Luanes' Stories

Gaelitae

posted Jun 21, 2010, 12:21 PM by Stephen Pliska-Matyshak

About a year after her father departed, Luanes’ journey led her through a small mountain range to a small tribe on the other side. She felt that the quickest route would be up and over the mountains instead of trying to circumvent them. She also felt that it might bring her, symbolically, closer to her father, whom she missed terribly. She had never climbed mountains before, so the prospect of seeing a place that was unfamiliar to her peaked her interest.

There were a few moments when she felt that she wanted to turn back and go around, but she refused to give in to this whim. Her father had always taught to follow through on any decision, not only with her weapons but with her actions as well. This, he had said, would reinforce continuity in her life. How could people ever depend on her if she was constantly changing her plans?

About halfway through her long and laborious climb, she found a small plateau surrounded by a small ridge. As she scrambled onto it, she found a nest of some kind, though as far as she could tell, there was nothing alive in it. Chunks of bloody bones and ripped flesh littered the surface of this ledge. She found tufts of white fur and also feathers not only on the ground, but in the branches of the small overhanging bush overhead. It wasn’t until she saw the skeleton of a horse that she was able to determine exactly what kind of creatures nested here: It had been a Pegasus nest.

“How horrible!” she thought, the heavy sadness causing her heart to sink into her chest. She scanned the area around her to see if the threat still remained, but whatever had slain these creatures had long gone.

A sleight squeak caught her attention, and she turned her head towards the area where the overhanging bush shed a shadow on the nest. She could see a small cubbyhole in the rocky wall, a few white feathers sticking out of it. Dropping her belongings to the ground, she slowly made her way towards it, attempting to make no noise or sudden movement that might frighten the animal. With the aid of her charm and her knack with animals, she pulled out a small, white colt Pegasus, only about 4 months.

“This poor thing is just like me,” Luanes realized, “Orphaned by unknown creatures and placed in a small place for protection.” It was that thought that helped her decide to raise the filly. She called her Gaelitae, elvish for miracle Pegasus. Luanes brought the youngling everywhere with her, meeting with various kinds of trainers for their expertise, but there were not many who had the knowledge and expertise to handle this magical creature.

At night, the paladin boarded the colt at a local stable yet found that she could not part with him. Gaelitae would manage, somehow, to escape the stall and find Luanes, curling up near her bed. After one week of this, Luanes made the decision to sleep in the stall with Gaelitae, in an effort to get him used to it. Two weeks later, she tried again to leave him in the stall, but he would not stay.

The next morning, Gaelitae pressed his small, velvety nose against Luanes’ cheek, waking her from her slumber. Rubbing her eyes as she sat up, she looked at the Pegasus with a combination of tenderness and frustration. How was she supposed to train this magnificent creature? She did not even know where to begin.

She raised her eyes upward.

“Beneficent Visaria,” she prayed aloud, “Your guidance and wisdom in this matter would be most appreciated.”

Almost as if in response, there was a heavy knock on the door. Luanes worried that it was, perhaps, the priestess, come to tell her that the Pegasus could not stay in the room. Rising from her bed, she crossed the room in two strides and opened the door. It was, indeed, the priestess.

“Good morrow to you, Lady Ilrya,” the priestess greeted.

“Good morrow, priestess,” Luanes replied.

“You have a visitor waiting in the chapel.”

Luanes cocked her head to the side, confused.

“A visitor?”

“Yes, my Lady,” the priestess answered, “An older woman named Ivarisa.”

The elfess thought for a moment, trying to remember the name but had no luck.

“Very well,” Luanes told the priestess, “I shall be out momentarily.”

Once the priestess departed, Luanes closed the door and turned to Gaelitae.

“Do you think you can wait here while I go speak with this woman?” she asked, not really expecting an answer. The Pegasus tilted his head, giving Luanes the most endearing look.

“I promise, I will be right back,” Luanes continued as if the Pegasus could understand her. She turned and walked out of the room, heading to the chapel. She was quite sure that Gaelitae would follow her, but she could not help but hope that he wouldn’t do it.

Once she arrived at the chapel, she stopped abruptly, looking at the visitor with a stunned expression. Sitting on the bench was the old woman she had assisted, the very same one who had left her cart of worthless junk at this very temple…that cart that had transformed into gold and other valuables. She still wore the brown, hooded cloak that Luanes remembered from the previous meeting, though her face was less haggard.

“Ah, Lady Luanes,” she greeted, rising from the bench.

“Ivarisa, I presume,” Luanes replied, smiling gently.

“It is wonderful to see you again,” the lady said, bowing.

Luanes was about to tell the woman that she did not need to bow when, from behind her, she heard the all too familiar sound of Gaelitae’s hooves clacking on the stone floor.

“Gaelitae,” the paladin moaned, closing her eyes in frustration.

“Oh! A Pegasus!” Ivarisa cooed, seeing the magnificent animal. She hobbled forward and stretched forth her hands to stroke Gaelitae’s nose, which he permitted. After a moment, he lowered his head to nuzzle the old woman.

“Aww, aren’t you a sweet one,” she said, running a hand over his muscular neck, “Only a colt, I think…about 8 months old, I’d wager.”

Luanes watched the interaction with curiosity.

“Are you experienced with such creatures?” Luanes asked.

“Oh, yes,” Ivarisa responded, still stroking Gaelitae’s neck, “I have trained a few in my lifetime.”

Luanes’ heart leapt, a small ray of hope bursting from her for the first time in four months. Silently, she gave thanks to Visaria for answering her prayers so quickly.

The Quiver

posted Feb 10, 2009, 6:15 AM by Stephen Pliska-Matyshak

It was one blustery, winter’s night as Luanes walked towards the temple of Visaria in a village where she was visiting. She spotted an old peddler woman sitting on the side of the road with a cart full of very old and battered goods. As she approached, Luanes could see this woman shivering, only a thin shawl to cover her shoulders from the icy wind; compassion overwhelmed her.

She came closer to the cart and began to poke around, intent on buying something to aid this poor soul. Suddenly, as she fished through the items, she found a rather tattered quiver which, other than looking very old and used, was in fair condition. When asked how much for the quiver, the old woman replied 5 copper pieces; however Luanes realized that 5 copper pieces would not be enough to get her a room for the night, not even at the shabbiest inn. Reluctantly, she paid the cost, knowing that the people of this village were proud and would not accept charity.

“With respect, my lady, it is a very cold night; perhaps I should walk you to your home?” Luanes suggested.

“No, thank you, kind miss,” the peddler woman replied, “This  place you see is my bed tonight.”

Luanes had feared that. She knew that she must think of a way to offer the woman shelter without making it sound like charity, but she wasn’t certain if that would be deceptive of her to lure the poor woman to shelter under false pretenses…even if it might save her life. Finally, she simply spoke the truth.

“My lady,” the young paladin began, carefully choosing her words, “ ‘Tis an extremely cold night, and I fear that the icy wind may prove fatal to one who does not possess the proper clothing to keep warm. I am praying that you will indulge my request.”

She paused, attempting to gauge the woman’s expression, “My temple has many warm beds, and it would be no trouble to have you sleep in one of them.” She finally said, hoping that the woman’s pride would not doom her.

“That is most kind of you, young miss,” the peddler woman said after a few agonizingly silent moments, “I would be very happy to indulge your request. May I bring my cart with me?”

Luanes’ heart leaped.

“Of course,” she replied, “Let me help you.”

The two of them made their way to the temple, and bedded down for the evening.

She felt herself being shaken awake and opened her eyes, seeing the one of the acolytes of the temple, his face alighted with excitement.

“Come, Luanes! You must see it! It is a miracle!” he exclaimed.

The young paladin rolled out of bed and followed the acolyte to the main hall, where she saw the old peddler woman’s cart. Old and rickety as it was, its contents had changed from the previous night. In the place of the old and battered items was a pile of gold pieces and a piece of parchment. Luanes snatched up the parchment, opening it up and reading it:

Dear kind miss,

Thank you ever so much for yours and your deity’s hospitality last evening. I enjoyed the comfort and warmth of not only the bed in which I slept but in all of your hearts. I am grateful that I met you and that you all took me in and sheltered me. It showed me what a fine example of your religion you are.

In return, I would like you to have the very special quiver that you purchased last evening. It is magical and holds much more than arrows. I would like your temple to have this gold. The compassion and sincerity I witnessed last evening is well worth the reward. Use this gold and show that same kindness and honesty to all.

And may your deity bless you always.

Signed,

The Peddler Woman

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