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Book Three Pt 1 - The Reckoning

Written by - Archeantus Page 3 Book 3

There was a fleeting moment where Keeryn’s eyes flashed, her hand twitched with the possibility to take the dagger. Jasmine watched as quickly as it came, the moment was gone. Her eyes, which yielded to an ephemeral excitement now lowered knowingly.

"I won't kill someone who wants to die like that. It's shameful to even think of doing such a thing, you were spared, though I don't know why. There must have been a purpose, so maybe you should think on what it is, and actually make yourself useful instead of wallowing in self-pity." Keeryn said, her voice at the brim of utter confusion.

She turned then, a strange glare in her oval eyes.

Jasmine remained there, the dagger still in her hands. Slowly, she took the dagger and placed it in its sheath. Truthfully, she hadn’t wanted to die, though it would have been welcome to end the pain she felt. It was the towering weight of justice that made her do what she had just done. There were few who deserved to die more than her. There were men who would have killed to be offered a chance to take her life. And had. If Keeryn had known just how far her nefarious deeds actually reached, she would have felt obligated in behalf of thousands of souls to bring justice to their deaths. There were times in the stillness of night, Jasmine heard them, and the one thing that truly scared her was death, among them. And yet, the cat-like creature’s question rang in her head. “There must be a purpose…there must be a reason she had been spared…”

Jasmine, watching Keeryn and Sabbatine packing, began gathering her things in thought.

It wasn’t long, as they began moving out, that Keeryn again approached her.

"I'm sorry about before, I shouldn't have gotten angry at you when you had nothing to do with it. Are you feeling any better than before?"

Jasmine looked into the face of one so different than her. A race she had never seen, nor heard about. It was that strangeness that allowed her to speak. Ever since what had happened in her past, she had never been able to converse with those like her. Humans, elves, Dwarves. She had turned them into rodents, insects, insignificant things, the future dead in her mind. She had had to with what she did. Therefore, she truthfully felt more comfortable in the presence of Keeryn and Sabbatine than when Teran and Mavigan were with them. And so, still with great timidity, Jasmine responded, much like how an ally cat responds to things it not used to.

“I fear…I may not ever feel better. There…are things you do not understand, things I don’t want to explain to you. You are justified in how you feel against me. I make no excuses. But…I ask of you, please….if you can…judge me only as you view me here now. This is who I want to be.”

Jasmine had closed her eyes, breathing in the thin possibility of one knowing her as someone completely different from who she had been for so many years.

Written by - Lucant Dolvan

As Leov and Aelyndria walked slowly towards the celebration at Lothiel-Gadith, the rain began to fall. "I need to rest a moment," Aelyndria said as she moved towards the large fountain in the central square of Port Ancora. "Well rest up, then. I don't wanna have to haul you everywhere," Leov said as his gaze wandered back towards the docks. There was a short pause before Aelyndria spoke again: "While we're here, I suppose I can give you your first... lesson... of sorts. Look around, child. Tell me, what do you see?"

Leov was a bit vexxed by the old woman's question, but tried to answer as best he could: "A bunch of people walking around." A sharp pain struck him in the back, as if a thousand needles were being pressed into his skin. "Ouch! What the hell was that," he yelled, making a spectacle out of himself why trying to scratch at the stinging in his back. Aelyndria sighed, and said "That was me, you fool. You don't think they just give the title of Tide Master to anyone, now do you," she smiled, then said "It really is a quite misleading title. Any water in any form from any place is mine to command as I see fit. Now, tell me what you see here, or am I going to have to show you more of my abilities?" Leov, quite angry, snapped back "I did tell you lady! The only thing here is a bunch of people going about their business." With slight gesture of her hand, a fist-sized column of water reached forth from the fountain and knocked Leov to the ground. "Look past that, child. I know you can see it, and I know you know what it is. All you have to do is tell me and we can be on our way."

Picking himself up of the ground, Leov shot Aelyndria an icy glare before sitting down beside her to look out at the scene. A few minutes past, then Leov finally spoke: "Strength... the strength of the Young Lady. These people who follow her are her strength... the Walls and the Castles that shield her." Aelyndria calmly stood up and said to her reluctant student "Very good child. There may be hope yet. Now, let's get to the citadel... I'm sure the party should be well underway by now, and I would hate to miss it." Leov stood up, sighed, then followed behind his teacher.

Written by - Sycon

It was then that he felt it…

A swift breeze passed through the cloud. There was a whisper on the wind that barely caught his ear. He could not make out the words, but they sounded as if an angel had come to this plane to utter the very sounds herself. It was soothing, almost a song in the whisper. The alluring tune carried on this breeze as it twisted up and around him. It did not seem to want to leave the cloud, this wind, but stay and swirl close to this strange being that it had found. The wind had a life of its own, twisting around his tattered, worn robes making them quiver. His hair also seemed to have a life of its own as the wind passed through the strands of auburn hair now laced with this silvery white.

Sycon, completely enthralled by the melody, moved with the wind as it spun along his body. He slowly turned in the air, letting his arms flail out to his sides letting the wind catch every inch of him. It was as if heaven itself was coming to earth, or perhaps he had gone far enough into the clouds to find heaven’s pearly gates. The harmony of wind and melody entranced all his senses, as he fell into the pure ecstasy that this was. It was too good to be true.

A soft voice, the same that had given the harmony with the wind, spoke to him only one word, “Sycon.” It snapped him out of his senses. He turned towards the direction the voice had come from, loosing all thought of bliss he had experienced only seconds ago. The wind abruptly stopped, even the very mist he was levitating in seemed to stop. For the second time in his life, Sycon knew the exquisiteness of beauty. She stood only several feet from him, standing on the same cloud that he was in. Just standing there, looking into his eyes.

Her eyes were almost glowing. They were silvery white like mercury, and danced with every flicker of light. Like pulsating orbs of pure radiant energy waiting to be released. She was smaller than he was, but there was not a detail about her that wasn’t graceful, almost elegant. She was natural the way she moved, the way her hips, her legs, her feet moved and bent with each step. He watched as she progressed closer to him, her white dress caressing every curve of her body as she moved. She was enthralling.

Sycon had seen this maiden once before and knew her all to well. She was one with him, as he was one with her. Though a union of the physical had never been made, they were never truly apart. Their souls were still their own, nothing like the link that Lucant and Tempyst had seemed to share, but their minds were linked… always. This was the woman who made fun of him when times were down. She lifted his spirits and kept his thoughts warm when it was cold. And now, when Sycon had felt depressed even when all the exultation down below had surged through him, she was here for him. It was his silver maiden.

She continued on her destined path to him, never deterring nor hesitating a single step, only to stop inches from him. She looked up into his eyes. Sycon looked down into hers, and he saw the world and its creatures through her silvery white eyes. He saw the death of Winter, the rebirth of Spring, the life that was Summer and the beauty and wisdom of Fall. Her very soul was there in her eyes for all to see. Her sorrows, her joys and fears. He also felt her eyes searching his soul as well. Trying to find whatever it was that she needed, why she had come to him at all. And there it was, a small smile trickled across her face like the first sprinkle of a thunderstorm.

She spoke to him, half through his mind and half aloud. I know you love me. I can see it in you as clearly as the water of the grove down below. I want you to know that I have come to love you as well. I have loved many in my centuries, but I believe you might somehow be diverse from the others. You have showed me things in such a short time that I thought never to be true. You showed me the world like I have never seen it before, and I thank you eternally for that. Please, let me do this for you now. Be one of my chosen and accept this gift I am willing to offer you. Will you have it? Will you have me? She stopped. Her eyes seemed to gaze deeper into his soul than ever before. She was searching for his answer before he could even give it.

Sycon almost chuckled and let it turn into a soft smile to match her searching eyes. “You know me better than most anyone has ever known a person. You have seen my thoughts, and know who I really am. You have seen my sins, my passions, my lusts, my loves and yet you still stand here before me now. You knew I would accept you from the first time I set eyes upon you. It is not just your stunning physique that makes me falter, but your eyes. The very window into you soul that you are willing to share with me. Yes, I love you. I will love many others, as you will yourself, but I will never love them as I love you. We are not meant to be, but my love stands regardless. I will accept you, milady. Forever and eternally pledged to your side, for I am now your Sycon.”

At this they both delved into each others eyes as their lips drew closer. Her gift to him as he gave his gift of love and loyalty to her. Their eyes closed and lips met. Her lips were like fire. The warmth spread through his body, hotter and hotter it felt, almost painful. Their bodies intertwined as his robes and her dress fell away into the wind. Sycon’s mana gave out and he was levitating no longer, but the cloud they stood on seemed solid now as he let his weight upon it. And there, as they expressed their love for the other in only ways one can express through actions, a bond was made. Each was aware and each willing. As the time passed and the thunder rolled closer to them she pulled away from him. Looking him once more in his eyes. She spoke in her soft whisper of a voice once more You have given me more than I have ever asked of you or ever expected. You have accepted me and pledged yourself to me. For this, I give you my gift. You will find yourself changed forever by this, though perhaps not all at once… but please I ask you once more. Will you accept me?

“Yes,” was Sycon’s only reply as he could barely find the words. She leaned down once more and kissed him passionately on the lips. Once again her lips were like fire, her touch almost deafening to the skin. But the fire did not stop, it only increased in intensity. The fire turned to lightning, then to molten rock that only came from beneath the earth. It spread through his body. Sycon couldn’t think, he couldn’t move. He couldn’t breathe. His body tried to jerk away but he found himself powerless to her, his body completely suspended in her arms and their embrace lasted for what seemed forever. But he did not die. He did not perish away and fall to dust as he felt like his body would do at any moment, then the fire ebbed.

Slowly she pulled away from the embrace they shared and Sycon’s vision started blackening from the sides. The blackness moved in quickly on his sight until he could see no more, then it moved to his sense of smell, then to his sense of touch as he felt her slowly let him go. He could no longer taste anything in his mouth, not even the mist on his tongue. Finally, before his hearing gave way to the darkness he heard her say Sycon, my little hero. Be strong and be brave. Perform the task that you promised me and I remove your gease here and now. Know that I love you and will always be with you and there for you when you need me most. Now rest my love. Sycon faded from the world giving way completely to the blackness that was a deep sleep. His body slowly floated down to the ground, naked and open to all the world. He gently landed upon a small soft spot within the grove, near the puddle of water in which he had noticed his looks earlier. The rain started to fall a little harder now, and Sycon started to shiver, but his body was still far to warm still to catch cold. Had everyone yet left the grove or would he wake to a mob staring at him. Sycon’s dreams were of the most pleasant things, only to be unaware of the possible embarrassment that was soon to follow consciousness.

Written by - Vylia

“I fear…I may not ever feel better. There…are things you do not understand, things I don’t want to explain to you. You are justified in how you feel against me. I make no excuses. But…I ask of you, please….if you can…judge me only as you view me here now. This is who I want to be.” It was practically a whisper, but Keeryn heard it perfectly.

"You want to be viewed the way you are now? Someone so timid in appearance a rabbit could scare you? I don't understand why you would wish this, it only invites people to try and take advantage of you. People like that rat Teran, he's using your current state to get what he wants, and I doubt he cares at all what happens to you in the end. Of course, it may have been the only way to get you to travel with us, but I'd still pay close attention to what he asks you to do." Keeryn then starts sniffing around, hoping to catch a whiff of Mavigan's scent so she can find her again.

Written by - Teran

"Heeheehee" Sabbatine grins from ear to ear at the two other women, she found Jasmine's performance to be humorous.

She had a bonfire going and was crouched close to it, they had been travelling for two days now, only one day to go.

"You two should get some rest, tomorrow we meet up with Tery and Mavy." She scuttled around the fire as though trying to find a warmer spot without getting any closer.

Written by - Isuiln Fellblade

As the rain fell, Isuiln's laughter slowly subsided, but he was still grinning from ear to ear, especially while he watched Trinni sputtering as she reacted to that spontaneous kiss.

"What's the big idea? What's so funny? Who said you... you could do that? You scared me half ta death, ya know? How'm I supposed to fight by you if'n you don't wait for me? Huh? That was very silly. You shoulda waited! Maybe I coulda done something, maybe I coulda helped! You big... big... meanie head!"

He starts to laugh again, and she pokes him in the chest with her now shivering finger as she chatters to him, "D-d-don't d-do that ag-gain!"

"Alright, I promise to ask your consent first next time," he replies, knowing even she doesn't know whether she meant the kiss or running off without her, and only the amused gleam in his eyes hints at which he's referring to. She tries to scowl at him, but her hearts not in it, and he grins back until she looks away, frusterated with his lack of guilt for worrying her. Then the look turns into one of true pain and worry, and he follows her gaze to the mage, Renalis, being held by a woman. His body was quite still. Looking back up to Trinni, he sees her crying and hugging herself. He sits up beside her and wraps an arm supportively around her. But as he tries to lead her away, he sees Renalis twitch. As he stares, the mage slowly comes around, and Isuiln looks over at Trinni with a renewed smile, which she returns.

"You're both alive! Alive! Don't do th-that again, Isuiln! Ya here me? Never ever ever again! You wait for me, are you listening?!" She hugs him back tightly, and this time lets him lead her away, towards the kitchens where he had seen Ithramir and Lithwyn heading. As he passed Renalis, he bent down to clap him on the shoulder, and gave a small bow to the lady. Then, arms around Trinni, they walk out of the grove, and he whispers in her ear, "I'll wait for you as long as you want me to."

Written by - Lucant Dolvan

Leov and Aelyndria continued their procession to the kitchens behind the freshly healed soldiers, captains, and generals. He noticed Lithwyn walking close to a marsh elf, and the long-haired man from the bar following close behind them.

Falling in behind a pair of elves wrapped in each other's arms, Leov frowned when he saw the man lean over and whisper something in the ear of his companion. Sighing in disgust, he protested to Aelyndria "Do we have to go to this thing? I'm really not in the mood to see a bunch of love-sick fools fawning all over each other. Why can't I just write 'em a letter or somethin'?" Aelyndria flatly replied "Because, idiot, the full effect is lost if you do not deliver the news in person. Those cuts and bruises will go a long towards proving your claim rather than a few words on parchment." She looked over at Leov, still frowning "And you seem a man rather given to his emotions. What is it about love that disgusts you so?" Leov shot her a glance and said sharply "That's none of your damned business, old woman." "You will have to face it eventually, child." Leov didn't respond. The rain continued to fall as everyone made their way into the dining hall.

Leov found a small corner in the large dining hall and made it a point to get there before anyone else. Aelyndria followed close behind him, carefully observing her charge. Leaning against the wall, he watched silently as the party-goers continued to pour in. He hoped to avoid the notice of anyone important, after all, he was still a bit of a fugitive. As he waited for the precise moment to tell the commanders of what he had encountered in his attempted escape, he cought himself looking down at the small brass ring on his left hand.

****

Erruno Holgrave scratched his bristling beard as he and his small band of guards made their regular patrol in the falling rain. They had just gotten back from the battle at Minas Aure, but they had no time to rest. After all, the streets were not known to keep themselves safe.

"This is completely rediculus! We can't go on like this forever, we're not golems! We need sleep and some halfway decent food," a young brown haired man complained. "Baldwin, if you don't quit yer belly-achin' I'm gonna... I don't know what I'm gonna do, it won't be pretty," Erruno yelled back at him. Another one of the guards - a man in his early thirties with sandy blonde hair - turned towards Baldwin and calmly said to him: "We're almost finished with the patrol Baldwin, just have a little patience. We've been away for a good while... who knows what's been going on here while we were gone." "William is right. We'll be finished soon, so just grin and bear it," another guard - a young man with a stern countenance and long blonde hair - said.Erruno yelled back again, "I said shut up! That means you, too, Doram!" The four guards continued their silent patrol as the rain continued to fall.

When the four guards reached the warehouse district of the port, where all the construction material was stored for the nearly finished keep, Doram noticed a small trickle of blood running into the street from one of the back alleyways. "Hold up," he yelled to the others ahead of him.Erruno turned around shouted back at him "Doram, this had better be good! We're nearly finished here..." Doram didn't wait around to hear Erruno's yelling, he had already started down the alleyway to find out what was there. The others quickly followed after him and found him kneeling down beside the body of a young man who had been badly beaten. Erruno came around to see the young man and just how badly he was injured. A long, deep gash ran down the left side of his face from just above the eyebrow to the middle of his cheek. He had numerous other cuts, scratches, and gashes, and Erruno was sure there were many broken, if not shattered, bones.A cold chill ran up his spine and he suddenly felt ill when he recognized the broken man as Lucant. He then started shouting orders, using his guards' last names as he always did when issuing orders: "Crisato, help me pick him up and carry someplace better. Orale, go see if you can find a cart or horse or something. Sandaval, head up to the citadel and tell the healers to get ready. The others did not respond, they merely went about their orders with all due speed. Doram helped Erruno lift Lucant's shattered body up as Baldwin ran out into the rain to look for some means of transportation. William ran as fast as he could towards the citadel to tell the healers of what they had found.

Written by - Rikshanthas

"Can you eat, Vhar?"

The Loremaster smiled as they moved to the dining hall, his nose also picking up the smells of cooking wafting from the kitchens. "Indeed," he replied with a chuckle. "And I have found it one of the more enjoyable aspects of being human -- yes, this is no mere illusion, I know now I have Nyrondis to thank for that. The details are somewhat complicated, suffice it to say the deity taught me a valuable lesson with this last week's experience, one I will long remember." He sighed. "And to answer your other queries, my presence here was more or less accidental, the aethers being somewhat difficult to navigate," he indicated the Gatekey at his wrist with a wry smile, "and I want the same thing most people value: knowledge. I am a scholar, after all." He paused before continuing, "However I must take my leave soon. While I have enjoyed my time here, I should not have come in the first place; my people observe and record, we do not as a rule interfere with other cultures. If my visit to this world had been intentional, you would have never been aware of my existence; my people have ways of travelling undetected, so as not to disturb those we study. All things considered, though, I am glad for the time I have spent here --" he stopped mid-sentence as he noticed the sailor who had escaped earlier, in the company of a sea elf no less. "Hmm." Vhar's eyes narrowed slightly. I would have thought he would be putting as much distance between himself and this Citadel as possible, why is he here? "I have just been reminded of something I wished to mention to you, milady," he said, turning to Lithwyn. The young human sailor I encountered earlier, the one responsible for that tavern scuffle ... he managed to talk his way out of his cell and escape. I was going to inform you at the earliest opportunity, but it seems the young man ... reconsidered." Vhar inclined his head toward where Leov sat.

Written by - Tempyst

Kaya opened her eyes, not feeling like she had slept long. The sky shining through her cell window showed it was still daylight out. She sighed, almost wistfully, as a rush of fresh air came through the window and filled her nostrils with the wonders of city life. I miss running about the city. Watching all the people, having a friendly scuffle in a bar, going to market and tasting fresh bread and pastries. But I doubt I will be doing any of that any time soon, if ever again. Kaya stood up, and removed some of her bloody clothing, tossing it into the furthest corner. She looked around and called out for a guard, but no one answered. Again, she was not surprised. After taking off all but the torn, bloody shirt she was wearing, she sat back down on the mat, holding her legs tightly to her and waited.

Written by - Lucant Dolvan

A warm, comforting darkness enveloped Lucant as he collapsed to the ground. He stayed within the darkness for a while before finally opening his eyes.

When he did, he found himself in front of his forge at his old workshop in Almurad. Several heavy bars of iron sat on the anvil as the freshly stoked forge roared with anticipation. Lucant did not know how he had ended up back at his meager workshop, nor did he care. He was home; he was were he belonged; that was all that mattered to him. He stood slowly from the wooden stool he was on and walked over to grab his apron from its usual spot on the wall. He noticed that there was no pain in his movements, nor was there hesitation.

With a smile on his face, he picked up his tools and set to work. The anvil seemed to laugh with joy at each resounding strike of the hammer, the forge roared happily as each bar was heated, and the trough squeeled with joy when the red hot metal was quenched in its waters. For the first time in a long time, Lucant was truly happy and truly at peace with himself. He was so content, he did not hear the door to his workshop open.

Written by - Tempyst

Tirigil watched her father for a short while before entering his sanctuary. She walked in slowly, then as he turned towards her, she smiled brightly and warmly, her love for him able to be felt by any who would be close. The young woman moved towards Lucant and wrapped her arms around him and hugged him tightly. "Hello daddy. I am so glad to finally meet you." She felt his strong arms wrap around her and she too continued to hug him. Who knows how long the two stood them, embraced, but after awhile, Tirigil pulled back and kissed her father's cheek. She then slipped her hand into Lucant's and pulled him over to a bench and sat down.

"My name is Tirigil daddy, Avendor named me, it means *Bright Star*. Momma thought it suited me, I hope you like it too." Her bright blue eyes shone with joy as she sat there with her father. "I know a lot has happened daddy and I hope I can explain some of what has occured. I want you to know, neither you, nor momma is at fault for my death. It was my choice. You two would have raised me to be a strong willed girl, stubborn like you both, ready to stand up for what is right and to always do what is needed to help others. So, I took that strength from both of you and id what I felt I needed to do. I wanted to help; I gave my life willingly, so please, no worries, no fears. I was never once in pain and I feel so proud to be your child and I hope you are proud of me as well." Tirigil then stood up and pulled her father up with her. "Now, why don't you show me around here daddy, teach me what you do?"

Tirigil and Lucant spent a lifetime together in forge. He taught her his trade and both of them laughed at her endeavors. She was not perfect, but she loved the time she had here. By the end of the lessons, both of them were smudged and dirty, but neither of them cared. She led him outside, under a tree, where a picnic had been set up. She watched Lucant carefully, studying his face, then spoke softly again.

"I know you are hurting daddy and I am so sorry for that. Please, don't hate A'lanthear. His soul is good, he just became lost along the way of his fight against the demons. He did what he thought he needed to, to make sure the evil would be defeated. " She saw Lucant tense up a bit; she placed her hand on his. "I do not think he did was right, what he did to make you and momma come together, but how can I feel he was wrong. I can't, for if he had not done what he did, I would not be here. I would not have such a wonderful father and mother who loves me. And please, don't hate Nyrondis either. Nyrondis was not aware of the trickery A'lanthear used to get his needs met. He trusted the sword and left him to his own means. If you wished to speak to either of them here, it would be possible, but I won't push it. That choice is yours to make." She paused, then squeezed her father's hand. "just like another choice you will be making. I saw you leave the great tree where momma is. I saw you with Beleyna." She looked into her father's eyes, love and concern within them. "Is she your true love daddy? Do you have any love for momma?"

Written by - Lucant Dolvan

In truth, Lucant knew this place was not real. He would never see his workshop again, nor would he ever be able to spend time with his daughter or hold her in his arms. Still, even though he knew it to be true, he entertained the farce a while longer.

Lucant had leaned back against the massive tree as Tirigil said to him softly: I know you are hurting daddy and I am so sorry for that. Please, don't hate A'lanthear. His soul is good, he just became lost along the way of his fight against the demons. He did what he thought he needed to, to make sure the evil would be defeated. " She saw Lucant tense up a bit; she placed her hand on his. "I do not think he did was right, what he did to make you and momma come together, but how can I feel he was wrong. I can't, for if he had not done what he did, I would not be here. I would not have such a wonderful father and mother who loves me. And please, don't hate Nyrondis either. Nyrondis was not aware of the trickery A'lanthear used to get his needs met. He trusted the sword and left him to his own means. If you wished to speak to either of them here, it would be possible, but I won't push it. That choice is yours to make." She paused, then squeezed her father's hand. "just like another choice you will be making. I saw you leave the great tree where momma is. I saw you with Beleyna." She looked into her father's eyes, love and concern within them. "Is she your true love daddy? Do you have any love for momma?" She may have been an agent of the gods, but she was still very much a child, and she cut swiftly to the heart of the matter as children often do.

Lucant hugged his daughter tightly and said to her as truthfully as he could "I do not hate them, my heart. Yet still, I was used. I cannot forgive that. From now until I see you again in the heavans, I will stand or fall by my will alone." He wanted this time to last forever; he dared not close his eyes for fear that when he opened them, the tree, the workshop, Tirigil would all be gone. After a pause, he spoke to Tirigil again, his voice leaden with a serious tone: "Belyena and I are two very different people. Nothing good has ever, nor will it ever, come from a meeting between us. As for your mother... I'm not sure..." his voice trailed off. "We shared so much together, but I barely know her. If she was a lie, if you were a lie..." his voice trailed off again as he continued to hold his daughter while he was still able to.

Written by - Rikshanthas

Lienad and Sharanya both rose when they realized the old knight was standing over them, smiling with what could almost be called paternal pride. "You're looking a sight better, lad," Sir Mathell said, and patted the younger man on the shoulder with his left hand, the arm now fully healed. "Still haven't learned to judge when a fight's too much for you though," and the hand on Lienad's shoulder rose to lightly cuff him on the side of the head. Lienad grinned, then assumed a serious expression as he formally saluted his old mentor. "At least you haven't forgotten everything I taught you," Sir Mathell said, returning the salute.

Shara looked from one to the other, her eyes widening as she suddenly became aware of the great resembance between the two. "Lienad, is Sir Mathell your ...?" she began, but Lienad shook his head, smiling. "No, the only blood we share is what we shed together on the battlefield," he answered. Then conversation was suspended by the rain, and all three moved to the dining hall, both for shelter and because neither of them had eaten more than an occasional journey ration in over three days. They spent the next half hour sharing tales of their adventures, of the two men's history together, and everything else under the sun.

Talking about her time at the battlefield infirmary, when she had reconnected with Nagarren and thus chosen her path as a priestess, reminded Shara of the elven woman she had seen, first as an injured patient, then later in the battle to secure the keep at Minas Aure, and finally and most distressingly as host to the demon that had nearly killed Ithramir, Lienad and others. Shara wondered what had become of her. She didn't realize she had spoken aloud until she found Lienad and Sir Mathell both gazing at her curiously, and she blushed.

"Y'know that's actually a good question," Lienad said, leaning back in his chair and biting absently into a fresh apple.

Written by - Tempyst

"Belyena and I are two very different people. Nothing good has ever, nor will it ever, come from a meeting between us. As for your mother... I'm not sure..." his voice trailed off. "We shared so much together, but I barely know her. If she was a lie, if you were a lie..."

Tirigil looked up, her eyes soft and filled with love. "A lie daddy? I don't think it was a lie. I mean, I am here, I am real. I am Tirigil the messenger of the gods now. I have been made into a divine being. I don't think anyone conceived of a lie would be allowed that honor, no matter what they did." She gave her father a kiss on the cheek and then settled back in his arms. "As for momma, well, I can't speak for her, but I know when i saw her, she had concern for you and I could swear I heard love in her voice. As for barely knowing her, well, you barely know me, and yet here we are. I know we did not have the time for me to grow up with you, but still, I am here, I'm your daughter and now, now..." She smiled brightly, "You need not worry for me anymore, I am alive as a divine being, and when I am not busy doing work for the gods, I hope to visit you and momma in your dreams. Afterall, I love both of you with all my heart. Don't be sad daddy, please, don't be sad."

Written by - Lucant Dolvan

Tirigil looked up, her eyes soft and filled with love. "A lie daddy? I don't think it was a lie. I mean, I am here, I am real. I am Tirigil the messenger of the gods now. I have been made into a divine being. I don't think anyone conceived of a lie would be allowed that honor, no matter what they did." She gave her father a kiss on the cheek and then settled back in his arms. "As for momma, well, I can't speak for her, but I know when i saw her, she had concern for you and I could swear I heard love in her voice. As for barely knowing her, well, you barely know me, and yet here we are. I know we did not have the time for me to grow up with you, but still, I am here, I'm your daughter and now, now..." She smiled brightly, "You need not worry for me anymore, I am alive as a divine being, and when I am not busy doing work for the gods, I hope to visit you and momma in your dreams. Afterall, I love both of you with all my heart. Don't be sad daddy, please, don't be sad."

Lucant chuckled at the innocent truth in his daughter's words. "Who am I to dictate what is real? Life is, after all, but a passing dream. We all just have to be bold enough to live it... to see life for what it really is... through a dreamer's eyes or not. Tirigil, my beloved daughter, you are wise far beyond your years." He hugged her tightly. "Thank you for showing me the truth. I look forward to seeing you often, my bright and shinning star." At peace, he closed his eyes.

"Easy now, don't drop him," Erruno continued to bark orders as he and his men carried Lucant into the infirmary within the citadel's walls. "Captain, he's waking up..." Baldwin said, a bit dumbfounded by the situation. Lucant felt another shattering wave of pain wrack his body as he opened his eyes to the soft light of the torch-lit room. He saw only a blur of light from his left eye. He tryed to call out again for Tempyst, but only a weak grunt came forth. Doram laid Lucant down in one of the small cots in the infirmary as Erruno yelled at the top of his lungs: "Somebody get me a surgeon, a doctor, a healer... just get me somebody that can help this kid!" Erruno had sworn to protect Lucant earlier on, and, even though the battle for Minas Aure was finished, he still intended to stay true to his vow.

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