Now introducing…(drum roll)…Eryn & Gavin!
As I may have mentioned before, (probably more than once, knowing my memory), the four main characters of The Star Trilogy were originally based off of me and my three friends from my sophomore year in high school. I must admit, we were something of an odd bunch. We fought about as much as we goofed off. In many ways, we were more like siblings than friends. Of our group, the two boys fought the most. Actually, it was more like arguing and teasing, and often times the arguing and teasing was so funny that we all ended up laughing in the end.
I don’t think any of them realized how much they meant to me. I had suffered a lot of emotional problems in my earlier years because of my parents’ divorce and what not, and by the time I entered 7th grade, I had withdrawn from practically everyone. I didn’t really have any close friends. My cousin A was there, but we didn’t always get along. I spent a lot of time alone. My desk remained shoved up against the wall and I spoke only when spoken to. I didn’t go outside, not even for recess, unless I was required to go because of PE.
It wasn’t until the end of my freshman year that things began to change. The two guys who inspired the characters of Eryn and Gavin sat at desks near my own. (We attended a small private school, so we didn’t change classrooms). I had grown up with “Gavin” and had known “Eryn” for a few years, but as was generally the case, I rarely spoke to them. Rarely, that is, until one day when I heard them discussing the new Wii video game, Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. If there was one thing I still had in common with the people around me, it was that I loved playing video games.
I had never heard of the Zelda series, but listening to the two guys talk was interesting. Eventually, I got up the courage to ask them if it was alright for me to move my desk over next to theirs. Having never been particularly well-liked by my fellow classmates, I was actually kind of surprised when they said yes.
Their friendship was good for me. I began to change and to heal. My best friend, the one who inspired the character of Rayne, came to our school the following year. I still consider my sophomore year to be the highlight of my life, and I don’t believe I’ve ever cried so hard as I did when that year ended and our group broke apart. (Our school only went to 10th grade).
I don’t know what my friends really thought of me back then, and as for “Eryn” and “Gavin”, we rarely, if ever, talk now. But that still doesn’t change the fact that they have always and will always mean the world to me, and I cherish the memories I made with them.
When reading the following excerpt out loud, my cousin A commented that it sounded just like the two friends the characters are based off of, so if you have been wondering what I’ve been talking about, this is it.
“Eight!” Eryn exclaimed, his honey-brown eyes dancing with delight as he held a thin apple core high in the air. “That makes eight! Beat that Gavin!”
His companion raised an eyebrow at him.
“Why?” he questioned, taking an unhurried bite of the apple that he was eating.
“Come on, Gavin!” Eryn groaned. “You’re so boring! Rayne would have raced me.”
Gavin’s demeanor remained unaffected.
“I prefer to enjoy my food,” he said, taking another slow bite out of the fruit in his hand.
“I enjoy my food,” Eryn argued. “I just like having fun at the same time.”
“Indigestion doesn’t constitute fun in my opinion,” Gavin countered.
His companion sighed with a huff.
“You’re so boring.”
“I believe you’ve said that before.”
There was a momentary silence as Eryn threw his apple core away and climbed up into the tree he was sitting under, searching for another apple to eat.
“Don’t get stuck,” Gavin warned sarcastically, his sharp blue eyes scrutinizing his apple as though thoroughly interested in it. “You know your record with trees.”
“Shut up,” Eryn replied, bracing his feet in some splits in the tree branches.
Gavin glanced up at him nonchalantly.
Eryn glared down at his comrade, rolled his eyes, then continued to climb further up the tree.
Bickering was a daily occurrence for these two. Eryn, a hyper, childish young man of 15, often proved to be the perfect sort of person to pick on, at least in the mind of Gavin, who was only a year older. Despite their constant quarrelling, however, the two were still close as brothers. Having only been 5 and 6 years old when they first came to live with Aunt Effie in her giant oak tree home, the two boys had few memories of life outside the valley, and it seemed only natural to Gavin that if he was there, so was Eryn.
“By the way,” Eryn said as he stretched for an apple the size of a large man’s fist, “where did Lorcan and Adaliz go off to?”
“I don’t know,” Gavin shrugged. “I’m sure they’ll check on us later. And if nothing else, we can always walk back.”
“Walk?” the younger boy turned to look at his companion, a horrified expression on his face. “We’re like…5 miles away from home!”
“Horror of horrors,” Gavin replied sarcastically. “Last time I checked, you can still walk.”
“But that’s so much work,” Eryn protested.
As though on cue, a pair of enormous shadows flickered over the two young men. The rush of large wings caused the trees around them to flutter as though in a brisk gale. A moment later, two great beasts landed in the clearing nearby.
“Well, princess, your ride has arrived,” Gavin grunted, standing to his feet. “I wonder if Rayne has finished making breakfast. Oh, wait. You’ve already had breakfast.”
“No I haven’t,” Eryn argued. “That was just me warming up.”
With that he rushed over to one of the two beasts, a tawny griffon named Lorcan. Quickly the young man swung himself up onto the creature’s back, shouting, “Alright! Let’s go!”
The griffon tipped his head to look at his rider.
“Why are you in such a hurry?” he inquired.
“Because he’s afraid Rayne will eat all his food,” Gavin snorted, mounting the second beast, an emerald green dragon named Adaliz.
“No I’m not,” Eryn replied. “It’s because I’m going to beat you back home.”
“Again with the beating,” Gavin muttered.
“That sounds violent,” Lorcan said. “And don’t you think that he would be more likely to beat you back? He is stronger.”
“Hey, that’s not fair!” Eryn protested. “Even my own griffon is underestimating my power,” he flexed his muscles for show. “And anyway, I wasn’t talking about fighting. I mean I’m going to race Gavin back and I am going to win.”
“You or Lorcan?” Gavin questioned. “And as I distinctly recall, Adaliz and I win every time. There’s no way you can beat us.”
“Is that so?” Lorcan snorted, pawing the ground. “Alright, Adaliz, challenge accepted.”
“How exactly did I get involved in this?” the dragon replied, turning to look at the griffon.
Before she could get an answer, however, Lorcan bounded into the sky as Eryn shouted, “Last one there gets clean-up duty!”
“Go, Adaliz!” Gavin commanded, hunkering down so as not to fall off.
In the blink of an eye the dragon and her rider sailed skyward, Adaliz’s large, leathery wings propelling her at a quick clip through the air.
Wind whipped Eryn’s semi-long, brown hair back and forth out of his eyes as he bent low over his mount’s neck. Gavin’s short, light brown hair, however, was hardly even stirred by the brisk gale.
“Give up, Adaliz!” Lorcan called from the front. “You know I’m going to win!”
“You’ve said that before,” Adaliz responded, a powerful wing thrust propelling her up alongside the griffon. “And in any case, I’m only doing this for Gavin.”
Gavin watched as Lorcan moved ahead of them, then bent low over Adaliz’s neck and shouted, “Give it everything you have! I won’t get clean-up duty if I can help it!”
The young man tensed as he felt the dragon’s muscles surge beneath her emerald scales. The wind stung his eyes and he squinted, peering into the horizon and to the familiar, towering branches far beyond.
He and Eryn must have done a hundred of these races over the past few years. Granted, Eryn was a much better rider, though Gavin would never admit to it. Eryn had grown up with Lorcan, who had only been the size of a large dog when Eryn had been brought to live there in the valley.
Gavin remembered it, that time long ago, because it had been the first time he had ever met Eryn. Since Aunt Effie had been his mother’s nurse, Gavin naturally was taken to live with her after losing his parents. Razi had come next with her winged unicorn colt, Davin. Then there was Eryn, accompanied by the ugliest creature Gavin had ever seen. Apparently, Lorcan had been a gift from Eryn’s father, Lance, shortly before his death, though Gavin was never certain as to how Lance had come upon a young griffon. Rayne had been the last to come to the valley, but even she received a creature companion, the elvish wolf Kadin, not long after. But Gavin…he hadn’t had a creature companion. Not until Adaliz.
Gavin had been about 13 when he found her, a young she-dragon living in one of the many caves that dotted the valleys of Ardenia. She was young as far as dragons go, perhaps a couple hundred years old. Not as if Gavin knew much about dragons, though. They had been nothing more than stories to him, creatures of myth and legend. But Adaliz and Gavin had become fast friends after their first meeting. He would know her anywhere, and it wasn’t just because she was possibly the only dragon in Ardenia. Adaliz had a special birthmark, an ivory design on her right shoulder that looked similar to an elvish rune, though even the elves did not know what it meant. Whatever it meant, though, Adaliz was a loyal companion, one who had been there for Gavin through many tight spots, not the least of which boasts to Eryn that he then had to back up.
All of a sudden the high-pitched call of a horn echoed above the roar of the wind.
“You hear that?!” Eryn exclaimed, looking over his shoulder toward Gavin. “Food!”