|Portrayed by||Donald Glover|
|Occupation||Asha'man of the Green Ajah|
|Affiliation||The Grey Tower|
|Affinities||Spirit, Fire, Air, Water, Earth|
Hands callused from years of training with the sword, back straight from hours upon hours of drilling in formation, and an air of command bred from leading men on the battlefield, Alric stands out as a military man among any group of civilians. He carries himself like an officer, but was promoted from within the rank and file. Even after two years of civilian life, this hasn’t changed. Under the tough outer shell of a career soldier lays the heart of a scholar. Alric loves to pull apart concepts and spend hours on end researching. This scholarly bent shows itself in his leadership style. He was always a fan of the phrase, “Work smarter, not harder,” and it shows. Alric is neither the biggest, nor strongest man around, so he has learned to rely on his intellect to win his battles. He believes in understanding his opponents as well as understanding his own strengths and weaknesses.
Broad at the shoulders and whips, Alric’s build is just too lanky to be considered stocky. His dark skin and thick hair that marks him as a foreigner, even in his native Mayene, and his authoritative posture cause him to stand out against most crowds. Even when he’s not trying to. He keeps his cloths as neat and well pressed as the situation allows and treats even his most patched old coat with the same care he would a uniform. Notably, his boots are painstakingly shined, the same way he was taught as a recruit. Having served in Cairhien’s armies since he was drafted in his late teens, Alric is still coming to terms with civilian life. The lack of direction and purpose weighs on him.
“Hey, Captain!” the burly man called from his booth.
It was afternoon in the small village and Alric had no trouble finding his old comrade in the quiet common room. He sat down across from the man. While he would have rather faced the door, he would always trust Havar Demoux to watch his back. “It’s good to see you, Havar, seems like time away from the Army is doing you well.” The older Cairhienen looked healthy as ever, his arms didn’t seem to have lost any of the muscle he’d gained carrying a pike.
“Life’s good as a merchant’s guard,” he said flagging down the pretty serving girl. “You should try it, Captain. They’d probably let you run security for the entire caravan.”
“You don’t have to call me that anymore, Havar,” he didn’t feel much like a retired infantry officer. These days he just felt tired. Tired and hungry. “Just call me Alric. Anyway, I can’t leave, I’ve got the carpentry shop.”
“Ok, Alric,” he didn’t seem happy with his former captain’s decision, “Your shop can’t be that busy. You’re here aren’t you?”
“Well you sent a letter asking to meet at this time.” Havar was right through, he had barely seen a customer in over a month. The locals didn’t trust him because he was an outlander. If they needed wood work done, they went to the next village, unless it was an emergency. Even then they never wanted to pay him a fair price. Instead the villagers would go to the mayor and accuse him of trying to cheat them. He could feel his heart pounding and muscles tensing. The concerned look on Havar’s face proved his face was slowly contorting into an angry grimace.
The tension was broken by the arrival of serving girl, Keri. She leaned over the table taking their order, giving them a glimpse down her loose blouse in the process. Havar ordered a pitcher of a local lager for the table and at Alric's suggestion a basket of the inn’s deep fried potatoes covered in a beer cheese sauce. As Keri left to deliver their orders to the kitchen, Havar watched her leave with a pleased expression. “Now, if the beer tastes anywhere nears as good as she looks, we should be golden. You should go talk to her.”
Alric grunted, “I’ve lived here for nearly two years, don’t you think I’ve tried.” He leaned back in his seat watching Keri talk to the inn keeper, “They don’t really like foreigners around here. I should have taken my severance and gone back to Mayene.”
“It’s not fair, you came here to Cairhien and fought the Tearens for us. These people should show you a little respect. Why did you stay anyway?”
“Damodred’s Army conscripted me. I was a scholar’s apprentice. I wasn’t even supposed to be a part of that pike company. What was I supposed to go back to Mayene and look for another apprentice ship? Eight years later? It wasn’t like I could just go back to my old master.” I he didn’t have to tell more of the story, Havar had been his squad’s sergeant in those early days. Back when Alric and his master had both been forcibly conscripted foreigners. His master Javier had been struck down with a cross bow bolt when Alric was just learning how to march without dropping his pike. Before, even, he first discovered his knack for warfare.
Keri returned with a pitcher and a pair of pewter mugs. She poured them with a smile for Havar. Alric took a sip of his beer. It was patently average. He missed marching all over Cairhien and Tear and the different beers he’d had. “Do you remember that Illianer Sour we had?” he asked reminiscing about better days.
“Ha, of course I do, and I know how to get you more.” Havar craned around looking for Keri with their potatoes.
“What, are you going to sell me a cask?” Alric replied skeptically. His stomach was also grumbling. They should have gotten real food.
“No, I want you to sign on with our caravan. You’ve still got that heron mark right?”
Alric took a long pull on his beer, Why did he insist on bringing that up? “Does it matter? I didn’t deserve it when the company gave it to me, and I don’t now.” In truth he had only taken the sword to get his men to stop bugging him. It had been good for moral, even if it wasn’t much for his sanity. He had opted not to tell Havar that he still practiced the sword every morning before he opened his shop in hopes of one day feeling like he deserved the blade he’d been given.
Keri returned with a steaming basket of fried potatoes. The beer cheese sauce was is a bowl to the side. Havar happily began to dig in. Keir lingered, the talk of heron marked blades peaking her curiosity.
“What do you mean you don’t deserve it? You killed that blademaster. He was hacking us apart. You kill a blademaster you are one.”
“It has to be single combat, he was already wounded, and that was before Orvil stabbed him in the leg. He would have still killed me if somebody hadn’t backed into him at the wrong time. I didn’t beat him in a duel or something, I executed him after he was knocked off balance.” The smell of the potatoes finally got through to him, he took one dipping it in the cheese. They were quite good as always. The beer tasted much better with the potatoes on his palate.
“Boy, I’ve seen you kill men in worse situations. He’s dead, you’re alive. You deserve the sword.”
“Boy? Not captain anymore? Am I a recruit again Sergeant Demoux?”
“You’re acting like a boy. You need to figure out where you belong,” Havar said, gesturing with his mug.
“And where would you say that is?” He was growing annoyed with his old friend. He looked away, studying some graffiti on the table, Coldwin has a tiny member. Couldn’t he see? He’d made a new life for himself. He was going to do his best, just like he had in the Army, just like he had as a scholar.
Havar barked a laugh and leaned in with his elbows on the table and a glint in his eye, “You should be back on the road, a good company at your back. Go carousing with the men in a big city tavern, not drinking your sorrows in a tiny town that hates you. You Alric Aurella, belong with soldiers.” He poured them more beer and lifted his for a toast, “Captain.”
Alric hesitantly raised his own mug. There was a Mayener superstition that said to not toast to anything you didn’t agree with. However, he did miss being the Captain. It wasn’t the trappings of rank, it was the respect and trust his men had in him. It was the discipline, the drive to make himself and his company the best. He could feel a warmth in his chest, a fire he had thought long dead. “What did you have in mind?” he clinked his mug against Havars, “Sergeant”
“Like I said, join our caravan. I already talked to the master merchant and Villese thinks you’ll do fine. The captain of his guards is looking for a second as well. It’s a good place to start.”
“How long of a contract?” Alric was leery of signing his life away again. He would have enjoyed his time in the Army so much more if he hadn’t been coerced into it.
“One trip, Alric. You just sign up again at the end of every major trip.”
“Where are we headed?” The prospect of a renewed purpose invigorated him. New lands and new people had always called to him.
“To Hama Valon, in the Mountains of Mists. It’s where the Grey Tower is.”
“To Hama Valon,” Alric said with a confident smile. They clinked mugs. The men sat up late into the night making plans and catching up over unspectacular beer. Despite the drinks, Alric held his back straighter than he had in over a year.
- Soldier (30 July 2016)
- Dedicated (23 November 2016)
- Asha'man of the Green Ajah (4 July 2017)