(written by Cordir)
At first glance, she calls to mind the dusky, cool tones of a winter's sunset; tones of blue and purple cast upon the blinding snow, icy, and crystalline. Yet despite the impressions of palette and reserve, those inquisitive violet eyes hold both warmth and welcome that no season of barrenness and death could ever withstand. Tall for her race and more slender than most swans, Faile has the lithe grace of a rapier wielded by a master swordsman. Though her form is youthful and strong, an aura of wisdom, experience and calm confidence surrounds her.
Gleaming silver tips each feather upon her wings, creating exquisitely artistic contrast with the flowing ash-gray, floor-length, spider-silk velvet cloak clasped about her slender throat. She mantles her crest, the feathers rustling softly with the movement, and dips slightly in a movement akin to a curtsey or even the steps to an ancient and courtly dance. One claw-tipped wing is extended out and back, her head lowers, the silver-touched silk cascade of her snowy hair slides like a water- fall over one shoulder.... but yet her eyes remain on yours, watchful, ever curious.
'Wind beneath thy wings and good fortune to your travels,' she chirps in a musical voice. Rising from the curtsey, she smiles and is on her way.
Curious near-from birth, this youngling Aarakocran would repeatedly step out of her mother’s nest; its linings of string, cloth, feathers, other bits and pieces scrounged from around her city were never sufficiently compelling to keep her from wandering about. Faile saw no reason now to follow her father, proud and dashing in his armor up to the higher regions of her home where he patrolled the archways for trespassers and ne’er-do-wells.
Her mother always chirped that from the moment she opened her inquisitive gray eyes, Faile seemed to have been endowed with more wisdom than appropriate for one so young. As the years passed, and down turned to feather, limbs grew ever firmer, mind ever keener, the desire to venture out grew stronger as well. At first, small traipses around her home town were enough to sate the slender Swan’s appetite for adventure. She traveled to the far reaches of the eastern borders, visiting her warrior guild master, learning the arts of battle, thinking to one day follow in her father’s footsteps.
As time passed, and Faile became more adept at her training she grew restless with the endless practice. One day, skirting her studies, she wandered up a pass of which her father had always warned to steer clear. What moved her to take so imprudent a risk she cannot say, even to this day. What this Aara can tell you is she has never regretted that moment of disregard. She happened upon a dark, silent figure… near-hidden in the shadows of the archway above. She curtseyed to him gracefully, intending to show respect to her elders, as ingrained upon her by both parents, when she felt something move quickly against her body. Startled, she looked up to see the figure tossing up and catching a coin… a coin he had just pilfered right out of her purse!
Strangely enough in the circumstances, although perhaps not so strangely for her nature, Faile was neither upset nor alarmed…. She was intrigued. Over time, her lithe figure and poised ways assisted her in learning the skills she would cherish for some time to come. For this thief, as she then knew him, had been amusedly surprised at such a response from one so young; he agreed to instruct her in his ways. Once more Faile devoted herself to her training; this time, however, it was in secret. Each outing was disguised as playtime with other children, or an excursion to visit the few elderly Swans choosing to live out their last few years in peace, and surrounded by youthful faces.
As time continued, Faile became more skillful in her tasks, her talons deft and quick, able to lift a molting feather from an aged Aara, or a beaded charm off a child’s wrist. There was only so much she could learn before feeling once more retrained by her instructions, yearning for new knowledge. All this time she acted the model Aarakocran child as well, ensuring her parents’ trust and faith in her through her attitude and actions, excelling in any tasks placed before her.
The day came once again, where Faile neglected a single day of training… and wandered her town instead. She felt things were not as they should be, and sought solace in the Temple of the Rising Sun. At Dawn she went there and rested, wings tucked beneath her as she looked out over the city of stone archways and the multi-colored stone slopes opposite her home. The Sun rose, in all his glory, and warmed her very marrow as she basked in his light. The Aara youngling lowered her beak, closed her glittering gray eyes, and prayed to a higher power to lead her on her Path.
Unbeknownst to her a lone figure stood to her left, gazing the Sun as well, and turning to gaze at her. Faile opened her eyes and smiled, feeling more at peace with herself and her surroundings, more in tune with nature than ever before. “I know that feeling,” the figure cooed gently. Such an intrusion upon her silence and meditation would have been alarming if not for the overwhelming sense of calm she felt. Inquiring as to whom the cloaked figure was, resulted in an invitation to come east into his inner sanctuary.
Never had she been one to balk at a new experience, and this was certainly not an occasion that would change her nature. Faile accepted gladly, and still with that feeling of utter attunement to all around her, she entered the indicated doorway, beginning a path of magic, mysticism, and lore. A warrior first, after her father’s way, a thief in hiding of her own discovery, and now a shaman, able to give others the opportunity to experience the serenity she found within herself.
Needless to say, this was an endeavor she could freely share with her parents; and the ability to discuss her pursuits with them was exhilarating all of its own. Overjoyed that their daughter had been chosen to participate in the mysticism of their world both parents encouraged her turn of career. Perhaps her father harbored some disappointment at first, but upon looking at his daughter, robed in the silvery gray of early dawn, he declared himself overwhelmingly proud. He saluted in respect, and showed as much through the turn of his plumage, bright silver undertones evincing the truth of his words.
Thus a fledgling found her wing, her strength, her cunning, and her wisdom. With such skills, and accompanying knowledge she now seeks her Path in keeping with her inspired moment in the Temple. She seeks to find her place within the Pattern of life, to give meaning to her worth, and aid others in achieving the same.
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