Private Tales The Lost Princess and The Exiled Prince

Arun

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He smiled down at her. "Well, I have no iron arrows at home, but plenty of steel ones."

She could at least practice, though it would have to be in the clearing below. There would be no firing of arrows within the House. Should he make that clear to her? He frowned for a moment, and then shook his head.

No she had to know it would be rude.

"Some strings as well." Only the finest, made by him himself of course.
 
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Maeve

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"Let's go then," Maeve practically bounced, half side skipping back the way they had come to make sure he was actually going to come with her and didn't have something else planned.

It didn't take them too long to get back to the tree house and Mae said she would wait at the bottom whilst he collected the bits rather than risk going on the stairs and back down more than she needed to. She was feeling the tiredness from walking even that far already and in truth she wasn't entirely sure she would managed to get back down if she went up.

When the bow was finished and arrows gathered together Mae began to practise. She hadn't been under estimating her skill with the bow and arrow. They clumped together at the centre of the crude target and then she began to practise on other things; shooting a falling leaf out of the sky and pinning it to the bark opposite, slicing an odd piece of fruit off of another branch.
 
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Arun

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Arun watched the display with a smile on his face. "Impressive."

The Elf said with no hint of sarcasm to his words.

It was hard to tell if he was truly impressed, though that was sort of the truth with him at all times. Arun rarely expressed much of anything on his face, something that Maeve had already noted. He stepped forward though, moving towards her.

"May I offer a piece of advice?" She had true skill, there was no denying that, but he had noticed one small thing that may help her even more.
 
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Maeve

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Marve had half drawn her bow and she paused when Arun asked about offering some advice. Slowly she lowered her hands though she kept the bow in its half drawn nocked position.

"Of course, anything that I can do to improve. It is a little unusual shooting from the ground," her knowledge was more suited to firing off of a horses back at speed than shooting standing still.
 
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Arun

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Arun took a short few steps over towards her, placing his foot between her legs and gently knocking her feet to different positions.

"It's better to stand like this." Then he slowly reached over and softly grasped her elbow just a little bit. "This here."

His own skill in archery was hardly legendary, but it also benefited from two hundred years of experience. "I can't promise you a horse, but we'll get you a mount before we leave."
 
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Maeve

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Mae bit her lip when he nudged her feet apart and then adjusted her elbow. In her new position she drew back her bow and then fired. It pierced through one of the other arrows and she made a small noise of pride. It was a one in a million shot.

"An eagle?"
she spun and threw him a smile before going to pick up the arrows she had shot. "I don't mind, it would feel wrong to ride another horse," Whisper was special. One of a kind. She had given herself to Mae and Mae had done the same in return. She wandered back over to him with her retrieved arrows and put them back in her quiver aside from the broken one which she twirled through her fingers.

"It might be time for me to stand on my own two feet literally and figuratively."
 
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Arun

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Arun let out a laugh. "No, probably not an eagle."

He doubted that they would be able to make it Saen without being found. If that were to happen he would have some explaining to do, not only the reason he had broken exile...but also because he had a human tagging along with him.

His father would not be pleased.

"Perhaps one day." Arun assured her. "But I was thinking an Elk. They are common enough, and I think they would like you."

When she mentioned walking he shrugged. "If that is what you wish, I won't force you, but our progress will be slower."
 
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Maeve

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"What's an elk?" Mae blinked.

Horses were the most common creatures that her tribes people rode, though there were donkey's for carts and things too. She had once seen someone ride a large cat from the forests but she wondered whether that was a fae gift rather than a common occurrence. She passed the broken arrow to him and then turned back to her target and began shooting again in the position he had shown her.
 
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Arun

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He blinked for a second. "It's..."

How did one explain an Elk? They were so common in the Falwood that it was almost impossible not to have gone even twenty years without seeing one. His lips thinned as she continued to fire the arrows into the target, lips smacking together.

"It's like a horse." He said slowly. "But larger, and with antlers."

Would she even know what antlers were? "Large...ornate horns that sprout from their heads."
 

Maeve

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"With... horns..." Maeve's mind was constructing a much more horrific image in her mind than what an elk actually was. It probably looked more like a unicorn with two horns protruding from its head than a deer with antlers. Mae pulled a face and glanced at him over her shoulder before firing the last few arrows into the target. Eventually she had gotten through all of her arrows again and went to pick.

"The bow has passed the test," she grinned as she padded back to him. "Until I can try it mounted anyway," though she had no doubts it would do just as well. It was better than the bow she had broken on her crossing.

"Thank you, again, I haven't felt so much like myself in a long time."
 
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Arun

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"You are quite welcome." Arun said as he glanced at the weapon for a few seconds. A smile touched his lips, pride at his own craftsmanship. The only other weapon he'd made was his own bow, which had gone unused for quite some time.

Until a few nights ago of course.

"I am glad that I could help." The Elf told her, glancing up at the sky where the sun was begging to get low. "Perhaps it's time to get back home though."

Arun suggested with a smile, motioning towards where they would be able to find the staircase of branches.
 
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Maeve

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Maeve reluctantly cast one more look at the target and then nodded in agreement. She had pushed herself enough.

"I think the bandages need changing again anyway," her healing magic hadn't quite decided to treat the flesh wounds yet it seemed. After the amount of energy it had taken to deal with her ribs, or Arun's wounds the other day, she wasn't sure she wanted to encourage it anyway. The slave would have to do its job for now.

"I still don't like this staircase thing," Mae muttered as they walked back up. "What if the tree just decided to not be stairs anymore?" her hands gripped the railing hard as she walked so that she would at least have something to hold onto if it did decide to suddenly turn back into a branch.
 
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Arun

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"We can do that." Using a bow probably wasn't the most advisable when you had open wounds dotting your flesh, but he supposed that was just something they would have to deal with. Most of hers were on her back, that at least should make it okay.

Arun glanced back for a second as she mentioned the stairs, his lips folding into a tight smile as he imagined the tree suddenly deciding it would no longer cooperate.

"Tree's aren't as fickle as people." He explained. "Once they've made a decision they tend to stick with it."

Unless of course it was grievously harmed. "As long as you don't take out an ax, nothing will happen."

At least, he'd never seen anything happen.
 
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Maeve

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The human girl didn't look at all convinced and she took the steps two at a time in order to be off of them as soon as she was able to.

There was a sigh of relief as her feet touched the porch deck and she tried to keep it out of her mind he had sung that into existence too. Perhaps one day it would decide it didn't want to be a porch either. Mae shivered at the thought and reminded herself never to wield an axe anywhere near Arun's home.

Inside she set the bow with great care down and then curled her long locks up onto her head in a messy bun.

"I'm going to wash," the bath was a fantastic bit of magic and it was easier to get the bandages off if she got them wet beforehand. She flashed him a small smile and then disappeared back outside with a towel.
 
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Arun

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Arun resisted the urge to tell Maeve that technically the entire House they were currently standing in was actually...a tree. He did not feel that this would be a fruitful piece of information for her to hear at the moment, and thus decided to stay quiet.

Of course, he did not know she had just had that exact thought.

"I shall prepare food." He told her as she turned on her heel and headed towards the bath. For a few seconds he watched her go, and then he turned his head back towards the Kitchen and began to prepare their meal for the evening.

Venison was still left over, and perhaps he could whip something up with that.
 
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Maeve

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Maeve decided that if she ever ended up with her own place in these strand isles she wanted a bath just like this. Not having to carter hot water back and forth or wait for it to boil for hours would be a god send.

Clean once more she peeled her own bandages off this time whilst still in the bath and managed to make a lot less of a complaint about it. Once she was finished she padded back into the house and sat down bundled up in the towel whilst combing out her hair. It would make little sense to get dressed to then get undressed in a few moments in order for him to put the salve on her back.

Her eyes drifted over to him as he cooked.

"When was the last time you ate meat?"
 
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Arun

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"One hundred and sixty seven years ago." Most Elves did not enjoy the taste of meat as a general fact.

It wasn't that they didn't understand the need for it, protein and the like could sometimes be difficult to find in plant form. Yet dealing cruelty to another living being, especially one who was simply attempting to live its life, was often difficult to actually contend with.

That was why this deer that he had hunted for Maeve had already been dying when he'd found it. The creature would have had a few more weeks, but undoubtedly it would have fallen to a predator sooner than that.

"I never found it as unpleasant as others." He told her with a shrug. "But I believe that is...the other side of me."
 
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Maeve

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Maeve gave an irritated noise.

"It's you, not the other side," it seemed blindingly clear to her from what he had described. Though it could of course be the differences in culture and the fact her people had something similar already that was defined and recognised. "You're all you," she repeated and then frowned. It didn't seem quite so elegant in the Common Tongue but it was the best she could do until she taught him her own tongue.

167 years ago was a long time to go without meat in her opinion but the elves who had kept her had also seemed more caring of their animals, treating them better than their slaves at times. Clearly it was just another cultural divide.

"I couldn't imagine going that long without meat," bacon, crackling, steak... it was what her stomach always craved. Vegetables had always been a distraction from the main star.
 
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Arun

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She was probably right in her words, in fact he knew that she was right, but a part of him still didn't quite want to accept the reality of that fact. He didn't want that other piece to be a part of him, at least not all the time.

Not in moments like this.

Without addressing her words Arun continued.

"There are substitutes." He stated plainly, clearly somewhat disapproving of her diet. "Healthier ones."

Arun continued to cook as he half turned towards her. "Mushrooms, Falwood Carrots."

He considered for a second.

"Plants are much easier to rear than most animals, and produce less waste." It was hard to tell if Arun was believing his own words or simply parroting the argument someone had once made to him. "They can also provide much more nourishment to the body."
 
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Maeve

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"But," Mae held up a hand. "Hear me out," she said solemnly. "Bacon."

There was a hint of playfulness in her tone but if he turned to look at her he would see her whole face was lit up with a smile and her eyes were bright with mischief. She relented after a while and went back to playing with her hair and not winding him up.

"There are some of my people who choose that way of life but it is harder in the plains, our environment is more suited to hardy vegetables like potatoes and turnips. Even then, harvests are not always great. Meat is at least filling."
 
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Arun

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"What's bacon?" Arun asked with a blink.

Pork was not exactly...popular in the Falwood, nor all that common. Wild Boar made their way everywhere of course, they were bastards, but most of the time his people preferred to hunt Deer and other animals of the sort.

Boar was a bit too...human.

"Perhaps there are some crops from the Falwood that might grow there." He offered. "Bellroot is a very hearty plant, and I've been told that it tastes like Beef Liver."

As he spoke Arun plated up the food he had made for her, turning around and walking over towards her. "Or Thalfa Fruit. It's very sweet, but filling."
 

Maeve

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Maeve blinked at him.

"Yeah... yeah... vegetables... but you haven't had bacon!?" her jaw practically hit the floor and she took the plate mutely from him as he offered it out to her. She shuffled along on the sofa so that he could sit down with her and began picking at her food. Each meal she attacked with less desperation as though she were afraid it would be her last meal.

"Would you let me cook for you one day?" her voice was a little shy as she asked. "It's nowhere as grand as your dishes but, I think you would like it."
 
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Arun

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"Of course." Arun said without even a second of hesitation. "It would be incredibly rude for me to refuse such an offer."

Cooking in Elven society was a craft like any other. Every meal was like a piece of art, created and designed to fight hunger like a blade was to kill monster or man. There was a certain respect to being a chef within the Falwood, though explaining that to outsiders had always been difficult.

He smiled at her. "I have not had many meats."

For a brief moment a frown flickered across his features, and he instantly decided not to mention the last one he'd actually had.

"Deer and elk are what we do eat." He paused. "I do eat many fish."

Arun had always wondered why fish did not bother his people as other animals did, but perhaps that was just an odd cultural quirk.
 
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Maeve

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"Well, this has no meat. I think it's the only dish I know without meat," her lips twitched. It was actually a meal that her people tended to make when they were on hunting parties or were forced to live off of the land around them. Despite that, it was one of Mae's favourite meals. Perhaps it was the memories that surrounded it of eating with her friends and family, or maybe it was because of the flavours and warming sensation.

She quickly finished the rest of her meal and then took her plate back to the kitchen.

"It's a camping recipe really, but it's one of my favourite. I saw some of the herbs on our walk so I suspect most of it grows around here. I'll have to get you to try bacon another time," hunting a boar was a difficult thing even for someone at full health let alone in her position.
 
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Arun

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"Excellent." He told her as he adjusted himself on the sofa and began to quietly pluck away at his own meal.

It was clear that he ate in a far more...eloquent manner than she did. Every movement seemed precise, careful, almost planned. There was an etiquette to the way that he moved, as if every bite was savored and enjoyed instead of scarfed down.

"There will be plenty of camping." He assured her. "The journey back will take a few days."

Even with an Elk. "I'll be happy to try anything you make."
 
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