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Book Two - A Gathering Storm

Written by Teran - Page 8 Book 2

"What troubles you, My Queen?" A familiar voice asked Mavigan as she stepped into the daylight.

The assassin stood in the sunlight, leaning casually where one of the guards had once stood, twirling the key ring Mavigan had just seconds before thrown down the hall around his index finger.

"I had hoped to speak with you before the task of hunting down your would be assassins pulled me away from this place." He offered her a charming smile.

If Mavigan bothered to turn around and check the cell she had locked in a fury she would find it as she had left it, the healer and Jasmine still trapped inside. Teran stood before Mavigan, his hands held out wide to either side, a sign of submission and perhaps an offer to Mavigan... Teran would be seemingly unable to defend himself if she chose to fire off a punch in her rage.

Written by Aethelwulf

Cinching up the last leather strap for his green plate armor, Alaric turned to his squire. "Roland lad, is my steed at the ready as well?" Roland lowered his eyes and nodded solemnly. "Aye my lord, he is indeed at the ready."

Alaric smiled wanly and lifting the young squires chin up, he spoke in a soft tone to his nephew. "Look lad, I told your mother that I would not run off and get her son killed. Not this year at the least!" Alaric smiled brighter as he saw the fire in the lads eyes. "I know Uncle, and indeed I will apply myself with great dispatch to my weapons training. Its just that," the lads countenance fell once more," I wish I could go with ye and fight by your side."

Alaric nodded his head and clapped the young lad on the shoulder. "I know son, I know. You have come far in the last two years, and I know that your father would be proud of you" Roland's father had been killed three years earlier in a skirmish with orc's, and it was then that Alaric had taken on his sisters son as a squire. "I know I am.."

Alaric roughly took up the lad, and gave him a swift and firm hug. Then holding him at arms length, he charged the lad with a solumn task.

"While I am away lad, I want you to guard your mother well. The times we live in are violent and dire, and she will need a good man at the ready. Now then, I must report to Lord Ithramir, for we soon march. Take care of your self lad! I shall see ye upon my return." And with a swirft movement, Alaric left the tent and strode vigorously to the tent of his Commander.

Written by Ariana

“What troubles you, My Queen?”

The voice surprised her, interrupting her daydream about the endless parade of sweets she intended to consume. She looked at Teran, standing casually in the light of the sun as if he were as comfortable with it as he was with the darkness of night. Her mouth dropped open with surprise. She looked at Teran, then at the keys he held, then behind her into the passageway she had just left, and then at Keeryn – who merely shrugged and looked as confused as Mavigan felt.

Returning her gaze to Teran, her eyes filled with respect and awe, and more than a little longing. “Damn,” she said. After a moments hesitation she burst out with “You SO have to teach me how to DO that!”

A split second after the words left her mouth, she remembered she was mad at him, and her eyes immediately narrowed. She placed one foot behind her, putting herself into a defensive stance – just in case. Although she would personally cut out her own tongue rather than admit such a thing, she was acutely aware that Ithramir had been right – the man standing before her was not all he seemed. She left her daggers sheathed, though, not trusting his apparent submissive gesture, but realizing that had he wished her dead, he could have killed her before she was even aware of his presence.

“Hunting them?” she asked acidly. “Looked more like helping them to me.”

She paused for a moment as the rest of his statement whipped through her brain. “Leaving”, her brain told her. “Not without me, he’s not!” the rest of her replied. She didn’t trust him, but she recognized a golden opportunity when she saw one.

“Besides, why hunt them? They aren’t the problem. We know who sent them. Why don’t we go to Westgale, sneak into the castle, gut my bastard Uncle, and call it day?”

Written by Lucant Dolvan

"My master, fear not for Nagarren's child. She is safe for the moment, but it will not always be so. Still, you two must find her and ensure that no harm befalls her." Where is she, A'lanthear? "All things in time, my master. For now, there is someone else who needs you."

A scream broke his conversation with A'lanthear and Lucant noticed that the young druidess was standing very close to him. As some of the guards rushed down toward the noise he turned his head and found himself looking directly into the young girl's disarming eyes. Feeling the blood rush to his face, he quickly averted his attention to Agmund. "Father Agmund, I assure you that neither we nor Nyrondis mean to harm to Her Majesty. In fact, our intentions are quite the opposite." Agmund looked as if he heard, but he clearly had other things on his mind. Not waiting for the priest to respond, Lucant turned back to the druidess.

"Again I beg your forgiveness, my lady," Lucant said with a bow, still red-faced. He then realized that he still didn't know her name. "My lady, I apologize again, for not introducing myself properly. My name is Lucant Dolvan and I was a farrier before I was fortunate enough to meet you. Might...might I be so bold as to ask your name, my lady?"

Written by Tempyst

Tempyst smiles, taken in by Lucant's deep blue eyes. "I am Tempyst, the druid Whisperling, and it is my greatest pleasure to finally meet you." Tempyst felt her face flush a litte, not sure of what to say to him, now that he was standing here before her. Finally, after an awkward silence, she continued. "I...there is so much to ask you, to tell you; I have been searching for you my whole life and now that you are here..." Her voice trailed off as she realized what had just happened to the jail. He eyes grew wide, surveying the damage. "A'lanthear, what have you done?" She whispered, but the sword did not answer. She placed a hand upon Lucant's arm, and looked back into his, she suddenly realized, handsome face. Her voince once again stuttered as she spoke. "I think the time is not right for our pleasantries. I believe I have some explaining to do." Tempyst looked towards the older man, who was watching her sternly.

Written by Teran

"Yes we do know who sent the assassin who killed your family, however I believe that the man who sent Jasmine after you has his own motivation for wanting you dead. Whether your bastard uncle is dead or alive you will still be in danger." He says softly.

Teran considered his next words very carefully.

"I realize you would very much like Beridane dead, my Queen, and perhaps when your safety is assured I will bring you his head as a gift but there is another option." he stopped and smiled and then continued. "Beridane is a very weak man, perhaps more valuable to you alive than dead, more useful on his throne than in your dungeon."

He broke off that line of conversation, not wishing to make the Queen any more uncomfortable than necessary discussing the murderer of her family. He deftly continued giving her no chance to respond....

"I will hunt Jasmine's Master with her assistance. She knows more about him than I and perhaps she has information on his current destination. It will undoubtedly be a very dangerous trip with a deadly foe at the end of a deadly path." The assassin looks completely solemn but he smiled inwardly baiting the young Queen's interest with the promise of adventure.

"Jasmine and I will be leaving this evening."

Written by Ariana

Mavigan blinked owlishly at Teran. Beridane – not the Big Bad? The thought had not crossed her mind. She has assumed that Beridane was the enemy, and those around her were always quick to reinforce that notion. Mavigan figured the solution was simple – slay Beridane and then she would be free to go home. Apparently, however, there was a whole lot about this situation that she did not know.

Mavigan chewed on her lip as she considered her options. Should she stay here in the clutches of Wilhelm? He and his cronies would no doubt continue to stuff her in dresses, demand public appearances, and generally try to cram her into the mold of a “Queen” that they had created, and that in no way fit. Around here Mavigan often felt like a square peg being roughly shoved into a round hole.

Or, should she ride off with a man she knew nothing about and wasn’t sure she trusted, in the company of a woman who had tried to kill her, and maybe get a shot at the mysterious Big Bad?

Yeah, like that was a tough choice.

The fact that Teran had offered no invitation did not escape her notice. She was fully aware that he could leave her behind with no warning and she would never be able to find him. Or he could take her from the citadel and abandon her somewhere along the way. Or it could all be a trap and he was not hunting them, but was instead planning on delivering her as a gift to her enemies. Or the bitch they would be traveling with could come to her senses and try to kill her again.

Yes, the plan was fraught with danger, and a million things could go wrong along the way. And, he still hadn’t asked her to accompany him.

She wasn’t going to let that stop her.

Beaming a smile at him, she said simply, “Count me in!”

Written by Teran

"I will be leaving tomorrow morning before dawn. We should probably meet outside the walls." He smiled knowingly "We will be moving quickly to the south."

He glanced at Keeryn as if noticing her for the first time.

"Will you be bringing your 'friend' with you?"

The assassin knew he had a busy night ahead of him, no time for sleep. He had seemingly enlisted Mavigan's aid (for better or worse) but he still needed to gain Jasmine's aid though he doubted that would be too difficult. The last thing the assassin needed to do was visit Beridane. If anyone knew anything about the man he was hunting (besides Jasmine) it would be Beridane.

Written by Agmund

“Audun,” Father Agmund said as he turned to the elf, “Perhaps there is a better location for these two too continue their conversation. If you would, please have them escorted to my room for now, and place one guard on the door.” Audun merely nodded as he called out to another guard nearby.

The priest then turned his gaze back to the companions of the sword, pondering a brief moment before he spoke, “You must understand that for now at least, I cannot permit you to see Lady Mavigan. While the two of you are sincere in your thoughts and your words are true, it only convinces me that you believe what the sword whispers to you, not that the sword is here for the good of the Queen. In either regard, the decision is not up to me, Lord Wilhelm will have to make the choice. I pray you both understand why I take such precaution.”

“This guard will show you to my room, and he will remain at the door. This will give the two of you time to speak to one another in private,” his eyes look to the guard that Audun called forth and then back to Audun, “You have but to call upon me friend Audun… Tenna’ san.”

A swirl of white follows his exit from the Prison, that and the sound of his staff thudding against the stone. He wastes no time making his way from the dark depths of the citadel, to emerge once again into the bright sun of the day. There, his frame outlined in the doorway, a long sigh of relief escapes his lips as his eyes adjust to the light.

“You must find Lord Wilhelm and let him speak with these two, although you have ideas, it is Lord Wilhelm that needs to make the decision, you have but to counsel,” he said to himself. As he was making his way into the throng of an inner courtyard his eyes caught sight of a fiery head of hair, he of course knew at an instance who it was. Stopping in his tracks he considered who it was that she spoke with. He had not seen this man before that he could recall, but the two seemed to be in deep discussion, judging from the looks upon Mavigans face at least.

There was something in her eye that struck him strangely… “she is smitten with him,” he chuckled with the thought. His stride picked back up, and he moved right towards them, making sure to come into the Queens view for only a moment, and saying nothing to either her or the man she spoke with as he continued past. Only a soft smile could be read within the lines of his face.

Written by Vylia

Keeryn's face suddenly changes from somewhat confused and curious to very serious, "Where she goes, I go. I couldn't very well let a friend go off in danger by herself, and it's a little hard to trust someone who kills people for a living," turning to Mavigan, "I need to find a staff or spear before we go. I have a whip for a weapon, but it's of little use if something gets close, or if there's more than a few people in our way. We'll need to get a few supplies together, so I hope you travel light, and you don't leave many tracks, or this will be a short trip. You realize that Wilhelm is going to come after you, right?"

Written by Lucant Dolvan

Lucant strolled calmly behind the guard leading him and Tempyst to Agmund's quarters. He was glad to out of the dungeons and to see the beauty of Lothiel-Gadith again. It had been nearly three years since he walked these streets. "I wonder...if she's still here," he mused, gazing at the statues and other architectural feats along the way.

The long walk to Agmund's chambers gave him time to think about what he would say to the druidess who remained close to his side. He still had no idea what to say to her when they reached the doors. Lucant stepped inside nervously, trying to keep his mind off the events of five years past.

Written by Tempyst

Tempyst followed along quietly, thankful for being out of the darkness. She kept glancing over at Lucant, wondering what was going through his mind. She smile to herself when they reached the doorway and he stepped aside to let her go in first. Once in the room, Tempyst felt the tinge of pain in her head and brought her hand up, only to find many sticky strands loosed on her neck.

"Ouch." Tempyst winced and looked about the room, seeing what she had hoped for. "I am sorry for any trouble Lucant, you will find, A'lanthear often has its own ideas about how things should be done." She poured some water into a basin, then took a small towel, wet it, and began to try and clean off her bloodied hair. She turned to Lucant, who seemed to be looking a little lost. Tempyst let her first true smile show through as she sat by the balcony and the plants there. "So, Lucant, how did you happen to be in the dungeon? How did you find your way here? Did you have dreams as well? I know, I am so relieved to finally find you, after all the years you've haunted my dreams and thoughts." She took a deep breath, then realized she was not getting to far with cleaning her hair, so she got up, brought the basin and pitcher over to the bench. "Lucant? Could you pour a little of this water over my hair here, I need to clean this wound and get this blood out of my hair?"

Lucant took up the pitcher and as Tempyst leaned over the basin, slowly poured the water over the back of her neck. As the water trickled througth her hair, the scent of fresh rain wafted up to Lucant's nostrils. The small vines, flowers and leaves entwined in her hair seemed to move and lean towards the flowing water.

"Oh, thank you Lucant, that is so helpful. I think that is enough." Tempyst winced again as she dabbed the wound under her hair, the towel and water a slight pink color now. "Are you hurt? You must have a million questions, I know I have so many. It feels..." She looked up into his young face and smiled thw would melt the coolest of hearts, " feels, like I've finally found the missing piece of my soul."

Written by Lucant Dolvan

Lucant stepped towards the ornate doors and opened them for Tempyst. He thanked the guard, took a deep breath, and stepped inside the room. The wonderous beauty of Elven architecture and design was like a breath of fresh air after the utilitarian dank dungeons. Lucant wandered arounded the spacious suite. "It's been so long..." he thought to himself.

"So, Lucant, how did you happen to be in the dungeon? How did you find your way here? Did you have dreams as well? I know, I am so relieved to finally find you, after all the years you've haunted my dreams and thoughts." Lucant walked over to a bench on the balcony, thinking of how to answer the questions, as well as how to react to her last statement. Before he could say anything, Tempyst was at his side again "Lucant? Could you pour a little of this water over my hair here, I need to clean this wound and get this blood out of my hair?" "Of...of course, my lady," he stood up and cleaned the wound as best he could, trying not to be too rough. He was amazed by the vines and flowers in her hair that seemed overjoyed to be near water." "Oh, thank you Lucant, that is so helpful. I think that is enough." Tempyst said as she dabbed her wound. "Are you hurt? You must have a million questions, I know I have so many. It feels..." She looked up into his young face and smiled thw would melt the coolest of hearts, " feels, like I've finally found the missing piece of my soul."

Blood rushed to Lucant's face again. "I am glad to have found you as well, my lady. As for your questions: I was a farrier before I found myself in the dungeon. I lost everything I owned due to persistant money troubles. I came here to start again, but Yvesinia led me to you instead of a forge. I had no dreams, but...but I did feel something strange when I saw the guards carry you down the hallway. I pray your dreams are pleasant from here on out."

He stood up and walked to the balcony and looked for the old familiar road. He saw the same massive elm tree the distance from so long ago. "This is what I wanted isn't it? Why do I still feel so empty?" he thought to himself.

Written by Tempyst

Tempyst looked at Lucant, her sense finally calming down, she could see the distant look in his face. She sighed softly, upon hearing his words about her dreams being more pleasent. She continued to watch him, letting her senses take control, focusing and quieting all the questions in her mind. As the wind blew into the room, bringing with it the sweet, sallty tang of the seam she let the wind speak to her, as it swept past Lucant then to her. Her face grew a little sad, as it suddenly dawned on her that this young man here, probably had no idea what she was talking about, that he may be more lost than she was.

Tempyst cleared her throat and spoke quietly. "My apologies for seeming so bold in my questions. I assumed that the one I dreamt about, would also have been having dreams about me. You must think me to be a crazy wild woman of sorts, speaking out such feelings, presenting to you a magic sword..." She could see that he was still a bit lost, his eyes still searching for something in the distance. She walked over and placed the basin and pitcher back on the nightstand, then sat down on the balcony, next to the vines that were growing there. She whispered quietly as she began to tend to the greenery, "The dreams were never unpleasent..." her voice trailing off.

Then, she looked up to him, the vines on the balcony seeming to wrap around her as if caressing her. "Lucant, I will not bother you with any more questions, but will await to answer yours if you have any."

Written by Agmund

“Count me in!” is all that he heard of the conversation between the two, and he could hear the excitement in her voice. He wondered what the two were plotting, but for him it simply wasn’t his business to interfere or interject in whatever the plot was. Indeed, his mind never even considered what the two were planning.

There was a greater picture to be seen than merely this one place and its events. Soon a great battle would be fought, and it would be only the first battle in a grand war, engulfing much of Aerynth. The bodies of the guilty and the innocent shall lie still beside one another; the bodies of good and evil will come to rest upon the ground without ceremony. While Lady Mavigan was an integral part of this war and its result, many would suffer, and many from kingdoms near and far would perish.

Already it has been set into motion, and his thoughts were with the races that had sallied forth from these walls. Ithramir would not relent in the battle ahead, he would not surrender, he would not turn aside, he knew what possibilities were ahead of him, and he went to assure the safety of his people. “There is still time,” Father Agmund thought, “Still time to ride to his aid.”

No, was the first reaction to his own thinking, for in his dreams he had already seen the outcome, and though the losses were terrible in his heart, he could see no other way. Soon the first drops of blood will be spilled, and soon fire and death will travel from border to border in its wake. His feet came to a halt as his head began to spin with the thought of senseless death and destruction, and for what seemed like an eternity his eyes grew large and his body motionless.

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