The sequel to "Outpost:Haven"4.07 / 5.00 38,825 Views
Hunt The Candy!!!3.83 / 5.00 11,938 Views
A thrilling rush through cyberspace!3.80 / 5.00 38,482 Views
roughly 5'10", some what thin with a medium muscular build. short brown hair, only 3 0r 4 inches long and hazel eyes. he wears a pale tan tunic like garb. he has light brown pants and a leather belt with the insignia of his battalion on it, crossed swords in front of a shield. he also has leather boots. all standard military issue.
he also has a military issue shield, it large , round and made of metal. not military issue is his sword. its 3 and a half feet long,four inches wide. razor sharp on both side. flint's uncle had a shipment of proctite specailly ordered to make the blade and hilt, which in inlaid with gold.
as a soldier, he dosnt really carrie any personal effects, other than the sword.
"i guess the ...niluses words could hold truth," flint thought," i dont trust him, but he seems different from what grdar sees in him".
then flint began to shamefully think of his uncle once more," i just left...out of shame, i just left... im almost and adult and i cant even think of how to approach someone ive harmed. my 18th birthday is in less than a month, and still i dont know what to say to felix. maybe nilus is right, maybe talking to uncle will mend my guilty conscious".
reguardless, they would be there soon, and hed half to come up with something quick.
The following post takes place in Caelorn. Hope that isn't a problem. Also I'm giving the Count a name. He's reminding me of Sesame Street without one. :P
It's prophecy time!
His Eminence, Count Manethen of Caelorn gazed out at his grand city. His emerald green eyes piercing the sunlight. Naught but 10 years prior this had been but a small merchant city, a pale shadow to the vast walled city he saw. The merchant's peddled there wares in the square as hundreds of people went about there daily lives. Upon every street he could green-capped heads of his soldiers, a knot of green in the sea of people. Upon the palace balcony he could see past the Northern gates, to his latest conquest.
Cras Lorga. The Conquered Stone. That was the name the mountain now bore, as it was plucked from the dwarves not days before. The Mountain would serve as a reminder for any who would dare question his power. But in truth it was a mere consolation prize to what he held in his hands. The green orb throbbing at his touch. Such simplicity...but such power. Such is but one reward his Master has promised him.
He could hear footsteps coming from the doorway, with a casual gesture he glanced at the intruder. The Captain-of-the-Guard stood before him. his vibrant green tabard flowing off his gleaming plate armor. His face was cruel and calculating, a slender scar running from his cheek to his close-cut scalp. When he spoke it was with a rasp.
"My Lord" he says. carefully kneeling before him.
"What is it Withermane? I asked not to be disturbed."
He glances up before continuing. "The Witch, my Lord. She speaks."
A quick expression of shock covered the face of Manethen, before being overtaken by a cruel smile. "Take me to her." he commanded, the authoritarian tone of his voice laced with a feeling of excitement. The with a gesture, Withermane led the Noble out of the room. The palace was vast and exquisite, gilded portraits and bronze emblems dotted the walls, reminded all visitors the wealth of the city.
Down they traveled, down flight after flight of stairs. The splendor of the palace was gone, replaced by the dust and cobwebs of years of neglect. Soon the reached the cold, dirt floor at the end of the stairs. There was only a single hallways to traverse, made up of grey stone blocks. Doors were placed at regular intervals. It was in all meaning of the word, a dungeon.
Walking with quickening pace, they arrived at the third door to the right. Placing a key as large as his forearm into the slot, Withermane swiftly turned it, unlocking the mechanism with a twist. With a grunt of effort he pushed the door open with a creak. Manethen entered as if not noticing his captain at all.
There sat a withered old woman. Her clothes but tatters upon he slender frame. Her hair was as grey and decayed as the stone around her. But her most striking feature was the headband they covered her eyes. A small insignia of an eye marking the center.
Manethen approached diligently, bending yo one knee to reach the woman's level. "What have you seen, Seer? Tell me, or I will induce the trance once more." The woman seemed not to hear him, muttering unintelligibly to herself. He stared at her, his anger rising at her defiance. He looked back at Withermane, who nodded in agreement. He approached the woman. Pulling her head back, revealing her wrinkled face, he took a stone from his pocket.
Dark symbols covered the face of the stone. The red glistening off it's black surface. It hummed with fell energies in his hand. Before the old crone could object he pressed it to the old woman's forehead. And then the screaming began.
The Seer's body began to twist and convulse from the dark energies of the stone, screaming out at the room. The Count remained calm and impassive at the spectacle.
"What do you see?" he states. His will reflecting upon the words.
"A child of stone. He walks with a hammer wreathed in storms. In his hand he carries the serpent, subdued in his grip. Behind him I see a pillar standing defiantly in the face of an ocean." She gasps, beads of sweat arcing down her forehead. "A wayward solider. He guards a tower of the whitest marble. He holds the horn, gold of the purest quality etched upon its surface. He holds the swords that pierce the heart."
Once again she gasps. Drawing in the air in ravenous gulps.
"What else! Is there more?!" the Count shouts, angered by her slowness.
"One of a tainted lineage. He wears a broken pendant, a dagger wreathed in flame sits at his side. He begins to crumble as though burning. The last is a Daughter of the Land. In one hand she holds an oaken key, in the other a broken harp. She is of a song desperate for escape. "
"What will they do?" the Count yells, trying to drown out the woman's screeching.
"One will say the name and be unafraid. One will save the world by bringing it to ruin. One will stand defiant in the face of the unknown. And one will fall and rise again."
The Count's face was overtaken with a steely conviction. "Whom do they oppose?"
The Seer gasped. She shakes her head furiously. "No...no.....no...."
Manethen grasped her, shaking her in her bindings. Fury was evident in his emerald eyes. "Tell me!"
The seer uttered a noise. A noise never meant to be spoken in the mortal tongues. The Seer let out a death scream as she slumped in her chair.Withermane dropped to floor, bile flowing from his mouth. His eyes beginning to leak crimson streams. Manethen had to drop to his knees, swallowing back the bile in his throat and quieting the voice in his mind. Even to as loyal a servant as he, to hear the name of the Nameless Lord was naught meant for mortal ears. He glanced back at his captain, heaving upon the floor.
He glanced up at the seer, now limp in her chair. The headband had fallen from her eyes. Where her eyes used to be. Now it was but two sunken holes in their place, white smoke flowing from them.
Steadily, the noble rose to his feet. Kicking over the chair that held the captive seer. Withermane was already up, wiping his last meal from his mouth. "Whom could oppose the Unknown Lord?"
Manethen walked by without a glance. "I intend to find out."
Throw me a PM if you disagree with the way I made this and we'll try to work around it. Sorry for any mis-characterizations.
they all stood, examining the settelment of pridian. they were about 200 yards out, and far from pridian eyes.
"alright, i can approach the city, and nius could get in if he dosnt draw attention to himself, but you", flint was speaking to the whole group, but directing the information toward grdar," allor...allolari..., hirth, talin , well have to sneak you in in the cover of night...until then, me and nilus will go to my uncles house, please be patient friends".
nilus and flint began to walk to the town, leaving the others behind temporarily.
"flint, are ther any cultural customs i should observe in your home land", nilus asked.
"well, people are quite persinable, but you should remain cloaked and we should get to my uncles quickly...but dont make too much haste, that too , will draw attention."
"yes flint, i will remain translucent to the eyes of your kin", nilus agreed with flint.
"okay, lets go", flint said as the breached the outskirts of his once home.
they walked into the city and inadvertantly began catching eyes. thye continued on, acting if those they were unaware of the concern they were begining to raise.
there wernt as many merchant stands as an outsider would think, but only one general store. the streets were merly dirt and the people were not nobels, other than the argonfers family on the hill overlooking the town, the towns head council member was lord uestes arfonfer.
just as the towns whispers began to raise nilus's and flitn concern to a highted state of caution, felixes house came into sight.
flint couodnt help but notice that the town he had grown in was different. more hostile. there were guards he had never seen before...they wore green helmets and constanly traveled in military formations.
when flint neared his uncles home, he looked apon the neighboring structures with disdain. on one side, a saloon, it was loud. on the other side...a brothel.
nilus looked apon the women outside the house of mortal sin...e shuttered at the women, able to even feel the sin and grime wafting from the what he assumed were souless women...women who could be cleased with the swift burn.... he stopped, he couldnt do that, he couldnt destroy the scarred souls, he couldnt burn the brothel , the house of sin with the fires ..he ...he couldnt. no, it was a thought he pushed back in his mind once more.
flint walked cautiously on the stoop of his uncles home. his feet rapping on the hard wood. he walked as if though the wood would shatter like glass at one foul step.
he knocked on the door, his mind racing, heart rate quickening. then the door opend.
"fl...flint", felix said with question at the unexpected arival.
"uncle, im so sorry", flint instantly broke down.
"oh my lord....flint , your..your back", felix said, still in shock.
"uncle, please, im sorry...but, i need...we need to come in quickly", flint said.
"of course...plaese, come in", felix said with priase at the prodical return of his nephew.
flint walked in, the house was eerily familar, he thoguht of his childhood. the shame rushed back. nilus walked in softly,"sir, thank you for quartering us".
"of course, any friend of flint is welcome is my home",felix contuinued his hospitality.
flint and felix walked into the next room. nilus could hear the uneasiness in flintsvoice as he tried to explain his actions, but he was greeted with an accepting voice, only happy to see him. nilus thought tohim self. odd that such a humble man would live in the center of sins essence.
after a few minutes, flit finally emerged into the room again. they all were seated in felixes living room, and flint began to explain his voyage fron the ranks of the caelorn army to the lodging of a gracful healer.
"and the dwarvesand the elf....they also seek quarter here, flint said, still seeing himself as on thin ice.
"of course flint", felix said kindly," i could never turn away people of suck peril...but , please, be weary...we are at war with the dwarven kind".
thank you uncle", flint said as they waited for nightfall.
notes: im lableing people from pridian as pridians.
when i said flints feet were rapping om his uncles stoop, i meant a sharp knocking sound, not fast paced lyrical music
We stood atop a hill, gazing out at the small down below.
What a hobble. I thought to myself. It was little more than sticks. It did give off an ominous feel though, and I found myself surprisingly uneasy.
"Alright." Flint began, giving me a sidelong glance, "I can approach the city, and Nilus could get in if he doesn't draw attention to himself, but you..." He paused, "Allo-Allolari," -He stumbled- "and Talin, we'll have to sneak you in under the cover of night. Until then, Nilus and I will go to my uncle's house. Please be patient friends."
I let them go without argument, still not keen on going into the village.
As soon as the others had left, Allolari slumped cross-legged to the ground, panting.
"Oi." I said, alarmed, "Are you all right?"
Allolari nodded, and looked at me from behind her mask.
An enormous gurgle filled the entire hilltop. I suppressed a bark of laughter, as Allolari clutches her sides, and leaned forward.
I was suddenly reminded of my own hunger. We'd been marching since morning, without a stop to eat. I turned to Talin, who also looked strained, and that she was trying to hide it.
"Let's go back into the cover of the trees. I saw a pond not far from here, perhaps I can catch something."
I headed to where Allolari sat, and attempted to pull her to her feet. She merely sat there, humming a mournful tune that made me feel even hungrier. I had a suspicion that she was doing this absently.
"Allolari, get up!" I growled, still trying to pull her to her feet, "I will get something, once we're in the cover of the trees."
Allolari still wouldn't move. Was she just being stubborn? Or... I put a hand toward her face, and when she didn't move fast enough, snatched the mask to reveal her face, which was even more pale, even greenish, and covered in sweat.
"Tsha!" I swore, "Why didn't you tell us of this before! We could have stopped for you."
Allolari's eyes were going in and out of focus, but she smiled faintly at me, and shook her head. I pulled the mask further away, as one of her hands strayed toward it.
Allolari let out a pleading sound, reaching further for the mask.
"Why do you want this thing?" I demanded, staring down at the hollow bark face, "It feels odd when you wear it, like you're hiding. Like you don't trust us. You may be better off without it."
I lifted my arm with the mask above my head, but froze as a vine wrapped around it, holding it in place.
Allolari had risen to her feet, shaking her head violently. She had such a pleading expression, it was almost sickening how pitiful it was. Why was she so attached to this thing?
Allolari stepped forward shakily, and pulled the mask from my grip with surprising force, and placed it back over her face.
The vine began to shoot back into the ground, but Allolari seemed to have forgotten that I was still held by it. I felt my shoulder dislocate before the vine snapped, and vanished from sight.
Allolari put both hands over where her mouth was under the mask, as Talin hurried to my side.
"Tsha, Dvrik Gish Crarrd!" I swore furiously, pulling my shoulder back in place. I'd dislocated it before, and knew how to fix it, but it still hurt.
"I'm..." Came a low breathy voice from Allolari, who paused before continuing, "Sorry!"
She broke down crying.
I stood panic-stricken as the Elf wept, large tears spilling from her golden eyes, down her mask.
"It wasn't that bad." I lied, desperate for her to stop. What if someone heard us? "Stop, just stop."
"Dead!" Allolari shouted, "Killed! I-..."
She turned so that her back was facing us, and went silent, though her shoulders still shook.
"Are you alright Grdar?" Talin whispered, touching my shoulder with a small hand.
"I'm fine." I grunted back, "It's her that we need to worry about."
"Let her be." Talin said, though whether out of anger, or some other reason I couldn't tell.
I marched to where my hammer lay, and sat down angrily. Flint and Nilus had better return soon. I thought.
I don't speak my mind, I just say whatever pops into my head.
felix prepared a small meal for flint and nilus, quick bread and some lamb meat, tender. nilus and flint ate well, but soon, nilus was striken with a thought....the others...were they going hungry. he looked outside, the sky had lost most of the pink and gold highlights offered by a snset and in the closing minutes of twilight.
"we should leave soon", nilus spoke quickly, almost blurting his thought.
"so soon", felix questioned.
"yes uncle, he's right", flint concurred with nilus," we need to seek the others and bring them here....uncle , we will need to leave one of our group here, out of harms way."
"of course....flint, ill try my best to keep your fellow traveler out of harms way, courious...is it a dwarf", felix asked, trying to appraise the situation.
"yes uncle, a younge dwarf maid, uncle, among the group is another group. he is proud and has a bit of a temper", flint warned.
as the coll air began to sweep throught the city, no longer heated by the sun, nilus saw fit to relenquish his head from the cloaks hood. as soon as he did, felix stopped and looked at him.
"what,,,why is he like that, he dosnt look human.", felix voiced concern.
"for he is not uncle, he is among the tel'arair", flint stated a little weary of his uncles surprise.
"oh...", he trailed off a bit," you are a member of the tel'arair...are you....perhaps a healer?"
"no sir", nilus siad," my peole are not as recognised for their healing abilities as the nomadic brothers , we rarely see them...they...hold contempt of our contemp ways".
"oh..thats.. too bad", felix said still lost in thought.
flitn picked up on the feelings that felix had. he was reminded of his useless hand. he must have remembered the tal'arair as healers and thoguht that he could be healed.
"uncle, we must leave, we cant leave our freinds alone , we must retreive them. if there is any concern, light the lantern on your porch and we wont come in, okay uncle", flint spoke in preparations to leave.
"okay flint", felix said.
as nilus and flint left, flint pondered the emptyness in his uncles voice.
The night breeze was refreshing on the young monk face as he walked along the dirt roads of Pridian. Flint followed closely, his eyes deep in thought. A deep guilt fell over Nilus as he remembered Felix's eyes. In that split second he saw hope, only for it to be whisked away with a single word. It was a familiar pain, a familiar guilt, something he thought buried to the recesses of his mind. Layana.
No. The time for mourning the past is gone. Concentrate on the present. Nilus began to look about the small city, desperate for ran escape from his thoughts. The streets were bare save for the occasional drunk. Courtesans formed rings around the brothels, enticing customers for entertainment. A young girl, no more than three years his younger, approaches the duo. She gives a well practiced grin, but is wasted on the two, Flint hardly noticed her, so deep in his thoughts, as Nilus gently pushed her by with a quiet apology. She mutters a curse as she walks back.. She looks like her. laments the young Tel'arair, looking back at the brothel.They all do.
And unto ash they shall become, for the pain is too deep.
Nilus pushed such a thought from his mind. Angered merely by it's existence. With a few silent prayers he calmed himself, hoping they never return. As they walked further on to the edge of the town he noticed men flocking to the inns from the town gates, eager to drown a hard days work.
Eager to ease the tension, Nilus asked Flint about growing up in such a place. Broken from his thoughts, Flint practically burst into speaking. Telling grand tales of young boys running through the streets eager for mischief. Of his Uncle's firm, but loving hand.
The cheerfulness was a good break from the sullenness of the walk. Nilus would occasionally break in with his own story, of his first fish caught, or of jumping in the lake in winter on a dare, just to grow ill for a weeks to come. The laughing duo soon reached the city gates, the guards viewing there chuckling with suspicious looks. "Damn drunks..." he heard one spout. They both begin to laugh even harder at the statement. The giggling continued up the road and out of sight, the laughter overheard by a certain dwarf.
Guilt. Shame. Despair.
I'd hurt again, without intention. Small Dwarf's arm...
I looked into the night sky. Was anything out there? Where had this all come from? Why was there pain?
I thought back to Small Dwarf's words earlier that day. Five. There were five we said. One of Law, Love, Wisdom, and Giving. And the fifth? Perhaps pain? Why else would Small Dwarf not utter its name?
My shoulders still shaking, I entered into the safe haven of my mind. It was mine, free from The Heart, free from the world. I could think. Reflect.
If there were gods, then surely the one named Malkr'in would slay me, having murdered. The one name Thir'lom, though she may forgive me, what then? Would all sin go unpunished? The one named Gob'kuur, who gives unto death. Gives what? The Gob'kuurn were slaves to giving, just as I'd been a slave of The Heart.
I then turned to the other one... The one I'd been thinking the most of. Del'garim. One who sought wisdom rather than law, love, or giving. I too sought for, nay longed for wisdom. Surely he could help. If he were wise, he'd know that I'd slain not of my own intention, and not judge me for it, unlike Malkr'in. He'd see and know evil for what it was, and destroy it, unlike Thir'lom. But would he provide wisdom, or anything else? Surely Gob'kuur was the one to seek for gifts. I didn't want gifts. I wanted wisdom...
Slowly, I pull the wood mask from my face, and stare down into the empty holes where eyes should be. It was like I was staring into my own reflection. Substance, but hollow. What did I lack?
I longed to ask Grdar more of Del'garim, but my own self-consciousness drove me from such an idea. Speaking was silly. My voice was ugly. And surely, Grdar hated me for what I'd done, just like the young man did. I'd felt the young man glaring at me as we'd walked. He had every right to mistrust me... To hate me...
So lost was I in my thoughts, that I payed little attention to the faint sounds of merriment approaching the hill.
I jumped, and was brought back to my surroundings at small Dwarf's sudden outburst.
"You're back, it took you long enough! Coming at nightfall, eh? It's not two hours 'til dawn!"
Quickly placing my wood mask back over my face, I turned to see that young man, and silent man had returned. No... Perhaps I had silent man wrong, as he was no longer silent. I recalled him speaking to me directly, asking if I needed any help. How caring. He was a kind man.
"I'm sorry." Young man stammered, "We lost track of time a bit."
"A bit!" Small Dwarf snapped, pointing at me, "Allolari is ill, and needs food! What were you two doing down there? I imagine your uncle was fine, as I told you he'd be! Were you filling your gullets, and reminiscing, while she suffered? Having a laugh?"
"N-... I didn't-..." Young man looked worried.
"We didn't know." Kind man said, bowing low, "We're sorry for the trouble we've caused. I will help the Elf myself, if she is too ill to move, then I shall carry her."
"You will not!" Small Dwarf said loudly, "She is in my care, and I will be the one to look after her, not some Yart'nir!"
I saw something flash across kind man's face. For a moment he looked violent. Like he wanted to kill. I rose to my feet, but just as quickly as it had appeared, kind man's face had returned to normal.
Both small Dwarf turned to look at me, then hurried to my side.
"Sit down!" Small Dwarf said, "You're not well."
I shook my head.
"Let me help you." Kind man said urgently, as I stumbled.
I shook my head again. They shouldn't help me. I didn't deserve help. Kind man had saved me once, I would never rely on another again. I had seen how close to death kind man and young man had been, when they'd entered my mind prison. Why help me? I'd only hurt them.
The two continued to fuss, as I walked unsteadily to where young man and the Dwarf maid stood silent, watching.
I don't speak my mind, I just say whatever pops into my head.
"you were speaking of the elves illness less than a minute ago, and you dont want to get the elf to the saftey of flints uncles house?", nilus questioned grdar.
"i want the elf in saftey, i just dont want a charred soul touching the purity of this elf", grdar argued.
"you speak of my peoples pastwith such disregaured...", nilus began to think impure thoguhts, that the swift burn of fire would cleanse the prejudice from his body, even if his body would be scorched as well.
"yes", grdar said bluntly," your people belong in the fires they preach the cleansing power of".
nius walked off into the woods, he was speaking a different lungauge from dwarvish, it was smoother, with sharper constanants .
"god damn it", flint said after his breath and ran after nilus.not long ago, he had not even a shred of trust for this fellow, but now he was taking his side over grdars...who he had previously seen himself closest to in the group. what was happening.
as flint caught up, he lightly grabbed nilus on the shoulder. nilus stopped.
"what is your request flint", nilus asked, clearly angered by grdar.
"listen, we need to get back to the group, we need to get allolari indoors and quickly. we can get in throught the opposite side of town",flint said, just trying to get a lid on the situation.
"why should i work with that fool of a dwarf flint., nilus asked.
"do it for allorari, do it for the good of the land, your homeland my not be under attack now, but after the hearts holder tears through these lands like a thunder storm, they will come for you nilus. nilus, we can make a difference, if i didnt think that, why wouldnt i just go stay with my uncle and blow you guys off...we must do this nilus, its out of our hands untill we can silence the danger that is the heart."
Flint's simple reassurance was enough to calm the fuming Tel'arair. The laughter shared with the young solider was enough to distract him from his thoughts, but the dwarf's stubbornness had pulled them back to the surface. The Charring did not give the Tel'arair a clean slate after the death of their master. A piece of him was ingrained into every member of the race. His ambition, his malice, his cruelty. For some, the presence was so weak it was almost ignored. But for others...
For others, the desire to burn is too great. Their mind pulls them to things which their bodies cannot handle. From where he grew up there was always stories. Stories of men setting themselves alight, screaming through the streets. Of mothers who burn down their own homes, their children screaming into the night. Such was the common fear for the Charred. Who would be next?
Almost subconsciously he begins to mutter the Calming Mantra. A simple barrage of syllables created to calm the user. After a few verses he could feel his rage subside, and with a deep breath he expelled it. Flint was now giving him an awkward look, Nilus just noticing he had been standing there for almost 5 minutes. With an embarrassed apology, he walked with the soldier back o the dwarves and the elf.
Quick to resolve the conflict, Nilus directly approached the dwarf. "If you wish to deny my help for the girl, I suppose I cannot stop you. he begins, failing to repress a scowl. "But do not deny Felix. Friends for dwarves are a few and far between in these times. At least I can hide." the dwarf did not bother to hide his disdain at the comment. His hands beginning to reach the handle of his weapon.
The dwarf-maid quietly approached the two, holding on to the elf's hand. "Perhaps he is right Grdar" she says, her voice like honey in the wind. "We cannot afford to deny anyone at this point."
The maiden's voice had an effect on the dwarf, his eyes lighting up at her words. "If you think it necessary." he manages to reply. "But I will not suffer the indignity of sharing a room with a ya-"
A hand appears before his face, silencing him. Its owner speaking quickly. "I will make other arraignments then." Nilus says with a smirk. It was reckless to test a dwarf's anger, especially one so skilled in war. But the stone-child cared deeply for the Nir'lin, as was his duty. He would not deny her.
"You don't have to sleep out on the street. I'm sure we can all just...." but the soldier's speech was interrupted by an icy stare from a face of stone. His words fell on deaf ears.
"Don't worry yourself my friend." says the layman, smiling. He pulls out a golden pendant from under his hood. "A friend of peace can always find a home."
With a few mutterings the dwarf walked down the trail, the Nir'lin close to his side. Felix gave Nilus a look of understanding before sprinting ahead to guide them. With a glance, Nilus noticed Allorari had not followed her keepers. She just gazed at the group, not making a single initiative to follow.
"Go with them." Nilus said. She quickly looked at him, as if she forgot he was there. "They'll take care of you." he says with an honest grin. She gives him another dazed look, before running through the woods to catch up with the small group. No, running was to crude a word. She as flowing.Why do they always look like her?
Walking at his own pace to Pridian, Nilus thought on Flint's words. Justice cannot be ignored. Judgment has to be done upon those who could cause so much pain to the dwarves. His dreams prove they were called together for a reason. Perhaps they should try and claim the Heart Flint spoke of. But such undertakings were not taken lightly. Nilus would have to meditate on the matter. We are brought together for a reason. But what could it be?
the tension in the group was high. grdar hated nilus and nilus , although forgiving, seemed to scorned by grdar to offer any length of his forgiving nature. maybe if grdar would let go of his prejudice, the tension would be absolved.
true, even i was still weary of nilus, but he seemed alright. but grdar, was it all dwarves...the female seemed fine with it, as had hirtha.
there were other tensions. he stil was weary of the elf, and she knew it, flint could tell some how. although , that tension was much less protrayed out in the open, like the episode between nilus and grdar earlier.
as they neared the borders of pridians rear, as to say, its less usede "side". he led the group through allie and behind houses untill they finally made there way to felix's house once again.
"okay, wait a moment, i need to tell uncle before yo can just barge in, i havent seen him in about 2 years, so im still weary of testing my limits...ill be right back. "
flint walked around the corner casually and went to walk into his uncles house, but on passing his front uncle, flint looked in and saw men, they were soldiers. there voices were inunderstandable , but very audible. it was the men with the green helmets .
flint hid until they left, ten walked in. "uncle, who were those guys."
"they are the soldiers of caelorn flint, they saw you and nilus enter earlier and there suspicious."
"why are soldiers of caelorn in pridian?", flint asked.
"since you left", felix trailed off..mentioning the incident for the first time,"caelorn sortof made this an extesion of its self. they even went as far as to threaten the livleyhood of the argonfers"
"why hasnt any one stopped them", flint asked.
"flint, they came in one day with an army, anyone who wanted to stand up to them, knew there fate if they tried".
flint took a deep breathe," so , can my friends still reside here", flint asked.
"yes...but it wont be as glamourousas they would want...they may have to spen some time in the cellar...its dark and damp...but ill domy best to clean it up."
"okay...", flint said," but dont mention it to the male dwarf...hes too full of pride to allowone of his tal'lin to be stored like a bottle of wine".
"tal'lin...what is that, a wife?", felisasked, unversed in grdars language.
"no..its a child...the female i spoke of", flint said.
flint left quickly ans came back around thirty seconds later.
felix watched as the group walked in one by one. flint...grdar...the dwarf maid... the elf, then nilus last.
felix watched..with only one thought," what the hell is that tall thing.
At 2/19/11 10:04 PM, paradigmvulpes wrote: "tal'lin...what is that, a wife?", felix asked, unversed in grdars language.
"no..its a child...the female i spoke of", flint said.
Quick edit, it's just Talin.
Tsha! Curses upon curses! Was this all some test of Malkrin, that I must suffer such humiliation as to bed with a Yart'nir?!
I glowered as I entered this "Felix's" abode. He was a skinny man, who stood off to one side wringing his hands nervously. He was staring at Allolari, who was ducking to avoid hitting her head against the door frame as she entered.
"So, Uncle..." Flint said, coughing to get everyone's attention.
I felt Talin take my arm, and I stepped in front of her, hiding her from view of Felix. He looked greasy and untrustworthy to me. Much like the Yart'nir...
"Uncle, this is Grdar." Flint said, gesturing at me.
"I-it's a pleasure." Felix said quickly, inclining his head. His voice was thin, and reedy.
I lifted my chin, as a sign of acknowledgment, but spoke no words.
"Behind him, is Talin." Flint said, craning his neck, before pointing at her.
I felt Talin slip out from behind me, and hissed into my beard as she curtsied to Felix.
"Thank you, for sheltering us." She said.
"It's nothing, nothing, really." Felix sputtered. Was he always this anxious?
"And this." Flint said, pointing to Allolari, who was hugging herself, and shivering, "This is Allolari."
Felix smiled at her. I couldn't tell if she was smiling back. She had that blasted mask back on again.
"This is the first time I've seen an Elf." He said, sounding lost in his thoughts, "It's truly a pleasure. I would love to hear of your race sometime."
Allolari shook her head, and hugged herself even tighter.
Felix looked taken aback, but said no more on the subject.
"I-um, well... Why don't I go fetch some blankets from upstairs. They aren't the best mind, but you're all welcome to them."
A chorus of "Thank you"s echoed from Flint, Talin, and Nilus; I however, said nothing. I looked at Allolari, and could have sworn I heard a whimper emanate from behind her mask.
"Wait." I said, my voice much harder than I'd intended.
Felix froze half-way up the stairs, and peered back over his shoulder at me.
"Y-yes?" He asked.
"First, if you don't mind, the Elf needs food. She's not well."
"Oh, oh yes, of course." Felix said, and hobbled down the stairs and out of sight in another room.
Her emerged holding a small loaf of bread, and handed it to Allolari.
"Here." He said, "I'm sorry, it's not much. Had I known of your coming ahead of time, I could've prepared something better."
Hesitantly, the Elf took the bread, and sat down cross-legged on the floor. For one second, I felt her golden eyes fall on me, then she removed her mask.
"I've never..." He muttered, absently making his way back to the staircase.
"An Elf... Real Elf..." I heard him whispering, as he climbed.
Allolari stared down at her bread silently, biting her thin pink lips.
"Eat already!" I said impatiently, "You need food!"
She gave me a startled look, then took an enormous bite from the loaf.
Talin pulled me aside, as the Elf ate, and the others conversed silently.
"Grdar." She whispered, "Please, don't be so harsh with Nilus and the others, they're only trying to help."
"I don't trust him." I breathed, pinching the bridge of my nose in frustration, "I don't know... I just thank the gods Tal'hirtha was able to go to the Rei'lar Mines instead."
Talin smiled sadly, "Go you wish I'd gone too?"
"For your own safety, yes." I said, placing a hand upon her shoulder, then as her lips trembled, "But I'm glad you're here with me now. Malkr'in knows, we need someone with your gentle spirit among us. Were it not for you, I'd have fought the Tel'arair upon that hill."
Talin placed a hand on my beard.
"I've got the blankets!" Felix wheezed, interrupting us, as he descended the stairs holding a mountain of old blankets.
I don't speak my mind, I just say whatever pops into my head.
flint heard his uncle come down the stairs...weasing. odd. flint thought. he took another look at his uncle and saw something...some hpw, through some mental block, he had seen his uncle in the way he looked when flint left, a tall, broad, muscular man with the strenght and stamina of the gods.
but now..he was thin, pale, ans raspy in the voice. was this his fault...had he not left, would felix not have fallen to such a state? he even saw that his uncle appeared oddly , almost...empty and just odd. flint immedietly began concerning himself with the way his uncle was projected...
...and he knew if one person would pck up on it...it qould be grdar, so protecive of the...women, could he call them that, the dwarf and the elf...they were female...so...
either way...if he did...no, when he left on his duty to seek the heart...which he had to do..he had to...he would have to come back, he had to deal with his uncle. he had to ..fix him, he seemed broken compared to how he used to be...was it the hand...was it my fault...
flint sulked as an entirely new guilt washed over him.
The old, discolored blankets were distributed evenly about the group. Grdar took his and the dwarf-maid's from the man without a halfhearted thanks, maintaining a steely glare on him. The elf cautiously took the offering, as if she thought it would cause pain. Felix continued to almost gape at her, still somewhat overwhelmed by her presence. As he came to Nilus, Grdar's stare had been explained. There was an odd aura about the man, something bitter. Nilus took the blanket with a thanks.
As he gave the blanket to Flint, an odd trance overtook both of them. The looked into each other's eyes at the exchange. Almost like they spoke to each other. Wordlessly, the wayward solider took the blanket and Felix retreated to the kitchen.
Nilus walked up to the Elf, extending out his arm with the blanket. "Take it." he says. "You need it more than I." he says with a shrug. It was true, Allolari's long slender body was barely covered by the measly blanket she as given. Then with a sudden quickness Rand went for the door.
"Where do you think you're going?" the child of stone says, his voice mirroring his cold demeanor.
"A child of Shal'hartha can always find a home." he states almost matter-of-factly. "I wouldn't want to impose on Master Felix's hospitality if it is not needed. I'll see you all in the morning. Pallas al Kala.(Pleasant dreams to all.) And with that quickly shut the door behind him before the Dwarf could state his disgust at the statement.
With the wind at his heels, the wayward layman walked the almost empty streets of Pridian. With his head low, he never got more than a casual glance from the sparse groups walking the streets. Though seemingly without purpose, he walked up and down the neighborhood district, attentively staring at the walls. His eyes prying for the smallest detail.
"Aha!" he says aloud. He had found his query. A small circle carved at the bottom corner of a door. A symbol meant only to be found by someone looking for it. It was a cruse home, compared t the homes surrounding it. But it was clean, and had a homely aura about it. Approaching the steps, he knocked on the door four times in rapid succession.
"Who goes there?" replied a humble voice from within.
"One who speaks the Word of Mercy."
"And if there be no mercy within these borders?
"Mercy knows no borders." finished Nilus.
As if the words were magic the doors swung open, revealing a thin man in robes similar to Nilus. Black strands of hair fell at a face lined with hunger. Not from a lack of food, but of denying it. "It is not often we see another of the merciful here in Pridian these days."
"Sad times in deed." Nilus replies, walking in at the man's invitation. The home was cluttered. Clothing, dried meats and bread, herbs, and other small necessities were scattered about upon various tables. Small rooms, large enough only for a single bed, dotted the small hallway as the passed.
"I see you are well-prepared," complimented the young Tel'arair.
"Thank you, brother. One has to be these days." as the passed the fourth and final of the small quest rooms, lay a young woman breathing heavily in her sleep. Her words were mumbled in her sleep. A layer of sweat glisten on her face.
"Poor thing. Found her whimpering by the brothel on the other side of town. Damn place left her for dead." Nilus said a quick prayer for the woman as the passed by. The man then turned his attention on him.
"Might I ask your name? Your are the guest here." says the man with a smirk.
"Nilus al Viatore at your service." replies Nilus with a courtly bow.
"Rosen. A pleasure to meet another Child of Shal'hartha."
Rosen then took them both t end of the hallway, opening the small red door. Inside was a sparse bed room. A small bed and a wooden desk were the only thing to make up the furniture. A brass symbol of the Forgiving Lord covered the wall. Rosen pulled the chair from the desk, instructing Nilus to sit. Himself deciding to rest upon the bed, it's lowness forcing him to practically squat.
"How might I be of aid to you?" he says with a smile.
"You can tell me what has been happening within the wall of Caelorn."
P.S. Flint and the rest of the group would have no idea what Nilus said after he left. They don't know his language.
Young man and old man had spoken for some time, before old man had departed up the stairs, and young man had extinguished the candles.
I lay upon the cold wood floor, under the blankets I'd been given. Where had kind man gone?
I couldn't sleep. I felt ill, but it only worsened when I closed my eyes. I wanted to sing, or something to occupy myself, but I didn't want to disturb the others' slumber.
I sat up, and leaned against the wall, hugging the blankets to myself for warmth.
I heard a rustle, and felt someone sit down beside me.
"Can't sleep?" Whispered a voice, and two black eyes stared at me through the darkness. It was small Dwarf.
I nodded, though if small Dwarf could see it or not I couldn't tell. I decided to make a sound of agreement. It sounded like one of the tiny animals I'd seen roaming the streets of the town as we'd entered.
"Neither can I." Small Dwarf whispered, "I'm on edge, and can't relax... Tsha, I feel that any minute soldiers will break through the door."
I tilted my head to one side. Why did he think this?
"Listen Allolari, I'm glad you're still up to be truthful. There are a couple things I wanted to ask you." Small Dwarf said, "Could... Could you answer them for me?"
Answer? Speak? I didn't want to, but... Slowly, I nodded. What would he ask?
I jumped as small Dwarf's hand grasped my arm. I could feel something cold and metal on one of his fingers touch my bare skin.
"How did you resist The Heart?" He asked, his voice hard, yet so soft it was barely audible, "Who holds it?"
I felt my mouth moving absently, and bit my lips nervously.
"First..." I said, fighting out each word, "You... Answer me one thing."
My face stung with embarrassment as I spoke. I didn't even speak the language well.
"What?" Small Dwarf asked, sounding surprised.
"Tell me... Is Del'garim?" I said, as I felt an unnatural excitement fill me.
"Del'garim?" Small Dwarf sounded as though he didn't believe what he'd just heard, "Del'garim?"
The hand holding my arm released me, and I saw the shadow that was small Dwarf make the motion he did when he was pulling his beard. Why did he do this?
"Well..." He said ponderously, "What is it you want to know exactly?"
"I want be follow." I said shyly.
I flinched as small Dwarf made a loud choking cough, breaking the silent atmosphere. I heard young man moan, and roll over. Then all was still once more.
"You want to follow Del'garim?!" Small Dwarf asked incredulously.
I nodded. Was I not supposed to?
Small Dwarf's shadow shifted slightly.
"That is a long discussion, Allolari. We could spend a week here, and you'd still not know all there is to."
I stared sadly at the floor, though this was lost upon small Dwarf in the darkness.
He made several, indecisive grunts, then made a sudden movement.
"Hold out your hand." Small Dwarf said.
Carefully, I tilted my hand upward. Why did small Dwarf want this?
I felt something cold and round drop into my palm.
"That is a ring of Dal'garim. I mined its gold myself, and it was blessed by the Del'giran priests of the Wio'lar Mines, before they were attacked."
I felt the ring. I longed to see it. What did it look like?
Almost saddened, I held it back out to small Dwarf.
"Keep it for now." He said, pushing my hand away, "If you really wish to follow Del'garim, wear this and meditate. Perhaps he'll grant you what you seek."
I smiled, and slipped the ring onto one of my fingers. It was a little large, but it stayed in place. I was so happy. Small Dwarf was so kind.
"I may ask for it back one day." Small Dwarf warned, "But I feel that if you seek knowledge, then your need of it is greater than mine."
I nodded, then patted small Dwarf's hand. What could I do to repay him?
Small Dwarf pulled away abruptly, and rose to his feet.
"Meditate then tonight." He sighed, "May Del'garim provide that which you seek. Do not forget our conversation, Allolari. I will ask you of The Heart at another time."
Still smiling, I nodded.
"A good rest to you then." Small Dwarf said, then as he made his way back to his blankets, "I would recommend removing your mask. Whatever you're trying to hide with it, it won't be hidden from Del'garim."
I don't speak my mind, I just say whatever pops into my head.
flint knew the house well, he was lying in his bed...in his room, well, his old room anyways. he knew all of the creaks, he could tell when grdar got up and where he went. he couldn't hear anything past that. he lay in bed, looking at the roof.
he kept playing his agenda out through his mind. they would leave the women here. go to caelorn. find out who has the heart. stop them. then he could go home, he could tend to his uncle. not to say he didnt have fun exploring and working on "quest", with them, he enjoyed the hell out of it, but his uncle came first...well, after the heart. the heart poses a danger to the land, and his uncle does live in this land, so ipso facto, saving the land is saving his uncle...plus the land. so...off to caelorn in the morning.
the next morning, flint walked down the stairs of his once hoe. he didnt even have to open his eyes...he knew the stairs too well. he sat down to a prepared meal, like the old days. he took a few bites before noticing something...
"wheres nilus?", he asked the small group.
"he left last night flint", felix said lightly.
"yes...i know, but he isnt back yet?", flint said.
"no, havent seen him", grdar said.
"thats strange, he knew we were leaving this morning, bhut i suppoese the sleep will keep him at ease", flint said.
"at ease?", felix commented on the statement.
"oh...he has stuff going on, his past, his ancestors deeds..thing like that", flint said, looking at grdar.
grdar mumbled under his breath," recgnition of a fault dosnt leave you innocent, no more that a mere yart'nir".
Rosen Alson was a humble man. Born into extreme poverty, his parents offered him to the monks of the Order of the Broken Hammer, who accepted the child without any grievances. As a child he was raised on the Book of Mercy, living out the teachings of his lord and master. As Nilus had, he saw the corruption and pain taking root in the outside world, and vowed to aid all he could. His travels eventually took him to Pridian.
There he established a small shrine to Shal'hartha, offering medicine and shelter to all who would seek it. He lived meagerly off the donations of his flock, never achieving even the slightest influence within the small village as anything more than the local doctor. Which suited him fine. "The Way of Glory is not on the Path of Shal'hartha." as Elder Kerran had always said.
For almost four years his practice went undisturbed. Until the day the emissaries of Caelorn arrived. No. Arrived is too nice a word. Stormed is far more appropriate, as they were flanked by almost a hundred green-capped soldiers, silver armor gleaming in this sunlight, giving them a seemingly noble appearance. With numbers easily doubling the town guard, the Lord-Mayor had no choice but sign away their lands to the ever-growing city-state.
The took little at first, save for the food and supplies necessary for their army. The Emissary-Governor donated a large sum of money to the Temple of Ulras, much to Savant Laryan's joy. It seemed at first that this could be only in the town's benefit. But then the changes began. Dissenters began to disappear, taxes began a to steadily grow, and a self-imposed curfew began to take effect seemingly overnight.
But the worst was when the guard came, to burn down his shrine. The claimed I was a heretic against Ulras, poisoning the minds of those who came to him. But Rosen knew their motives. That he would not deny shelter or aid to any who would come to him. Even those who fell out of favor with the new order.
He should of been broken as he watched his work crumble into ash. But instead gained a new resolve, a tireless determination. Holing himself up in an abandoned home, far from the eyes of the Caelorn Guard. A place only noticeable to those looking for it. Here he could continue unrestricted, doing his life's work in peace.
Nilus was more than a little awestruck at such a tale, an clasped Rosen's arm as a comrade. Rosen head snapped at sudden noise, a rushed to the room of the girl. Her eyes were open, dodging around the room in a stupor. She panics, flailing on top of the bed. Rosen was upon her, muttering calming words in a hushed tone. He pulls Nilus closer. "I have some Ryin's Root near the entrance. Would you mind dicing it up for me and bringing it? I'm afraid her fever has returned."
With a quiet nod, Nilus shuffled out of the room and walked quickly down the hall. There on a table not but a few feet from the door, with a handful of other plants was the root. Pulling his knife from his sheath, Nilus set about carefully dicing the root, happy to find a good use for the ugly thing that he kept at his side. After a few moments of quick slicing, he wrapped the pieces in a small piece of parchment and rushed it back to the room. With a quick thanks the monk took the pits and placed them upon a small bed of coals he had set on the table next to the girl. A sickly sweet smell flew into the air.
Rosen took a few steps back and ushered Nilus along with him. "That should do for now." he said, as if trying to reassure himself. He took a glance at Nilus. "I'm glad you know of medicine. I'm guessing you learned at your monastery?" Nilus responded with a nod. Rosen had a sly look in his eyes. "Based on your eyes, I would say your from the Order of the Broken Hammer, being the only ones with a monastery near Lake A'las. Which is known for being a refuge for the Charred peoples."
Nilus could only gape at the man. He mentally scolded himself for not keeping his hood up. He quickly averted his gaze. Rosen began to chuckle loudly. "Do not worry my friend. It is written in the Merciful works that the Sins of the Father are not for the children to suffer, is it not? I hold no grudges against someone who has never wronged me." he finishes with a caring smile. And Nilus knew he meant it.
"Thank you friend." was all he could reply. Rosen quickly clasped him on the shoulder. "I have a gift for you." he says before rushing back to his room. After a few moments he returned, bearing a small blue satchel in his hands. "I have a few of these kits lying around. For the times I venture out. They have all the basic supplies for the type of injuries I'm assuming you'll have." he said, emphasizing the knife at the layman's side.
Your too kind brother." Nillus replied as he took the gift and slung it over his shoulder with a single fluid movement. It was snug, but loose enough to not restrict movement. There was suddenly a knocking at the door. "One moment." said Rosen as he went for the door. He opened the door just in time for a hand of grey flesh to latch onto his face and pull him out into the streets.
Nilus was out through the door in less than a second, his knife gleaming in his hands. With only the light of the twin moons to guide him, he made out the faint outline of the attacker. He was shirtless, with his head bare. His arms writhed with a mysterious energy that radiated power. His pupils were lost in the egg-white of his eyes.
Rosen lay a few feet off the steps, shakily pulling himself up. Nilus leaped at the grey man, ducking a horizontal swipe and bringing the pommel of his knife down on the man's collarbone. He could hear the sickening crack as the bone gave way, but where he expected the the man to slump over, an unnaturally strong arm grasped him and flung him across the street, the monk landing with a thump on the ground. He quickly heaved himself up as a fist slammed in the spot he lay but a second before, cracking the stonework underneath.
Nilus could only dodge as arms swung wildly at him, each one a crushing blow. A hand swung at him, ripping out one of his crimson sleeves, leaving his arm bare. Nilus could occasionally land a blow against the man-monster, but it seemed almost impervious to pain, each strike more wasted than the last. As he felt his limbs begin to stagger, a voice called out, gaining the beasts attention for only a moment. As it's head turned, a cloud of red powder shot around its face. And in the next moment it lay unconscious on street with a loud thump. Rosen's hand reached out to pick up the fallen layman, his face twisted to a grin. "Burnt Creeper moss, interesting effect no?" Nilus flashed a weak smile.
The two laymen turned their attention to the attacker. Almost immediately they saw before their eyes it's skin gaining it's color again, until it, or he, looked no different than any other man. His only clothing was that of pair of pants sewn from brown sack cloth, his feet were blackened from constant travel. He choked out one word. "Free." Before he began to violently spasm, his body twisting around to unnatural shapes before collapsing, a final breath escaping his lips.
"What is this?" was the only words Nilus could choke out, so disturbed by the sight. Rosen looked even worse, his tears beginning to well up in his eyes. "That shouldn't......it's was only meant....why is he dead? Did I?" he choked as despair covered his frame. This was something that went against every fiber of his being. He didn't even know who he was anymore. Nilus clasped his shoulder, tightly gripping it. "You feel it don't you?
Rosen looked up surprised at him before his eyes went wide. Slowly his head turned on the dead man. Sinister energy wreathed itself around the body, so thick it was almost hard for the two men to breathe. They could feel it passing harmlessly through them, but it was tantalizing. Something that a man was never meant to have. Something...forbidden. Shaking away his feelings, Nilus pulled up his fellow monk. "This was no longer a man." Nilus said. " It was something...wrong."
"I'll have a small funeral rite, the guard should be asleep by now. I'll honor the memory of what this man was. You go inside and..."
Rosen's eyes fell upon Nilus's bare arm and he stopped mid-sentence. His eyes squinted at the sight of it. With the inadequate lighting, it was an easy feature to miss, but in the full light of the moons, it couldn't be missed. An image of a hawk with a ring clutched in his talon was tattoo'd on his arm. To any other it would of meant nothing. But to a disciple of Mercy.
The Justice Guard. Shal'hartha's lost aspect.
"You understand the commitment you've made, right?" Rosen looked at him with pleading eyes.
Nilus didn't need to answer. But the words weighed on him still. Digging old memories from his mind. Layana
Rosen sighed. "It explains why you could hold off our mutual assailant at least." he said, a weak smile building on his lips. "You should go inside and get some sleep thought. You look terrible." he chuckled as he finished. With a sudden movement he hefted the body above his head and slung it across his shoulder. "Bandage yourself when you get inside. Your bleeding if you haven't noticed."
Nilus looked to his bare arm, a gash bringing itself down from the ring to his elbow. He winced as the pain suddenly hit him. "Oh and check on Vela once you get inside." Nilus looked at him questionably. Rosen shrugged. 'It's not the first time that girl's been here. I guess some people are just slow learners."
Nilus stepped through the door, his mood sullen.
Manethene stood at his grand window. The rain beating relentlessly, trying to force entry. Black clouds hung ominously in the sky. An aura of malice hung in the air. His hand clutched four pendants. Three were grey, humming in his hand. One hung silently in his hand, streaks of black marring it's intricate design. A cruel smile hung on the noble's lips.
A seeker had fallen. In it's drive to end the pain it rushed ahead of the others and was cut down. A small matter. The remaining three are would be a match for a band of soldiers. Let alone a small group of four. A cruel chuckle escaped his lips. Echoing throughout the room. The other three are but a few hours behind. Time to see if the old crone's words hold true.
"okay, well, we cant leave without him, so i will go out and search for nilus", flint said.
no one objected , and it didnt seem that grdar really carred if nilus went or not. flont said some quick good byes and departed into prdian to seek out the layman.
memorie lane? .. not so much. the town wasnt exactly living up to its name. pridian was represented purity, pride and it was settled by puritan types. now, it was filth, he felt ashamed that his fellow travelers saw it like this first.
flint walked cautiously through the town. he avoided the soldiers of caelorn.
after roughly an hour of searching he sat down. he couldnt imagine were nilus had left to..were they going to have to leave him? why wouldnt he come back, didnt he know they were leaving in the morning, maybe he missed something...or maybe he was held prisoner by the guards of caelorn.
as he got up to check the sheriffs office, which had been fortified, increased in size and filled with the soldiers of caelorn, he saw a women exit a building..she was clealy a hooker. it was odd, but he over looked it as unimportant.
he took off south , figuring hed find nilus inthe walls of the jail.
Nilus awoke with a grunt. As he stood up on his small bed, he could feel his entire body aching. Screaming at him with every movement. Slowly, he got to his feet, wobbling slightly. His satchel and tabard lay on the small table next to him. Quickly grabbing them he walked through the hallway to Rosen's room.
"Come in." said Rosen, before Nilus had even managed to touch the door. He entered quietly, Rosen kneeling before his symbol. The girl Vela, looking much better than before, sat away from him in silent respect. Nilus quickly sat down with him and began morning prayers.
After the prayers, Rosen offered Nilus a seat at his table, the smell of fresh food enticing him more than anything. Rosen sat with Vela, Already helping herself to the food. It was a humble meal composed of small sausages with oat cakes and cool mint tea. For the night Nillus had it might as well of been a feast. Nilus noticed that Rosen was giving him an amusing look."You look worse for weary my friend." he said. The young girl began chuckling softly. Reaching for the wash basin, Nilus peered into the reflection and scowled.
Purple bruising lined his face. Last night's encounter made obvious for everyone to see. He managed to bandage his arm last night, stopping just at the elbow. Just enough to hide his mark from weary eyes. With a sigh he sat down, cautiously reaching for one of the cakes as Vela poured tea. They ate in silence.
Draining the last of his tea, Nilus said thanks to Rosen, and gave well-wishes to the girl. As he got up Rosen accompanied him. He was stopped at the door. "Before you go, know this. That mark on your arm should not define you. Always remember the teachings. You are not the first to embrace this aspect. And you won't be the last."
With a thank you, Nilus embraced his new-found friend. Separating, Nilus opened the door and stepped out, closing the door behind him. White hot light bit at his skin as he walked a few paces into the sun.Quickly pulling his hood up. He winced as he felt burn marks dotting his face. It's way to early for it to be this hot. Risking a glance skyward, he saw that the burning ball of pain known as the sun had almost reached the center of the sky. Pushing his face down to escape the pain Nilus gasped, it's almost noon! He had managed to oversleep. With a curse he sprinted down the street, not wanting to further enrage his companions.
Sleep. Deep sleep. I was at peace.
In my state of sub-conscious thought, foreign words and ideas presented themselves before me.
I was standing withing my former mind prison. Was I dreaming?
I looked at the grey dead trees, and the dried riverbeds. Someone was approaching. Was it kind man again?
No... It was someone that I had never seen before. Who were they?
The figure wore moss green robes, partially obscured by flowing ankle-length brown hair. On its head, the figure wore a crown of silver, with a white cloth hanging from it to hide the left side of its face. On the right side, I could see an eye, of no speakable color. It was ever changing. Flowing. It drew me in.
"Who are you?" I asked, my voice rolling out as a song in my own tongue.
"Do you not know?" The figure said, in a stream of Elfsong.
I smiled with delight. Someone who could speak my language of song.
"Are you the one he calls Del'garim?" I asked.
"I am." Del'garim sang, "Why do you seek me?"
"Do you not know?" I asked, miming Del'garim's words, "He told me you were all-knowing."
"I am." Del'garim sounded bored, but gentle, "Sometimes the best way to learn, is to hear yourself say what you need."
I sat cross-legged on the ground, emotion coming over me. I felt naked, like I was laid bare before his knowledge. I wanted to hide.
"Tell me." Del'garim said commandingly, yet with the same gentleness, "WHY do you seek me?"
"I..." I could barely bring myself to say, "I want forgiveness. I murdered an army of men."
"Forgiveness that you do not need." Del'garim said, waving a dismissive hand. Or was it a hand? "Why else?"
"I want love." I said.
"Again." Del'garim waved a hand, "That which you do not need, for it is that which you already have. Why else?"
"I... I want wisdom." I could feel tears in my eyes, "I want to know what to do. I want to help my race. I want to know why we were enslaved by The Heart. I want to learn how to feel that true joy that I first felt upon awakening. I just want to know that there is something higher, that transcends time, that is not tainted by evil."
"That is all?" Del'garim asked.
Slowly, I nodded.
"I will answer two of your questions." Del'garim said, "The others you will have to find out for yourself."
"But you know!" I objected, "Why not tell me now?"
"If you knew the answer to everything, how could you learn?" Del'garim asked.
I tilted my head to the side. What did he mean? His words made no sense.
"I will answer two of your questions." Del'garim repeated, "The first being that there are higher beings that govern the heavens. You should also know, that not all these beings are good. Again, something you shall have to learn for yourself. I would suggest asking your small friend, or your dream-walker. If you manage to find a good deity, and put your trust in it, help will always find you."
Slowly, I looked into Del'garim's mysterious eye, "And are you a good deity?" I asked, almost afraid to utter my query.
"I am neither good nor evil." Del'garim said, "I know all that is good, and evil, and cannot take side with either. I merely coincide with both, and seek to learn more of each."
"Would I be right to follow you-" I was cut off, as Del'garim lifted a hand silencing me.
"As for your second answer." He said, "You will never feel that true joy again, for you are cursed among your race."
I placed a hand over my heart, for I felt certain it had ripped.
"You were the first to awaken of your race." Del'garim said, "You were first to learn to run. First to speak to another race. First to seek knowledge. First to seek freedom, and first to gain it. Yet freedom was not something your race was supposed to have. You are a forerunner of your race, and all troubles and consequences fall upon your shoulders. You are therefore broken, and will never be acknowledged by your kin."
I merely sat there, silent.
"The inward struggle between you and The Heart." Del'garim continued, "You only won because the dream-walker meddled with that which he shouldn't have. He himself is cursed. He was guided, it was not his own doing, therefore he knows not the seriousness of his actions. Do not judge him then, for his actions were as yours under The Heart. Higher forces govern the heavens. Remember this."
Del'garim began to fade, but walked to where I sat, and pulled me to my feet. He stared impassively at my shaking frame.
"Do not weep." Del'garim said, and at his command in a tongue I didn't understand, a single flower bloomed from one of the dead grey trees, "You may be cursed, but you are the first free Elf. You seek forgiveness? Then ask for it, and do not rely upon us. You seek love? You shall surely be the first Elf to know it. All you have to do, is open your eyes."
Del'garim faded completely from my mind, and I awoke to a sunlit room.
"Good morning." I heard the Dwarf maid say, as I sat up.
"You're awake." Small Dwarf said, "I hope you slept well."
I nodded absently.
"Flint has gone down to breakfast, I suggest we do the same." Small Dwarf said.
Before long I sat at a table with the old man, young man, and the Dwarves. Where was kind man?
Old man, and young man seemed to have the same thoughts, and soon after, young man had left to seek kind man.
"Tsha." Small Dwarf sighed, and stared the Dwarf maid. He asked her something in their native tongue. What had he said?
"W-where are you from?" Old man asked, staring at me, "Could you tell me a bit about the Elves?"
I'd emerged from a tree, I knew not where. The Elves were enslaved, and I was cursed, broken, as Del'garim had said. Who would want to know about this?
I just shook my head, and old man began to clear the table with a gloomy expression.
Just then, the door burst open, and in strode kind man, with someone unfamiliar standing behind him. Where was young man?
"You." Small Dwarf said hardly, "Where have you been? Flint's gone to look for you!"
I don't speak my mind, I just say whatever pops into my head.
"alright flint", flint said to himself," you can do this, nilus has got to be in there...but, maybe, well, i guess the only way im going to find out os to look".
Flint approached the back of the compound. the whole complex was maybe 90 yards wide, a large square in general. the walls surounding the compound were 8 feet high, but flint was able to climb it as it was made of rounded stones in mortar.
outside of the main complex was a large courtyard, it seemed inpractical...but it did look nice. he dropped from the wall quietly, and snuck over to some hedges. he surveyed the area better from there.
there were five guards , they seemed to have a set pattern of walking. flint watched for about ten minutes, then ran across the court yard to another set of hedges, roughly in the middle of the length between the wall and the compound.
from here, flint saw that he couldnt get in that back door unless he took down tree guards...and if he wanted to go completely unnoticed...he would have to take all five down.
back at felix's house, everyone was discussing current events.
"this is your fault nilus, flint left looking for you", grdar set the blame on niluses shoulders.
nilus siged," yes, your right grdar, i should have come home earlier, but events transpred that called my attention.".
"did you consider dropping by to tell us, so flint wouldnt have gone out into the town suseptable to the soldiers of caelorn?" grdar argued.
"i didnt think anyone would come looking forme, i was mistaken, but instead of you blaming me, why dont we go out and look for flint.", nilus tried to make reason.
"ok, me and you", grdar was cut off.
"you?", nilus asked," your people are at war with caelorn, and the humans in general, theyd spot you in a moment, then you'd surely be executed".
anger washed over grdars face as he realized that he areed with that yart'nir, he siged," fine, you can take your new friend and look for our younge friend.
"hey guys", talin spoke up," flint left his sword and shield.
flint pulled a small hammer from his belt, it was for black smithing, so he knew it well. he watched and watched and after a few minutes, he finally found a way to take them down without alarming any of them.
he took the one on the corner closest to the compound first. he pounded the hammer into his head, not enough to deal a fatal blow, but he rendered the soldier unconscious.
the sodier in the center was just turning the corner around the fountain in the center when flint dodged to another set of hedged and dropped the guard on the consecutive corner from the one he had just taken the guard down at.
he took the other three down the same way, the whole process took about 45 seconds. as he was holding the unconcious body of the guard in the arms...he made eye contact with the guard.
"hey, you, let him go', the guard shouted.
flint released the man and he fell to the ground, limp," hows that?".
the man went to blow a whistle hanging around his neck, but flint picked up a shiled from the fallen man and threw it like a frisbee. it hissed where he aimed, but still hit the mans shin, knocking him onto the ground. flint ran to him and knocked him unconscious like the others.
then claping filled the air, clap clap clap, it was omnious.
flint jumped up, looking at the source of the noise.
"you", flint said.
"well done...serrilson", the captain siad.
"since when are you with the soldiers of caelorn", flint asked.
"well, when i heard that they were invading pridian, i knew i had heard that name somewhere...it was from you", the captian said.
"so, i really was your favorite ,captain", flint said.
"of course, i mean, you always challenged my authority...but i never knew you would challenge the authority of your people", the captian said, bringing up flints treason to his people.
"oh..i see, well captain...i suppose we have buisness to attend to", flint said.
the captain drew his sword," what...you dont have yours?".
"no, i didnt expect you to be here", flint belittled the rest of the human forces.
"no matter, there are fiveother swords here..and thanks to you, there not receiving any use.", therron said.
flint went over and picked upone of the swords," well, its nothing next to my old sword, butit will have to do", flint said.
flint approached therron," well old man, you ready for this?", flint mocked him
"well, im not sure if youve received any formal training with your sword since i last saw you, so i wont even break a sweat.", therron countered lingually.
flint lunged foeward with a strong stab, but the aging captainwas much quicker than he appeared. and right on top of flint, he let out a counter to the back of flints body...using the side of his blade...not the edge.
"i see your still slow serrilson", therron mocked.
"you dont know whats coming to you old man.", flint mocked further.
flint tried to land another blow, but it pretty much went down the same way. over and over, flint couldnt landa blow on therron. he was better, stronger, faster, somehow he even had more stamina than flint. and he tought flint every thing that flint know.
finally, thrron turned one of his counters into a legitament attack. leaving a 14 inch long gash across flints chest.
flint looked down as the blood began spilling from his chest. he felt sick, then fell onto the cold stone of the courtyard,unconscious. when hefinally didwake up again, hewas lying on his back, he had bandages aross his chest and he was in a jail cell...
"New Friend?" said Nilus. Had Rosen followed him here? Slowly turning himself around Nilus only saw three features. Grey skin, pupil-less eyes, and a fist flying for him. His body aching from before, Nilus could only watch as the fist hit him like an avalanche, flinging across the room.
That thing last night was never meant for Rosen! It was after him, or more importantly, the others. Stupid Fool! He lead it right to them. How could he had not of noticed? These things are wrong...
The Nir'lin screamed, darting out of the room at Grdar's words. The Dwarf had already closed the distance, swinging in a wide arc at the monster. The blow hit with shattering force, but the monster still stood. The Elf was at the ready, her eyes shining with a fury Nilus had never seen from her. Nilus slowly hobbled himself up to aid his compatriots.Hoping Flint had not run into one of these monsters alone.
"hello flint", therron said," i see youve awoken".
"why...why did you spare me?", flint asked.
"oh, its frowned apon to kill an enemy you can easliy capture, the count perfersa nice hanging", therron informed the now seemingly condemned flint.
"oh, thats nice to hear", flint said sarcastically.
"oh, but now we have time to talk, serrilson", theron said in an eir of self confidence.
back at felixs house, three men, if you could summon the audacity to describe their current state as that, had just approachd behind nilus. they had begun attacking for a few minutes when they all realized that one of thier prey was absent. somehow, pschologically, they decided that they would hunt the last prey once they had dealt with these fooish beings.
"so, what happened after the assault on the mines?", flint asked.
"i think we both know", he said," men are men".
flint thought of war as honorable, but seeking women and children as spoils was fitted for less than dirt.
""so flint", therron asked", what happened to you?"
"well, after crowley killed nero", flint trailed off expecting an answer.
"oh, well, what provoked crowley", therron asked.
"nero shared the same prospective on how to handle war on me", flint said," so when he saw broly and crowley killing children for fun there was a slight confrontation. it ended with crowley and broly getting there faces smashed in by a dwarf."
"damn dwarves", therron said.
actually the one who killed them is ...nevermind", flint stoppedhimself before devulging information.
"so captain, tell me about these guards, they dont really seem all that dangerou". flint commented.
"yeah, there a bunch of cowards", therron admited," but then again, i wasnt allowed to train them my self, they were shipped in", .
"thats a shame, im surprised that you became a soldier of caelorn", flint said," it dosnt really suit you, i mean, wheres your motivation to act like this".
"you know how it works, if you cant beat 'em, join 'em", therron siad.
"elaborate", flint said.
"well, i dodnt want to be a part of this schism", therron siad.
"wait..it goes that deep", flint asked .
"yeah, the king of caelorn is merely a a figure head, a puppet, the count runes these lands these days", therron confesed.
"so what do you say", flint said," why dont you let me go therron?"
"sorry, no can do", therron said.
"so...anything else new"....
The Yart'nir! The fool! He had brought the enemy to us!
I swung my fist in an arc, that connected with the grey skinned man's face with a crunch.
I'd left my hammer upstairs. Tsha!
"Elf!" I shouted, unable to pronounce her name at the moment, "You can summon vines can't you?!" -I was interrupted by a blow to the ribs from the grey skinned man. I winced at I felt my ribs crack from the force.- "Grab him!"
Allolari stood fiercely, but made no move to fight.
"Did you not hear me?" I roared, as Nilus charged past me to swing his pathetic toy knife at the man. Like that would do anything. "Grab him!!"
Allolari stared at me from behind her mask, then a vine shot from between the floorboards, and wound itself around the man's torso, rooting him to the spot.
He struggled, and foamed at the mouth, but couldn't break free.
"Now hold him!" I shouted, as I ran up the stairs, and into the room where my hammer lay.
I heard a loud crash from downstairs, as I hefted the hammer across my shoulders.
"Crarrd." I swore, as I ran back down the staircase.
Two more grey men had entered, and freed the third. Nilus had been thrown back again, and Allolari was standing still, and not doing anything.
"Drish'nagad!" I boomed, and charged the three. With my first blow, I crushed the skull of the first, and slammed its corpse into the ground.
The other two had closed me in, and I received two gashes across my back, from the force of their blows.
Roaring, I spun around, first lifting my hammer for momentum, then brought it crashing down upon one of the men's shoulders. Its shoulder collapsed halfway down its side, but it didn't seem to notice, grabbing me by the throat with its other hand.
Gasping for air, I grabbed the man's wrist, and crushed it with my grip. The man merely shook me, and let out an inhuman screech. The other creature seemed to understand, for it pulled my hand from the other's wrist, and snapped my arm backwards.
I bellowed in pain, as the man holding me threw me to the ground, and stepped on my chest, spittle dribbling from its mouth onto the floor. A vine shot threw the man's temples, and he collapsed immediately to the ground.
The last grey man charged at Allolari, and I called to her. I couldn't move. My dominant arm had been broken, and I couldn't wield my hammer. Two more vines shot from Allolari's feet, and encased the man from head to foot. It shrieked and foamed, but couldn't move.
The vines holding the man began to tighten, but Nilus cried, "Wait! Don't kill it!"
"You damn fool!" I shouted, "You Yart'nir, you brought them here!"
"But if we kill it, we won't know who sent them!" Nilus shouted back. He looked furious.
"Ask away!" I growled, "Like it could tell you a damn thing. Tsha!"
I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was Talin.
I don't speak my mind, I just say whatever pops into my head.
"grdar...let it be...please, for me", talin said.
grdar sighed deeply," fine let the ..beast go ".
at first noting happened, but grdar shot allolari a sharp glance and she relenquished the vines holding the thing in place. it jumped up and looked around, as if it was scared. then after a few seconds it looked as if though lost in thought, then ran off.
"so...when, ugh", flint stuttered a bit.
"err..when they gonna hang you?...well, tormorrow morning...they like to let you hang for a few days..unless someone else does something worthy of hanging."
"thats...well, im sure ill be saved by something", flint said.
"yeah, sure, i see that happening ...", therron mocked the condemned.
Boom, the wall exploded .
"what the hell is that", therron yelled.
"hey...grdar is it", felix asked," you think maybe...uh, since that thing is tracking you guys... that maybe they might go after flint".
"ohhhhh", nilus said a little out of character," we should depart immedietly".
" i...i...", grdar said.
nilus stopped and looked at grdar...his hand, it was broken, he could easily get him self killed.
"grdar, ill go by my self.", nilus said, trying to lift guilt.
"no, a foolish yart'nir like your self would only get flint killed, your not a neccesary risk.", grdar told nilus off a little.
"ok grdar", nilus said subsiding his argument.
grdar ran off, but as soon as grdar rounded the corner, nilus took off at almost twice the speed.
"therron let me out, we can fight it together", flint bargained.
"no, i think i can handle it", therron said, approaching th grey man.
the grey man promptly grabbed therron and tossed him back towards the wall, near flint.
the grey man grabbed the bars of flints jail cell and began bending them so he could step in. as soon as they were wide enough to step through, the grey man went to step into the cell, but was stopped when a knife flew into his arm.
the grey man looked for the source, and found nilus standing in the whole he had made. the bright out side light made nilus a sihouette, but the grey man could tell it was him. he walked toward nilus.
flint snuck out of the cell and picked up therrons sword.
the grey man pulled the knife out of his arm and began slicing at nilus.
nilus was quick to dodge the attacks, but felt that pucnhing would only prove futile, plus he could see flint sneaking up on him.
nilus kept the grey man busy untill flint pulled the sword up and jabbed it through the chest of the back man...from the back. the man screeched.
he flipped around. "damn, why wont it die!", flint yelled.
hit grabbed flint by the neck.
grdar came running around the corner.
"damnit , that yart'nir beat me here. oh, ugh, flint", grdar said.
"hhheehhllpp meee", flint wretched out of his near airless throat.
grdar threw the sword with his undominant hand, and out of sheer luck, he landed the blade right in the back of the rey mans head. flint was silent because a hand was tighly squeezed around his throat...but he was terrified when his sword slid about two inches from his chest.
the grey man dropped flint..then fell to his kneesand did.
"wow...nice shot grdar", flint said.
"well...its no hammer...but that wasnt that bad", grdar said in surprise.
Just a note: Grdar's whole arm was broken at the elbow, not just his hand.
I don't speak my mind, I just say whatever pops into my head.
Nilus knelt over to pull the knife free from the things arm. Almost as soon as he did the monster began to convulse and writhe before slumping over the floor. Grdar and Flint almost looked sick at the sight. Such energies were not meant for this plane, and their effects were made known. As the both shook of the strange feeling, Nilus approached Flint and offered him herbs for pain. Flint accepted them cautiously and began nibbling on the leaf.
Grdar's arm lay slumped at his side. Nilus looked at him quizzically. "How's your arm?" The dwarf looked at him in annoyance. "It's feels broke, no thanks to your stupidity." he said, letting his malice ebb into his words. "You led the damn things to us." But Nilus could hardly believe that. This thing knew just where Flint was, as if he could feel him. The others could also find them without any trouble. It wasn't just him.
Nilus looked at him with an utter conviction. "You can either risk a human doctor reporting you, or you can allow me."
The dwarf looked at him, muttering harsh words in his tongue before slowly leaning to allow the laymen a proper look at the arm. Cautiously, Nilus lifted the stubby arm. Nilus sighed softly when he noticed nothing sticking out of the arm. He began testing specific points on the arm, trying determine the break, gauging it on the dwarf's reactions. When his hand finally reached the source the dwarf let out a sharp yelp to strengthen his findings.
Luckily, it appeared to be just a hair-line fracture. Dwarf bones are renowned for their strength, and it was remarkable that anything could do this with it's bare hands. Nearing off the last of his right arm's scarlet sleeve, he wrapped it around the dwarf's shoulder to cradle the arm,
"Now that should do it. It should take a few weeks for the arm to hea-"
"A few weeks?" the dwarf laughed. "Dirt-blood, I don't know what it is with your ilk, but dwarf bones only take a few days to heal. The stones can be an unforgiving bitch to those unprepared." he chuckled. And walked away with out so much as a thanks.
A sharp pain flashed through Nilus's arm. Glancing over, he noticed his wound had re-opened on his arm and began undoing the wrappings. Now bare, he cleaned his arm off with a cloth, removing the blood stains. Flint walked over, scoffing the last of the bitter herbs. He glanced at the arm.
"Never took you for someone who would have a tattoo." he stated. Curiosity lining his voice.
"Just something I picked up a while ago. " Nilus quickly said.
"Does it mean anything?" Flint replied.
flint and the others had all made it back to felix's house again. this time they would finally depart to caelorn to find the source of the discontent in the land. everyone was accounted for and they were finally preparing to voyage the short 12 miles to caelorn.
flint said good bye to uncle as grdar said good bye to the dwarf made and all goodbyes were soon said..., but one. grdar and nilus, although feudfull and untrusting of each other, cared for the elf, as friends and protectors.
when grdar tried to say goodbye to allolari , she was unreceptive.
whether it was conveyed ealrier or not , the elf saw no reason to stay , and to not go with grdar and nilus. as grdar and nilus tried to reason with allolari,who seemed to feel betrayed, felix approached flint with an item.
"flint, i see you still have the sword we made years ago", felix said.
"yes, i haveheld it dear through my times away, as a part of my past, and aside from you and this house, it really is all i have of my past", flint told his uncle.
"i have a present for you flint", felix said.
"what uncle", flint asked curiously.
felix extended flints sword to flint, it had a luster that flint hadnt seen in more than two years.
even the gold inlay on the handle of the sword seemed to glow in the sunlight. flint took the gift from his uncle and examined it.
it shined, but flint wondered if felix took the time to sharpen it. flint rested the blade on his finger, then ifted it. he saw a thin red line where blood had already risen to the surface of the skin.
"sharp enough to split hairs", flint commented felix on his work.
"and i saw that your sheath was tattered, so i boguht you this...i would have made one, but i feared that i wouldnt have the time to finish it", felix said, handing flint a new sheathe. it was immaculate. the main color of the sheathe was a dark blue, almost black. there was a celtic cross made of white gold imptinted in the front of the sheath with thin strands of yellow gold straming from the ring of the celtic cross.
"i thought, since your trying to free this land of tyranny and bring peace washing over it, the glowing cross surrounded by darkness seemed fitting", felix said.
"uncle, i love it", flint said and hugged his uncle.
fflint had finished his buisness...but they wernt quite ready to go...there was still the buisness with allolari to deal with...
I was distressed. Saddened.
Small Dwarf, kind man, and young man were leaving, and didn't want to take me with them. What had I done? Hadn't I proven myself by fighting the grey men?
"Allolari listen." Kind man tried to say, "It's for your own safet-"
I whipped my hand through the air, unsatisfied. That wasn't good enough a reason. If I had cared for my safety, I wouldn't have followed them here.
"If you come with us, you'll be easily identified." Small Dwarf growled.
It was no use, I'd have to explain.
"And here." I whispered, trying to find the words to voice my concern, "We fought. What if guards hear? They look here, and find."
Small Dwarf and young man exchanged glances.
"I hadn't thought of that." Young man said, sounding annoyed, "Maybe we should bring her. I don't want any harm to come to my uncle."
Young man grimaced at me. What was wrong?
"We can't just barge into Caelorn with a large party consisting of every race." Small Dwarf said, "That would bring too much suspicion!"
"Not if we disguised ourselves..." Kind man muttered, stroking his chin thoughtfully, "Several days ago, I met a merchant fleeing from Caelorn."
"What does that have to do with anything?" Small Dwarf snapped.
"The merchant himself has little to do with it." Kind man said, "But it gives me an idea. What if we dressed as merchants? We could find a cart, and Allolari could hide inside."
"Where pray, would we find a cart?" Small Dwarf asked cynically, "Although, we could ehhh, "took" one."
Kind man frowned at Small Dwarf's beady expression.
"We will do nothing of the sort." He started.
"If you're planning on seeing this silly campaign though to the end, you won't come out a saint!" Small Dwarf barked impatiently, sarcasm dripping from his words, "Your silly god is called the "merciful lord" isn't he? He'll turn his high back on your misdeeds, so don't be afraid to take advantage of that!"
Kind man's nostrils flared, and he took a step toward small Dwarf, who had a dark smirk on his face. How did small Dwarf know about kind man's god?
"Enough!" Young man shouted, stepping between the two, "Grdar, you'll get nowhere insulting Nilus' religion. And Nilus, I agree that we shouldn't be afraid of getting our hands dirty, it's going to happen anyway."
Kind man said nothing, but lifted a hand in consent, and turned his back on small Dwarf, a sullen expression on his face.
"Very well." Small Dwarf said triumphantly, "Allolari, it looks like you'll be coming with us after all."
I nodded smiling. I was happy.
"But if you're hiding her in a cart, and disguising yourselves, can't I come as well?" The Dwarf maid asked pleadingly.
"Nay Nir'lin." Small Dwarf said, sadness replacing the leer on his face, "I couldn't let you. I would never forgive myself if any harm befell you."
"But it's as Allolari said!" The Dwarf maid said, running forward to cling to small Dwarf's hand, "I'm in danger anyway, and more so, apart from you!"
I stared at young man as the two Dwarves spoke. He was running a hand lovingly across the blade of a sword. Upon noticing my gaze, he quickly sheathed the blade, and strode to small Dwarf, "Grdar, we don't have time to wait around. She'll either have to come with us, or go hide in uncle's cellar immediately. What is your decision?"
I don't speak my mind, I just say whatever pops into my head.