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Author Topic:  A Verdant Refuge [Open]  (Read 1493 times)

IC Date: 08.08.234 AL - 4pm

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A Verdant Refuge [Open]
« on: 28 Dec 2013 at 06:44 PM »
Another day's work done, and now Yulieas wandered through the Hold Gardens on his way home. The trek back tended to be a slow-going one for the young man. One would think that after most the day spent there, Yul would be eager to get away, but the place still acted as a sort of refuge for him, and he could appreciate it whether on the job on not. He usually got sidetracked trying to leave, just wandering and admiring, or checking on things and making mental notes of future tasks to be done.

And really, he found himself in no hurry to get back. Over a turn back at Telgar and he still felt out of place. On odd sensation, perhaps, considering it had been his home for so many turns, and his time at the Healer Hall small in comparison. But those turns apprenticing had shaped him more than anything back here. He had been excited for the life of a Healer, and now that he found himself here, he felt as if he had gone backwards. He felt stuck. He let out a wistful sigh as he continued on.

Turning a corner, Yulieas froze. There, in the path, he spotted two of his old acquaintances. Wealthy sons of families that used to associate with his own. Childhood friends, one might call them, but now the sight of them only caused dread for Yulieas. The sight of them reminded him of the way things had been- it pointed out how different his life was from what it should have been. They still wore their fine clothes and showed off their affluence at every turn. Yulieas had holes in his socks. He needed new ones. He kept forgetting.

Taking a deep breath, Yulieas steeled himself and took a step to head down the path, but faltered when he heard one of the boys laugh. He shot his gaze to them, and to his relief, they hadn't noticed him. But it just made the redhead painfully aware of how much he couldn't stand the thought of their laughter and gossip when he did pass them. He knew they would talk- they had little else to do. No. He couldn't handle that today. He retreated back around the corner, having only a moment to breathe before he heard them headed his way. He swore slightly under his breath, scampering back down the path he'd come from. He had no where to hide. Except maybe...

He ducked into a patch of bushes and trees nearby, crouching amongst the foliage and tangled in branches as they rounded the corner, immediately cursing himself for the action. Really? He thought this was a better idea? Now if they saw him, he would not only be back home and a gardener, but hiding in a shrub. So much for dignity. He supposed if worse came to worse, he could claim he was still working, though Yul was an absolutely dreadful liar. Luckily, the two passed by without seeming to notice.

And so, after a few moments, Yulieas straightened up, exiting the shrubbery with as much grace and nonchalance as he could manage, not daring to look around yet to see if anyone had witnessed his moment of brilliance. With a blush rising to his cheeks, he smoothed and straightened out his clothes, but had a small twig stuck, unnoticed, in his hair.

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Re: A Verdant Refuge [Open]
« Reply #1 on: 29 Dec 2013 at 06:59 AM »
Retired Master Healer Quennell of Telgar Hold--

Quennell watched the goings on with interest from where he was quietly seated under a large tree, the elderly man’s legs curled around and a book spread across his lap. There were benefits that came with rank and connections, even if those in question were well aged; but like a good wine, Quennell was disinclined to wave off such things. Those names, and his old rank, gave him access not only to the Lord Holder’s library, but gave him the ability to take his favourite tome of the time out into the public gardens for a leisurely read. The warmth of the summer sun and the quiet peaceful nature of the gardens were ideal, and Quennell enjoyed such moments to himself.

The scampering of hurried feet caused the old master’s dark brown eyes to lift slowly from his book, though his head didn’t actually so much as twitch. He watched from under his eyebrows as the youngster dove into some shrubbery – quite clearly with the intent of hiding – and was barely settled in before several of the rich youngsters of the hold courts wandered through. Quennell’s eyebrow arched just slightly but he lowered his attention back to his book as the young men continued on their way. They either didn’t know the other young man was there, or were deigning to royally ignore him. Knowing the ways of young men quite well, Quennell had no doubt that they were actually oblivious.

After he was quite sure they were well on their way, Quennell rose with a grace that belied his seventy-one years (his birthday may not be for another two weeks, but that wasn’t enough to dissuade him the application of the count. He had lived that full year already, had he not?) and carefully placed the heavy book under one arm as he strolled quietly down the path towards where the young man was hidden. He wasn’t expecting the boy to extract himself, but when he did, and with such attitude, Quennell’s lips twisted into a fond, albeit sad, smile as his memory recalled another young man that had conducted himself with such mannerisms.

“Excuse me?” Quennell’s voice was gentle and carried the warmth of someone that had a bedside manner that had been a blessing throughout his career as a full time healer. While Quennell was still – and ever would be – a master ranking Healer, his charity work in the public hospitals of Telgar Hold had caused a bit of a tiff with the Healer Hall. Not that Quennell felt too bad about it; his own funds paid for most of the needs of the little business, and he paid the Healers he hired from the Hall. The misunderstanding had been rectified, when the Hall’s feathers had been settled that Quennell didn’t expect the Journeymen to work for free, even if they were giving their time and effort to those that could not pay with traditional methods.

“Perhaps you could help me, young man?” Quennell had lived in Telgar his entire life; he didn’t need help, he just wanted an excuse to get the youngster to talk to him. Youngsters that ran from bullies were often those most in need of someone to talk to; experiences past had taught him that quite well. “I’m a little on the lonesome side. Perhaps if you’re not busy, you could keep an old man company?”
« Last Edit: 01 Jul 2014 at 09:52 AM by Quennell »

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Re: A Verdant Refuge [Open]
« Reply #2 on: 31 Dec 2013 at 03:34 AM »
The sound of the man's voice, gentle as it was, was enough to cause the sickening lurch of Yulieas' stomach straight to his throat. He started slightly, negating some of the dignity he tried to regain with his re-emergence into the gardens from the brush. He could feel a familiar blush rise to his cheeks, but took a deep, steady breath. So he hadn't gone unnoticed. Nothing to be done about it now. He turned to face the witness to his shame.

That flutter of nerves flared up again as he instantly recognized just who it was. Master Healer Quennell. Retired now, Yulieas was fairly certain, but that didn't change the fact that he had attained the rank. He would be recognizable to many holders, and Yulieas especially. While he was fairly certain the man had no idea who he was, the young man had fairly idolized Master Healer Quennell for some time. What Telgar-born apprentice healer wouldn't? Or former apprentice. That correction flicked through Yul's mind with the same sting it normally carried for him. And this man, with all his rank and prestige, had just presumably observed Yulieas hiding in a bush. He almost wanted to crawl back in now.

As nice as the man seemed, the redhead couldn't help himself from being just a little intimidated. The he trailed an idle hand through his hair with a bit of apprehension. In the process, his fingers brushed into the twig stuck there, and, blush deepening, he pulled it out in the least conspicuous manner he could think of. When he lowered his hand, though, he didn't know what to do with it, and so he ended up fidgeting with it with both his hands. He couldn't bring himself to lift his eyes from his shoes for several moments until Quennell spoke again.

He lifted them and stared at the man blankly as he asked for his help, blinking. He may have seemed like he was taking time to consider the offer, but really he was still just processing it. It had to swirl around in Yulieas' head a few times for the boy to come to the conclusion that he hadn't heard the man wrong. And then Yulieas, always somewhat awkward, didn't know how he was supposed to respond. Well he couldn't very well refuse now could he? So his decision was already made. He nodded slightly, at first just saying, "Yes." He was relieved to hear his voice come out so calm and even, even if it was soft much as it usually was. He continued after a few moments, "That is to say, no, I'm not busy. So, yes... I can." He offered up an earnest, albeit small and nervous, smile, dropping his eyes once again.

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Re: A Verdant Refuge [Open]
« Reply #3 on: 23 Jan 2014 at 09:44 PM »
Quennell smiled gently, thoroughly enchanted by the young man’s awkward unease. He had been a teacher, once, so very long ago, and the personalities of his students had ever been something the man had found interesting. The way in which different people responded to things – from the most innocent of ‘hello’ to the most dramatic emergency – had always been of the utmost interest. How someone reacted to an emergency, Quennell had ever considered the most bare, basic indication of someone’s character. Did they freak out and lose all ability to function? Did they take charge, of did they solider on, following orders with calm assurance?

The best part, however, was learning to pick them. Learning who it was that would take charge, and who it was that would fall apart… Quennell blinked back to reality was Yulieas’ voice suddenly filled the space between them and he focused once more on the young man before him, and less on the assorted memories of the past. A bright, warm smile lit up the elderly man’s face and he nodded once, pleased with the more explanatory answer he was given.

“Wonderful,” Quennell murmured gently, shifting the heavy book in his hands so that he could offer his right hand to the young man before him, smiling gently. “I am Quennell,” chances were the youngster knew how he was, of course, but that was never an excuse for being rude! “Is there an area of the gardens you most prefer?” He himself had several locations in the carefully maintained Gardens that he could sit in for hours on end, but since his young companion had opted to be so kind as to keep him company, Quennell’s warm smile invited the boy to choose where they might spend their time.
« Last Edit: 01 Jul 2014 at 09:52 AM by Quennell »

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Re: A Verdant Refuge [Open]
« Reply #4 on: 30 Jan 2014 at 08:08 AM »
Yulieas looked up at the older man once again as he held out his hand. He took it, glad that he had scrubbed most the dirt from the day's work off of his own. He was still cognizant of the dirt that remained, though. It was odd, really, going from the sterilized environment of the Healer Hall to playing in the mud. "Yulieas," he offered up his name with another small smile, "Nice to meet you sir." And he meant that truthfully, even if he was still shaking off the overwhelming mortification of the last few moments. But somehow it had worked out? Or at least it would if Yulieas could now keep from making an utter fool of himself any more.

He nodded in response to the question of whether he had a preferred spot in the gardens, though as he thought for a moment he realized he had several spots he liked- many of them ones he had poured work into himself. Yulieas wasn't the most decisive young man and he wavered between several possibilities in his mind. Would it be too late now for him to just insist that Quennell choose for himself? No that might be rude. Not to mention he had already answered with that nod of his head. He finally settled on the closest spot he had been considering. "Um over here," he inclined his head the direction he would head before he started off, warily glancing behind him to make sure Quennell would follow.

The spot was tucked in a nearby corner, with several trees that draped shade on the grass against the summer sun. There were flowers all around, the area well-kept despite not being the most obvious spot in the gardens. It was a project Yulieas had worked on earlier this particular day, in fact. And though the hold gardens were meant to be more decorative than anything else, several of the flowers here also had several other uses, many plants did, after all. Old habits died hard, it seemed, and Yulieas couldn't keep himself from planting plants with medical usage. In fact, Yulieas eyed the rue plant as he passed it, almost considering picking a couple leaves to chew on- they helped with nerves. Instead he just ran his fingers lightly over it as he passed. He turned in the middle of the spot and looked up at Quennell. "Does this look okay?" he asked, managing to sound mostly cheerful and casual, though some of his sheepishness remained.
« Last Edit: 30 Jan 2014 at 08:15 AM by Yulieas »

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Re: A Verdant Refuge [Open]
« Reply #5 on: 15 Feb 2014 at 10:57 AM »
The young man’s name was noted with a quiet nod, Quennell storing it away in the recesses of an overstuffed but incredibly reliable brain. Whether or not he ever had cause to know or remember the boy’s name was entirely unknown, but Quennell had always placed names amongst the most powerful of knowledge, and holding someone’s name – and knowing the face that went along with it – had never been anything less than useful. Quennell was particularly fond of useful information, and things.

The smile reappeared on the retired healer’s face when Yulieas nodded in response to his question, the corners of his eyes crinkling as the murky dark brown of his eyes lightened in curiosity and pleasure. He would like to see the corner of the garden that this young man most preferred, for he seemed a quiet fellow who would enjoy peaceful places; Quennell could relate to that, especially when a busy day had been had. When Yulieas seemed in no particular hurry to indicate where that area was, Quennell’s eyebrow first twitched upward questioningly, before his amusement blossomed over his face. Clearly, the youngster was debating with himself!

Still visibly amused, Quennell followed Yulieas without further prompting when the young man lead off, eyes sparkling when he caught the boy peering back at him. Quennell wasn’t quite sure what the boy expected him to do; certainly he did not have the ability to vanish between, and he was far too old to run anywhere, unless someone was dying (and it wasn’t too far!). Such amused thoughts left Quennell in a gentle high as he ambled along behind Yulieas, mind worlds away and a lazy smile on his face.

“… This looks wonderful.” Quennell’s voice was gentle and soft as he peered around; the event of having been pulled from his wandering and idle thoughts by Yulieas’ question cause the aging healer to become immersed in the setting with a blink of his eyes. He had not really even seen the path they had followed in order to find the place. He flashed the boy a warm smile, and added a further: “this is a beautiful area.” To his original statement, head turning first, and then following through with the rest of his body as he fully examined the hideaway.

Well trained eyes took note of many of the plants filling up the surrounding gardens, and he nodded approvingly. Beauty was, of course, important in such a place as the Hold’s public gardens – they could not very well do to insult some visiting noble or fail to impress the assigned Journeymen – but Quennell was most appreciative of the double-duty the plants were pulling. Beautiful to behold, but useful if they were so required. Smiling placidly, Quennell nodded once more before peering around for a good spot to sit. He chose a nice grassy spot not too far from a tall, old tree (much like himself, he thought with a wry smile) and settled himself down.

“Tell me about this spot, for clearly it is special to you.”
« Last Edit: 01 Jul 2014 at 09:52 AM by Quennell »

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Re: A Verdant Refuge [Open]
« Reply #6 on: 24 Feb 2014 at 03:57 AM »
Yulieas nodded, somewhat encouraged as Quennell complimented the spot. He watched the old healer as he examined it, trying not to look too expectant. He took in even breaths and let the sight of surroundings calm him a little. Usually, he wasn't so nervous. Awkward, yes, but not as anxious as he felt right now. Then again, he usually he wasn't in the presence of someone like Quennell. He was excited, of course, to be in his company, and to find the man so inviting and kind. But there was that shame that lurked like a shadow in the back of Yulieas' mind, clouding his usual optimism. It haunted him all the more when confronted with healers and healing. In a way, even the flowers planted here sometimes served as a sad reminder that he was now just a boy (or man- was he a man? He didn't feel like one-) playing in the dirt.

He followed after the retired healer as he chose a place to sit down. Yulieas wavered for a few moments, looking as if he was unsure of whether he wanted to follow suit and sit down as well. For the moment, he didn't and stood holding one arm with the hand of the opposite, still looking uncomfortable despite his best efforts and despite the man's friendliness. He shook his head slightly. "Oh no, it's nothing that special. I just- well they let me work on this area alone sometimes," he shrugged slightly and glanced around again. "Obviously the older plants weren't done by me. The trees are probably older than I am. And the bushes. But the newer blooms they let me do." After all, he hadn't been at this for very long. He was really only just starting to see the fruits of his work. Much in this spot had yet to bloom as well. "This spot's a bit out the way- not many just casually pass by it, so it doesn't matter if they let a less experienced gardener work on it. I guess it's a test of sorts, to see if they can trust me to work on things people will actually see."

Despite his working here for only two turns, he was trusted and moved up fairly quickly. His education granted him that, at least, that he wasn't resigned to the common drudgery some in the Hold never moved past. It was nice for him, to have gained at least a few privileges in his work, though it probably did nothing to help him fit in or to quell resentment from those who had been here longer than he.

Having given his explanation, he decided to sit down after all, lowering himself to the ground to sit near the older man. It wasn't until he sat that he realized how good it felt, after working all day, to finally rest. He sighed contentedly, feeling a little more relaxed as he just focused on how good it felt to sit in the grass.

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Re: A Verdant Refuge [Open]
« Reply #7 on: 10 Mar 2014 at 05:32 AM »
Quennell watched with a quiet, placid air, the young man sway in awkward silence. He was an interesting youngster, and the old healer could tell that despite his youth, the boy had a story to go along with his years. An interesting story, if he were any judge, but not one that looked to be forthcoming. Embarrassment or shame, or perhaps it was simply a desire to move on from the hindrance of being a child and the difficulty in taking the step to become a self-sufficient man. Quennell let the questions flow around in his intelligent mind as Yulieas searched for his voice.

“I certainly think you will be setting a good example for your skills, young man,” Quennell spoke gently, but his voice was filled with sincerity as he gazed around the little area with more consideration. He gave a slight nod again, quite certain of his previous statement, and smiled gently as Yulieas finally sat down. The sigh that was released caused Quennell’s smile to grow just a little more. “You are a talented gardener, Yulieas, you should be proud.”
« Last Edit: 01 Jul 2014 at 09:53 AM by Quennell »

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Re: A Verdant Refuge [Open]
« Reply #8 on: 16 Mar 2014 at 06:47 AM »
He blushed under the praise of the older man, as he often did, saying a small, "Thank you sir," in an embarrassed almost-murmur. The man's compliments set his mind thinking. He looked around him idly. This is what he did now. His latest words echoed through his head when they were spoken too, swirling around in a contemplative tangle within his mind.

A talented gardener. He didn't know whether he found pride in that- or resignation. Should he be glad to hear that or not? Maybe both. Maybe neither. It was odd to be complimented by a Master Healer once he was no longer an apprentice. Life always seemed to work in these little ironies. He wondered what Quennell would say if he brought it up- told the man about training as a healer. But what good would that do? He didn't want pity. No, he wouldn't bring it up unbidden. It was still hard to put into words how he felt about the whole thing.

But it seemed fitting, in a funny sort of way, for him to be sitting with this man here now. It was hard to accept praise for gardening because it hadn't been his plan. But shouldn't he try to find contentment in it if he could? Yulieas could feel some of his old optimism creeping back to the surface, a welcome feeling, especially compared to shame that drove him to hide in bushes.

He sighed. Maybe being a talented gardener was something he could find pride in after all. "Maybe... maybe," he repeated dreamily, taking in the garden and the nice weather, and grateful for his encounter today.

« Last Edit: 16 Mar 2014 at 07:14 AM by Yulieas »

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