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Fenth-Eiria     152d ago

Advora was practicing her swords techniques when she heard a noise, her head swooped around.

“Who goes there?” She said pointing her sword in that direction.
RockyFennek     152d ago

"Beh?"

Advora was dumbfounded. Where she had expected to see one of her fellow Stonewood warriors, or perhaps a feral animal sneaking onto the training grounds, stood a wide-eyed Gelfling toddler.
Fenth-Eiria     152d ago

“Oh. A childling.” She said, lowering her sword and walking over to the child.

“Where did you come from?” She asked, picking up the child.
RockyFennek     152d ago

Since the childling appears to be little more than a trine old, Advora's question gets answered with babble.
"Well, that's not exactly helpful," she replies. Advora tries to think of how to start looking for his parents. He couldn't have wandered far from them, and the village center of Stone-in-the-Wood is fairly close by. Perhaps that might be a good place to start?
Fenth-Eiria     152d ago

“Hmm.” She looked about trying to figure out where he lived, she then saw a woman in the distance doing her laundry. 

“Let’s try that house first and see how that goes.” She decided, and walked over the woman’s house.
RockyFennek     152d ago

As Advora approaches the woman, the little boy begins calling excitedly, “Mama! Mama!”
At first his mother looks confused, glancing over towards a blanket on the ground with a few toys on it, realizing with horror the absence of her childling. Her expression soon turns to relief, though, when she sees another Gelfling set him down on the path leading to her house.
Fenth-Eiria     152d ago

“Hello, Milady. I am Advora, daughter of Advor, and Eurias. It seems as though your son loves adventure. And you are?” She asked, gesturing to the woman.
RockyFennek     152d ago

“Hmm?” the young woman paused and looked up from her son, who she’d swept up into her arms for grateful kisses and cuddles.
“Oh, thank you for returning my Tad, Advora! Thank you so much! My name is…”
As her dark hazel eyes met Advora’s, she suddenly trailed off.
Fenth-Eiria     152d ago

Advora looked puzzled at the woman.

“Is something the matter, Milady? Did I offend you?” She asked, confused with the Stonewood’s reaction.
RockyFennek     152d ago

The other woman suddenly snapped out of her daze and shook her head.
“Oh! Oh, not at all! Just… I was surprised that Tad had snuck off, and I didn’t even know until a pr- personal guard of the Maudra’s family brought him back! Sorry, I’m rambling. My name is Shuna, by the by.”
Fenth-Eiria     152d ago

The young woman shook her head.

“No need to apologize, Mrs. Shuna. I’m sure my dad, Advisor Advor, would be honored to have known about your rambling. You both could have conversations for unums if you want.” She said with a warm smile, placing a hand on her shoulder.

“Where is his other parent, Mrs. Shuna?” She asked, seeing that it was only Shuna and Tad living in the house.
RockyFennek     152d ago

Shuna's eyes suddenly grew misty, and she took a deep breath. Advora drew her hand back, worried she'd struck a nerve.
After setting Tad back down on his play-mat, Shuna replied softly, "I'm afraid my wife, Kesey, returned to Thra when our son was only a few unum old. Or at least, I hope she has, now that the Crystal is whole again."
Advora's face grew pale as she realized what must have happened.
Fenth-Eiria     152d ago

“You are not the only one who lost someone.” She replied, rather raspy.

“Vilia was also claimed by Thra. The skeksis drained her, I assume that had happened to your wife as well. I wish I had picked the lock sooner, otherwise she would be with you today.” She turned away, afraid to show weakness to the woman.
RockyFennek     152d ago

Now it was Shuna's turn to put her hand on Advora's shoulder.
"Stop, don't you dare blame yourself! After Maudra Fara led the survivors back, I heard the story of the Stonewood warrior who helped free the others. You did what you could when you had the chance, and so many more Gelfling may have been lost otherwise. In a way... I guess we all owe you our thanks for that, too."
She glanced over at Tad, and smiled. "Besides, the ones we loved are never truly gone."
Fenth-Eiria     152d ago

She gave a sigh of a understanding.

“I guess you are right, what the Skeksis did was awful. At least they can no longer hurt future loved ones.” She said, gently grabbing Shuna’s hand.

“I would love to spend some time with you. If you are willing, my parents would be more than happy to babysit Tad while we get to know each other.” She gave a cracked smile, with a calm demeanor.
RockyFennek     152d ago

Shuna felt the blood rush to her cheeks. Was this lady asking her on a date?

Surely not, they hardly knew each other, after all. Besides, both of them were still mourning their lost loves, right? It was too soon, right?
But the logical part of Shuna's brain ultimately won out: she was overthinking this. All Advora had done so far was shown her and her son kindness, and extended an offer of friendship. Perhaps loneliness was what drove Shuna to assume Advora's intentions were romantic, that's all. Still, there was no reason not to make friends.
"That's very kind of you, Advora. I know your family is trustworthy, and Tad loves meeting new people, so if your fathers don't mind watching him, I would love to spend more time with you! Just let me know when and where."
Fenth-Eiria     151d ago

She gave a warm smile, with a light chuckle.

“how about the training grounds this afternoon? I could teach you some sword techniques that my dad had taught me.” She replied, extending her hand.
RockyFennek     151d ago

Shuna accepted the outstretched hand with a smile of her own.
"That sounds nice," she replied. "If you don't mind, I would like to meet your fathers first, after I finish my laundry. Not that I don't think they're trustworthy, of course, but it would make me feel better about leaving Tad while we're out."
Fenth-Eiria     151d ago

She gave a nod of acceptance.

“Absolutely, my parents would be thrilled to meet you.” She responded, gently lifting Tad up. She grabbed a bottle that was left on the table, and helped him eat the bottle.

“I’ll watch Tad as you finish up, Milady. You’ve been struggling long enough.” She announced, checking the toddler to make sure he’s alright.
RockyFennek     151d ago

It didn't take Shuna long to find Eurias and Advor's house. After all, Advor was one of the most prominent Stonewood elders. When she knocked on the door, an old Gelfling answered with a kind smile.
Fenth-Eiria     151d ago

“Hello?” The Old Vapra asked, ears twitching around. His cane tapped the floor, trying to find his way around.

“Who is there?” He questioned, cocking his head in confusion.
RockyFennek     151d ago

"Good morning, sir!" Shuna greeted him, gently touching his hand to alert him to her presence. "My name is Shuna. I live on the other side of the village and recently met your daughter Advora. She would like to train with me later today and said you might be interested in watching my childling? I wouldn't want to impose, so I thought I should see for myself if that was alright with you."
Fenth-Eiria     151d ago

He felt the sudden touch which alerted him of her presence.

“Oh! Well my name Eurias, and I am the husband of Advor. We will be thrilled to watch your childling for you while you bond with our daughter.” He said, with a warm smile still on his face. He extended his arms out to receive Tad.

“May I hold him so he can get use to me?” He asked, his arms still extended.
RockyFennek     151d ago

"Oh!" Shuna exclaimed. "I'm afraid he isn't with me at the moment, your daughter is minding him back at my house. If you want, I will go back and get them. Thank you so much, sir!"
Fenth-Eiria     151d ago

He chuckled lightly.

“Yep, that’s my daughter. She loves children, and she loves to help others.” He said with a chuckle.

“Alright, We will be waiting.” He nodded, leaving the front door open.
RockyFennek     151d ago

"I can tell, she and my son already seem to be best friends! Thanks again sir, I will be back in a moment."
After telling Advora the good news, Shuna gathered the things Tad would need for an afternoon away from home, as well as her spear and shield, and accompanied her new friend down the path to the elders' home and the training grounds beyond.
Fenth-Eiria     151d ago

At the training grounds, Advora handed her a sword.

“Here. Keep my sword, you are going to need it more than that spear.” She said pointing to the spear in their hand.
RockyFennek     151d ago

"Well, alright," Shuna conceded, laying the spear upright against a tree. "I'll admit I haven't used a sword much before. Spears are more useful for driving wild animals out of the orchard. Do you think I should set the shield aside, too, or should I keep it for now?"
Fenth-Eiria     151d ago

She gave a very loud startling guffaw.

“I would keep the sheild because you are a beginner.” She pointed out, gently touching her shoulder.
RockyFennek     151d ago

Shuna blushed - she was doing that more today than she had since before Kesey first asked her out! - from a mix of embarrassment and the other young woman's touch. Still, Shuna wanted to make a good impression, so she put on her best "warrior face" and tried to copy the moves Advora demonstrated as closely as possible.
Fenth-Eiria     151d ago

Advora was impressed by how good and quickly she learned, as she was now on her butt.

“Man. You are quick learner. Good Job, Shuna.” She congratulated, with a warm and loving smile on her face.
RockyFennek     151d ago

Now it was Shuna's turn to offer a hand to Advora.
"Well, I have a good teacher! When Tad is old enough to train, I will have to send him your way. Shall we spar another round?"
Fenth-Eiria     151d ago

“How about we spar forever? If we do, free lessons for both of you.” She grabbed their hand and lifted herself. She gave a raised brow, with a smirk. She waited for Shuna’s response to her statement.
RockyFennek     151d ago

"I... I think that could be nice, Advora. It's probably best not to try sparring too much too soon, but I think I could really grow to enjoy having you train me and Tad," Shuna smiled. She was surprised at how much this confident young lady had already managed to bring her out of her shell, despite her earlier misgivings. Perhaps this could be the start of a beautiful friendship... or more?
Fenth-Eiria     151d ago

She let out a giggle.

“That’s a start. I hope you are catching more to my statement.” She gave a sly smile.
RockyFennek     151d ago

"Of course, of course!" Shuna smiled. "I simply think I will learn the sword better if I have time to study my opponent, if you catch my meaning? So I think we will be seeing a lot more of each other from now on, Advora."
Fenth-Eiria     151d ago

She gave a warm smile, before kissing her cheek.

“Alright. Time to start the second spar. Let go.” She answered, getting in position.
RockyFennek     151d ago

"Oh-ho, trying to charm me so I'll go easy on you?" Shuna pretended to taunt her opponent. "Well, let's go then! Ready when you AAH!"
Advora barely had time to drop her sword and raise her shield before Shuna was suddenly pushed towards her. Luckily, Shuna's blade fell harmlessly into the dirt, but if she hadn't been holding it away from her or Advora, the unknown assailant's prank could have ended horribly!
Fenth-Eiria     151d ago

Advora immediately checked her, before growling at the stranger.

“Who hurt my girl?!?” She yelled, about to lose her cool.
RockyFennek     151d ago

"I'm fine, Advora, are you okay? Who in Thra's name was that?" Shuna asked. All she could tell about the retreating stranger before they disappeared into the trees was that he was a younger male Gelfling.
Fenth-Eiria     151d ago

Advora’s gaze never broke as she brought Shuna close.

“My guess it’s one of my nephews.” She replied with a stern look.
RockyFennek     146d ago

"One of Ordon's sons?" Shuna guessed. Despite the old captain being such a straight-laced disciplinarian, a few of his children did have a bit of a reputation for mischief, much to their father's chagrin. "Normally I'd say no harm done, but you'd think he'd know better about safety on the training ground."
Fenth-Eiria     146d ago

Advora gave out a loud scoff.

“Yes, they all know. But a few of my nephews just don’t care.” She replied, handing Shuna back her sword.

“How about we teach my nephew and his friends a lesson?” She asked, raising a brow as she point to the direction young gelfling had run off in.
RockyFennek     146d ago

"Oh?" Shuna replied. "What did you have in mind? Nothing too dangerous, I hope! They're still just childlings."

Despite her trying to speak rationally, it was obvious that some mischievous side of Shuna was looking forward to some good old petty revenge!
Fenth-Eiria     146d ago

Advora gave a loud guffaw.

“Some good old fashioned sword fighting, trust me non of my nephews who aren’t a castle guard are terrible at it.” She laughed,giggling a bit in the process.

“Let’s go!” She exclaimed, giving Shuna a kiss on the lips for good luck before departing.
RockyFennek     146d ago

With the unexpected kiss, Shuna's ears turned red. Advora was cute and sweet, yes, but that was awfully cheeky of her! Still, the younger lady had been casually pretty touchy all day - some Gelfling were more physically affectionate than others, after all - so a little peck like that didn't mean that much... did it?
With a shrug, Shuna decided to just go along with what Advora was planning.
Fenth-Eiria     146d ago

As they were tracking down the male Gelfling, Advora noticed Shuna’s tracking abilities.

“Shuna, how often do you use your tracking ability?”
RockyFennek     146d ago

"Well, since I mostly work in the peachberry orchards with trees that stay put, I didn't used to do much tracking. But since Tad learned to crawl and then walk, I've gotten in a lot of practice!" Shuna laughed, before looking a little sheepish. "Apart from today, that is. You saw what happens when someone drops their guard around a toddler."
Fenth-Eiria     146d ago

Advora blushed as she watched.

“Maybe you can teach me sometime?” She asked all sheepishly, fiddling with a strand of hair.
RockyFennek     146d ago

"Me? Teach you tracking?" Shuna looked surprised. "I assumed you knew more than I did! You're more the warrior type after all."
Seeing that Advora was a little flustered, she quickly added, "But that's okay! The basics are really easy to learn. For example, if you're tracking something - or in this case, someone - you're already pretty familiar with, it's usually best to try to think of a place they might go, and then head there without being spotted."

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