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Author Topic: Ysheera's Campfire Tales (Dev. Journal to Arcane Archer)  (Read 678 times)

Riven

Ysheera's Campfire Tales (Dev. Journal to Arcane Archer)
« on: April 09, 2021, 12:27:53 pm »
Link to Ysheera's bio/backstory:
https://forums.layonara.com/recent-approvals/new-character-submission-ysheera-elyndar/msg10456792/#msg10456792

Break out the drinks! Share them around. Keep those roasts turning on the fire, drip on the oil and crushed sage, sprinkle salt and pepper, we’ll be feasting soon!

In the meantime, sit yourselves down with a drink and I’ll share a bit of a story with you. Hey - no snide comments! Yes, of course the story is about me! What else matters?

OK, I know there’s something that matters more in the Toranite heart of you, SIR Hank…..of course! And I might even consider abandoning Shadon and joining your cult if I, too, could have HAIR like yours!!!

Tipsy, stop staring! Yes, Eileanóra and I look like twins, but looks can be deceiving! So pause on your fantasizing for a few moments, close your eyes if you need to, and lend me your ears!

Eilea, pause, if you are able, on the War of Religions. I know you Love the sparring (to each their own)! Let the Voraxians grunt and swig with battlefury (I don’t expect that dwarf to hear my tale, anyway, as his eyes are red misted; probably dreaming of spilling blood!), let the Toranites groom with precise lawful strokes, and let the Folians bliss out with their shrooms and pipeweed. We’re here to enjoy, not fight, and I’m here to tell a short tale! So, Shadonites - pause on pranks and ridicule, and for all other less fun-loving amongst us - savor the drinks, and lend me your ear!

Something surprising, perhaps even miraculous, happened last night. And my heart and spirit are buoyed with even more hope now. And I must speak of it before I burst!  But first, a little context, a little backstory…..
« Last Edit: April 15, 2021, 12:48:51 pm by Riven »
 
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Riven

Re: Ysheera's Campfire Tales (Dev. Journal to Arcane Archer)
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2021, 11:19:49 am »
...For something surprising, perhaps even miraculous, happened last night. And my heart and spirit are buoyed with more hope now. And I must speak of it before I burst!  But first, a little context, a little backstory…..

My youngest memories are those of astonishment, wonder, and admiration of my mother and her arcane powers. Her songs brought strange thrills and feelings to me until I could not stop myself from dancing, an awkward attempt in my early years to express the tingling thrill within my body elicited by her song. And I would coo and sing, trying to match her mysterious melodies.

Tireen Elyndar, she was a masterful bard, still is, and the only arcane archer of our small clan. Tireen Elyndar, the wordsmith, the lyrist, the defender. She negotiated with other clans and merchants, she healed with the Al’noth, and she protected the clan with Al’noth-infused arrows that pierced much deeper than other archer’s bows.

My youngest memories are that I wanted to be like her. I wanted to be her. “All in good time,” she would say, when I begged her to show me how to heal wounds, or stir the hearts with song. “All in good time.” But my child heart and child mind did not understand why now was not the good time. “Other things first,” she would say, and she’d sing of the legends, the history, the heroes. And at first, that was wonderful. I learned some of the ancient songs of our people. I learned about the different races of elves and of humanity, and other things. I practised the drills of meditation and focus and practised with my child-size bow.

But I longed for the Al’noth. And “All in good time,” began to eat at my spirit. My child mind began to think she was holding me back from the magic. Maybe she didn’t want me to learn her arts. Maybe she did not want another arcane archer in the clan. The seed of rebellion, stubbornness, and anger rooted in my being, and grew, clouding my spirit so that all the studies, readings, recitations and practise became a burden to escape from. And escape I did. To the halfling clans nearby, to play with my sister Eregryn, and the halfling children.

Every anniversary of my birth I begged my mother to teach me how to spin the Al’noth into my bow and arrows, and finally I was of age, she said. But first I must learn of the Al’noth before I learn of fusing archery and the Al’noth. She put her heart and soul into teaching me, but I had become such a headstrong rebellious child, full of frustrations and resentments. And she was so demanding and critical. I tried, and she tried. But eventually the studies, recitations, and practise became more and more of a burden. I desperately wanted to learn to channel the Al’noth, but I kept getting frustrated at my mother. For no apparent reason. I just could not do it.

She passed me off to another elven bard, Olgrid Aesir’ia, and that was easier on my heart. I didn’t break into outbursts of frustration with him. But try as I could, I was unable to channel the magic. I’d do the mind clearing exercises, the visualization exercises, “seeing” the Al’noth as light pooling in my belly and channeling into my hands and voice for the incantation, but….nothing would happen. I tried to feel the Al’noth, sense it in my bones and fingers, but I couldn’t. Olgrid was a patient teacher, and I threw myself into studies, now that I was free of my mother’s high expectations and critical eye. Night and day all I thought of was to channel the Al’noth into the simplest of spells.

I failed. And fell into deep grief. My sister Eregryn tried to cheer me up. She told my mother we’d go spend a few nights with the halflings. But part way there I begged her to go on without me while I headed to the little nest hideout we’d made not far from the elven camp. Alone, I vowed to myself that I’d not leave that nest until I’d succeeded in channeling the Al’noth. I tried, and tried, and tried. Everything I’d learned I threw into that focus and effort. I tried everything I possibly could...and I failed.

I fell into such deep despair and hopelessness then. I knew that I would never channel the Al’noth. I’d never follow in my mother’s footsteps on the path of the Arcane Archer. I’d never be worthy of the respect she receives from all of the tribe. I was a failure. Not fit to be her daughter. Not  fit to be of the tribe. Not fit to be alive.

In hopeless despair I left the nest and wandered the woods, not even thinking of bringing my bow or any supplies. An unaware moment, and I’d scraped my face on a branch, and cut my lip deeply. It stung, and throbbed. Finally, I collapsed on a mossy mound deep in the woods, and was ready to die. If wolves had found me and eaten me, I don’t think I would have cared.

To this day I know not what happened. I awoke from a half-slumber feeling oddly calm. It was as if I was looking over my shoulder at my thoughts and emotions. The sun was rising, no clouds were in the sky, and my mind was similarly awakening and cloudless. The slightest thought drifted by and my gaze upon it dissipated it. I realized that I was humming, effortlessly, thoughtlessly, and upon feeling the ache and throbbing of the cut on my lip my hands made the gesture I’d practised so often and my voice the incantation, and….the cut healed.

Astonishment tossed me out of the calm. I tried the incantation again on my scraped face...and failed. Again, I lay back down and calmed, and slipped into that new state I’d not experienced before - an effortless awareness. And in that ease I realized….the Al’noth was all around me and all throughout me. My breathe stirred it, the earth under my back hummed with it, I could hear the song of the Al’noth. There were no visualizations or even kinesthetic feelings of it, but I could hear it’s hum and vibration, and miraculously, I could match it with my own silent hum and vibration. Again, the incantation and gesture, and the cut on my face healed. I tried the other simple spells that had been drilled into me, and each flowed effortlessly.

Weeping, I stood, and sang. I found the Al’noth singing through me. How had this eluded me for so long? I realized that I had been in my own way. Yet now, something had come with the deep despair an hopelessness. In giving up, I had stopped being in my own way, and the Al’noth, unbidden, uncalled for, beyond hope, was now here and flowing. It had always been here, but I had been in the way of its flow with all my pigheaded efforts.

I ran like a gazelle back towards the clan. My feet were light, my heart was soaring, I couldn’t wait to tell my mother of this success! Ahead of me I saw Eregryn, my sister, talking worriedly with my mother. Eregryn held my bow. She must have gone to our hideout and seen that I was not there and that I had left without my bow, which I never do. My mother’s face was lined with worry, and she was gearing up to hunt for me. She broke into a sharp rebuke on seeing me, and  without thinking, all my frustration and resentment poured out in a shout at her. Flooded with anger, I tried to explain that I’d found the Al’noth, and I tried to demonstrate it. But the effortless ease was gone…..nothing flowed...and no spell spun from my lips.

It was months before I found the Al’noth again. I did not find that grace and ease and oneness as I had experienced that one morning, but I did find the Al’noth, tentatively, unreliably, tenuously, but it was there.

My teacher Olgrid apologized, explaining that he had failed me in his teaching. He said that most people find the Al’noth through focusing on visualizations. For those who fail, most find it through focusing on kinesthetic sensing. But a few rare individuals only find it through the auditory channel of hearing the silent Al’noth, and matching it’s vibration with one’s silent or auditory humming. I was of the rare auditory type of person, and he apologized for not recognizing that and coaching me on that path.

I demanded to be taught the path of the Arcane Archer from my mother, and would not take “all in good time” as an answer. Reluctantly, but in the spirit of trying to mend our relationship, she taught me the rudimentary exercises. She knew I would not be able to manifest the magicks until stronger in the bardic art, but she taught me the basics, and I threw myself into the exercises with a passion. But our connection had been shattered, and I could not stand being in her presence for long. I’d wander the forest singing the archer’s Al’noth threads, weaving the melodies with bow and arrows, channeling the timber of my voice into the timber of the wood. And, of course, I was not ready to manifest it.

So instead I practised the bardic arts. I studied again with Olgrid Aesir’ia, and learned the incants for many bardic spells. And even though I could not manifest the results of the incants, I knew that one day I would. So I learned the gestures and incants, and practised them in my forest wanderings.

Over the years I came and went from the tribe. The focused studies were interspersed with long periods of goofing off and play. I just didn’t have the discipline to go the distance. I also grew more distant with my mother. We still talked at times, and I still questioned her on things arcane, and of her Arcane Archer path. But I knew I’d have to build my bardic skills and apply what she had begrudgingly taught me in my own way, in my own time. Still, I had some hope and faith due to the experience that had come, unbidden, in my moment of deepest despair and hopelessness, when I had given up and was no longer in my own way. And that hope kept my heart alive and lighthearted.

When my sister fell in love and started aiming towards a life with a partner, I decided it was time to peel myself away from the clan. Throughout my childhood and teen years I had been seen by many as an irresponsible member of the clan, more interested in playing than taking on responsibilities in the clan. More interested in wandering the woods and singing, than harvesting food and herbs. More interested in making up my own songs, silly ditties that made the halflings laugh and the elves frown, than interested in learning the ancient ballads.

So it was time. Time to wander the world, and continue to grow my bardic Al’noth in my own way. And one day…..perhaps one day…..channel the Al’noth through my bow.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2021, 09:14:56 pm by Riven »
 
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Riven

Re: Ysheera's Campfire Tales (Dev. Journal to Arcane Archer)
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2021, 09:31:54 am »
So it was time. Time to wander the world, and continue to grow my bardic Al’noth in my own way. And one day…..perhaps one day…..channel the Al’noth through my bow.

Was it my “coming of age” into so-called “adulthood” that released the bardic magics to grow and strengthen? Or perhaps the exhilaration of freedom - wandering the world? Or perhaps Shadon decided he’d played enough tricks on my ability, and let it blossom? Whatever the cause, my bardic spells and song have increased in power over these last four months since leaving home.

I still sing to my bow and arrows, infuse them with the resonance and vibration of the Al’noth in my melody….but to no effect….yet. They do not strike truer or deeper. But they will...I know they will. So I carry on, singing, humming, …..and listening….for the deep silent presence of the Al’noth. Alone, in the forest, it is a delight and joy to discover new bardic spells and attune and weave the Al’noth through song and gesture.

With my newly discovered powers I visited my clan. Once, only once, since leaving. I showed off my abilities to my mother, and she was proud. And….kind, i guess, despite the unspoken rough edges of our relationship.

We spoke of her Arcane Archer path again, for the umpteeth time, and she grew a little cautious, but still chose to work with me. I tempered my impatience and frustration, and tried to soak up whatever I had forgotten from past teachings. Tried to glean more depth into what she demonstrated and described. But as the day wore on my irritation mounted. And finally, on a break alone I realized why. She was disappointed in me. Not in my skills or lack thereof, but...in me. I realized that underneath my rebelliousness and frustration was a deep grief that who I am, my playfulness and lightheartedness, and yes my stubbornness and rebelliousness, all of me somehow added up to a disappointment for her. I had not grown up to be the dutiful, obedient, disciplined, pupil-child she had hoped would be her greatest accomplishment. I was filled with heaviness and sadness at this revelation, but I could not show it or speak to her of it. And by morning the weighty sadness had grown tough scales of independence and stubbornness, as usual.

I left home for perhaps the last time, after a lazy breakfast. I said my goodbyes, and intended to not return, maybe ever, or maybe I will, briefly, but not until I had mastered what Tireen Elyndar, my critical-eyed mother, was unable to teach me.
 

Riven

Re: Ysheera's Campfire Tales (Dev. Journal to Arcane Archer)
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2021, 12:24:57 pm »
….I left home for perhaps the last time, after a lazy breakfast. I said my goodbyes, and intended to not return, maybe ever, or maybe I will, briefly, but not until I had mastered what Tireen Elyndar, my critical-eyed mother, was unable to teach me.

Such a sense of freedom to wander the world, meet fine people, and play and hunt with Shadonites and others. I kept remembering that solitary experience so many years ago where despair and hopelessness had released my efforting, and allowed the Al’noth to flow freely - granting my first spellcasting.

I explored the play of effort and effortlessness, and spells and power flowed more freely over the weeks. Daily, I played with it also with my bow and arrows….singing the weaving thrum of melodies of the hunt, the piercing songs, the true sight aiming harmonies. But now I did not grow so disheartened. The remembering of how my first spell unfurled effortlessly buoyed my heart with hope and faith, and I knew that my power would continue to grow, as long as I continued exploring and playing with the Al’noth, and the humming the duet of effort and effortlessness.

I learned the spell of Magic Weapon, and infused my hickory bow with it’s sharp tune. And for many nights I sang to the bow and arrows, making subtle alterations to the Al’noth of Magic Weapon, trying to find how to infuse the bow and arrows with that power always, rather than temporarily. I failed, but did not lose hope. I have all the time in the world, do I not? I followed my curiosity and enjoyment to explore this Al’noth mystery, and when tired of that, to play, to hunt, to wander the lands, and connect with the interesting people who chose to live an adventurous life.

In the Angels store I discovered arrows infused with elemental magicks - frost, fire, or lightning! How exciting. I spent an hour listening to them, humming to them, and to my own hickory arrows….touching them together, weaving the melodies and resonance….but to no avail. I could not fathom their magic nor change my own arrows. So I purchased the arrows to experiment with.

Alright, you’ve been patient enough, listening to the background of my tale. Now I'm ready to tell you of what sparked me this night to gather with you all at the campfire. For something surprising, perhaps even miraculous, happened last night. And my heart and spirit are buoyed with even more hope now. And I must speak of it before I burst!  So...dig in to the roast - it smells amazing and ready. And sit back down for the final piece of this tale.
 

Riven

Re: Ysheera's Campfire Tales (Dev. Journal to Arcane Archer)
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2021, 02:09:08 am »
So...the final leg of this tale, at least for tonight! Something surprising, perhaps even miraculous, happened last night. And my heart and spirit are buoyed with even more hope now.

In Center a mysterious elven man was walking down the road, and when he saw me, he turned invisible. Intrigued, and not to be put off so swiftly, I ran up and turned invisible near where he had, just to make fun of him and his antics. And I spoke to him, or in his general direction, pretending to see him. He appeared then, and we spoke more. Eileanora was there too. It turns out he’s an Arcane Archer! So rare! And a Master of it, too! To prove it, he cast dozens of arrows at my feet and at Eilea’s feet! All in the blink of an eye!

He said he’d teach me the secrets of the Arcane Archer, when I had crafted my “dream” bow. Ouch. I don’t even know how to wield a lumberjack’s axe! Chopping wood, shaping it, sanding it….not a craft that is easy for me to learn. Still, it gave me hope. Because even though I have learned some of the rudimentary principles of the Arcane Archer from my mother, I have not been able to put those teachings into successful practise. So….to have a guide would be excellent.

So i struggled to learn the bowyer craft, twisting Tipsy’s arm to chop wood for me, and slaving in the sawdusty craft hall, and even forcing myself into the kitchen to learn to make sandpaper. Whew! And I was successful….well…..I made a hickory longbow. I even carved the word “dream” into it! My Dream Bow! *she laughs* Nothing to be too proud of, I know. But I carried on, knowing that my true “dream” bow would need to be far more fine than hickory.

But last night something even more miraculous happened. Yesterday I was exploring Hempstead and found the Tower Academy. I inquired there as to its purpose, and left a letter for the mages. Then, by chance or fate or purpose, that very evening I met an elven man by the fire at Center. And lo, it turns out he is the Arcane Archer instructor of the Tower Academy! How is it, that I’ve met two masterful Arcane Archers by chance? Both in the space of a week?

I won’t name him at this time, but we hunted together, talked for hours and hours, toured the Tower Academy (what a grand place!) and in the end, he agreed to teach me. I’m his apprentice!

Honestly, I don’t believe it still, as I thought no one would want me as a pupil. Stop snickering you, it’s not funny! But really, I’m cantankerous and like my freedom. I’m a jokester, many are easily offended by me, when I mean no offense, well, usually. And many think I’m disrespectful, when I mean no disrespect. I just speak my mind, and make jokes, and I like to lighten up the conversation. At inopportune times, sometimes, but still, it’s harmless play that seems to rub many the wrong way. But miraculously this Masterful mage did not reject me, and agreed for me to be his pupil. We’ll see how odious or delightful it is, but so far, I’m optimistic!

There! That’s what I had to share! To friend and acquaintance alike - and why I was pleased to gather you here with some xeenite wine and ale, and a roast boar! A celebration of my apprenticeship and admittance to the Tower Academy! Let’s hope I don't blow it, right? *laughs*

What’s that? Why am I not naming him? Well….because he has many enemies, he said. Many powerful enemies. And I don’t want to be targeted by them. I’ve probably said too much already, haven’t I? Anyone with half a mind could discover who my mentor is now, couldn’t they? Blast! I did say too much. Well, I’ll have to live with it….or die with it. But I’ve said all I will, for now!
 
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Riven

Re: Ysheera's Campfire Tales (Dev. Journal to Arcane Archer)
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2021, 12:54:13 am »
She was walking under the moonlight, practising quieting her mind. Memories rose and fell, and she would relax again back to the breath and presence of the bow in her hand, feet on the earth, eyes and ears open to the subtle voice of the night time forest.

She thought of how nervous she had been when she first met Sehky, when she realized that he was an instructor of the Tower Academy, and a Master Arcane Archer. They had talked for a long time, seeking to understand each other. Then he tested her skills on a hunt. She didn’t hold her tongue, her mischief-making tongue that danced and played, made jokes, or teased. It was important to Ysh to enjoy her training and learning. But he seemed unperturbed.

Later he gave her a tour of the grand and lofty Tower Academy. Impressive! And then they journeyed to Stormcrest Crossing and trained. Again, she did not hold her tongue. It was tempting to act nice, be the model student, steal his coaching out of the fear that he’d reject her if he knew her nature. But she needed to know if she could be free, honest, and her bold and playful self with him. That was as important as the learning. And again, he was unperturbed.

At the end of the practise session he said, “You listen good and follow guidance. It is good.”

Never had her mother praised her in their training. But then, never had Ysh truly had an easy time listening and following her mother’s Bardic and Arcane Archer guidance. So why was it so easy to follow Sehky’s guidance this night, and allow the results to unfold?

After he left she fully intended to spend her first night in the Tower Academy. Fresh pie and drinks, a hot bath, and clean sheets - it all sounded divine. But she was on fire and couldn’t stop practising, training, focusing, experimenting. Her passion to learn had been ignited.

She marveled at the difference in her attitude - comparing herself in training under her mother’s judgemental eye, and this evening, training under Sehky’s casual but precise and kind focus.

“Ah….that’s it,” she mused aloud, abandoning the mind quieting technique for a time. “He is not judging me. He appears to accept me. ‘Inclusive’, he had said. And even though he is through and through an Ilsarian, he seemed to accept me, even though I have an affinity to frolic and play with self-centered Shadonites. And in that acceptance I could relax, and follow his guidance. And my passion to learn this art grew from the hope his mentorship instilled.”

She walked on, thinking of the Heartsong, Ilsare. Ysh resonated with much of the Ilsarian ways. Ysh is a singer, a passionate, feeling-based playful singer, who delights and enjoys the vocal play and weaving of the Al’noth with the voice and song.

“Well, I can bow to Shadon, while also appreciating Ilsare’s nature,” she thought.

Her thoughts and awareness again quieted into the surrounding forest, her own breath and being, and the oak bow held lightly in her hand. Soon, unbidden, a melody began to coalesce within her, and she began to hum. Then words formed, like curls of mist rising from a still pond. A song was being born, inspired by this night’s training with Sehky, but enhanced also by the teachings of Ysh’s mother, those hard-earned tips and wise words, torn reluctantly from the bouts of learning with her sporadically over the last years. The coaching and guidance interwove with Ysh’s experience, practise, passion, play, and prayer this night. Her walking slowed, and she abandoned herself to the unfolding delight of creation:

The Bullseye and I are One
Stance, just right.
Arm firm, not tight.
Shoulders broad, and breathe,
Allow the inner might.

Resistance, ambition, and fear,
The stubborn bullheaded mind is near.
Begone! Leave behind the bullheaded rear!
So the eye and the bullseye can be one.

Quiet the mind, worries unwind.
Will and heart, gently bind.
Take away the noisy braying bull,
And the eye and the bullseye are one.

Listen, hear the Al’noth’s song.
Harmonize with the melody, and hum.
Weave the spirit with breathe and tongue.
Now - the Heartsong comes!

Standing still or on the run,
In shadow, dark night, or bright-hued sun,
Facing foe, or in play or fun,
The Bullseye and I are One.

Song awakens the inner glow!
In effortless effort, find the flow!
Now, now is the time to bend the bow!
And unleash the shining arrow!

The Bullseye and I are One.
The Bullseye and I are One.

« Last Edit: April 21, 2021, 11:24:11 am by Riven »
 
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Riven

Re: Ysheera's Campfire Tales (Dev. Journal to Arcane Archer)
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2021, 12:16:17 pm »
She couldn’t remember when she had opened the crag cat pouch and uncorked the first bottle of wine, much less the second bottle clutched in her hand. She couldn’t remember when tears had started to ebb from her eyes.

Utter exhaustion. A long harrowing but exhilarating day of hunting giants in Dregar, enroute to the grove of mahogany. It had all been going so well, too. The marksman techniques, the battleground tactics, she caught on swiftly. Maybe it helped that Sehky always cast Fox’s Cunning on her before battle…..perhaps the spell helped her learn and remember all that he said and coached in the midst of the stress of battle.

He taught her how to stay mobile, let the foes come to you, how to use multiple Grease spells to slow down the horde of giants. How to stay alert, not just to the foes ahead, but also to your allies, and how to slip the arrow past one’s allies, if there were no safer ground to stand on for a clean shot. And how to stay alert to ambush….which she failed once, but not again that day. She dodged boulders thrown by giants, and realized she’d need to learn how to focus and aim for the limbs in the heat of battle - the legs to slow them, the arms to make them fumble. Something to work on soon...

That night there was no rest. They hunted in Mistone - Ogres, cockatrices, strange thorny creatures, werewolves, lumbering forest beasts, and more. And in each hunt Sehky coached her on the strategy and tactics, and showed patience with her errors, and praise for her successes.

Her dear friend or sister, she wasn’t sure which, Eilea, had joined for the spider hunt. Sehky lead them into the abysmal bowels of the earth to hunt spiders of all shapes and sizes. Swift tiny ones, large hulking ones, loud slashing ones, and more. Despite how nervous she was about that specific hunt - underground in caves and tunnels where spiders could leap from any shadow or drop down from the ceiling - she did well. She was swift and smart, staying out of their way, even out of their webcasting, dodging the tiny ones, firing between retreating. And she was not bitten even once. She and Eilea practiced how two archers could work together to draw the beasts back and forth between them. “So this is where dark silk is found”, she had mused, proud of her battle accomplishments.

In the end, after Eilea went her way, she and Sehky found a safe campsite in Folian’s Grove. She was utterly exhausted and painfully sore. But she couldn’t stop asking questions. He had said there were 8 steps to shooting. He had trained her in the first step - the mind. Quieting the mind, letting go of anxiety and fear, even in the face of charging giants. Calm, quiet, alert, aware. This was something she had practiced for years, on and off, in her haphazard way, but now she trained in earnest.

The second step - the Lift. The upper body light, relaxed, agile, while the lower body strong and swift, dodging right and left, backstepping, running, leaping over logs, all while keeping the arms and shoulders relaxed, light, and steady - the bow lifted and focused on the target.

“This is all good training, thank you, but how does one infuse arrows with the Al’noth?” she asked, trying to mask the desperate need in her voice. She didn’t actually expect him to answer, but amazingly enough he did. And….his answer made sense, even buoyed her hope that it was within reach. But then….after he had left and she had meant to sleep, she found herself sleepless, ruminating, worrying, despite the exhaustion.

“Why couldn’t it be a technique, like firing rapidly at the slight cost of accuracy? Why couldn’t it be a spell, like Magic Weapon? Why couldn’t it be a song, like my uplifting bardic song? Or even a trick, or a ….something concrete and definable, something I can practice over and over and master?”

She couldn’t remember when she pulled out the wine, nor when the tears started ebbing. “Why am I so depressed? Why so hopeless?” she wondered listlessly. Then the tears came in earnest. All the frustrating half-starts and botched lessons with her mother. She had thought her mother had been holding back the truth, the clear technique. But Ysh had just not been ready to hear the truth. But now she understood…..and for no good reason she could think of…..she despaired. “No simple or complex technique? No clear end in sight for learning this….this blasted path of the Arcane Archer?”

She collapsed into a heap, sobbing. The last of the wine spilling from the bottle, hissing into the fire, and raising a cloud of acrid smoke. And she fell into semi-unconsciousness.

« Last Edit: April 24, 2021, 02:39:50 pm by Riven »
 

Riven

Re: Ysheera's Campfire Tales (Dev. Journal to Arcane Archer)
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2021, 03:02:41 pm »
Slowly, oh so slowly, and with a heavy inner fog, Ysheera began to awaken from the heavy semi-unconsciousness. Blurry memories of dreams were flooding her. She was leaping and running as light as a gazelle. Over fields, hills, and deep into the forests. The Al’noth flowed like a river through her and through every arrow that flew from her bow. Her gaze, in the dream, was clear, alert, and all-seeing. Her body, arms, and hands were filled with the light of stars, shooting stars. And the arrows flew swiftly, accurately, and streamed, glowing with Al’noth, into the heart of her foes.

Coming to her senses slowly, the dream began to fade, leaving her achy, sore, stiff, and cold, lying on the ground in Folian’s Grove. She didn’t want to move, as it would hasten the dream’s departure. A sharp pain in her heart arose at the thought of that dream...the freedom and joy she had felt. The sorrow now that it was only a dream. She remained motionless, basking in the fading glow of effortless flowing Al’noth and her joyful dream-mastery.

Eventually the dream faded almost entirely. The sound of birds became more distinct, and she heard crickets and low voices talking over by the shrine. Ysh sighed, and slowly sat up, grimacing at how sore and tired her body was. She was covered in the glistening dew of early morning, and for a moment it reminded her of the dream-Al’noth that had infused every cell of her body with shining glistening power and grace. But that was a dream, and this was only dew on the surface of her damp clothes and face.

Her head ached, and she was reminded of why - the two empty wine bottles lying nearby. And….the depression she had fallen into at the end of so many hours of seemingly successful hunting and learning. Ysh sighed.

“Really, dear, it’s not hopeless,” she mused, “there’s no reason to despair.” But her heart was heavy.

She drank some water and pulled out nuts and slightly crushed blackberries to fill the emptiness in her belly. She applied more herbal tincture to her sore muscles. And then sat, leaning against a tree to think on what Sehky had said last night.

Words came back to her, not necessarily in the proper order that he had spoken when answering her question on how to infuse the Al’noth into one’s bow and arrows.

“The song you crafted came from within your heart...the inspiration of the composition...that is what you seek in your archery. Practise is a part of it...but practice did not write that song...that was inspiration...an aspect of Ilsare. And Ilsare and Lucinda are close friends.”

She hummed the song now - how effortlessly it had been created, flowing from her, after her first long training session with Sehky, “The Bullseye and I are One.”

Sehky had continued last night, “The song you wrote was inspired by what’s in here,” he thumped his heart. “It isn’t a trick, it isn’t a technique. It isn’t even a way of thinking or wishing it to happen. It’s not about willing magic into the arrows. When you find it it’s like pouring a bucket of magic into the arrows, not like stuffing it.”

Ysh had asked, “It’s like poetry? Singing? From the heart, all relaxed, natural, and intune with something ….unexplainable? Something ephemeral?”

“Yes. There is no forcing it, like writing that song,” Sehky had responded. “It will come from deep within you, the core of you, the truth of you. The magic wants to imbue your arrow. Allow it, let it happen. An inspired bard will alway have a song.”

She mused on that, feeling the tremor in her belly at the words. At the time, she couldn’t help but silently think, “But i’m not always inspired...”

“It isn’t the same for everyone,” he had continued.  “I’m using words and concepts that have meaning to you. I am Ilsarian, Ilsare’s gift of inspiration is what drives me to create, craft, and to shoot. When you dance naked under the moon and trees to a song only you hear, what is that?”

“Freedom…. and joy,” Ysheera responded immediately.

He had nodded, smiling, “That is how I feel when I imbue arrows. And Love”

“I’m not so good at love,” she replied reluctantly.

They had stood then, silently, for a time.

“You will find it, Ysheera. Your song convinced me that you can open to this mystery. You have the heart for it,” and he turned and headed off through the forest, leaving her to think on his words.

“I can do this”, she had thought last night after his departure. But worry had begun to creep through her chest, bringing a subtle ache. “Now and then new songs pour from me effortlessly, remember?” To stave off the growing ache in her heart and worry, she began to sing the song that had been birthed in the forest after her first long training with Sehky:

Stance, just right.
Arm firm, not tight.
Shoulders broad, and breathe,
Allow the inner might.

Resistance, ambition, and fear,
The stubborn bullheaded mind is near.
Begone! Leave behind the bullheaded rear!
So the eye and the bullseye can be one.

Quiet the mind, worries unwind.
Will and heart, gently bind.
Take away the noisy braying bull,
And the eye and the bullseye are one.

Listen, hear the Al’noth’s song.
Harmonize with the melody, and hum.
Weave the spirit with breathe and tongue.
Now - the Heartsong comes!

Standing still or on the run,
In shadow, dark night, or bright-hued sun,
Facing foe, or in play or fun,
The Bullseye and I are One.

Song awakens the inner glow!
In effortless effort, find the flow!
Now, now is the time to bend the bow!
And unleash the shining arrow!

The Bullseye and I are One.
The Bullseye and I are One.

Singing the song last night had not released the growing heaviness and tension in her chest.

“What is wrong?” she had wondered. And then she had it, “Now and then. Songs pour from me now and then. I need the arrows infused always, not just now and then when the mood or inspiration takes me over!”

A terror arose at the thought of not having the Al'noth consistently available to protect her, in the face of her primal need for freedom and to explore and follow her curiosity in the wild world. She did not want to have to depend on others for her safety, and she did not want to be limited in where she roamed. “Childish,” she thought to herself, “but there it is.”

The rush of fear turned had turned to anger. “No simple or complex technique? No clear end in sight for learning this….this blasted path of the Arcane Archer?”

And then she had spiraled down into heavy depression and despair

Back in the present now, the morning sun peeked over the crown of trees to warm her face. She closed her eyes and faced the sun. She consciously relaxed her eyelids, eye muscles, and eyeballs, letting the sunlight pour it’s warm glow into her closed eyes and into her brain. She welcomed the warmth, the light. The ache in her heart eased, and her breathing slowed.

“I can do this”, she sighed. “No, I can’t ‘do’ this, but if I want this badly enough, I can practise allowing, surrendering, and ….being, living, and shooting from the heart.” Her belly shuddered again. Fear? Worry? “This is not so easy,” she thought. “It means a subtle shift of my whole being. And I’m a selfish ungrateful self-absorbed sharp-tongued wench!” She sighed again, breathing in the sunlight through the closed lids of her eyes, and feeling her chest ease and her heart relax into the present moment. Tears were flowing now, but not of despair. Maybe of relief, or surrender, or acceptance.

“So….do I want this badly enough to learn to surrender to the heart, to inspiration, maybe even to…..love?”

She knew she did want it bad enough. Ever since a wee child, admiring her mother's mastery, she had longed for this....to master the Arcane Archer path. Yet studying with her mother had failed, for the most part. Then she had tried on her own - willfully trying to interpret and practise everything her mother had said, and everything Ysh had witnessed or spied upon. And that had failed. Now, unexpectedly, miraculously, Sehky had accepted her as an apprentice, welcomed her to the Tower Academy, and surprisingly, had faith in her ability to find the way to mastering this...blasted, confounding, frustrating, terrifyingly difficult path.

“I don’t know…,I just don’t know” she muttered tiredly. She was so tired.

Ysheera lay down in the sunlight, unable to tie the loose strands of hope and faith and confidence together into a bridle for her passion.

“You will find it, Ysheera. Your song convinced me that you can open to this mystery. You have the heart for it,” Sehky had said last night.

“Do you trust him, Ysh?” she asked herself now. “He is, perhaps, the most patient, non-judgemental, and kind person I know….and he ‘is’ a master of this path. So….yes, I trust him.”

Somehow finding that clarity, that trust in her teacher, gave strength to her. It buoyed her into sitting again, firming her focus and will, choosing.

“Yes, I am choosing,” she thought. “I am choosing this path. I have longed for this all my life. Come failure, death, or masterful victory, I choose this.”
« Last Edit: April 25, 2021, 03:33:01 pm by Riven »
 

Riven

Re: Ysheera's Campfire Tales (Dev. Journal to Arcane Archer)
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2021, 12:25:29 pm »
It started with a more full empowered feeling in her belly, and a subtle tingle throughout her whole body. Ysheera had been practicing dropping into a still place inside, even during the high adrenaline stress of a hunt. It was hard to stay calm while arrows were being launched at her, or while goblins, gnolls, or ogres were charging. The long contemplative practise sessions she did between hunts were helping; her mind was quieter, she felt more alert, and part of her awareness stayed focused inside her body, feeling the sensations and the energy growing and flowing within her.

However, more often than not she’d lose focus, panic, or forget to channel the empowering bardic song. In those moments she’d lose touch with the calm belly, the hum and tingle of the Al’noth, and sometimes botch her spells or get tangled up in the fear or clouds she cast.

Ysheera was hard on herself each time an ally dropped. She could have done better, she knew - more alert to her allies to try and heal them, more alert to the enemies to lure them into Grease spells or Clouds of Bewilderment, better at keeping the empowering bardic song going to strengthen her and her allies. And after each botched raid she’d curse and go off alone in the forest, trying to not beat herself up about her errors, and working to regain the calm quiet mind she reached for. She knew that she needed to be more focused, more clear-headed, and more alert to not let herself and her allies down.

Once she had burnt out her frustration, sometimes through rage, sometimes through grief, sometimes through a binge of wine and food and sleep, then she’d settle and find her way back to trying again. She’d refresh herself in the cool streams and lakes, and then practise quieting the mind, listening for the Al’noth’s melody, humming in sync with it, and firing arrows from that relaxed calm place. And allowing….allowing the Al’noth. And eventually she’d start to feel that full empowered belly feeling and the tingle….growing, and growing until she was sure she’d find the flow all through her arms, hands, and into the bow and arrows. But that infusion still eluded her.

Ysheera bumped into Tipseroo and Sir Hank in Hlint, and they decided to venture into the red light caverns. They aimed to go the distance and take out the chief. They knew they’d need to be careful. This hunt went well. She stayed relaxed, she managed her spells well to control the hordes - slowing the charges with Grease, luring enemies into Clouds of Bewilderment, and occasionally casting Fear when she was in the lead and able to get the jump on a larger group.

They made it all the way to outside of the chieftain’s chambers and refocused, set their plans, and were successful! In the victorious aftermath, she realized that she’d stayed calm the whole time, and she had almost felt the Al’noth in her arrows. Almost...but not quite. This buoyed her hope and she knew the goal was in sight.

As they rested before leaving the caves, keeping an ear out for stragglers creeping in to ambush them, Tipsy had a revelation. He had done it. He was infusing his arrows with the Al’noth. It came to him all of a sudden, right there, as he rested. And now he was certain. He was an Arcane Archer now.

Ysheera’s first reaction was rage. Why him, and not her? “I’ve wanted this for decades! I’ve practised for decades!” She wanted to congratulate him, but was tightening up inside, holding tears back - tears of frustration, rage, and self-loathing. Yes, she practised, but she also played and partied far more often than practising. Her consternation passed….slowly, and she could half-heartedly congratulate him.

Ysh asked, “What was the turning point? How’d you find this?”

Tipsy frustrated her by simply saying, “Practise, practise, practise”

“Blast him,” she thought, “and blast this Arcane Archer path!”

Tipsy reassured her that he felt she was close. And Hank also said he could sense it. “Not that a Priest of Toran would know anything about my work,” she thought. But their confidence in her and their goodwill calmed her and felt supportive. Her confidence was also bolstered just by knowing that Tipsy had succeeded. “Blast him!”

“If Tipsy can do it, then I can do it!” she muttered.

The trio headed out of the caverns, fighting more goblins as they went. After the second skirmish she realized that something was unfolding within her chest and shoulders - a wave of energy that would rush to her fingertips with each arrow. The wood remained dull and lifeless, but she could feel the wings of the Al’noth unfold from her diaphragm, rush through her shoulderblades, chest, shoulders, and into her arms and hands...and almost into the arrows.

Excited, she headed to a peaceful campsite after they made their way out of the caverns. Ysh meditated, breathing into the sensations and allowing them to grow….and grow they did. Before long she stood and unleashed arrow after arrow at a dead elm. In wonder, she felt the Al’noth in each piercing arrow….and in her bow. The shift had happened. She had found the flow.

She could have wept with relief and joy but laughter was ringing from her mouth, and she just collapsed on the grass laughing for quite some time. Eventually she stood, closed her eyes, and found that she was feeling deep gratitude. Gratitude to her teacher Sehky - his patient words and confidence in her; gratitude even to Tireen, her cantankerous mother…”well, i guess I was the cantankerous one more than her”; and gratitude to herself for sticking with it and not giving up.

"I'm an Arcane Archer now," she mused. "Well, I guess I'm an Apprentice Arcane Archer. Sehky still has much to teach me!"

She felt proud, even knowing that she had only scratched the surface of that path. "I can do this," she thought. "It will all unfold now, deeper and deeper, until I, too, am a Master of this path."
 
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Riven

Re: Ysheera's Campfire Tales (Dev. Journal to Arcane Archer)
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2021, 05:07:11 pm »
Between bouts of partying, drinking, and general goofiness, Ysheera worked the bowyer craft, and hunted and quested with allies, and on occasion continued to meet up with Sehky, her teacher.

Of note, at her last training session while coaching her in battle with massive earth elementals he cautioned her to not force the power. "It could burn you out," he had said. "Allow, don't force."

Suitably warned, she continued to do her best to allow the flow of the Al’noth. It felt like an awkward dance with an invisible unpredictable (if not head-over-heels drunken) partner, while balancing on a narrow bobbing log over a rushing river. But after many small successes and failures she began to be aware that progress was happening. Just that was enough to buoy her spirits.

Her last hunt was into the scale-beast swamps near Dapplegreen (so satisfying to slay those cold blooded predators!). Deeper, she and her allies entered the troll-infested platinum mine. She found humor and grace in her arrow play, even with the enclosed tunnels narrowing her mobility. So much so, that she was able to compose little ditties about her three companions. Not legendary songs, or even very good, but playful tunes while busy slaying or keeping an eye out for ambushes:

For Nyx
K’nix the K’changer, ever facing danger!
As dragon, bear, or minotaur Axe-Ranger!
Nature-strong, inspiring this song!
Call on this Shapechanger to right any wrong!


A Nice Ditty (named by Nyx)
There once was a Hairful Hank,
Devoted he, to Toran!
And in reward his God did see
To bless his hair far more than,
Other folk, long and shiny,
Bright golden in the sun!
To Hank the Priest of Toran!


For Tipsy
A Traipsin’ Tipseroo!
A Traipsin’ Tipseroo!
Arrows sail from the Mage-in-Mail,
A Traipsin’ Tipseroo!

A Traipsin’ Tipseroo!
A Traipsin’ Tipseroo!
All Hail the Mage-in-Mail!
A Traipsin’ Tipseroo!




 
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