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Book Three Pt 1 - The Reckoning

Written by - Tempyst Page 14 Book 3

Amara cringed as Raevyn pressed close and licked her lips. She knew she had not the strength to even stand a chance of running away and began to think this might finally be it. Then Raevyn was jerked back and as she slid to the ground from fright, she was a large arm close around his neck. She watched the struggle then let out a gasp as Raevyn pulled a knife and stabbed through the other man's hand.

"Son of a bitch!" Amara heard the pained cry and saw Raevyn being let go. He blew a kiss at Amara and winked, then dashed off into the darkness. She looked to the man who had saved her and watched him swing at empty air. "Run! Run far away! Because if I catch you again, you're dead!"

I know this man, dont' I? Amara heard the large man swear quietly 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 her. "You okay, miss?"

"I...I will live, I think, but what about your hand? And thank you, thank you, he could have killed you." Amara stood shakily showing that she obviously favored on leg and her clothes were dotted with blood from her many cuts. "I, I have to go, before he decides to come back. Thank you again." She started to move but stumbled, the brief inaction had made her ankle swell up, making it impossible to walk. She sat on the ground where she fell and fought back tears of frustration.

Written by - Lucant Dolvan

"I...I will live, I think, but what about your hand? And thank you, thank you, he could have killed you." The girl stood shakily showing that she obviously favored on leg and her clothes were dotted with blood from her many cuts. "I, I have to go, before he decides to come back. Thank you again." She started to move but stumbled, the brief inaction had made her ankle swell up an impossible to walk. She sat on the ground where she fell and fought back tears of frustration.

For an instant, he saw Sophie, saw his beloved daughter returned to him. Then he came to senses. He closed his eyes and chased away the past as he stepped towards her and scooped her up. "I can't let ya just wander around like this." "Josef... I'm sorry kid, but you're on your own tonight."

Dom quickly made his way to the main street so to have safety in public. "Oh... I suppose I ought to introduce myself. Dominik Laval... I'm Leov's - the guy I pushed into ya earlier - I'm his father-in-law." There was a calm, peaceful silence as they walked up the steps to the infirmiry. "He could've killed me ya say? I almost wished he had... because Mir's sure as hell going to now..."

Written by - Tempyst

Amara was surprised to feel herself lifted up into the man's arms. Instinctivley she wrapped her own around his neck and held on. "I can't let ya just wander around like this. Josef... I'm sorry kid, but you're on your own tonight." She leaned her head on his shoulder and let him craddle her. As he made his way to the main street, he spoke up. "Oh... I suppose I ought to introduce myself. Dominik Laval... I'm Leov's - the guy I pushed into ya earlier - I'm his father-in-law."

The light went on in Amara's mind. So, Leov's married! That explains it all. Nice to know his charm is not wasted on the men. She lifted her head and smiled. "Nice to meet you Dominik. I'm Amara." She laid her head back down and closed her eyes. the steady rocking of Dominik's walking was very soothing. She felt a tear slide down her cheek as she had a sudden flash of being carried by her father when she was a child.

After the calm, peaceful silence, he carried her up some steps and finally spoke again. "He could've killed me ya say? I almost wished he had... because Mir's sure as hell going to now..."

"Raevyn is very skilled and not someone to be taken lightly...but who is this Mir?" Amara did not have to wait long to find out. As they entered what looked to be an infirmary, a tall, raven haired woman, with fire in her eyes rushed towards them. I hope he sets me down before she explodes.

Written by - Ariana

She lightly dozed against the tree, the sounds of the falling dusk surrounding her. The night bugs began their serenade, and she could hear Teran rustling around establishing camp. Her breathing evened out and the tensions began to ebb from her muscles. “Ahh,” she thought sleepily, “this is nice. The only thing missing is the chance to take a bath.”

When she heard him mention the possibility of a bath as if he had read her mind, one eye spontaneously popped open and peered at him. She didn’t have all the necessary implements such as soap, nor would she be able to change clothes since her backpack was still with her horse. And, the thought of taking a bath with him so near made her uneasy, but the temptation to rinse off the activities of the day proved too tempting.

“Besides,” she rationalized to herself, “he is in his 90’s. Surely people that old have no desire to peek.” Her thoughts paused as a small voice tried to pipe in that he didn't look or act old. She conceeded the point with a sigh. "Oh well," she thought, "if he does peek, I will simply have to gouge out his eyes."

Decision made, the other eye popped open, and she was soon on her feet. “Excellent idea!” she said with feeling, and turned on her heel. She began marching in the direction he had directed without so much as a glance behind her to see if he was following.

Written by - Lucant Dolvan

Mir casually turned her head towards the creaking door as she heard it open. She half excpected to see Leov stagger in - drink in hand - and pass out on the floor. She half wanted him to; then she wouldn't have to worry about him.

At seeing Dom walk in with this new girl in his arms, she stood up abruptly and stormed over to him. "What the hell is this," she shouted, pointing at the girl in his arms. "I'd except this from Leov or my brother, but I thought you knew better!" Dom put the girl down on a nearby cot, then threw his hands up to his chest. "Mir, it's not what you think..." She cut in sharply "I don't care what it is! We have enough trouble right now without you dragging in every stray you find!" Dom began unconsciously backing out the door as she stepped closer at him. "And what the hell happened to your hand!? Get a healer to look at that before you lose the damn thing!" She was shouting now - rather loudly. "You need to grow up, old man! One child is enough to deal with!"

Mir stomped back in as Dom went off to lick his wounds. She stopped directly in front of the girl Dom had brought in and turned to her: "I don't know who you are, much less do I care. Stay out of my way. I have my hands full taking care of this... situation." She turned coldly and walked back to the chair she jumped out of a moment earlier.

Written by - Tempyst

Amara watched the raven haired woman tear into the kind man who had helped her. It flabergasted her how irate this Mir was. Dominik set her down upon a cot and the woman continued her tirade, like she was an angry wife who had caught her husband cheating. Well, I'm not just some floozy miss, you better not get near me.

But then as the woman stomped back across the room, she stopped at the end of the cot Amara was on and looked directly at her. "I don't know who you are, much less do I care. Stay out of my way. I have my hands full taking care of this... situation." She turned coldly and walked away.

Oh she did not... Amara sat up; she would have stood if her ankle would have allowed it. "Listen here Mir, what right do you have to chew out that kind man for helping a stranger? I owe him my life and I will not just sit idly by while you yell at him. Try using a little more sugar honey, it will get you better results than that sour attitude of yours." Amara sat back on the cot as a healer came up and started looking at her wounds.

Written by - Lucant Dolvan

"Listen here Mir, what right do you have to chew out that kind man for helping a stranger? I owe him my life and I will not just sit idly by while you yell at him. Try using a little more sugar honey, it will get you better results than that sour attitude of yours."

Mir stopped dead in her tracks and turned about with cat-like grace. Every Kassali in the room was eagerly eyeing her, waiting to see what their famed Black Queen would do next. Walking gracefully back to the girl on the cot with a smile on her face. She leaned down, inches from her face and said in a sing-song voice, each word dripping with sarcasm. "I have every right. You have no idea what we've been through. You don't know the hisory between us. You have no right to even begin to criticize me. I don't care what you owe him, to be pefectly honest, and yes, you are just that: a stranger. I'm glad you realize that." She gave the girl and quaint smile, "Oh, I don't remember giving you permission to use my name, either." then turned and walked back to a cheering crowd of her brothers and sisters.

Written by - Tempyst

Amara smiled, listened to the woman lash out in her catty style. Well, she obviously has a vested interest in all these men and she is probably not used to sharing them. I wonder if she know's her husband was dancing around at the party.

"Oh, I don't remember giving you permission to use my name, either."

"Well, as I did not seek permission, I do not think you have any business in giving it to me or not. A name is just that, a name. And as you do not have the look of a *Lady*, I doubt anyone asks for your permission." Amara could see the fire flash through Mir's eyes. "But you are right, I do not know what you and these fine gentlemen have gone through together, but then, you do not know what I have gone through either." She winced as the healer took her boot off and attended her ankle. "We all have our baggage, Mir, but taking it out on others is no way to accomplish anything. Maybe if you treated your father with more respect, treated your friends and your husband Leov with more respect, he would not have to find a little enjoyment dancing with me." She layed back down. "Oh, by the way, he tastes delightful too. Learn to take care of your man, it would be a shame to let him get away."

Written by - Teran

Teran allowed Mavigan to bathe in peace. He wasn't afraid of getting caught because he honestly didn't think it was possible, but he had legitimate respect for her privacy. He did keep his other senses open listening for any sign of other forest lurkers. While he waited he stripped down anticipating his turn (though he did leave his undergarments on).

He laid out his bed in preparation for sleep and added fuel to the fire while he waited. When Mavigan finally did return to the camp Teran took his turn, grinning at her as they pass. He was gone only ten minutes and came back looking quite refreshed and something seemed different about him though in the dark it was very difficult to notice that his hair was a little darker and some of the signs of age on his face had apparently been washed away in the cleansing waters.

Teran got dressed back up and relaxed on his "bed" and peered into the sky silently. They would re-unite with their party members the next evening which meant they had a lot to do between now and then.

Written by - Lucant Dolvan

Dom opened the door to the infirmary's main room again, only to find Mir and Amara exchanging looks vicious enough to kill a dragon. "I'm starting to wish he had killed me..." he muttered to himself. When saw Mir get up again and head towards Amara, he had had enough.

As he made his way to the center of the room to intercept Mir, he placed his freshly healed hand atop Amara's snow-white head for a brief second before continuing, as if to tell her not to worry. Reaching the center of the room - his sheer presence let it be known he was in charge now - he looked down at Mir, who had instinctively stopped in front of him. "You, little miss Kade, have more important things to worry about than her. You'd do well to remember that. I'll take care of her. So go do what you have to do and let me worry about her." "Fine!" she replied stubbornly, "As long as she's outta my way!" Dom frowned to himself as he watched Mir stomp off to the corner to go sulk like a scolded child. "Now, all of ya.... shut up, get something to eat, get some rest, and stay warm. Whatever's going on, we're just now getting started with it.... no sense in tiring ourselves out early." There was a brief, awkward moment of silence in the room before everyone started talking again.

Dom let out a short sigh, then walked back over to Amara's cot and sat down beside her. He noticed a strange look about her. Scratching his mostly grey beard, he said to her "Don't let her get under your skin. She's always been a firebrand. Probably always will be, too. How her and Sophie got to be such good friends still escapes me." He yawned loudly and said to her again, "If you want to stay somewhere else tonight, I understand. Once ya get patched up, we'll go get ya a room at an inn or something. How's that sound?"

Written by - Tempyst

Amara looked at Dom. "I have a room, but..." A look of fear washed over her face. "...but Raevyn probably already knows where it is. I can't go back there. I, I don't know if i can stay here either. He said the guards would know about me by morning."

A healer came over and handed Amara a cup of tea. "You drink this miss, some wounds are better healed by a good night's sleep than by magics." Amara took the cup and sipped it slowly, her hands shaking. It seems the shock of all that had happened that night was creeping in.

"I'm sorry about upsetting your friends, upsetting Mir. So, she is not your daughter?"

"By Tiertiala no!" Dom loudly exclaimed. "Her and my daughter were good friends, though how her and Sophie got to be so close, still escapes me." he said with a puzzled look.

She noticed his use of a past tense. "Were?" She questioned softly.

"She's one with the wind now. Been about two years now, I'd say. Leov... poor bastard.... he never did get over it." Many things in Amara's sleepy mind suddenly clicked. So Leov is still mourning his wife, that is why he refused, it all makes sense now. But I bet that Mir would like to keep him company.

Amara placed a hand upon Dom's. "I'm so sorry for your loss. I, I too, lost those I called family, about two years ago as well." Amara pulled her hand back and wipes the tears that rolled down her cheek. I, I feel so protected by this man, he makes me just want to tell him everything, but I can't risk it again...can I? "I'm so tired of running Dominik. Maybe, maybe I should let him take me back." Her voice trembled as she spoke the words and her eyes became fear filled once again.

Dom took her hand in his. "Hah! There's no way that's gonna happen!"

Amara looked at him, confused. "How do you know? I....I have no place left to run."

Dom took the now empty tea cup from Amara. "How do I know? First off, there's no way I'd let that happen, and second, once Leov finds out and, Tiertiala help us, he will somehow, he'll go after him like pack of orcs on a wounded pig."

"You dont even know me Dominik. I could be a mass murderer jsut waiting to strike again, least, that is how he tells the tale. Why would you, why would anyone, risk everything for me?" Amara moved, as if trying to get up. "I can't risk your lives. You've been kind enough, I should go."

Dom, gently put a large hand on her shoulder and kept her from getting up. "And why shouldn't I? Are you not worth helping?"

Amara sat back down, the tea was kicking in and she found that her strength was giving way. "People have helped me before and they were murdered because of me, how can i risk that again?"

Dom chuckled. "Risk our lives? Hell girl, our lives are already at risk! I'm sure Beridane is looking for everyone of us right now!"

She looked up into Dom's kind eyes and a soft smile actually played across her lips. "So, are you saying that wanted, dangerous criminals should stick together then?" Amara's eyelids were beginning to drop and felt herself leaning towards Dom.

Dom pulled her close and wrapped his big arms around her. "Like Leov always says..." Dom shifted his voice, obviously mocking Leov. "If we don't look out for each other, then who will?"

Her eyes closed, no longer able to fight off the effects of the tea. As she drifted off, she mumbled a few more words. "I'm just so tired daddy, so tired..."

Dom layed Amara down upon the cot and placed a rough hand upon her head. "Get some sleep girl. Nothing's gonna happen. At least not tonight." Then, pulling close the nearest stool, he sat down next to her bed, to make sure nothing would.

Written by - Ardwen

“Perhaps you had better let me worry about the food, Ardwen? That way, we can at least have a filling meal... and it isn't... uhh... yeah.” Sycon seemed oddly uncomfortable; Ardwen decided to let Sycon figure out that he had brought no coin with him on the journey. Sycon would come around to his way of thinking, for it was only a matter of time – time and an empty stomach.

Sycon suddenly stood tall and sheathed his blade. Sticking out his hand and slightly bowing his head he intoned, “I’m with you brother in arms.” He seemed to be waiting for something. Ardwen was at a temporary loss, what could the warlock be anticipating? Ardwen’s eyes shifted from the warlock’s proffered hand to his inclined head and back again.

“Ah . . .” Ardwen began uncertainly, “Well, you see . . “ Another awkward pause as Ardwen’s thoughts dashed through his mind for an answer. Wasn’t this something he had done in the Hands? Didn’t the humans slap their hands together or something? Ardwen blew out a short sigh of frustration then gave it a shot, shooting a hand out he grasped Sycon’s hand by the wrist, taking his other hand he gave the mage’s clasped hand a soft slap on the palm, cautious of the fact he was wearing gauntlets. The sound produced was an odd amalgamation of metal on flesh, but Ardwen figured he had at least faked what he was doing well enough. Giving his best reassuring smile Ardwen once again spun around and started walking, “We’ve got some time before we reach Westgale, and I strongly suggest we make haste.”

Written by - Isuiln Fellblade

"Uhm, you need a bath. You have blood and orc guts all over you and I don't think the others would find it very nice to be eating when you smell so rank!" Isuiln laughed at Trinni's incredibly truthful statement. With the miracle and all the joy that came with it, he hadn't realized just how disgustingly grubby they both were. "I guess I need one too. So, okay then." Trinni took Isuiln's hand and shook it vigorously. "I'm going to go clean up, uhm..." Isuiln watched her fumble uncomfortably for a few moments, and he couldn't help but grin goofily. Then her eyes got their mischevious glint back in them. "Race you! First one back to the dining hall wins!" She turned and took off, leaving Isuiln in the dust. He laughed and set out for his quarters at his own sedate pace, stripping off his outer armor as he walked.

Back at his room, he found a fresh bath being prepared as he arrived, so he went out to his balcony and watched the going-ons of the Citadel until his bath was ready. Then he went in, enjoying wiping away all traces of the battle. Even the scars that he should rightly be sporting were gone without a trace. He changed into a comfortable set of casual clothes, too relaxed to worry about fashion propriety.

He wandered down to the party and glanced around for Trinni, but didn't see her. She must not be here yet. Wonder what happened to all that hustle bustle? He meandered about the room, exchanging pleasentries, until Round the Town struck up from the band. He grinned, recognizing the rambunctious tune, and began to clap along until a pretty elf-maiden grabbed him by the hand and drug him out onto the floor. He danced and whirled for a bit, but his heart wasn't in it, and he kept his watch around the room for Trinni. He spotted Tel'en, a young elf under his command, standing right near the edge of the dance floor clapping along with a small smile. Grinning, Isuiln lead the dance right over to him, then smoothly whirled the maiden into Tel'en's arms and stepped back. He stood there for a moment in shock, but the unperturbed girl soon pulled him into the dance, and Isuiln watched them spin off with a laugh. It was as he turned that he finally spotted Trinni, or at least the back of her head, darting along the food table.

He walked up behind her and tapped her on the shoulder, then grinned widely as she turned around with an expression of surprise and a nearly bursting mouthful of cream puff. She took a big swallow, then proffered a bite to him. As he leaned over, she swooped it up and got him on the nose with a dallop of cream. He looked at it cross-eyed for a moment, then mockingly made exaggerated gestures as if trying to reach it with his tongue, sending Trinni into a fit of giggles. As the room went quiet, Trinni stifled her laughter and Isuiln reached over and grabbed a napkin off the table, turning and wiping off the cream in time to see Ithrimir go to a knee and propose to Lithwyn. Wow, a bit brash, though not unexpected. It would seem coming so close to death has put him in a hurry. He grinned, recalling his own spontaneous kissing of Trinni. Next thing you know, we'll all be running around like humans, never stopping to enjoy life.

As if on cue, a human hurried in, requesting Ithrimir to accompany him to the stockades, where the was apparently trouble. As Ithrimir left, he turned back to Trinni. "Ithrimir will surely have that under control." The band struck up another tune, and Isuiln put out his hand. "Care to dance?"

Written by - Tempyst

"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.

"FINE, go ahead and leave you cowards." Garth moved over to the unconscious Kaya and slung her over his shoulder. "Let's let her sit here and rebuild her strength? Our commander might be able to go party and let her sit, but I can't! I WON"T!" Garth pushed his large frame past the other soldiers and headout out to the yard. The others looked at each other, unsure of what to do. Though their ale induced bravado was wearing thin, all of them still had their doubts about the elf woman. The two elves that had a hold of Leov, pulled him along as everyone decided to follow Garth out into the yard.

****

Kaya did not feel the soldiers moving her about. Instead, she found herself on a small grassy hill overlooking a slow moving stream, children playing in the sunshine, splashing in the shallow waters. She watched them, feeling peaceful and content, but then thoughts of darkness began to creep in. As she watched them, she could see the faces of the children she murdered. "Beautiful, aren't they?" Kaya looked up to see a young, golden haired woman, standing beside her. "They don't hate you, you know. They only saw the monster. Not you."

"But I know. I saw their faces, I heard their screams."

The woman put her hand upon Kaya's shoulder. "You need to forgive yourself my friend. They have forgiven you." Kaya looked up to see the children running over to her, laughing. When they reached her they all jumped on her, hugging her, tickling, and just being children. Kaya felt fear begin to well up, terrified that the demon would take control and destroy them once more. But there was no demon. There was only laughter and lots of hugs. Their merriment was infectious; Kaya soon found herself laughing with them, her fears melting away. Finally, the young woman interrupted. "Alright now children, run along, your parents are waiting for you. I need to take Kaya to go meet someone now." The children all got up and ran off, their laughter fading into the distance.

"Who are you?" Kaya asked, standing up. "Who are you taking me to see?"

"I am Tirigil, messenger of the gods and I am here to let you know, Avendor has heard your plea and would like to speak with you. Please, follow me Kaya." Kaya nodded and followed the young woman down a flower lined path. Soon, the two approached a large set of golden doors. Tirigil let Kaya through them, into a great hall filled with soldiers. Kaya looked around at the many faces there; most were unknown to her, but occasionally she would see a fallen friend. Finally, at the end of the hall, was another set of door. "Avendor awaits you there. I will wait here for you Kaya."

Kaya stepped up to the doors and pushed one open. A bright, glowing light encompassed her as she stepped inside. Enter child, I have heard your plea. Kaya knelt down before the tall figure. Avendor shone so brightly, she had to keep her eyes averted.

"Thank you Avendor, for hearing my prayer. I wish to no longer be a victim of that demon, but a dealer of vengence."

I see the demon plagues you still, cursing your mind and body. You are forgiven by me child, I know the horrors you were made to do were against your will. I see your strength and determination and know you fought the beast with all that you had. But still, it is not enough to be free is it? There is a way this curse can be lifted and your prayers for vengeance answered.

Kaya gulped, feeling humbled by Avendor's words and awed by his presence. "Anything my Lord, anything to be rid of this within me."

Enter my son, she awaits you. Kaya looked up at Avendor's words and saw a large antlered elf step out of the shadows. This must be Nyrondis, but why would he wish to help me?

Nyrondis stepped closer to her. I wish to help you Kaya'Talas, because you can also help us. The demons are awakening, their numbers are growing. You are not the first, nor will you be the last to be controlled by the beasts. More innocents will die. Kaya shuddered at those words, knowing she had had a hand in some of their deaths already. You are strong, Kaya, stronger than you believe you are. I see within you the potential to be a great warrior for my cause. Join with me Kaya, enter into my service as a Demonhunter. Use your grief, use your memories and hatred, your desire for vengeance to help rid our world of these beasts. Be my champion and the curse within you will be broken and never again will you feel such darkness poison you.

Kaya felt all those emotions of pain, helplessness, fear, anger, disgust, her hunger to fight that which has possessed her, all rise to the surface. She let out an anquished sob, knowing that indeed, she never wanted to feel like that again. She looked up into the face of Nyrondis, tears streaming down her face, her soul open and bared for the god to see. "Yes my lord, yes, I pledge myself to you Nyrondis. Make me into a weapon to fight this threat, give me the tools to help others and do your will."

It will be done.

Kaya felt a rush of energy rush through her, unlike anything she had ever felt before. It lifted her up off of her feet; it felt as if a huge tree had just sprouted under her and lifted her up into the heavens. Then she felt the branches and vines withint the tree pierce her body and soul. Then, there was darkness. "Kaya. You must come with me now, it is time for you to wake up now." Kaya stood on shaky legs and took Tirigil's outstretched hand. Kaya said nothing as Tirigil led her back through the hall and out to the golden doors. "Thank you, Kaya, for helping all of us. I am sure I shall see you again." The doors opened and Kaya stepped through the darkness and suddenly felt reality wash over her.

****

Garth made his way into the yard where the gallows were. The others followed, Leov still tightly in tow. "Hey Garth, uhm...she's glowing."

"What the hell!" Garth tossed Kaya down upon the ground and watched with the others as Kaya indeed, begin to glow.

Kaya opened her eyes, the pain of the coils around her still trying to squeeze the life out of her. But now, she was not afraid. She knew she was no longer alone and never would be alone again. SHe could hear the solders around her gasp, as what was causing her the pain, was now visible to all. An immense, shadowy snake was coiled time and time again around Kaya's body, from her mouth to her toes. Only the top of her head and her eyes were visible. The head of the snake writhed around, looking at all the men in the yard, its' tongue flicking out, testingthe air to see who it might get to devour next. Everytime it moved, its grip around Kaya tightened.

Then another image appeared. From the oak that stood within the yard, stepped forth an HUGE, shadowed elf, clad in antlers and vines, with a giant bear and a wolf at his side. The divine presense and power of the god of nature and balance could not be denied and brought those within his proximity down to their knees. Nyrondis pointed at the snake and both the shadowed wolf and bear charged forth, tearing at the coils that had encompassed Kaya. The head of the snake hissed in pain and lunged at Nyrondis, mouth open and poisoned fangs ready to strike. Nyrondis did not wait for the snake to reach him, he lunged towards the beast grabbing the beast around the throat, choking it within his bare hands. The bear and wolf clawed and chewed through the snakes flesh quickly, releasing the pressure around Kaya. The snakes eyes flashed a deep red and made another attempt to lunge at Nyrondis' throat. But the god's grip was too tight, his fingers dug into the snakes flesh and then with one last squeeze, tore the head from the snake. The wolf and bear bit in deeply and drug away the rest of the carcass from Kaya. Nyrondis reached down, and pulled the last bit from Kaya's mouth.

Kaya's body jerked and she drew in a deep, gasping breath. Her eyes grew wide and her body adjusted to being able to breath once again. She looked up around her, then looked up into the face of her god. "Thank you Nyrondis, I am now free of this curse. I can now tell all it was Beridane!" Kaya waited for the attack on her body to start, but when nothing happened, she grinned ear to ear. The shadowed form of Nyrondis stepped back letting Kaya get to her feet.

"Hail Nyrondis, father of our land, your will be done." The presense of a new voice gave cause for everyone to see who was speaking. Then everyone in the yard felt the ground beneath them shift and vines came up, holding them all in place. Garth and others began to struggle, shouting obscenities. "Quiet now or you will be gagged as well." The druid that spoke, as well as others who had followed him, stepped forward and bowed before their diety.

"What the he..." Another voice entered the courtyard, but then once Ithramir saw the form of Nyrondis, he too knealt and paid his respect. Gilbert saw a stunned Leov and made his way over to his friend.

"I am Dalomir, one of the elder druids of the Sacred Grove. I am here to explain that Kaya'Talas, daughter of Quen'Talas, ruler of Naur'Lith of the Eru'Erain, is innocent of all she has been accused of. She was a pawn, like many others, cursed to not speak of the demon that had possessed her, powerless to stop his will. She fought the beast from within, to the point of attempting to take her own life to save the life of Commander Ithramir. She is to be set free and no harm is to become of her."

"This is bull!" Garth shouted. He pulled at the roots that bound his legs and broke free, charging Kaya. "It is all lies! She will kill us all!" The shadowed form of Nyrondis gestured and then suddenly, a brilliantly, glowing sword appeard in Kaya's hand. A'lanthear the Demonslayer hummed as she gripped it and she stood straight and tall, unafraid any longer. Garth stumbled backward. Ithramir made a gesture and several of his guards stepped forward and took the solder away.

Indeed, Kaya'Talas is innocent and is now under my protection and my service. She is my champion, my demonhunter, may those that aid the beasts in any way fear her wrath. The form of Nyrondis, along with his wolf and bear stepped back into the tree and faded away. The vines that had held the others in place crumbled and most of the other now sober solders ran off into the night. Dalomir and the other druids stepped forward and laid hands upon Kaya, healing her of her bruises.

Ithramir stepped forward. "I should like to speak with you within the next day or two, Kaya'Talas. It is good to know you were not to blame for your actions. For now, go heal and relax. I will take your report soon." Ithramir saluted Kaya; she saluted back. "Well, it seems all is in order here. Let us hope, the rest of the night stays quiet." Ithramir and his guards then headed back towards the citadel.

So much was going through Kaya's mind. The sword in her hand felt good, felt really good. Dalomir whispered to her, telling her they needed to get to the grove so she could learn more of her duties. Kaya turned, then saw Leov. She smiled and moved to the man, then bowed deeply, her purple eyes shining in the moonlight. "Thank you Leov Klein, my friend, for helping me when no one else would. If there is anything I can do for you, please, let me know."

"Tell me everything you know about Beridane. Everything."

Kaya looked Leov square in the eyes. "I'm afraid to say, it is not much. Beridane is the one who put the curse on me to keep me from talking and who commanded the demon to possess me. The demon, he recieved from a half elf named Tahlon. Beridane wanted Ithramir dead, to create chaos."

Leov's looked stunned. "That's it?"

"Well, up until 6 months ago, I was in the elven homelands, with my troops. Then Tahlon and his lith'raug minions captured me and sent me here. I met Beridane only once. other than that. I have been an orcish prisoner."

Leov begins to pace and staggar in a small circle. "CRAP! I'm sick and tired of waiting around in this damned Elven piss-hole for something to happen! C'mon Gilbert, if we want to see home again, we're gonna have to take things into our own hands..." Leov turned and stamped off in a fury.

"Well, that was productive." Kaya looked at Dalomir. "There is a lot I need to learn, least that is what this sword is telling me." She placed a hand upon the A'lanthear. "But before we start that, could I please get a bath and food?"

Dalomir chuckled. "Of course Kaya, please, follow us to the sacred grove." Dalomir placed his cloak around the near naked Kaya, then led her and the other druids back to the grove.

Written by - Sycon

Sycon almost chuckled at Ardwen's noticable half attempt at humanism. He just nodded and smiled as Ardwen turn and started walking, professing haste already.

"Very well, haste it will be. Next stop, Westgale!"

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