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Book Three Pt 1 - The Reckoning

Written by - Renalis Page 16 Book 3

A young druid walked up to Renalis, "You are Renalis Dalamar yes? Good. Please wait here, I will go get the new demon hunter." and then the young man ran off. "Joy. I get to wait..." Renalis's thought was cut off as it did not take the Elf long to return with another Elf, covered in sweat obviously from some rigorous training. Renalis recognized her as the young elven woman who had been demon possessed just the day before.

She walked up to Renalis, smiled and held out a hand. "I am Kaya'Talas. I hear you know something about demons."

Renalis took the woman's hand, shaking it gently, "Greetings Kaya, I am Renalis Dalamar, and yea, I know a few things." Renalis notioned to side, "Mind going for a walk? I always think better on the move." Seeing Kaya nod, Renalis began to walk off, seeming in a random direction. "First, was I correct in hearing that? You prefer fighting with two weapons? Because if A'lanthear there isn't too awkward to adapt to, I would recommend continueing with your prefered fighting style," Renalis paused for a second, surveying the training grounds for something. "Ah! There it is." Renalis walked over to the weapons rack, "I'm sure you can find a second weapon here, while not the demon slaying blade, it will help to maintain your style. It is important to not handicap yourself before facing a new foe."

"So what do you know already? If I may ask?"

Written by - Tempyst

She shook the human's hand and smiled, then followed him as they walked. "You are correct. I am used to using two weapons, but surprisingly enough, I am finding it quite easy to adapt to this hand and a half sword here." She gave A'lanthear a pat. "My dual weapon style, is more for flash and show and my enjoyment than for serious battle, especially with a demon. I have weilded a single weapon before and I will do so now. As to what I know..."

Kaya moved over to a pail of water and doused her head, cooling herself off from her earlier workout. "...I was trapped, with that demon inside of me for a month, maybe longer, time began to have little meaning to me. I know they care for nothing but what they want. they are not afraid to do anything to further their goal, no matter how horrific or heinous." Kaya paled some, a sick, sad look coming over her face. She took a deep breath to regain her composure. "They delight in torture and pain and trickery. Being that close to a creature such as that, can make you doubt yourself, your goals, your own morals." Kaya moved back in front of Renalis and looked him directly in the eye. "Even with it gone, I still feel it inside me, mocking me, and I wonder, was it just the monster?Or was the darkness in me all along." She paused a moment. "So, tell me, what do you know?"

Written by - Lucant Dolvan

When Lucant and his young guide made their way into the streets once more, the sun shone brightly in welcome. After a short ways, the druid spoke up: "My lord, once your armor arrives, please join us at the Grove's practice yard. I'm sure the others would love to see your skills."

Lucant tensed up again. "Yeah... my skills with a blade..." He nodded, then said "Of course, I'll be along directly." The young druid smiled and said to him "We'll all be waiting eagerly, my lord." Lucant frowned as the druid walked off towards the Temple Row.

Lucant decided to take the long way to his quarters. Along the way, he passed by Belle's family manor high on a hill at the outskirts of town. A strange feeling swept over him before he pressed onward. When he finally arrived at his and Tempyst's quarters, he found the armor already there waiting. With no small amount of effort, he put it on, took up his new sword, and then headed out for the Grove's training yard.

****

Leov quietly opened the infirmary's door, though, it's rusty hinges betrayed him. "There you are," a familiar voice yelled as soon as he had started to step through.

"Easy now, big sister..." Aloray said as he forcibly sat her back down. He reached behind him to a wall mounted shelf and took a piece of paper. As he handed it to Leov, he said to him: "This came for you earlier this morning."

Without saying a word, Leov took it and quickly glanced over it. "Hmmm... the some druid or something wants to talk to me..." "At least try to be respectful," Gilbert chimed in.

"Yeah.... Gil, Lyn... sit down and take a load off. Get something to eat or something... I'll be back soon. Real soon." He turned abruptly and headed back outside, wanting to get the meeting over with as soon as he could.

Written by - Tempyst

Tempyst smiled. The lessons with Dalomir about grounding went very well. Now, she could wander about the grove, waiting for Lucant to return. She reached out throught their link and found him to be safe, but rather tense still. She sent him soothing, loving thoughts and hoped it would help him deal with whatever he was dealing with. After wandering for a bit, she found herself by the practice yard at the grove and smiled brightly at what she saw. A'lanthear, flashing in the sunlight, spinning around from the new demon hunter's practice. Tempyst resisted the urge to reach out to the sword, not wanting to disrupt their practice or connection. I am glad he didn't give up; he will serve her well I think.

Then she saw her stop and was about to go introduce herself when a young druid came to her, spoke and lead her back into the grove. Tempyst followed suit and saw her being introduced to a man, one she recognized as being present during the fight with the demon. As the two began to walk and talk, she also noticed a beautiful, blue haired elf setting by one of the oaks. I wonder who this might be. Well, there is only one way to find out. She used her new senses and looked over her and could see the power coarsing through her. Tempyst walked over and sat down beside the elven woman. "Greetings, my name is Tempyst Dolvan, I do not believe we have met. Are you with him?" Tempyst looked towards Kaya and the human. "I was told that Kaya there is to meet with others here today, that know of demons and the like. Would you be one of them?"

Written by - Renalis

Crystal was almost daydreaming, staring off over the beautiful landscape, her thoughts occupied with her love. She was playing with the grass, letting a little magical energy pass to the plants all around her, promoting their growth. "Greetings," Crystal's mind was brought sharply back into focus, "my name is Tempyst Dolvan, I do not believe we have met. Are you with him?" Tempyst looked towards Kaya and the human. "I was told that Kaya there is to meet with others here today, that know of demons and the like. Would you be one of them?" Crystal nodded slightly, "I know enough, but he knows more..." Crystal's voice trailed off, her head lowing she touched the soulstone at the center of her shirt, she imagined the months in the void Renalis spent alone. "My appologies, where are my manners. I am Crystal Dalamar. A pleasure to make your aquaintance Tempyst." Crystal smiled as she saw Renalis draw his sword.

****

"Being that close to a creature such as that, can make you doubt yourself, your goals, your own morals." Kaya moved back in front of Renalis and looked him directly in the eye. "Even with it gone, I still feel it inside me, mocking me, and I wonder, was it just the monster?Or was the darkness in me all along." She paused a moment. "So, tell me, what do you know?"

Renalis looked down, touching the soulstone at his shirt's center, having felt the darkness touch and taint his very soul, "I know more than you might think... and there is a darkness within each of us. Thats what makes us - please forgive the euphamism - human; Choice. We all have within us the potential for good and evil and that choice is what brings us above the encarnation of evil that the lesser demons you encounter will embody."

"Now, for what I know about demons, well... let us begin." Renalis waved his hand in the air, conjuring the ghostly image of what appeared to be a demonic looking large wolf, skinned alive and having its features mutated, two large tentacles extending from its back. "This is a felhound; nastly little bastards. They hunt in packs, and can suck the magical essence out of any mage caught unprepared in less time than it takes to scream." Renalis paused for a second to let Kaya take a look, "The best way to take them out is quickly. Use speed to your advantage and strike for their tentacles first if possible. If not, a quick slice will kill them easily."

Renalis dismissed that image, and brought up another, and another, and another. Renalis had encounted a number of different demon types during his time in the void, and he brought an image of all of them, told what abilities they were capable of, and how to avoid their attacks. Seeing Kaya quickly becomeing bored however, he decided a change of pace was required. "Now, as you can see, the lesser demons have little intelligence, attacking in packs or groups, and just going all out with anything and everything they have. Those are the easiest to deal with, and are little more challenge than fighting an Orc. Greater demons however require a little more."

Renalis dismissed the last image he had displayed. "But there is little I can teach you about fighting them... most greater demons have abilities unique to them, but most have a general ability with magic, and are quite proficient with it. You only need two things to beat them; creativity, and adaptability. Be able to adapt to a changing situation because they will change how they fight based on how you fight. Be quick on your feet and ready to dodge any magic they may be throwing out, and any weapon they may be weilding. Sorry that I'm not more help, but the best thing I can offer, is some practice."

Renalis drew Azuresong from his sheath. The runeblade glowed faintly blue, a line of arcane symbols shimmering the entire length of the blade.

"Shall we?"

Written by - Tempyst

Tempyst saw Crystal smile and looked in the same direction. "Oh, looks like some more sparing is to be done. I hope Lucant makes it back soon, I think he wanted to get some in as well." Tempyst sat herself down beside the elf. Soft whispers greeted her mind, from the tree Crystal was leaning against and the plants around the both of them. So, she has some affinity, that is wonderful. She is not a druid though, but that doesnt matter, the plants like her, that is what matters. After a few moments of watching the two spar, she turned back to Crystal. "My turn to apologize now, but what is your husband's name? He is quite good."

****

Kaya listened to Renalis' tedious explainations of thes elesser demons. These are not the type I am worried about, they seem easy enough to deal with. She asked some questions here and there, but was sure Renalis could tell she was not impressed thus far with the information he was giving her. I know I should be more interested, but right now, action is what I need, I am tired of sitting and waiting.

Finally Renalis seemed to get the hint that this was not what Kaya was interested in. He drew his sword, the runeblade glowed faintly blue, a line of arcane symbols shimmering the entire length of the blade. "Shall we?"

Kaya perked and drew A'lanthear. "Practice is indeed what is in order. I appreciate your knowledge and I apologize if I did not seem grateful for your information, but you must know, I have been locked in a cage for almost half a year, and right now, sitting still is not on the top of my to do list. A'lanthear has taken in what you have taught me here today and I will go over it later, when rest is all I wish to do." She stepped back from Renalis and began to circle in a warrior's stance. "I want to know how they are captured, how they can be made to possess a person and what can be done to stop the intelligent ones. But enough talk. For now, let's dance."

Kaya rounded Renalis, showing off a little, twirling A'lanthear. She felt the sword's energy grow, flowing through the blade, through the hilt through her arms and into her. This was an entirely new dance, the one with this sword, but that did not make Kaya shy away from attack. She twirled one, then brought her sword down in a sharp, fast decent, meeting Renalis's blade. Both swords glowed as they pressed against each other, and both Renalis and Kaya got a big smile upon their face. "Aye, it is time to dance. Bring it...human."

Written by - Renalis

After a few moments of watching the two spar, Tempyst turned back to Crystal. "My turn to apologize now, but what is your husband's name? He is quite good."

Crystal smiled a little more, “His name is Renalis, and yes he is quite good…” Crystal rose to her feet and bowed slightly towards Tempyst, “If you’ll excuse me a moment…”

****

Kaya stepped back from Renalis and began to circle in a warrior's stance. "I want to know how they are captured, how they can be made to possess a person and what can be done to stop the intelligent ones. But enough talk. For now, let's dance."

Renalis looked down at his soulstone, “how they can be captured…” rang through his head. “it’s not as easy as it sounds, nor as safe…” Renalis stood motionless as Kaya rounded him, showing off a little, twirling A’lanthear.

Kaya twirled one, and then brought her sword down in a sharp, fast decent. Renalis moved quickly, bringing his sword up to meet hers and both swords glowed as they pressed against each other, Renalis got a smirk on his face as he could see the smile on Kaya’s face. "Aye, it is time to dance. Bring it...human." and she pressed the sword down, pushing Renalis back a bit and then struck again, bringing her sword in a sweeping arc Renalis deflected the blade aside and drew back a few feet.

“Excellent, you are already an accomplished warrior,” Renalis brought his sword back up, “but there is always room to improve.” Kaya drew back A’lanthear and then bolted forward, bringing A’lanthear up in a quick strike, but it too was parried. Kaya continued to press the attack, pushing Renalis farther back with every stroke, every attack being blocked or deflected but always pushing him farther back.

A quick jab forward by Kaya made Renalis twist his body suddenly, using Azurewrath to deflect A’lanthear to the side, he pushed off of Kaya to regain his stance, and then pressed forward with his own attack, “hmm… she is good, time to step it up a bit,” Renalis thought to himself as he began to escalate his intensity. “The key to defeating a demon,” Renalis was lecturing between attacks, “especially the intelligent ones is adaptation, and improvisation. You must change your tactics and strategies as the battle progresses, flowing like water and molding to the situation.” Renalis’s attacks were striking faster and truer now. Finally being on the offensive he was attacking her instead of just defending himself against her attacks. As good as Kaya was, Renalis was beginning to push her back.

Renalis could see the perspiration forming on Kaya, her reactions slowing, her blocks weaker, her strikes off a bit, “probably training all morning, no where near her best but still an amazing fighter… with some time, and some more training, the light just got another hero in their war against the darkness…” Renalis’s thoughts were thrown into chaos as he could feel the energy of another approaching quickly from behind; a familiar energy, “Crystal?”

Renalis deflected another of Kaya’s attacks to the side and then spun around, only to see his wife running towards him. He heard Kaya lunge toward him again, “don’t turn your back on me!” She yelled as she began to lay into him with renewed vigor – Renalis was once again on the defensive. As Crystal closed the distance, she leapt into the air. Seeing Crystal draw her blade, its violet aura flaring wildly, Renalis quickly reposted Kaya’s next attack to send her back, then instinctively brought Azurewrath up to defend himself, his sword was met with that of his wife’s.

Quite off balance, Renalis was quickly being overwhelmed; Kaya on one side and Crystal on the other, both pressing their attack. Finally regaining his senses, Renalis deflected Crystal’s next jab, and blocking Kaya’s horizontal swipe and rolling off it, he sprinted forward a few steps, and he spun around to once again face his foes. Crystal looked at Kaya, and nodded, who nodded in return and then lunged toward her opponent. Crystal circled around, once again pressing the pincer attack, “improvise, adapt and overcome my love,” she added, a coy grin on her face.

Quickly realizing that there was no way he could take them both, he decided it was time to end the dual. Renalis send a small pulse of energy along Azurewrath the next time he blocked Crystal’s attack, and it sent her sword back a bit. Renalis then pressed with fury on Kaya, small flashes of light being emitted with every clash of A’lanthear and the Runeblade. Finally drawing close enough to her, Renalis deflected her blade to the side and sent a quick burst of energy forth, connecting Kaya low in the stomach, she was sent back several feet and landed on her chest, a puff of smoke arising from the disturbed dirt, A’lanthear still firmly clutched in her hand.

Renalis then turned back to his wife who had regained her stance and lunged forward in the few moments Renalis had his back turned. The two traded blows, but Renalis was pushing her back. Sweat was beginning to bead on both their foreheads, and likewise, both were breathing deeply, neither holding anything back. Striking low in the hopes of drawing a high attack from Crystal, Renalis continued to push her back, and she was now only a few feet from a large oak. Crystal saw this as a lapse in his memory, always preferring herself to strike from high to low, and as such, she brought her blade down. Renalis quickly leapt up, bringing his sword in contact with hers, and pressing his body against hers, running back until they collided with the tree.

The two stood there for a short while, their swords locked high up against the tree staring deeply into each other’s eyes and breathing deeply. Using his free left hand, Renalis moved the hair away from Crystal’s face, “by the Gods you are beautiful,” and the two locked in a quick kiss. Pulling away Renalis sheathed Azurewrath, and Crystal too sheathed her blade, “and you are still a better swordsman than I,” she followed with a smile. Renalis wrapped his arm around his wife and walked back to Kaya,

Extending his arm to help her up, "You are a damn fine warrior Kaya."

Written by - Tempyst

Kaya lay there on the ground, still very exhilerated from the sparring that had just occured. But as she lay there, watching Renalis and his wife kiss, she suddenly realized she was not doing as well as she thought she was. She could feel all of her muscles suddenly begin to spasm, contracting hard. She felt herself pale, and her stomach begin to get quite queasy. Oh crap, what is going on? She found herself beginnign to weeze as Renalis came over to her, extending his arm to help her up, "You are a damn fine warrior Kaya."

"Thank you but I...I can barely move and breath...something is not right."

Written by - Lucant Dolvan

Leov came slowly striding down the winding dirt path watching the fight going on in the Sacred Grove. "What in the hell do they want with me here," he thought to himself. He waited for some tell-tale sign from the wind. Only a small breeze came to answer him.

He kept his eyes on a man in blue clothes fighting against some opponent he couldn't quite make out. It seemed an even fight with each gaining and giving ground in equal measure - at least until exhaustion set in. The man's opponent began to stumble as he turned his back on her. "Oh, c'mon now! Even I wouldn't do that..." Leov grinned to himself as he saw the man pay for his foolish action with an attacker at his front and back. He was a bit surprised, however, to see how deftly he handled the situation. "Hmm.... he's halfway decent..."

As he closed the distance with the fighters, he saw them congratulating each other and complimenting the other's abilites. "Ah... what the hell... I haven't picked a fight today." He reached into the left pocket of his coat and pulled out the pieces of the mithril palm guard he bought the day before. "Let's see if this junk is as good as everyone says..."

Walking up slowly behind the group, he yawned loudly and said to the blue man's back: "You're pretty good old son. If you ain't too tired... how's about one more go?"

Written by - Renalis

Seeing the colour drain from her face, and Kaya curling on the ground, her breathes coming in gasps, Crystal quickly rushed to her side.

"Thank you but I...I can barely move and breath...something is not right." Kaya's words were forced, between her gasps for air.

"My appologies Kaya, I meant to push your limits, not exceed them." Renalis bowed, "I hope my love can fix you up," he added with a smile and Crystal went to work.

Her hands hovering just over Kaya's body, Crystal moved them over the entire extent of her body, from head to toe. She could feel the energies in the air above her, the plants around her, and the ground benieth her. She channeled these energies together, through her and in conjunction with the distant tie to Elune and Corellon. The Soulstone acted as the focus, and added its own energy to it and the conversion was complete. The healing wave flowed over Kaya, entering her very being and began to mend the damage done by the day's intense training. She would feel her breath return to her, and the pain in her muscles lessen as the damaged tissues began to mend.

With a final deep breath, Crystal opened her eyes, "there you go... try to take it easier on yourself from now on. You do yourself no good pushing beyond your capabilities, you only end up hurting yourself." Crystal stood up, somewhat drained from her healing spell, but having drawn most of the energy from the world around, her fatigue quickly passed.

Renalis heard someone walk up slowly behind him, he yawned loudly and said, "You're pretty good old son. If you ain't too tired... how's about one more go?" Renalis turned to see who challenged him. "Yea, I'm more than able for another fight," Renalis turned back and kissed his wife lightly, "I'll be back my love," Crystal sighed softly, "kick his ass," she thought to herself.

Renalis once more faced his opponent, "Your name sir?"

Written by - Tempyst

Tempyst watched the sparring between Renalis and Kaya. She could tell Kaya was pushing her limits, but she also sensed from her, from A'lanthear, that it was something she needed to do, so she did not interfere. She knew the new demon hunter was not going to die, so all would be okay. She enjoy the show as it progressed and Crystal joined in. I should really learn how to fight some too, for there may come a time when my magics won't be enough. Perhaps Lucant can teach me. Then she miled, sensing the precense of her husband behind her. She stood and ran to him and threw her arm around his neck and hugged him tightly. It was then she felt the difference about him. She stood back and saw his new attire. "My oh my, you, you are a wonderous sight my love."

"You truly think so?" Lucant responded, though his eyes were on the fight happening just a few yards away. "What is going on there?" Tempyst explained that it was a sparring lesson and Lucant nodded. I too will need some of those lessons. He watched with interest, then he noticed the sword the female elf was using. A'lanthear. He scowled, but Tempyst put a hand on his amr, letting him know to not worry, the sword had a new mistress. He nodded and continued to watch the fight, taking in information, moves, parries, thrusts and swings.

When the sparing fight was done, Kaya lay on the ground, her body convulsing from over-exertion, but Crystal moved to her and quickly began to heal the fallen warrior. I see she can heal as well, she does have a touch of nature within her. Tempyst smiled and let the elf heal the hunter. "Lucant? Will you teach me how to fight?"

Lucant looked at his wife, then leaned down and kissed her forehead. He could hear her telling him her reasons through their link. "Why of course my love, but I have much to learn myself. You can teach me what I need to know of being close to nature and I will help you."

"Deal. Now, We will have time to meet Kaya later, but for now, let us get back to Dalomir and see what he has in store for us." Tempyst took Lucant's hand and lead him back into the Sacred Grove.

Written by - Lucant Dolvan

Leov watched the blue clad man turn and kiss some strange elf looking creature. "I'll be back my love," the man said to her. Leov frowned and thought to himself "Don't make me gag..."

The man turned once more and said to him: "Your name sir?" Leov eyed the man up and down. "Hmph.... condescending son of a..." He yawned again and stretched, bringing his arms down behind him on Sulrista's hilt and scabbard. "No one special. Besides, what does it matter?" He calmly drew Sulrista - which seemed to sing with joy as it was pulled from the scabbard - then let his arms fall lifelessly to his sides.

Taking one step back, Leov threw his arms open and said to the blue man: "C'mon son... I'm waiting..."

Written by - Tempyst

"There you go... try to take it easier on yourself from now on. You do yourself no good pushing beyond your capabilities, you only end up hurting yourself." Crystal said, standing up.

"Thanks, I should have known better. I will remember that just because I feel fine mentally, my body may not have caught up from months of no activity." Kaya chuckled and stood up, shaking Crystal's hand. Then she heard a familiar voice...

"You're pretty good old son. If you ain't too tired... how's about one more go?"

Kaya turned to look and saw Leov there, drawing his sword, while Renalis stepped forward to meet him. This should be fun to watch, I look forward to see his style. But at least Leov is here so we can talk afterwards. Kaya watch the two men face off, her eyes drifting naturally to Leov, and found herself hoping the sea captain would win.

Written by - Trinni Shannon

Sunlight cheerfully streamed into the room. Normally restrained by the pair of doors leading out to the balcony, the morning finds the not-so-translucent doors absently left open and the sunshine runs free... right into Lithwyn's eyes.

Quickly clamping her eyes shut again, she groans and turns away from the offending glare. How can a little wine cause such a headache? Groaning again, she stretches her arms under the blankets, seeking warmth and comfort, hoping to slip back into sleep. Sliding across, her hands bump into a motionless form. Jerking them back to her body, her breath quickens and her mind protests the effort of frantically trying to figure out who could possibly be in her room, in her bed! Trying to move slowly, so as not to disturb the obviously sleeping person, she slides out from underneath the blanket, onto the sun dappled floor. First one foot, then the other onto the floor, a slow lowering of herself into a crouch, the smooth reaching under the mattress for the dagger kept there for just such an occasion, the steadying of her breathing, the preparation for a strike to be followed immediately by a yell for the guards...

Then the lump shifts slightly and the groan, though muffled by the heavy blanket, sounds too familiar. By the Gods... Slidding soundlessly to the floor, she turns and her back rests against the bed. Hands in lap, the dagger still clutched tightly, Lithwyn draws her knees to her chest and closes her eyes.

"Will you marry me?" What can I say to that? I love him, but that? How could he? It was hard enough... but then... in front of everyone? What's with the rush? It'd only been... what, are we humans now? Of all the crazy things... and what's with that playfulness? Did he suddenly become someone else? If I hadn't had so much wine... I never would have... well... would I?

Images flashed through Lithwyn's mind and she couldn't help but grin. It had been fun. All that tension for so long, and what a release it had been! Ithramir striding into the room... Oh! What a mess they had made in there. How will it ever get straightened again? So much work to do, and now her grin turned into a frown as she pictured the disarray of her office.

Opening her eyes again, her head not pounding quite so hard, she looks around the half of the room she's on. What a mess. The doors left open, clothes thrown everywhere, glasses on the balcony, bottles here and there, where is the gown she had on last night? As if that little bit of cleaning up wasn't enough... what about his question? She didn't think she had actually gotten around to forming an answer, he didn't exactly ask about it again when he came in. Frowning, rubbing her temples, she sighs softly.

Another rustle from the bed behind her, and she ducks down, almost gouging her eye with the blade still in her hand. Holding her breath, not making a sound, she waits. When Ithramir's breathing returns to the slow, even pace of sleep, Lithwyn slowly rises to her feet. Pushing the dagger back in its normal hidding spot, she then tip-toes around the bed to her open, of course open, wardrobe. A basic shift was pulled hastily over her head, followed quickly by an unremarkable dress. This was her "I mean business" attire.

Looking over her shoulder at the unmoving form burried beneath blankets, Lithwyn silently picks up a long toothed comb from next to the water basin and places it between her lips for safe keeping. Glancing at her image in the mirror, she turns away, apparently satisfied enough to go out in public. Making her way to the door, avoiding the obstacles of random possessions strewn everywhere, she dips towards the floor once, then twice, her hair grazing the floor. Shoes now clutched against her chest with one hand, she backs towards the door, confident nothing else is in her path. Her free hand slowly turns the handle, opens the door. Halfway through, she takes one last long look inside, still amazed, and slips out.

In the hall, she immediately drops the shoes to the floor and simultaneously works them onto her feet while wrestling the comb into her hair, pilling it snuggly against her scalp. That done, she smoothes her dress and straightens her shoulders, and sighs at the door, having escaped. Escaped what?

****

Meanwhile...

Elsewhere in the citadel, the sunlight makes its usual trek through the open window of a more humble room. Though small, enough random pieces of armor, clothing, and shiny baubles were strewn about the room that could fill most houses. Shiny bits of this and that, tied about the canopy bed posts and crossbars, threw tiny beams of light about the room as they spun merrily in the breeze. The tinkling of tiny pieces of metal and glass mingle with the soft smell of the wild flowers in various pots and vases about the room.

At a casual glance, it would seem an explosion of color befell the room. Careful inspection would reveal that the explosion, though intense, is not without some semblance of order.

Then, along with the tinkling of the chimes hanging in the window, a soft dream-filled murmur escapes from underneath a pile of blankets in the middle of the bed.

"Mmmm butterfly butter biscuits... silly silly orc-sky... mmmm lemon cream kiss... yes I ... love to dance... funny pants... my favorite bow, yes yes..."

A soft giggle, and still more murmuring. Slowly, the pile of blankets begins to move. A little at first, then more and more until one tiny hand appears, stretching towards the sunlight. The hand clenches, as if trying to grab the sun. Then, all at once, the body attached to the hand jumps out from the tangle of blankets. Landing with a loud thud, louder than you would think for such a small woman, she stretches her body up to the ceiling. Playfully batting the strips of cloth and shiny pretties hanging up there, Trinni whoops with glee.

Running to the window, she looks down at the grounds below.

"Goooooodmoooooorning!" Waving energetically, she smiles at the random gardener far beneath her window.

Looking up, hand on his hat, Balanon grins at the familiar site and waves, calling up his own cheerful "Hallloooooooo There!" before returning to work.

Pulling her head back into the window, she runs around the room in a cheerful blur. Stopping at the door, now completely changed into the clothes and leather armor for the day, she hesitates only long enough to grab her daggers and throw her beloved bow over her shoulder before bouncing out the door.

Running down the hall, easily dodging the not-so-surprised, well - not after countless mornings such as this one, people walking way too slowly, she makes her way outside, looking for mischief... of course.

Written by - Trinni Shannon

Bounding down a large staircase, Trinni could hear the sweet clang of metal on metal softly echoing off the stone walls. Jumping over the last few steps, she hits the ground running. It can't be that far off. As the oh so heavy wood door to the courtyard is pushed open, the pretty sounds of a fight grow louder. Pausing at the threshold, she holds her breath and tilts her head to the side, figuring out the direction the fun is coming from by how the echoes bounce around her.

"The grove!"

Could be some bad guys, could be someone playin' around... either way, it's sure to be more fun than a pail o' snails!

Flying around the last corner, she scans the people in the clearing and her smile of anticipation dissappears. Skidding along the paved walkway a few feet, she comes to a shocked halt. She stares for a moment in disbelief before snapping out of it. She reaches for her bow.

Renalis was fighting some strange guy, but they were obviously just play fighting. The shocking thing is that whenever they pull apart, Trinni can see a girl on the otherside. She is standing next to the mean chick that had been sobbing all over Renalis. But this new girl was not just any girl. Sure it had been dark and kinda rainy, but Trinni'll never forget what she saw up in that tower. Ithramir falling at the feet of...

"HER!"

A million thoughts flash through her head even as she moves into her firing stance.

She tried to kill Commander Ithramir! She doesn't look like that crazy evil demon thing right now, but she didn't at first, either! How'd she escape? Doesn't Renalis see her? She's right there! I'll show that demon thing she picked the wrooooong elf to mess with!!!

Biting her lip, she notches an arrow in place and pulls back the bowstring until it is lined up with her frowning lips, looking for a shot. The fighting back and forth taking place between her and that crazy person was getting to be a little annoying...

Mumbling to herself, she says, "Son of an Orc! How'm I supposed to..."

Trinni keeps her head steady, eyes locked on her target's forehead, and yells at the top of her lungs, " 'NALIS! GET DOWN!!!!"

He didn't get down, of course. Boys. But the instant the two pulled apart to look at her in surprise was all she needed. Relaxing her fingertips, the bowstring does its job and the arrow zooms away... toward one very surprised, and soon to be very dead, evil psycho demon chick.

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