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The Pink & the Gold [Nida Perl]

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#1
Thirdas Heavenshield

Thirdas Heavenshield

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The Fortress of Dawn

 

A place of learning and wisdom on a world as ancient as the Force itself. Where the ways of old meet the technology of modern time, creating the perfect mixture of tradition and practicality. A place of peace, hope, and light.

 

But by the Gods, is it a complete bore! So much so that when attempting to do his mother's bidding and attend one of the lectures given by one of the Dawnguard elders, Thirdas was unable to keep his eyes open - or his ears, for that matter. Worst part of it is the Fortress is located atop one of the tallest peaks on Midvinter, with but one way down the mountainside safe enough for travel. So it's not exactly somewhere you just come and go on the drop of a hat. Besides, mother would know were he to make some daring escape. So, the masters of the order decided, since their leader was adamant that the lad remain within the Fortress for the day, they put him to good use where he needn't listen to words of wisdom by those who had it to spare. Shovelling manure at the stables.

 

Actually it, rather ironically, became a breath of fresh air for Thirdas who did not like the large, echoey halls of the temple itself. He'd always been an outdoorsman, preferring the sweat and grime of hard work before honing of the mind. And, as his mother had instructed him, he was not to leave the temple grounds, which he hadn't. Though his only company consisted of those of equine persuasion, Thirdas fancied himself a bit of a 'horse-whisperer' and did in fact have a very good hand with them. None of these held a candle to Balian however, who had been made his own after father traded him off his original owner for his son's 15th birthday.

 

"Alright, that's enough for now," one of the regular stable boys informed him, for once not having to do all the dirty work. Immediately Thirdas stopped what he was doing and tossed him the pitchfork. "Thank Teign's sweaty chest hair," he exclaimed and stretched before washing his hands and face in a nearby bucket of water.

 

"Hey, have you seen our most recent arrival? Other than yourself, of course." Taking a lean against the stable fence alongside the other boy his age, Thirdas shook his head. "No, why?"

 

"You'll know when you see her."

 

Nida Perl


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#2
Nida Perl

Nida Perl

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Perhaps, Nida thought, this wasn’t the best of ideas. Maybe it would have been better if she’d chosen a world similar to the urban sprawl she’d grown up in, a place diverse enough where she could blend in with the crowds easily. For all her anxieties, the young Zeltron was not accustomed to being in any sort of spotlight.

 

Of course, she stuck out like a sore thumb on Midvinter, a world with a homogenized population. The people here were all tall and strong with similar coloration to that of baseline humans. No natural pops of pink or violet among them, which earned her glances and the occasional stare, though the latter was mostly by curious children. It was a lively place with vibrant, earthy smells mixing with the scent of cold and snow. Perhaps she would have enjoyed it more had she not been so self-conscious.

 

Once at The Fortress of Dawn, she’d unwound a little. The structure was similar to that of the temples the Silvers had dotted over their territory, therefore it was something a little more familiar. Still, she had trouble feeling at home. Before reaching Kashyyyk several months ago, Nida had never traveled on her own. Usually mother, or at the very least one of her siblings was with her. Training as a Jedi would not only advance the gift of the Force, but it would push her to become more independent. Even if it meant spending some nights curled up in homesickness, or shaking with nerves for the entire flight to Midvinter. Her brazen family had protected her from the galaxy the best they could, but Nida wanted to learn how to handle herself.

 

Now she’d gotten lost on her way to fetch something to eat, but was too anxious to approach anyone she’d passed to ask them. What if she said something wrong? Or something strange? For now, she was content to shuffle around the fortress grounds while deciding what to do. Outside had seemed like a good idea, and the cold air was agreeable against her heated face.

 

I must look like a tomato! The bright red flush was not so subtle against the pink of her skin, but the heat of her cheeks felt as if it were dying down. As she shuffled around a corner, two figures came into her field of vision. Young men, from the looks of it as she moved closer. Around Yula’s age, maybe. Come on now. You have to eat some time. Heart jackhammering away in her chest, Nida went for it.

 

“Excuse me,” She approached them, just a hint of shake in her voice as she clenched her cloak close to her chest.  “Could you tell me where—” Both her voice and her body came to an abrupt halt as she felt herself step in something squishy. Then the smell hit her. Looking down, Nida discovered that she’d wandered into a pile of manure. Her face flared again, this time in embarrassment as she hurriedly stumbled away. “Oh, no!” Losing her balances, the Zeltron was on her way to careen face-first into the snow.

 

At least it wasn’t manure!

 

Thirdas Heavenshield


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#3
Thirdas Heavenshield

Thirdas Heavenshield

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By the time the pink-skinned and purple-haired girl appeared before the two as if on cue, Thirdas was busy munching on a fresh apple intended for the horses. According to the stable boy, no-one either noticed or cared if one or two disappeared from time to time. The smell of dry horse manure was almost washed away as he bit into the sweet fruit, only lingering on the sidelines rather than right up in your face. No sooner did the poor girl to utter a full sentence than lying face-down in the snow, and while the stable boy was quick to let out a hearty laugh at her misfortune Thirdas had barely had enough time to process what had just happened. He was still coming to terms with the girl's strange and exotic appearance.

 

Rather than joining the stable boy, he took another apple and shoved it into the lad's open mouth, immediately putting a stop to his incessant and downright annoying laughter. More so than simply wanting to spare his own sense of hearing, he actually took pity on the pink girl. "Here, let me help you," he kneeled by her where she lay in the snow looking so embarrassed, offering a hand. "Don't mind that guy, he's an arse anyway."

 

Once she was back on her feet Thirdas made sure to wipe her face of the melted snow clinging to her skin. Leave it too long and it will only add to the cold. "Hey, you can tell Master Jorun they can clean their own crap from now on," he told the stable boy who had only just now managed to free the apple from his jaws. Without another word Thirdas put his arm around the girl and took her elsewhere.

 

"So, I believe you had a question for me? Prior to stepping in horsepoodoo, that is."

 

Nida Perl


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#4
Nida Perl

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If Midvinter had a God of lightning, Nida would not complain if he or she were to strike her down right now.

 

The boisterous laughing only caused her cheeks and ears to burn brighter, so hot that she swore she could melt the snow around her. She had only noticed that the laughter had abruptly stopped when one of the young men came to her aid with a proffered hand, helping her up and wiping the snow and a few hidden tears of frustration away.

 

“Th…thank you.” Nida managed to find her voice as he lead her away, keenly aware of the arm around her shoulder. She was still very flustered, but moving away from the scene of the crime had helped a bit. “You are very kind.”

 

“Oh! Yes. Uh, yes.” Fumbling with her words as well with her hands, the young Zeltron smoothed her hair back, having ruffled it in the fall. “I was…looking for the canteen. I’m new here and I don’t quite know my way around yet.” Nor had she ever been on a world as cold as this. It snowed on Zeltros every now and again, but nothing like what coated Midvinter on a daily basis. 

 

She paused, unsure of what else to say, if at all. “I am Nida Perl, of the Silver Jedi.” She gave him a sheepish introduction, feeling eternally out of place. “Do you…work here, perhaps?” Given that she’d seen him shoveling stables, it was a logical conclusion to her mind. 

 

Thirdas Heavenshield


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#5
Thirdas Heavenshield

Thirdas Heavenshield

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Watching her while they walked away from the stables he couldn't help but smirk, in part due to taking in her strange looks but also replaying her big bumble from just moments ago in his mind. It was pretty funny, but he wasn't about to pester her over it. Clearly she was already feeling uncomfortable as it were. "Nida," he repeated her name as she gave it. He liked the way it sounded, and replaced his smirk with a genuine smile. "Nice to meet you, Nida Perl. I'm... Thirdas," he introduced himself, choosing to omit his family name for the time being.

 

"And no I don't work here, thank the gods! They just like putting those unruly students to do work they'd rather not do themselves," he hinted at the reason behind his being at the stables. "I don't really belong here, I guess you could say. I'm just here to fulfil a promise to my mother. She's the one who truly works here, don't know if you've met with her yet." Of course his mother was none other than the Grandmaster herself, but he also chose to keep this fact merely hinted at. He had no desire to lie to Nida, but given her timid character thus far he didn't wish to overburden her with information about himself.

 

His arm unwrapped itself from her shoulders only to instead take her by the hand. "Come on, it's this way. I could do with a bite as well." No doubt the young padawan would expect the usual Jedi etiquette when it came to eating. Boy, was she in for a surprise - this is Midvinter, after all! From outside the feasting hall muffled music could be heard playing, which only grew louder and clearer once they stepped inside. Out of the cold, they were instead hit with the wall of warmth emitted from the hearth located at the centre of the large hall, and around on all sides but one were tables many metres in length able to fit dozens of people at a time. At the end of one side stood not a table but rather a very well-frequented bar. There were men and women dancing to the lively music, mead being poured in healthy doses, and even the occasional fisticuffs.

 

"Here we are; the canteen," he said with a grin, knowing it was likely not what she had expected from a Jedi temple. "Let's go find a seat!" Leading her through the crowd of patrons they found a pair of vacant seats next to each other at the far end of the hall. "Now you just grab whatever food you like. Meats are by the hearth, the rest you see before you," Thirdas gestured to the well-stocked display of foods before them, many of which were native to Midvinter but with a few exceptions, given that the Fortress was not exclusive to the locals after all.

 

Reaching behind him he found an empty tankard and filled it with mead, for all along the walls there were kegs of the stuff in every flavour and brand available. "You're a Zeltron, right? Sorry if I'm being presumptious, I've never actually met one in person before. Just, the pink and purple kinda give it away."

 

Nida Perl


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#6
Nida Perl

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“It’s good to meet you as well, Thirdas.” She returned his pleasantry in kind. Honestly, she considered herself fortunate that he’d helped her. If they had both laughed, Nida would have likely hurried back to her room and spent the night without supper, reliving the embarrassment. After experiencing the cruelty of the galaxy at a young age, it was sometimes hard to remember how much kindness there was as well.

 

“Oh…” She swallowed briefly as Thirdas took her hand, leading the way. Had he revealed his surname, she would have recognized the Heavenshield name—mostly from the stories that her mama had told her of her exploits with the Silver Jedi. Little did she know that their mothers were friends!

 

Nida had managed to clean off her soiled boot in the snow as they walked, not keen on tracking the mess into the dining area. Then again…would anybody have noticed? The cafeteria was a lively affair, not at all what she had been accustomed to over the past few months. Jedi tended to eat their meals in quiet with relative grace, but this was…loud.

 

It was just like home.

 

Zeltros was known for its festive nature where there was no shortage of bold colors or bright lights. While it wasn’t Nida’s particularly favorite aspect of her home world, anything reminiscent of Zeltros made her long for home. Still, that didn’t mean that she wasn’t momentarily overstimulated. Again, the pink girl let Thirdas lead her through the crowds, much preferring to have a guide rather than be left to her own devices. Be brave, you can do this. She felt silly for giving herself a pep talk over grabbing lunch. Mom will be so proud of you for being on your own!

 

Was she really on her own, though?

 

“The pink and purple do give it away, don’t they?” After settling into their seats, Nida made to grab a roll of bread from one of the platters resting on the table. Best to begin with something easy on the stomach and then work her way up. “You are correct; I am Zeltron. Am I right to assume that you are Valkyri?” A soft smile crept its way onto her features, still a bit overwhelmed but distracted with conversation. So far she’d discovered that the native species appeared very similar to humans, though they tended towards being larger and stronger. And in some observable cases, harrier.

 

“And…if you don’t mind my asking, but what did you do to be given…that task?” Referring to shoveling the stables, she had to wonder just what had qualified him for being ‘unruly’. Despite her anxious nature, Nida was not unsociable. 

 

Thirdas Heavenshield


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#7
Thirdas Heavenshield

Thirdas Heavenshield

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He was pleased to see her partaking in the feast and help herself to some food, as well as become more sociable with every passing moment. He wanted her to enjoy herself after what he could only imagine a terribly embarrassing and awkward stay thus far; besides, he knew what it was like being laughed at. "I am, though I am also Corellian. I suppose more so than I let on," he said with a shrug, taking a swig of his mead. He recognised his brother's own label just from the taste. Of course he would be the main supplier of drinks to the Dawnguard. "My mother's side. Dad's actually a mix of Valkyri and Alderaanian, which would technically make me just one fourth Valkyri. My sister - she's the smart one - says Valkyri blood is more often than not dominant to that of 'regular' humans, if that's even a thing." This conversation was becoming way too intellectual to his taste.

 

"So yes, Valkyri," he simplified his answer with a nervous chuckle.

 

"Oh... that. Not my proudest moment, admittedly," he glanced sideways as if looking back on prior events. Only to resume his confident smirk and his eye contact with Nida. "Then again, I have no problem with doing the dirty jobs no-one wants. Dad always tells me to act with a certain humility to the people around me." As a serving girl passing them by with a large tray of meats Thirdas grabbed one of the legs once belonging to some large avian creature, wasting no time ripping into it.

 

"Oh, that's good... So anyway," he spoke all the while munching away. "I was told to attend a few lessons by some of the masters here. So I did, and I really did try my best listening to what they had to say. But each one just got more and more tedious, so naturally I fell asleep more than a few times. I was eventually caught snoring in the back - out of disrespect, they thought. And, I suppose, my reputation is probably not the greatest within the more learned circles of Midvinter. So they sent me to work the stables. Whether it was some sort of punishment or just to keep me busy elsewhere, who knows." Watching her nibble on her piece of bread, it didn't feel right for him to hog all the good stuff.

 

He offered the now half-eaten leg of meat. "Sorry, did you want a bite?"

 

Nida Perl


Edited by Thirdas Heavenshield, 23 January 2019 - 01:50 PM.

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#8
Nida Perl

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Trying to be polite, Nida turned her head to the side and held her freed hand over her lips, trying to obscure her soft, entertained laughter. Still, her eyes crinkled in good humor. Thirdas was friendly and open, which were admirable traits in Nida’s eyes. She was always fretting over whether she’d said too much or not enough, if she’d overstepped bounds or not. “If you were falling asleep, perhaps you needed the rest?” Maybe she was trying to rationalize it with something more logical.

 

“Oh…” Her eyes were drawn to the leg of meat, instinctually wanting to refuse because…well, he’d eaten part of it. But something had spurred Nida onward in this brave new world of being independent. Some people released their inhibitions with drugs or daring feats; for Nida it was this. Truly, a rebel with no bounds.

 

“I would, actually.” She’d taken the offered meat with a ginger grip, suddenly aware that she wasn’t sure how to do this without looking unladylike. Normally she’d been used to tender cuts of meat worked with a knife and fork. For a moment she simply stared, bewildered before going in for the kill. Lips pulled back, she dug in with her teeth and came back with a mouthful of avian fare. It was juicer than she had expected.

 

“Oh, that is quite good! Thank you, Thirdas.” After handing him back the leg of meat when she was done chewing, Nida resumed working on her bread roll. “Genetics can be a funny thing,” She agreed. “My brother and sister are both a quarter Zeltron each. One is similar in skin tone to you, while the other is pink.” Even if they weren’t her siblings by blood, Nida could still appreciate how familial traits were passed on.

 

“Do you have any other siblings, Thirdas?”

 

Thirdas Heavenshield


Edited by Nida Perl, 23 January 2019 - 10:17 PM.

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#9
Thirdas Heavenshield

Thirdas Heavenshield

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It actually came as quite a shock to him when Nida bravely plucked the leg of meat from his hand and bit into it, getting her lips and cheeks all greasy in the process. She appeared to him so clean and pristine that he didn't expect her to get messy so readily. Knowing this about her only made him like her more. Finding a clean rag he raised it to her face and began to gently wipe the mess from her cheeks and lips. "I like the pink," he told her rather haphazardly, unable to dictate what came out of his mouth at the time. A faint flush of red struck his own cheeks for once, and he was glad she then changed the subject.

 

Thirdas hand rubbed the back of his neck. "Well... There's Nina, who I already mentioned. She's the eldest, though she certainly don't look it. Dad found her when she was but a small child, wandering the streets of Umbara alone and afraid. Took her in without a second thought and raised her as his own." He ran a hand through his unkempt hair. "She was born mute, so for a long time in order to communicate she either had to rely on telepathy or sign language. But now she's got this neat thing you put around your neck, and it translates her chosen thoughts into words. Invented it herself," he smiled to himself. "Told you she was smart. She paints too, and writes a lot. Currently working on putting the history of Midvinter on paper, so she's rarely home. On the road, mostly."

 

He took another sip of his mead before continuing. "Now, Théo, on the other hand... He's the leader of the three of us. They may not resemble one another very much, but him and Dad are pretty much indistinguishable in their ways; strong and brave, and great leaders of our people. He's had almost as many adventures as our parents, and in only half the number of years. Given time, I believe he will one day surpass them in terms of fame." Thirdas then looked around them, taking in their surroundings and the people happily feasting. "All of them are trained Jedi, and Masters of the Force." His dark eyes then met hers once more, and he gave her a self-deprecating grin, shifting in his seat.

 

"Everyone but me. Guess I'm the Black Lion of the group..."

 

Nida Perl


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#10
Nida Perl

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For Nida’s part, she was rapidly losing confidence simply because what she’d done was so out of character. Not that Thridas would particularly know given that they’d only spent a short amount of time together, but her personality did not lend itself to acts of bravery. Was it improper of her? She hadn’t even considered the possibility of grease on her face until it was too late to turn back, and now he was dabbing at her lips with a rag and displaying a fondness for her skin color.

 

So that…made her pretty much immobile, unsure if she should say something about it or not. Thankfully, Thirdas had quite a bit to say about his siblings which came as a pleasant distraction, for the most part.

 

Nida couldn’t help but smile as he described his family. From the way he spoke, it was clear that Thirdas held his family in high esteem. She didn’t realize she was grinning as widely as she was until the end where Thirdas cast himself as the exception among exceptional siblings. “You speak very highly of your brother and sister.” Her smile fell into a thoughtful expression of concern, brows creased gently. The youngest of three as well, Nida often felt as if she were the odd one out. In contrast to his situation, she was a softer personality overshadowed by her more charismatic siblings.

 

“But why do you say that about yourself? You have good qualities about you, Thirdas.” Munching thoughtfully on the remainder of her bread, Nida wondered if perhaps she was pressing too deeply. “You are…very kind. You took a stranger under your wing when you didn’t have to.” Her cheeks flushed slightly, a deeper shade of plum-red against her skin. “Such kindness is rare in the galaxy.”

 

With no more bread in hand, Nida could do little more than awkwardly twiddle her thumbs. “Um…" Where to go from here? "What are some things you are proud of? About yourself, I mean.” He’d been kind to her, it seemed fit that she’d return the gesture. 

 

Thirdas Heavenshield


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#11
Thirdas Heavenshield

Thirdas Heavenshield

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While Nida spoke Thirdas propped himself up on his elbow, unaware of his being stuck watching her lips move and her big eyes blink every now and then. He found it mesmerizing, in a way he'd never experienced before. Like he could just sit a listen to her for hours. Unlike those old guys lecturing him earlier. "Maybe," he shrugged. "I wouldn't know, haven't seen any of it myself. My mom took me to Corellia the one time for some event or gathering of Corellia natives. It was years ago though; don't remember much of it."

 

Looking around him at the nearby patrons, he observed their happy faces. "All I've ever known is Midvinter. It is my home, it's where I belong. I don't know what it's like on other worlds, but I would hope that if you see someone in need of help, you help them out. Even if all you do is help them back on their feet," he met her gaze with a newfound smile. "Could be it's just my dad talking, but if we can't stand together and help each other out, what's the point of getting up in the morning? What's more important than giving hope to someone, help them see the light?" He felt incredibly silly for saying such things; they were thoughts mostly reserved for his private journal. But he felt he could trust Nida with not telling anyone.

 

"Well," he scratched his chin, thinking. "I kinda have a reputation of getting into trouble. I've been in more fights than I can count - even when just a kid. I guess I'm proud of having never once lost a fist fight, though I've certainly taken a lot of beatings along the way. Benefits of having a father who knows how best to treat bruises and black eyes." Then his gaze lowered to her lap where she kept her hands, twiddling her thumbs. "I like that I helped a stranger when it counted," he placed a hand on hers as their eyes met, black against bright pink.

 

Just then the band changed their tune, and something in him compelled Thirdas to rise from his seat, tightening his hold of her. "Come on," he bid her to join him with a wide grin on his face. "Care for a dance, my lady?"

 

Before she had to really think about her answer he'd already escorted her over to the more crowded area where the band played. Those who did not dance themselves stood stomping their feet and clapping their hands to the lively rythm, while those who did lost themselves in the music and the moment. "Don't be scared," he told her over the loud music, now turned towards her and holding both her hands. "Don't worry about all these people, or about being embarrassed. Just worry about not stepping on my feet," he assured her with a laugh. "Just follow my lead!"

 

Nida Perl

 


Edited by Thirdas Heavenshield, 27 January 2019 - 11:49 AM.

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#12
Nida Perl

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“That’s a very sweet thought.” She couldn’t help but smile back, surprised by the purity of his words. Why was she surprised? Nida didn’t really know, but perhaps she’d pegged him for the rough-around-the-edges type. It wasn’t until he mentioned the fist fights, did she confirm the latter. “So you’re a troublemaker?” There was a light note of humor in her voice, eyes crinkling as her grin grew. “I find that I’m often the designated healer in the family. My brother and sister have always had a tendency to argue, so I learned how to treat little cuts and bruises from a young age.” Nida was both loyal to and desperate for the affection of her siblings. Even though they’d accepted her into their family readily, a part of Nida always felt a little bit of an outsider.

 

She stopped fidgeting the moment he’d placed his hand atop her own, unsure of what to do about this gesture. Were people in Midvinter naturally touchy with strangers? Was this part of their culture? It was on Zeltros, but it was an aspect of her home she’d never gotten used to. A few stunned heartbeats had passed before he’s pulled her to her feet, offering her a dance.

 

“Wh—” Suddenly she was being pulled along! “Wait—no…I don’t, I can’t really…!” Dancing was never her forte, something she’d always been too shy to do. Which was strange considering her mother was a dancer by trade, you think she would have learned by now. “I’m not scared!” She protested, perhaps childishly. The flush at her cheeks didn’t help matters, but she reasoned that it was from the relative warmth of the room.  

 

“I’m just not very…” The words died in her throat as Thirdas urged her not to pay any mind to those around them. Suddenly the lively beat became something that she couldn’t ignore…regardless of her personal hang-ups, festivity was in her blood. This wasn’t like the music played on Zeltros, but the mood was infectious.

 

Nervous as she was, Nida did her best to maneuver along with Thirdas. It wasn’t long before the young Zeltron found herself enjoying the dance more than she’d expected—at least until she somehow managed to step on his foot, lose her balance and faceplant into his chest. 

 

Thirdas Heavenshield


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#13
Thirdas Heavenshield

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He was quick to catch her when she lost her balance, wrapping his arms around her waist to hold her close. When their eyes met, he got lost in hers for just long enough for onlookers to notice before he helped her regain her footing. "Close one, huh," he tried to seem casual about it all, rubbing the back of his neck in awkward fashion. Suddenly the idea of resume dancing with her seem so much more tense, and as he swallowed he found that his throat was completely dry and his palms began to sweat. "Do you, uh... wanna get outta here? Catch some air?" Trying to keep up the facade of seeming uneffected became all but impossible, but even so he mustered enough courage to take her by the hand once more and lead her outside. They'd had their lunch after all, so he figured she would not complain.

 

As they stepped through the doorway however, his mind racing with thoughts made him bump into another lad his age and his entourage. "Watch where you're going, Heavenshield!" Stopping dead in his tracks, any other day Thirdas would not have hesitated to throw the first punch. But the mere presence of Nida had him hesitate, be it that she somehow had a calming effect on him or simply because he did not wish to seem a brute in her eyes. "S-sorry," was all he could muster, making way for the youths to pass, his head held low as if in defeat.

 

"Another arse," he told her once they were out in the open, looking back to catch the last of the entourage cross the treshold and made a crude gesture their way. "Got in a scrap with him years back. Guy can't seem to let go of a grudge, all because he got beat by someone smaller than him."

 

His attention was then turned to Nida once more, and immediately he found it hard to break eye-contact. "I guess cat's out of the bag now, huh," he shrugged, referring to his family name being revealed. "I'm sorry, I should've told you. I don't know why I didn't."

 

Nida Perl


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#14
Nida Perl

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Nida had made some sort of a squeak as Thirdas caught her, pink face immediately blooming to the shade of a tomato. She was quite literally frozen in his arms from a combination of embarrassment, sudden closeness and the look in his dark eyes. She’d never seen eyes that dark, not on a humanoid of fair complexion anyhow. Well aware that he was staring back at her, she couldn’t quite bring herself to break away from the awkwardly intimate moment. Thankfully, he did.

 

“Yes.” Agreeing readily, Nida quickly sorted herself out which included brushing her hair behind her ears then running her fingers through it repeatedly. “Yes, I’d like that.” The cool air would likely do them both some good, but Nida was too caught up in her own mortification to really notice any tension on his end. To her, he’d appeared collected and confident from the moment they’d met.

 

"Watch where you're going, Heavenshield!"

 

Unconsciously, Nida’s hand tightened around Thirdas’ own and her body tensed, prepared to cower or possibly run. Her experience with self-defense had largely amounted to other stepping in on her behalf. Given what he’d told her of his past, the young Zeltron had fully expected the situation to come to blows. ‘Heavenshield….?’

 

The tension remained in her shoulders even as Thirdas ceded to the other young man and they made their way outside. For the moment, Nida was grateful for the chill of the Midvinter wind on her flushed cheeks. “It’s okay,” She breathed, perhaps more for herself than for him. “No one was hurt.” Confrontation was not her forte.

 

Suddenly things were still and quiet again, but it would take Nida a few moments to adjust to the rapid change. “Oh? Oh, that.” Her anxieties had dominated earlier, enough so that the realization didn’t penetrate her thoughts. “You are of the Heavenshield family, then?” The gears in her head were turning, working to make the connection and it was enough to distract her from what had just happened, a smile forming across her pink face. “Do you know Coci Heavenshield? I’ve never met her myself, but she and my mother are friends.”

 

Thirdas Heavenshield


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#15
Thirdas Heavenshield

Thirdas Heavenshield

    The Young Lion

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While withholding his family name to Nida did not seem to affect her disposition to him, Thirdas could not help but feel somewhat ashamed that he had not proudly proclaimed it from the start. He wasn't ashamed, just... for once he didn't want to be the 'little lord'.

 

"I am," he nodded thoughtfully. "Coci Heavenshield is my mother, and Grandmaster of the Dawnguard. My father is Thurion Heavenshield, Lord of Fridheim and Warden of the Westmark." There, all out in the open. From now on, he decided, he would always be truthful with her. She was different from everyone else, which he liked. And she was very different from himself, which he liked even more.

 

Her smile made him offer her a smile of his own, and with a wave of confidence washing over him he positioned himself beside her and held out his arm for her in gentlemanly fashion. For once it felt nice just wandering the temple grounds with no destination in mind. "I was not aware our mothers know each other. Then again she can be a very private person, and to be honest I would've likely not bothered to remember had she told me. She usually only lets her hair down around Dad; they're always very much at ease with one another." Not unlike how he'd come to feel around Nida.

 

A thought had occurred to him as they walked together, one he could not shake once brought up. But anytime he tried to give words to his thought his throat dried up which turned them into a nervous stutter. "H-hey, um... So... You know my brother, Théodred? He, uh, he's actually getting married next week. Everyone will be there, but... well... We're all allowed to bring one other person, if we want to." Their feet slowly came to a stop and he turned to her, suddenly having an incredibly difficult time meeting her gaze. "D-do you... Would you like to accompany me?" His cheeks grew red as he finally popped the question, rubbing the back of his neck again.

 

"It doesn't have to be a date or anything..."

 

Nida Perl


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#16
Nida Perl

Nida Perl

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“Oh, she’s your mother.Nida responded thoughtfully, though her words had taken a back seat to her thoughts. “Wait…your mother is the Grandmaster and your father is a Lord?!” Her eyes went wide as she stared at him, absorbing it all and trying to figure out if it made sense to her. Nida had never really met anyone of noble lineage before, perhaps only in passing at those fancy parties she’d attended with her family. Even then, she was still a child and found those sorts of gatherings intimidating, to the point where she’d just follow her equally unenthused siblings around for the night. Thirdas seemed nothing like those stuffy noblemen and woman. “That’s quite a pedigree.”

 

Her mother had told her stories of the Heavenshields, how brave and steadfast they were, mostly centered around her own time with the Silver Jedi. Joza had eventually pulled away from that corner of the galaxy, focusing her attentions on her business and new family. Suddenly it made more sense, given that Thirdas seemed to match the descriptors her mother had given.

 

No sooner did she digest his family connection did he ask her to accompany him to a wedding. Not just any wedding ceremony, but that of his older brother. Nida felt sorely out of her depth here, and as nervous as she was, she had yet to make an excuse to go back to her room. Brave and lively as Thirdas was, he was observant and careful enough to make her feel more comfortable around him. “I’d…I would. Actually, yes.” She blurted out, fumbling over her words before exhaling audibly o steady herself. “I’d like to, Thirdas. Er, as friends, of course.” It was impossible for her to deny that she wanted to spend more time with him.

 

Her face fell with a sudden thought. “Um…is it acceptable for me to attend, though? I mean, a Lord with…” She paused, making a vague gesture at herself. “Someone…lowborn?” She hadn’t the first clue how the rules of nobility worked here.

 

Thirdas Heavenshield


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#17
Thirdas Heavenshield

Thirdas Heavenshield

    The Young Lion

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Again he fell silent while watching her speak, having found he is a far better listener than speaker himself where Nida was concerned. Her low opinion of herself made the corners of his lips form a slight frown however, and this time he took her firmly by the hand, doing nothing to suppress the tingly sensation he felt whenever they touched. "That's not how things work here," he assured her with a kind smile, walking her over to the boundries of the Fortress surrounded by great stone walls. Leading her up the stairway they stood upon the ramparts and gazed down at the world far below, some of it obscured by mist and low-hanging clouds.

 

"In Valkyri society, everything is determined by your actions. My father was chosen to take up the mantle of lordship because of who he was, not because of what he was. When he dies, it will be up to the people to decide who gets to assume his position; same is true for the Crown. It is your character and your deeds that are taken into account, rather than who your parents were. I think that's how it should be elsewhere too."

 

Thirdas turned to her, again feeling like he's rambling. "So you see, there are no high- or lowborn here. I'm just another guy."

 

He felt confident enough to give her hand a gentle squeeze while leaning against the rampart, and this time he found he'd rather not let her go. "I'm glad... I'm glad we met this day, Nida Perl. I don't usually have an easy time making friends, but... I guess I like you." He didn't realise until soon after how it must've sounded, and immediately his cheeks burned red. But still his hold of her hand remained strong.

 

Nida Perl


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#18
Nida Perl

Nida Perl

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Had it not been for the cold, Nida feared that her hand would have grown clammy in his. Which would have been a shame, because she liked holding hands with Thirdas. His genuinely warm nature had begun to put her at ease, even if she was on her toes about the odd feelings of excitement bubbling in her stomach. She wanted to both stay like this forever and run away to hide her face into her pillow.

 

“I like that.” She spoke after a long pause, smiling out into the distance. The view from higher up was lovely, even if the mist veiled parts of it. It was like a painting. “I’ve always thought that Kings and Queens and the like were chosen only because they were born into the right family. And…I thought that was very unfair.” Her voice reflected that she felt silly saying that, but Nida didn’t try and rescind her thoughts. “My mother always told me that with hard work, I can do anything.”

 

As Thirdas gave her hand a squeeze, Nida felt as if her own heart was being squeezed as well. “I’m glad, too. That we met, Thirdas Heavenshield.” She couldn’t help but give him an easy smile. “Even if you are just another guy.” It was strange for her to hear that Thirdas had a rough time making friends, given how kindly he’d treated her. “I’d like to see more of Midvinter sometime. I-if you have the time! And only if you want to show me…though, I don’t mean to presume that you would want to, I’m sure that you have a lot to do…”

 

Back to the rambling again.

 

Thirdas Heavenshield


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#19
Thirdas Heavenshield

Thirdas Heavenshield

    The Young Lion

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As she smiled so did he, and by so doing released a lot of tension built up within him. "Of course I would," he said as his smile turned into a confident grin, and proceeded to climb the rampart itself to sit on the edge, feet dangling down a drop of a dozen meters. He then brushed away the snow beside where he sat and offered her to join him, extending a hand. "You'll see much better from up here. Don't worry, I won't let you fall." Once she took his hand he would use his Valkyri strength to lift her off her feet, slowly so as to not startle her, and sit her down beside him where he'd prepared her a seat. He figured he'd keep an arm wrapped around her while they sat together - for safety's sake, of course!

 

"Look," he pointed on the landscape far below. "You can just make out Fridheim down there, right at the end of the world before the ocean takes over. That is my home, where I grew up. The lands you see make up the heart of the Westmark." He turned his head 90 degrees and nodded. "Over there somewhere is the Northmark, which is where my older brother lives. He's the one getting married." Again his head turned to face her, suddenly realising how close they were and immediately his confidence wavered. "And, uh... behind us is the capital, Tháinbroek. I believe that's... w-where the wedding will be held, with my uncle leading the... ceremony."

 

He could feel his heart pounding and his mind swimming in thoughts, not really knowing what to do now that his very brief tour came to a screetching halt. "Hey, um... let me know if you're feeling cold, Nida. We can go inside if you want..."

 

Nida Perl


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#20
Nida Perl

Nida Perl

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Even if he hadn’t been holding onto her (to ensure that she didn’t fall, of course), Nida would have scooted closer to Thirdas anyway. Being so high up with a vertical drop made her nervous, but not nervous enough to try and make excuses. Deep down, she wanted Thirdas to like her, and to her that meant being brave.

 

The brief tour proved to be a pleasant distraction, and from up this high she could appreciate the snowfields and mist covered mountains. When Thirdas had turned back to face her, Nida’s gaze was set out beyond him, looking towards the Northmark. Her eyes sparkled, enchanted by the landscape as if it were something out of a story book. So far she’d been accustomed to the urban sprawl of Zeltros, and the humid jungles of Kashyyyk, but never had she seen something quite like Midvinter.

 

“Hm?” Pulled away from her thoughts, Nida was suddenly reminded that they were practically cuddling and a rosy flush tinted her cheeks. “Oh? Oh! No, no, I’m fine. It’s colder than home, but I like it out here!” She needed something to cool her burning face.

 

As much as her stomach was twisting in knots, she liked being out here with him. She glanced down below them, quickly bringing her gaze back to the blonde beside her with a nervous smile. Heights had never her specialty.

 

“Hey, Thirdas…um, this may sound weird but could you….do you think you could teach me how to fight?” The moment the words left her lips, she felt incredibly weird. “I-I’m not very good, but all my life I’ve had my brother and sister around to stick up for me…I want to be brave like them, and to be able to defend myself—argh, forget it, this sounds so silly!” Burying her face in her hands, Nida wondered why she felt the need to spill her emotions like this. “Please forget that I said anything Thirdas, it was selfish of me to ask.”

 

Thirdas Heavenshield


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