Character Development > Development Journals and Discussion

Ysheera's Campfire Tales (Dev. Journal to Arcane Archer)

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Link to Ysheera's bio/backstory:

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…..

...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… the Al’noth through my bow.

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… 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, 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.

….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.

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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