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((Mo's Character Development story prompts got me thinking a bit about the more off-screen moments in Arialynn's life and one of her habits that few know about: she likes Gilnean brandy. A handful of Templars know this and have even given a bottle as a gift. Here are some of the reasons she likes it. It's also inspired me to try a little something that I've wanted to do for a long while, but no spoilers.))

 

The brandy coated the ice like a thin syrup as it spilled into the glass. Left alone, it slowly chilled and the ice wilted, till finally Arialynn took up the glass and held it idly aloft, slowing rotating it in the clasp of her fingers. In her other hand was a pen, its end stained in ink along with her fingertips. Her eyes never leaving the parchment, she tipped the glass enough to allow one sip, then it returned to its pensive perch, rotating again in a slow dance.

 

The taste of the brandy brought about memories. It stained her tongue and filled her nostrils, bringing images of fireplaces and cloudy days to mind. The clinking of ice cubes was reminiscent of the constant rain that accompanied each of her memories. The brandy was a cacophony of raindrops, the crackling wood of the fire, the low baritone of a familiar voice — all contained within one bitter sip and woody aftertaste.

 

Gilnean brandy always left Arialynn as close to melancholy as she dared before drive and duty shoved aside such thoughts and replaced them with a litany of tasks that demanded to be done. The thoughts the brandy invited but duty denied was an endless skirmish, and one that was guaranteed every time she paused for a quiet drink alone.

 

A knock on the door interrupted the latest exchange of inner fire. Rising to the door, the lady knight came across a courier. With a curt nod and exchange of coin, the courier abruptly left after parting with his delivery. A letter, short and sweet. Its words barely long enough to distract Arialynn for but a moment, she set the letter aside, its corners aligning along with the square edges of the table. In the distorting frame of the glass she left behind, Arialynn could be seen standing for long moments, staring at the contents of that letter. No word was spoken aloud to relate what was on her mind. Finally, she sorted the letter into a more proper waiting place on her desk, then returned to her writing.

 

Another sip, another memory, another tinkling of ice against glass, another word penned on paper. In only her mind's ear and eye, there was rain, a fireplace, and a voice that told of stories in a tone of endearment and love that parents saved only for a child's bedtime.

Author Ari
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