Fragments - Selaeno's Memories

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Penegal
Posts: 21
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2016 9:47 pm

Fragments - Selaeno's Memories

Postby Penegal » Thu Apr 13, 2017 10:20 pm

When Things Were Simple

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He barely even knows me.” Selaeno carefully arranged glass jars full of dried herbs on the shelf before her. “You know that’s not required, child. But unlike most of the young men after what’s between your legs, he’s an honest one.” An old woman replied, at work with her mortar and pestle, making medicine. She was a crone, blue-eyed and with long greyed hair tied into many braids. Her tone was serious, no-nonsense, but she had a smile now and then, deepening the numerous lines on her face. “Little star, Gaelan’s a good man with good prospects. He may be simple, but at least he’s not old or ugly, and he’s got coin. I’d say I’m surprised he hasn’t been married off already, but I’m sure it has something to do with you.”

Selaeno turned a jar over and over in her hand in thought, pretending to examine its contents. “I know.” It wasn’t much of a protest. She knew she was lucky, she could end up with someone miserable, revolting. “I … I don’t know. It just feels odd, Nan.” Her grandmother chuckled at that. “That’s how it is. You think marriage is like what you read in books? Little star, it isn’t easy at first, but he’ll treat you right.” She sighed lightly, looking down at her hands. “I’m old, I won’t be here much longer. I’ve been past my time for years, and I want to see you safe before I move on. You’ll have a home, comfort, and stability. Don't go turning this opportunity away. If the gods are kind, you’ll have your first babe before I draw my last breath.”

But that’s not how it turned out. You died not long after. I approached my wedding day, alone. I suppose I’m glad you weren’t there and that you died peacefully, instead.


I promise, Nan. I’ll marry him, there won’t be any trouble.”


Another memory. Brief, yet poignant.


The young man cleared his throat, pulled a small piece of parchment from his vest and read aloud from it. “My heart is taken by you, fair lady, and you should have my devotion, too.” There was an amused grin on his face, clearly appreciating how ridiculous and exaggerated the poem was. He continued, nonetheless, and Selaeno wasn’t sure if she should laugh. “No flower you grow exceeds your splendor, but your person is just as tender—Oh gods, this is awful, isn’t it?” Gaelan crumpled up the paper, chuckling. “It was mother’s work, I could never write something like this. I apologize.” He was warm, comical. Selaeno admired this, and her mild embarrassment dissipated with a smile. “I appreciate the effort, anyway. At least she was being thoughtful, right?” It made things easy, the lighthearted exchange. Where there was once anxiety, her husband-to-be was making an effort to bring her cheer, proving that he cared.

There was a pause, and Gaelan stepped closer to her. “I know how this must be for you, Selaeno. It can’t be easy, we barely know one another. But I want to.” Selaeno folded her hands together, having a hard time making eye contact. “I know you mean well.” He didn’t seem satisfied with that response and so tried to reassure her. “I can make you happy. You can still have your gardens, sing at the tavern every day, run your grandmother’s shop, whatever you want. I’d do right by you—I’d never want another woman. I know there’s no love, but love will come with time.” Gaelan took the girl’s hands into his and squeezed gently. Selaeno looked up at him with a faint smile. “I believe you.

If we never agreed to marry, if we never even met, you’d probably still be alive. I was the worst thing that ever happened to you.

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Penegal
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Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2016 9:47 pm

The Man with the Red Hair

Postby Penegal » Wed Apr 26, 2017 1:39 pm

It was a warm and sunny afternoon. Selaeno was in the mood to sing, and she often did so for extra coin at the tavern. It wasn’t much, but as she found it no work at all, she couldn’t complain. It also brought comfort to the regulars, some travelers. Patrons were in better moods, more likely to go there before any other place of rest. Selaeno found herself standing in an empty corner near a window, as she usually did. The locals paused their drunken revelry and bickering, hoping for something other than just drink to set the end of the day right. She had heard a new song from a travelling bard, much more skilled and experienced, and loved it. Often, Selaeno simply sang local songs, the familiar. But this day held something different. The pale girl wove her fingers together and readied her voice. It was something with a joyous beat, contradictory to the lyrics themselves. It had a beat, to which some patrons stamped their feet or beat their mugs.

She had the sun in her hair, jewels for eyes, too,
Fair lady, fair lady, what can I do for you?
I’d pluck the moon and I’d bottle the sky,
I’d forsake e’ry woman and never ‘gain lie…
Brought that lady home and held myself true,
But somehow, some reason, that lady was blue…
I woke one day to find that she’d gone,
I pondered and pondered, ‘what had I done?’


Selaeno saw him clearly in the back, a head of red that turned to her as she sang. He was with a company of others, similarly dressed in black leathers, all at their drink. But the man with the pointed ears and scarlet hair stood out among them, and for a few moments, they caught each other staring back. His eyes were striking, even at that distance. Amber, she thought. Bright as the sun. He was no local, that was for sure.

Went ‘round and ‘round looking for that lady of mine,
Went home empty handed and found myself wine…
That lady had left me and I cannot say why,
Just prayin’ one day she’ll come ‘fore I die.


Gentle applause by otherwise rowdy men and women, some battering the tables with their mugs in approval. For a time, the man with the red hair was just a blur in the background, out of sight and out of mind. She was busy being greeted and congratulated for her engagement by a few members of the community. Drunk men approached and thanked her, some so emboldened by drink that they tried to woo her. But Selaeno calmly and politely worked her way around them. It was time to go home, and her grandmother undoubtedly had work for her.

Where did you learn to sing like that, my lady?” And there he was. He had waited for her outside, like some sort of bodyguard who stood watch. The man’s stature and bearing helped that impression, orderly but armed. Selaeno felt embarrassed just to look at him, he was comely and intimidating at once. His features were not quite elven, not quite man, and he stood another head or two above her. She knew nothing of his age, but the man looked to be in the prime of his youth. His words rolled off the tongue like he had practiced speech with a purpose, a compliment to his image. It took Selaeno a moment to answer under pressure, even though it was a simple question. “I just like singing. I’ve been singing since I was a girl, and that’s all there is to it.” She gave a pause before adding, “They almost never see professionals, so someone like myself is appreciated beyond true value.” The man looked her over with a smile. “Is that really how you see it?” The pale girl nodded, lacking confidence in her manners. She couldn’t maintain eye contact for long. “Aren’t you going to tell me your name?” He tilted his head to one side, that confident smile of his never wavering.

Selaeno, sir.” She answered, “My grandmother, Ersalea, runs the apothecary here.” The man nodded, pleased. “Selaeno. ‘Under Selune’, if I’m not mistaken. You must have been born at night... Or perhaps simply because of your looks. Maybe both.” He pondered aloud. Not skipping a beat, he introduced himself and extended a black-clad hand to her. “Saelion Solmaril.

I wish I never sang, I wish you hadn't seen me, I wish, I wish, I wish. So many regrets, all because of you.


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