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Rated: E · Serial · Fantasy · #2028506
The life he led before arriving at the academy would give many of his fellows pause.
"So go forth as the finest men and women of the Jenn-Kellon School of Archery I have ever had the privileged to oversee." And with that six long years as an apprentice and student in the Academy ended! The graduation ceremony and speech were the icing on the cake, but all Aendi and his mates wanted to do now was cut loose and celebrate. They had spent the last several years of their lives in a rigid, unforgiving, concentrated, focused academy devoted to the art of archery. Everything from selecting the properly aged tree branch for shafts, to collecting feathers from the finest pheasants had been covered. They knew the ideal target regions on both large and small game - from hell hounds and fire spiders to passing deer and wild boar. Although their practice had been confined mainly to the walls of the academy - their aim was true, and their marks were sure to fall.
Heading to the brewpub that evening with Xerzex, Marion, Holdegarth, and Iiren - Aendi Aegis Peregrinate couldn't help but reflect how far he'd come. While the academy had matured him another six years - he felt much older than his sharp, young, attractive features conveyed. He was certainly one of the youngest of his class, and underwent a lot of ribbing for it. But his handsome face, and unending vigor made him a favorite pastime of many of the female instructors and student of the academy. And Aendi wasn't complaining. He was as much a ladies man as he was a guys-guy. He got along amazingly well with everyone he encountered and seemed to live a blessed life inside the walls of the school.

It was the life he led before arriving at the academy that would give may of his fellows pause. If they knew more about that previous life. Plowing rows of rocky soil behind the smellier end of a draught horse was a miserable way to begin one's life. And yet, Aendi found himself drowning in farm life. Even hunting the nearby forests was a luxury they often had no time for. Altough his budding archery skills would nab them a rabbit or old injured boar sow from time to time - his father didn't encourage the pursuit of archery. All his father knew was farming, and all his father could see for Aendi and his six brothers and three sisters was life on the farm.

Thornfield Farms, below Thorn Peak, on Lake Thornfield was home. Aendi had worked the land there until his fourteenth birthday when an opportunity arose to make a getaway. And he took it! While shopping grain for the poultry and livestock, and seed for the spring's planting Aendi's family left him behind at the market. His father and mother knew where he'd be and expected him home within hours. Aendi was supposed to arrive home carrying the last few sacks of seed that arrived late to the merchant. Aendi's father paid out all their savings for the purchases that day, and would need this seed to start the pumpkin, barley, and cotton in the spring.

But as the hours drew on, and the night began to descend, the merchant apologized to the boy saying he was certain his goods would arrive by the next morning. Aendi thought fast, and told the merchant to issue a refund for the three silver they exchanged for the undelivered burlap sacks. He lied to the merchant about his father's instructions, which were to stay at the merchants stall until the delivery arrived no matter the length of the wait. Aendi pocketed the coins and dashed into the night. He headed west and as far away from Thornfield as his feet would carry him that night.

While he had effectively abandoned his family and left them behind - Aendi knew they would be fine. One less mouth to feed would not stop his father's world from turning. And besides - Aendi was fourteen now - almost out on his own anyway. He worked odd jobs, and moved from place to place until his sixteenth year. It was then that he entered an archery contest and won a seat to enroll in the Jenn-Kellon School of Archery. During a tournament at the annual Impalong Festival, Aendi took his place among more seasoned professionals and luckily showed them all up. Only a few other young men had bested him, but they were all guaranteed a seat on the large cart headed to King's Gate on Trader's Bay, just below the fabled Calhadras mountain range.

Following the graduation ceremony and celebrations that night many of his classmates would leave for posts the next morning. Aendi had not yet found a post and would have to set out for employment immediately. His hope was to find work on the parapet of a wealthy deed holder. The further his journey took him - the better. The time on his own, on the road, had given Aendi a wanderlust that was hard to control during his years at the academy. But he knew how valuable his apprenticeship there would be to his future - so he fought the urges to set off on the road when things got tough. And now Aendi Aegis Peregrinate was a graduate of the Jenn-Kellon School of Archery.

While walking the road back from an extended hunting trip in the White Mountain Pass, Aendi met a merchant from Elysium. He was headed back to Arcanum Market after trading at Gold Pearl Market for several months. While Aendi's intention was only to ride with the merchant a short way - perhaps back to Essert or another busy hub where he could find temporary work - he stayed on with the merchant. From the moment they met in Vicus Arboria at the winery, they shared conversation and common stories of leaving family behind to seek fame and fortune, and a new life abroad. The merchant was a living example that Aendi's hopes could work out after all.

Aendi told the merchant he would continue on as far as the crossroad at Collosus Inn. But the merchant explained that the baron he works with, and has befriended over many years, is looking for more guards and an able archer to protect his growing deed. This was the moment Aendi had hoped for since the early days of his time in the academy. The promise every retired archer, longbow-men, and fletcher filled the recruits heads with was the hope for a wealthy deed holder to set one up for life doing what they loved. Archery.

The merchant introduces Aendi to the Baron and he is hired onto the deed immediately. Surely the trust between these two men is great, and Aendi takes note of their relationship. As time goes on, Aendi finds he is settling into a routine lifestyle. Patrolling the deed, hunting and managing the wildlife around the manor, competing in annual tournaments which bring he and his baron bragging rights and wealth. The life of an archer is good for this would-be-farm-hand-turned-master-archer.

The one day during a routine survey of the deed's perimeter Aendi notices a cloaked figure hunched down at the base of a tree. The dark, thick cloak appears soiled and torn in several places. The body beneath appears large and solid from a distance. Aendi readies the tools of his trade and shouts "Hail! Who goes there? And what intention do you have in these woods?"

The figure stands slowly, dropping a small empty vial to the ground as he rises. His head is hung forward, and his shoulders slumped. The voice that issues forth from the tall and solid shape is both deep and resonant. The words echo off the trees and reverberate around Aendi's heart. And yet - the man doesn't appear to have strained at casting his voice such a distance, at such great strength.

"Would you interrupt the work of Ages boy? Would you level the sharpened point of an arrow to the one that delivers your Destiny? I think not ... farmer. Put aside your weapon. Approach me and receive what you were intended to carry from the Foundation of the world."
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