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About Shepherd

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    Ghost of DM Past
  • Birthday July 21

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  1. Hey, you still around? I haven't been active in years. Cheers kido.


  2. ‘Light! I don’t have a sword!’ Swift as the breeze he drew the long dirk from his belt and ran after Lyv. The other Tower Guards were already facing the Trolloc, their battle cries filling the air. ‘I can’t die here, in this place. I won’t be killed by any of those monsters. I won’t!! Not today…’ Lyv ran around to the front of the Trolloc, standing beside her comrade, while Gillie stayed behind it’s back. He planed to distract the monster, causing it to turn, leaving a clear opening for the others to strike. ‘I’ll be the bate, even if I only have a small hook..’ His dirk wouldn’t do any damage against the Trolloc’s dented armor and thick hide, but Gillie was determined to draw at least a little blood. Aiming for the Trolloc’s wrist, Gillie made a quick lung forward and slashed. A thin red line blossomed on the not quite human hand. A shallow cut, but it had been enough to draw the monsters attention. Gillie ducked, throwing himself to the ground and rolling away, barely dodging the Trolloc’s backswing. “Lyv!” he shouted, “help!” It was up to her and the other guard. All Gillie could do now was try to ovoid the Trolloc’s attack… By some blessed miracle Lyv and the other guard were able to make the Trolloc turn and flee. If Gillie hadn’t had the Void wrapped tightly around his emotions he would have wept from shear relief. That had been his first time facing a Trolloc in battle and it was nothing like he had imagined. “…to weak…” he whispered. “…I’m just to…” ‘But I’ll get stronger! I must!!’ Suddenly Captain Taj was standing before him and it took Gillie a moment to realize that he was being addressed. “Umm… yes sir, I’m Tower Guard Gillie Cole, from Fifth Company.” He saluted, fist to heart, and reached into his shirt, pulling out the leather envelope. “I’m to deliver this to you and take back any messages to my commanders.” The Captain took the envelope and shoved it into a coat pocket before ordering everyone to move out. As the man walked away Gillie sighed, “Well, it looks like I have to stay till he decides to give my a message.” Gillie Cole Tower Guard
  3. Even though minuets ago he had been desperately trying to kill a man, and she had almost died, both Lyv and Gillie were smiling. ‘As a matter of fact, I almost died as well. If it hadn’t been for my horse…’ Gillie sighed and tried not to think about what might have happened had he lost. Putting those dark thoughts away he held on tightly to what was, to what did happen. He was alive and so was Lyv. That was all that matterd. “What am I doing here? That’s a good question my friend!” he laughed and hugged Lyv again. “But first, lets leave this place. Where there’s one dark friend, there are bound to be others.” He looked Lyv up and down, seeing if she had any visible wounds. “Plus, I think we might need to find a safe place to rest before we find your Captain.” Gillie whistled for Silverthorn and the faithful horse obediently came trotting over. He quickly mounted and gave Lyv his hand, pulling her up behind him. In almost no time at all they had ridden back to the place where he had seen Lyv’s tracks diverge from her groups. They headed east, fallowing the tracks left by Captain Ralleigh’s men. Not having ridden very long, they came across a small patch of trees. It was there that Gillie reigned in Silverthorn, thinking that the covering might make a good place to rest. After dismounting Gillie handed Lyv a water skin and his clean handkerchief. “Here, drink. And when you’ve slaked your thirst, wet the cloth and press it to your temples.” He rummaged through his saddle bags for a little while till he found the parcel he kept healing herbs in. Selecting a slender wooden tube filled with powder, he handed that to Lyv as well. “It’s the best I can do to help clear your head, and maybe lessen any pain your feeling. Though, I‘ll warn you, willow bark is very bitter.” Again Gillie went to his saddle bags, but this when he came back to where Lyv was sitting he had a small sack of food in his hands. Smieling he handed her an apple and some cheese, saying, “Maybe this will take the taste of willow bark from your mouth.” Sitting down with a sigh of releaf, Gillie bit into his own apple. In between bites he said, “So, you asked what I’m doing here earlier. Well, today I’m playing messenger. I’ve got to give something to your Captain and return with any messeges he wishes to send back to camp…” He laughed, “..or, if you ment what was I doing here in Arafel, I was a fool and volunteered to come up here.” He looked off at the horizon, remembering bits and pieces of his childhood in the Almoth Plain and the last years at the Tower. “What was I thinking?” While he was determined to no longer live in the past, sometimes he couldn’t avoid the meloncaly moods that driffed over his mind like dark strom clouds. Here he was, so far away from anything he knew, out matched in everything, and so utterly inexperienced that it was laughebale. ‘Perhaps I’m only an old shepherd that’s strayed to far from the meadow…’ Gillie Cole Tower Guard
  4. “Alright lads, we need a volunteer!” the Lieutenant shouted. Tower Guards began gathering around him eagerly waiting to hear what he had to say. The Lieutenant chuckled, shaking his head and said, “No, no, men, nothing to exciting, so don’t look at me with that foolish gleam in your eyes! All I need is someone to run a messege out to one of our patrol groups. Any takers?” The small crowd that had gathered so quickly began to disperse once everyone knew that it was just an ordinary task fit for any fool that could ride a horse. They were warriors, fighting men and women that would not be reduced to mear messengers. “I’ll do it sir!” Gillie called out. “What are the details?” ‘At least I can finaly be of some use around here.’ he thought to himself and grinned. The Lieutenant handed him a leather wrapped envelope bearing the Tower’s seal and said, “Your to go northeast, just fallow their tracks leading from the camp, they only left two hours ago. Give this to Captian Ralleigh, and then bring back any messages.” Gillie saluted the Lieutenant, fist to heart, and then dashed off to get his horse Silverthorn. He hadn’t had a chance to ride the courser since their trip to Arafel and he was looking forward to the spending some time in the saddle. He found the silver charcoal-grey animal picketed at the end of the line. Smiling, Gillie patted Silverthorn along the neck and said, “Time to run brother. Shall we challenge the wind to a race today?” The horse lowered its head and nuzzled him close in their usual custom. Silverthorn frisked about in anticipation, pulling away from Gillie once the saddle was secured. Laughing, Gillie double checked the saddle straps, making sure they were snug but not to tight. “Alright, that’s the spirit my brother. Today, the wind chases us!” It wasn’t long after leaving the camp that he found Captain Ralleigh‘s trail. Gillie leaned forward in his saddle and whispered into Silverthorn’s ear, “To the chase!”. Swift as the wind, the horse shot off at a dead run. Gillie didn’t like what he saw. The tracks on the ground had split into two different directions, plus the smell of burning flesh and rotten meat permeated the air. Something wasn’t right, and the feeling just wouldn’t leave him. He checked his rapier, making sure it was clear of its sheath. It was then that he heard the sound that confirmed his worries. A woman screamed. Drawing his rapier, Gillie urged Silverthorn forward, fallowing the set of tracks leading west. In moments he came upon the scene. A big man with long stringy black hair had his sword poised to strike at a young woman. Instantly he was surrounded by the Void and clarity filled his mind. Gillie raced toward the man hollering a fierce battle cry, hoping to distract his enemy from attacking the woman. Gillie’s rapier was leveled strait for the man’s head. The rapier, being a light sword, wasn’t suited for combat from horse, but that was all he had and it would have to do. ‘I’ll drive my blade through his neck and that will be the end of it!’ Though, just as Gillie was about to strike with his sword the man turned and brought his own blade up to block the thrust. With the momentum from his charge on horseback Gillie’s attack would have driven the man to the ground, had it actually landed where he aimed. When the man blocked with his heavier weapon, Gillie’s rapier bent, then snapped in half. ‘And that is why rapiers aren’t meant to be used for mounted combat!!’ Furry flamed all around the Void and his anger crashed against it like ocean waves against high cliffs, but it held. Gillie turned Silverthorn around for a sound charge. Without a sword he was running out of options. His next plan was to throw himself at the man, hoping to avoid his enemy’s blade, and knock him down. Though, Gillie wasn’t very heavy. Tall and willow thin, he had little chance of winning in a contest of strength if it came to wrestling with the enemy. ‘And he’s still got his sword…’ He reached down and drew the long dirk he kept at his belt. It wasn’t much against a heavy blade, but it would have to do. ‘Time for a new plan…’ “I’m not dieing today!” he shouted as he booted Silverthorn forward again. At the last moment, only four paces away from the man, Gillie threw his dirk. It grazed his enemy’s sword arm, making the man lower his blade till the tip touched the ground. That was the only opening he needed as he pulled hard on the reigns, causing Silverthorn to rear up and stomp down on the man with his hoofs. It wasn’t long before the man was nothing more than a bloody mess beneath the horse. Gillie leaned forward and patted the animal affectionately. “You did great brother. Next time I promise I wont make you do all the work.” He dismounted and walked over to the young woman, but he had only taken two steps before he froze in shock. “Lyv?” Gillie Cole Tower Guard
  5. His laughter was bitter and hoarse. It grated the senses and was unpleasant to the ear, but Shepherd could not stop the rough laughter, no matter how coarse it was. With shoulders shaking, he held his sides, bracing against the pain of not being able to draw breath. He laughed until tears spilled from the corners of his eyes and he began to choke. “Bloody hell Ogier, your right!” he said after finally catching his breath. “Why, it seems so simple now. All I have to do is stop feeling sorry for myself and… move on!” Sarcasm dripped like acid from each word as Shepherd’s anger boiled. He almost never lost control of his temper, but Forge’s words had been to true, so accurate that they hit the dark wound Shepherd had been licking for far to long. “Why, by the Light, all I have to do is go make a new home anywhere I want among the Two-Legs. They’ll accept me for who I am! They wont take a second look at my golden-eyes! In fact, I’m sure I’ll be able to start my life over again!” If his words had been flames, the entire mountain would have been set ablaze. “Or, maybe I’ll just go back to the Stedding!” All of his pain and frustration came bursting out as he shouted at Forge, who was somewhere off in the woods. “I’ll just walk back to the Stedding and say, “Sorry I’ve been gone so long, that I left me duty, but no hard feelings right?’. They’ll let it pass like water under the bridge and then everything will go back to how it was!” That dark laughter returned as he thought about Maeg. “And who needs love anyway? She’ll be easy to forget now, I’m sure of that. You said it yourself Forge, ‘I’m not the first to ever feel pain.’, so sense other people have been able to forget their past loves, why cant I? Of course, my love was so shallow that it could easily be erased!! How silly I’ve been to mourn the loss of something so trivial!!” Silence filled the air once again after Shepherd’s anger burned out, leaving him hollow and feeling deep regret at his outburst. Forge didn’t deserve being shouted at, and Leila didn’t need to hear this foolishness. ‘I’m a grown man, throwing a tantrum. Truly I’m no longer fit for company, to many years alone with only myself to talk to…’ He sighed and cupped his face in his hands. He was tired and drained, but he still needed to apologize. “I’m… very sorry you two…” Shepherd had been hesitant at first, not really sure if anything he said would make a difference, but he was determined to try. “…there’s no excuse for my behavior, or for what I’ve said, but I do ask your forgiveness…” He looked in the direction Forge had walked off to, unsure if the Ogier was still listening after all his shouting. “Forge, you said it’s not to late to reclaim my life, but honestly, I don’t see how. What’s left for me among the Two-Legs? What’s left for me among the Kin?” Shepherd turned to Leila, seeing if she had any answers to his last question. Emptiness filled his eyes and resounded in his chest. “I tell you both the truth, I don’t have the strength to face my empty home in the Stedding. I cant stand the thought of still being lonely in a place that was once the source of such joy. I’ve lost two lives now and I don’t have the courage to start a third one.” He stared down at his hands, though there was nothing in them. ‘Nothingness… that’s what I’m holding. Nothingness is what I’ve filled my life with since she left…’ “A heart can only break once… after that, it just starts to crumble…” Shepherd was lost, and he didn’t know how to move on. Shepherd al’Grey Fallen Blizzard Lost Ranger
  6. “Kin?” he laughed bitterly, “I don’t have a family anymore.” Shepherd turned to Forge, his golden eyes piercing in the darkness. “I lost my home and those I cared about a long time ago.” He looked to the far horizon, toward the Stedding. In his minds eye he could still see the village where most of the Kin lived. So many memories in that place. There was the infirmary, where he first stayed as a Wonderer, and then after deciding to become apart of the Kin he had moved into the Ranger’s Barracks. The years of training in weapons with Owen, hand-to-hand combat and tracking with Merlin, and all the skills needed to fight and live in the wild, he had learned it all at the Stedding. Then there was his Stone Valley, the little piece of the Stedding he had called his own. The abandoned rock quarry had made a perfect home for him. Once, among the Two Legs, he had made a living as a Stone Mason. Being surrounded by the huge boulders, ringed with the evergreen forest, he felt a strong link to his old life and the few good memories it held. It was there, in his Stone Valley, that he first meet Meag. She had been assigned to him as his student, a young Wonderer in need of the skills to survive as one of the Kin. Until then Shepherd’s duty as a Ranger had been mostly patrolling and training, a very solitary life, which suited him quite well. He found peace living among the King but always being slightly apart, like a Hermit, but still close enough to be in the community. Though, as soon as Maeg became part of his life Shepherd spent almost every day with her. Without him even realizing it she slowly began to take up the empty space that remained in his heart from loosing his family. Her smile had filled his world with laughter, and her eyes could consumed the stars with their own brightness to bring light to the deep hidden places of his life. Before he knew what had happened, he was in love. ’We… we were in love. Maeg, I remember the first time you said “I love you”, and I can still feel the warmth of your lips on mine. But when you left… I couldn’t stand living in the Stedding without you there, I couldn’t bear the loneliness in a place where we made so many memories together…’ Shepherd sighed and began staring at the flames again. He couldn’t bring himself to meet Leila’s gaze, the shame cut him to deeply. As a Ranger he was supposed to protect all the Kin, and when he had fled the Stedding he had betrayed the all their trust. “I don’t belong with the Two Legs anymore. When my family died, I lost my place among that world.” he said to Leila and Forge. “As for the Stedding… I can’t go back. I abandoned my duty, and betrayed them…” Shepherd told them about Maeg and why he had fled from the Stedding. He didn’t know if they would understand how he felt or his reasons for doing what he did, but the simple act of saying everything out loud made him feel better. “…and so, there it is. And that is why I live on this mountain now.” Shepherd al’Grey Fallen Blizzard Lost Ranger
  7. It was to much to take in, so many things were clouding his mind, and their voices soon felt overwhelming after his years of solitude. He had grown accustomed to the silence, with only his thoughts and memories for company. Being so close to another human and… the Ogier… both of them waiting for him to speak, to answer their questions, made Shepherd feel pressured and trapped. He wanted to run far away and hide again, someplace deep and dark where no one would ever find him. It was an irrational feeling, almost an instinct reflex. He was already bone weary and weak, and the over stimulation mixed with a sharp felling of anxiety was causing him to hyperventilate. Shepherd scrambled back from Leila and the Ogier. “Please…”. His breath was coming in ragged huffs, “…please… ju..st… just… leave…” Black shadows began creeping into the corners of his vision as a fiery sensation began spreading through his chest. He looked down and the ground was spinning. Before long he passed out and fell into a dreamless void. Shepherd woke to find himself laying next to a fire. Leila was sitting beside him, gently cleaning the wounds on his arms. Pushing himself up into a sitting position, he pulled away from her. “I’m fine, that’s enough.” His tone was gruff and cutting and he realized how rude he must sound. It wasn’t that he was ungrateful, but that he was out of practice talking with others. The common manners people show each other when conversing, those simple words like ’please’ and ’thank you’, he hadn’t used in a very long time. He sighed and, not being able to look her in the eyes, said, “I’m sorry… and… thank you.” Shepherd caught the Ogier’s scent, and saw him sitting on the other side of the fire. This wasn’t the first time he had come across the race, but he could not claim to really know that much about them either. “and my thanks to you Ogier… ummm…. I mean… Forge was it?” He realized that the Ogier must have carried him to Leila’s campsite, and for that gesture of kindness Forge was owed a ’thank you’ at the lest. Frozen Stream finally entered the ring of light cast by the fire. The wolf quietly walked over to where Shepherd was sitting and laid down next to him. ’And thank you brother…’ Unsure of what to say or do next Shepherd simply sat there and silently watched the fire burn. Letting the awkward atmosphere fade into the background, he tried to calm his mind and think. There were so many things he should have been thinking about at that moment, but Shepherd found himself wondering about were the woman he loved was. He remember that day so long ago… “No, nothings wrong.” she said, turning away from the house. Shepherd’s smile slowly began to fade as Maeg masked her scent. “Now you are starting to worry me my love.” Wrapping his arms around her in a warm embrace, he then whispered in her ear, “Just tell me what’s wrong, and I’ll fix it.” They were standing in front of the new house he had built for her. It was going to be their home after they got married. He had wanted it to be a surprise, but the work had gone faster than he thought, and he couldn’t wait to show her the finished wedding present. The house was larger than most of the homes that could be found among the Kin. It had an upstairs and a main floor, with a small root cellar. All the walls were made of stone blocks with timber support beams intersected among the building. In all, the house looked like a tiny castle. Since Shepherd had been a stonemason before coming to the Stedding it was a natural choice to construct most of the house from cut stone. He had built it close to the quarry, and the cave where he lived, so that he wouldn’t have a long way to drag his building supplies. Even though he had chosen the location for convenience, the little clearing was quite beautiful. The trees surrounded the rear of the house while the front was open to a small green field that held plenty of room for the gardens he knew Maeg wanted to grow. He couldn’t suppress his smile as he beamed with pleasure. “Isn’t this everything you wanted?” She began to cry and said, “Yes… this is everything I ever wanted. You, a nice house, to have a family.” Shepherd kissed her and began to wipe away her tears with the back of his fingers. “I love you Maeg.” “And I love you to Shepherd al’Grey. Always… please remember that…” There was something in her voice that caught his attention. It was an odd plea, and he couldn’t understand what it meant. “Of course, I know you love me. Always.” he laughed and picked her up, swinging her in his arms. “Always Meag, always…” The next morning she had left the Stedding without a word to anyone. No explanation, no goodbye… Shepherd looked away from the fire and over to Leila and Forge, pushing his memories away so he could focus on the present. “So,” he said, breaking the silence, “what are you two doing up here in the mountains?” Shepherd al’Grey Fallen Blizzard Lost Ranger
  8. Shepherd didn’t here the woman approach until it was to late to hide. He had let his mind wonder, hoping to numb the throbbing splinters of frustration that had caught in his heart. To much time wasted, to much regret to bear, and no way to lay down his burdened soul. Her voice was hesitant, but clear and unafraid in the darkness, “Shepherd al’Grey? Is that you?” Even more surprising to him then her appearance on the mountain , was the way her voice sounded so… kind. Until just then Shepherd had forgotten how warm the mere presence of another person could be. It felt like the warm touch of a summer breeze gently brushing his cheek. So soft, so wonderful, that it reminded him of all the good things life had once been. Truly, it was amazing how much a few words and a caring tone could convey. He growled deep in his throat. Shepherd had stopped feeling the cold a long time ago, but he had also forsaken the warmth of day after leaving the Stedding. Back then he had vowed to never let the cold touch him again, nor let himself find comfort in the light of day. It was a promise made with a broken heart and over time it had crippled his spirit. He had embraced the nothingness with no intensions of letting go anytime soon. On unsteady legs he stood and regarded the woman before him with a stiff uncaring glare. He was taller than her by at least two hands. Over the years his black hair had grown long and the silver streaks that had been graceful accents, were now matted and tangled. His beard hadn’t been cut either, it covered most of the snowflake tattoo on his cheek, and the dark briskly curls reached down to his chest. The only clothing he wore was a pair of paper thin leather boots, torn green trousers, the thick steel chain that he always carried was wrapped around his waist like a belt, and the bear fur vest he’d had since first coming to live with the Kin. In all he looked quite a mess, especially with the fresh blood drying on his arms. “You should leave this place Miss. Thatcher…” his voice was still raw from the shouting tantrum earlier, but his words were spoken clearly and with a firm insistence. Yes, he did finally remember who she was, but it had taken him a while to place her face and scent. The last time he remembered seeing her was at Wall’s Inn and that had been years ago. If he remembered correctly he had found her company very pleasant, for she had a sharp mind and a forthright attitude. ‘Another one trained by Owen if I’m not mistaken…’ The thought brought up an image of the Ranger leader, and Shepherd winced with guilt. ‘I abandoned my duty… I gave up that life.’ He growled again, anger coloring his thinking. ‘Why is she here? I have no place in that world anymore!’ Though, a part of Shepherd longed for this meeting to never end. He suddenly found himself reconnected to a life he had never thought to see again. Her coming brought hope. ‘A false hope… I know that… false….’ He turned his back to her and said, “This mountain is no place for you… Leila” Shepherd took a few steps and then stumbled, He suddenly felt light headed. ‘When was the last time I’ve eaten? Days?’ The thought was fleeting as he tripped and fell. The lack of food, combined with the loss of blood from his fight with Frozen Stream, had made Shepherd weak and dizzy. “This mountain…” he mumbled, “…is no place for… those that… have… lives…” Shepherd al’Grey Fallen Blizzard Lost Ranger
  9. ‘Not much for conversation? Well Vera, my other friend barely speaks at all, so this should be interesting…’ Gillie laughed at her remark but didn’t tell her what he had been thinking as they walked back into the Tower. He led Vera to the servants stairwell hidden behind a large tapestry. The hallway was dark and quiet, not a person in sight. “Alright,” Gillie said, “this is the first part of our adventure. We’re going to sneak into the kitchens and nick some food. Now, it’s important that we aren’t seen.” He pointed to her shoes and said, “And it’s best you fallow me barefoot so were not heard either.” She looked down at his boots and he could see the question forming on her lips, but before she could ask it, he said, “I’m not a good as a Warder, but I can move without being heard. Us Tower Guards aren’t without some abilities.” And just like that he took her hand and they went down to the kitchens. A few night cooks were up baking bread and prepping the food for breakfast in a couple hours. They were all concentrating on their work but as in most kitchens they had a lively banter going back and forth. “Hay there Philip, don’t kneed that bread so much or it’ll be as tough as your mothers face.” one of the young men said to his friend that was rolling out some dough. The other one, Philip, barked a laugh and said, “Don’t you be telling me how to bake. Just you watch those eggs there. Some Aes’ Sedi is going to end up with a mouthful of shells in the morning and when she comes down here looking for who’d ruined her meal, we’ll all point to you!” Gillie and Vera silently slipped through the doorway and crept along the far wall. The cooks were to preoccupied to even notice them, but they still crouched down low to the floor, quickly moving to hide behind a stack of barrels in the corner. Gillie was impressed at how light Vera was on her feet. They had made their entrance flawlessly, as if they were nothing more than two shadows made by the flickering flames of the cook fires. Now that they were safely hidden, Gillie took a moment to look around the kitchen and find some suitable food that his friend might like. There was a lot to choose from, but he knew his friend could be finicky sometimes so not just any food would do. He glanced a Vera, smiled, and leaned close to her ear, whispering, “I know they would have given us anything we wanted, but what’s the fun in that?” He winked and continued, “Do you see any fish or sausages near by?” Gillie~ OOC: I thought you might have fun with Vera taking the lead next. Perhaps she could figure out a way to snitch the food?
  10. With the sun setting on another winters day, Shepherd leaned back against a large snow covered boulder to watch the moon rise. At the top of the Mountains of Mist the wind was wild and it tore at his skin with icy fangs, but he didn’t feel the cold anymore. A long time ago, before he had ever heard the voices of wolves, or seen the world through gold-yellow eyes, Shepherd al‘Grey had lost the ability to feel cold. The moon slowly ascended the cloudy road to the sky and with it’s rising Shepherd let his thoughts drift back in time. This had become his nightly ritual since coming to the mountains. Years had gone by, the Stedding left behind forever, but every night he relived his life among the Kin and, on especially long evenings, he would remember living with the Two-legs. Shepherd could still feel his mothers arms around him and hear the sound of his father’s laughter. “Even after all this time… so long ago… your faces still haven’t faded from my mind… nor can my heart seem to forget…” His voice was just a whisper and the wind quickly swallowed it up, throwing it far from the mountain in an icy gust. Again images of the past began to plague him as he saw the figure of a young woman dancing in a swirl of windblown snow. Her frame was petite but her movements spoke of strength and a unbridled passion for life. She was graceful and free. He wanted to be there with her, hold her in his arms again and run his fingers through her short dark locks. She would show him her special smile that was for him and him alone, and Shepherd would return the gesture with a lopsided grin. The vision was agony of the most delightful kind, and he would have stayed like that, watching the snow swirls all night if the wolves hadn’t began to howl. Their fierce cries cut through the wind, echoing to the mountain top where Shepherd sat. They called to each other with wild abandonment, for the night was young and the hunt had begun. They were saying, ’Here I am!’ and ‘Let us run together!’ . Each voice in the dark was filled with life, rich and true. A part of Shepherd, buried deep down beneath his heart, longed to join them. Shepherd groaned and looked down the mountainside and into the surrounding forests. That sound had once brought hope into his life, but now their voices made his blood pump faster with dread. The howl of the wolf was something to be cherished, yet, it was painful for him to hear now. He hated their cries. He hated everything about the wolves because they reminded him of something he could never have again. Hopelessness, that is what had filled him since the day she had left… “Never!!!” Shepherd shouted to them. “I can never go back!! Do you hear me?!” Rage born of despair fuelled his screams. “Stop taunting me!!! Let me be!” He continued to shout at the night from his mountain perch until his throat became dry and his words were just hoarse babblings. “…ne… ver… never… go back… never… lea..ve… leave… me… in… peace… ne…ver…” Shepherd turned away from the night and slowly walked to the deep cleft in the mountains summit. It was here, in this little hole, that he had hid from the world for so long. Running and hiding, but never forgetting. This had become a torture of his own making, a prison he had built for himself that was stronger than any iron forged cage, with locks that had no keys. ’Pup… are you still cold?’ Shepherd gasped from shock and quickly tried to pushed the voice away from his mind, but before he could even take a second breath suddenly a pair of large silver-grey paws knocked him down, pinning him to the ground. Warm vapor was rising from the wolf’s mouth as its jaws opened and lowered close to Shepherd’s neck ready to strike at any moment. ‘Getting slow pup. You cant even sense the hunter anymore. Are you to cold? Have you lost all feeling?’ Frozen Stream taunted him in the way an older brother would admonish a simpleminded sibling. Shepherd tensed and quickly rolled away from the wolf. The fear that had gripped him swiftly turned to anger. He growled and leapt after the big wolf, his fingers gripping tightly to the thick grey fur and they wrestled and tossed about on the stone ground. Frozen Stream’s fangs sank deeply into Shepherd’s muscular arms and the blood began to flow freely. He twisted around and caught the wolf up in a strong hug, lifting it off the ground and slamming him against the stone walls. Their fight lasted for a long time. Both man and wolf hurt each other badly, but never were their attacks really meant to kill. There was a grudge to be worked out and only fang, claw, and fist could bring about the truth of the matter. Finally, after Frozen Stream’s claws had raked across Shepherd’s face and long rivulets of blood ran into his eyes, he backed away from the wolf and kneeled. Trying to catch his breath and wipe the blood from his eyes, Shepherd yielded the fight. ’I’ve had enough…’ As an after thought and in honor of a time when he and Frozen Stream had been closer than family, Shepherd added, ’…brother… I give up…’ . Frozen Stream’s growl was low and threatening. ‘No pup, you gave up a long time ago. This is the first life I’ve seen from you in many seasons. I came here to fight you, and you did not disappoint me until just now.’ ‘Then claim your victory,’ Shepherd told the wolf, ‘and finish the kill.’ He closed his eyes and laid down on the ground, leaving his neck exposed for an easy strike. This was not the end he wanted, but at least it would be an end to his madness. He despised himself for what he had done. Abandoning his post as a Ranger, leaving the Kin, hiding like a coward in the mountains, and just moments ago he attacked a brother. Shepherd heard Frozen Stream’s claws scrape against the ground as the wolf leapt forward. He braced himself for the pain, but just as quickly as it had begun, the wolf stopped and gently laid down beside him, resting it’s silver-grey muzzle on Shepherd’s throat. The wolf softly whined and nuzzled closer. Tears spilled from the corners of his eyes as he lifted a hand to the wolf’s thick fir, running his fingers through its mane. ’I’m sorry… brother…’ Shepherd al’Grey Fallen Blizzard Lost Ranger OOC: Anyone that wishes to join can. This thread is to get Shepherd back to the Kin. Right now he’s lost in his own self pity and needs to get the sense knocked back into him ;) If no one joins I’ll keep posting and get to the point I need, but it would be fun to have company on this RP. Any question, just ask…
  11. He laughed as he fell down, for the fifth time during the exercise. The muscles in his arms felt like pillow stuffing and his legs were twisted wet ropes. He just couldn’t find the strength to keep running over the uneven ground. For some reason he kept catching his foot on the tree roots and tripping over the odd stone on the path. He was glad the others were to far ahead of him to see his floundering. Gillie felt tired… and useless. He had been training with the rest of the Guards for the last month in Arafel and it had quickly become obvious how unskilled he truly was. In comparison to the others that had volunteered to go to the borderlands, Gillie found himself lacking in his fighting ability. No matter how quick he was, they all moved faster and with more grace. His sword was swift, but their sword forms were near perfection with god-like speed. He could not match their strength or skill with a blade. After a month, Gillie knew how inferior he was and that he had no place in the borderlands. Yet, for better or worse, he could not leave. While physically he didn’t measure up to the other Guards, his sense of honor and duty was just as hard and sharp as theirs. ‘I accept that I am not as strong or fast as everyone else here… but I am not weak!’ Gillie knew the bitter truth. He had wasted the last two years in dark self-pity and he could not redeem that lost time. Taking on the nights watch, he had stalked the dark corridors of the Tower at night while wrapped in the Void, and during the day he had hid from life. Gillie had trained in the yard only to preserve what ability he already had. Somewhere down the line he had stopped training to advance his swordsman’s skill. ‘Though, not everything was a complete waste…’ Those two years he spent pondering the meaning of his life. He questioned his reasons for existence, why he had devoted himself to the Tower, and whether or not it had all been for nothing. At the end of his murky contemplation he came to realize that no matter what had originally brought him to the Tower, he needed to stop dwelling on the past for guidance in the future. That was the only real answer he was able to find in the two years of soul searching, and while it wasn’t much, it had been a new start for Gillie. Shortly after his revelation, he had volunteered to join the Guards going to the borderlands. At the time it had seemed like a good plan, a new beginning after almost ten years at the Tower, but he hadn’t anticipated what it would really be like. ‘Foolishness… that’s what it was…’ He laughed at himself and turned his head up to the clouds above. “No use berating myself over the past anymore.” Gillie said to the sky. That was something else he had found during the two years of isolation within the Void, he had finally regained his smile and carefree spirit. On shaking legs he stood up and started jogging at a slow pace till he felt able to start running again. He was determined to catch the other Guards. ‘I feel like a trainee again… but I wont give up… no matter how tough the path before me is…’ Again he smiled and ran for all he was worth. Gillie Cole Tower Guard
  12. There was a touch of apathy in his smile at first, but that dull grey world he had lived in for so long soon faded in the warmth of her friendly voice. He laughed good-naturedly at her question and the sound was clear and pure. “Why Vera, have you forgotten that I’m a Tower Guard and someone has to watch over the sleeping world at night? I’m working tonight…” He sighed and shrugged his shoulders, “…every night actually. Last winter I asked to be permanently put on the Nights Watch. Back then… if you remember from our last conversation, I felt a need to hide from the day.” He said all this in a calm matter-of-fact tone, and for once the words didn’t bring any pangs of despair over all the time he felt had been wasted. Gillie realized that the wall of pain and frustration he had built over the years didn’t seem so high or thick anymore. ‘Is this what heeling feels like?’ he wondered. While the ache and hurt wasn’t completely gone, it did feel somehow… lessened. Like the mountains blocking his future and condemning him to stay in and relive his past weren’t so overwhelming anymore. ‘I almost feel strong enough to start climbing those horrible peeks again… almost…’ Suddenly feeling lighthearted enough to fly, Gillie took hold of Vera’s arm and started walking. “Where shall we go Vera? The night is not completely spent, and the Tower is no small place.” Inspiration stuck Gillie in mid-step and he knew of a place that Vera might enjoy. “Or perhaps,” he said with a grin, “you would like to meet one of my other friends? He can also be found wondering the Tower at night?” He gave her a playful wink and whispered, “What do you say to a small adventure Vera?” Gillie~ OOC: Sorry it took so long for me to post, but I’ve had incredible writers block. The pressure of posting after not writing for so long made me nervous. Plus I hoped you wouldn’t mind because you have finals your studying for. Anyway, I have my idea now and if your up for it I’m ready to write again….
  13. Gillie crept through the White Tower’s shadowy pathways without making a sound, his movements unnoticed by anyone still awake. The Night’s Watch was his domain, and he guarded the Towers entrances and gates like a shepherd watches his flocks. The set of his eyes turned grim as he said to himself, ‘There are worse things than wolves and bears that might attack the Tower. If only the steel of my sword was enough…’ He quickened his pace and moved on to another outer stairwell, taking two steps at a time till he reached the next floor. While the Tower Guard’s dark brown eyes searched every shadow for signs of a threat, his mind was turning over other thoughts. Gillie’s spirit was adrift, lost and wondering through the deep corridors of his heart and mind. The past, filled with both good and horrible memories, wouldn’t let him rest, nor was the present providing him with any peace of mind. His two natures, the stern Tower Guard and the charismatic Flute of the Meadow, were at war again. It was only quite recently that he had finally let go of part of his painful past in an attempt to heal the dark wounds of his soul. ‘To be able to smile again… to laugh with an open heart… to dance without staggering under the weight of guilt… to cry if I need to… the simple ability to feel…’ It was a wonderful thing, the reawakening of his old self, but the transformation wasn’t complete. Gillie still wasn’t whole. And while he lacked mastery over his own feelings, he was forced to crush them in the Flame and Void. It was only a limited kind of control, really very incomplete. While being utterly focused and aware of his surroundings in an almost supernatural sense, when he held the Void everything he felt was burned up within the vacuum of emotion, leaving him a deadly fighter that couldn’t express his true feelings. The Void was like a double edged sword, it could cut both ways. Though it gave him a huge advantage in battle, it deadened his heart, numbing him bit by precious bit. Gillie made his second circuit of the Tower grounds as the moon came to its zenith in the sky. He pulled the cloak of his uniform closer to his body, blocking out the cool breeze. Thought he couldn’t feel the nights chill through the Void, he still had to take precautions against the elements. ‘The last thing I want to do is get sick…’ He made his way over to the west gate to take his post there for an hour till the next guard came to relieve him. The rotation system was designed so that all the guards on the Night’s Watch would be able to move about every couple hours to break up the monotony of watch duty, or more truthfully they rotated stations so no one would fall asleep. It was routine to Gillie and the other guards, so much so that their rhythm was perfect and everyone rotated at the same time, making it so that they rarely even saw each other in passing from station to station. Gillie checked his rapier, making sure it was clear of its sheath, before he took up the position he would hold for the next hour. “Now for the longest part of the work…†Waiting… and… watching… As his eyes searched the surrounding darkness, Gillie let his mind wonder where it would. He thought of many things from his childhood and the life he had led in the Almoth Plain. Eventually his mind settled on a song he had written one night a long time ago. ‘I was only a boy… and mother had just begun teaching me the flute… but still, I wrote that song in the middle of the night… in a pasture so lush and green…’ As he remembered that time, he absentmindedly began to hum the tune. It was a simple melody, with a gloomy pitch that sounded as if the singer waned between sorrow and hope. It wasn’t long before Gillie let the Void fall away and he lifted his voice in song. The words were sung softly, hugging the cool evening air as they were washed away by the night. “I say unto the day Sorry I can’t stay Someone’s on their way I’ll be found I look to the night Knowing everything’s alright Someone’s on their way I’ll be found I sing to the stars Please shine behind shadowed bars Someone’s on their way I’ll be found Sweet lullaby the moon I’ll be leaving soon Someone’s on their way I’ll be found I whisper to the dawn I won’t be here for long Someone’s on their way I’ll be found I cry to the cold For me, the ice will never hold Someone’s on their way I’ll be found I pass away to the spring Bleeding, I can’t feel anything Someone’s on their way I’ll be found I sacrifice the summer sky With another part of me that died Someone’s on their way I’ll be found I forfeit the Autumn Fall Knowing they’ll answer my pleading call Someone’s on their way I’ll be found I give up another year Cradling all my fear Someone’s on their way I’ll be found…†As a boy Gillie hadn’t liked being left alone in the meadows. At first he had been very lonely, the solitude had frightened him. Sometimes as he sat there watching his sheep, miles away from home, he felt like a castaway stranded out at sea, or like a person locked away in some far away prison. Though, no matter how long he stayed out in the pastures someone always came to get him when he needed to bring in the sheep. That is, until he grew up and could handle the responsibilities of a shepherd all by himself. By the time he was a young man he had found the isolation quite soothing to his mind. As his fear of loneliness diminished he had forgotten the simple song written to express his true feelings. Now, Gillie found himself not only remembering every word of that old song, but he felt the need to add another verse. “I turndown this persisting life Knowing truth sharper than any knife No one’s on their way I’ll not be found…†He was a man grown, a Tower Guard, and no one was on their way to help save him. Once again the loneliness he had felt as a child began to slither in around the edges of his mind. Gillie’s first instinct was to summon the Void and banish his feelings altogether. ‘No… not this time…’ he said to himself. ‘I’ll not rest on that crutch anymore when it comes to my feelings.’ He drew in the pain and loneliness, holding it close to his heart, letting his spirit drink deep of his childhood fears. Using his feelings as a catalyst, Gillie began the song once again, filling each word to the brim with his utter torment. This time the song was transformed from a simple song to the desperate cry of his spirit. He gave himself to the song with reckless abandonment, letting a torrent of emotion flow through him. The very fingerprints of his soul seemed to make each word of his song glow with the mark of his truest feelings. It was both beautiful and heartrending in the same breath. After a long time Gillie stopped singing, and thought about what had just happened. ‘What does this mean? Do my childhood fears haunt me again?’ he pondered these questions for only a moment before deciding the answers would only come with time. ‘I’m just glad the night has hidden me from any prying eyes. I would not want anyone to have seen or heard me…’ Just then Gillie turned around and caught a glimpse of a dark shape standing about ten yards away. It took him only a moment before he recognized who it was. He cleared his throat and said in a clear soft voice, “Good evening Vera…†Gillie Cole Tower Guard Disciple of Balance Path of the Blade Warrior of the Last Breath Flute of the Meadow
  14. ‘Am I so truly changed, or is this just temporary?’ Gillie found himself at an impasse. On one hand he was still suffering from the effects of the last year and on the other hand he had a small piece of his old self back. He was not completely of the past or of the present. Even though he had regained his smile and was able to lay down the Tower Guard for a moment, he knew he needed something more to sustain him. While this was a good beginning, Gillie still couldn’t help but look ahead and wonder what the next days would be like. To continue on with his duties at the Tower he would have to enter the Void again, he would have to become an unfeeling pillar of loneliness that didn’t care about anyone or thing except for duty. ‘The bonds of duty bind tighter than any steel chain…’ At the moment he found happiness in the simplicity of sitting next to a fair young woman and listening to the harmonies of beautiful music. ‘But I can’t live in this moment forever…’ As the musicians played their songs, all of which Gillie knew by heart, he turned his eyes to Vera again and said, “You give yourself far too little credit Vera. Honestly…†He called over to the serving girl and asked for some parchment and, if they had any available, some red ink. The young girl said that she would bring them immediately. This only furthered Gillie’s suspicions that he wasn’t sitting in any ordinary tavern. ‘What tavern carries red ink on a daily basis?’ It was a question he fully intended to ponder later, but at the present he had more important things to think about. He smiled again and shrugged his shoulders, “Vera, you might not believe that you helped me today, but trust me when I tell you that you really did.†The serving girl brought him the paper and ink he had requested. Gillie thanked her and set about folding the parchment into various ways. He unsheathed his belt knife and made a few small cuts in the paper and then continued to fold it in a particular pattern. While he worked he told Vera a little bit about his past. “I was a shepherd once. My grandfather taught me everything about running the farm and working our trade, but it was my mother and grandmother that really raised me and gave me their wisdom. Unfortunately I inherited my grandfather’s stubbornness, as you can testify to after seeing me today.†Gillie gave her a playful wink before going back to work on his paper creation. “But my saving grace is that I was given my grandmothers kind spirit and my mother’s heart… It shames me that I tried to purge myself of them, but I did what I thought was best. Even though I hated my grandfather for all his brutal ways and callused heart, I respected his abilities. If he didn’t loathe Aes’ Sedai, he would make a great Warder. In him, duty was always paramount.†It was then, in that instant, Gillie realized what he had really been doing over the past years. Whenever he entered the Void and became Tower Guard Cole, what he was truly becoming was the twin image of his grandfather. He never stopped to think why he had tried so hard to live outside of emotions. It was always the course that seemed to make the most sense. Gillie still recognized his grandfather as an authority figure and as someone that was able to do his job with self-detached efficiency. When he first came to the Tower all the men and women he met were like that. They shrouded themselves in a cold exterior and didn’t seem to care about anything. It was then that Gillie first knew he wasn’t strong enough. He knew he wasn’t as strong as his grandfather and all the people at the Tower seemed to be just like him. So, he had made a subconscious decision to become more like them… more like his grandfather. ‘I’ve become the man I hated most…’ The revelation was appalling, but he accepted it with quite disgrace. ‘So be it…’ Clearing his throat he tried to cover up his momentary dismay and continue on with what he had been saying. “My mother was gentile and wise. She once told me to fight harder and strive more for those things which are hopeless in life. She never believed in lost causes. She taught me to always look for hope.†Gillie brushed the edges of the paper he had been folding with the red ink. He twirled it between his thumb and index finger to dry the damp red edges. Soon he was finished and held in his hand a perfect paper rose. It was another one of the small things his mother had taught him. ‘“A rose for all the beauty of life and red for the determination we need to live it…†That is what she always said when she made one of these…’ Gillie gave Vera the paper rose and said, “I guess I had forgotten that lesson until I met you today Vera. Life is beautiful, but we need determination to thrive…†‘I won’t forget again… I promise you mother… by the Light I’ll become a better man than grandfather… I’ll become better than all the rest here at the Tower as well…†A new song began; a lovely dancing tune. Inspired by the events of the day, Gillie thought he would once again like to dance in celebration of just being alive and enjoying the moment. “Vera, would you care to dance?†Gillie~ OOC: Sorry it took so long to reply… my computer is acting up again
  15. His smile brightened. “As you wish Vera, I am no longer at your service.†Gillie noticed that he was not the only one with a changed attitude sitting at the table. The young Accepted he had helped earlier was quite different from the woman that was sitting across from him. Now, as he looked into her gray eyes alight with merry content, he was almost able to forget the fierce anger that had burned behind them just an hour ago. ‘Those are the eyes of young woman that has seen to much ugliness in the world, yet still has the innocence to believe that nothing worse lies ahead. It’s a hard road she’s chosen for herself. Being an Aes’ Sedai is difficult and dangerous, and its just as harsh a life living in the Tower among other Sisters as it is trying to live among the rest of the world…’ Just then Gillie felt older than his years. He had spent the last ten years in service to the White Tower and he knew how it always had a way of changing anyone that spent enough time beneath the long shadow it cast. During that time he had lived among hundreds of Tower Guards, Warders, Novices, Accepted, and Aes’ Sedai. Gillie knew all to well the way those people lived, how they were slowly transformed from the person they once were into something completely different. It was the way of life at the Tower and as much as Gillie disliked it, all this time he had been trying to fallow that course. ‘I am too weak as simple Gillie the former shepherd. Even now, as I walk again in my old self, I feel helpless against the horrors that the Wheel weaves into the world. What good are a flute and a song against such atrocities? With the jaded eyes of the Tower I’ve grown to see how things really are in life. But… still… it feels so wrong… there must be another way to become strong without giving up innocence… without sacrificing one’s heart…’ Somehow living in servitude to the Tower always aged a person, even if that age didn’t appear on the face, it forever showed in their eyes. ‘How have my eyes changed since I first laid down my shepherd’s crook? What have I become since then? I’m no longer the shepherd I once was… nor am I the Tower Guard I’ve been trying to become… so what am I?’ “Truly… it’s been a very long time since I’ve had the pleasure of a young woman’s company.†His laugh was soft and held only a little bitterness. “And, I’m quite sure; it’s been even longer since anyone’s enjoyed my presence. But, what little company I can offer is yours for the taking Vera.†Gillie felt like he owed her a great debt. While she hadn’t shown him any new revelation to how he should live, Vera had helped push him in the right direction. What she had done, the words she had said, pressed Gillie toward facing the problems he had simple been trying to forget and leave alone. Those problems had been like some horrible infection of the spirit that was eating away his very soul, until that day he had simply been letting it run is course. All the while as it went unchecked, the pain was destroying him. Vera’s actions, whether intentional or not, had caused him to finally stop hiding in his sorrow and look to righting the wrongs in his life. Even if he didn’t know what to begin with, it was a start. ‘…and I owe it to this young Accepted sitting across from me…’ “I’d like to thank you Vera. I don’t know why you acted the way you did today, but I’m glad for what you’ve done.†The sincerity in his voice and eyes was as true and clear as any sunrise. “You’ll be a great Aes’ Sedai if you care about everyone you meet like you did for me today. You’ll be an Aes’ Sedai worthy of the respect she is given...†He was gladdened by the thought that maybe one day this headstrong and nosey girl might be able to help influence the world like she had done for him that day. Gillie~ Remembering what its like to be alive…
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