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Book Three Pt 2 - The Reckoning

Written by - Turin Wallace Page 24 Book 3

Turin had barely a chance to turn his head when he heard a man say,

“Ariana? Ariana! Tis a noble and fine name of the greatest woman in history. She was abbess, queen and high priestest and on top of all that she founded this kingdom. She is mother of this place, and you should know that, if you be educated right. And there are probably hundreds of citizens throughout the kingdom named after her. Shame on you for forgetting where such a name comes from. As to why it would be written in blood, seems there be foul play afoot for someone of that name.”

With a half-chuckle, Turin thought, "Seems she didn't do so bad after all. Guess I'll see a bunch of shrines to Our Lady of the Hands and hear a few hymns before all is said and done. She definitely was a pious one, that woman was."

Glancing over at the table, he saw the man who spoke, he bore something of the familiar in his tone. What, he wasn't sure. Then when one of his companions leaned in, he could see the ears, she was an elf! Elves are not welcome here, usually killed on sight from what he heard from a few villages on the road here. Not his business, though she should be more careful.

It wasn't until they got up to greet someone who had been sitting at the far end of the room that he saw the blue and white bundle. The item inside must have had some import, for he saw the man clutching it tightly while they talked to...Ardwen?

His ears never decieved him, but that rather rough looking..elf? It couldn't be him. Ardwen was a druid, but then, how long ago was that?

Moving closer, his own head and body still cloaked and hooded, he leaned against the bar and ordered a drink as he listened in,

“Not bothering to conceal names Alaric? Bravo, I hate such cringing cowardice.”

“Strange,” Ardwen started again, still staring reverently at the wrapped sword, “so strange you’d bother to carry around the sword of a dead man. You said he was a revered figure here?” Ardwen let out a laugh that was equal parts humor and amazement, “I wonder what he’d say to that?” Ardwen put on an official “scholarly” gloss and raised his voice to better annunciate his words, “Saint Turin Wallace, saint of fine red wines and playing boardgames while besieging cities!” Ardwen let out another snort of laughter before shaking his head at how ridiculous it sounded even to him.

In mid-drink, Turin paused. The voice sounds familiar, and more to the point, how did they get my sword?

After a long few seconds, and listening to the mock laughter, he put the glass down and smiled. He listened further,

“Ah, and to get to my purpose, didn’t you get my message? I wrote her name all over a wall not too far from here. She’s here Alaric . . . I know it. And I intend to find her.”

“So, your turn to tale your tales.”

He listens to first Kaya, but then hears Alaric say,

I've been seeing Turin in my dreams, I have been having these dreams of the one known as Lord Turin. In them he seeks to and fro for something dear to him. For some odd reason he seems incomplete without this item, and he is desperate to find it. Then there is an Archon, who pointed to Turin, then pointed in the direction I was to go and here I am. Ithramir sent the sword with me so I could return it. Do you know what this means Ardwen? Turin Wallace is here!"

In almost an audible whisper, Turin says to himself, "Closer than one would think."

However, this is not the place for such a "surprise" event. Enough people began to listen in to the conversation at hand. No doubt someone will dispatch the guards here soon, what with all the names being thrown about.

At first, he thought of just throwing his hooded cloak off and revealing himself, but then thought better of it. "Not convincing enough," he thought. After pondering a minute, he smiled and said, "Perfect! I owe him one for the ribbing."

Grabbing another bottle, Turin deliberately spills some wine on his robe, and staggers near the table where they were sitting. Acting like a drunken old man, he bumps into Ardwen, excusing himself.

Plainly, he can see Ardwen didn't take none too kindly to this provoking, he can see the restraint, not in his eyes, but by the tensing of his muscles.

"Good, this will be easier than I thought, Ardwen." Turin says in his mind.

Without another thought, Turin pushes Ardwen, hard into the table. Ardwen, reaches for his weapon, but Turin doesn't move and says quickly,

"There is *hic* one thing *hic* I detest more than the king. Know what *hic* what that is?"

Turin pauses, staggers a little, then says,

"An damned ugly elf!"

Yep, that did the trick nicely. It's a full on race to the back alley, with Turin just keeping himself outdistanced and deftly avoiding the flurry of strikes coming at him. Even more lucky was the back door being open as he bursts through, slamming it hard behind him. Hearing it splinter behind him, he thinks,"Gods Ardwen, I see you got a fitness regimen while I was away!"

Finally caught in the back of the alley, Turin stops running and straightens up. He looks at the enraged and bloodlusted elf, pulls his own pair of daggers out, and says,

"If ye want the blood of a saint of wine and boardgames, now is the time to collect, Ardwen of the Glenn!"

Under the hood, Turin smiled and awaited his response.

Written by - Tempyst

Kaya cringed at teh smell of the old man, then at his words. "There is *hic* one thing *hic* I detest more than the king. Know what *hic* what that is?" She watched the man stagger, then say, "An damned ugly elf!"

OUCH, but a good one old man. Kaya thought. She almost laughed out loud but the look on Ardwen's face was not one to be laughed at. As the old man, whom she noticed moved a bit more quickly than a drunk man, ran out to the back, Ardwen followed. She and Alaric too, took up and followed suit. This should be a good one, but damnit Kaya, you should know better, after this you are all going to have to find some place else to lay low, if that would be possible anymore.

Dorve sighed, took a long draught of her ale, then slowly walked out through the back, knowing someone was going to need her healing.

Written by - Ardwen

Ardwen grinned at Kaya’s comment, he was glad to see another Elf, and frankly he did wonder if he could have written Ariana’s name in body parts. Pushing the thought out of his mind, Ardwen turned his attention to Alaric who spoke in length about Turin Wallace, Ardwen’s former Priest of Battle and one of the men Ardwen most respected. Apparently poor Alaric thought Turin was not only alive but in Westgale.

Ardwen sighed mentally but pretended as if he was listening. Alaric was so easily duped by the gods. Ariana being alive was one thing, Ardwen had not seen her die, but Turin? No, they had buried Turin. Sure, he had died a True Death in an age where no one could die, but was not that all the more reason to believe he was gone forever? Should he not be in the heaven prepared by the All-Father enjoying his eternal reward for his faithful service? Ardwen almost felt sorry for Alaric, it was so easy to delude oneself into believing, but Ardwen had no time for pity at the moment.

Ardwen was about to make some reply when he noted another drunk coming towards him. The man was cloaked, but Ardwen could see the fresh stain on his garb from heavy drinking. “Another one?” Ardwen muttered. He made no move, but watched as the man came closer and closer. With dismay Ardwen watched in rapt horror as the intoxicated fool bumped into him, without another thought Ardwen’s body tensed. The man had the grace to excuse himself, but Ardwen felt his blood pumping. This . . . lesser had the audacity to touch him!

Ardwen hastily yanked off his own cowl and stared at the man, his eyes locked in a dare for him to push him just a little further. Ardwen’s daring gaze turned to pure rage when the man pushed him into the table, his hands whirled to his blades but the drunk did not seem to notice. Instead he slurred out, “There is *hic* one thing *hic* I detest more than the king. Know what *hic* what that is?" A short pause and then the offending man finished, “An damned ugly elf!”

The man dashed away at a speed Ardwen could scarcely believe a drunken man could achieve. Ardwen’s swipes found no purchase, and soon the man slipped out into the back ally and slammed a door in his face. The elf sneered and plunged his two blades into the door, they cut through and Ardwen shouted as he rent the door to splinters. Ardwen found his quarry in the back ally behind the Wounded Lion.

The figure looked at Ardwen, straightened, and drew a pair of daggers, then even more surprisingly came this from the drunk’s lips, "If ye want the blood of a saint of wine and boardgames, now is the time to collect, Ardwen of the Glenn!"

Ardwen stopped, he held his left blade out on its side. The flat of the blade caught the morning sun while a gust of wind blew down the ally, billowing Ardwen’s cloak and hair behind him. The elf responses chillingly to the man’s words with, “See this blade? Better men than you have died on its edge. Do you think a single line can save your life? You probably overheard what I was saying in the inn, as for the name . . .” Ardwen paused here not sure how to respond.

Finally he began again, “Well, you can take off the hood so I can see your face clearly or,” Ardwen said pausing for effect, “the real ‘Saint of Red Wine’ would be able to stand against me in a fight . . . at least for awhile. If you’re brave or stupid you could try and convince me with those daggers.”

Ardwen stepped forward with his right leg, bringing him into a side-stance, “I admit your impersonation is very skilled. But that doesn’t make you Turin.” With that Ardwen sheathed the shorter of the two blades and gripped the remaining longer sword with his left hand on top. Ardwen brought the blade so the cutting edge faced up with the hilt near his body, the actual blade was pointed to Ardwen’s left at about his shoulder level. Ardwen awaited the man’s response, the elf's only signs of motion were from the wind and his steady breathing.

Written by - Turin Wallace

“Well, you can take off the hood so I can see your face clearly or,” Ardwen said pausing for effect, “the real ‘Saint of Red Wine’ would be able to stand against me in a fight . . . at least for awhile. If you’re brave or stupid you could try and convince me with those daggers.”

Turin replies,

"Fair enough, Ardwen."

Undoing the robe, then casting it and the hood aside, Turin stood before those in the alley. The golden triune on his breastplate glinted in the afternoon sun. Levelling his eyes at Ardwen, he continues,

"I can not only stand against you, Ardwen. I can defeat you, if I must, though I would prefer to simply speak to the first person I recognize in a very long time. Ariana has need of us and it would be a waste to fight a friend."

Turin lowered his daggers, but remained at the ready. Turin had seen Ardwen's stance a myriad of times and it was best to be ready for anything. He could only hope his words did not fall on deaf ears.

Written by - Aethelwulf

Alaric watched the exchange between the beserker and the drunk with a bit of alarm. He knew that they had been treading far too heavily in a time when extreme stealth was what was called for, and given Ardwen's recent encounters, Alaric knew that they really didn't need any more attention drawn to themselves.

Suddenly, the drunk was fleeing with Ardwen fast on his tail. Alaric gathered up Turin's sword, and in a sharp whisper, quickly muttered a warning to Kaya.

"Ware lass, keep an eye out here. I fear that our friend may be about to draw the ire of the city watch."

With that Alaric quickly followed Ardwenn out into the ally, arriving in time to see the "drunk" loose his robe. Alaric's eyes were drawn to the golden Tirune, and then to the eyes of Turin Lord Wallace.

Written by - Ardwen

“Fair enough Ardwen.” And with those words the figure cast aside his cloak. Ardwen noted the golden triune, but the elf couldn’t bring himself to look at the man’s face. He heard his voice again, “I can not only stand against you, Ardwen. I can defeat you, if I must, though I would prefer to simply speak to the first person I recognize in a very long time. Ariana has need of us and it would be a waste to fight a friend.”

Ardwen finally risked a look at the man’s face, and wished he hadn’t. It was Turin, as he remembered, his Priest of Battle. Ardwen moved suddenly, but it was not to attack, he dropped to his knees, the tip of his blade rested against the ground. The top of Ardwen’s head faced Turin, it looked for all the world as if the elf had just collapsed. Silently, but with a disturbing sureness, Ardwen reached his right hand to his hip – and drew the shorter of his two blades.

“I-“ the warrior began and then paused, “I’m not sure how to say this, did you get my letter?” There was another, longer, pause and then, “Lived for too long commander; that’s all there is to it. You know I joined the Deathless legions after the Hands left?”

Ardwen had not moved, his gaze was still locked on the ground below, “I was alone, and I gave into the darkness inside of me I - Damnit, I thought you were all dead!”

Finally Ardwen’s head came up, his face was drawn with pain and regret and he said vehemently, “Why do the ghosts of my past keep haunting me?” With that Ardwen’s right hand drew his blade and there was a screech as the tip struck the armor covering his stomach. From his kneeling position Ardwen had not been able to put much power behind the blow; the sword was too long and the tip simply slid off. Cursing, Ardwen let go of the blade in his left hand and he began to fumble for the seam in the armor.

Ardwen looked up and finally locked eyes with Turin, “Take care of Ariana please, and tell her I’m sorry.” He implored.

Written by - Turin Wallace

Turin watched as Ardwen knelt, spoke to him, then cut himself. Ritual suicide was rare, Turin never believed in it, and after Ardwen finished speaking he acted.

Kneeling in front of Ardwen, Turin says,

"We have lived for far too long, old friend. However, I am not ready to part my friendship with you, you'll not die this day."

Leaning forward, Turin grabs Ardwen in a hug, followed by a faint burst of blue light. The healing wasn't as taxing as Turin first thought, for the wound was more superficial than serious. Gripping him tightly, Turin continues,

"I know your pain, Ardwen. My own darkness and regret for past transgressions haunt me daily, and will until I am no more. However, your death brings no honor, not to anyone, including yourself. You are capable of great and noble deeds, Ardwen Macsul, believe in yourself as I believe in you, as the All-Father believes in you."

Leaning back, Turin looks at Ardwen's face, gives him a stern look followed by a brisk grin. He says,

"Now, let us find a place more suitable for talking. Seems Ariana is in a proverbial "pickle" and we need to get her out of it."

Standing up, Turin offers his hand and says,

"I need your help, Ardwen. Will I have it?"

Written by - Kiradia Afirewen

Much time had passed, for Kiradia atleast, it seemed like a life time. She had watched from on far the wars and happenings of the world she planned to conquer. Her blood burned in anticipation of the part she would play in adding to the cacophony. Kiradia stood on the very top of a massive tower, newly built with her reinvigorated magic. It spiraled upwards into the heavens, with an altar to the Dragon, Terror of Terrors on top.

Already the white marble stones were well drenched in blood. Behind Kiradia stood Allarin, he was a different man now. His hands calloused and drenched in blood, his eyes a powerful red and his body honed to the perfection of a warrior. The same sword lay across his back, just as sharp as it ever was for all the bloodletting it had caused.

“Allarin..... are the preparations finished,” Kiradia said, as a way to start a conversation.

“Yes Mistress, everything is in order, all regiments report full strength and armorment. We are ready to march for war.”

“Good, then at dawn tomorrow morning, with the first rays of the Dragon's destructive fire on our backs, we will march.”

Turning away from her breath taking vista of the lands, Kiradia retired to her chambers, communing with the Dragon.

Allarin moved on after his Mistress had left, he made his rounds, checking on the men and his people. While the land was bleaker than before, it had returned to a form of prosperity. Farms made food again, the people were well fed and had shelter. But the price of that was steep. Every man and woman between the ages of sixteen and thirty had been recruited into the new army. Trained and armed, human now faught along side Kiradia's horrible creatures of war. Converted Orcs, Trolls, Minotaurs, and Orges, all transformed by his Mistress' power, the same as him in many ways.

Their cavalry was a mix of human on horse and deeply disterbing creatures called Centiros. Mistress created beastmen, for lack of a better turn, a mix of goat and human. She breeded warhounds using magical means to increase their size and ferocity. They now stood at eye level with a Dwarf.

Life was better for those who were disabled, too old, or too young. They were spared the horrors of witnessing Kiradia's Army, were kept unaware of everything. They lived iydilic lives inside lust villages.

Tomorrow... everyone would witness the horrors Allarin's Mistress had created. But today... more slaughter of sacrifices to the Dragon, Terror of Terrors.

Written by - Aethelwulf

Alaric released the long breath that he had been holding. When Ardwenn tried to pierce himself, Alaric thought for certian that the elf beserkers end was nigh. When his blade went askew, the thought flashed in Alarics mind that perhaps there was indeed an All Father of sorts. Moving slightly to Ardwenn's side, he glanced at the drawn face of the beserker, and noted that the dark fire that normally blazed in the elf's eyes seemed clouded. Ardwenn's gaze was fixed on Turin, and indeed he seemed to be in another place, and time entirely. Alaric then looked up at the man before them both, and watched in silence as Ardwenn spoke.

Written by - Ardwen

Ardwen reached out and gripped Turin’s proffered hand: wrist to wrist. His head was bowed still, in deference, and in humbleness. Emotions that Ardwen had not felt for some time. “You would still have use for me? You believe I am fit to help you? I am . . .” But Ardwen cannot find the words.

“I-,” Ardwen began, and then stopped and shook his head with a slight grin, “Nalye i dagnir o wath*. I am with you ‘till death, and if possible, beyond even that Turin.”

Ardwen finally releases his grip and crosses his arms in front of him, his face has a pensive cast to it now, and he begins pacing slightly. Eventually he stops and the only motion he makes is to scan the area and glance at Turin, as if expecting the crusader to vanish suddenly if he does not watch him.

****

* Elvish – “Thou art the bane of shadow.”

Written by - Tempyst

Kaya watched the event play out before her. Though she did not know the whole story, she knew something amazing had just happened. A soul was saved, least it is what it seemed like to her. Whoever this man Turin was, he must surely be great. Kaya looked forward in learnning more of him.

Dorve popped out of the shattered door. "I gave the innkeep enough coin to keep his mouth shut and to pay for he damages. I didn't see anyone dash out, but to be careful, we should all move onto someplace else, especially since we know of the name on the wall now." The dwarf looked at Ardwen and Turin and stroked her beaded beard. "I have no idea where you two fit in, but now that you are here, and apparently know each other and Alaric, when i say all of us...that includes you two as well. Now, you elves, put your cowls back on before it is known throughout the whole city that there is elf bait in town."

Written by - Teran

Sidgard smiled at his old "friend" when he heard the familiar sound of currency clink in the bag that had been dropped in front of him on his table.

"Thanks?" he asked in mock confusion, slowly taking the bag into the folds of his cloak.

"I need something." Teran said quietly, a very subtle smile creasing his lips.

Sidgard suddenly found himself wishing he hadn't taken the money quite so quickly. Teran never smiled... at least not at him... Sidgard actually couldn't recall Teran showing much emotion at all in the past. He licked his lips, estimating the size of the wealth he had just been handed... for such a small bag it sure was heavy.

"What do you need?" Sidgard asked in his silkiest voice focusing his gaze on the second heavy looking (but small) bag in Teran's left hand.

"I need some armor crafted." the Assassin said very quietly.

Sidgard shrugged finding it hard to believe he'd be this over paid for such a simple request.

"It must be functional, light weight, silent, and..." he trailed off.

"...and?" Sidgard sighed loudly to show his annoyance.

The Assassin smiled again before he continued "It needs to be extremely resistant to all the common schools of magic. Immune even."

Sidgard's eyes were wide open. "Nuh-uh." he hissed, both bags of currency were back on the table almost faster than Teran could follow.

Teran stepped back from the table indicating that he would not take the money back. Sidgard stopped trying after a moment and considered the problem. Teran knew that Sidgard could probably make it happen but it would not be easy and it might even be more expensive than the considerable amount he had already handed over.

"I will pay any amount for the armor to be crafted." Teran rested a gentle hand on his friend's shoulder "I will pay you double whatever the armor ends up costing in addition to what I have already given you tonight."

Sidgard nodded, his mind already churning through the possibilities.

"Caster types don't like enchanting items to allow resistance to their magics... this will take some time. I need a year at least." Sidgard said distraction evident in his voice.

"I will need it in eight months." Teran murmured sounding apologetic.

Sidgard sighed again. "Eight months then."

The Assassin departed, confident that Sidgard would get the job done. He was not worried about the cost, he had more money than he knew what to do with. He was worried that Sidgard would not be able to get the job done, Teran wasn't even completely sure that such an enchantment was possible but he knew Sidgard would find out if it was possible and how to get it done.

Eight months passed far too quickly for Sidgard. He had never worked so hard, travelled so far, or failed so much in his life. It seemed that no such enchantment existed until after four months he stumbled across the answer. Sidgard could not believe his good fortune, nor did he fully trust it. It cost him dearly, everything Teran had paid him and virtually everything he owned beyond that... but he had a flawless suit of oiled chain and leather armor enchanted to the desired effect. Sidgard had no way to test it however because to test it would give away its nature and extreme worth. He would have to take the enchanter at his word and pray Teran would not kill him if it was flawed.

At last Teran returned. Sidgard showed him the armor and the assassin was genuinely impressed. He could sense the powerful enchantment and admired the fine quality of the armor. This would not only serve the specific purpose he had in mind but many purposes he had not yet dreamed up for many years to come. He paid Sidgard well, doubling his former wealth though after so much time and hard work Sidgard seemed happier to be free from the responsibility than he was to receive any amount of money.

****

Teran stepped into the doorway prepared to test his armor against real opponents for the first time. He saw three robed silhouettes and though he wasted no time advancing into the room it was clear they had been ready for him. Orange light exploded as one of the figures released a fireball. It travelled far too quickly and there was no room to dodge so Teran rushed straight into it. He was pleased when he felt little more than the impact, it seemed that the blistering heat had been completely negated by the armor. The mage who had conjured the fireball stared wide eyed as the Assassin tumbled into the closest mage to him, this one had not yet completed his spell.

His blades penetrated the cloth robe and flesh, piercing the mages heart. His spell died mid cast and fizzled in a minor explosion of arcane energy. Teran noted the room temperature dropped rapidly and his cloak virtually froze on his back and he felt the icey blast climb his back rolling over his armor. Teran whirled as the ball of ice rolled off his back and smashed into the ceiling freezing the stone and showering the room with little chunks of ice. He flicked his hand out cleanly slitting the throat of the mage who had cast the ice spell. She fell back grasping at her throat and was dead a moment later. Only the fire mage remained. He had backed into a corner and brandished his small dagger for self defense. He fell to Teran's blades a second later.

The Assassin glances around the room, assessing the damage. He started breaking the ice off of his cloak as he examined some smoldering papers and what appeared to be a map of the complex with markings on the map. The room his party was occupying was marked with curious symbols, one mark for each party member except one. He guessed Sabbatine was the they had not detected given her place as a magical "void". He gathered up the map and a few other documents he wanted for closer study. As he stepped out of the room he heard the alarm get sounded in the distance. He picked up his pace, folding the map and documents up and placing them in a pouch. He ran at full speed towards the corridor Mavigan had chased the guard down.

****

Sabbatine stared intently at her hand mumbling and grumbling to herself.

"Go away!!" she hissed, glaring poisonous daggers at her fingernails "Stop growing!" she shrieked a little louder.

She nibbled at them with her sharp teeth before examining and nibbling again. She hissed loudly before nibbling one last time, at last she seemed content. She paced around the room, dragging her spear along the floor, making intricate designs on the dusty floor. Sabbatine was dead and Jasmine wasn't one for conversation. Sabbatine couldn't blame her though, soon she'd be like her... well sorta. Sabbatine glanced over at Jasmine and grinned from ear to ear... soon she might have someone near her who understood what it was like to be dead... what it was like to stop breathing... stop eating... stop drinking... and worst of all, stop sleeping. Sabbatine warbled at that thought, chattering some more to herself. She couldn't even remember the last time she slept, years and years and years had passed.

"I wonder if that's why I'm crazy." she asked herself in a surprisingly sober tone as though experiencing a startling moment of clarity.

She looked over at Jasmine, gone was her unbalanced smile... the slight crazed look in her eye... her childlike demeanor. Sabbatine stood up straightly and looked around as though seeing the room for the first time. She reached up and gently touched her elfin face with both her hands, gently tracing her fingers along her high cheekbones and then to her ears and up to where the tips of her lovely ears had been cut off as a mockery, to make her "appear more human since she acted like one" her captor had said. She remembered crying as she clutched at her bleeding ears while she watched dogs fight over what had been cut off.

For just the briefest second Sabbatine looked horrified and then she blinked and grinned at Jasmine. The unbalanced smile had returned and after she blinked again the crazed look in her eyes was back as well. Sabbatine licked her lips and clutched her spear tightly. She cocked her head as though listening and then hissed at the darkness in the direction they had come from. Sabbatine set the spear on the table but as soon as she took her hands off it rolled onto the floor with a clatter. Instead of retrieving it she unsheathed the sword and axe she had been carrying across her back. She set both on the table and grinned widly when neither rolled off (an impossibility given their shape) and snatched her sword back up. If she remembered anything from the moment before she showed no sign of it.

"Huxel says I'm her saint." she chirped abruptly at Jasmine "Saint Sabbatine... sounds kinda funny doesn't it? Or does it sound nice?" she waited for Jasmine's answer as though putting great weight on the woman's opinion.

She hefted each weapon in her hands weighing them, testing them once she had her answer from Jasmine. Then she switched hands, axe in her right hand sword in her left. She chortled her satisfaction and was in the process of re-sheathing them when she heard the alarm sound. Her eyes darted around nervously but when no one came Sabbatine seemed deeply dissapointed.

"Who doesn't come running when they hear an alarm?" she snarled sounding both angry and dejected.

After another moment she abruptly cheered up when she heard a very brief clang-thump. Someone was in the halls behind them and they had dropped their weapon or something (Sabbatine told herself). She bolted into the darkness without any explanation to Jasmine and a moment later came to a stop.

"Oh. It's you." she whined sounding utterly crushed.

Her faintly glowing eyes pierced any concealing enchantments that might have been in place. She gripped her weapons as though thinking to attack Wilhelm and his allies and then claiming that she did not know they were allies later on."

"No, Teran would never believe that." she whined out loud and seemed lost in her thoughts completely oblivious to what reaction Wilhelm and his allies might have to her sudden arrival.

****

Teran found Mavigan and Keeryn easily and rushed past Mavigan in a blur, his sopping wet (and freezing cold) cloak slapping her right in the face if she was not quick to evade. He parried a weak attack before thrusting his dagger between the ribs of one of Keeryn's attackers and pushing him out of the way. His entrance was so abrupt and subtle the soldiers paused for the briefest second trying to figure out just what happened. Teran had all their attention buying Keeryn and Mavigan the briefest moment to mount their own attacks.

Written by - Ariana

Mavigan managed to dodge the next sword swing, hearing the sword smack into the ground next to her right shoulder. Rolling left, she put her feet beneath her and ended up in a crouch. Still short one dagger, she clutched the one Teran had given her with a skillful hand, and prepared to launch herself at the warrior bearing down on her with ominous purpose.

Without warning, something brushed past her, smacking her hard right in the face. The thing was wet and freezing cold and stung as it heavily struck her across the bridge of her nose. The impact momentarily blinded her and caused her to lose her balance. She toppled backwards and was once again sitting on her butt on the dirt floor desperately trying to avoid the sword strike she knew was coming.

Written by - Teran

Teran sensed the danger his apprentice was facing and whirled around despite the impending attacks from around him. He swiftly kicked the guards knee from behind forcing him to kneel and throwing his attack off balance while he had his sword drawn back to attack. The Assassin knew this was not enough to prevent the attack and reached out to hook the dagger he held in his right hand around the guards sword to prevent the attack but had to abort the move at the last moment when he sensed an attack coming from behind and above. He tried to pull the kneeling guard back with him as he blocked the attack with his right hand but again he sensed he had not pulled the guard far enough back.

Teran abandoned the dagger in his right hand and with lightning reflexes brought his hand down on the guard's sword. It sliced through Teran's flesh easily but stopped at his bone and skipped along shortening the length and speed of the attack even as Teran threw himself back pulling the guard with him. He had slowed the attack just enough and shortened it distance just enough that Mavigan was uninjured though some of Teran's warm black blood splattered across her face sharply contrasting with the ice water that had been there.

The Assassin had not been able to plan much further beyond desperately throwing himself backward. He felt a blade pierce his side but the wound was far from life threatening. Just before he hit the ground he crashed into the shins and ankles of a second guard. With a little bit of satisfaction he felt one of her ankles twist underneath his weight and heard her yelp as she fell on him. His satisfaction quickly vanished when the guard fell on his left side, her body weight twisting his only remaining dagger out of his grasp. Teran cursed her good fortune as he punched her in the jaw with his bleeding right hand but this did little more than remind her of the mortal danger she was in.

He struggled to kick the male guard off of him while trying to evade the female guards attacks. She was inexperienced and her attacks lacked strength and speed so in turn Teran was able to easily evade or block them. He managed to disarm her with a sharp blow to her wrist but in turn she slapped the sword out of reach hoping one of her allies might finish off her attacker. Teran connected with a strong punch to her nose, crushing it under the blow but she seemed unfazed as she struggled to gain dominance despite the blood now flowing freely down her face. She rolled to her left reeling under another one of Teran's punches struggling to get out of his reach however by doing so she rolled off of his dagger.

The Assassin snatched up the dagger quickly but before he could deliver a killing blow he had to block an attack from above by a third guard. The force of the blow nearly caused Teran to drop it again but he maintained his grip and kicked out at the guard forcing him back. He surveyed the room and noted that the guard who had been pinning his legs was now up and struggling to gain some semblance of balance. Teran gave him a swift kick in the rear sending him towards Mavigan, he was confident she could handle him despite her circumstances and if she couldn't... perhaps he had been wrong to try and teach her in the first place.

Teran had his own problems, he was still trapped off of his feet with a wounded right hand. He did his best to look more wounded and far weaker than he was, the guards likely felt comfortable with their number advantage and if they underestimated him he would swiftly even the odds.

Written by - Ariana

As she wiped the icy cold water from her eyes, she glanced around to assess the situation. Quickly pulling the mate to the dagger she had lost as she regained her feet, she saw Teran attempting to rescue her as he always did.

And, as always, there was a price.

Blood, black as pitch, and terribly warm splashed across her face. She started from the contrast of icy cold and firey warm, and she drug a finger across her cheek. Gazing at it, she could see plainly the ichor was black.

Something inside her squeezed hard at the sight, and in the space of a breath, she was engulfed in the sensation of thousands of tiny needles were piercing her skin. As she crouched there, the sensation intensified, and Mavigan soon felt as if a whirlwind were howling through her chest. Gritting her teeth with the effort of containing whatever it was that threatened to come out of her, she glanced at her fingertips which were lightly coated in Teran’s blood and then looked to where Teran was wounded and struggling.

Something inside her shifted, and in an instant Mavigan decided to do something she had never done before.

She was going to channel it.

Focusing, she mentally funneled the whirlwind into Teran’s dagger. She had no way of knowing if she was doing it “right”, and it certainly was not as easy as it seemed. She forced the power to do her bidding through nothing but sheer force of will, and had she been looking at the blade instead of Teran, she would have seen it glow a bright blue that seemed to elongate the blade making it appear twice its normal size.

When Teran kicked the man her way, she was ready. As the man’s momentum brought him to her, she started her own momentum forward and made a clean strike, slicing open his throat. There was a sizzle, a pop, and the smell of burnt flesh, and then the head dropped to the floor, followed a moment later by the body it had been separated from.

Mavigan paid it no heed, however, as she turned and used her own blade to dig into the side of the female warrior, and then continued to turn in an effort to put herself between Teran and the enemies he faced.

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