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Colors of every shine and hue swum around Nilus. He feel himself ascending into a sea of light, filling him with every breath he took. For the first time in months, he could relax. He felt his anger and malice drip out of him, filling him with emotions much more pure. He could feel....complete.
He drifted into what felt like hours, flowing at them whim of powers beyond his reckoning. Suddenly a light flashed before, utterly dwarfing everything around him. Slowly it took shape, great wings spread out around him. Nilus had known this being all his life, but he was meeting him for the first time. A name he could only draw out in a whisper....Shal'hartha
Words came from the being. Words the Nilus would never be able to repeat for as long as he lived, but he could understand. For they were as natural to him as his own native tongue. Nilus shifts his gaze, barely able to look upon it.
A golden hand extended forth, enveloping Nilus. The words grow louder in his mind. He is awake, seeing the world through his physical body. But he is also with his master, humbled before his presence. His soul split between two worlds.
The words became visions screaming in his mind. "My lord!" yells Nilus. "Command me! You have to but ask!" He could see slender beings, taller than any man. Their eyes were hollow, like puppets on a string. Men fell before them, helpless before their hollow fury. He could see a man, twisted by ambition, a glowing object clutched in his...
Someone was approaching his body. The solider from before. To maintain such a presence in both worlds was all but impossible for a mortal. His mind began to push back the light that was blinding it. But his he still recited the Chant, even if only subconsciously, his soul still in tune with the Song of Mercy. He calls the man, thinking it all but a dream. But the mind cannot be separate from the soul for long. And the two are forced together.
Nilus uttered the Chant once more, sharing his words to the wind. But the soldier is too close now, and is dragged into the Song of Mercy.
Two minds were made one as the vision was shared between them. The boy was not in tune with the Voice, what visions he could see were blurry at best. Nilus could see his memory though, of a life of simple honor. A boy baptized in fire upon the field of battle. A man of such a tireless integrity, protecting the innocent, even if they be enemies of his kin. Such a rarity these days. ...
Nilus could hear another voice, shouting from outside his perception. He could feel the man's presence torn from him. Trying to shift his perception from the world of spirits, able to shift his perception just enough to see a boot crash upon his face.
But it was not physical pain Nilus felt. With his mortal perception gone, the Words screamed louder in his head. He could see streets of blood, women weeping for their lost children, homes burnt to the ground, castle's toppled, shrines crushed.... heroes failing....
"What!" he screams. "What is doing this!" The visions abruptly halt, until all that he could perceive was his master. Nilus tried to ask once more.
"Why show me such things. Please, what must I do do?"
He could hear the Words within his mind, but his body screamed at the thought of speaking it. A name so vile, that it was a poison upon language. But Nilus heard it nonetheless, feeling tainted at its mere thought. He managed one simple answer.
The lights flung from his sight, flying in all directions, disappearing from perception. And then their was only haze. And Nilus al Viatoire rested.
...the king sent his best warriors into the frozen mountainsides of dierlen, when the men reached the walls of the great dwarf city, the first great battle of the black crusades began",grdar told the story to flint,"there were many great battles during the 12 years that the black crusades went on, but with high morales, the first one was easily the bloodiest".
"did the human forces brach the city?",flint asked.
"yes",grdar said,"breifly, they stormed the city, and the battle raged for hours until the humans fell back from their attack because of losses."
"how bad was it", flint asked.
"i dont know if there is any truth to the tale",grdar said," but it is said that the drinking water still contains percentages of human and dwarf blood."
"oh...i see", flint agreed.
"eventualky, in the last years of the crusade, the king of the slain prince, still driven by revenge, enlisted help from all other human lands to strike down the dwarves, but he was received poorly. nearly insane, he turned half his forces to his neighboring countries and on both fronts his men were slaughtered. the action forever remains a black mark on the lands history",grdar began to finish the story.
"then, in a last ditch effort, the king him self went out with the remainder of his knights. he confronted the head council member of the dwarven city of dierlen, similar to a king. the king challenged the dwarven "king" to a duel, swords not hammers or axes. tje match was over quick, the dwarf king had him ,but let him live, but the opertunist king tried to stab the king in the back as he turned to walk, but the dwarf king was wise to human deceit and killed the cheat. there were a few more conflicts, but the crusades ended shortly".
"so, i suppose that you want to obtain the heart...right",flint assumed.
"yes, that would be ideal", grdar said.
"and you would like to find a way to destroy it, but not the elves...",flint asked.
"again, yes , that is a goal",the dwarf replied.
"well, i suppose we have a new"quest",flint said,"but, we need to attend to the tal'arair right now", flint said, almost taking the lead.
Pain. Terror. I had emerged from the forest, and had been confronted by an army of warrior humans. There was one warrior human standing alone on a hill, staring at The Heart in his hands.
"Wa's that!" A soldier yelled.
The man holding The Heart turned and smiled at me. Poison green eyes were all I could see of his face.
"Welcome Elf." He said, bowing, "How glad I am that you could make it. But where is the rest of your race? I thought you were still two days journey from here."
Man holding The Heart paused, as warrior men began to close me in wielding sharp metal sticks. I want to run, but my body won't let me.
"As long as you're here, why don't we test your strength?" The man says coldly, "The loss of one Elf won't matter."
A warrior man charges at me, but is stopped as a vine shoots from the ground at my feet, and impales him though the bottom of his jaw out the back of his skull.
I stand in horror, as warrior men fall all around me. Why was I doing this? I didn't want to kill. Stop! STOP! It was as if my will had been separated from my body, and had been replaced by a savage beast.
In my mind prison, I lay curled in a ball upon a cold hard floor. I tried to rise, but pain hurt me. I didn't like the pain. Is this what was happening to my kin as well?
I closed my eyes, as the pain enveloped me. I'd been so happy to be alive. But now, all was despair.
When I open my eyes, all the warrior men have been slain. Their bodies lay in piles around me. Man with The Heart had walked over to stand before me, and stare in wonder.
"One Elf is this powerful?" He says, greed and malice shining in his eyes, "One Elf can slay an entire army single-handed! Why would anyone seal this power away?! The Dwarves were fools!"
Dwarves? Did man with The Heart mean small Dwarf? Where was small Dwarf?
"I will destroy the Dwarves with your power!" The man yelled, "All the nations shall kneel before my might!"
Kill small Dwarf? No, I would not. Gathering my thoughts, focusing my entire concentration, I take a single step back. My body writhes in silent agony, and I fall to the blood soaked earth, as man with The Heart laughs.
"Do not resist." He says scornfully, "You have no will, nor choice in the matter. You are merely a tool! A weapon! You're only here to serve me, your master!"
I open my mouth, my face twisted in agony, and I let out a silent scream. Pain. Why was there so much pain? How could I survive, how could I exist in such pain?
A figure entered my mind. Small Dwarf? No, it was silent man that had been with small Dwarf.
I stared at silent man from my position on the floor, and he stared back with a glazed expression. He seemed to understand my thoughts, and I his. Silent man was asleep. Silent man was drifting.
"Come find us." Silent man said, his voice seeming to come from miles away, even though he stood only feet from my collapsed frame, "Shal'hartha offers his help to you."
What was Shal'hartha? I looked into silent man's mind, and saw an image of wings. A golden hand reaching out. A voice.
My body leaped up, my mind still conversing with silent man.
"What are you doing?" Man with The Heart demanded.
Pain such as I'd never known assailed me, yet it was lessened. Silent man's eyes were bulging, his figure becoming rigid.
"Hurry." His thoughts entered mine, "I will share your suffering, but I am not as strong as you, I cannot endure. You must escape NOW!"
My body ran into the forest, man with The Heart screaming after me.
My body ran unguided, avoiding trees and roots as though I knew the forest.
Silent man collapsed panting in my mind, and I stared at him. The pain was increasing. Silent man would die from the pain. Slowly, I took a deep breath, and steeled my spirit. I sensed that silent man was guiding me. I would buy him time. Delving into his mind, I took all the pain upon myself, and my consciousness shattered.
I stood silently, as Flint began moving the still Tel'arair to the hut.
"What's this?" Flint said, as a stream of blood oozed from the Tel'arair's mouth.
Without warning, the Tel'arair shot up, and pushed Flint away from him. His eyes were wide, frightened, but fierce, "Dwarf." He said vacantly.
"What is it?" I said, curious but suspicious.
"I know that you have a healer here. Get the healer. There's someone coming who needs it more than the girl."
"What would have more importance than a Nir'lin!" I scoffed, but I was silenced as an object threw itself clumsily out of the forest, and slammed heavily into the ground. It was the Elf.
The Elf lay, twitching and convulsing, tears streaming from its eyes.
"What's wrong with it!" I shouted in alarm.
"I-it's resisting something." The Tel'arair panted, beads of sweat running down his forehead to mingle with the blood, "I'm helping it... Get your healer!"
Nodding, and with another look at the Elf, I ran into the hut, and through the hidden entrance.
"Tal'hirtha!" I shouted.
"Grdar!" Hirtha scolded, "Where were you? I had to heal this Nir'lin by myself. That's not easy for someone of my age. She'll be fine but-"
I bowed low, "I'm sorry Tal'hirtha, but something has come up. I need you to come with me. Please."
Hirtha raised an inquisitive eyebrow, "I cannot leave this place." She said slowly.
"You must! Tal'hirtha, it's an Elf! It's going to die unless you help it!"
Hirtha gasped, and immediately grabbed a bag of herbs and medicines, "An Elf?! Guide me to it my child."
I guided Hirtha through the passage, and out of the hut.
Hirtha shielded her eyes from the light, then ran over to the Elf.
"Is this the healer?" Flint asked.
"Of course I am!" Hirtha snapped, "Now stop your foolish questions, and light a fire!"
As Flint hurried to obey, Hirtha ran her fingers over the bark-like skin of the Elf.
"Tal'hirtha, what is wrong with the Elf's skin?" I asked, voicing a question I'd had from the first time I'd seen it.
"Nothing." Hirtha said, pulling a knife from her medicine bag, "This is not its skin."
Slowly, she inserted the knife in a crack behind the Elf's face, and pulled outwards.
Like a mask, the bark-like skin fell off in one piece, leaving a thin, pointy, feminine face. Its skin was pale, almost translucent.
As Hirtha began "de-barking" the Elf, all doubts as to its gender were silenced.
Flint and I stood about awkwardly, averting our eyes, but the Tel'arair let out a cry and ran into the hut covering his face.
Flint muttered something to me, and followed the Tel'arair. I was about to enter into the hut as well, when Hirtha called me back.
"Not this time Grdar." She said, wagging a stern finger, "I'm too tired to heal her myself. You begged me to attend to this Elf, it's your responsibility to help."
Tugging on my beard, I nodded reluctantly, and took my place at the still Elf's side.
I don't speak my mind, I just say whatever pops into my head.
In case you guys wanted to ask, Nilus knows what she really looks like without the bark skin because he's in her mind and can see her true self.
Nilus al Viatore rested. But it was not meant to last. There can be no rest for the chosen of Shal'hartha. The light returned to his child, driving away the Haze in his mind. A shining ring of light surrounded him, filling him with its glory. A golden pair of immaculate wings extended around him. Nilus could only extend his arms and wait.
My son. An innocent has been born, a beacon of hope in a sea of senselessness. I feel the pain she suffers,
the pain at what the world calls her to do. Guide her my son. Lead her to the merciful light.
"I obey." said Nilus, his werainess evporating at the call of his Lord.
Nilus saw a path open in his mind, like a river of light flowing down the path. He walked for what could seem like years, ever determined to do what he is called to do. After what seem slike an eternity, Nilus enters a chamber. This room was once so beautiful, vibrant with life. He could see what used to be trees and the creatures that inhabit them, he could see rivers and streams. Now it was gone.
Hollow stumps replaced the trees, shriveled gulches stood were rivers ran proudly. The grass crumbled underfoot. Such pain and misery. Suddenly their was a shreik, a cry of pain and agony. Nilus sprinted towards the source but could feel him self growing distant as he closed in.
This pain...he could feel it.
He charged faster and faster, so obsessed to finding the source of such suffering. He then found it. A ring of grey in a place without hope. Nilus saw the shriveled husk of a being, a being whos hope had shattered by an un-just world. She was slender and tall, with an almost translucent skin. She was crying. Nilus stood there as long as he could stomach it.
Nilus approaches her, his eyes filled with compassion. She looks at him confused at his presense. she was so hurt, he had to help.
"Come find us! " he screams at her, feeling himself fading away in this miserable place. "Shal'hartha offers his help to you"
She glanced at him, confused at his words. A light shined behind Nillus suddenly, a familiar loving light, Shal'hartha was with him.
Nilus could see a gray sphere berore the girl. An embodiment of all the torment that racked her fragile frame. He knew what must be done.
"Hurry!" he screams to her. And in an instant snatches the spere away. Pure torment and agony came upon him as he grew to understand the woman's pain. He could feel a force so utterly inhuman slowly eating away at his being, destroying all that he was with every act of defiance.
"I will share your suffering, but I am not as strong as you, I cannot endure. You must escape NOW!"
The world around them began to fade away as here mind cleared away the fog of pain.
He could her drift away from everything, returing to the realm of mortals. But she persists. Run! he tries to scream, but the words are ash in his mouth. She reaches closer. Closer to the sphere. Nilus tries to scream, but the words to not come. She lifts it from his hands. She is so pure, untainted. She has to live.
The world is gone and Nilus is shoved forcefully back into the realm of the body. He gasps, desperatly sucking the air in painful gulps. He is being carried by the soldier, and the dwarf from before.
"What is it?" he relplies with a curious tone.
I try desperatly to reach my memory, why were they here. Why had he- The dwarf-maid! She was hurt, to bring her here would mean theres a.....
"I know that you have a healer here. Get the healer. There's someone coming who needs it more than the girl."
"What would have more importance than a Nir'lin!" he scoffs, but was silenced as an object threw itself clumsily out of the forest, and slammed heavily into the ground. It was the woman he was sent to help.
The Elf lay, twitching and convulsing, tears streaming from its eyes.
"What's wrong with it!" The dwarf screams.
"I-it's resisting something." Nilus gasped, beads of sweat running down his forehead to mingle with the blood.
"I'm helping it... Get your healer!"
The dwarf drops Nilus as he sprints to a nearby hut, calling a name in a language he could not understand. But the layman was only fixated on the girl. He could still sense her pain, the pain she took back to help him....he-
Nilus screams out. The sun! It was daybreak, and his body had been laying on the forset floor for what mmust of been hours. He could see bits of steam fizzling from his face, it was nothing compared to the pain of the girl, but it was agony none the less.
He could see the dwarf escouting an older woman. A woman who once could over shadow any other in beauty, who even in age held on to that grace. She was kneeling before the girl. Her hands on her skin, she began to slowly peel back the bark-like skin revaling the translucent being from before.
But the sun clouded his thoughts, slowly eating away at him, bruning his tainted blood. He gasps in pain and rushes to the hut. In its shadows the pain is gone, and he reaches out with his mind. He knows how to aid the girl, her connection with that pain would kill her. But it is the only connection she has, something has to fill that void. A light.
Flipping up his large hood, Nilus out, almost falling over the solider from before. He calls out to Nilus, but the words fall on deaf ears. Nilus rushes to the two dwarves. Who look up at him in surprise.
Muttering a quick apology, he kneels before the girl, seeing her translucent skin surrounded by its former shell. He places his hands on her, and begins the Chant.
Nilus is back in her mind, back in the land without hope. But it is differnet now, he is not alone. He is in tune. He races back to the grey circle, back to the sphere of pain. He reaches for it ignoring her pleas. The agony overtakes him, but he remains resolved.
Nilus al Viatore begins to scream the Chant within the room. Filling it with the Song of Mercy. The Trees begin to grow once more, the rivers begin to trickle. He could hear the birds singing once more in the living chamber. Now it was Nilus, filled with the passion of Shal'hartha, who began to eat away at the sphere, the heart of her pain. A golden ring begins to form around the girl.
"Something must fill the void."
He sees the dwarf
Light. Golden light. Hope. Shining hope.
Silent man stands before me in my mind prison, chanting a song I do not know. I stare at silent man, and feel joy beginning to take the place of pain and terror. Was I saved?
But... No. Why? I did not understand, nor fully believe the miracle. So much pain. How could it have just disappeared? What could replace such a void? Was this a trick? To restore happiness, only to take it away?
I narrow my eyes at silent man, who is still chanting. A pair of poisonous green eyes stare at me from beyond the forest of my mind, and I recoil in fear. What was silent man doing? I was afraid again. Silent man had tricked me. Surely such pain could not be stopped. I did not believe. Nothing was good. There was no joy.
The forest dies. The river dries.
I clutch my head, and rock back and forth. All I could see were the eyes staring at me. Silent man places a hand on my shoulder, and I feel hope flood my body. No, hope did not exist. I would not delude myself. My kin were suffering. I must also suffer. To live while my race dies from pain, I would not.
Silent man is calling out something, screaming for me to accept his help.
I stare directly into his eyes. I would not. His form begins to waver in my mind. With one push, I sweep his presence from my mind, and fall back onto the ground alone. This was my life.
Hirtha and I were tending to the Elf, the Tel'arair holding his hand against her shoulder. Suddenly, he is thrown back, blood flying out from under the hood that concealed his face.
"What happened?" I growl, as the Tel'arair coughs and wretches.
"I... Don't know." He says, sounding scared and seething with frustration, "I was helping, I was healing her pain. But she wouldn't accept the help. She threw me from her mind! I cannot enter!"
"Tsha!" I mutter, shoving the Elf, "Awake then Elf! If you will not take our help, you must be able to live on your own. Awake!"
The Elf's eyes open. The Elf sits up. Even sitting down, she as taller than I. Her eyes are sad and angry, and shadows are beginning to crawl across her face.
"What is your name Elf?" I ask.
The Elf turns to gaze at me, she looks puzzled.
Opening her mouth, she mouths the words, "small Dwarf?" but no sound escapes her lips.
The Tel'arair has risen to his feet, and marches over to the Elf's side.
"Let me help you!" He cries.
The Elf shakes her head, the shadows around her eyes darkening.
Desperately, the Tel'arair reaches out a hand, and places it on the Elf's shoulder.
Still staring at me, the Elf grabs the Tel'arair's hand, and pulls it off. I hear loud unpleasant popping coming from the Tel'arair's hand, followed by his yell of pain.
Tears beginning to fall from her eyes once more, the Elf releases the Tel'arair's hand. Her lip trembles at sight of his broken fingers, and the Elf lifts the bark mask from the ground with her other hand, and places it back over her face, hiding it from the world.
"What is wrong?" I ask.
The Elf averts its gaze from mine, and stares out into the forest.
She begins to sing softly, her voice rolling over the treetops though she was only whispering, words and melodies I'd never heard. As I hear the song, images flash through my mind. All the things I was most ashamed of, all the things that saddened me. My mistreatment of Tek'nar, who now lay dead. The fallen bodies of my Dwarven brothers. The Nir'lin's screams of anguish and fear.
Tears fill my eyes, which I fight back, as a verse echoes over and over again in my mind. "Pain, such pain, what have I done to deserve this sorrow?"
I don't speak my mind, I just say whatever pops into my head.
flint watched the spectacle, he watched as grdar, the healer and the tal'arair struggled with the elf. she wasnt receiving them well from the looks of things. then , the elf, seemingly mute, began to sing..it was almost ...flint couldnt describe it. shortley he began to feel the pain of the night he heard his uncles career was stolen from him.
if he hadnt been out in the danger , if he hadnt wandered into the battle, if he had stayed in the shop, he'd still be at home, living with his uncle, working at the shop, but his uncle was rendered impotent , unable to smith the metals he had worked with his entire life. then, what did he do..he abandonded him, he left his uncle to fend for himself, instead of staying home, dealing with the guilt and running the shop. god knows where his uncle was , how he was doing...
then he bagan to think about nero, his only reaL friend,slain right in front of him, why did he stop ? why didnt he run in and stop crowley and broly. and even since he drove them off, two of his fellow soldiers were killed by grdar...he didnt blame grdar, he blamed himself, even if they were human trash, he still felt bad..
it seemed that something terrible happened to everyone he met, would grdar be killed, what about the healer and the tal'arair, would they die too? the only person he had been near lately and had nothing happen to him was therron, his trainer and the leader of his battalion.
sudenly he was sucked from the pain of his thought back into the real world. he looked around, based on the looks of discontent on everyones faces, he assumed that everyone had heard it.
"grdar, what the hell was that flint asked.
I sang, my heart breaking further with each note. What had I done? What had I done?
I had killed an army of warrior men, many of whom must have had family, friends. They would be missed. I hadn't been able to stop myself.
I continued the song.
Blinded by my own pain, I had broken the hand of the man who had tried to help me, causing him pain.
Was that all I existed for? Inflicting pain upon others and myself?
I closed my eyes tight, as I sang the last note, the music slipping off my tongue like liquid.
There was silence.
"Grdar, what the hell was that?!" Cried a voice.
What? My lament? Why was this man treating it, and speaking of it so poorly in front of me?
I open my eyes, and see young man walking over to small Dwarf, a pinched expression on his face.
"What?" Small Dwarf said, sounding distracted.
"That!" The young man said in a shaky voice, "That-that damn music, making me see things, I-... I..."
Young man stood shaking, his face screwed up.
A vine shot from the earth, and grabbed young man's leg, and he cried out in shock.
I was angry. I was hurt. Damn music? My song of lament? I'd revealed my heart to strangers, and young man spat upon it.
I had risen to my feet, the pain increasing in my head, as more vines rose up to entangle young man.
Small Dwarf let out a shout, and ran over to pick up a large hammer, and silent man pulled a knife from under his tunic.
The green eyes bored into me, offering me release from my suffering. I must kill to feel no pain.
Young man screamed as the vines tightened, squeezing the life from him.
Wait... No... I didn't want to kill. I had run to escape the control of the man with The Heart. Pain shot through me, as I released the gasping man. I choked and coughed silently, as the group enclosed me, weapons held out.
If The Heart wished me to kill, then I would no longer be a part of The Heart. I would find my own way.
Closing my eyes tight, I sighed as a vine shot through my chest, piercing something not mine.
The pain stopped. Thoughts and time drifted along slowly. Bright light. Wings. Golden hand... Blackness.
I awoke standing. Something warm was running down my thin torso. My throat made a clicking noise. I could speak? I had a voice. Slowly I looked down. I let out a terrible scream, as I saw a gapping hole between my breasts. Something grey was pouring out, mingled with blood, it ran down my body, leaving burns on all it touched.
The people were still around me, staring open-mouthed. Would no one do anything?
Forcing myself to speak, I turned a pleading look toward the man whose hand I had broken.
"Please." I said, hearing my voice for the first time. It was like a piece of foreign song that didn't suit me. It was soft, raspy, breathy. I hated the voice, yet I forced myself to speak further.
"Please help me... Please... Someone..."
All faded away, and I drifted into a dreamless sleep, free from the green eyes I feared so.
I don't speak my mind, I just say whatever pops into my head.
"healer, what ails this elf",flint asked frantically.
"it is ...i...i dont know, this is unlike anything i have seen in my lifetime", she responded.
"grdar",flint yelled as a white noise began to fill the air,"whats going on"
"i dont know flint, i dont know", he yelled back.
"you",flint yelled to the tal'arair, but he couldnt finish an audable sentance.
their was nothing in the air but white noise, a high pitched tone. even the area they were in grew light as this went on. flint panicked, trying to contact anyone, but they were to busy watching the elf, calm and weary at once.
flint tried the last he he could, he ran up to the elf and began shaking her, but she just stood there. as flint tried to gain her atention, he felt something fall onto the back of his hand, at first, it was cold at first, but he soon felt it burn. he retreated from the elf that had caused him pain again. he gripped his hand in pain and rubbed it on the ground.he reexamined his hand to find a few millimeters of skin burned off his right hand.
the light grew brighter and brighter and flint felt consciousness escaping him. he looked at the tal'arair, weakend from earlier, he fell unconscious. flint was near out , but spoke a few words, all though inaudible to the other, he knew them
"my hand...just...like", he fell on his back, barley leting two syllables sneak past his lips,"un...cle"
"...and his greatest gift was the Chant, the holiest of prayers. Pure and unrelenting, not bound by mortal affairs...."
Nilus winced as he remembered that lesson, learned so many years before. The Chant must go on until it has achieved its purpose, Shal'harha's purpose. Something within her resisted it, pushing away its light. At first he was dumbstruck, confused at why any being would turn away from the light. But he was beginning to realize.
She did not push him away. Something darker, tainted. It had pushed away the Song. Such a thought angered Nilus down to his core. What was this, what could do this to anything? He tries to reach out once more, but she begins to sing.
Utter pain brings him to his knees. The Chant goes on, but his mind is dragged away into despair. A conflict races through his soul. The Lament dragging it down into despair, to the memories pushed so far away.
The fire....the other monks.....flames everywhere....Layana I'm so...
But the Chant goes on, the will of a god cannot be ignored. Even through this conflict the the Song is heard. His hand, broken and useless, begins to heal. Bones pop back into place, ripped skin mends itself back. With a cry of defiance he pulls himself away from the Despair.
The song begins to fade. Nilus sees himself again. Dumbstruck by the conflict. She is so fragile, so pure. She cries out. There are voices....the solider he screams at her, he is angry at what she has done. Her response is pain, vines shoot from the ground, enveloping the man.
"No." whispers Nilus. "No more pain..."
He draws his knife. But the vines release themselves. Agony covers her face, and Nilus sees why. A vine shot through her chest, ripping out a tiny stone. It is the heart, the source of pain. He limps toward her, the Chant tearing him apart. It cannot be contained. She cries out to them. Pleading. Such pain....He sees her body flare up, heat begins to radiate upon her. The soldier approaches, he grasps her, but screams out, his hand burning.
"Never reach her....must...." whispering this Nilus escapes to the world of the mind, his body collapsing.
He is on the path once more walking down its streams of light. Nilus knows he cannot alleviate this pain. He is too weak to properly harness the Chant. He needs a conduit. A moral pillar...
The Solider! He had seen his memories. Seen his honor. He calls out, summoning his presence. A shape begins to form. A hazy figure. He grabs at it, pulling it along the path. He returns to the Hopeless chamber, to the sleeping form.
Her mind was her own now. Beyond the help of the Chant. But he can still stop her from death. Nilus calls the Solider, now fully formed.
"Where...Wha-" he replies. His presence in this place drifting.
"We must hurry Flint!" says Nilus, calling upon the memories he shared with the man.
"But what can I..."
"Call out to her. Release the Song. I will guide you."
"But I don-" he begins, but is interrupted by the hand placed upon him. Words he does not know spring forth, filling the room. Bright lights cover the girl, enveloping her. Nilus could feel her wound begin to seal, fading away into nothingness.
When it was complete he released the soldier, who slumped over. Nilus had chosen well, the boy had done his job well. He watched him fade from this world and into the realm of dreams, to rest. Nilus wasn't sure if he'd remember the part he played. But it didn't matter.
The girl was alive. Physically at least. The bleeding had stopped, the hole had sealed. But her mind was another matter. She had torn something essential away when the stone was ripped away. And only time would tell if those wounds would heal.
Nilus felt the Chant leave him. Felt the Song leave his lips. He collapsed, the energy gone from him. He hadn't rested in so long.....
He tries to pull himself up, but collapses. Giving up, he lays down his head and drifts to sleep.
flitn awoke, face down in the dirt. he looked around, the others were awake and there was a brilliant fire, the colors were dancing around. flint struggled to get his footing and was swaying back and forth, he walked to grdar, probably the closest thing he could get to a friend since nero died...was murdered. he went to put a hand on his shouldern but felt a pain spike up his arm. he looked at grdar and saw two blank holes where his eyes shoud be, not hollow...just absent. he looked around, the others were the same.
he started to hear them all chant,"flint flint flint".
he looked to the treeline and saw broly walk out , then crowley and nero. he shuttered to see the dead walking. the chanting continued.
"what do you want, what do you want", he yelled. all of themsurrounded him. he wasnt restrained...just crowded. the from the tree line, he saw him. it was felix, his uncle. he was larger than he remembered, towering at 15 feet, even taller than the elf. he walked up to flint.
"uncle?", flint said questioningly
"felix picked up flints favored sword , which was also arger and held it until a man came up, he was oder, but still youthful in his movements, the man he didnt know took the sword and stabbed it through felixes back. felix outstretched his hand and flint immedietly focused on the scars, the scars on his hand that were there because of him.
the chanting got louder.flint looked at the man that killed felix. he looked closer, and he saw himself. then, lightning striked and in a flash he saw another man, his eyes were glowing green, a reflection of his intent. he was holding a shining object, but when flint looked at it, its location became vacant.
the chanting got even louder.
"flint...flint...flint",he heard, then the chanting got clear all at once,"flint wake up.
he heard grdar only that time. he could tell that he wasnt on the ground anymore, he was indoors. the healer and grdar were standing over him.
"flint, wake up"grdar said feverishly.
"your safe" the healer said.
"then, before falling to sleep from exhaustion, flint said," i have to save my uncle"
I stared down at Flint, "Save your uncle? What are you talking about?"
"My... My uncle, he needs me." Flint muttered.
I pull my beard in concentration, "Listen, you've had a rough night. Any tighter and that Elf would have killed you. Then the Tel'arair did something to you, though I know not what."
"T-the Tel'arair, where is he now?" Flint said drowsily.
"He is sleeping, and so should you. Tal'hirtha and I shall watch over the lot of you. Dwarves are better suited to the dark and the night."
"No." Flint said, trying to rise, "I need to go. I must save-"
"You must sleep." I said, a little more insistently, and pushed him down with my free hand, "It was probably just a nightmare brought on by the night's events."
"No!" Flint said, trying feebly and failing to remove my hand from his chest, "It was real, he's in danger!"
"Tsha!" I grumbled, "Dreams and prophecies! I've had enough of it. Healing minds, and delivering hearts. In the short time he was awake, the Tel'arair told me what he did, or rather what he thinks he did. The Elf is strong, she probably just took care of herself."
"The Elf! Whe-"
"Sleeping as well." I interrupted, "We are not in danger as of now. You can sleep, and well you should. Thir'lom knows the next time you'll get such a chance. With The Heart in the humans' hands, we'll be hard pressed just to survive."
Flint stared defiantly up at me, even as his eyelids began to droop.
"I will... Save..." His last words were cut off, as he fell back into his slumber.
Rising slowly, I moved across the hut to sit by the fire next to Hirtha and Talin. (Who had awoken earlier that evening.)
As I sat down, Talin took my hand, and smiled at me.
"You are so brave." She said, giving my hand a squeeze, "Yet you watch over your friends with such gentleness."
I turn away, hiding my embarrassment.
"Friend?" I say, staring at the sleeping Flint, "Nay, not but an acquaintance."
"Then all the more admirable." Talin says, "If this is how you treat just an acquaintance, I envy the man who is your friend."
My face turning a deeper shade than my brown beard, I stand; gently pulling away from Talin's grasp, and walk over to examine the Elf.
Her breathing is shallow, but she is resting peacefully.
I stare in wonder. What a fascinating creature. She still wore her wooden mask over her face, and a blanket covered part of her for decency; however, Hirtha had been unable to find a blanket long enough to fully cover her legs. The Elf was so tall, yet so thin that Hirtha had been able to wrap the blanket twice around her.
I then moved over to peer at the Tel'arair. At the order of Hirtha, I'd brought him in as well. There were bags under his eyes, and his whole body spoke weariness. I found myself wondering what his name was. Where he came from. Surely he was not normal from the Tel'arair I'd read of and seen.
Rolling my shoulders, I leaned against the entryway to the hut, and stared at the night sky. For now, all was calm.
I don't speak my mind, I just say whatever pops into my head.
Note: I accidentally left out a sentence where Grdar tells Flint that he's been yelling in his sleep, and that's why he woke him up.
I don't speak my mind, I just say whatever pops into my head.
flint watched again as he saw the sword shhot through his uncles chest...he saw himself...then the man with the eyes...he had an oblect in his hand, flint couldnt see it, it was ....impossible for him to see, like his mind blocked it out. he saw felix fall to his knees, then face first onto the ground. then, the rest , with there hollow eyes all looked at him again, judgemental....but of what, none of them knew that he had ruined his uncles career. what did they have to judge him for?
then flint saw more and more elves come out of the trees. they all stood around the man with the green, glowing eyes...then at one word they bagan to slaughter the otheres, even nero,crowley and broly. once the elves had finished them all off, the elf from before, the female, she came up too him, smiling like she did most of the time and the last thing flint saw was a root, shooting up from his chest.
flint woke up in a cold sweat, he looked around, it was night. everyone, even grdar was asleep. flint, restless after the nightmare, got out of bed and took a walk out side. he found a tree of to the side a little and leaned against it.
"why was i having these dreams",he thought to himself,"it it just a night mare or a sign....the elves, would they kill all the people he knew? the man with the eyes..he was controlling them......the heart!". flint realized that the man with the eyes must have had the heart. flint ran back into the healers home to consult somone, perhaps the healer.
when he gets in, its as quiet as ever. he realizes that waking up anyone would be robbing them of any rest they had been missing out on. he decided to try and sleep a few more hours. flint sat on the bed that had been appropriated for him and layed down. he took a deep breath and drift asleep in thought of the man and the heart.
when he finally fell asleep, he had the dream again, but this time, he saw the heart...it was glowing so he couldnt make out the object too well ,but he saw it for the first timein his dream...he was filled with a sense of duty,obligation, he had to get the heart away from that man, for the sake of every living thin in the land.
flint awoke again , still in a cold sweat...but not as bad as before. he got up and told grdar of his dream, and he began to describe the heart to grdar.
Just a quickie while I'm working on some other stuff.
Quick Fact: Don't expect the Chant to be an average occurrence. It's a special, only during important times, power.
For hours Nilus al Viatore drifted softly through dreamless sleep. Rejuvenating his exhausted body and weary mind. The Chant is strenuous on a mortal, even more so for Nilus. He who chars the Stone with Words did not leave his people a clean slate. Even after his defeat, the corruption was still there. Ever burning...
He awoke few times during his rest. His mind still hazed and babbling incoherently. He could remember the dwarf questioning him, but it is hard to explain the Chant even with a clear mind. Hid words came out a meaningless babble. The dwarf quickly lost interest, muttering harsh words in his own tongue, leaving Nilus to drift easily to sleep.
After awhile the fog in his mind began to clear, allowing the young Tel'arair to dream. But the mind can be a treacherous place, and the dreams were all but calming.
Of Nameless beings and broken promises.....
My mind began to reel. I was back in the real world, away from foolish dreams. But I had been supposed to be guarding everyone. Tsha! I'd fallen asleep.
With a grunt, I leaped to my feet, my mind still blurry, and stumbled.
"Morning." Said Talin. She sat in a corner of the hut with Hirtha, placing ingredients in a large pot.
"You shouldn't have let me sleep." I said, inwardly berating myself. What would have happened if we'd been attacked?
"We all needed rest child, even you." Hirtha said, staring at me from the corner of her eye, "If Thir'lom decides to give us rest, who are you to be angry?"
My argument defeated, I inclined my head.
"What are you doing? Do you need any help?" I asked, feeling restless and agitated.
"How kind to offer, but no." Talin said gently, "I am merely making porridge for breakfast, you rest.."
"I can help." I said, unwilling to just sit around and wait, "I learned to cook within the mines."
"Grdar please." Talin said, turning to look me in the face, "You saved my life. The least I can do is fill you stomach. This is my gift to you and the others. Let me do this myself. Please."
"It's true." Hirtha said, "The Nir'lin only has me here to tell her what to do. She knows nothing of cooking, but insisted upon it. Let it be Grdar."
Talin's face went pink at Hirtha's words, and she lowered her eyes shyly to stare at the ground.
"Plea-" She started, but I held up a hand.
"Thank you." I said, then left the hut to walk outside.
I saw Flint sitting leaning against a tree by the hut, and I walked over to join him.
"How long were you awake?" I asked.
Flint shrugged, "Most of the night to be honest. I couldn't sleep. I kept having the same dream."
I raised an eyebrow at him, "The one with your uncle in danger?"
"That's part of it." Flint said, now looking uncomfortable and glaring at his hands, "I keep seeing this man with bright green eyes. He is holding The Heart Grdar."
"You saw The Heart?" I asked.
"Yes." Flint said, sounding like he'd been been waiting to say this, "At first, it was just a shadow. But I later saw it glowing. It's like a clear stone, covered in large leaves. I saw Elves standing by the man, then they attacked. I saw them kill you all, then the Elf in there," -He nodded to the hut- "She killed me."
"You don't trust her?" I asked.
"How can I?" Flint said darkly, "Nearly killing me, and endangering us all. She was being controlled by someone from around the mines, right? Well what if she brings them straight here?"
A weight slammed into my chest. I hadn't thought of that. I'd been so concerned with getting the Elf healed, I hadn't considered that she might be leading the enemy right into our midst.
I rise to my feet, then hesitate before clapping Flint on the back. I'd never done this to a human.
"You did well to tell me all this, Flint. I shall keep it all in mind, and we can see if your dreams are correct once the Elf and the Tel'arair arise."
I don't speak my mind, I just say whatever pops into my head.
"wierd", flint thought to himself as grdar walked away,"maybe grdar was warming to me".
flint peered off into the treeline, it was morning and he felt the crisp air on his face, the birds chirping in the distance. he began to worry again about his father. hopfully soon they would be able to leave, grdar seemed to have abandond his plan to take him to dierlin. they were going to go to caelorn to find this count....but, what if this count was at the mines...or somewhere else. he thought to himself. either way, he needed to get to his uncle in Pridian villiage, where he grew up.
flint sighed and walked into the hut. he had suspected that they were making breakfast from the smells emerging from thehut, and they were validated when he saw the healer and the nir'lin serving food. he came in and sat down across from grdar, as the healer clearly sat at the head of the table and the nir'lin was already by him.
"so, flint is it", the healer asked flint.
"yes", he said , he wanted to add ma'am , but he assumed that if men wernt misters, women wernt ma'ams.
"so, i see that you're human, and you wear the garb of a soldier,"she adressed his appearence,"so, how did you meet grdar?"
"well...excuse me...what is your name",flint asked.
"its hirtha", the healer said.
flint had a slightly questioning look on his face.
"what is it flint?", she asked.
"well, ive heard grdar cll you tal'hirtha...so"flint trailed off.
"oh, well there is a simple answer for that...grdar is my son, dwarves adress certain other dwarves in a formal fashion, in this case, adding tal' is a way to formally adress me as mother",the healer said, answering flints question completely.
"oh...,well, i 'spose i should continue that story",flint said, still nervous around the healer and the others he didnt know all too well," so, i was standing on the hill top, looking at the villiage, concerned at the fact that there was no army to meet us...",flint bagan to tell his story.
by the time he finished, everyone was done eating.shortly afterword, as the others began to disperse, flint called grdar aside.
"grdar, i was thinking", flint said," so we need to find this count right? and he id said to reside in caelorn, but i was thinking, if he sent out this attack, what stops him from being at the mines, maybe even being the wielder of the heart?"
"you have some valid points",grdar said," but facing the human armies, let alone the wielder of the heart would surley be suicide, i think that ,as much as i dont want to leave my mines, that we eed to go to caelorn, if we can cut thehead off the snake without facing armies of humans and elves, then we should do that"
"yeah, i guess your right", flint said," so , we are going to caelorn?"
"soon flint, but i cant leave my mother here, i cant", grdar said, walking off into the hut.
flint went back to the spot the tree he was leaning on earlier,"felix", he said lightly.
Okay last chance people, there's one spot remaining for a character. If you want to make a character, I suggest you do it soon.
As Flint left to go outside, I moved to where the Elf lay. She was still asleep. I wanted to talk to her, to ask what she had done to resist The Heart.
I peered over my shoulder at the Tel'arair, who had begun to move. Slowly, he sat up, and ran a shaky hand through his hair.
"You're awake." Hirtha said, before I could say a word.
"Yes." The Tel'arair said, bowing slightly, "Thank you for the place to sleep."
"It was nothing Tel'arair." Hirtha said, smiling, "What is your name?"
"Nilus al Viatoire" He said, accepting a bowl of porridge from Talin with a "Thank you."
I watched him, as he supped. When he paused to look at me I asked, "Where are you from?"
He didn't answer, but stared down at the bowl between his hands.
"What brought you here?" I asked.
"Leave the man alone, Grdar, he has just awaken." Hirtha chided, "let him eat."
I let out a "Humph", and sat down in a chair facing the Elf. I'd be the first to question her when she woke up.
"Forgive me." Nilus said to me, "I will answer your questions at a different time."
I grunted, and didn't look at him.
I heard Flint re-enter the hut, and greet Nilus.
A biting paranoia came over me, now that we had most awaken, and were in the same small space. I felt unsafe, and restless.
"I think we should leave." I said suddenly, interrupting Flint and Nilus' conversation.
"Why?" Hirtha asked, "The Elf has not awaken yet."
"It's not safe here." I muttered, "I can feel it in my bones. Flint and I can carry the Elf."
"I don't think-" Flint began.
"Fine, I will carry the Elf myself, but we need to leave. What if we are attacked?"
"Where would we go?" Talin asked, walking to stand by my side.
"Pridian." Flint said, and I looked at him, "I know you were thinking of Caelorn, but we need a safe place to leave the women-"
"Nir'lin." I corrected.
"Yes, Nir'lin. We need to be able to leave them in a safe place, so that they are not caught up in any combat."
"Then let us take them to the Galluwan Mines." I said.
"No." Flint objected, "Pridian. My u-"
"Not your uncle again." I said angrily, "It was a dream, put it from your mind. Dreams are only distractions from reality."
"Not so." Interjected Nilus, "Dreams are visions from god."
"You really believe that?" I laughed.
"I do." Talin said softly, "Thir'lom provides hope through dreams."
"You told me yourself that Thir'lom had sent you a message in your dreams Grdar." Hirtha said, and I sputtered indignantly.
"Thir'lom is just is much a deity as Malkr'in, Grdar, you'd do well to remember that." Hirtha said.
Nilus pursed his lips, but kept silent.
I stood angrily, then conceded, "Fine! Pridian!"
I don't speak my mind, I just say whatever pops into my head.
after packing up four bags of supplies and belongings, hirtha distributed a pack to each of the men, and took one herself. grdar insisted that she give him hers, but she was quickly able to sway his opinion. the elf was awake now, and was standing around with the rest. each step of packing, flint was weary of the elf, and of the tel'arair.
nilus, he came from a race that biligerantly burned down their own homes and villiage at the whim of a demi-god...did he really want one of them in his villiage, did he really want one of the tel'arair in his home.
he grew more cautious of the two with each passing moment, but he saw no alternative, the farther away from the heart he got the elf the less control it had over her he assumed, but the closer he got the tel'arair to pridian , the worse he would feel.
reguardless, flint did not speak a word of his concerns. he only watched as hirtha put a large padlock on her hut. flint walked in the back of the "pack", keeping an eye on the elf and the tel' arair. he hadnt been so judgmental of nilus before, but it must have been the dreams of his uncles repeated demise.
they walked through the woods, not on the trail. grdar was in front, talin following closely. the elf and the tel'arair were walking nearly side by side, being as they were both quite thin. hirtha walked in front of flint.
they trudged through the woods, they would reach the clearing far out of the human armies eyesight.
Thoughts swimming. Reality increasing. Smell of food. I was awake.
I could hear small Dwarf bickering with several other people. Were they mad?
I opened my eyes a fraction, and stared out.
I became aware that my arms were held tightly to my sides by a blanket.
Small Dwarf caught my eye, and the ghost of a grin appeared on his sullen face.
"You've awaken!" He said, sounding pleased, and I was immediately swarmed by an old Dwarf woman, and silent man.
"Are you feeling better?" Silent man asked, "How are you?"
"You need to eat something." Old Dwarf woman said fussily, "You're thin as a rail!"
I shook my head, and sat up, the blanket still rendering my arms unusable.
I felt my wood mask fall off, and averted my eyes shamefully from the others.
I had hurt them all. I wanted to hide behind my wood mask.
"What's wrong dear?" Old Dwarf woman asked, "What's your name?"
Name... Name... Name? I had one didn't I? Somewhere in the furthest corner of my \mind, I heard it.
My throat made the same clicking noise as before, and I remembered my voice. I stopped trying to speak at once.
"Your name dear." Old Dwarf woman repeated, "I am Hirtha."
Hirtha. An odd guttural name. It didn't suite someone so fair.
"I am Nilus al Viatoire" Silent man said, inclining his head.
I shook mine. I had no want to identify such kind people with such ugly names.
Small Dwarf rose from his seat, and stood above where I lay.
"I am Grdar." He said, "Please, tell us your name. I don't want to refer to you as 'Elf'."
Small Dwarf... Slowly, I opened my mouth, and let my thin raspy low voice slip past my lips.
I immediately shut my mouth, and bit my tongue. I felt heat spread across my face. It was a silly name.
"What a beautiful name." Old Dwarf woman said happily, as a young Dwarf maid held out a bowl of pungent white mush.
My stomach began to rumble audibly at the smell. I was hungry.
"Let her eat now." Old Dwarf woman said, untangling my arms from the blanket for me, while tightening it so that it would not fall, "I shall try to find some clothes for you Allolari. They will be more than a little short, but they should keep you decent until we can get you some real clothes."
Blowing softly on the bowl of white mush, I took a sip. It was disgusting.
I placed the bowl on the ground beside me, and placed my wood mask back over my face.
"Done eating already?" Old Dwarf woman asked in surprise, as she returned with a bundle of clothes in her arms, "Try these on, we'll give you privacy. And take off that awful mask."
Silently, I took the clothes from her, and they all left, leaving me alone. I stared at the door where they'd left, then pulled on a tunic. I smiled. It was very soft and warm. It made me happy.
I pulled on a pair of leather trousers. Short. Very short, like the tunic, but exceedingly comfortable.
Rising, and hitting my head against the ceiling of the hut, I ducked out of the entrance.
"Well..." Old Dwarf woman said slowly, when she saw me, "At least you're decent..."
Small Dwarf, silent man, and young man were shouldering bags. Were they leaving? Of course. I'd hurt them. They wouldn't want to stay with me.
I looked at young man. I hadn't seen him in the hut. He was avoiding my eyes.
"Allolari!" Old Dwarf woman said sharply, and I looked down at her, "I thought I told you to take off that horrible mask!"
I shook my head. I must hide my shame.
"Do you know where Pridian is from here?" Young man asked small Dwarf.
"Yes." Small Dwarf said, "It's not far from the Rei'lar Mines."
"Your people have a lot of mines." Young man commented.
"It's a mountainous land." Small Dwarf said matter-of-factly, "And we prosper."
"Are you well enough to walk?" Silent man asked, pulling me aside, while young man and small Dwarf continued their conversation.
I nodded. Were they sending me somewhere?
"Good, we are heading to Pridian to find a safe place for you and the N-Nir'lin." He stumbled on the last word, "You can walk by me, I'll help if you grow tired."
I smiled. I got to go too?
"Are you sure you ate enough, Allolari?" Old Dwarf woman asked, still frowning at my mask, as she placed a lock over the door of the small hut.
I nodded, suppressing the gurgle rising from my empty stomach.
"Very well." She sighed, sounding unconvinced, throwing a sling over her shoulder, and lifting a small bag, "We should leave then."
I don't speak my mind, I just say whatever pops into my head.
It had been hours since they began their journey. The sun at its peak in the center of the sky, much to Nilus's dismay. Even with the hood, the heat had come to be unbearable. The young man, Flint he remembered, been called up by the dwarf-warrior. The two began speaking of the town they were entering. Mostly concerning defenses and any hostility towards dwarf-kind.
The beautiful dwarf-maid, the Nir'lin, had descended to the back of the rag-tag group. She was quitly speaking with dwarf-mother in a language Nilus wasn't familiar with. The Elf walked next to him, silent as ever. She appeared to not be in pain anymore, which was joyous to Nilus, but he couldn't shake a feeling about her...
It was this world that did this to her. That tainted her. It corrupts and corrodes the purity the Forgiving Lord works so hard to maintain. If only it would burn, scorched away by cleansing flame, allowing a newer, better world to rise from the-
Nilus stopped himself short on that thought. No need for that sort of thinking, he told himself. Never does any good. Noticing the placement of the sun, he realized he was overdue for his afternoon prayers. And on that note had forgotten his morning prayers. Monastery or no, he was still a monk of Shal'hartha. And as quick as the thought was finished did he begin his prayers.
There are several prayers for Shal'hartha's faithful. Searching through his memory, he decided upon "The request for safe travel". Quite the odd name for a prayer, he could remember thinking. It had apparently come from a land across the Sea of Fangs. From one of the many far off missionary temples spread over the world. Few expeditions have made it to this strange land safely. And none had spoken of it on their return. Regardless of the lands dark history he began the prayer.
As soon as he was upon the second verse, the Dwarf stopped dead in his tracks, much to Flint's surprise. The Elf seemed surprised by the dwarf. As if she could feel his hostility, she drifted back to the two dwarf-maids. With the Elf gone he spoke, not looking at Nilus.
"Not since the dark times has a dwarf had to suffer hearing that wretched tongue of yours yart'nir. "
he begins, his voice coarse like granite.
"I remember my great-grandfather's stories. Of cursed men walking through the fires, burning his people, his home. I saw the burns that covered his body. And I will not suffer to remember such wretchedness."
He finished by spitting at the side of the trail. And as suddenly as he stopped he continued on. Flint quickly shifted his view between the two, before following after the dwarf is silence.
Nilus could only sulk at the dwarf's words. For what is there truly to say? He thought. His kin in the villages or in the nomadic armies could of make a counter-argument in less than a thought. For truly, Nilus's people had suffered their dues had they not? But is there any punishment for the pain the caused while under the Deceiver of Flames that could suffice?
Putting distance between the pair, the layman allowed the other travelers to catch up to him, and eventually pass him with a surprised glance before returning to their speaking. The Elf seemed oblivious to it all, her slender physique blending into the nature around her.
With the distractions gone, Nilus finished his prayers. Hoping desperately they would be answered in time.
P.S. I kinda picture Mallin, or as it has come to be known, Arairkela(Scorched Tongue), to sound kind of crude, yet sleek. So a Spanish/german sound going on.
This is the language that the Tel'arair speak. Also, whats the common language? The language that were all using to communicate with each other. We all can't just happen to speak the same language. :P
flint was slient in thought, walking only a few feet behind grdar.
"wow", flint thought to himself,"grdar really hates the tel'arair".
"how much longer could these two be around each other?", flint continued in thought.
"would they be the end of our group..no, if anything, the tel'arair will be exiled from the group", flint played out scenarios in his head.
they were approaching human lands, and flint worried for the saftey of grdar , the "dwarf maids", and the rest of the group. but reguardless, he knew that the dwarven women could seek quarter at his uncles home...but, he would have to talk first.
to tell the truth, flint had no idea what to say to felix. what was there to say? oh, im sorry for abandoning you in your time of perril, the major problem i caused in your life. but maybe seing his uncle would absolve the guilt weighing heavily on his shoulders.
Pridia, maybe, two, three hours away. it was a gentle villiage , but everyone still held there predjudices. he knew that if he could convince anyone to accept a dwarf into there house, it had to be felix.
as they walked. grdar still angry at niluses presence, the females talking, flint still pondering his thoughts heavily. nilus was very observent of the situation around him. everyone was occupied heavily, even the allolari seemed to be lost in thought.
flint ,still in thought, barley heard the twig snap . but he coaught it, it was maybe 20 feet away.
"what", he said back in a normal voice.
"i think someones coming", flint said.
P.S. anyone wanting to fill the last character slot, this would be great to jump in...
I stood silently, hammer held ready, as Flint fingered the hilt of his sword.
A small figure toppled from behind a bush, with a "Waard!"
I smiled, letting my hammer fall. Hirtha and Talin had gentle smiles on their faces, as the small figure drew closer. It was short and hunched, with a wide friendly stubbly face, and round furry ears.
"What is it!" Flint demanded, drawing his sword, as the creature smiled dully at them, and chuckled.
Ignoring Flint, I walked to the creature, and clapped its shoulder.
"Grut yein Gob'kuurn." I said, and the creature hopped up and down, clapping its hands.
"Grdar." Flint asked again, "What is it?"
I frowned at Flint, then reminded myself that he was oblivious to our race, and our customs.
Leaving the creature in the care of Hirtha and Talin, I walked Flint, Allolari, and the Tel... NILUS, to a spot out of earshot of the others.
"Don't say anything rude or do anything menacing." I said, glaring at Flint, who gave me a puzzled look, but sheathed his sword.
"What-" Flint started.
"It's called a Gob'kuurn." I said, "It is a brother race of the Dwarves."
"What?" Flint asked, sounding amazed, "There are more than just Dwarves in the mountains?"
"Of course!" I said roughly, "Gob'kuurn are descended from the Dwarves."
"They seem..." Flint said, peering at the creature, who was laughing merrily, and clapping its hands again.
"They are not as intelligent as the other races." I blurted, hating myself, but seeing no alternative to make the others understand, "Their race was made by Gob'kuur, who is the younger brother of Malkr'in. Gob'kuur, who knew little of the cruelty and treachery of the world, created the Gob'kuurn to help others. Pleased to no end with his creation, Gob'kuurn sent them out into the world."
Flint and Nilus exchanged a confused look. Allolari was watching the Gob'kuurn.
"I've never seen one of those." Nilus said cautiously, as if fearing I would yell at him for speaking.
"Of course you haven't!" I said, "We Dwarves have gone to every effort to make sure you never remembered them. You see, Gob'kuur in his..." -I stopped to cough uncomfortably- "Unintelligence, failed to see that his creation wasn't the same as the Dwarves whom he shaped them after. They followed his idea of law, which was to give without end, even unto death. Gob'kuur was trying to be kind and generous, and in a way he was, but men and other races are quick to abuse such a gift. While a Gob'kuurn would never kill or hurt another living being, the other races made them do horrible things to themselves... They thought it was... Amusing." I ground out the last word angrily.
Flint gasped, and Nilus looked taken aback. Allolari continued to watch the Gob'kuurn.
"When Gob'kuur saw what had become of his creation, he wept for ninety days, spilling ceaseless rains upon the land. Malkr'in, is his deep love for his younger brother, had his Dwarves gather the remnants of the Gob'kuurn, and hide them deep within the mountains, never again to be abused by the world. And so it has been. We guard the Gob'kuurn, and make sure that they are ALWAYS happy, for even after four millenia, they still feel the sorrow of Gob'kuur, and are quick to fear."
I concluded by folding my arms, and tucking my chin into my chest.
Allolari smiled and pulled off her mask, then walked over to the Gob'kuurn, who stared wide-eyed up at her. She bent down, until she was lying flat on her stomach, and smiled at the creature, waving her legs in the air behind her.
She began to hum a pleasant melody, that made the birds call out from their nests.
I felt joy and happiness fill me, and saw my successes in my life. Mining my first ore, learning to cook, saving Talin, and helping the Elf.
The Gob'kuurn shrieked in delight, and hugged Allolari's head, and she folded her arms around the tiny creature's body and held it in a loving embrace.
It was one of the most tender things I'd ever seen, and despite myself, I felt a tear fall from my eye, as I felt the joy of Gob'kuur fill my heart.
"Grdar?" Flint asked, breaking me from my trance.
I fained a sneeze, and wiped my eyes while my elbow was hiding my face.
"Yes?" I said, a little shakily. They would never know how much that moment meant to me. To the Dwarves.
"How many Dwarf gods are there?" Flint asked, "I've only ever heard you speak of Malkr'in."
"There are five." I said, staring at Nilus, who was looking skeptical, "Malkr'in is the first, and greatest. He is the god of Law. His wife is Thir'lom, she is the second, and most merciful. She is the god of Love. His older brother is Del'garim, who is the third, and wisest. He is the god of Wisdom. He is also the least known, and most mysterious of the gods. His younger brother is Gob'kuur, who is the fourth, and most foolish. He is the god of Giving."
"And the fifth?" Flint said eagerly. I admired his curiosity, and desire to know more of our gods. Maybe he wasn't so foolish after all. But still...
"We do not speak of the fifth." I said firmly, closing the topic for discussion, "All you need know, is that HE is the disgraced."
I glared at Nilus, and the symbol around his neck.
"Grdar." Hirtha called, and I hurried to her side, "Grdar, this dear Gob'kuurn shouldn't be out here. I shall take him back to the Rei'lar Mines."
I bowed my head, "I would be grateful, Tal'hirtha."
Hirtha gently took the Gob'kuurn's hand, and guided him away from Allolari, who waved at him.
"Kir'las pik du Rei'lar, Gob'kuurn." She said kindly.
The Gob'kuurn wailed, and pointed desperately at Allolari.
Hirtha smiled gently, but shook her head, and began to lead the crying Gob'kuurn away.
"I will stay in Rei'lar, there's no need to wait for me."
I bowed, "Malkr'in protect you, and Del'garim guide you." I said.
When they had gone from sight, Allolari rose to her feet, smiling.
"Thank you Allolari." I said, and knelt before the Elf, and took one of her hands, "You have truly done a service to Gob'kuur this day."
I don't speak my mind, I just say whatever pops into my head.
"well, there goes our healer", flint thought to himself," now one of us will probably get stabbed".
"yeah, that'd how this would go down", flint continued in his pessimistic thoughts, but then noticed allolari looking at him with a little discontent.
"what, can she read my mind", flint thought sarcastically as the group progressed closer to his hometown," wait...can she? or maybe she cant just pick up on subconsious signals?"
"i dont trust that elf", flint thought," and i think she knows it".
grdar seemed ambvilent about his mothers departure from the group. flint assumed that although he was worried about his mother traveling on her own, she wouldnt be put in harms way in the human city.
on top of all of the other problems running through his head, one reigned over the rest. how would he approach his uncle?he still hadnt thought of a good way to do it. does he just knock on the door..or what. well, hed know what to do when they got to pridian.
then flint turned to the previous conversation, about the dwarven gods. his culture had but one god, no others. one all powerful god. although, flint had heard about many gods in other parts of the world... gods of the sea, the earth, of fire and lightning.
and what was the deal about this 5th god, clearly he was not a favorite of the dwarven people, as they called him the disgraced one. then grdar shot nilus a look that flint managed to catch. what was the background behind them?
it was noon and they would be at pridian before nightfall
I think we should all give each other a description of our character's appearances before we go on. Nilus al Viatore: Copper hair, Pale skin, Grey eyes. Wears a simple green hooded tabard covering a red-sleeved shirt and tan-colored leggings along with simple leather boots. A gold pendant of a sun encased by wings around his neck. A white-cloth belt covers his waist, with a small sheath containing a butcher knife siting at his right side.
The warm, bright sun did little to heighten Nilus's spirits. But as with any of the Charred, it served only as a reminder. Pulling his hood even more over his head, he blinded himself to all but the road. Without conversation, and the unwillingness to risk burns over observing the trail around him, Nilus began to count the stones along the path. He counted them, but his mind never kept track. It was simply to occupy his thoughts. Anything to escape this heat.
Occasionally he would risk a glance at his companions. The dwarf-maid had once again made it to Grdar's side. Keeping each other company in the language of the stone-kin. The Elf, walking with a grace that overshadowed even the noblest of women, stared wide-eyed at the splendid nature around her. Flint walked ahead, his impassioned steps and constant muttering betraying a troubled mind.
"What troubles you Flint?" Nilus found himself saying, the words flowing without the slightest thought. General concern was etched upon his face.
Flint stopped for a moment, as if not understanding the Tel'arair words. His eyes seemed to pass through him, his mind drifting to other places. As Nilus caught up to him he spoke.
"It's just a dream I keep...." he begins. Embarrassment etched upon his face at the foolishness of such a thing. But he goes on. "My uncle, he raised me you see. He was a blacksmith by trade, the best for miles. Folks would come all the way from the Twin Hills for him to mend there wares. He-" The soldier stops himself, muttering a quick apology for rambling. "He saved me once, not but a few years ago. Broke his hand he did. Ruined his profession. And I just left. Left to pursue my own happiness." Flint's eyes clouded over at the memory.
"Your returning though. You have a chance to make things right." he began, putting a reaffirming hand on the soldier's shoulder.
"But the dream!" he persisted his eyes widening at the memory. "It's so real. The sword piercing my Uncle's chest, the crimson streams leaking out of him, I could see into his eyes and..." Flint pulled away from the layman's grip, walking as if the weight of the world lay on his shoulders.
"Dreams can be a gateway for the divine to intervene in our affairs. That much is true. But the things you saw do not have to be set in stone. The could easily be what may happen as what will happen."
The words seemed to have some effect on the down-trodden solider. He posture straightening and a fierce determination glimmering through his eyes. "I guess you may be right" he quickly replies. Giving a nod of gratitude before jogging to the head of the group.
This left Nilus to ponder his own dreams as well. He had been drawn to the Elf. And along the way had met Flint and the dwarf. This was no mere coincidence. Powers greater than he could comprehend were at work here. Something called them together. All that remained was to figure out what.
At 2/15/11 02:05 AM, TheFarseer wrote: I think we should all give each other a description of our character's appearances before we go on.
Grdar: Lightish-brown hair, pulled back in a pony-tail. Long beard, braided at the bottom. Black eyes, and large eyebrows.
Clothes: Wears a moss-green tunic, with yellow trimming. Large proctite-plated leather vambraces. dark-brown trousers, with heavy black proctite-plated leather belt. Large black proctite-plated boots. (Yeah, a lot of metal, eh?)
Various items include: A draw-string coin pouch on right hip, tied to belt. A gold ring with a Dwarvic rune, standing for Del'garim on right hand. And a pair of fingerless gloves for mining, which are stored in coin pouch. (Which is sizable.)
Allolari: Waist-length dirty-blonde hair, with a wreath of various plants tied into it. Large golden eyes. Thin face, pointy chin, and long pointy nose. Long ears, with leaves where there would be earrings.
Clothes: Nothing, other than a small black Nir'lin tunic, and short black leather trousers, that tie at the sides.
Various items include: Wooden mask made of bark, which covers all of her face, except for her eyes. A small twig is sticking out of the right side of the nose of said mask. Mask is almost always worn. Held in right hand, when not worn.
I don't speak my mind, I just say whatever pops into my head.