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Book Two - A Gathering Storm

Written by Lucant Dolvan - Page 7 Book 2

"What a fool I am..." Lucant thought to himself as he walked down the long hallway of cells, "why am I looking for this girl? I don't even know who she is or what she's done to be put down here in the first place." Still, he continued onwards.

Agmund's voice rung off the stone walls in the distance. Startled, he began a sprint down the hallway. He knew intrinsicly that something was waiting just down the way, that what he had been waiting for was right before him.

The old priest's figure appeared before him, along with that of an elven woman and the guard, Audun. Lucant could see that they were concerned about who was in the glowing cell. Before he could ask what was the matter, the glowing within the cell burst out and bathed the entire cell block with a warm, radiant light. Lucant quickly shielded his ears when humming from within the cell grew excruciatingly loud. A pulse of light came from within and Lucant clealy heard an alien voice within his head: My master...

When the light had faded, Lucant rushed to the gaping hole in the cell's wall to see what had occured. To his shock, he was greeted by the visage of the girl had seen earlier, as well as the sight of a magnificent sword standing mysteriously on it's point."My master..." he heard the call again. The strange feeling of serenity had returned, also.

Lucant stepped into the shattered cell towards the sword that kept calling him. He reached out for the hilt, but stopped before his fingertips reached it. "Why am I hesitating? This is what I want. This is what I have been waiting for." Spurred on by his conviction, Lucant shut his eyes and decisively grasped the hilt of the mysterious sword. The same voice that had called him "master" again echoed through his mind.

At last my master...at last I am in your hands. I am A'lanthear, and you, my master, are the chosen champion of Nyrondis. "Champion!? I am no champion, I am but a broken fool who must rely on the generosity of others." Lucant thought to himself. To his surprise, A'lanthear responded: You are no fool, my master, and it is from these others that you will come to draw your strength. Fascinated, Lucant posed another question to the sword, "Tell me, A'lanthear, what does Nyrondis want me to do?" The circle has just now been drawn, my master, and it is far from being complete. You must grow stronger, my master, in mind, body, and heart. But chiefly, you must protect this girl," a vision of the young girl he had seen earlier flashed through his mind, "for you are bound as intimately to her as I am to you." "Then so be it, A'lanthear. If this is my destiny, I shall embrace it." Lucant whispered to the sword with decisiveness and clarity. My master, fear not what lies before you, for I am at your side and Nyrondis walks with you.

Opening his eyes, Lucant saw the haunting young girl sitting on the floor in front of him with tears in her eyes. He took A'lanthear up in one hand, and, remembering the sword's wishes, he leaned forward to offer the other to the girl.

Written by Tempyst

Yes, young one, this is he, the champion of Nyrondis. You have found him.

Tempyst watched as the young man hesitated, then grasp ahold of A'lanthear's hilt. As his hand tightened, she saw before her a vision of a warrior, a protector, a humble servant, a hero. Her hand reached out to his and as their fingers touched, Tempyst felt the world shake. Teary eyes gazed up into his, she whispered, almost breathlessly, "You're real. You're real." Her hand shook in his, feeling his warmth, his strength, feeling everything from all her dreams rush through her soul, making her heart pound in her chest. Visions of her dreams raced through her mind; remembering her best friend who ran with her through the forest when she was a child. Remembering the joy of sharing with him new discoveries and ner abilities. Remembering how, during her rebirth, he came to her, his soft words of encouragement helping her find the strength to not give up. Remembering his teasing, his laugh, his arms that held her when nightmares tried to take control. Remembering him asking she wait for him, to be patient for he would find her.

Tempyst looked into Lucant's eyes, already knowing him, her soul aching no longer.

Written by Trinni Shannon

"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. You are right though, I do not need arrows. And yes, I know many magical "tricks" And I have found that I am significantly more powerful than your Resini."

The glow in Renalis' hand catches Trinni's eye and she smiles at the prettiness of it, fully aware of the damage such a glow can cause, and the healing it can bring. Grinning down at him as he chuckles, she relaxes in her saddle, a little more confident that he isn't insane after all.

"Trinni, you are the first I would call friend on this world, and I am honoured to fight alongside you." Looking down at the outstretched hand, the flying man's eyes glowing bright blue, she tilts her head to the side pretending to consider the offer.

"Hmmm. Weeeeell... if I don't have ANY other choice..." Suddenly she giggles and reaches her hand out. Taking his hand in hers, she smiles warmly and shakes it firmly. "Well, I am much honored to be your first friend. You will make more, don't worry! The people of Lothiel-Gadith are very nice. Well, some are more serious than others." Turning her head to the left, she motions to the tall serious elven in all black armor. "I haven't even spoken with that one yet, but I'm afraid if I get too close he'll bite my hand off or somethin'."

****

Hugging her arms around her body, she is surprised when Ithramir takes off his cloak and wraps it around her. Looking up at him, a curious warmth spreads throughout Lithwyn's body as he slides his hands down her arms to take her hands in his own.

"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..."

Her heart leaps in her throat and her lips part on a sigh of barely restrained hope.

"...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."

Her head swiming, she nearly faints and has to rely on Ithramir's strength to keep standing. A tear escapes and trickles down Lithwyn's cheek even as his hand rises to wipe it away. As his hand grazes her face, her eyes close and a soft sound of yearning escapes from her lips. Her heart pounds in her ears and it feels as if her entire body has gone mad. As he pulls her closer, the scent of his skin surrounds her, the warmth of his touch flows through her. So many sensations, building until she opens her eyes to gaze up into face once more.

It was as if she was seeing him for the first time. Lithwyn, about to put up a weak protest about decency, is interrupted as Ithramir leans forward and kisses her deeply. Giving in, forgetting about duty for just a moment, she returns the kiss with like passion. The entire world falls away and it is just Ithramir in that blissful moment. With both hands entwined in his hair, she pulls closer wishing it would never end.

A kiss like this is how it starts. A kiss like this is how it ends, but not with me. Not with me. I can't. Not again!

Breaking the kiss abruptly, her lips still tingling, the taste of him still on her tongue, she withdraws. Taking a step back, her body shaking from the mounting turmoil within her breast and mind, she reaches out with her hand. Trying to find support, from anything or anyone but Ithramir, her fingertips find the low-hanging branch of a tree. Now anchored, her head is bowed and she breathes deeply. Eyes closed, trying to fight off unbidden thoughts, Lithwyn's face is averted in shame. Ithramir's presence is so close to her, if she flinched she would touch him.

Finally, turning her face up, her eyes glistening with promises of a fresh onslaught, she shakes her head. There is no choice for her.

"Ithramir. You don't understand. My heart is gone. I gave it away once, to my melfea. He betrayed that vow and it... nearly... killed me. Do you have any idea what it feels like when your melfea breaks the sacred vow? Do you?!" The force of her words ends on a sigh that escapes her lips and fresh pain at the memory contort her face. Closing her eyes for a moment, she tilts her head down. When they open the vision of the ground is completely obscurred by tears running over her eyelashes. Her voice drops to a whisper as she looks up at him after a pause. "I didn't think so." Shaking her head sadly, her voice is soft with sorrow. There was only one thing left to say.

"I'm sorry. There is no heart left for me to give you, Ithramir."

Releasing her hold on the tree, she turns away from him. Her duty completed by warning him of her dream, she walks towards Sable, determined to ride back to Lothiel-Gadith where she can try to forget his touch, his taste, his smell in her hair.

****

OOC: Definition and description of Melfea. Roughly translated, it means soulmate. However, it means much more than that in context. For elven, there is one person they are meant to be with. Not just this life, but all lives. Where there were two heart beats, there is now one. When one of the pair dies, the other either dies shortly thereafter or isn't the same for the remainder of their life. Rarely, very rarely, the vow of Melfea is broken by one of the pair. The one who brakes the vow has little by way of repercussion, but the one remaining is not a whole person. Crushed, they are very nearly doomed. Sometimes they can find a partner again. Sometimes it is even strong enough to be a bond of melfea. This, of course is very rare. Melfea in itself is not a completely common occurrence as most don't realize their mate when they find them. Finding it twice in one life is rare indeed.

Written by Ariana

When Mavigan saw Keeryn nod her ascent, she nearly gave a cackle of glee. There was nothing quite like the thrill of doing something forbidden, knowing that at any minute you could be caught. Mavigan absolutely loved sneaking and skulking. It was a thrill, she had to admit, being well hidden and knowing that the person you were watching had no idea they were being watched!

It was no boast to say that Mavigan was rather good at hiding and sneaking. As a child, she had always bested Etewen in their games of hide-and-seek. As she grew older, her abilities, though untrained (for such training was not “proper” for a girl of the royal family), had increased. She had even went through a “phase” where she popped out at anyone and everyone, taking delight in their squeals of surprise (even if some of those squeals were faked), and then ran off down the corridor filled with laughter.

Her natural inclination served her well during her time away from home, where the art of stealth became less of a game and more of a necessity for survival. But even such real life testing of her abilities did not dampen her joy of the game, and she rubbed her hands eagerly with anticipation.

Leaning close to Keeryn, she whispered in her ear, “We have to slip the guards outside the door. Follow me!”

The glaziers had apparently finished their measurements and were making their way out of her chambers. Mavigan, being unusually polite due to her anxiousness to get underway, thanked them for their work and ushered them through the door herself. Once they were gone, she told the guards she was going to take a nap, then shut and locked her door.

Crouching down low, she put her ear to the doorway, listening intently. Hearing no signs of concern from the guards outside, she gave Keeryn a “thumbs up” sign and tip-toed to her window, which was nothing more than an open hole in the wall now that the glass was broken. Gazing out, she saw the courtyard from last night. Unlike last night, however, it was not filled with people. Other than the spare guard who could be easily avoided with the right timing, she did not spy any immediate threat to detection.

Motioning to Keeryn with her hand, she stepped out onto her balcony and grabbed hold of the vines she had climbed down last night. Swinging herself over, she quickly shuffled down into the courtyard and moved behind a nearby statue. She was pleased to see Keeryn very agilely following her with even less sound than she herself made. Oh, Keeryn was an excellent sneaker, and Mavigan smiled with delight.

As they huddled behind the rather large stone statue of some Elven somebody, Mavigan peered out looking for the guards she had seen. Once spotted, she then began counting. As predicted, each had a steady pattern of patrol, and there was a space of 10 seconds where they were all out of sight. She and Keeryn would make their move then. Mavigan had briefly considered simply knocking people over the head, but soon discarded the notion realizing that such an act would only compound the trouble she was already in.

Once the moment arrived, both Mavigan and Keeryn took off like a shot, quietly running to the strategically placed hedge that would provide them enough cover to scope out the entrance to the dungeon. Peering past the greenery, Mavigan observed their next obstacle, her brow creased with thought.

Two guards stood alertly by the door to the dungeons, and Mavigan grimly observed that both were Elves belonging to Ithramir. It was unlikely they would let her and her friend pass.

“Hmmm,” Mavigan said quietly to her partner in crime. “What we could really use now is a distraction.” Keeryn sagely nodded in agreement.

Then, as if the gods had suddenly decided to do something nice for Mavigan instead of their current torture, a loud blast resounded from inside the building. The magnitude of the explosion made the ground beneath their feet tremble, and though startled, it was still with great pleasure she saw the two guards turn, open the dungeon door, and bustle through. THIS was their opportunity!

Motioning to Keeryn, the two crossed the last distance and slipped inside the door, the ruckus of the blast and its aftermath serving to hide any sounds they made themselves. Once inside the main chamber, they watched as the guards ran down one passageway, obviously headed for the blast.

Without much thought, Mavigan turned the other way and began heading down the other passage. She knew they would have to be careful since the two passageways likely met somewhere in the middle, but as her old friend Jonan used to tell her, “Never take the front way! Always go in the back!” Of course, Jonan had spent more time in jail than out of it, but it still seemed like good advice to Mavigan. Of course, if her handsome fellow had been the cause of that explosion, then she was heading straight for the guards. No matter, Mavigan decided. If he was attempting a prison break, she would just have to help him.

They hurried down the passage since it did not offer much in the way of concealment, keeping an ear out for the sound of voices, and peering into the cells they passed as they went. To Mavigan’s surprise, most of the cells appeared to be empty. Considering Ithramir’s temperament, she had expected the dungeon to be overflowing with people he was pissed off at, but perhaps Ithramir had been called off to war before he could restock.

It wasn’t long, however, before she was distracted from such thoughts by the murmur of voices. Slowing her pace, she inched along the wall until she could distinguish the voices. One of those voices she recognized immediately. She had found him!

Ducking into the nearest empty cell and pressing herself against the wall, she listened intently to see if she could tell who he was with. After a few moments, another voice rang out, and Mavigan placed it with the face of the Elf who had tried to heal her last night. From the bits of conversation Mavigan could hear, she could tell there was at least one other person in the room, but she didn't know who it was.

Since she wasn’t supposed to be talking to him anyway, having an audience to this clandestine meeting was not an idea she was keen on. Motioning to Keeryn that they were staying where they were for a bit, she shuffled closer to the wall and strained her ears to hear the conversation over the shouts and ruckus farther off.

Written by Wilhelm

Wilhelm watched Lithwyn ride off towards the gates on Sable, and then noticed Mavigan dismounting.

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

Mavigan ran inside followed by Keeryn. Wilhelm handed Argent over to one of the Queen's Guards who had followed Mavigan out, asking him to take Argent back to the stables. Turning to the other two he said,

"See that she gets safely to her suite or the room she was in. Mavigan as Queen may go where she wishes inside the Citadel, but do try to keep an eye on her and keep her safe. I will remain here until Lithwyn returns. Anyone with business for the Citadel Commander can come to me for now. Pass the word."

They saluted and ran off after Mavigan, who seemed to be heading towards her suite. After Mavigan and Keeryn entered the suite, they passed on Wilhelm's orders to the other Queen's Guards and to the Citadel Guards. Meanwhile, Wilhelm remained and watched the army march out of the Citadel, waving and calling out greetings to those he knew. Lithwyn would return in due course, and then he would go see what trouble Mavigan had undoubtedly gotten into with Keeryn.

Written by Archeantus

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

It was him.

She somehow knew, there was something about his demeanor, the masterful act he was putting on to gain her adherence, his skill last night, his fervent eyes, all echoed the authenticity of who he was. But a barrage of questions began firing at her. What in the name of the Gods was he doing here? Why had he defended the young Queen? Why did he care? What governed his heart? Why had they let him from his cell?

Obviously, she had no idea who he really was. She knew him, yet only from his legend, and in the brief moment she had been thinking, he had suddenly come close. Far too close than she had been prepared for.

His presence swept all around her, his face came within inches of her own, she mindlessly joined in the game of seduction. Her glimmering eyes feigned a perfected apprehensive look of longing as she looked up into his. Moments passed as they stared into one another, racing dangerous thoughts lit in their minds, each knowing the string the other was walking.

Smoothly, deftly, he gently guided her now free arms down to her sides and took a calculated step back. She found she did not like the loss of pain. Her arms however now ached from the loss of pressure and she felt alive again.

"I am sorry our second meeting could not have been as grand as our first." He spoke with an air of remembrance, his eyes drifting off perhaps further than the previous night.

She said nothing. She began to feel more trapped than she had been only moments ago, and the feeling heightened.

"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."

She could care less about her question now. She knew.

"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."

Her eyes widened ever so slightly, and she found herself backing against the wall.

Freedom.

The thought scared her terribly. She did not know what she would do with it. Even now she contemplated killing the man before her with her bare hands, yet at the same time a completely forgotten feeling began rising in her mind: Guilt. She began to visibly shake as the feeling took hold, and the sweeping thought rose out of her pained consciousness glaring her in the face, it spoke with Godlike air, crushing her passiveness, “Hate......no..... more.......”

And then the memory, buried deep within came back with rushing force, a memory lost forever. She saw in her mind’s eye the days of her youth as a young woman. And to her utter shock, she beheld what she had worn…The robes of a Priestess, her hair of golden yellow, her eyes of pure blue…She nearly gasped at the thought of what she had become…

It was then a woman appeared, behind Teran, a woman dressed in white. Jasmine did not hear her speak, though she knew she had. Jasmine had begun to cry, the world blurred, her shaking hand reached out to stop the woman from coming ever closer; she wanted everything to end, her guilt pounding her again and again, like a smith pounds his work over the hearth. She began to slowly slide helplessly to the cold stone floor. Somewhere within that moment a bright light exploded and a wave of energy shot across her. She kept falling.

She felt the woman touch her, felt the familiar warmth she felt last night from the elven woman; she closed her eyes…all she saw was light.

…A sudden gasp…Her eyes exploded open and in them, the woman saw in the fleeting moment…final desperation.

Jasmine shot up in a flash, forcing the woman to quickly step back from her. Her face contorted in anger, Jasmine struck out and backhanded the woman across the face, sending her flying to the ground.

“Leave…me…alone!” She seethed, and then suddenly screamed in incredible pain. It shot through the dungeon, within all the commotion that was happening there, all heard it and stopped. It was the scream of death, of a lifetime of guilt, of a broken heart. Clutching the hand that had struck the woman, it’s color of deathly grey, it appeared to slowly spread down across her wrist and then it stopped.

The would be assassin rushed backward and slammed against the wall once more, her chest rising and falling heavily, all the while holding her hand, the same hand that her previous master had cut off when she had tried to kill him upon meeting him. The same hand that had been replaced by the mage…

She then looked in stark terror at all those around her and realized she was slowly dying.

Written by Agmund

He wrestled himself to stand, bones aching from the sudden fall, and pain wracking his mind. No thought came to him that defined the purpose or cause of the strange event, he could only surmise that magic of an ancient sort was at work. When the dust had cleared he could see Lucant clearly to his left and a path going thru the bars and cell directly to him from the Lady of the Wood.

“The sword,” his mind sang to life “the sword has a personality of its own, it is imbued with the power of nature to some degree… yes… you can feel its power. Why could you not see it earlier? Why now does it come to its part? Lucant… it was searching for Lucant,” his eyes slowly moved to the sturdy looking young farrier.

The Eleven Guard of the Citadel were coming alive with action, and it wasn’t a slow process, each having regained his senses, began to rise and draw his weapon. He could hear shouting in the distance, as other guards were being roused by the commotion. It would not be long, he thought, till the entire prison was full of elves, and rightfully so.

“Audun,” he reached down and aided the elf to his feet “She is telling the truth, at least what she has said so far is truth, but we still are not aware of her full purpose, nor are we aware of that which she carries.” He looked directly into Audun’s eyes as he continued, “I advise that you make sure the other cells are secure, and see that Lady Lithwyn is informed about what has occurred here, before the whole of the Citadel moves upon us.”

Audun nodded his agreement and quickly passed orders to the two elven guards closest, after which he turned back to the priest and spoke in elvish “and what of these two Father Agmund.”

“I’m afraid I don’t have an answer for you there friend Audun, but I suppose my recommendation would be to take them both to a more private place where the two can speak with one another,” Father Agmund replied with a chuckle. He had planned on teaching Lucant the sword along side the Queen, that way both could learn at the same time, Lucant gaining a new life and the Queen a skill she sorely needed. Plans go awry some times, and at the present he wasn’t sure what direction to go with either of them. The strange sword had added a new element, one that he had not foreseen.

“For now Audun, lets give them a moment here to figure things out, that may be best…” his voice trailed off.

Written by Turin Wallace

Ithramir only watched and listened as Lithwyn told him about her melfea. It is their people's way to bind each other’s souls together, but when one dies or breaks that vow, then the consequences can be devastating. Obviously, Lithwyn's mate betrayed her, and now Ithramir can finally see why she hides herself from others...and him especially.

Ithramir says nothing as she starts to walk away, how can he? His heart and soul was bared for all to see and he was turned away. In his mind, Ithramir knows that only she holds the key to letting her soul heal before she can let him in. And that, it seems, she is unwilling to do.

Just before she reaches her mount, Ithramir calls out,

"Lithwyn, stop."

He watches her stop. In a soft voice, he simply says,

"Nothing more needs to be said. I can now sleep both at night, and in death if it is the gods will, knowing I spoke my hearts desire. You are correct, never was I bound to another, I do not know your pain or loss. If I could ride to face that foe, I would. However, I cannot, only you can decide when you are ready to move on. I hope to be here when you are."

Pausing as he mounts his great, black steed, Ithramir then says,

"So, goodbye Lithwyn Deltheron, may Kaia'hanas guide and bless you in your ways, granting you peace and the ability to heal your soul."

With a gentle nudge, Ithramir wheels around on his horse, letting his eyes linger long upon the figure of Lithwyn, his cloak still wrapped around her. Giving her a nod and smile, he then rides off to the head of the army and to whatever fate awaits him on the battlefield.

Written by Lucant Dolvan

Lucant felt a warm rush surge through his body when he touched the young girl's hand. He pulled her to her feet and she rose as gracefully as a feather upon the wind. Still with tears in her eyes, she threw her arms around his neck and whispered "You're real. You're real." Surprised and somewhat embarassed, he responded the only way he could think of.

He wrapped his arms around her and held her close to his heart - held her like his father had held him during raging storms and after nightmares- in a monsterous bear hug that seemed to shut out the rest of the world. A'lanthear seemed to sing with joy at the embrace. The two let go of each other, though they still gazed into the other's eyes. "My lady," Lucant said just barely above a whisper, "A'lanthear wishes me to stay at your side. He said that I am bound to you. However, I do not even know your name." Before the girl could respond, A'lanthear spoke once more. " My master, Nagarren has grown impatient. Already she has set the circle in motion. Her child is already here. Find her, my master. No harm must come to this child, as the path to peace lies with her."

After the pause, he said regretfully to the druidess "I beg for your forgiveness, my lady, but A'lanthear demands my attention already." A look of understanding told him there was no ill will. Turning to Father Agmund, he asked "Father, would you know who A'lanthear means when he refers to 'Nagarren's child'?"

Written by Agmund

After the pause, he said regretfully to the druidess "I beg for your forgiveness, my lady, but A'lanthear demands my attention already." A look of understanding told him there was no ill will. Turning to Father Agmund, he asked "Father, would you know who A'lanthear means when he refers to 'Nagarren's child'?"

Father Agmund’s head swung slowly towards the young farrier, one eyebrow cast towards the ceiling, and his jaw locked into place with the answer of the question. For if the sword was referring to Mavigan, as the child of Ngarren, then it was here ultimately to aid her… or destroy her.

He knew there was no way for him to question the sword directly, and that the ones that could hear it would of course believe what it told them. There in lay the riddle of the faithful priests predicament. The sword could have been sent by the enemy, it could have been crafted years in advance, for things that happen even now, were designed by the gods themselves in a time when only they roamed Aerynth.

“There could still be signs that you have simply not seen yet,” his head lowered as he contemplated. “If indeed the sword was sent by Ngarren, it had to have been put into place ages ago, and if that assumption is correct… then it would mean only one thing.” The grim look upon his face was shrouded by the silvery hair of his beard. “Danger will be around every corner for Mavigan, and Ngarren,” his face rose back towards Lucant, “fears the worst.”

“It would appear then, that the part you would have this young farrier play, was already set into motion,” his thoughts concluded with a tarrying nod, eyes suddenly becoming large as he speaks directly to Lucant “The Queen of Ancora… Lady Mavigan.”

Written by Tempyst

"I beg for your forgiveness, my lady, but A'lanthear demands my attention already." Tempyst smiled softlyu, knowing all to well the demands of the sword she hard born. Turning to Father Agmund, Lucant asked "Father, would you know who A'lanthear means when he refers to 'Nagarren's child'?"

Tempyst finally took a step back from Lucant, as he addressed the older man. She had closed her eyes for a moment, catching her breath, when the sword whispered once again. Your duty is only beginning young one, keep him safe for he has much to do now, you both do. Together you will guard her, together you can keep her safe, Nyrondis wills it so.

She opened her eyes as the the older man spoke. “The Queen of Ancora… Lady Mavigan.”

Tempyst took a step forward, head held high, a new purpose filling her. "Nyrondis is the guardian of the earth, protecting those that are in need, helping those who are worthy, mending that which is hurt." Tempyst took a deep breath and stepped back to Lucant's side. "We are here to carry out Nyrondis's will. Take its meaning as you will."

There was a sudden scream from the cell across the way. Tempyst heard the sound but stepped closer to Lucant. to her, she had more pressing things to deal with.

Written by Renalis

"Hmmm. Weeeeell... if I don't have ANY other choice..." Suddenly she giggles and reaches her hand out. Taking his hand in hers, she smiles warmly and shakes it firmly. "Well, I am much honored to be your first friend. You will make more, don't worry! The people of Lothiel-Gadith are very nice. Well, some are more serious than others." Turning her head to the left, she motions to the tall serious elven in all black armor. "I haven't even spoken with that one yet, but I'm afraid if I get too close he'll bite my hand off or somethin'."

Renalis looks at the tall Elf in the black armor and laughed at her comment. "He does look intimidating doesn't he?" Renalis looked deeply at the man, His armor was as dark as the night itself, but there was something different about him. He was not like the other elves of this world, he seemed different somehow, and not just because of the weight he carried on his shoulders - he looked different and carried himself differently. "I'll have to talk with him before the battle..." Renalis muttered to himself.

****

The woman shot up in a flash, forcing the woman to quickly step back from her. Her face contorted in anger, the woman struck out and backhanded Crystal across the face, sending her flying to the ground.

Rising slowly from the ground rubbing her face, Crystal thinks to herself, "Damn she can hit hard, but why does she fight this so... what is eating her from the inside?"

“Leave…me…alone!” The woman seethed, and then suddenly screamed in incredible pain. Clutching the hand that had struck Crystal, it’s color of deathly grey, it appeared to slowly spread down across her wrist and then it stopped.

"By Elune's grace" Crystal gasped, then thinking to herself, "She was touched by something... dark."

The woman rushed backward and slammed against the wall once more, her chest rising and falling heavily, all the while holding her hand then She then looked in stark terror at all those around her.

"I want to help you, but you have to let me" Crystal spoke softly as she approached the woman slowly. She was given no response as the woman looked just looked around, apparently in shock.

Crystal knelt down beside her once more and closing her eyes, her hands glowing she placed them on the woman once more. She winced again as she felt the darkness within her soul, the heavy burden she carried. The physical wounds were completly healed now, but Crystal could feel something else. She was cursed, touched by death - or death's advocate - this powerful necromancy was beyond Crystal's ability to cure.

Crystal rose to her feet, looking down at the woman she spoke with a very serious tone in her voice, "There is nothing more I can do, if you open up I can attempt to help you with the burden you carry but I can do no more alone. The second problem you have, the far more obvious one, is this. This is a curse of undeath, the end result is unknown to me and I cannot cure it. I think I have slowed it progress but I believe only the one who placed it can remove it... or possibly by removing him from this life, we can end it."

Crystal looked down at the woman, awaiting her response.

Written by Ariana

Crouched in the semi-darkness, pressed hard against the rough stone, Mavigan’s face grows stormy as she listens intently to the words filtering through the commotion towards her. As the seconds tic by, Mavigan’s body tenses in small increments until it is apparent to her companion that she is about to explode.

“THAT BASTARD!” Mavigan exploded, the words seeming to pop out of her like a cork popping out of wine bottle.

In one instant, Mavigan tore herself from the wall, a dagger flying unbidden into each hand, and stepped into the open. Ignoring the guards who seemed distracted, she rigidly moved to stand in the doorway of the neighboring cell. Gripping her daggers so tightly her knuckles turned white, she trembled with the effort of restraint. Every instinct within her screamed that here was the enemy, she should strike now before the bitch got off the floor and attempted to finish what she started.

Instead, Mavigan stood rooted to her spot, casting malevolent glares at each of the occupants in turn her gaze finally settling on her supposed “hero”. The scene she witnessed coupled with the statements she had heard resulted in only one conclusion. Teran was helping the assassin escape and enlisting the priestess to heal her so they could make their getaway.

Despite the rage and hurt that swirled within her, Mavigan’s words were tinged with ice. Directing her statement to Teran, she said plainly, “I do not know what kind of game you are playing, but I do not find it fun.”

Any response Teran might have made was swallowed by the assassins scream and the drama that immediately followed. Mavigan watched, the expression on her face unreadable. She clearly heard the declaration of the priestess that the assassin was dying and discovered some small touch of satisfaction at the knowledge. The woman would not go unpunished for her crimes. Her daggers disappeared as mysteriously as they had appeared as a new idea formed in her mind.

“Well,” Mavigan said, venom dripping from her words, “isn’t this cozy. Since you all enjoy one another’s company so much, why don’t you all rot here?” With that, she grabbed the keys from the belt of the nearest guard, slammed the cell door, and locked it. Tossing the keys far down the corridor, she turned to Keeryn.

“Come on Keeryn, let’s get out of here,” Mavigan said. She cast an unhappy glance at the door she had just locked. “There is nothing for me here.”

Mavigan then started to walk swiftly back the way she came, no longer thrilling in the game, no longer concerned with concealment. She knew they wouldn’t stay locked in there for long – someone would likely retrieve the keys. But at least it gave her the opportunity to walk away before she did something REALLY stupid. Her way was unimpeded, and soon she and Keeryn found themselves once again in daylight.

After a moment of hesitation, Mavigan turned her steps towards to the kitchen. “I’m hungry,” she said. “That moron Ardwen ruined my breakfast.” Secretly, she hoped there would be cake – she wanted to drown her sorrows in sweets.

Written by Ardwen

"The people of Lothiel-Gadith are very nice. Well, some are more serious than others." Trinni turned her head to look right at him, Ardwen tried to pay her no mind. "I haven't even spoken with that one yet," she continued, "but I'm afraid if I get too close he'll bite my hand off or somethin'."

Ardwen made no visible reaction to the girl's words, but he did hear them. Inside he was all frowns and questions. Finally he gave a reaction, a slow deliberate shake of his head as if he were gesturing no. Ardwen took one hand off the reins and looked at it. He could not actually see his hand, covered as it was in sable steel, but he flexed his sword hand anyhow.

Ardwen’s eyes traced a line up the rest of his arm, all covered in the fearsome black berserker armor he had chosen. He shook his head again and frowned, but it was born out of sadness. His own people . . . his wards, his purpose . . . and they thought him a monster. Ardwen opened his mouth to speak in his defense, but what could he say? He [b]was a monster, and if this girl would see how he would fight in the upcoming battle . . . no – best to be honest. “I am not of Lothiel-Gadith, or from anywhere around here. I’m just here for the fights,” Ardwen paused then finished, “you need not worry about this one, you are off the blood at least.” He placed both his hands back on his mount’s reins and stared straight ahead. "Let them talk," Ardwen thought, "Let them speak their fill, just give me a blade in my hands and a foe in front of me."

Written by Tempyst

Kaya awoke, feeling her body shaking and getting tossed around. As her eyes regained focus, she saw she was inside a moving cage. She tried to reach up but found her hands and feet to be chained to the floor. It was just getting light outside, she could see the pink horizon of the morning sky. What the hell happened? She tought, still trying to gain her wits. Kaya closed her eyes, took a couple of deep breaths, then once agian looked about her surroundings. I'm in a cage, on a wagon, I see several other small cages with people in them, but I don't know if they are human or elven. It is morning, who knows how long I have been out, and I am being taken somewhere. Another match maybe? Oh well who cares, another match, another person to kill, another day goes by. She hung her head and closed her eyes, trying to let the rhythm of the wagon put her back to sleep.

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