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Book Two - A Gathering Storm

Written by Lucant Dolvan - Page 9 Book 2

Lucant stood at the balcony looking out at the bustling streets below. "The past is gone... there is nothing I can do about the choices I made then but live with their consequences. I'll not go about resurrecting the ghosts of the past without due cause," he decided. He remembered an old pearl of wisdom that his father said to him when he was young as a gust of wind blew past him: "Son, looking off into the horizon is good at times, but do it too much and you'll lose sight of what's right in front of you." He laughed inwardly at himself and thought: "What a fool I am not to see what I have in front of me."

He turned back towards the bench where Tempyst was sitting, only to be greeted by a sight he thought more beautiful than anything Lothiel-Gadith could offer - though he would never say so. 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." He walked over to her and sat down beside her, allowing his eyes to rest on hers rather than averting them. "Lady Whisperling, it seems that you know a good deal about me. I, on the other hand, know hardly anything about you, save your name. That is something I would like, very much, to remedy."

Written by Ariana

"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."

Mavigan smiled. “I like South. It’s a good direction. I’ll be there.”

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

“That is up to her to decide,” Mavigan replied.

Keeryn then essentially stated with the utmost seriousness that she was stuck to Mavigan with glue.

“I stand corrected,” Mavigan said. “We’ll be there.”

Keeryn started listing the supplies they would need to gather, and Mavigan nodded in agreement.

"You realize that Wilhelm is going to come after you, right?" Keeryn asked.

“Of course!” Mavigan replied. “It wouldn’t be any fun if he didn’t. Come on Keeryn, let’s go get ready.”

As they moved off to prepare, Mavigan tossed Teran a saucy wink. “And don’t forget,” she said, “You HAVE to teach me that trick!”

Written by Agmund

It was his age that caused his mind to spin out of control. Now what lay before him seemed blurred and obscured, as if all paths were twisted and contorted into one. Legs that were ready to carry him onward had faltered, unsure of which way to carry him too, so there they merely shook with an unsure fury. His eyes were like large silver stars, shrouded by a mist of a night sky as he slowly began to spin, looking from one battlement to the other.

His body fell to one knee, his weight resting upon it, and had it not been for a passing boy who stopped and peered into his eyes, he may have remained there for a time. He recognized the boy immediately, it was Tomas the stable hand, and as the two looked almost quizzically at one another he spoke “Father Agmund are you alright?”

A strange smile lit his face up as he replied “I have seen better days, but then, it is possible,” he slowly rose to his feet, “that I have seen worse.” Towering over the boy he chuckled, “I take it you enjoyed the march of the troops as they left this morning young master Tomas?”

“Very much! I’ve never seen such a thing before!” he said excitedly. The boys words drew a broad grin from the old priest. “Well that is good to hear,” he bent over somewhat as he smiled, “now I need you to do me a great service, because… well, I am already behind schedule. Saddle my horse, and make sure she’s ready for the road, because I have a trip of my own to undertake, and be quick!”

“Right away!” the boy turned and ran off leaving a little trail of dust in his wake and laughter from the priest as his head shook. “Now off to find Lord Wilhelm,” he said as his feet began to move once more. They hadn’t carried him far when he spotted the Crusader dismounting from his horse.

“Lord Wihelm,” he paused as he came to stand beside him, “There are two individuals awaiting you in my room, I wasn’t sure where to send them, and the prison seemed to be a poor place for you to speak to them… and well… I don’t believe they really belonged there.”

Written by Tempyst

When Lucant sat down, she felt a shiver go through her body, but she took strength from the vines around her and did her best to remain collected. When he looked into her eyes, it felt like her heart skipped a beat. "Lady Whisperling, it seems that you know a good deal about me. I, on the other hand, know hardly anything about you, save your name. That is something I would like, very much, to remedy."

She blushed at his words, suddenly feeling very shy. Where do I start? What do I say? Then suddenly, the thoughts that ran through her head vanished, seeing only him, feeling caught up in a whirlwind. After a moment, she turned her eyes away, slightly embarrassed at the silence. "Uhm...please, you may call me Tempyst if you like, I usually only use Whisperling when doing druid business." Tempyst looked back up into his kind face and smiled again. I am a druid of Nyrondis, a forest lady as most have been referring to me as. I was raised by the druids of the Deepshadow since I was a baby; I've not known any other life. In fact, this is my first time away from the conclave and I must admit, all this stone, all the steel and people, is beyond anything I could have imagined. I feel so very lost here with all of it, but, it is where fate has brought me and where I must be."

As Tempyst spoke, some of the vines that were wrapping around her, as if pulling Lucant into the conversation while she continued. "As for knowing a great deal about you, I would not say that. Until today, I did not know your name or even what you looked like." He face slushed softly again, the light of the rising sun making playful shadows across is. "Ever since I can remember, my dreams have included someone in them. Same age as myself, growing up with me, playing in my dreams as children, being friends, leaning on each other, never being apart. As I grew older, so did this man, we told each other many secrets, but all the while, he was always turned from me, or his face in shadows, covered by a hood, or just too foggy to see. I cannot imagine growing up without this person. I had always asked the elders about this, but all they could tell me is that I was connected, my soul was connected with this man and my life would never be complete without him." She looked back up into his eyes, soft tears falling once again. "When I saw you today, I..." She looked away, embarrassed now. "...I was brought to my knees; you were real. Not just a figment of a dream."

Written by Wilhelm

Wilhelm decided that Lithwyn would be awhile returning. Since the marching out was over, he told the door guard to find him when Lithwyn returned, and to have Sable taken to the stables at that time. He then noticed Agmund arrive, who said,

“There are two individuals awaiting you in my room, I wasn’t sure where to send them, and the prison seemed to be a poor place for you to speak to them… and well… I don’t believe they really belonged there."

"Very well, let us go and speak to them." Wilhelm replied. Father Agmund conducted Wilhelm to his room and introduced everyone. "Greetings to both of you. Please tell me how you came to be here in this manner."

Written by Lucant Dolvan

"When I saw you today, I..." She looked away, embarrassed now. "...I was brought to my knees; you were real. Not just a figment of a dream." She looked back up at him now, with a tear running down her face. Lucant reached forward slowly and wiped way the stray tear. "To always have someone there for you, to have your dreams come true...Nyrondis must truly love you...Lady Tempyst," he said still lost in her gaze. He didn't even notice the two men who had entered the room until one of them spoke.

After Father Agmund had introduced everyone, the man he called Wilhelm said in a commanding voice: "Greetings to both of you. Please tell me how you came to be here in this manner."

Lucant returned the greeting and told the crusader the same tale he had told Father Agmund sometime earlier. He also spoke of how he came about meeting Tempyst and finding A'lanthear, as well as how Agmund had arranged for his release. When he had finished, he looked over at Tempyst, partly because he found her presence far more desireable than anyone or anything else in the room, and partly because he was interested in how she came to be in the dungeons.

Written by Tempyst

Tempyst only felt his touch upon her cheek. It wasn't until the two men spoke, that she realized they were not alone. She listened to Lucant tell his tale, then stood, moving over to Lord Wilhelm. She told him her tale, being reborn with A'lanthear in her arms, how she had dreamt of an unknown man all her life, and how the sword had whispered to her, beckoning her to go find him, the one who would weild it and be the champion. She told of her leaving the conclave, traveling alone, her first time in the outside world. She spoke of meeting Lithwyn, then of hearing the sword tell her more emphatically, that the one she was searching for was here. She mentioned that she had wandered about, not truly thinking and described the encounter she had with the guards and how she found herself waking up with a headache in the dungeon. Then she spoke of fiding A'lanthear flying into her cell and with a bit of embarrassment, what happened afterwards to the dungeon when A'lanthear determined his chosen was there.

When she finished, she looked at Lord Wilhelm and moved a bit closer to Lucant. "I will answer any questions you may have Sir. Nyrondis, it seems, has an interest in this child it spoke of and I serve Nyrondis, thus his will is mine."

Written by Archeantus

The woman in white again spoke. Jasmine stared at nothing. Beads of sweat appeared on her forehead as she continued to heave in breaths.

"There is nothing more I can do, if you open up I can........" The words were lost, as Jasmine's head swam, her eyes blurred, and the world came tumbling down all around her into blackness. One word the woman spoke stung her waining consciousness, it was a word that struck her with...she didn't know the emotion...

...Curse...she heard the woman say.

And she audibly asked herself as she slowly slid sideways across the stone wall to the ground, "Have...I been....cursed all....along?

Written by Wilhelm

Wilhelm looked at Father Agmund, who nodded to indicate that their words were truthful. He turned back to them then and said,

"Queen Mavigan is indeed a Chosen One, chosen by the Gods to play a major role in their Divine Plan. I am not really suprised to hear that Nyrondis is also interested in her welfare. Since Father Agmund vouches for the truth in your words, I accept you both into the service of Queen Mavigan. I would ask that henceforth you remember that we are guests of the Citadel. Please do not destroy any more walls." Wilhelm chuckled.

"I will place you in Father Agmund's charge for now. He will see that you recieve rooms, clothes and meals. Welcome to the Queen's Service. And now I must go find the Queen before she gets into too much trouble."

Wilhelm waved goodbye to the pair and left the room, heading towards Mavigan's heartfire in the direction shown to his Tracking Sense. Stepping out into the courtyard, he saw Mavigan and Keeryn approaching. Mavigan looked smug, so no doubt the two were up to something as expected. Being Mavigan's Champion would never be boring. For now, however, Wilhelm had something to distract her with.

"Good morning ladies. Now that the army has marched away, Mavigan, I have something for you to see. Will you please come with me to the stables?" Mavigan and Keeryn exchanged looks and shrugs then followed Wilhelm towards the stables.

"Rest assured that I do not intend to force you to learn dainty court manners or dry political history. It is clear to me that you are one chosen by the Gods to play a major role in their divine plans. To prepare for such a fate requires a wide variety of training and preparation. You cannot run from such a fate, because Fate and the Gods will always find you. You are like a stone placed on a tightly made bed. Other objects on that bed will slide down to meet you no matter where they are placed or you are moved. I will do my best to protect you, but as you saw last night I cannot always be at your side when danger comes to you, although I pledge to you that I will always come to you as soon as I can when you are in danger. You must prepare yourself as much as possible to handle matters yourself. There are many who would do you harm. In days to come you will lead and command armies, and you must earn their respect. I am hoping that Keeryn here can help teach you some of her survival and weapon skills. She can be with you in places I cannot be. And now I have something for you to see."

They had reached the stables. Wilhelm led them to Argent's stall. Argent stood there, immaculately groomed, caparisoned with the royal arms. A Royal Banner was on the back wall. Two sets of gear lay to one side, the new side saddle with a fancy bridle and the older normal saddle, well oiled, with plain bridle and saddlebags. On the other side hung a full set of llight leather armor, suitable for a horse archer, with a new bow and two quivers of arrows. A shortsword in its sheath and a spear hung next to the bow. A plain cloak, tunic and leggings in camouflage colors, sized to fit over the armor, hung nearby. On a stool in front lay Mavigan's favorite cake.

"Happy 18th Birthday, Mavigan. You have now come of age. May you live to see many more birthdays. Take good care of Argent and she will bear you well. (Remember that she likes her apples.)"

Argent snorted a greeting at Mavigan. Wilhelm waited for Mavigan's response, smiling at the stunned look on her face.

Written by Tempyst

"I would ask that henceforth you remember that we are guests of the Citadel. Please do not destroy any more walls." Wilhelm chuckled. Tempyst blushed at the man's words.

"Let us hope A'lanthear will keeps its cool from now on, but one can never tell." She smiled.

"I will place you in Father Agmund's charge for now. He will see that you recieve rooms, clothes and meals. Welcome to the Queen's Service. And now I must go find the Queen before she gets into too much trouble." Tempyst waved back to Lord Wilhelm, then looked to Father Agmund.

"Thank you for your kindness sir and my apologies to you for any trouble that was caused." Tempyst smiled shyly at the older man. "Also, I have dirtied your water here, cleaning a wound I have."

Agmund replied, "No worries child, I am glad we have this all settled. Now, let me show you two to some rooms where you can rest and clean up. I will also inform the guard that you two are now guests." Agmund motioned for the two to follow him and began to lead them down the hall. He looked into a couple of doors, then shook his head. Then he seemed to find what he ws alooking for, a pair of rooms, side by side. "Here you two go. Now, please behave yourselves and as Lord Wilhelm said, don't blow anything else up."

"Thank you sir for your time and trouble and thank you for the rooms. I promis to be on my best behavior."

Agmund smiled, "That would be much appreciated. Now, if you will excuse this old man, I have some other business to attend to." Father Agmund then turned away and began walking down the long hall.

Tempyst turned to Lucant. "Well, it seems that we are left to our own devices. As for cleaning up, well, I am afraid this is the only clothing I have. How does one get any more here in a city?" She got that lost look on her face again, then she sighed. "I need to gain some focus I think. Perhaps I will be able to find a garden or some trees in order to commune. Care to join me Lucant? We can talk more if you like."

Written by Turin Wallace

Ithramir and the army marched for the rest of the day, stopping sparingly to rest their horses, but the most part kept a quickened pace. Soon enough, they passed through the great forest and into a vast plain. Off in the darkening distance, the great mountains of the Amlug Anc stood white capped against a dark sky, a small plum of smoke just barely visible.

Ithramir's eyes looked at the smoke, and he heard his adjutant quietly say,

"Minas Aure is aflame, lord Ithramir. This bodes not well, I think."

Almost with a growl, he turns to her and replies,

"What bodes not well is to speak like that. We will retake our keeps from the Orcs and secure our flank. If you speak like that again, I assure you, you will find yourself back on guard duty in Thornton."

Immediately straightening in her saddle, she replies,

"Forgive my rudeness, lord Ithramir. Of course we will take back what is ours. I will not speak negatively again."

Ithramir gave her a nod, not one of arrogance, but of a commander who understood what his adjutant was saying was on everyone's mind.

The army rode till nightfall had overtaken them.

Gathered around his campfire, his guests and the commanders of the allied troops stood around waiting to be addressed. Standing up, he greets them all, then says,

"Honored guests and allies, we still have two days of riding ahead of us. As we can all see, the keep of Minas Aure is under full siege and parts of it are already aflame. Whether it is breached or not is no longer a concern. What is our concern is securing these keeps to protect our flanks so we can keep our eyes focused on Beridane, or the Orcs, one at a time. We cannot afford to be assailed on two fronts, I think you will all agree we do not have the soldiers or supplies for such a costly endeavor.

Now, I have sent a scout forward, they will arrive and report back to us tomorrow eve as to Minas Aure's condition. However, know this, we are facing a foe that may outnumber us as much as ten to one. If you wish to tell your men and women the odds, so be it. So far I have kept the oppositions numbers secret to keep what morale these soldiers have intact. They will need every ounce of their morale and strength once they arrive to face the enemy."

Leaning against a nearby tree while pausing, Ithramir looks at those around the campfire and says,

"If any of you have any questions, I will answer as best I can."

Uncorking a bottle, Ithramir takes a long drink while awaiting any questions from those gathered together.

Written by Renalis

The Army rode until nightfall, and Renalis could see smoke in the distance, "The keep is aflame... not good." he quietly thinks to himself, knowing just how important moral is in a fight.

Upon making camp Renalis made the point of going around the camp and talking with the soldiers. Not just the commanders and the officers, but the everyday common soldiers, knowing full well that seeing those of importance amung them raises moral.

Noticing a young a small ways from the camp with a blade in his hand, Renalis goes over to inspect. He can see the boy (for this elf looked little older than a child) with a shakey grip on his blade. "Here, let me show you..."

The boy was surprised at the voice behind him, whirling about he almost lost hold of his blade, "Who are you?" he asked, fear in his voice.

"Renalis Dalamar. Here if you hold the blade like this..." Renalis draws his sword "...you will be much more effective. You want to make sure that you do not over extend yourself when you swing, and make sure your strikes are in a fluid motion, like this..." Renalis takes a few swings in the air, "... now you try."

The boy steadies the grip on his blade and swings as shown, "How do you know the elven style of swordplay? You are human."

"A dear friend of mine showed me how to handle an Elven blade, and to swing it properly..." Renalis looks up at the sky and whispers softly, "I wish you were here my brothers, but alas, I know you protect our home..." Renalis looks back down at the boy, "Do not be afraid, we shall be victorious and your family and friends will remain safe." Renalis sheaths his sword and leaves the boy to go about his buisness.

Renalis caught the eye of the large sable-clad warrior and thought to himself, "I must speak with him... he is unlike the elves I have seen here." Seeing him formed with the commanders around a campfire, Renalis takes an interest and heads over. Renalis bows to Ithramir in respect than takes a position near Ardwen.

"If any of you have any questions, I will answer as best I can." Uncorking a bottle, Ithramir takes a long drink.

"Ten to one," Renalis thinks to himself, "We will lose many..." Renalis touchs the gemstone in his chest, "I will return to you Crystal... Amin mela lle, Melamin" He speaks softly, wishing to be with her again, knowing he cannot until this conflict is over.

****

The woman slowly slides sideways across the stone wall to the ground, "Have...I been....cursed all....along?"

Deciding that she needs time alone, Crystal kneels down to her side once more, "Here, this will take care of the pain, and I have slowed its progress the best I can but there is no telling how much time you have." Crystal concentrates and places her glowing hands on Jasmine once more, she can feel the pain inside but decides that she will only live if she wants to live.

Standing up Crystal looks down at the shattered remains of the woman, "You do not have much time, and if you want to live you are going to have to fight for it."

Turning to the cell door to which she still does not understand how The rogue got through, she points a finger at the arcance lock and begins to channel energy into it. It glows faintly, then brighter and brighter until with a small flash it explodes. Opening the door, Crystal steps out and looks at the guards, once again weapons drawn, "Do not worry, she is no longer a prisoner, she is a guest of an agent of Ithramir." The guards wearily put away their weapons and Crystal proceeds upstairs and outside to see the morning sun.

Seeing the man that was in the cell with her, Crystal approaches him as Mavigan is taken away by Wilhelm.

"You could have left it open..." Crystal says with a smile, but seeing no expression returned she goes on to more serious matters, "The woman in that cell, she is cursed beyond my ability to heal. It is a necromantic curse of undeath, I am unsure as of its source and its end, but I do know if nothing is done it will consume she in short order. I believe that only the originator can remove the curse, either by his choice or his demise." Crystal sighs a bit then continues, "She is an emotional wreck and the only way she is going to survive is if she wants to, I left her in the cell after numbing the pain, it is open now by the way. Maybe you can help your friend."

Walking around to try and shake the pain she felt within the woman in the cell, Crystal sees a small group gathering in the stables and she heads over to see what all the comotion is about.

"Happy 18th Birthday, Mavigan. You have now come of age. May you live to see many more birthdays. Take good care of Argent and she will bear you well. (Remember that she likes her apples.)" Wilhelm then smiles at Mavigan.

Leaning up against the doorway, Crystal smiles, "So young and thrust into this... at least she can still enjoy the simple things."

Written by Trinni Shannon

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

His words wash over Lithwyn, right to the heart. Glancing back, she sees his smile. Getting Sable ready for the return to Lothiel-Gadith, she does not hear Ithramir leave. Turning around, his figure already diminishing, she frowns in dismay. Leaping onto Sable's back, she head in the direction Ithramir went, intending to say more. After a few paces, she changes her mind and rears Sable and turns around. Her pace slow at first, lost in thought, her grip tightens on the reins and she urges Sable to full speed.

Nearly flying past the marching line, she calls out words of encouragement, determined to not feel sorry for herself. It is only when Lithwyn is nearly home that she realizes the cloak about her shoulders is Ithramir's. Pulling it closer, she whispers "Amin harmuva onalle e' cormamin"*

Returned to the citadel, Wilhelm has since left his post outside the gates, but the guards remain. Listening intently as they quickly tell her what has transpired with the two prisoners, she nods to the stable boy as he takes Sable's reins. Stroking the mare's neck, she whispers her thanks in his ear before leaving. She notices the birthday cake in a nearby stall. Raising an eyebrow, notices the banner, the armor, the weaponry. Coming to a conclusion, she sends a messenger to find Wilhelm. Her request: What is the young Queen's favorite food? The menu will be tailored to her tastes this evening.

Striding across the courtyard, one of the guards still on her heals, he has to half run to keep up with her. Turning the corner, she just misses seeing Crystal and Jasmine leaving. Reaching the ground floor, she takes in the state of the prisons as she enters, she immediately questions the guard on duty. Sighing, overwhelmed by the events that can transpire in a matter of hours of inattention, she merely shakes her head. Giving directions concerning clean up, she then departs, taking the stairs two at a time.

Bursting into the sunlight, she glances about to see what needs her attention, now eager to put the morning's events completely behind her...

****

“I am not of Lothiel-Gadith, or from anywhere around here. I’m just here for the fights, you need not worry about this one, you are off the blood at least.” The man in black armor turned back around.

Trinni, her head tilted to the side as she listened, began to frown a bit and wrinkled her nose. "Well, I like a good fight, too, ya know... but you don't have to be all serious about it. I mean, sure when it's fightin' time ya gotta be focused and stuff, but now? We are just riding along. Enjoy the sun, enjoy what has been provided to us. Silly man. Oh! I'm Trinni! But some people call me Trinni-ninni, or Trin, or..." ducking her head, turning pink, she realizes she just spouted all this off to Renalis not two seconds ago. "Sooo... what is YOUR name, or should I just call you Blackie?"

OOC: As soon as Ard replies (if he does) I'll post another "night time" response.

*Amin harmuva onalle e' cormamin - I shall treasure your gift in my heart (she means his love by the way, not the silly cloak)

Written by Isuiln Fellblade

10 to 1?! Isuiln could see several faces pale. Against an army as ruthless and bloodthirsty as orcs, 10 to 1 was suicide. But faces regained their color, and instead set in resolve; resolve to go down swinging. Hope was all but lost, and if hope was gone, so was all chance of success. Their was only one face that remained unchanged. The tall elf in the jet black armor looked as he had always looked, though now the others faces matched his. That elf always had the look of one ready to die in the next fight, hoping to die in the next fight, but not ready to throw down his weapons and accept it. At this rate, though, he would get his wish, and everyone else would share his fate.

"If any of you have any questions, I will answer as best I can." Ithramir said in closing.

Isuiln smiled. If he was good for nothing else, he could usually raise morale. He wiped the smile off his face and tried to look as serious as possible.

"I have one question, Commander," he began. He indicated Ardwenn. "Can we send him in first? If he can make a woman swoon with but a glance, I bet he could knock half the orc army flat with a glare!"

Aylan, who was to Isuiln's right, had just began taking a drink, and promptly coughed and spit with laughter. Several around the fire smiled in a slightly confused manner, and most others looked at him in outright puzzlement.

"You should have seen it earlier. A poor woman comes up to ask him directions, and he does no more than look at her, and she drops in a dead faint!" This brought on a gale of laughter, and at least a smile could be seen on every face but one... the dark armored elf.

Why can he seemingly not so much as smile? Isuiln wondered to himself. But he continued, trying to see if he could crack the stern mask etched on the elf's face.

"I figure that if he can do that with nought but a glance, what if he tries to look angry? He could very well send the entire orc army home, wetting their loincloths the whole way!" Seeing the elf not so much as bat an eyelash, he kept going. "Look! A glare like that would do the trick!" And with that he pretended to faint, falling backwards into Aylan's arms, but his friend was laughing so hard that he dropped him. By now many were laughing uproarisly, and several had tears streaming down their faces. Isuiln lay in a heap on the ground, laughing too, until he saw the darkly armored elf turn to go, never even so much as cracking a smile. He rose to go after him, smiling, for he was glad to bring at least a little cheer to everyone. Looking further out, he saw many nearby soldiers looking at their commanders and smiling, heartened that in such a dark time, it was not dark enough to take all the joy out of life.

He caught up to the elf on the edge of the camp, and came around in front of him to stop him. "I'm sorry if I offended you, friend Ardwenn, I did not mean to make you the butt end of my jokes. But if I may ask, what's so terrible about life that you never take the time to enjoy it?"

Written by Lucant Dolvan

Tempyst turned to Lucant. "Well, it seems that we are left to our own devices. As for cleaning up, well, I am afraid this is the only clothing I have. How does one get any more here in a city?" She got that lost look on her face again, then she sighed. "I need to gain some focus I think. Perhaps I will be able to find a garden or some trees in order to commune. Care to join me Lucant? We can talk more if you like."

"It would be my pleasure, Lady Tempyst," he said with a smile. "There's a massive old maple tree in a park not far from here. I used to go there often when I had to come here for business." He hestiated a little, then continued, "As for cleaning up...I think you look fine as you are, but if you want, I'll show you around the marketplace. The merchants there have goods from all over, and I'm sure you'll find something that you'll like."

He waited nervously for her response.

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