Month: November 2015

The Trouble with Boys

staring_out_window

“Faerie?”

“…Fei?”

“Feira!”

Wha — Torrin!” Feira jumped from where she sat by her bedroom window, and nearly fell from her seat. “Can’t you knock?”

“I did,” her brother replied with a smirk as he leaned in the doorway. “You got a little…”

Feira’s eyes grew wide. “A little what?”

“A little mark from the sill on your face.”

“Ha ha.” She made a face at him as she scrubbed at the indent on her cheek. “Is supper ready?”

“It will be as soon as you stop pining and moping, and change out of that ridiculousness.” He motioned to the blue silk skirt from her ball gown that she wore over her work dress, topped off by a baggy knit sweater.

“I-I’m not pining,” she muttered as pink rushed to her cheeks.

“Uh-huh… And I’m not judging. He gone again?”

Feira tossed her sweater aside, and focused on the skirt.

“Feira….”

“Been for a while.”

Torrin scowled. “Wanna know what I think?”

“No.” Feira wiggled around as she pulled the cloth of the gown’s skirt up over her head.

“You should find yourself another boy.”

“I don’t want another boy,” came her muffled response from beneath layers of cloth.

“You all right in there?”

Her struggling stopped for a moment. “I’m fine.”

“Really, Fei. The city is full of young lads who drool when you walk by.”

“No they don’t. Nobody drools at maids.”

“Yeah-huh, they do. Problem is your nose is always stuck in a book, or your head’s up in some cloud thinkin’ of that blasted sailor.”

She started struggling again within the confines of the skirt. “You’d like him if you met him.”

“No I wouldn’t,” he retorted. Sighing, Torrin walked into the plain room and move to assist the struggling girl. “Nothing good can come from a sailor. Besides, I haven’t met him. I don’t like some sea fairing highwayman calling on my baby sister and taking her who knows where.”

“Heavens, Tor. He’s on a naval ship.”

“And that makes it better?”

Giving a despairing sigh, Feira let him help her as she finally found the hidden button that had snagged on her apron. “I’m not a baby, Torrin.”

He grunted in disapproval. “I know. You’re a young woman now. And that is suppose to make me feel better?”

“I don’t — I don’t need you to protect me.” She didn’t sound as convincing as she’d hoped to.

“You keep tellin’ yourself that… Heeeere we go,” he said as he pulled the skirt up and away. “Smart or no, you’re too pretty to be walking about without an escort.”

Feira chuffed out a soft chuckle, and tossed the skirt and her apron onto her bed. “Only ladies have escorts. You’re my brother. You’re biased.”

“Damn straight. I call it as I see it.” He crossed his arms over his chest and gave her his sternest look. “And then I catch you attacking bales of hay and trees with pointy sticks? I’d rather you learn to run faster than anyone else instead of learning how to fight –”

Before he could get the last word out Feira had flung her arms around his torso, and destroyed any chance he had of seeming dour.

“Woah, Faerie, what’s this for?”

Feira’s hug tightened. “F-For caring.”

Torrin’s wavering frown instantly melted into a warm smile, and he hugged her back. “I’ll keep bugging you about the sailor. Find a honest, wealthy, hard working young man who treats you like the world. Then I’ll be content.”

Releasing him, Feira poked him in the stomach. “Whatever, Dad.”

Torrin snorted, and tugged playfully at her ponytail. “Your face is leaking.”

“Oh, shut it,” she retorted, pushing him away and heading out to the room to go downstairs as she wiped at her eyes.

“Shut it? Shut it?! Ooph! I’ve been shot!” he cried, grasping at his chest.

Feira snickered and padded down the narrow stairs. “I smell burning!”

“What? No you don’t. I took all the food off the hearth.”

“Oooh… Is that smoke?”

“Don’t say that!” Torrin shouted, darting after her. “I haven’t burned anything all week!”

“You made it all the way to Tuesday!” she shouted back, squealing as he chased her into the kitchen.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Marlowe-Fireplace

Inaris gazed out her front window into the dark as the light from Drewett’s lantern disappeared down the road. “Good for you, Jade. Now you’ve gone and done it.”

Brushing her knuckles over a smooth cheek his scratchy beard had kissed she sighed, then promptly abandoned the window to began tugging furiously at the strings of her cossetted vest. “Bloody hell,” she grumbled.

It had been a year since he‘d left, revealing everything to be lies. A year since she wasn’t rich enough, or not well bred, or good enough. And it had been a year since she turned her back on him and left the Mark to end up in this backwater little town. She was going to be free. She was going to traipse around the realm and do whatever she damned pleased. She’d be with who she wanted and never tie herself down….

Think y’might be properly th’most amazin’ woman I ever met.

All of the tiredness that crept up on her earlier in the night had vanished, and she cast every ounce of clothing aside except for her long, thin blouse that she now unbuttoned well below her breasts. Tossing her swooping bangs out of her eyes in a futile, irritated gesture, she lit a fire in the hearth and tromped back into her little bedroom. Being cold fueled her frustration at herself, and the shivering that set upon her she gladly accepted as punishment… before promptly wrapping herself up in an over-sized blanket and returned to the front room to plop down before the hearth.

He said he loved her. Did he really? She’d been told that before, more times than she cared to remember, and not all of it from the one man she’d thought had spoken the truth. What was love, but a bunch of lies bound in copper, and silver, and hungry smiles?

But this one was different. How, by all the gods, he had slipped in past her walls and made her suddenly consider being (of all things) an honest woman was well beyond her. He wasn’t like the last one… aside from the broad shoulders which she didn’t mind one bit. No, he didn’t have a long, golden mane, or eyes like the blue sky over the inland sea. Most would find him unremarkable… And for some reason she didn’t want to sell him anything. She wanted to give. The glint in his green eyes, the curve of his bearded smile, and the feel of his hand brushing against hers made her feel that terrible awful warmth inside, beyond the desire to make him smile more, that she had only known once.

Damned Farmer, singing sad songs to his goats, conning ale, not believing in dragons, and looking at her like she wasn’t just a conquest. Sometime we’ll build a castle or sommat, that’ll show ’em.

He said he loved her. How could he? A part of her told her that suddenly worrying was ridiculous, and a part of her said he’d say about the same. As guiltless as she’d always been concerning her past, she felt that she could be ill at the prospect of telling him. He would ask, eventually, about her brand, and tattoo, and where she was really from. He would want to know why she kept her hair short, and hated her father, and if she’d ever taken a life.

Inaris bundled the blanket up tighter around her, and flopped over to lay on the rug on the floor in a puddle of self-pity. She had told him her name. The gods be damned. She had said she loved him too. Did she really? Did she love the way he cursed, and didn’t believe in ghosts, and couldn’t read to save his life? Yes, somewhere deep down, she knew did.

Between Friends

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“Hey… you in there somewhere?”

“Hmm?” Eruviel blinked out of her thoughts, and looked up. “Oh, yes. Forgive me. I am here. Are you ready to go?”

Ildric’s concerned look faded as he arched a brow at the Elf. He jutted a thumb at the spear on his back. “As ready as I’ll ever be. Why the blazes are we doing this at night?”

Eruviel smirked, and hopped down from the stone wall she sat upon. “Because I am busy during the day.”

The man snorted, and hooked his thumbs in his belt as he moved to walk with her. “Babysittin’. When I came by to drop off the note you were doing your Elf napping thing in the hammock with the tyke on your chest. So friggin’ cute, it was disgusting. Him all holdin’ your braid in his little fist and nuzzled up under your chin.”

“I am surprised that I didn’t hear you. You could have woken me,” she said, shooting the man an amused smirk.

“No ma’am! First of all, you were out like a light, and if I did then you’d make me hold the crying, pooping bundle of fat and giggles. All the warm feelings would give me a cold or somethin’.”

The Elf threw her head back as she let out a silvery laugh. “It would do you some good. He’s a cute little boy.”

Her laugh brought a smile to his scruffy face, and Ildric elbowed her. “Yer both cute.” He then quickly held up his hands in defense as the Elf gave him a teasing, suspicious smile. “Hey! Nothin’ wrong with sayin’ it. You’re beautiful, and all, but too Elfy and not angsty enough for me.” Ildric then snapped his fingers, and gave her a wink. “And not old enough.”

“Suck-up. I bet you cannot count your ancestors back to when I was half this old.”

“You know I can’t.”

Eruviel hesitated a step as some distant sound reached her pointed ears. She motioned through the trees to a small hill a short ways off. “Well, you should stop by the house again sometime. How much longer will you be in town for?”

Ildric pulled the spear from his back, and proceeded through the woods, though not nearly as quiet as his companion. “A week or two. Sending the first caravan south tomorrow after tonight’s hunt is seen to. Waiting for another merchant to get into town so I don’t buy up all the cloaks in Bree.”

“I doubt you could do that. It will be good to see more of you, though. You were quite busy, and our stay was short when we stopped by the camp.”

“Eh, you had good reason.” A wicked smirk turned up the man’s face, and he shot her a mischevious look. “Think I could now?”

Eruviel frowned. “Could wha — No! Blood and orcs, Ildric, the answer will ALWAYS be no!” she exclaimed, her face turning red in the dark.

“What?! It would be a great conversation starter. “Hey, there, Mister Teborneck –“”

“Tenorbekk.”

“Tenorbekk, same thing. “Hey, there, good evening. Darnedest thing, you see, me smackin’ your Elf’s –“”

Eruviel punched Ildric’s shoulder. “I am not his Elf, and there will be no smacking of any sort.”

Ildric laughed, and rubbed at his bruising shoulder. “Ouch! Hey, fine! Say what you like, but why does Trent get to be the only living guy who has? Can’t we just keep it between us as friends?”

“Keep in mind that Trent and I were on better terms before, and he was missing teeth and a finger when that whole fiasco got over. He was drunk and on the other side of the room! It wasn’t like I was offering anything.”

“That’s why he tried!” Ildric cackled happily as he fished the reaction out of her, and dodged to the left before she could punch him again. “Uh-huh, well I won’t ask again, or you’ll never feed me.”

Eruviel grinned as she pulled an arrow out of her quiver. “The invitation has been rescinded. No homemade biscuits for you.”

“Aww! C’mon! Those are the best! You’re a terrible Elf, Witch,” he huffed as he frowned at the incline before them. “We need a rule about no take-backsies when it comes to food. That little kid’s got the best of both worlds, and he has no idea.”

“You are scaring all the game away,” Eruviel chided, picking up the pace as they headed up the hill. “Keep up, old man.”

Bittersweet: “And If He’s Gone…”

Listen to me! https://youtu.be/OjVpKmCN7g4

Eruviel turned into the room, two mugs in hand. “Ah. Here,” she said, lifting both vessels, “I got a cider and an ale, not knowing what you prefer.”

Lomiphel threw herself onto her bed and leaned against the headboard. She kicked her shoes off and stared at the Elf. “Whichever.”

Eruviel set the mugs down on a nightstand, and moved to sit on the next bed after quickly looking over the room. “Barliman should really consider adding more sitting rooms.”

Lomiphel just stared at her. “Well?” she said after a few moments.

Eruviel looked back at her. “Well… what do you want to know?”

“‘All that shite about reasons.”

“Ah, yes,” said Eruviel with a nod. “Well, I was not after your father, but the other spirit inside of him. Saving Anyatka was our first priority, but before things got out of control I was attempting to help your father get the upper hand.” She frowned, and looked to the mugs. “He was in there, I just could not reach him in time.”

“What are you talking about?”

“My shite reasons,” Eruviel responded frankly. “There were two in that body of a man. Delostor, and Parmanen. One was your father, the other was a sorcerer that wanted to kill my human sister and use her body as a vessel for another.”

Lomiphel frowned as she worked this out, and it was clear that this was the first time she had heard of this. “My father is my father. He was always who he was.”

Eruviel shook her head. “Not always. He might have been who he was, but who he was was not his true self. He had a journal from when he was younger, before they put the Black Numenorean inside of him.”

“My father is a Black Numenorean,” said Lomiphel slowly.

Eruviel frowned at her words. “… Was. I do not know what he wanted at the end, though I did see Parmanen, the real him when you were mentioned. I do not know where his journal went to, but I remember much of it, if you would like me to write it down for you.” It was not all truth. The journal sat at the bottom of Eruviel’s box of letters, beneath the box of trinkets that held the glass rose and black powder, but there was no reason for the Elf to ever tell her that.

Lomiphel frowned back. “Why should I trust your words?”

Eruviel shook her head. “I have no reason to lie to you about your father. I am part of why he is gone, so I feel as if I at least owe you the courtesy of sharing the little of him I know. Whether you choose to believe me or no is for you to decide.”

“Fine, then,” Lomiphel responded. “I will accept whatever you wish to hand over.”

Eruviel nodded, and pulled a notebook and pencil out of her right pocket. Taking a moment to think, she jotted down several lines before tearing out the page and offering it over to the young woman. Tomorrow I will have seen twenty summers…. “Here. I remember the last entry the best. I remember him writing about how he missed the sand and the sun, and hated the smell of orcs.”

Lomiphel took the paper and looked at it for a moment.

Eruviel sat quietly, watching her.

Lomiphel looked up and dropped the paper to the bedspread. “I do not know what I am supposed to do with your memories of his words.”

Eruviel shrugged. “Whatever you like. Burn them for all I care. I just wanted you to know the truth from where I stand. I am sorry I could not save your father.”

Lomiphel stared at the paper. “You think he could be saved?” she asked abruptly.

Eruviel’s frown turned serious as she studied the woman more carefully. She understood when people did not like to think of their loved ones in the past tense, but not now. Now it was unnerving. “I think he could have been, yes. Everyone deserves a chance.”

Lomiphel continued staring at the paper. “You believe that this Delostor could be removed? And if he’s gone, I would still have a father left over?”

She felt as if her blood stilled in her veins. Is. “If we could get to him, yes. Delostor is dangerous, but if I could draw Parmanen to the surface, give him control, there is a chance that would give us time to see it done.” It took all of her self control to attempt to appear unphased as she tested for the woman’s reaction.

Lomiphel looked up and seemed to come back to herself. “Oh. Yes. Too bad, though. That it’s too late.”

Eruviel managed a small, sympathetic smile. “That it is. While I do not expect it, do forgive me for failing in that. I would have liked to have met the real man, and see if any of who he was had survived.”

“Well, no one can meet him now,” said Lomiphel with a nod. She stood and walked over to open the door. “Thank you for your time.”

Eruviel rose to her feet, and followed her to the door. “You are welcome. Thank you for your patience. Be well, Lomiphel.” Lomiphel merely nodded, and Eruviel quietly slipped out of the room and into the hallway.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

She walked all the way through town, and out the South Gate, having seen none of it. Voronwen nickered as she passed the stables, and it took only till she reached the eaves of Chetwood for the steed to catch up with her.

“And if he’s … And if he is gone….” 

With all of her might Eruviel wished to believe Lomiphel had misspoken. She wished to believe the young woman’s words that it was too bad, and too late, and that he rested beyond the veil of death. She wanted to believe so bad that it hurt.

Anyatka... They had all gone to save the young woman. She knew all to well that if the enemy did not stay dead, they would come back with a vengeance. Abiorn, Eboric, Eirikr…. Gripping at the wolf cloak clasp at her neck, Eruviel turned. Grabbing a hunk of Voronwen’s mane with her free hand, she swung up into the saddle, and it took no command from her for the horse to know to leap forward into a run.

They would be all right, she knew. She would get there, windblown and without a proper excuse, and she would find Anya as she always was. The sooner she knew and saw, the better. The others, too, she knew would be well. But she would have to tell Eirikr, as much as she didn’t wish to…. No, she would tell him, but later in the evening after she set her last wards about the two houses, and when she was more collected and not feeling as if a foul spirit bore down upon her. Now there were too many ‘what if’s’. Tomorrow she would take the vial, and find Atanamir, and start putting her worries to rest.

First section is taken from in-game RP, and has been edited for tense and exposition.

Thank you, Cwendlwyn, for playing Lomiphel!