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A Purpose (attn. Arinth)


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Yriel had been minding his own business, admittedly following the odd rumours that passed that the Band were near this area and on the march, aiming for a deer. This deer had been foolish enough to stay still for long enough to pull his crossbow off his back and load a bolt. Licking his lips, he had been thinking of the rare delight the meal would bring him, he was almost as tired of rabbit as he was of travelling alone. He drew in his breath and held his aim, there was a twang from somewhere to his right, Yriel pulled his trigger by reflex releasing his bolt from its crossbow under the belly of the deer as it reared from the arrow in it's thigh. Blood and ashes he swore in his mind as he gently placed his crossbow on the ground. It would take to long to reload, not that he'd ever used it against a human. He slowly drew his sword from it's scabbard and moved his back to a tree. It was only then he looked up and saw a smirking face above him looking straight at him, eye over the fletch of an arrow.


"You bloody bonehead of a man, Yriel Ventris" he said to himself as he put his sword to the ground and raised his hand.




Yriel had to hold from laughing the moment he saw the uniform of the people who had surrounded him, stolen his dinner and threatened to pincushion him if he moved. The red hand emblazoned on their chest could only mean these were the people he had been searching for for a year, why he had searched up the western edge of the mountains of mist, searching for the famed citadel. He had been following rumours that grew stronger the further north he moved and now it appeared he had almost gone headlong into a group of them.


Tied up as he was his captors were still being very civil to him, apparently one had run back to camp to fetch someone who would decide what to do with him. While they were waiting the scouts had set up a fire and set to cooking his deer.


"You could at least give me some of that, it was going to be the best meal I've had this side of the mountains" Yriel spoke grumpily as he watched them tear up the soft tender meat, the saliva building up in his mouth.


"Look mate, you've slowed our mission down, this is compensation for not killing you for that alone" One of them replied gruffly.


"I'm guessing you won't untie my hands then, I've been searching for the Band for a year now, I want to join you" Yriel said calmly.


Another of the scouts, well that is what Yriel assumed they were, snorted "Like we haven't heard that before." Yriel sighed and awaited the appearance of the man the camp would send.

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Arinth wondered what he was doing wandering through the woods. This was not part of his normal job with the infantry. He marched in a straight line with men on either side and ahead and behind. It got pretty boring most of the time. He had run out of games to play with himself to pass the time and most of the other men in the infantry weren’t much better.


Arkin though was different. The little scout was interesting and funny. He always had stories that passed the time. Arinth wasn’t sure if they were all true but he didn’t care either. He had decided to find him today when he had grown especially bored. Arkin was part of the scouts and scouts scouted out ahead. It had seemed pretty simple when he set out. He hadn’t given much thought to where exactly Arkin was scouting and now he had no idea where he was in relation to the rest of the band on the march.


An hour later after more fruitless wandering, a growing temper and thirst and uncomfortable sweaty armpits he spotted a scout moving through the woods. He called him to a halt and demanded what was going on. He hid his delight in finally finding someone with a hard frown. The man told him how they had found a dangerous looking young man wandering the woods well armed who claimed to want to join the band.


Arinth’s frown deepened though he couldn’t help but wonder if this newcomer was any good at fighting in tavern. Those were the type of friends he liked to keep close at hand. And Arkin too, it helped to have someone who told stories.


It wasn’t uncommon for men to join the band so Arinth wasn’t exactly worried about that. Anyone that was seeking to infiltrate the band would try a more subtle approach than attacking the scouts of Arinth himself. They caught up with the scouts who were watching the newcomer as it was growing dark. Arinth would have to camp with them and make it back to the main group the next day.


The man was a few inches shorter than Arinth himself though he was built sturdily. He also had long dark hair but he kept his pulled back where Arinth kept his down. Arinth still felt he was the better looking one though even if his nose had been broken a few times. Women liked a man with scars. The newcomer would earn his too if he stuck around and drank with Arinth.


He had arrived just in time to hear the exchange about the deer. “Untie his hands.” He said curtly as he looked him over. “And give him some of the meat too.”


The scouts pulled some meat out of the fire and made to hand it over to new comer. Arinth caught a sniff of it and grabbed it before they could. It was hot. He nearly dropped it and muttered a few curses as he juggled it and sat down. “Not that piece.” He said to the scouts.


He looked at the wanderer as he tore a bit out of the meat. The man was watching him as he tried the meat too. “So you want to join the band do you? Well lets hear your story then. Whats your name? where are you from? All the details now.” Arinth said.


The newcomer started to talk and Arinth held up his hand to stop him. “Does anybody happen to have any ale?” He asked the scouts. He muttered a curse when they said they only had water. He looked back at Yriel, “Well what are you waiting for?”


He nodded as he listened to the young man’s story and ate and regretfully drank water. When the story was done Arinth leaned forward and looked at the man in the eyes. “That’s all well and good.” The truth was that Arinth’s attention had wandered off a few times during the story and half the time new comers told more lies than a man could count about their old lives. He didn’t really care. There was something he did care about though and it would decide on whether or not the man was cut out for the infantry. “The important question now is how do you like getting punched in the face?” If he could answer the question right Arinth was pretty sure he had found a new drinking buddy.

Edited by Arinth
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Yriel rubbed his wrists after they were untied at the request of the newcomer. It was times like that when he wished he knew how to use knives, he wouldn't have run or anything but it had not been a comfortable position. Gratefully grabbing at the meat thrown at him he gleefully tore into it with his teeth, not caring about the temperature only once he had eaten a fair few bites did he slow down and savour the taste of the deer, to him it tasted delicious. Between mouthfuls he began slowly telling his story until he quickly halted at the newcomers request.


Ah, ale it had been a long while since he'd partaken of that particular nectar, not many taverns on his path where he hadn't gotten an evil eye or two for being an outsider.


Continuing to tell his story again Yriel noticed Arinth's gaze glaze over occasionally and was tempted to start speaking random words to see if the man noticed but decided against it. As Yriel finished he took a swig from the water flask one of the scouts had thrown to him. They all looked decided warmer to him now, he had admittedly embellished his story in section but at no stage had he outright lied. He may also have left out the occasional fight with gamekeepers when caught poaching rabbits, not for shame of the fights more for shame of the being caught especially when speaking in front of scouts.


As Arinth leaned forward Yriel instinctively met the man’s eyes, this man was a real soldier he realised. He then held in a snort at his question.


"If they can land a punch fair enough but they ought to be prepared for some a little retaliation even if it doesn't" Yriel replied with a large grin. It was a true enough reply as he could think of, he tended to avoid fights and as a rule never threw the first punch but more often then not wound up hurting his assailant more than he was hurt, of course those were generally drunken louts or men without a lick of training.


He was getting a fair idea that the man in front of him rather liked a good bit of ale and a good brawl, this brought another grin to his lips. He'd known a buddied around with a few men like that back in Tear on the odd occasion he'd been released for the night and had not gone to annoy the bodyguards for training.


"And what division are you from?" Yriel asked, he could bet the man wasn't cavalry or scout, he didn't have the preened look of the first and as even he had heard Arinth coming he doubted the man had the stealth of a scout.

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"If they can land a punch fair enough but they ought to be prepared for some a little retaliation even if it doesn't" Yriel replied with a large grin.


Arinth shared his grin. It was a good answer. The man would make a perfect fit for the infantry. Though he looked to have a more brains than the average brute. He’d probably make an officer one day Arinth though. He pitied him. He’d seen men he knew get promoted. All the joy and happiness left their eyes. They were drowned in paper work and they couldn’t even treat their friends like friends. Arinth had avoided that path as long as possible but he was beginning to feel some hidden pressure pushing him towards his own advancement. Officers taking notice of him or saying he had down a good job and asking for his name. He grimaced each time he had to tell them. He had stopped giving them fake names though as he had in the beginning.


"And what division are you from?" Yriel asked


Arinth sat up more straightly. “Well the infantry of course.” I don’t go around riding a horse sitting stiff backed like I’m sitting on a fence post. I don’t have the skulky, shifty nature of a scout and I sure can’t do anything for your wounds besides pouring alcohol into the wound or tying a knot above it. I can punch a man pretty well in the face though.”


He sat back and met the stare of the scouts looking at him. They didn’t look entirely pleased with what he had said about them. He knew they wanted to fight they wouldn’t attack head on though. He wouldn’t call them cowardly because it would be a dumb thing to do. If they did want to fight they’d try to surprise him and no he had Yriel watching his back so he wasn’t too worried. He grinned at the scouts.


“If you are smart and play your cards right you’ll be at my side instead of on the wrong end of my fist though. I can always use help knocking the cavalry down a peg or two.”


After that the men sat quietly by the fire for awhile. Arinth stared up at the stars. His thoughts wandered from his life before the band and his little sister. He remembered joining the band and all the men he had served with along the way. The drinking games they had played. He thought of the Aiel and those damn spears of theirs killing men all around him. He had done his best to drown those thoughts but they were still as vivid as ever. He sat up trying to find something else to focus on.


“You have any questions about the band?” He asked. “We are heading somewhere, probably to fight someone but if you want to know something it might be that I or the scouts can answer your question.”

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Yriel smirked as he imagined Arinth in a brawl, he got the distinct image of the man getting in a bit deep and needing a squad to pull him out, and he'd still claim he'd been winning. Still there was something to be said for that sort of enjoyment, and he had to admit he wouldn't mind getting into a brawl with people on his side again. So, this man was infantry, he looked down at his crossbow, he was a fair shot with it now as long as no-one spooked or shot his quarry before him, he glared over at the scouts again. He was tempted by the archers admittedly and who had heard of an infantryman who carried a crossbow rather than a shield or a back up sword or knife, how well would he fit in. But then again Yriel preferred the idea of meeting an opponent over edged metal it seemed fairer, or maybe that was just romanticism. Added to that the fact it would probably be good to know someone within the division before he joined, still he paused his thoughts. Reaching into his pocket he pulled out a copper penny from his pocket, he flipped it in the air and watched land on the ground crown side up. Infantry it was then.


Almost starting when Arinth spoke again Yriel settled back quickly.


"hmm, how bad is the pay?" Not that he really cared about money but the copper he had spun was his last and at some stage he need to fund his own trip back and of course by booze, now hat he didn't have to worry about covering his own back every second, getting drunk seemed rather a nice prospect. He wanted to ask about nobles within the band but it didn't seem right beside, they would be fighting nobles, Yriel had heard up in the borderlands they didn't even play daes dae'mar it sounded like a dream.

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Arinth watched as the coin flipped in the moonlight. It caught the fire light and seemed to hold it. When it landed crown up Arinth couldn’t help but smile. Infantry was the place for the young man. He’d take him under his wing. Maybe he would even help Arinth remember that he wasn’t so old himself despite how he felt most mornings.

He was torn, on one hand he had was tempted to drink, and pull pranks, skip classes, cause trouble but at the same time he felt he was suppose to be responsible. The only problem was that being responsible was completely boring. Burn the light, it was terribly boring. He was only a corporal after all. Maybe when he received his next promotion he would start being responsible. If he ever got his next promotion that was.

Arinth scratched his beard when he was asked about the pay. The truth was that he had never paid attention. He had clothes to wear, a place to sleep and food to eat so what did he really need money for? He had never worked very much before the band so he wasn’t sure how much was even reasonable. He used what he had to buy drinks and gamble once in awhile. When he found he had saved up an extra little bit he would send it home to his old parents with a letter apologizing that he had not kept in touch better.

“The pay is good enough.” He responded. “There is not much need for it honestly if you stick around.”

He unrolled his pack and settled down. The next day would be another day of marching.

“Get some rest kid. Tomorrow if you haven’t changed your mind I’ll take you in. We’ll get you on the payroll and get you everything that you need.”
With that Arinth settled down and closed his eyes.

Edited by Arinth
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Yriel nodded he had heard talk of some armies where soldiers were expected to buy their own food and pay for everything, but judging by the way Arinth had replied to his question it did not seem to be the case for The Band of The Red Hand. This cheered the man slightly in that it meant he only had to worry about training before returning to Tear for a little vengeance. that, however was not the only reason he had joined the band, he hoped this would turn into his new family, like he had shared with his friends and family in better times. It was a very wet dream not befitting a soldier but it was there none the less. Judging by the way he had seen the scouts acting together it could easily come to fruition, Arinth seemed to like him well enough he hoped all the band were this amiable, to their allies anyway.


As the older man recommended he get some rest, Yriel finally wandered over to his pack. He hadn't been near it since he had lined up his crossbow to aim at that damned deer that had started it all. Then again he supposed if it hadn't been for that deer he may not have met the scouts and gone straight passed the band. Serendipity he supposed, or the art of the creator, either way he had found the band now. He pulled out his bed roll from the pack and laid it down on a patch of bare earth taking of his jacket and laying it over himself to act as a blanket. He smirked to himself as he closed his eyes at his final thought

'Now I've found this place I'll be damned if I run'.

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Arinth’s dream were strange as usual. There was a black cat riding a pony and waving a spear around in the air. Arinth watched the cat in wonder as it rode the pony up a tree and then urged the horse to jump off into a nearby lake. It was madness. He knew it instantly and leapt in after them. The cat was soaked and clutching the spear desperately as it bobbed above water. The horse was swimming away. Arinth thought he had heard the horse mutter something about the cat but everyone knew horses didn’t talk. He swam out to the cat and tucked it under his arm and swam back to shore. The cat thanked him, shoke off the water and walked away.


Arinth woke up with a grin. He didn’t remember what he had dreamed off but it felt as if he had accomplished something. He nudged Yriel with a boot. It was still early. The sun was coming up over the trees. The young man sat up, blinking the sleep out of his eyes.


“We will have a small breakfast and then head back towards the main camp. One of our scouts here has agreed to take us back which is a good thing. You’d stand a better chance of finding it on your own than having me lead you. I have no idea where I’d go. I am not much for paying attention to bent leaves and bear droppings.”


Breakfast was dried meat and a slice of fruit. The scouts didn’t exactly eat the same way out in the open as the rest of the men did eating from the mess hall. He hoped Yriel wouldn’t judge them by this food. Of course the food in the mess hall was pretty boring too now that he thought about it.


The march back would take a little while from what the scout told him. He walked in silence for awhile enjoying peace of everything around him. Maybe being a scout wasn’t always so bad. He glanced at Yriel and realized that he probably shouldn’t keep his silence the whole way there. He was probably expected to say something to the young man. He didn’t have much in the way to offer him of wisdom though. He waited. If Yriel had anything to say he’d be more than happy to talk to him but he couldn’t think of anyway to break the silence himself.

Edited by Arinth
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  • 4 weeks later...

Yriel growled as he felt a boot kick him in his ribs, grumpily he looked up towards the owner of the boot that had so cruelly awakened him from a rather nice dream involving a rather nice barmaid he'd known near Cairhein. Blinking he looked at the man expecting the usual site of a disgruntled guard or farmer wanting to move him on quickly. Slowly, as he sat up, recognition crawled up from the deeper parts of his slowly waking mind. Arinth, he remembered as he recalled the previous evenings events.


Nodding along to what the soldier said, Yriel held in his yawn and wiped the sleep out of his eyes. He was looking forward to the breakfast despite the smallness, however that was nothing compared the excitement of the idea of finally reaching the Band's main camp, it seemed like a long time since he'd wanted anything that much. Scoffing down the dried meat and more slowly savouring the fruit,Yriel watched the scouts pack up the temporary camp. Once finished he stood up and stretched before waiting for the others to move so he could follow.


He kicked up the dirt onto his boots, a luck habit he'd developed over his travels. He could only hope he was allowed to retain some of his individuality he'd developed since leaving his life as a servant especially when you considered his current plan was to become an infantryman who used a crossbow instead of a more useful close range weapon, like, well pretty much anything. He was beginning to temper his excitement at worry then again he supposed he could always run. Looking at the countryside and forest as they slowly moved through, he noticed Arinth by far made the most noise out of the three of them. He wasn't really used to chatting while not hiding anything so for the most part Yriel spent the walk back in silence, until the worry of the loss of individuality became too much for him and he suddenly broke the relative silence.


"They won't make me change my weapons, I spent too long learning how to use these ones. And they won't make me relentlessly polish my boots or make me sign up for life under threat of death." He more spilled his worries out of his throat than said them.

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“They won’t make me change my weapons? I spent too long learning how to use these ones. And they won’t make me relentlessly polish my boots or make me sign up for life under threat of death?”


Arinth looked around for the source of the voice talking until he saw Yriel and remembered who the young man was. His mind had been wandering as usual. He stared at the man blankly for a minute. He wasn’t sure if the man was serious or not. If he didn’t know better he would think the man was really concerned. But then again he didn’t really know how the band was.


Yriel asked some good questions. Arinth looked down at his boots. They were well worn and comfortable but he couldn’t remember ever polishing them. Was the point in polishing boots? Could you reflect light in to a charging enemy’s eyes? That seemed like a lot of trouble trying to stand on one foot and balance and catch the light just right. No better to stand steady.


Did they have to sign up for life? He had gotten bored signing the papers they had put before him. They had even offered a summary of the pages to him but he had gotten bored listening to them too. All he knew was that he had signed the papers with a big grin on his face. He had seen others come and go in the army though so he didn’t think you had to sign for life or anything.


He realized he still hadn’t said anything. “Um, well you won’t have to sign for life unless you plan on getting killed in combat or something. As to your boots I couldn’t care less what you do with them as long as you are ready to march when you are suppose to. Nobody is going to take your cross bow away but you’ll have to learn how to use sword and it wouldn’t’ be a bad idea to use the spear too. If there is a weapon you can learn its best to do so. Knowing how to use them is what will keep you alive if someone decides to try to kill you.”


His answers seemed to address most of Yriel’s concerns. Of course it wouldn’t be until he settled into his new life that he would ever feel comfortable. Until then the unknown still had the potential to be unnerving. The main camp appeared before them. Yriel followed Arinth through the camp until they came to staff that managed recruits.


“I’ve got one for the infantry here.” Arinth said to the nearest staff member. “Take good care of him. Put him close to me if you want.”


He turned to Yriel. “It won’t take long for them to get you set up. If you need anything I am not to difficult to find. Relax and get settled in.”


OCC: You can wrap it with one last post if you want or we can keep going.

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Yriel waited as he watched Arinth's blank gaze pass over him, or maybe through him, he wasn't really sure which. The man's response assuaged some of his fears but left a good few remaining he'd once tried to use a staff when being taught by his lord's bodyguards it had ended so badly all parties had agreed he should never try to use it again. Then again that was a good few years ago now so maybe he should try to expand his horizon's. What if his sword broke in battle or his crossbow jammed and he didn't get the chance to retrieve it.


As they walked into the camp Yriel tried very hard not to stare however he did not entirely succeed. The camp seemed to him to go on for ever he had never seen so many people in a single view. Cities had buildings to block the view but here there was just a sea of low tents with the occasional high tent of an officer raising above the pickets. He watched the men as well as they passed by on the way into the camp. He hadn't heard this much noise in a long time either the clanging of blacksmiths mixed with the calls of sergeants drilling men sometimes in formation other times just for combat.


They came to a stop so suddenly that he almost walked straight into Arinth, as he had been too distracted by looking around. He nodded to the clerk as Arinth introduced him.


"I'll see you around then." Yriel replied simply to Arinth as he was led inside the tent. Signing up was a fairly simple affair in turned out, a quick poke into why he wanted to join and his life, probably to check he wasn't a criminal and an idiot. An explanation of the contract, which Yriel felt was a bit constricting but doubted anyone would hold him to it if he disappeared. After the explanation was over Yriel looked at the contract for a few minutes. He had searched for the band for over a year, and here he was mulling it over rather than just jumping in. He sighed and signed his name at the end of the contract and became a member of the Band of the Red Hand.


ooc: think i'll finish it there

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