; it’s a place just like anywhere else.” The man explained as he stroked his beard, running his fingers through his haylike strands of hair which clumped together into tight curls once he removed his hand, and placed it on Draven’s shoulder giving him a soft pat. ”It’s a good city, a clean open city. But it’s different to what you’ve known but if you’ve got the drive you’ll do fine.” He removed his hand and put it into his pocket. Following that a comfortable silence formed between the two as they walked a path

”Haha. That’s part of it, something I’ve never known. It’s why I wanted to go,” Draven voiced it with a placid smile. ”There’s an entire world out there, full of sights that I would never see if I just stayed holed up in my room down in the depth of Stormhold. Well, that was my goal. I’d run around the world and find things, do things and keep on moving.”
”You’d find something no-one has before, engrave your name in all books to come and people will be naming their children after you for ages to come, is that right?” The man said with an amused smile before he let a few chuckles through. Which made Draven cover his face, trying to hide his embarrassment from the other man which only lead to a louder laugh. He dropped his arms and slumped a little forward, his casual gait turning into lumbering wobbly steps before he straightened himself out again. ”Yeah...Was it that obvious?” His tone dropped, lacking it’s usual energy though to his travelling companions it would only have sounded a little more dull.

”Hah! Once you started explaining just the little bits there, it wasn't hard at all to figure it out. You might have been toning it down, but your eyes were definitely not just fixed on that. I sure guessed that, but I know your name isn’t You, so mind sharing? You’ve hardly talked to anyone, others are beginning to think you’re a little bit...” He gestured to the side and rolled his eyes. Draven wondered what he meant for a second, trying to follow the man’s gaze. But found nothing before his eyes widened in realization, his mouth made a little circlet and he turned his eyes forward again.

He adjusted his bag over his shoulder again, feeling the burn in his shoulders pick up properly again. ”I don’t think I could carry this bag if I were sick.” He said flatly, being made out to be a potential leper wasn't on his list of good misconceptions. Once again a silence hung over the pair, but this time the air felt a little bit heavier.

Draven opened his mouth a number of times before slamming it shut. Without moving his head he glanced to his side a number of times. Though it wasn't him that broke the silence. ”Kiether Heppers.” The now finally named Kiether said, his voice rather calm. Draven nodded at this, looked over and opened his own mouth, trying to add his old energy into it. ” Draven Mcniel, Mercenary...Or was.” He said with a half-smile, though he seemed rather comfortable saying it. ” Will be?” He tilted his head to the side just a little.

Maybe he should have paid attention to Kiether a little more, Draven had missed the look on the man’s face completely; initially the man’s eyebrows moved together and he squinted his eye, his stroking of his beard froze and then his eyes widened just a little in recognition. ”Mcniel, Mcniel…” The man muttered to himself as his expression shifted back to normal. Draven glanced over, a few quick blinks before he raised his eyebrow.

”Something wrong? Have we met before?” Draven enquired. However he got an index finger to his face, wiggling in front of his eye. ”Curry...Just as messy as you but with a thinner pair of swords.” He worded, Draven raised an eyebrow in confusion before his own widened. ”Kerry?”

”That’s it! Kerry. Kerry Mcniel. You know him then? A relative?” He asked though his aged face seemed to brighten up just a little bit. ”Of course I do, he’s my father.” Draven said as if it were the most obvious of things. ”You know him?” He asked, his voice a little incredulous.

”Haha. Well I’ll be, I heard he had a little tyke all that time ago; but I haven’t seen him for so long that I thought he might have died. How’s he?” He asked, the air between the two seemed to lighten up. Draven’s shoulders relaxed a bit before he raised them up as his bag started to slip, his hands hung on tightly to the straps. ”Ah. He passed away a few years ago. Eight exactly.” The young man’s smile faded a little bit as his eyes hung onto the distance.

”Sorry, I didn’t know.” Kiether’s expression was far more subdued, he looked away to the ground. ”That’s fine, he was at peace with it.” Draven said with a chuckle.

”How’d he go?”

It was an innocent enough question, Draven closed his eyes for a second; visualized the night in which his father left the world. The fire burned, they sat around it and just talked the night away, until at one point, they didn’t. Draven spoke, and he had received no reply; again and again. He couldn’t wake him, nor could he bring him back. His father had never been a big man, but Draven hadn’t wanted to drag him through the dirt. He’d left his body there, and returned home in tears. ” I think his job got the best of him in the end, he’d been injured a few times and one night he just never woke up. We talked and we talked and he didn’t reply. But...I think he was happy. He looked more at peace than I’d ever seen him.” Draven looked down at his feet, blinking rapidly in order to not let the tears build up.

”That’s a shame.


Credit for boxcode goes to Karin
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Draven McNiel
Have I grown yet?
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