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Book Two - A Gathering Storm

Written by Agmund - Page 6 Book 2

Lucant responded to the priest "I am Lucant Dolvan, Father. I am, or rather, I was a farrier from the village of Almurad. I have lost my shop, my tools, nearly everything I owned in this world to... financial difficulties. I came to this place hoping to find work and a new life. I was accused of being one of Beridane's spies, but I assure you, I have no love for Beridane and I mean no harm to these people. I seek only a second chance at my life."

The words of the man rang true in the Priests mind, but it was not his words alone that Father Agmund saw the truth in. The young man was after all dressed like a farrier, and Audun had mentioned that he had a pair of tongs with him when he was brought into the dungeon. A soft smile broke his bearded lips as he began to ponder Lucant’s search for a new life. This would certainly be the place for a farrier to find one, a good soul with bad luck, having lost his family and his means.

“I have an offer for you… although it has nothing to do with coin I’m afraid. You will have food and a roof over your head, and the coin you will earn will be the training you receive. Also I’m afraid the roof over your head will be shared with me, and I do snore… rather badly… but in my own defense I have had many years to perfect that art,” his face became an animated grin.

“In either regard,” he turned to Audun “the man can be set free, he speaks the truth and will do no harm here.”

Written by Tempyst

"Think fast!"

Tempyst looked up as she heard the woman's words and saw A'lanthear floating through the bars to her. She stood up quickly and took hold of the sword, a look of relief immediately swept over her face. "Thank you." She mouthed the words, then smiled softly at the woman on the other side of the bars. Tempyst then sat down, cradling the sword in her arms as a woman would hold a newborn babe. I am sorry A'lanthear, I will never fail you again.

The sword responded by sending comforting waves of energy through the young druid as it whispered to her. You did not fail me young one, everything happens as it is supposed to. Tempyst smiled softly as she sat there, waiting.

****

Outside, just as quickly as it had started, the strong bitter wind died. Residents of the citadel pondered the meaning of the wind, many still thinking it was a bad omen.

Written by Lucant Dolvan

“I have an offer for you… although it has nothing to do with coin I’m afraid. You will have food and a roof over your head, and the coin you will earn will be the training you receive. Also I’m afraid the roof over your head will be shared with me, and I do snore… rather badly… but in my own defense I have had many years to perfect that art,” his face became an animated grin.

“In either regard,” he turned to Audun “the man can be set free, he speaks the truth and will do no harm here.”

Upon hearing the priest's words, Lucant immediately realized that this old man was more than what he seemed. There was doubtlessly some wily plan that the old priest was thinking of carefully hidden in the offer. Still, he did seem sincere with the offer, and Lucant really had no other choice but to accept it. Father Agmund surely knew this as well.

"Very well, Father Agmund, I accept your offer and I thank you for taking me under your guidance." Lucant said with a bow. Agmund's grin was now a full-blown smile.

"Very good, my boy, very good," Agmund said with a chuckle, "take a few minutes to gather yourself up while I deal with this other matter and we shall be on our way shortly." Audun unlocked the cell door as Agmund proceeded down the hallway, still smiling.

"Here are your things, sir. I am sorry for any trouble we may have caused you." Audun said as he handed Lucant his satchel that contained his tongs and hammer. "Thank you," Lucant said, accepting the satchel, "and don't worry anything. I do believe you have done me a great service." Audun, puzzled by this strange behaviour, bid Lucant farewell and followed after Father Agmund.

Lucant adjusted his satchel and waited for Father Agmund to return, though he could not help but feel a strong urge to seek out the young woman he had seen earlier.

Written by Agmund

Audun and Father Agmund had not gone far, perhaps a few corridors, before they came to a similar cell, but before they could turn to deal with the prisoner, a sword went floating by. Naturally the two appeared dismayed, with the swords of guards being drawn, and the shouting of elven.

The guards draw their weapons, "What are you doing!?"

Crystal didn't have a look of worry on her, she calmly responds, "She is harmless, a mere druid out of her element and on a quest to find the champion to that blade, not on a quest to kill the queen." Pointing at the priest, Crystal finishes, "He can tell you that as easily as I can."

Father Agmund had a strange look in his eye, I say eye because one appeared sterner than the other, its brow raised so much higher that the other looked nearly closed. He spoke with a gruff tone, one commanding respect from deep within him, his voice nearly echoing against the tunnel wall “NOW see here, you may speak the truth and these guards would never know it, because they do not have your gift… and by giving a prisoner weapons before the guards know the truth for themselves… you risk some ones blood. Tensions are high and you see how a guard will react, by drawing his weapon, which he is right to do!”

“Next time, use a modicum of patience and explain the situation Crystal Dalamar, Priestess of the Moon-Goddess… before you leap into action,” his voice ends as a calm whisper, his eyes revealing a sort of apology for having raised it to begin with.

“And you!” he peers into the cell. “Keep that blade within its scabbard, understood?” Not waiting for a response from either Tempyst or Crystal he continues on “Ladies, remember you are in the hospitality of Ithramir Sil-Galdur…”

Written by Archeantus

Jasmine watched numbly at the increasing activity in the cold dungeon as old priests walked past, men were freed, a woman rushed forward returning a sword to the young woman across the cell from her. Jasmine watched the sudden commotion with vague understanding.

The guards drew their weapons, yelling out "What are you doing!?" The woman calmly stated, "She is harmless, a mere druid out of her element and on a quest to find the champion to that blade, not on a quest to kill the queen."

Kill the queen. She repeated in her mind. She tried to smile, especially given the personal nature of overhearing such a comment, but she no longer took ownership of what she had tried to do. She tried, but it was as if she were trying to hold sand in her hand.

Jasmine wondered if the woman realized the one who had tried to kill the Queen was just behind her. Jasmine blinked in thought, and then lowered her head once more.

She could care less about any of it, however odd it was. Chained, nearly hung from her slender arms to the smooth stone wall, she stood gingerly now, nearly amazed she had managed to sleep at all. All the commotion had woken her just as she had dozed off.

She could barely feel her arms anymore; her weight seemed to have increased moment to moment. She could feel the shackles dig into her wrists, and the pain felt empowering. A cut across her forehead throbbed. She was sore, tired, haggard, yet truthfully, no matter how hard she tried to deny it, she never felt more alive.

Sunlight shone through the small slit of a window just above her dangling head, a ray of light which flickered in the dust of the cell just a head of her, seemed strangely interesting to her. She found herself slowly spacing out in thought as she stared into the shifting light.

"Why do you care..."

Her thought was suddenly interrupted as the man she had faced last night, suddenly appeared into her cell, his face shone of concern and curiosity.

"Greetings Jasmine, my name is Teran. I trust you have been treated hospitably?"

She nearly laughed. This was Teran? It couldn't be the one she had studied, the one that had always stayed a step ahead of her in notoriety and skill, the one who was as famous as he was elusive. She had never understood how he managed to work amidst the light of familiarity and the treasured darkness that an assassin thrives in as well as he did, and does. She had actually faced him? Never, this could not be him. Yet amid her disbelief in the actual identity of the man before her, she managed to flash a slight disarming smile as the cell door clicked home behind him. Her figure plainfully obvious, her long dark hair dangled wildly down across her shoulders. Yet despite her mindless feigned flirtations, she was at a loss, she had no agenda, no plan, nothing she cared about, no allegiance, not even to herself. He may have seen her utter fear in this fact, if he had been able to look into her dark eyes, but she made sure they never met with his.

She did not reply to his warm question, quickly pausing to study his face, holding him in her mysterious dark eyes, weighing his every feature, remembering everything, especially his eyes. Moments passed and then she finally spoke with another perceptively subtle grin.

“Teran? The Teran? Prove it.”

Written by Agmund

A long, deep breath passes thru his bearded lips, and for a moment, though fleeting, weariness can be read upon his face. His eyes seem to re-adjust to the flickering light of the torches as he looks thru the bars at the lady of the wood. “I am Father Agmund, humble servant of Tinorb and the keeper of Truths. Within your words I see honesty and or dishonesty, truth from lie, fact from fiction. Tell me… what is your purpose here?”

Written by Trinni Shannon

"If you are looking for Ithramir he is at the front of the march, but the army will be awhile reaching and passing the outermost of the three gates at this slow walk. Likely it would take too long for you to pass on your message. Your charge extends to the land beyond that gate as well, where Ithramir is likely watching the army emerge. Sable can get you there before the army finishes passing the outermost gate. I will hold the fort for you until you return."

Wilhelm, a man she had only met the previous afternoon, addressed Lithwyn and jumped down off his horse. Grateful for the information regarding Ithramir, she did not have time to thank him as he immediately reached out, grabbed her about the waist, to which she barely managed to stiffle the giggle as his grip tickled her, and placed her unceremoniously upon the eager horse's back. Completely taken aback, she could only look down at him, mouth agape, eyes blinking slowly. Several silent moments passed until the shout from a passing soldier brought her thoughts back to the task at hand. Clearing her throat, she tried to compose herself.

"Th-thank you, Sir Wilhelm. I will return swiftly. I owe you more than you will ever know."

Turning towards the guards who had been her shadow, Lithwyn asks them to wait for her within the citadel grounds.

"Queen Mavigan." Bowing her head at the young queen waving to the passing men, she then faces forward in the saddle. With one kick of her feet, Sable takes off with a sudden speed that nearly knocks Lithwyn off. Grinning hard, she tightens her legs and holds on as she flies past the line of marching elf and human.

Passing the second gate, now grateful she is wearing basic armor instead of more formal attire, her heart pounds in apprehension and... embarrassment? With so much time to think as she rides ever onward, the cruel voice of doubt creeps up in her mind.

Was it a premonition or just a silly dream? The vision did not come during meditation, so how can I know? Others have had such visions, even in the midst of battle, from Ehlonna's own lips have I heard such tales. But... but I am not her. I am not as strong as she was. I have barely even prayed to Kaia'hanas over these many years. What if my concern makes Ithramir doubt himself, thereby causing him to make errors he normally would not have, thereby becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy?!

Frowning, the third and final gate now visible in the distance, Lithwyn unconciously slows Sable as they approach. Now matching pace with the marching rangers to her left, she concentrates heavenward. Silently, Lithwyn calls to her Goddess, though no response was forthcoming. Still able to feel the connection with Her, it was obvious Kaia'hanas had no wish to intervene one way or the other.

Seeing Ithramir standing on the large hill just beyond the last gate, her determination returns and she drives Sable hard once again. Reining the horse just before reaching Ithramir, she slides off in a flurry of robes even as Sable comes to a stop. Slightly out of breath, she half runs the few steps to his side before coming to an abrupt halt.

"Ithramir, I..." pausing, she realizes she has no idea how to tell him about her dream. Where to begin? Ithramir, I had this crazy dream and you were in it? No, no that wouldn't do. Suddenly feeling like an irrational and impulsive youngling, she clasps her hands tightly before her and swallows hard, trying to find the courage to talk to the man before her. Funny, she never had a hard time knowing what to say to a person before. Especially so where men are concerned. So why now?

"I..."

****

"Having a horse makes travel to other realms difficult as the void can be... well, interesting to traverse. My name is Renalis, and to whom do I have the pleasure of making blush?"

Trinni smiled easily as her cheeks returned to their normal hue, relieved she hadn't offended the interesting man.

"Well, my full name is Trinni A'syona Kilya Featherheart D'Thelanis. My friends don't use my full name, though. That'd be a riot! I'd say you're gonna be my friend as you are fighting alongside me!" Tilting her head to the side, she looks at him thoughtfully, though her mouth doesn't stop running. "I don't suspect you should fight with someone if'n you aren't willing to be their friend, ya know? So! Depending on who you ask, I'm called all sorts of things by my friends: Trinni-innie-outie, Trinni-ninni, Shortie, Missy, Great White, and sometimes even Tree. You can take your pick, or call me whatever you like really. I'm not terribly picky. Uhm..." realizing she had been rambling, she smiles again, ducking her head. "O'course, you could just call me Trinni as some are inclined to do."

Looking about, hiding from the amused stares of those around her, she spots someone out of place.

"Hey look! It's Lithwynnie! Hiya Lith-a-wyn!" waving, she frowns when the High-Priestess doesn't even turn her head. Granted, she does look mighty focused on something. When Lithwyn looks up to the sky, Trinni glances up to see what she's looking at. Just a bunch of clouds. Suddenly, Lithwyn takes off in a burst of speed, her cloak protesting as it whips behind her. Shrugging, Trinni turns back to Renalis and grins.

"Ah well. She's pretty busy sometimes. Oh! What did you mean by all that other realm stuff? You mean like Ancora? Why would riding a horse from there to here be difficult?"

Written by Renalis

“Next time, use a modicum of patience and explain the situation Crystal Dalamar, Priestess of the Moon-Goddess… before you leap into action,” his voice ends as a calm whisper, his eyes revealing a sort of apology for having raised it to begin with.

Bowing deeply Crystal says with great respect in her voice, "I am sorry Agmund, but I do not believe in waiting for a situation to diffuse itself... I believe we shape fate and I have done as much. I knew there would be no bloodshed because I would have allowed no further harm to come to her from these guards. There was no need - not even with the heightened state of alert - for that poor girl to have be treated as badly as she was."

Crystal raises herself from the bow, "I know I am in Lord Ithramir's hospitality but I do what is right... regardless."

As Crystal's focus on her previous task fades, she is almost overwhelmed by a feeling of pain, sorrow and suffering. Spinning around she can see within the bars of another cell, a woman chained up, hanging almost lifeless. Hey pain extends beyond the physical, but Crystal can see the wounds that ail her. Just then a man enters the cell and begins to speak with her, Crystal thinking to herself, "Such pain, I must do something..."

****

Trinni turns back to Renalis and grins, "Ah well. She's pretty busy sometimes. Oh! What did you mean by all that other realm stuff? You mean like Ancora? Why would riding a horse from there to here be difficult?"

"Trinni A'syona Kilya Featherheart D'Thelanis?" Renalis chuckles a little, "You're right, that is a mouthful." Renalis mumbles a bit to himself, "Great White?" but continueing, "Trinni, if you don't mind, is easy enough to get off in normal conversation."

"And as for your question," Renalis pauses as he tries to figure out how to explain it ALL in a short time, "I don't just mean beyond these lands, I mean beyond this world. As you are obviously intelligent I will not mock you, there are many worlds out there, all connected through what I have aptly named the "Void" as it is void of anything but the most powerful magical creatures - mostly evil. I come from a world that is not too disimilar to this one but rest assured it is not this one."

Pausing to let what he has said sink in, Renalis continues, "My world was invaded by demons a few years ago, in stopping them I accidently stranded myself in the void and found that from there one can travel to any other world, and so in my cause to destroy demons I found myself on other worlds, aiding the inhabitants."

Realizing he too has talked far too long Renalis decides to wrap it up, "My travels have found me this place, many good people, and a good cause, that is why I will fight alongside you in a few days time, I fight for this world, helping how I can."

Written by Ariana

A strange feeling overcame Mavigan as she watched the army stream through the gate in the budding light of dawn. There was something odd with the scene, even though it was similar to other scenes she had witnessed before. She remembered with a striking clarity each of the times she had been on her balcony with her sister, engulfed in her Mother’s arms as she watched her Father ride off into the morning light, the sun brilliantly reflecting off his polished armor. Such memories were always tinged with the sinking feeling of sadness and apprehension and Mavigan reached for the pendant around her neck with an unconscious gesture.

At a young age, she had learned what it meant when lots of soldiers rode off in tight formation. She knew because Alaric had explained it to her. He had told her that when armies marched people died, and not all that left her would return.

The news was distressing to her young mind and the thought of her Father never returning home filled her with childlike grief. Mavigan had run to the nearest source of comfort – her Mother. And there, she had received reassurances that her Father loved her and would always return. Mavigan had always been a perceptive girl, however, and had not been fooled. She could see the lie clearly in her Mother’s eyes, and as her Father rode off to more battles, small worry lines etched themselves more indelibly into her Mother’s face.

And now, here she was, waving off yet another army, the sun glinting off Ithramir’s armor much as it had her Father’s. Suddenly, the wrongness of the situation hit her full force. If she was supposed to be filling her Father’s shoes, then why was she being left behind?

Mavigan was cognizant of her abilities, and she harbored no illusions that she would be able to command an army. Her early tutoring had leaned more towards languages and music and how to look pretty to attract a worthy husband. She was, after all, a girl and it was not expected that she would actually have to lead anything, much less serve as Queen.

But that did not mean she did not have a right and an obligation to accompany an army headed out to war. Everything she had learned about fighting, she had learned by watching others and practicing out on the streets. It may not be pretty or stylized, but it did get the job done. She knew how to handle herself, and most important, she knew how to stay alive.

So why was she being left behind, locked in a prison of stone and wood? A frown crossed her face and she squirmed her backside further into the saddle. Idly she noticed it felt different from a regular saddle, and welcoming a momentary distraction from her less than pleasant thoughts, she glanced down. The saddle was indeed built differently from a normal one, and it seemed to accommodate her awkward seated position much better than a normal saddle would have. Looking even more closely, she noted the newness of the leather, and her own initials ornately embossed into the pommel.

This must be another maneuver by Wilhelm she decided and cut a quick glance in his direction. He was dismounting and offering Sable to a distraught looking Elf. Deciding to ask Wilhelm about his intentions later, she followed his example and pushed herself off Argent landing heavily on her slippered feet. Giving the horse a quick hug around her neck, she turned to Keeryn and tried to decide what to do next.

As far as Mavigan was concerned, with Ithramir gone, she finally had some freedom. She would be remiss if she did not take advantage of it. First things first, however, she decided, pulling absently at the confining dress.

“Come on Keeryn,” she said, “I have got to get out of this dress!”

Mavigan then turned on her heel and sprinted through the open door headed to her room. Reaching it quickly, she noted that someone had been there straightening. The glass had been swept away, and there were a couple of glaziers standing near the windows, taking measurements. Everyone around here was efficiency incarnate, so Mavigan felt sure her room would be restored and livable again in no time.

She strode to her wardrobe and quickly removed shirt and breeches, then disappeared behind a screen and made the transformation from reluctant royalty to Mavigan Ancora. Reappearing, she strapped on her daggers in their respective places, and shoved her feet into her boots.

Finished with her transformation, and now infinitely more comfortable, she turned to Keeryn with a grin. It was grin that clearly held mischief, for while she had been changing her clothes she had remembered what she most wanted to do. With Ithramir gone, now would be the time to sneak into the dungeons and meet with her hunky savior from the previous night.

“So Keeryn, wanna go sneak into the dungeons with me?”

Written by Tempyst

...He is here! Tempyst winced as the sword practically shouted the words inside her throbbing head. She blinked, then looked up to the man who was speaking.

“I am Father Agmund, humble servant of Tinorb and the keeper of Truths. Within your words I see honesty and or dishonesty, truth from lie, fact from fiction. Tell me… what is your purpose here?” Tempyst looked up into the weary face of the man who spoke to her through the bars. Having A'lanthear back helped her to regain her focus. She stood up, wavering a bit as the pain in her head washed through her entire body, but she did not fall and stood as tall and dignified as she could.

"I am Tempyst Whisperling, druid of the Deepshadows and I am here in search of someone." She heard herself speak and thought how silly she actually sounded, but continued on anyways. "I bear the sword A'lanthear, I am its guardian. The day of my rebirth, I carried the sword in my arms from the depths of the birthing tree, though I know not how i recieved it. I am in search of..."

...he is here...He Is Here... Tempyst stumbled as the sword shouted in her head. A'lanthear began to glow, first softly, then brighter and brighter, encompassing everyone it its warm golden light. Tempyst could hear the man who was talking to her gasp in surprise, along with the others who could see the spectacle. As the light reached it's brightest, causing everyone to sheild their eyes, a hum began that shook everyone to their bones. The hum grew louder until all felt their ears would burst. As the hum grew, the light suddenly pulsed, sending out a shock wave that knocked everyone within its site back onto the ground. Then, all was quiet and the darkness of the dungeon closed back in on the people there. When eyes adjusted once again, there were gasps at what was seen. Out from where Tempyst had stood, a path had been cleared. The bars and stone walls within that path were no longer there, but shattered to dust along the floor.

Tempyst gasped for breath, surprised as everyone else at what had just happened. Then A'lanthear whispered softly, gently in her mind once more. Lucant is here. As the name bore into her very soul, she looked up in the direction the now open dungeon path lay. As the smoke and dust cleared, she saw him. The fog that had clouded her eyes since she was a child lifted and there before her, he stood. Tears filled her eyes as a wave of emotions flooded through her.

He is real, I have found him. Tempyst only had eyes for the startled young man and paid no heed to those around her.

Written by Turin Wallace

On the hill, Ithramir sat on his horse silently. He watches as mounted companies, regiments, battalions all march by him. Elves, dwarves, and humans all marching in time, the thunderous echo of so many soldiers moving bounces around the valley. Off in the rear he can see the healers and supply carts finally moving. He wonders how many will spend their last moments looking into the eyes of a healer asking for a loved one, or begging their god for forgiveness, before they pass on from this life. Alone, on the hill, he feels the chill wind blow across the forests and fields.

He breathes in deeply.

Releasing the inhale, he counts the score, one-hundred and ten thousand against a huge band of orcs. The ranger who arrived to give him the information said there could be near a million orcs besieging the last fort, Minas Aure, at this very moment.

If Minas Aure falls, so does the alliance, and everyone here.

Ithramir will gather the commanders together later this evening and tell them them the news. Until then, he will let the men be content, and let them have peace of mind for the day.

Glancing back on the citadel, Ithramir can't help but wonder if, like so many others here, this will be the last time he will see it in this life. Every soldier feels this as he leaves his home, friends, and loved ones. Ithramir was no exception, and every time he has marched away he still wonders the same thing. Ithramir can feel the chill wind whip past him again, seemingly whispering to him. It is then he notices a rider, at near full gallop, charging towards him at an urgent pace. He ponders what urgent news the rider is bringing.

Looking more keenly, he can tell it is a female rider, one who wears the robes of a priestess. Closing his eyes a moment, he gazes again and confirms the rider...it is Lithwyn.

Just as quickly as he can tell it is her, she dismounts and begins running towards him. Ithramir also dismounts, and is now standing on the hill as she makes it to his side. Turning to her, he watches as she quickly clasps her hands together, and swallows hard. Having his attention, she simply says,

"Ithramir, I...I..."

Filling the pause, Ithramir speaks up,

"Lithwyn, are you alright? You seem shaken, what is wrong?"

Ithramir looks into her eyes, concern flashing across his own face, wondering what could trouble her so. Lithwyn was a strong elf, sometimes even distant from everyone (including him), so he could only imagine what news she was bringing to him...

Written by Teran

"You have heard of me then?" He smiled, blushing a little bit.

The assassin approached her slowly, perhaps wanting a kiss or to take advantage of the gorgeous and helpless prisoner. He stopped moving and peered into her eyes with his soft, silvery gray eyes for a moment, holding her gaze for as long as she was willing to hold his.

Teran was handsome while he was standing across the room, but from this distance, his face and body inches from hers he was captivating. His eyes held endless depth, his features chiseled, and his scent sweet and exotic. After what felt like hours he blinked and stepped back, gently guiding Jasmine's arms down to her sides, no longer were her wrists held by the shackles. Teran took a step back, not wishing to hinder Jasmine if she wished to stretch or find another way to relax her undoubtedly tense muscles.

"I am sorry our second meeting could not have been as grand as our first." His eyes twinkle as though he remembered something in a fond light from years ago... and then the twinkle was gone and he seemed to grow more serious.

"I can't offer you any proof of who I am" He murmured and then paused for a moment perhaps content leaving it at that. "I cannot prove anything at all."

"Fortunately for both of us I did not come here to prove things to you." He stated wryly through an every growing smile "I came to tell you that you may leave with me if you desire... but it will require your cooperation."

The assassin chose every word with practiced caution. There could be no doubt that Teran wanted Jasmine to agree to his terms however it was also apparent that her joining him was more a luxery than a necessity. The assassin had other ways of getting the information he needed.

Written by Trinni Shannon

"Trinni A'syona Kilya Featherheart D'Thelanis? You're right, that is a mouthful." Renalis mumbles to himself as Trinni sticks her tongue out at him. "Trinni, if you don't mind, is easy enough to get off in normal conversation. And as for your question... I don't just mean beyond these lands, I mean beyond this world. As you are obviously intelligent I will not mock you, there are many worlds out there, all connected through what I have aptly named the "Void" as it is void of anything but the most powerful magical creatures - mostly evil. I come from a world that is not too disimilar to this one but rest assured it is not this one."

Frowning a bit, she merely listens. Having no idea what he's talking about, she holds her tongue. After all, he already said she was intelligent and she didn't want to ruin that image so soon in their meeting of each other. Void? Uh... huh. Evil guys, yeah she can understand that.

"My world was invaded by demons a few years ago, in stopping them I accidently stranded myself in the void and found that from there one can travel to any other world, and so in my cause to destroy demons I found myself on other worlds, aiding the inhabitants. My travels have found me this place, many good people, and a good cause, that is why I will fight alongside you in a few days time, I fight for this world, helping how I can."

Pausing a bit, unsure if he is for real or just insane, she measures him out of the corner of her eye while pretending to stroke F'non's neck.

"Well... we sure are glad you are gonna help. I mean, Orc can be pretty nasty and there are a whoooole lot of them attacking Minas Aure. Who knows WHAT'S gonna happen. I don't know how that whole getting trapped on another world thing works, but do you think you'll be here through the whole battle? It could take ages you know. I think I have enough arrows to last me, but I can always make more if I need to in a pinch. O'course they won't be NEAR as good as from the Citadel. I'd offer you some, but I don't suspect you'll need arrows. I mean, if you can fly and all you must be able to do some kinds of magic tricks like Resini or maybe pray like Nysden?" snorting at the thought of Nysden praying in the middle of a battle, she hides her laughter behind her hand.

****

"Lithwyn, are you alright? You seem shaken, what is wrong?"

Fear. Undeniably, she is afraid. Afraid of what he will say, afraid she is wrong, afraid she is RIGHT! She feels the cold wind sting her cheek, wrapping around the hill where they stand, an omen. For a second she contemplates running away, no matter where, just away. Away from him, away from the fear caught in her throat. It's just the fear of losing the Commander of the Citadel. The fear of the subsequent weakness of the army, that's all. It has nothing to do with him, the man. Ithramir is not a man, he is ... just ... Ithramir. Just...

"I..." speachless again, she suddenly becomes angry with herself. Unable to tell him what she rode all the way out here to say. Preposterous. Her face a mixture of pain and anger, she looks into his eyes. Taking a deep breath, she forces it all out.

"Ithramir, last night I had a dream. I dreamed of old battles and of a new battle. I saw you," her voice rising with urgency, she reaches out and grabs his wrist. "I saw you, you were on the ground..." Her voice cracks and her grip tightens on his wrist until his fingers turn light purple. "You were dead and the battle wasn't nearly over yet. I saw you, clear as day! I nearly fell over your body and your face looked up at the sky, but you didn't see. It was you, I'm sure of it. You were gone."

Her eyes watering, from the cold wind and nothing more - or so she told herself, she suddenly jerks her hand back as if burned. Wrapping her arms around her body, she shakes her head, heading off the arguments he is bound to make.

"You can't go. You can't. Lothiel-Gadith needs you. Without a knowledgeable commander we will fall. I am not a warrior. I don't know how to lead an army. And Nysden? Hah! I'm surprised he is out here even now. What would I... I mean... we... the citadel! What would the citadel do without you?!"

Every fiber of her being prays he will agree. Everything that makes her alive begs to the Gods he will return with her and not die in this battle. Her eyes beg and plead with him as she stands before him, yet still she does not say what has been left unsaid. Still she denies to herself what she feels. She doesn't feel. She just worries for the Citadel, after all. There is nothing more to it than that!

Written by Renalis

"Well... we sure are glad you are gonna help. I mean, Orc can be pretty nasty and there are a whoooole lot of them attacking Minas Aure. Who knows WHAT'S gonna happen. I don't know how that whole getting trapped on another world thing works, but do you think you'll be here through the whole battle? It could take ages you know. I think I have enough arrows to last me, but I can always make more if I need to in a pinch. O'course they won't be NEAR as good as from the Citadel. I'd offer you some, but I don't suspect you'll need arrows. I mean, if you can fly and all you must be able to do some kinds of magic tricks like Resini or maybe pray like Nysden?" Trinni finishes with a snicker behind her hand, trying to hide it, but Renalis is aware.

"I do not become "trapped" on the worlds I travel to, although it requires a great amount of power to do so, I can leave this place should I desire to. But rest assured, I shall remain on this world as long as I am needed, and wanted."

Renalis taps his back, the location of his only weapon - the magical sword he enchanted ages ago, "You are right though, I do not need arrows" Renalis then holds out his right hand and a small sphere of energy forms, "And yes, I know many magical "tricks" Renalis chuckles a bit, "And I have found that I am significantly more powerful than your Resini", Renalis remembers fondly being able to find the would-be assassins where the elven Magician failed.

"Trinni, you are the first I would call friend on this world, and I am honoured to fight alongside you." Renalis slows his flight to be right alongside Trinni, and extends his hand.

****

Crystal stands behind Teran, listening to him speak but not really paying much attention to his words. She wants to aid the wounded prisoner but after the man lets her down, she doesn't want to interupt their closeness. It was the one thing that would cause her pause, after nearly losing Renalis, she felt that much closer to him and would never want anyone in love to lose their time together. Realizing she is in rough shape and something must be done - regardless - Crystal steps forward, "Excuse me, but her wounds are severe and I would like to help..." Crystal is cut off as a bright light off to the side grows to some "flashpoint" and explodes, sending off a wave of energy that knocked everyone off their feet. Crystal recovers quickly, a majority of the energy absorbed by the gemstone within her chest.

Quickly rushing over to the fallen woman, Crystal kneels beside her and speaks softly, "Your wounds are serious M'lady, and you require medical attention. I'm not sure what you did to be down here, but no one deserves to be treated this way. You are hurting, and I will try to help."

Jasmine squirms as much as her damaged body will let her, "leave me alone..." she speaks as loudly as possible, but Crystal continues to concentrate on the powers given to her by Elune.

A small silver cresent moon, the symbol of Elune, appears and glows faintly within her gemstone. Her hands begin to also glow faintly as well and she closes her eyes and places her hands on Jasmine. Crystal can feel the anguish beneath the surface and it makes her wince as she begins the healing process. As Jasmine's wounds close Crystal speaks to her, eyes still closed, "You will recover physically, but you have been hurt inside. Something, or someone happened, and has hurt you severly..."

Written by Turin Wallace

Ithramir listens to Lithwyn. His eyes never leave hers as she speaks to him of the dream she had. He can sense the caring behind the facade, her grip on his hands tells more than she is willing to admit. As she pauses, Ithamir opens his mouth to reply, but she is quicker. Shaking her head, she replies,

"You can't go. You can't. Lothiel-Gadith needs you. Without a knowledgeable commander we will fall. I am not a warrior. I don't know how to lead an army. And Nysden? Hah! I'm surprised he is out here even now. What would I... I mean... we... the citadel! What would the citadel do without you?!"

He listens patiently, albeit with a smile, as she asks him to stay. Seeing her wrap her arms around herself, he pulls his cloak off and gives it to her. After doing so, he stands close to her, his eyes still looking down into hers. Gently, he takes both of her hands in his, and says,

"Lithwyn, you know I must go to this fight. The orcs are merciless, and if our last keep on the border falls, then this will be the end for us all. Your dream will become reality if we fail in our mission. But, if I am to never return here again, then let me die in peace knowing I have said all I need to..."

Pausing for a moment, he continues,

"...there's no other way to say this, so forgive my boldness: Amin mela lle, Lithwyn. I have been a fool for pretending not to care, when I really do. Everytime I have marched away, my only thoughts were of returning here to you. Our people need us both, but I only just realized, fool that I am, that I need you."

Reaching up with one hand, Ithramir gently wipes the tears from her eyes, then pulls her close. He can smell the perfume in her hair, the sweet smell of flowers makes him close his eyes and think of better days. Not wasting the moment, Ithramir wraps Lithwyn into his arms and kisses her deeply. If he wasn't coming back, he wanted the taste of her lips before he left. If he does return, he will deal with the repercussions then.

Amin mela lle - "I love you" in elvish

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