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Jenni's Journal - Chapter 11


Day 73:

As I had suspected, Valaer had a day all planned out for me. She woke me early, insisting that I go out and catch our breakfast. When I asked by what means she expected me to do this - not having any of my old hunting supplies with me as they were all stowed away safely back in Solitude - she smiled, handing me a bow. I admired the elegant curvature and noted that it was of a wood I was unfamiliar with. I also noticed it bore the same emblem as my cloak and she confirmed that this was a traditional bow of our people; or to be precise, it was hers. Given the implied amount of use it had seen over countless years it was in remarkably pristine condition - the string still clean and taught while the arm still glistened like it was freshly varnished. What is more however; she said it was her gift to me - as one raised by Bosmer she figured I was than adept in the use of a bow, and she was not mistaken.

Early as it was, the jungle was already light and I had to rely on my base instincts to track and secure some of the local game - a task made ever more difficult by my unfamiliarity with this environment, as I very nearly drew my bow on a Pahmar mistaking it for a Sabre Cat! Fortunately it's cunning in this environment far surpassed my own and it turned to me as I attempted to gain a suitable vantage point (thinking I was also helping protect the Den from this large predator!), and he asked my politely not to shoot him as it would hinder his ability to guard the Den!

After apologizing profusely to the Pahmar, I continued down the waterway and eventually found a rivercrab which I knew would make for a suitable meal between two of us. Returning to Valaer I could see she was already aware of my err regarding the Pahmar, and I felt my cheeks flush deeply with shame. 'You still have a great deal to learn, little Baelai' she said, insisting on using my Masmeri name.


Following a belated breakfast, she took me out onto the precarious walkways strung between the higher trees of the - crisscrossing over the waterways below - and asked me to demonstrate the legendary Bosmer archery skill. All too happy to oblige, I took aim at one of her targets and fired, striking true. I turned to her with a proud smile, though fading quickly as she stood with that same unimpressed 'arms folded' stern look about her. When I asked what was wrong she told me to take aim again, 'You're form is lazy!' she snapped! 'This is no hammer or mace - not a blunt weapon' she continued. As I knocked another arrow she held up a hand to pause my action. I felt her hand pat my stomach while the other pulled on my shoulder 'You have a true aim Baelai, but do not harness the power of yourself. This weapon is as powerful as it is elegant; just like you are. Do not be lazy in how you use it; respect it, honour it. Feel it's form in your grasp and let it be an extension of yourself'.

I breathed deeply; I had not been instructed in such simple action as the use of a bow since i was a child! But here I was again after all my hard work, being taught how to do one of the most basic things I had always known... like a child! She leaned across me and traced a finger down the metallic inside of the arm, "You know what this says" she asked me. Well no, she didn't really ask... more she stated it like a fact. I nodded of course and read the inscription, "Hold a true heart, and your aim will follow". 'Exactly' she responded, it reminds us to maintain this connection at our base level and NOT to wield this like a blunt instrument!'


Closing my eyes, I remember focusing heavily on my breathing; hearing the words of that inscription in my mind. After a moment, I opened them and knocked the arrow even further back than last time before I released. It almost hummed through the air - it's spiraled white tip even appearing to glow faintly - before it struck the target alongside the first arrow. This one however buried itself halfway up the shaft! Valaer smiled and held a hand on my shoulders, 'See little one; a Masmer's strength does not come from her limbs, but her heart and her soul. You must learn to harness this strength within yourself'. I asked her to tell me more about our people, but she insisted I spend the day practicing first; promising that we would talk of the evening.

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