Month: July 2014

To Dale: Epilogue

The miles that passed underfoot were but numb echoes in Eruviel’s limbs. She could still feel Ninim’s blood on her hands with every arrow she loosed, and see the life fade from the young woman’s eyes whenever her own closed.

It had gone all wrong. Try as they had, Ninim had perished as Eruviel cradled the screaming newborn against her chest. In the moments before Abiorn had taken his little nephew from her she had stared down in horror at the beautiful child, fearful that he might die as well.
Never, she had thought, never will I have children. She would not . . . could not. Not now.

Every night when they made camp her eyes would follow Eirikr as he’d take his leave to stand watch. The memory of his harrowing cry kept her from sleeping when he was gone, and she stood more alert when he would finally rest on a pallet beside his brother. When his dreams got worse she’d creep over and press her hand to his forehead, sometimes merely suppressing the terrors that plagued him, and other times exchanging his dreams for her calm.

The tranquility of Lothlorien had done little to lessen her guilt. And though it had raised her spirits, it was the look on Abiorn’s face as they entered Caras Galadhon that finally caused her to smile. No light shone in Eirikr’s eyes however; a look Eruviel knew all to well. He should never have had to suffer such a loss. She had promised herself she would prevent it, and her failure turned the evening meals to ash in her mouth. As their short respite ended she wished she knew what to say to him, but her words would most likely fall on deaf ears. So she walked and fought beside him in silence, and took greater care in seeing to Abi’s comfort.

Eruviel could not remember ever wanting to see Bree again so badly. As the road west once again became familiar she thought of Anya, whose gift hid awkwardly in her satchel, and of Threz, who’s letters nested in her pocket. But most of all she thought of the little boy they had left behind. Sighing, she fixed her gaze on the horizon. She would go back in a year or two. If Abiorn was up to it, perhaps they would go together. Deep within her she hoped that the boy grew to look like a little Eirikr. But, in truth it did not matter who had fathered the child. What mattered was that the infant born in the dark of Mirkwood would have Ninim’s eyes.

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To Dale: In the End

“But if only-”

in a world there lived a Woman

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They crept out of Esgaroth beneath a new moon. Only the stars lit the way as they traveled north through the Lonely Mountain where a Dwarf Eirikr knew from childhood housed them for two nights. Then down to the borders of the realm of the Wood-elves where Eruviel’s pointy ears helped convince the scouts to let them pass unharmed. The paths through the Mirkwood were slow and tedious. Several times, they almost abandoned the wagon, but it made traveling so much easier on both Abiorn and Ninim. They backtracked. They waited while Eirikr or Eruviel scouted. They made their way through the shadows and fog with a constant vigilance. If their heightened state wasn’t for the spiders and the wargs, then the knowledge that Kolrson Tenorbekk still lived plagued them all.

Eirikr kept a close eye on Abiorn. The boy joked about his lack of handiness – figuratively and literally…

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To Dale: Confrontation, Part 2

The end is in sight! But who knows what will come next?

in a world there lived a Woman

((A combination of exposition and chat logs edited for tense))

“Abiorn!”

Eirikr did not even try for subtlety as he led Eruviel up the stone staircase to the second floor. His low voice boomed throughout the hall as he called for his brother.

“Abiorn!”

A strained, thin voice came from the west wing. Eirikr took the stairs two at a time as his brother called back, “Eirikr? Eirikr, it is okay. Go away! I-I do not want to go with you, all right, brother?”

Eririkr paused on the landing and listened carefully. He held up a hand to Eruviel as she opened her mouth to speak. In the unsettling quiet that fell, Eirikr heard the faint melody of a bell. The sound was not heavy and threatening like the bell his father used to summon his guard. A haunting plea sounded in the gentle rustling of the metal.

Tinkle tink…

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To Dale: Confrontation, Part 1

in a world there lived a Woman

((edited from chat logs for tense and exposition. all fight action based on a d20 roll with an AC of 10))

Eirikr stood staring at the house. The rain fell around him and dampened his light auburn hair to a deep rust. The yard was quiet; no one was out in the rain. He walked up the worn path slowly as if willing the moment he has to enter the house to pass him by. Behind him and unbeknown to him, Eruviel walked up the path, remaining hidden as she observed her surroundings before setting her sights on the large home ahead.

As he approached the stone entryway, a man emergesd from a side entrance. From beneath his heavy hood, he gaped at Eirikr before rushing forward. “Master Tenorbekk! You have returned. Your father will be…forgive me, sir, but where is Miss Tenorbekk?”

Eirikr raised his hands to hush the…

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To Dale: Respite

A cool draft wafted through the dark room. No, it is not so dark. A trickle of light seeped in from the lantern hanging one door down the hall. A soft white beam from the moon rimmed the window and a faint orange glow from the fire on the edge of town danced along the ceiling.

Eruviel sat in one of the two chairs in her smaller room, her feet propped up  on the second as she sat watching the hall. She had left the door to her room cracked open to keep an eye on the hall. Eirikr had finally returned, having been let in from the back by the barmaid Eruviel had befriended. She could only hope that after all this time, and after everything both of them had been through — especially Ninim — that they were able to reconcile.

Setting her now sharpened and cleaned dagger on the table next to her sword, Eruviel brushed a hand over the bruise that had blossomed on her cheek. That was too close, she thought sullenly. She would have preferred wounds like Eirikrs. A shudder ran up her spine at the memory of the massive club rushing by her face. There would have been no coming back if she had been struck. Poor Eirikr would have been left to pick up the pieces of her skull.

Eruviel surveyed the small arsenal that decorated the table next to her. As Ninim and Eirikr talked in the room down the hall Eruviel had encouraged three drunkards to return to the common room, exchanged polite nods with a gentleman who she presumed to be of the town watch, and had delivered a meal for two to her friends door. Her blades were sharpened and oiled, her damaged arrows repaired, her bow cleaned, and bowstring waxed.

She almost felt silly, having busied herself after seeing to Ninim’s comfort. Maybe it was because of the long journey, the fight that had taken place, or the burning house that had woken that quarter of town. Maybe it was because that for a brief moment she remembered she was alone.

Letting out a sigh she laced her fingers together and draped them across her flat, toned abdomen. A small smile played over her mouth, thinking of Ninim’s swollen belly. How amazing, the blessing that can come from so much pain. Leaning her head back she watched the mixture of lights dance across the plaster. She hoped their night was healing, full of one another and the child growing inside of Eirikr’s beloved. They deserved the respite. Eruviel would make sure they were not interrupted. Not for a few more hours. Morning would come soon enough.

To Have Known Better (part 2)

As the healers carried the unconscious Arathier into a hut Eruviel found a secluded corner of the camp not too far from him and sank wearily to the ground. Downing the last of her water she leaned her head back against the cliff wall with a heavy sigh and closed her eyes.

Minutes passed, and she did not move till the pain in her torn shoulder forced her eyes open. Reaching for her satchel she rifled though its contents until she found what she had been looking for. Pulling out the small jars of healing ointments she made a mental note to pay Cwendlwyn extra the next time. Eruviel struggled with the lid of one jar for a moment before setting it back down with a sigh. Her hands shook. Taking a deep breath she focused on calming herself. Calm, Eru. You will not do anyone any good if you cannot hold it together. But she was unsure if she could. It was not the memory of the citadel, nor even her battle with Mornenion that shook her. It was the horror she felt when Arathier first turned around to smile wickedly at her; it was when he had killed the hill-man and nearly crushed her arm. It wasn’t him. Not really, she kept telling herself.

The sound of footsteps brought her out of her thoughts and she looked up to see a young boy of the tribe, maybe thirteen years of age standing a few steps away. “I-I’m sorry, but I was looking for my brother,” they boy said, hope in is eyes. “He went with you. Do you know where he is?”

Eruviel blinked, then quickly took control of he expression. Of all my fortunes, she thought miserably. “What man is your brother, young one?”

“The one with really dark hair, Rainoth,” answered the boy.

Eruviel pulled herself to her feet, shaking her head. “I am sorry,” she said mournfully as she bowed at the waist. The vision of Arathier slitting the hill-man’s throat played over in her mind, and she shivered. “Your brother did not make it. Forgive me, I could not save him from the Numenorean.”

The boy’s eyes filled with tears as he shook his head. “No . . . NO!” he shouted, balling his fists. “This is your fault!”

Eruviel kept her head bowed. “I had him scouting a distance from the tower in an attempt to ensure his safety. He died honorably.”

“You left him behind?!” he shrieked. “That close to Carn Dum?!” Turning on her before she could speak he shoved at her wounded shoulder, his clenched fists shaking. “I hope he dies,” the boy spat bitterly, tears streaming down his cheeks. “I hope he rots in front of your eyes.”

“What is going on?” growled Daran, approaching the two of them.

About to crack, Eruviel swallowed a sob and stood straighter at Daran’s stern voice. “Nothing, my friend. The boy was just leaving.”

Giving her a hateful glare the boy ran away before Daran could stop him.

Watching the boy, Daran narrowed his eyes before turning back to her. “I’ll have to be harder on him in training,” he said firmly, motioning to her to sit. “No one speaks to you like that.”

Eruviel lowered herself back down to the ground, shaking her head. “Leave him be. He has good reason to be upset.”

“So does everyone else,” Daran replied as he knelt and looked from her shoulder to the jars. “Which one?”

Eruviel pointed out the proper jar before attempting to remove the broken pauldron. Daran batted her hand away and started in on the buckles. “Have the healers said anything?”

“He will live,” he said quietly, setting the piece of armour aside. “But the . . . thing inside of him has them worried.”

Eruviel winced as he pulled her shirt from the tender flesh and poured the ointment over it. “I do not know anyone alive who could get the spirit out of him,” she said sadly. “What do I do, Daran?” she asked quietly, not meeting his gaze. “I don’t want to loose him.”

Daran paused in the middle of wrapping her wound. “So you went through with it,” he said in a careful, neutral tone.

“Yes,” she nodded. “If he continues to sleep I need to leave him in your care. I need to head out for a few days. There is a party I mean to meet up with.”

“By the Valar, Eru,” Daran sighed. Keeping his stern gaze locked on her he nodded curtly. “You do what you think is best.”

Meeting his look she nodded and extended up her mostly good arm for him to help her up. “I will. Thank you, Daran. I shall find you later, but for now I need to be with him.”

– – – – – – – –

Arathier had woken. He was more quick to anger than usual, but he had still been himself. She could see the shadow in his eyes, waiting, watching. He had fumed about Daran and a dozen other little things, but when he realized she had been wounded most of the fight had drained from him. Keeping her reluctance to herself she fell asleep beside him, knowing her presence calmed him.

Night lingered on and she stirred from her healing, meditative dream. Rolling onto her stomach she stretched her hand out to Arathier’s side of the bed. He was not there. Maintaining her slow, steady breaths she did not move; did not open her eyes as the rest of her emerged from slumber. She felt his eyes on her. No, not Arathier’s eyes . . . his eyes; the demon inside of him.

Sighing softly she finally drew her outstretched arm back and tucked her hands comfortably under her pillow to where she had hidden a knife. The fact that she felt compelled to conceal it brought her guilt, but what else could she do? Closing her eyes she pretended to sleep. For, though he stood over her, watching her for the better part of an hour, he did not move towards her. When he finally turned and walked away her relief was short lived. She heard him draw his dagger as he walked out into the night. She knew where he was going.

Sliding out of bed she slipped her feet into her boots and took up her bow and an arrow before following.  Her steps silent, she shadowed him to Daran’s tent and as he put his blade to her old friend’s neck she swiftly drew her bow, setting the tip of her barbed arrow against his cheek. I have to snap him out of it before Daran kills him, she thought grimly.

“Drop it,” she growled, kicking her foot against the bed to wake the sleeping hill-man. “Arathier, I know you are in there. You must take back control.”

Arathier it hissed and spun around. “You won’t do it –” he began, his voice sounding demonic. But before he could finish Eruviel relaxed her pull on her string and punched him across the face, her wounded right arm screaming from the pain. The demon shouted and reached for her as he fell back but, having shot upright, Daran took hold of Arathier’s wrists and forced him to his knees before he could recover.

Even as Eruviel lit the lantern the black faded from Arathier’s eyes. His hands trembling, he wrenched himself away from Daran and scrambled to his feet. “Stay away from me!” he demanded, trembling as he retreated to the far corner of the hut.

Exchanging looks with Daran she looked up to meet Rath’s desperate gaze. “You are alright now. Did I hurt you?”

Arathier’s eyes grew wide as he started at her, bewildered. “Did you hurt me?! Eru, I don’t care if you did!” He retreated a step as she advanced one. “I said stay away from me,” he growled in a more natural tone. “I refuse to hurt you too.” His eyes then flicked over to Daran.

The hill-man’s eyes narrowed for a moment, but catching a glare from Eruviel he shook his head and gave Arathier a sad smile. “You came close,” he said, forcing a chuckle as he put a hand to his throat.

Arathier shook his head, his shoulders drooping.”I am leaving. Just . . . just for a while, Eruviel. I cannot risk hurting you. I need to learn about what is going on, and how I can stop it.”

“Rath, you leaving will solve nothing!” she insisted, making an effort to keep her voice steady. You can’t leave me too! “You cannot beat this thing alone. Please . . . please let me help you.”

Arathier nodded, the corners of his eyes welling. “I cannot hurt you Eruviel. What if this happens when you are sleeping like tonight? I could not live with myself if something were to happen. Especially if I was the one who caused it.” He finally walked over to her, his eyes searching hers for hope as he cupped a hand over her cheek. She wanted to pull back. She wanted to slap his hand away. But as much as she wanted to, she didn’t.

Searching his eyes she nodded and brushed a kiss on his cheek. “I do not . . . no. I understand,” she said numbly as she stepped back, diverting her eyes when she could no longer bear to lie through them. “Be careful, Arathier.”

 – – – – – – – – –

Eruviel bit back a wince as Daran fit her left pauldron back on. “I am so terribly late,” she muttered, all emotion drained from her voice. She had blocked every thing out. No . . . just Arathier. The pain was too much. His final words had fallen upon deaf ears. He had hugged her one last time, and she had not returned it. Then he was gone.

Daran purposefully tugged sharply on the strap as he tightened it under her arm, meeting her glare as he checked to make sure he had not missed a piece of armour. “You should not go, Eru. I am sure your friends have things handled without you. Dragons were never your specialty.”

Smirking she glanced to the road where Arathier had disappeared down an hour before lowering her eyes. “I told them I would be there . . . then all of this.”

He handed her her bow and reached over her shoulder to count the arrows in her quiver. “I don’t like it when you get like this,” said Daran darkly. “I cannot pull you out of it like I did when Cade –“

“I’ll be fine,” she interjected sharply. Sighing she looked up at her tall, old friend. “I won’t let myself fall that far. Not this time.”

Searching her eyes, Daran nodded curtly. “Are you sure you do not need to rest a bit? Meditate on something else to calm yourself?” he attempted.

That is almost funny, coming from you. Cinching her sword belt tightly around her waist she turned and began to walk north. “No. I need to kill something.”

(Nearly all dialogue taken from in-game RP and edited for tense and exposition.)

To Have Known Better (part 1)

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I should have known better, Eruviel fumed. Pushing the crude grate up from where it sat over the dried-up tunnel Eruviel thanked the long-dead architects for the gracious space that avoided her the room to move through while in her armour. Hoisting herself up she signaled down to the hill-man hunter that waited hidden below before racing across the high stone courtyard that ringed the citadel.

She had recognized the foul presence of the man who had broken in to their — no, her home. Shrouded in darkness he had come; a reminder of her past, and that she could not escape retribution. Iluvatar bless him, Arathier had gone out to face the intruder in attempt to protect her. But he was no match for the student of Alagos. Eruviel knew the tortures that awaited him, and the monster within her cursed, swearing to raise the ancient fortress to the ground if he was dead. She should have sought him out and killed him years ago. She should have known better.

With as much speed as she could muster she sprinted towards a side door to slam into the two Angmarim Summoners guarding the entrance. Before they could react Eruviel threw open the door, their rent bodies still falling behind her. Rage boiled the blood in her veins as she ran down the hall, cutting down the few orc guards and servants that loitered at their posts. Some attacked her, but others merely gaped at the sight of her before they too were killed. Nothing had changed in the thirteen years since she had been held there. Well, aside from a few extra skeletons in the cages, and the darker chambers.

It was not till she had reached the lower flight of steps leading to the dungeons that Eruviel realized that the guards did not even notice her as she struck them down. He does have Alagos’s flair, I will give him that. Stopping in the middle of a landing she stood between four Angmarim soldiers, staring at their almost blank expressions for a moment before hurrying on. Though they themselves did not see her, it almost felt as if the master of the fortress watched her from behind their eyes.

Bursting into the first long, narrow hall of cells that began the dungeon labyrinth, Eruviel rushed from cage to cage in search until she skidded to a stop. “Arathier,” she whispered numbly, staring at the breathless body within the cell. Panic seizing her chest she tore at the lock and searched for a way in past the cold iron bars. No . . . Orome, NO, you cannot let them — Then the spell lifted, and for a brief moment relief washed over her as she saw the stranger who had been masked with Arathier’s likeness.

A faint, cruel laugh rippled through the dank air. Turning she walked with an unnerving calm back down the hall. Her anger turned to wrath, and her gleaming emerald eyes paled to an ice green. They had taken from her. Again. And she would have no more of it. Deep in the recesses of her mind she welcomed the inner beast. It filled her, fitting it’s steady hands into hers, and peered out of her eyes. The numbness in her legs dissipated as she strode up the stairs with all the confidence and grace of her ancestors, and without stopping she slit the throat of every orc and Angmarim she passed.

It seemed unnerving, how she remembered her way to the great hall. How many times had she been drug, beaten and bruised and fighting though these corridors? Her time here seemed like an eternity ago, but her victory over Alagos now seemed to be for naught. My brothers will find you, he had told her. You will never be free. She had been a fool to disregard the threat. She had taken care to avoid contact with any Angmarim for a time, and had thought she had gotten away with it. Not that she ever regretted slaying the wicked man, but she had been foolish in thinking she had outwitted the agents of the enemy. Worst of all she unwittingly risked the lives of those she cared for by simply caring. Anyatka, Abiorn, Eirikr, Laerlin, Daran….

Fitting her bow onto her back she stepped in through the open doors. A red fire burned in the fireplace, the banquet table was cleared, and only a single figured occupied the room. Dressed in the garb of the fallen men and a lesser iron crown upon his head he faced away from her, his shoulders shaking with a silent laugh as she drew her sword. “Where is he?”

“Right here,” the man said in a dark, even tone as he turned. Eruviel’s only initial outward sign of distress being her nuckles turning white as she gripped her sword hilts tighter, her mind screamed, thrashing within it’s cage. For the first time in years she wanted to fall over and retch.

All the color drained from her face as she stared at the pallid, black-eyed Arathier. No, she realized as she set her foot back to steady herself. There is something else. He is something else. “What have you done to him?”

Advancing a step towards her Arathier . . . or at least Arathier’s body . . .  motioned uncharacteristically to the open door. “Bring him in,” he called out, his voice twisted with something darker. A wicked tone she recognized from sometime . . . .

Eruviel stepped to the side to not expose her back as she turned her head to see two Angmarim soldiers drag in one of the hill-men who had accompanied her north from Aughaire. He was beaten, and some of his bones visibly broken, but he met Eruviel’s eyes and shook his head. It was not her fault, and he would not give the enemy the satisfaction.

What had been Arathier laughed as the hill-man was dropped. Strangely, the Angmarim retreated from of the room. “Such proud people,” he said with disdain, “yet so naive.” Crossing the space, he unsheathed a dagger that was not his own. “May this be the first of many.” With that Arathier slit the young man’s throat and let the body fall to the ground, blood soaking into the ancient rug.

She drew a deep breath, than another as anger burned through her. He is not himself. He is not Arathier. Do what you must. As the slain hunter’s body hit the stone floor she half-heartedly sprang forward to strike.

With inhuman speed, Arathier whirled around, grabbing her right arm as she came within inches of stabbing him. “Do not try anything, or you will share the same fate as your human,” he growled, towering over her as he squeezed her arm tighter. “I will destroy you.”

For a brief moment as she met his glare a hint of color crept back into his eyes, as if from somewhere Arathier was fighting to take back control of whatever held him. The moment did not last long, however, and Eruviel steeled herself as she felt the bone of her arm weaken beneath his grip. “Would not your master prefer to kill me himself?” she growled, forcing herself to not fight back. He is not Arathier!

Arathier opened his mouth to speak when suddenly his eyes darted to look behind Eruviel. Releasing her he dropped to his knees. “You have come.”

Eruviel could hear the scrape of metal as a sword was drawn from a sheath, and she could feel a presence behind her that she knew all too well. “What a delight that we finally get to meet face-to-face.”

Turning, her sword at the ready and blocking out the pain in her arm, Eruviel beheld the Black Numenorean that had broke into her home and stolen Arathier. “You are Alagos’s pupil,” she said matter-of-factly even as she felt his sorcery stab into her consciousness. Not this time, she thought, narrowing her eyes in defiance. She noted that the possessed Arathier had not risen from where he had knelt.

“I am Mornenion,” flowed his deep, venomous voice. “It is a pleasure to finally meet you.”

He is weak, Eruviel told herself as she readied to strike, fighting hard to keep him out of her thoughts. He does not hold half the power Alagos did.  But even then… “It took you long enough, mortal,” she mocked in a sweet tone. Chin raised proudly, she summoned all of her will to meet his gaze and banished the doubts that clawed at her subconscious.

Mornenion’s upper lip curled in a sneer. “If you defeat me, you both may live.”

“Somehow I do not think that will be enough,” she replied with a wry smirk. Taking a step to the left she quickly took stock of his weight, height and how he carried himself. I have to end this fast, she told herself. The longer we fight the more it will be to his advantage.

The Black Numenorean opened his mouth to respond when Eruviel dashed forward, her elven steel ringing loudly as it clashed against Mornenion’s dark iron blade. She did not back down as he countered each of her strikes, forcing herself to attack faster . . . Faster! One of her blows pushed him back far enough and, quicker than she thought possible, the tip of his sword cut across her breastplate even as she leaped back to avoid it.

Fighting on, her mind flickered to Nillariel for a moment, and she wished now that she had let her come. The elf maiden’s shield would have come in handy, as well as her experience in battle. Barely avoiding Mornenion’s slash, the blade grazing over her left arm guard, she drew her dagger across, slicing into his unarmoured side. The fool! Thinking back she remembered Atanamir asking if her mission north would be better accomplished with aid. Or something like that, she thought sullenly, not bothering to recall the details of how the man had worded it. It was too late now. Whatever he was, Atanamir would have been the most helpful.

She could feel the power building, a terrible pressure in the air around her. It pulled at the veigns in her head, an with each passing second a terrible pain gnawed at her chest as if some unseen hand was digging at her heart.

Eruviel turned too slowly and Mornenion, bellowing in rage from the injury, brought his sword crashing down on her left shoulder. The force dropped her to her knees and even as she resisted the blow cracked her pauldron enough to slip in between plates and cut into her shoulder. Crying out, the pain brought a sudden clarity. This was not just for her, nor Arathier, but for all her friends; all the lives that could potentially be harmed by this black-hearted man. Never again. Her icy gaze reflected the fire from the hearth, and she let out a sigh of an apology to Anya and Nilla, that she had broken her promise to not go it alone. One last time. In the blink of an eye she watched herself grab the Black Numenorean’s blade. She did not feel it slice open her fingers as she used it to pull the wicked man towards her. Letting out a shout brought on by pent up adrenaline and fury, Eruviel thrust her sword into Mornenion’s chest. Her blade pierced his heart and he dropped his weapon, screeching like a wounded animal. Running him though she ducked under a wildly thrown punch to bring her dagger up under his chin and into his skull.

He stared at her, his lips parted in a disbelieving gape that she had beaten him. She felt his sorcery fade, and did not release her hold on him till the last garbled breath escaped his lips. The building darkness retreated, drawing back into the lifeless corpse. The Black Numenorean could not curse her, nor revive for one last vengeful strike, and as his body dropped to the cold stone floor his pridefully coveted life was extinguished.

The screams did not stop. Eruviel had only moments to catch her breath before turning to see Arathier writhing on the floor. A shadow was upon him but Eruviel paid it no heed as she ran over to drop to her knees beside him. “I am here, Arathier,” she insisted with a soft voice, reaching out to him.

Arathier’s eyes looked cold, his faced twisted as he struggled against the spirit. “You lose! He is mine!” he spat.

Fighting off his flailing arms, her teeth grit in attempt to bear the pain from her wounds she finally took hold of his head, cupping his face with her hands. “You can fight him,” she whispered. Staring into his eyes she forced what little powers she possessed to subdue the spirit that had taken residence inside of Arathier. After using it so often on the return from Dale, the Elf had been in a haze of brokenness, and even now bits of it still lingered in her subconscious. She did not dare draw it into herself, and she could not cast it out. She did not know if anyone could, but she poured her will like streams of light into the man even as the wight within him screamed in protest. She lent all but the last bits of her strength to help him take back control, praying –no — begging Orome for it to work.

His voice weak, Arathier finally looked up at her with his own blue eyes. “Eru — Eruviel?” he managed to mutter in disbelief before passing out from exhaustion.

The second hill-man who had accompanied her ran into the room, his sword wet with blood. Looking about with a concerned frown he then nodded to Eruviel. “You survived, Lady Aranduin.”

“I did,” she said with a forced calm, pulling herself to her feet. “This is him. Take as much Angmarim garb off of him as is feasible. Could you manage to carry him?”

“Aye,” the man answered, giving her a long look and taking note of her injuries before seeing to Arathier.

Leaving him to his work, Eruviel walked with dragging steps over to Mornenion. Retrieving her weapons, she cleaned them off on his robes and stet them in their sheaths. Picking up his rather heavy sword she pulled the Black Numenorean’s black badge from around his neck with a sharp tug, then brought the dark weapon down, severing the man’s neck. To the Void with you. Give your Master my regards. She would leave nothing to chance.

Nodding to the hill-man as he hoisted Arathier onto his back Eruviel pulled the pendant from the black cord. Giving it a disgusted look she threw it across the room into the fire and walked out of the hall, a sulfuric green light dancing around her as the pendant burned. Following the hill-man out she tied the cord around the handle of her sword along with the one she had taken from Alagos. That makes two. By Orome, let that be the end of them.

 

 (All dialogue taken from  in-game RP and edited for tense and exposition.)

SIFrp: A Night In Another Universe II

(Second installment of a game night encounter! Enjoy a bit of A Song of Ice and Fire role-play. And back up off me, I like playing archers XD )

Marisily watched Sable walk away, her eyes still red-rimmed from weeping. There he goes once again. Warrior protect him. She felt empty; lost. All she wanted was to lie with him. Just once more, she thought miserably. She wanted him to hold her and tell her . . . possibly lie to her . . . that everything was going to be all right.

Kloe had left without a word, and Sable would leave her soon for war as the Marshal of the Southern Reach. If that was not enough to weigh on her, Grandfather had been assassinated, and the heir to her father’s house had been slain. Of course Arthur would only die in a song-worthy manner. Syrax had been slain, her brother’s body the only one found not far from the dragon’s corpse. Ris had always been rather hasty, but she clung to the thought that her beloved brother had perished living up to the House words. Fear no fate.

Letting out a weary sigh, she turned back to face the target. “Danica, would you be able to move the target to the furthest reaches of the torch light?” she asked quietly.

“Certainly, M’lady.” Danica promptly moved the target just beyond the light, where only a phantom of the target could be seen.

Ris nocked an arrow and took aim. “The Lady Regent wrote highly of you,” she said in a distracted yet casual tone as she pulled back her bowstring. She recalled the message sent by her gracious hostess. Lady Marisily Thorne, Danica is my guarantee that a noble lady will not come to harm in my city, despite the times. She is taught to keep her eyes open and protect at all costs. There is a greater darkness coercing Highgarden than we have yet been able to speak of.”

“Lady Alisandre is quite benevolent.”

“She is indeed.” Marisily squinted at the shadowed target and fired. “Since I shall have the pleasure of your company while I am here, would you mind telling me a little about yourself?”

Danica did not bat an eye at the question as she stood calmly watching. Ris sensed an awareness around her companion that was refreshing and comforting. “I was born in Saath, along the Sarne. My father was killed by the Dothraki and my mother was taken. I wept by the sea for three days before a trading Braavosi brought me back to his home.”

Marisily’s arm faltered for a moment as she nocked another arrow. “I am sorry,” she said quietly as she took the shot. Loosing two more, she glanced over at her. “I have heard that Braavos is home to some of the best fighters,” she commented.

“Yes, my saviour was a brilliant swordsman with a sick mind to complement it. But then I was brought to Westeros, and to this home and family. Lady Alisandre is my new savior.”

Ris did not want to know more of the man’s ‘sick mind.’ She could only imagine, and she welcomed the twinge of anger that accompanied it. Shooting once more, she set the end of her bow down, holding it as one might a staff. “Thank you, Danica,” she said sincerely, “for being here — and for agreeing to protect me.”

“I take oaths very seriously,” replied the woman. She then nodded curtly. “Well-aimed, M’lady.”

Marisily studied her for a moment before nodding and turning back to face the target. “Is it safe to assume that you will be alongside me through most of my dealings and activities?” She pursed her lips in thought as she again took aim.

“I am your servant. I will be where you desire.” Danica hesitated for a moment before wondering, “Perhaps M’lady does not require a close attendance?”

“Because I am not accustomed to close attendance does not mean I do not need it,” Marisily said reluctantly. “After all that has happened . . .” Her voice trailing off, she lowered her bow and turned back to Danica. “I will need to get accustomed to being attended to,” she said matter-of-factly. She could not expect to find out friend from foe if she did not play a perfect courtier. “Do you have a nice dress? Preferably in a dark red?”

“I do. Though knowing the occasion might allow me to better tailor my selection.” Danica allowed the slightest smirk at her word choice. Nigh imperceptible.

The corner of Ris’s mouth twitched with a slight smile. I think we shall get along quite nicely. “Very well. If you need, I can fund the dress for you. In light of everything that is going on, my work is just beginning. We shall discuss a ‘tell’ I will give you when it is best for us not be together.” Her eyes narrowed as she rose up to her full height, pushing her sorrows aside. “From this point on, your presence is an extension of me and how I am to be perceived by the courtiers and whoever else might be watching.”

“Of course, M’lady,” nodded Danica courteously. “You possess a good sense of the court, as does Lady Alisandre. I suspect I shall enjoy attending you very much. You know — more than required.”

“I hope you are right,” sighed Ris, giving her own grateful nod. “The occasion may vary, so I will trust your judgement on having it be court appropriate, though maybe a tad more — well, more enriched than what the other servants wear. Comfort and convenience for you should also be kept in mind.” Flexing her free hand, she started to slowly walk to get a look at the target. “I want to keep them unsure about us — about me — till I find my niche in their game.”

Danica glanced at the target, new-found respect evident on her face and in her voice. “I’m beginning to doubt they have the slightest idea whom they’re dealing with.”

Marisily twisted her mouth to one side as she studied the target with a neutral expression. It was time for her to play her part. Sable would be away fighting with his words and his blade, trusting that she would hold strong on her own battlefront. The Stranger find her if she failed him. “If you would, pull out the middle grouping? Leave the stragglers on the edge.”

“Certainly.” Danica extracted the projectiles quickly, then turned back to Marisily for direction.

Nodding to her with a faint, confident smile, Marisily gestured to the target. “That is all they need see. The Lady and yourself being the exception.” Reaching over, she plucked out an arrow that protruded just outside the mark and studied the fletching with what might be a mix of sadness and determination. “We need to hit our targets with unwavering precision. They should never suspect that we miss on purpose.”

To Dale: Sten the Shiv

Shots fired! Shots fired!

in a world there lived a Woman

((edited – somewhat rushed and poorly –  from chatlogs for tense, continuity and clarity))

((Update: 7/11/14 – revised for less suck))

The moon was waning as it rose over the lake. Eirikr stood in the shadow of the large tree across the road from the Tenorbekk cottage. Inside, a light shone through the window. The shadows danced on the wall as he watched for Sten to emerge and leave for the tavern. He craned his neck as he peered from the shadows. “Maybe he is not going tonight,” he murmured softly. “Why hasn’t he left yet?”

Eruviel stood silently, watching their surroundings and the road from the darkness behind a tree further into the woods. She frowned, looking to the house before she started to turn and peer into the night behind them.

Eirikr followed her gaze. “Do you hear something? What is it?” His anticipation stretched his…

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To Dale: An Early Morning at the Silver Reel

The tension in the air lingered as Eirikr left the inn. She watched him as he strode away, a considering, neutral expression carefully fixed on her face. For a brief moment she thought she saw a shadow follow after her friend, and she thought about making pursuit but not all the tension left with him. There were still a number of patrons in the inn and if any of them had been watching every move she made would be scrutinized.

Sitting back in her chair Eruviel twisted her mouth as she watched the door of the inn for another minute, drinking slowly from her ale. Licking the moisture from her lips she glanced around with a casual air. No one looked her way at the moment. Downing the last of her drink she rose to make her way towards the innkeeper. Carefully winding around the filled tables she silently thanked Eirikr for choosing this inn. The few looks she got were just that; no off-colored comments or drunken hands were directed her way.

Leaning against the bar she made small talk with the owner as she ordered a meal to take up to her room. She rented two rooms, in fact, and paid handsomely that he keep her presence there a secret. An elf maiden on her own simply cannot be too careful in such troubled times.

Taking her things with her she made her way up the stairwell, finding the first room. She would check the second in mid-morning, when any drunks or cut-throats would be sleeping. A narrow bed stood against one wall of the small chamber. Two chairs and a small table filled the middle of the floor between the bed and a small fireplace and in the empty corner stood a wash basin filled with steaming water. Nodding once in approval she glanced down the hall one last time before closing the door behind her.

– – – – – – –

The hour was late . . . or was it early? Eruviel wasn’t sure, but the horizon gleamed pink and gold in the growing morning light when a nearly inaudible scratching sound pulled her from her dream. It was a particularly peaceful vision and she was loath to leave it, but the lock on the inside of her door turned slowly with the faintest click. 

Her undone hair swayed behind her as she silently rose from the bed, her pointed ears somehow more obvious as they jutted out through her wavy brunette locks. Wrapping a sheet around her she secured the corner of the cloth under her arm and drew her sword from where it rested on the table. There was no time to get dressed, but the element of surprise was indeed hers. Gliding over to the door as it slowly pushed open she stopped it’s progression with her bare heel and stuck the tip of her steel blade into the darkness of the corridor. An inch beyond a man’s throat swallowed.

“You have the wrong room,” she said cooly.

“I don’t think I do,” replied the stranger. He shoved against the door and, deciding she preferred not to have her foot pinched, she pivoted back as he stepped in, only to have her blade once again at his throat.

“You will leave my quarters, sir. How dare you intrude upon a lady, especially at such an hour,” she hissed in offense, forcing the hooded man to take a step back.

The man’s body tensed, and she could make out the outline of his gawking eyes beneath his hood. After a moment he seemed to regain his composure some and clenched his fists. “Who was the man you spoke with tonight?”

“I spoke with many men tonight,” she said flatly, painting a frown of confusion over her brow.

“The one who sat with you earlier in the common room,” the intruder grunted in frustration, advancing a step.

Eruviel relaxed her shoulders slightly, her brow furrowing. “I don’t know who he was,” she responded with a faint scoff.

“You bought him a drink and touched his shoulder,” he grumbled as he batted her blade away with a gloved hand.

“I merely have an empathetic nature,” she spat, ducking under his hand as he lunged to grab her. Stepping inside his reach in the blink of an eye she drove the pommel of her sword into his gut, forcing him back out into the hall. “I should beat the life out of you for intruding on my privacy. I cannot believe an elf maiden would be treated with such disrespect,” she huffed with the tone of injured pride.

The man clutched at his stomach for a moment, not having had time to brace for the blow. “What did he talk ta you about?”

“Why is it any of your business?” she demanded with a haughty sniff. “And who are you to barge into my room and ask me about a man I don’t know?”

A cruel smile played over his mouth and he drew back his hood to reveal an angular, lightly tanned, scarred face. “That’s my business, elf,” he spat as he moved for her again, his main hand moving to his side to draw a knife as he missed grabbing the sheet around her by inches. “I’ll get my information one way or another!”

“He wanted to hire me as a sell-sword,” she responded in an irritated tone as she moved. Switching her sword to her left hand she parried his attack and dove for him, slamming her fist across his face. The man staggered back, falling against the wooden wall of the hallway. She raised a hand to clutch his jaw as he stared at her in shock. “When I refused he quickly left, as you obviously saw,” she said accusingly.

She saw the fight drain out of him as she stood in the doorway with the most noble air she could muster, her free hand catching the sheet before it could fall. “Now if you will just wait a moment –” she did not finish her words, letting her slamming of the door speak for itself. Throwing on her clothes she snagged up her sword belt, returning the blade to it’s sheath. Opening the door once again the man had just folded his hands over his chest, obviously brooding as she stepped into the hall and locked he door.

“What a bunch of worthless –”

“It is your own fault,” she huffed, interrupting him as she made a show of buckling her belt around her waist.

“You gotta know something,” he muttered as he watched her, his eyes traveling up and down her form several times. Eruviel could see he was at odds with what to do with her. She’d better make up his mind for him.

“I do,” she said airily as she walked down the hall, him close at her heels. “He looked like all the rest of you humans but had much better manners.”

The rugged man stopped on the steps, squinting down at her in frustration. “You’ve caused me a lot of trouble, and that’s all I get,” he said quietly, a threat darkening his tone.

Turning she looked up at him with an amused smirk. “You, heruamin, did that yourself. You could have asked me for my apparent wealth of information in a hundred better ways than what you choose.” He opened his mouth to protest and she quickly cut him off. “But, since you have broken into my room, attacked me, threatened me, and seen me in the most, on my part, undesirably vulnerable state, I do believe you owe me.”

The man arched a scarred brow at her before shrugging in defeat. “What ya want?”

Resting her left hand comfortably on the handle of her sword she smiled back up at him. “You will buy me breakfast and show me around town,” she said pleasantly.

“Now listen here, lady!” The man barked, reaching out to grab her shoulder.

Whirling around she smacked his hand away and glared up at him. “I will not listen! You have offended me in one the greatest ways possible and wasted my precious time. So unless you have something better to do at such an ungodly hour of the morning you will happily oblige me.” It was times like these she was glad for the edge being an elf gave her.

His jaw ticking, the man nodded curtly, finally slipping his knife back under the folds of his jacket. Brushing past her he trudged begrudgingly down the rest of the steps to the common room. “C’mon, then, lady. Let’s get ya somethin to eat.”