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Book Three Pt 1 - The Reckoning

Written by - Ariana Page 13 Book 3

Mavigan stood silently for several moments, her body tense, her eyes shielded by her hair. She knew exactly why she was angry, but she wasn’t about to provide him with answers. His guesses were way off base, and the notion that someone so perceptive had not a single clue amused her greatly. Obviously, anger was not serving her purpose, and it made her feel strange. Deciding to let it go for now, she allowed her amusement to shove the anger back inside the hole in her heart where it lived, allowing her body to begin to relax. Her grip on her daggers slowly slackened and the color soon returned to her knuckles. Her shoulders straightened, her head came up and she looked him in the eye and gave him a knowing smirk.

“You bastard,” she said lightly. “You did that on purpose!” she said with a light chuckle. “If you had wanted a fight, all you had to do was ask.”

She got into an offensive stance and flashed him a cheeky grin. “Let’s try this again,” she said, “because I know I am not that #@*$ing slow!” With that declaration, she launched herself at him once again.

Written by - Teran

"I hate the cold." Sabbatine responded softly "I bet you won't end up like this, I bet Teran will get you a cure."

Sabbatine almost looked jealous, but then she started smiling at her new friend Jasmine.

"I hope he does get you a cure." She repeated, crouching even more closely to the fire as she did "Huxel does too."

****

"If I had asked would you have learned anything?" The assassin offered a thin smile to Mavigan as she attacked again.

He offered her suggestions during the sparring and complimented certain aspects of her technique. They will go at it for nearly an hour before taking a break.

Once they were finished Teran sat down against a tree appearing pretty relaxed.

"You did much better after you regained control." he said softly "If you can keep control you may become a true master of this craft... but we will have to see if you are truly capable of that."

He smiled knowingly at her.

Written by - Sycon

"It’s a paying back of sorts, no?" Sycon's mind started shifting back into himself. Logical and keen...

“I’m getting tired of teaching you.” Certain aspects were sticking out like a sore thumb in Ardwen's speech. Nothing wrong, still the gramatical elf as he had ever been, but the phrasing.

The pressure in Sycon's chest, energy pent up it seemed died down into nothingness. It left a gap inside him that felt like the strangest feeling he had ever had. It was between half tickling and half epiphany.

No matter how much Ardwen wanted to deny himself... no matter how much it seemed Ardwen was stuck in his own rage or meaninglessness of life. He was still, as humans would put it... well, human.

If Ardwen had noticed it or not, he was picking up the tongue of the humans. Speaking with redundancy in places, almost reassuring his sentences as all humans did. Arrogant as he still was, Sycon could do nothing but back away and give in to laughter. It started as a small chuckle, then rapidly escalated to a roaring laugh. Still holding onto his long blade with one hand, he stepped back several times, almost falling over from this feeling. He laughed so hard he almost fell over.

Between his small fits he managed, "Alright... alright. We'll go. Damn Ardwen, you had me worried for a minute. Ya old elf, good to see ya back Ardy," and at those words, his memories rushed back to him of the old days making the laughter spread through him like lightning once again.

Written by - Lucant Dolvan

As soon as it was safe, Larseno settled himself into the cart beside Jonan, who was busy scarfing down food and water that had been hidden among the straw in the bottom of the cart. "Now," Larseno said, his voice filled with purpose, "Do you want to tell me how the hell you ended up in this mess?"

Jonan stuffed a stale hunk of bread into his mouth - he hadn't eaten in days - and looked over at Larseno. "Awww, how sweet. You been worried about me Lar?" "If only she was worried about me, too..." he mused quietly to himself. A bit disgruntled by Jonan's non-chalance, Larseno rebuked him: "Harrumphf! Not in the least! The ONLY reason I broke you out is because of the "information" you claim to have. "Ah! The information I do have, old man," he quickly corrected him, "and I will tell it to you... eventually...." Jonan finished the hunk of bread he had been chewing on as Larseno brushed the crumbs Jonan and inadvertantly spit on him from his tunic. "Well, get on with it then, before I throw you back in." "Heh heh... keep your clothes on old man... for all our sakes."

Jonan layed down in the cart and gazed up at the dark cloudy sky. "It all started about a week ago. There I was just sitting in the Scarlet Raven - minding my own business, mind you - when this little weaselly looking fella comes up to me. "You look like a man of discression," he says to me. 'I can be, if the situation calls for it,' I told him. He had this long, pitch black hood covering his face, so I couldn't see him... but I know he had this wicked little smile on his lips when he slid me that piece of parchment across the table..." Jonan's voice began to trail off, heavy with regret.

"What did it say," Larseno pryed. "Easy now Lar. I told you I'd tell you everything... in time." Jonan picked up another hunk of bread and began to stuff his face again as Larseno began to ponder the merits of his decision to free Jonan.

Written by - Lucant Dolvan

"What the hell do you want with her? Can't you see she's helpless," Leov yelled in desperation. "Stop being such an idiot and think for a moment" Garth yelled back at him: "She tried to kill our commander! She's a traitor to this army and her people! She deserves a fate far worse than death!"

Leov spit some of the blood collecting in his mouth out onto the floor. "How do you know it was her? She can't even keep her eyes open let alone kill anyone now... and your precious commander, how do you think he's gonna feel if you kill her before he does?" With a laugh, Garth replied to him, "We were there fool! We saw her! We saw what she became, what she did!"

Leov saw his chance, and moved for it: "Did it ever occur to you drunken swines that he would want to question her? Or what he would do to you after you string her up?" "And why should Lord Ithramir have to dirty his hands with traitor's blood," Garth shot back at him.

Leov gave a slight laugh: "Because he is the COMMANDER idiot! That is what he does! Damn you bastards! I know what its like to see the people you care about get hurt and killed..but he didn't die, now did he? You're the lucky ones...you're the ones that surived." He paused for a moment to collect himself, "So go ahead and kill her..but what will that get you? And what will that get your darling commander? NOTHING! If she knows anything, ANYTHING about any more demons...you better be damn sure he wants to know about it. But go ahead..take away his information, I'm sure sure he'll commend you and give every one of you promotions ..to this very same CELL!" He looked around at the entire crowd gathering around them. "Go home...sleep off your damn hangovers..be real heros and let the girl suffer her fate at Ithramir's hands."

Garth stepped towards him quickly, still clenching his jaw, "And just why the hell should we follow your orders? Who are you to us? Last I checked, you was out numbered, out armed, and out classed.

Leov said in a grave voice "I aint giving you no damn orders, just a little friendly advice. Don't listen to me, see if I care, but I bet your families will when you're locked up for what you've done. Aren't you supposed to be better than the enemy? But smart men like you would know that if you were blasted off your asses drunk. I'm sure you'd all be hailed as heroes for killing an unconscious woman. So kill her and go brag about it...see how that gets your reputations up." He looked around at everyone once more and said to Garth: "You outnumber me sure...but the gods know what goes on here, and she will make sure if you kill this elf, not one will forget the cowards you became on a day of such victory."

"He's right," someone yelled from the back, "taking a life in battle has meaning, but this is just murder." "Here here," another yelled, "we're Elves, not barbarians! She will get her just reward in time. Let her suffer until then!" Garth looked back in dismay as his support began to leave him one by one.

Written by - Ardwen

Ardwen was at a loss for words. Sycon had stopped attacking and had begun . . . laughing. Not a bitter, sardonic laugh like Ardwen might have expected, but honest laughter of mirth and relief. Ardwen let his blades dip and merely stared, one eyebrow raised in mild bewilderment.

"Alright... alright. We'll go. Damn Ardwen, you had me worried for a minute. Ya old elf, good to see ya back Ardy," Sycon choked out between fits of laughter.

"I'm . . . glad to see you've . . . come . . . to . . ." Ardwen started with long uncertain pauses between each word, "You know what? To hell with it - I don't get it. What is so gods' damn funny?"

Ardwen let out a muffled sigh and tossed a satchel at Sycon's feet, "That has a map to get us to Westgale and a compass in it. And here you thought I had rushed off with no thought. Moving onward, our primary objective is to secure the Abbess and secret her out of the city unharmed. Our secondary objective is to ensure that we ourselves do not die in accomplishing objective one. And finally, our third objective is to accomplish objective one and two whilst burning the city to the ground. Any questions?"

Ardwen took a few steps back on his path before stopping and adding, "Oh, yes, there is the matter of food and water I suppose. I guess you've noticed that we really don't have any. Just leave that to me. However, keep in mind that it's not cannibalism for me to eat a human. Also, it's technically not for you either if at the time of consumption you didn't know it was human, so whatever you do: don't ask what the meat is and we'll be fine on supplies."

Ardwen smiled a little with satisfaction, he had handled the whole situation like a pro. Sycon was on his side, he had a more accurate guide to Westgale, and the quandary of rations was now solved - all in all a brilliant outcome.

Written by - Sycon

Sycon almost choked on his own laughter. Cannabalism...

OI!

"Perhaps you had better let me worry about the food, Ardwen?" That way, we can at leasst have a filling meal... and it isn't... uhh... yeah.

Sycon stood to his full height and once again replaces the long sword on his back. He stepped forward toward Ardwen and stook out his hand in a age old gesture of faith. Bowing his head at the same time and saying, "I'm with you brother in arms." Sycon waited for the gesture to be returned.

Written by - Pharsalus

The Ancient One pushed on with the rest of the party through through the howling, swirling dark. The road on which they traveled had long disappeared beneath a skin of white that went on ahead of them uninterrupted as far as mortal eyes could see. Each of the men's faces was hidden deep within the shadow of fur-lined cloaks releasing as they walked small puffs of steam from invisible lips. The liche's eyes glowed dimly as he drudged through the knee-deep mix. While the others no doubt, save perhaps the Elf, could see no farther than the end of their frost-bitten noses, Geirik could see all, hear all, feel all. The shadows and he shared a connection that mortal men could never understand. A lifetime of magical research and the sacrifice of his own mortal frame, proceded by a thousand years of "practice" had earned him the right to move through shadow as one of them. They were his eyes, ears, and fingers. And here, in this lightless cold, he could see everything, hear everything, know everything. Even thoughts would pass his ears every now and again - a woman mourning her missing husband, an at-a-glance tabulation of a man's coinpurse by the local thief, a desire to taste power undigestable by an Elf in his present [mortal] form. They passed through his mind like the wind through the snow-bent trees.

He stopped. Something stirred in front of them. Geirik stood perfectly straight against the gale of wind and frost, nigh impervious to their chill, arms folded across his chest. From the "light" of the shadows ahead of him, Geirik saw clearing a slouching form shuffling through the snow. A taste tickled the back of his tongue - metallic and wet and warm.

Death he thought almost jokingly to himself. He smirked.

The figure continued pushing through the snow, slightly hunched, arms dangling loosely in front of him. He was clothed only in a tattered shirt and trousers. The man was dead. Geirik's eyes pulsed a brighter white as his beloved shadows whispered their information into his ears. This was an unusual place for the walking dead. But, the Liche admitted to himself, there always was something magical about this storm. Dark powers were at work here - they had been since they'd arrived at the first town now a distant spec in the tempestuous black behind them.

The walking dead stopped a dozen or so paces in front of the haulted party, staring at them with dark, hollow eyes. No steam came from his lips, no life to his cheeks, no sound from his throat. The fallen soul focused his gaze, an almost tangible stare, at each of the men. One by one, each man was left for the next...

Until they fell upon Geirik. The Liche smirked as he felt a shift in the apparition now focusing its beams into the thick of his chest. A distant force drove this husk of a man forward, and now the Liche believed it had found what it had struck out into the cold to find.

Him.

The Liche forced a smirk upon the face of his host as the form in the dark burst into an open sprint towards the group. He knew for whom it sought quandry. He knew its intended target, and he welcomed it. The corpse moaned pitifully as it engaged Geirik.

The dead man flung himself, hands bent in the shape of claws, swinging wildly at its target. SNow flew as its hands swiped air, sending it off-balance into a bank of snow. The men around Geirik simply watched. Geirik now stood opposite - and behind - his assailant. He had not moved. He was simply there, the snow around him completely undisturbed. He shouted into the whistling night, "Who is your master, oh string'ed one" He chuckled and turned his voice into the air. "Who drives this soul to attack one such as me! To claim me!"

The corpse had stood and steadied himself and turned his yellow, empty eyes around to Geirik. He advanced again, flailing wildy and grunting like the beast he now was. Again, his claws swiped only snow and shadow as Geirik's form faded and reappeared back in his original space. Who would send such a lowly thing against him? A sign, perhaps? A show that his presence is known by whoever controls this dead thing before him? The corpse stood again and turned, this time lowering his hands. Geirik's face remained stinted into a cold scowl.

"You want my attention - so you have it! Who has sent you, low one? Who would send so worthless a creature against me?"

The corpse stood silently, pitifully, for a moment before his mouth opened. It did not move as words shattered the windy whine of the storm.

"You are observant, as always, Ancient One. I am sorry I could not send more worthy a foe, but my orders were strict: you are not to be harmed."

Geirik's scowel melted. He laughed, as he had not laughed in a thousand years.

"Harmed? You think so low a sorceror as you could harm me? How little you know!" Geirik continued chuckling as the voice behind the corpse continued.

"I know more than even you understand, Tal'Aidon Korresh."

Geirik fell silent, eyes burning with a dim fury he'd not felt in many lifetimes of Men. They knew his name.

"Yes," the shrill voice continued. "I know even your name - the name of the famous Tal'Aidon Korresh, Master Wizard..."

"...Betrayer."

Geirik's face curled into a snarl.

"You tamper with powers you cannot understand, Nameless One. You have my attention - SPEAK"

"All in due time, Ancient One. We will meet...soon enough. But first, a test..."

The yellow glow of the corpse's eyes flickered, dimmed, and died. It fell forward into the snow, lifeless. Geirik's eyes burned as he turned them into the dark ahead of them. The shadow of night warped and wove to his command, stretch farther and wider and faster. His eyes widened as all around him he sensed Death's minions rise from the snow, eyes burning amber. Geirik called into the wind to his party, "If you three are to survive, we must push forward now! Arm yourselves, and don't allow them to touch you."

Geirik struck out into the driving winds, hoping his compatriots had the sense to follow. He cared nothing for their safety; however, if the Sorcerer that now drives the dead against them knows his name, then there are far greater - older - powers at work. He would need the extra help, should conflict with this power arise. The hairs on his neck stood on end. There was a power now, more evident than before, spiraling through the air with the bits of snow and ice. SNow crunched hurriedly beneath his feet.

His hand and eyes flashed in the dark. A corpse lay cleft in two as he pusehed forever forward. He felt weaker, as if he left in every footprint a bit of his power behind.

We must get out of this storm.

Within the back of his mind, the thoughts of a mortal stirred and struggled. The man wanted control of his body. Now was not the time, and Tal'Aidon would have nothing of it.

Written by - Ariana

When Teran gave her a break, she plopped down onto the ground with a sigh. He was a hard taskmaster, and although she didn’t achieve very many hits, she was pleased to note she had at least mussed his hair. Pleased with her small victory, she leaned back against a tree and sighed with contentment. Her cheeks were flushed from exertion, and although her arms felt like lead sinkers and muscles in her legs she had not used in ages were starting to complain, she felt calm and still. It was the closest thing to actual peace she had felt in ages, and she flashed him a small, contented smile.

And then he had to open his mouth.

“Hmpf,” she responded, her smile evaporating in an instant to be replaced by her customary scowl. “If my arms didn’t feel so heavy, I’d give you the rude gesture you deserve, jackass.” The statement lacked some of its regular heat. She settled herself back against the tree and closed her eyes, "Consider yourself insulted."

Written by - Tempyst

Tempyst opened her eyes, her head still spinning with love and excitement. She looked at Lucant, who stirred slightly. I am a lucky woman and I could stay here like this for the rest of our lives. She watched Lucant a bit more, then felt her stomach rumble and realized, she could not remember the last time she had eaten. “Oh, right, we have food!” She exclaimed and rushed over to the table.

“Did you say something?” She heard Lucant mumble. She turned, cheese in hand, and saw her husband setting up in bed.

“Yes, I was proclaiming how wonderful this food tastes.” She quickly put some more food upon a plate, then moved back over to the bed and sat beside her husband. The two of them ate, neither one really speaking much, the silence awkward between them. Finally, Tempyst could bear it no longer. “I love you Lucant. I..I think we need to talk some. A lot has happened to us these last days.”

Lucant felt his heart skip a beat; he was never one for talking much. “I...okay, if you want to.”

Tempyst took a deep breath, tears welling up in her blue eyes. “I do. First, I, I want you to know, I saw our daughter while I was in the elder sleep. I saw her and spoke to her...she wanted me to tell you, that she loves you.” She took Lucant’s hand in her own and squeezed it. “She is well, more than well. Her name is Tirigil, which is elven for Bright Star…”

Lucant broke in. “I know. I saw her as well. She told me that she loved me...and that you did too.”

Tempyst smiled brigtly. “Isnt she beautiful? The gods, because of her selfless act, they made her, well like one of them. She is now their messenger. So, she lives, she lives still and I…I know it is not the same as having us raise her ourselves, but at least...at least she is not completely gone. She also told me that you were hurting. She is the one who led me out of the sleep so I could get to you.”

“It is a comfort to know she is well and happy.” He brought Tempyst’s hand up to his lips and kissed her palm.

“I have a request.” Tempyst looked deep within Lucant’s eyes. “When we were married, we were told that we are now our own enclave. I, I would like to call us, the Bright Star enclave, in Tirigil’s memory. If it is alright with you.”

Lucant nodded, proud and happy for the suggestion. “Of course it is. It is only fitting, after all.” He could feel Tempyst’s joy; he knew her feelings. The link they shared, though new, was becoming easier by the moment to read. Tempyst got up from the bed and took the now empty plate to the table, then returned to the bed, a glass of wine in hand. Lucant’s eyes are glued to her, amazed at how beautiful she was. Her long hair swayed tot eh side and he saw the tattoo upon her back. It had changed. Before it had been a young fledgling oak, now, it was full grown and in full leaf. Though he did not say it, he was proud of her. Then he felt her joy turn to concern and fear. And before she could even speak he knew what she was going to speak of.

“Lucant, you, on that roof. I was so scared. But, you were amazing. I am so in awe of what you did.”

Lucant looked away and stammered. I...I don't really remember much, to be honest. Just some names from when I…” He paused a moment, “…when Nyrondis killed the demon. I remember the name Beridane, which doesn't surprise me. And someone named Tahlon.” Lucant looked up, concern now filled him. “Tempyst, she…she wasn’t responsible. That girl, that elf, she was fighting. By the gods, how she was fighting it.”

“We will have to make sure the Commander knows those names and knows of how that elf was used then. I have heard of the name Beridane, but I don’t know much of what is going on concerning him. I was, well very secluded up until a week ago.” Tempyst blushed. “We...you..and I...uhm…it feels in my heart that I have always known you. But in truth we don't know much of each other do we?”

Lucant blushed slightly himself. “We don't, do we? I was fairly pre-occuped myself until recently.” The two of them smiled, laughing just a bit nervously, then began to talk, really talk. He told her of his life before, of his family, their deaths and of how hard life had been.

Tempyst hugged him tightly. “I’m so sorry fo all you have been through Lucant.”

He shrugged. “It is what I was meant for. But do not dwell on that, tell me about you.” She told him of the Deepshadow Enclave, the only family she had ever known. She spoke of how she came to them, the ranger Coren finding her, believing both her parents to be dead, killed by orcs, then finding out, it was not true. “Not true? So your parents still live?”

“Only one of them. I learned so many thing during my Elder Sleep.” Tempyst could barely contain her excitement. “I got to see my mother. My mother! She was killed, but she told me that my father still lives. He has just learned that I live and is now on his way from the far north to find me. This medallion I wear, it was a wedding gift from my father to my mother.” Tempyst looked up from the medallion, happy tears in her eyes. “I hope that we do find each other. I want him to meet my husband.” She looked at Lucant, suddenly aware that while she had received good news, his parents were still gone. She reached up and caressed his face. “You said, it is what you were meant for, all the hardship. I want you to know, I learned from Nyrondis, that everything does happen for a reason. There is a cycle and a balance to life. And you…you were meant…it all lead up to this…to us…to who you are now and who you can and will be.”

Tempyst laid back down on the pillows and reached out to Lucant, her fingers tracing over his skin. Then she sat up and gasped. “Oh, Oh Lucant!” She nudged him, making him turn his back towards the candlelight. “The tree, your oak…it is still there!”

“It... is?” Lucant’s voice was full of surprise.

Tempyst traced the tattoo with her fingers. “Oh yes it is. This means, your link, that you are still linked with Nyrondis. You, you told me earlier that you would serve him, but on your own terms. This, this must mean, that you are still his Avatar. He wants you…he needs you Lucant. This oak on your back shows that.”

Lucant seemed a little confused, but Tempyst could feel a sense of pride and happiness within him. “If I am needed, then I will be there. For you, for Tirigil, for the rightful Queen, and for Nyrondis.”

She wrapped her arms tightly around Lucant, her face buried in his neck. “And I am here with you Lucant forever and always.”

“As am I for you, Tempyst.”

Tempyst slide around into Lucant’s lap and kissed him deeply, then ran her fingers through his hair. “I was told, that I, that we should stay here for awhile, within this city, so we may learn of each other, and of our new abilities.” She smiled playfully. “I, for one, look forward to that, to being with you. But I do wonder...” She kissed his nose. “I know that my strength lies with the earth and the plants that spring from it. I have some communication with animals, but there are some things, like stones that elude me. I can feel something there, but they just do not speak to me as other things do” Then her eyes lit up. “Oh, I can do this!” Tempyst jumped up out of bed and picked up her staff. She reached into it and pulled out a small, slender branch. Setting back down upon the bed, she held the twig between her palms, a soft green glow emitting from them. Then, the glow fades. Within her hand is a wooden ring. Tempyst took Lucant’s hand and placed the ring upon his finger. Lucant smiled; he could feel her in the ring. Her love, her strength, her energy. “There, this is my marriage gift to you. I know it is not much, but I hope you like it.”

Lucant leaned forward and kissed his wife tenderly. “It is more than I ever could have hoped for. I wish there was something I could give you, but have little more than what's in this room.” Tempyst returned his kiss, letting him know, he was all she needed.

She pulled back, once again her eyes full of longing and playfulness. “I know there is a feast going on, and though we should probably go, it has occurred to me, we never had a honeymoon. So, if it is alright with you, I choose to stay here and remedy that.” Lucant smiled back at his wife and without a word pulled her into his embrace and showed her that he was in agreement.

Written by - Vylia

Vylia was content here in this forest. It was quiet, and the only road through it was hardly ever traveled. She had found a cabin once, a few weeks ago, but there had been nobody there the few times she had checked, and she was more content outdoors anyway. As far as she knew all of her old friends were dead and gone decades ago, so all she had left was Nature and her many children. She had just slipped into a light sleep when she heard the scream and snapped awake. At first she thought it was just a dream, but then she noticed that all of the animals had gone quiet, and knew that it was real. Nightmares of such screams spurred her in the direction it had come from, hoping she was not too late.

It took her only a couple of minutes to reach the cabin she had visited before, but now it was a completely different place. There were several men charging into the house, but not all of them could fit. By their clothing, and the manner they had charged in they obviously didn't belong there, and Vylia hesitated only a moment before she drew her bow and took aim. She knew she was already too late to save anyone inside, but she would not let them go unavenged. She let loose a full volley of arrows straight at the doorway, several of the arrows piercing the two men standing right at the entryway and striking their comrades directly behind them.

Written by - Tempyst

The ledge was wet and slippery. Amara felt it beneath her feet. But it was the only way out that did not lead her into Raevyn's line of sight. It had been a couple of years since she had done any high wire acts, but she kept herself in shape so it was much like riding a horse. Once you learn, you never forget. I wonder if I remember how to fall correctly? As she edged her way to the sloped roof, the sounds of the party grew more distant. She could see the lower roof and looking at it, she knew she would be able to make that jump.

"OH shi....." Amara let out the exclamation as some of the stone beneath her feet gave wave and she found herself falling. Her reflexes were fast and she was able to grab onto a sturdy part of the ledge, but now, she was just hanging there and she knew her strength would not last forever. Amara felt her heart race and her body shake. She breathed deeply and gathered her senses. Okay Amara, look at the mess you are in now. Think girl, think. Don't panic, you can get out of this. Just stay calm, look around, see what is there that can help. Amara was greatful that it had stopped raining and the moon was peeking out from the clouds. She turned her head slowly, feeling her fingers clinging to the cold, wet stone. Okay, I am too far away from that roof to jump to it. I can't fall straight down, there is nothing there to break my fall. However... Amara twisted her body a bit more to look behind her. There, that tree. I might be able to get to it if... Amara let out a soft shriek as she felt the stone beneath her fingers shift. "Oh crap, there is not time to analyze this girl, just do it!"

Amara took a deep breath and brought both her legs up and planted her feet along the wall of the citadel, praying that the ledge would hold just a while longer. She adjusted her grip the best she could, bent her knees then pushed off with all her strength. She flew backwards towards the trees behind her, her body arching in the moonlight. She threw her hands back over her head, making her body do a back flip in the air. It was while she was turning over that she realized that she was not going to make it into the interior of the tree, to the solid branches, as she had hoped. She crashed into the outer branches hard and fell fast through the folliage. She cursed and grabbed at anything she could, but felt the leaves tear through her hands, slicing her flesh and her clothes.

Then she hit the ground with a heavy THUD. She lay there, wondering if she was dead or alive, then the pain that shot through her body, especially her left ankle reminded her she was very much alive. Well, it seems they slowed down my fall somewhat but damnit, if only I had pushed off a little harder! She sat up gingerly, feeling the stings in her hands and arms, seeing how tattered her clothing now looked. She felt her right ankle, and breathed a sigh of relief that it was not broken. Hmm, a sprain, looks like I did remember how to fall. Still, Boran would have said I could have done better. Amara stood up gingerly, testing her ankle and found she could at least hobble on it. But she could feel some of the cuts she had, and knew several of them were deep and would probably start bleeding soon. I'm also going to pay for that in the morning. Slowly, Amara started hobbling towards the city proper, leaning on walls and buildings for support. She was concentrating sohard on making it through the pain, that she did not see a dark shadow watching her from behind.

Written by - Teran

"Oh relax." he said with a smirk. "I hope your muscles mend quickly while you sleep, there is much to do tomorrow."

He stood up and began gathering dry wood so that he may build a fire. Dusk was upon them. Once he had the fire going he sat down and appeared to relax.

"There is a pond to the south-east if you wish to wash up or replenish your water, I do not know when we will have another opportunity to bathe." he said gently while peering into the sky.

He had already decided he would take advantage of the opportunity to bathe, he didn't much care whether she would or not he just didn't want to have her calling him names or making accusations later on if she felt he was keeping the existence of the pond a secret from her.

Written by - Tempyst

Raevyn placed the token in his pocket, then took his time walking out of the citadel. I know she is close. He thought to himself. Outside, as he moved to his horse, he decided to leave him there and look around outside. He knew she had unusual skills and by nature he was a curious and suspicous elf. After a bit of looking around, he smiled to himself, seeing that his hunch ws correct. There she was, heading towards town, walking, no hobbling. She has been hurt. Well, that will make the chase easier. But what fun will it be to capture her while she is wounded. No fun at all, but there is a certain pleasure in terrorizing one's prey.

Raevyn kept back, following Amara into the dark streets. He knew she was usually more careful than this; that is what made the chase so enjoyable. But still, this night would not be a total loss. Finally, he saw her lean against a wall, along the entrance to a dark alley and knew it was time to make his move. He slide used the shadows to his advantage and made his way behind her, then leaned close and whispered in her ear. "It has been far too long Amara. I have missed you."

Amara let out a soft gasp and turned, her eyes wide with fear. Raevyn put an arm up against the wall, making sure she had no place to go. "Don't look so shocked poppet, you knew I was here. Oh my, look at yourself." Raevyn took out a silk handkerchief and brought it up to her face, wiping away a smudge of blood.

"Leave me alone and go back to your master." Amara spat out.

"I have no master Amara. I do this for the joy of it." Raevyn leaned close to her, bringing his lips close to hers. "I just wanted to let you know, by the morning, all the guards here will be looking for you. Seems the officials here are very helpful when there is a dangerous criminal involved. Now, you could come with me and let me look after you. You know I will be much gentler than any jailer you may meet." Raevyn sneered, leaned closer and licked a dribble of blood from her lips.

Written by - Lucant Dolvan

Allarin stepped purposefully behind his new mistress, dufifully following her into the dark chamber behind the golden throne. Numerous torches and braziers amply lit the circular chamber. Golden inlays along the obsidian floor led from behind the throne into a circular pattern around a vicious looking sword stuck in a blood red stone.

As Kiradia stepped aside to let her servant forward into the chamber, she smiled an evil smile as he placed his hand on the blade's ebon wrapped hilt and effortlessly drew it. With the sword held upright, he turned to his waiting mistress - his eyes now a blood red color - and spoke to her. "What is Terror's will, my lady?"

****

"That little bastard... when I find him, I'm gonna tear his head off..." Dom quietly cursed to himself as he continued to search the dark, winding streets for any sign of Josef.

As he exited a tavern - drink in hand - he wondered if Aloray was having any better luck. He wandered aimlessly for a bit - to the parks, to the docks, to the vast markets, even to the temples. As he came off the Temple Row, Dom's eyes where drawn to the lights in the citadel. "Son of a bitch! Why didn't I think about that sooner? I need to quit drinking..." Finishing off his stout, he tossed the mug aside and ambled towards the party he had been at earlier.

Arriving at the still opened door, he looked up to notice that the presipice had crumbled and several broken branches where on the ground from a nearby tree. Scratching his beard, Dom said aloud "Even his luck's gotta run out sometimes..." Without so much as a second glance at the party, he went to the pile of brush and noticed a small trail of blood leading towards the town. "Aw dammit!" Running as fast he could go - which wasn't very fast - he followed the trail through the winding alleyways. As he turned down a darkened corner he noticed a cloaked man standing over someone. Jumping to the conclusion that this was Josef being assaulted, Dom charged forth to protect this person.

"Seems the officials here are very helpful when there is a dangerous criminal involved. Now, you could come with me and let me look after you. You know I will be much gentler than any jailer you may meet." The cloaked figure leaned in towards the person backed against the wall. This was all the opening Dom needed, however. One of Dom's massive hands could easily - and did easily - grasp the cloaked man's head. Jerking him violently backwards from his cornered prey, Dom wrapped his free arm around the man's neck, then let him have swift, solid shot directly in the small of his back. He felt the man go limp from the shock of the blow and used the opportunity to tighten his hold on the man.

He cought a passing glance of who the man had pinned to the wall. "Who the hell are... that singer... you're the one I pushed Leov into..." Rage began to well inside his normally docile heart, and he eagerly embraced it. "You worthless excuse for a man..." he growled through clenched teeth. He quickly placed his free hand atop the man's forehead and more than willing to snap his neck. The man he had trapped made a lightening fast movement and before he knew it, Dom had released his grasp. "Son of a bitch" he screamed as he grasped the knife jutting out of his right hand and jerked it out. He took another swing at the man, but he met only air. "Run! Run far away! Because if I catch you again, you're dead!"

He swore quietly under his breath as he cut a piece of cloth from his shirt and wrapped it around his hand. He stuck the knife in his belt, then the turned toward the singer. "You okay, miss?"

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