Although I was a late bloomer in terms of MMOs, I fell into them hard and fast. Aion was probably my loved and hated one. I'd always wanted to try to RP in a MMO, if only because I felt it added a ton more depth to the game for myself. Aion did not have the imposing lore background of Warcraft or Lord of the Rings Online, so I was quick to delve deep into the RPing world it offered.
I had many characters in Aion, but Taeniel was the one who took center stage. She developed past a your typical "this is my online facade" and into a real, fleshed out character. Below is the first piece I ever wrote for her. I had no idea what it would it end up exploding into.
((OH! Author's note: The story will read as if you know the lore of Aion. Which, uh, you most likely don't. Here is the quick and the dirty. The world of Ateria was split into two halves. The top half were the 'sun-kissed' elyos (hello faction one!). The other the 'fur backed' Asmodians, or Asmo (Faction two, nice to meet you). Taeniel was an Elyos.))
“But I don’t wanna!”
Seven year old Taeniel Lenneth crossed her arms and stared defiantly at her mother.
Mrs. Lenneth’s brow creased and she held up her hands in confusion. “I don’t understand. You’ve been complaining you have no one to play, now you do. Mrs. Bancroft said Kaiden is very excited to meet you!”
“I don’t care!” Taeniel pouted. She paused for a second, then tried a different tactic. “He’s a boy, I don’t like boys!”
Surely, her mother could understand that logic. But instead, Taeniel watched Mrs. Lenneth’s normally kind face grow sharp.
“Listen to me Taeniel Avalynn Lenneth. He is out there waiting for you, and you will go out there and play. Not only that but you will be nice! Do you understand me?”
Taeniel realized her battle was quickly becoming a lost cause. When her mother used her middle name, she meant business. Still, she couldn’t give in yet. Maybe if she waited just a little longer, her mother would finally understand.
“Young lady, I’m waiting!”
Taeniel’s arms dropped to her sides. She looked up gloomily. “Yes ma’am…”
“Good.” The storm cloud cleared from Mrs. Lenneth’s face. “Now scoot, he’s out there.”
Giving Taeniel a soft swat on her bottom, she ushered her outside. As the door closed behind her, Taeniel shot it one last dirty look, then sighed heavily and looked around. So where was this mysterious boy? Her front yard was empty… Had he actually gone home? She felt herself sadly disappointed much to her surprise…
She jumped at the sound. What was that?
“Psst! Hey! Girl!”
Her head snapped towards a row of bushes by the fence. Peering closely, she could just make out a small pair of feet. So, he was here. Great. Her scowl deepened.
“My name isn’t girl. It’s Taeniel.” She replied snootily. Why was he even whispering?
“Keep your voice down, sheesh! Just get in here, Taeniel. I have to show you something.”
Her curiosity getting the better of her, she sank to her knees and crawled into the shrubbery. She was greeted by a thin boy, just a tiny bit taller than herself. His dark brown eyes gazed at her with such open friendliness that she felt herself relax. She continued her staring at him, he had unruly blond hair that fell just about his eyebrows. At the corner of his mouth was an indefinable smudge, but Taeniel had a feeling it came from the candy wrapper next to his feet.
She was about to tell him to pick up his trash, when she noticed he was peering through a hole in their fence. “Whatcha looking for?”
He pointed a small finger. “Just look.”
She pressed her faced against the fence, looking through. She nothing out of the ordinary, just Mr. Mavith tending his crops next door.
“What am I looking for?”
“Is he gone?!” Kaiden’s asked in a panicked tone. He pushed her to the side, his face replacing hers. “He’s right there, are you blind?”
She shrugged. “That’s Mr. Mavith. He’s been our neighbor since I was a baby.”
“He’s an Asmo in disguise. I know it.” Kaiden’s eyes widen as he said the word ‘Asmo.’
“Bad people. Monsters. My father says they want to hurt us. They probably eat kids, I bet.”
A chill ran up her spine, could it be true? But, Mr. Mavith… She was doubtful.
“He’s our neighbor though.” She said again, but this time she wasn’t as sure. “He can’t be an Asmo, or whatever you call them.”
“Yeah, uh. He’s got fur on his back, and his one hand is twisty, just like a claw. Those are signs of an Asmo.” Kaiden said matter-of-factly.
Taeniel was the one pushing him out of the way now. She scrutinized Mr. Mavith, trying to see what Kaiden was talking about. She could just barely make out the curly gray hair that sprung out from the back of his shirt. And his one hand…She gasped. It was all twisty! It reminding her of a dead tree branch.
Falling back on her heels, a hand covered her mouth.
“I’ve got to tell my Papa!” She made a move for the house, but Kaiden grabbed her arm.
“You can’t dummy! Then the Asmo will know we know and bring all the other monsters here! Don’t be stupid! We have no one to protect us!”
Her face burned fiercely at the insult and she tugged her arm out of his grasp.
“My Papa would protect me, but not you! I’d tell him to let them eat you up, you’re the dummy!”
She ran from the bushes, trying not to cry. She was stupid. Stupid for not knowing an Asmo lived next door and stupid for thinking Kaiden might be a real friend.
Sniffling, she sat down on a stone and rested her head in her hands. She couldn’t go back inside, her mother would get mad. She was stuck out here.
A few minutes passed and she felt a light tap on her back. From the shadow that fell over her, she knew it was Kaiden. She wiped her nose with the back of her hand.
“Go away, I hate you.”
He didn’t leave though, instead sat down next to her. Silently, he began plucking blades of grass from the ground. Taeniel felt her anger grow.
“What do you want Kaiden? To make fun of me for crying now?”
“What?” She finally looked at him. She had absolutely no clue what he said, he’d spoke so fast.
He sighed and spoke slower this time. “I said: ‘I’m sorry I said you were a dummy.’”
She shrugged. “I still hate you.”
“Aww…Comeon!” He poked her side. “Who’s gonna help me keep tabs on the Asmo? I was gonna start a club and you were gonna be my second in command.”
She sniffled. “A club? Really?”
He nodded eagerly. “Yea! We will make sure no one else is an Asmo, and spy on all those who are. You know- make sure they aren’t up to being fishy. It will be great!”
“Maybe my papa will let us use the loft in the barn as a meeting house.”
“Yea!” He grinned at her, and she finally smiled back at him. A real genuine smile.
They chattered on, making grandiose plans, and only stopped when Mrs. Bancroft finally came to drag her son home…
Mr. Mavith was not an Asmodian. My mother later told he had been injured his hand as a child, and that’s why it was misfigured. As for his ‘mane’…Well, apparently Mr. Mavith was just a really hairy man. It’s funny thinking back on that day. How much I wanted to hate Kaiden and yet how quickly I grew to like him. I wonder…If I had known then, what would happen now, would I do it all over again?