I Dub Thee, “Lucky”
A little not-surprise for the lovely @laskulls, featuring the wonderful Mahalen Lavellan and my OC Darren Miller!
In which Darren arrives at Haven as a fresh recruit and has no idea the young elf he is speaking to is the Herald of Andraste himself… (Approx 3000 words, most under the cut) <3
“You wait right here, boy. Don’t go wandering off, understood?”
Darren snapped into an awkward salute that earned him a tired roll of the eyes from Talden. The grizzled recruitment officer did not waste any time on further words as he shook his head and stalked through the main gate of Haven, his silver armour catching the light of the midday sun and flashing brightly beneath its touch. The town itself was small, barely home to two-dozen houses, but already Darren could clearly see that it served a higher purpose. Soldiers milled about, jostling past one another in their haste. Many rushed towards the stables, where the metallic ringing of hammer and anvil signalled the presence of a smithy, however makeshift and undermanned. Other uniformed men and women peeled off in the opposite direction towards rows of pitched tents, interspaced with training dummies and archery targets, not a single one unoccupied.
Darren stood between the two hives of activity and tried his best not to look completely out of place. In his ruddy clothing and well-worn boots, he probably would have fit in far more comfortably among the refugees than the soldiers. He shifted uneasily, silently hoping that Talden, as miserably and grumpy as he was, would come back soon and point him in some kind of direction. Already he was drawing absent attention from the busy recruits, their arms laden with either weapons or sacks of food to be moved behind the tall stone walls of Haven. None of them said anything to him, but a part of Darren couldn’t help but feel judged. Sized up. Most of them looked so much older than him; so much more experienced. They handled swords and daggers with the same care a child showed to a willow switch, while just the thought of sharpened steel in his hands left Darren in a nervous sweat.
What am I doing? he thought for what felt like the hundredth time that day alone. Claire was right. I can’t do this. I shouldn’t be here. I…
A figure shifted by the large outer wall, standing in the shadow of what appeared to be a tall nug statue seated on a stone pedestal. Darren hadn’t noticed the person before, but was surprised to find he looked… well… young. Possibly even as young as Darren himself. Swallowing, Darren glanced back towards the main gate, however saw no sign of Talden’s return. Odds were he would hear the man grunting and grumbling in his miserly fashion well before he saw him, anyway. So, heart fluttering about like a drunk bird, Darren swallowed and began to move towards the young man. However, he’d barely taken two paces in the appropriate direction before the stranger’s bright eyes flicked up, flashing with first surprise, then uncertainty.