Anecdotes

Little updates and tales of my characters.

Imloth Melui: As Shadows Fall

The hours slowly turned from one to the other, and the darkened sky denied him the knowledge of how long he had laid there. Draping a muscled forearm over his forehead Pellion stared at the ceiling, counting the decorative tiles, and resenting every one of them.

Feeling the bed beside him move, the man rolled out from beneath the satin sheets before the soft, slender girl could roll over in her sleep to trap him beneath her thin, pale arms. Though not of her doing, the thought of being touched made him uncomfortable and more frustrated (if that was indeed at all possible). She was too warm. Everything was too warm. The girl, the sheets, the floor beneath his feet. Even the night air blowing through the open double doors warmed his skin.

Pulling his hair back to secure it out of his eyes, and not bothering to even glance at a shirt, Pellion left his room and slumbering guest behind as he padded down the long back stair that opened up below the estate. It was cool down there. So blessedly cool. And while it did nothing to lessen his foul mood, it did clear his mind.

Halethon.” He did not need to shout. His voice filled the narrow stone passage and rolled like a wave through the rooms beyond. Two doors down a pale yellow light shone out of a room. It was not a warm light, and Pellion almost smiled.

The man Halethon stepped out, and gave a small salute. “Sir.” He was unphased by the shirtless Pellion, and he waited for the young lord’s nod before standing at ease. “Not sleeping?”

“As usual,” Pellion responded dryly as he turned into the room they had turned into an office.

“You’re going to exhaust yourself.” Halethon followed him inside and closed the door.

Setting his hands on his hips, Pellion fixed his hard gaze on the map on the table instead of on his friend. “We had this discussion last night.”

“What about what Garax sugest–”

“It’s not working.” Pellion could feel Halethon’s stare.

The young man sighed. “We won’t get our reinforcements,” he said grimly, getting down to buisness. “Not right away, at least.”

Pellion finally looked up from where he maneuvered a marker on the map. “What?” He did not mean for his harshness to slip out — Well, he wouldn’t have cared if it were not directed at Halethon. Taking a deep breath, he started again in a less formidable growl. “Why, pray tell, are we not getting reinforcements?”

Seemingly impenetrable to Pellion’s ire, Halethon filed one report, and retrieved several letters from neat stacks on the shelves. “All of the others wrote back. Here,” he said as he handed them over. “The army is being split up. Half to set up a defensive at Minas Tirith and Osgiliath, and the other to set up a defensive and offensive on the coast. Until their plans are worked out, we will get no trained soldiers for Imloth Melui.”

Pellion’s hand curled into fists. He did not raise them, however. He only set them against the hard wood of the table, and kept his dangerous glare down on the perfectly drawn ridges and rivers of Gondor. “We leave in two hours. Prepare my horse, and wake Yassarah. Thank her for me. You’re a happier face to rise to.”

His eyes darted up, and the two men shared a smirk. “Right away, sir. Should I send a messenger ahead?”

“Yes. Tell the old men that the young fools better be geared up and ready by the time we arrive. And try not to wake the house. I don’t have the patience for them right now.”

“I’ll word it better, but yes. Of course, though . . . .”

Pellion straightened, and arched a dark brow at the other man. “Though, what?”

Halethon glanced his way as he gathered a few things they would need. “Though you might want to take it easier on the boys. They will hold no love for you.”

Pellion grunted, and waved a hand to dismiss him. “The rest of our country is bleeding out, and they want me to smile? I don’t need their love. I need them to do what they are told.”

“Very well. Don’t be long.”

Saluting once more, and giving Pellion a look that made the man want to roll his eyes, Halethon slipped out of the room.

Listening to his only friend’s retreating steps, Pellion let out a long, weary sigh. The rest of the country is off to war, and he was stuck protecting fickle refugees with old men and boys. And all because mother dearest suddenly pretended to care. It made his blood boil.

Pushing away from the table, Pellion sat at his desk, readied a fresh piece of parchment, and pulled out the Elf’s letter. The man had written her to be polite, but never had he expected a response. Worst of all, she sounded so damned pleasant. He hated asking for help, but someone had to. 

Commander Oendir Arrowheart

Dear Sir,

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Anecdotes: Late One Night

 

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The sound of Eirikr’s footsteps had long since faded away down the lane. Closing the hatch to the cellar, Eruviel straightened out the rug. It was so good to be home, and even better that the house was not cold and empty when she’d gotten there.

Books littered one end of the map table. A stack of mail and a finely wrapped parcel sat to another side, and her pack took up the rest of the space. Pulling out several trinkets along with the little stack of drake scales she had collected, Eruviel suddenly stopped her unpacking.

I can do this tomorrow . . . or the next day, she thought. Even her inner voice sounded as lethargic as she felt. Abandoning her things, the Elf drew the iron screen over the front of the fireplace. Shedding her clothing as she went, Eruviel made her way into the bedroom and collapsed on her bed.

Oh, what an excellent bed.

The house smelled warm from the fire. It smelled like old tomes, and like evergreens, and of him. A hint of pipe smoke lingered, but that could have just been from the neighbor down the hill who smoked more than his chimney.

Cocooning herself beneath her soft covers, Eruviel hummed softly in her blissful comfort. A few breaths later she was deep in her rest, dreaming of forests and glittering drifts of snow, and the spray of white powder that flew up from her paws.

 

~~~***~~~

 

Climbing the short incline of the road, Inaris forced herself not to hurry as she made her way back home. Thinking about it, she should have gone back to the Inn to relieve the girl watching Jo for the day, but she wasn’t expected till morning. Inaris had only acquired the little cottage after her things from Rohan had caught up with her, but it was the closest she had to a home, and the only place that felt safe.

Still clutching her right hand to her chest she let out a breath in relief as the little building came into view. She hated that panic kept trying to edge it’s way in. She hated that she couldn’t forget the seconds of burning pain on her palm, the relaxing cool that had flowed through her hand, or the tickle at her wrist. She hated it, she hated it. Most of all, she hated that it made her remember.

Why had I trusted him? And why did he show me?

“Don’t forget, you know what I can do,” he had said. Was that supposed to be a threat?

Practically running up the path to the cottage, Inaris nearly jumped out of her skin as a dog a few houses down barked. Lurching, her foot hit a patch of gravel and the young woman twisted as she fell. Hitting the ground hard, the back of her head smacked against the bottom step of the front stoop.

A brief cry of pain escaped her before she clenched her teeth. Hot tears filled her eyes, but as she slowly sat up Inaris felt a thin, warm stream trickle down her neck. Reaching a hand back, her scalp screamed at the touch. She was bleeding. Not badly, but enough.

“Blood?” she muttered, staring at her hand in confusion. Then it hit her. The panic, as was the lingering memory of pain and numbness in her hand, was gone. No pain that left no marks, or fear of the next night and the one after that. Just the real, burning pain that tore through her as warm blood stained her pale blonde hair.

A laugh bubbled out of her lips. The sound surprised her. Another followed, and another, and before Inaris knew it she was rolling on the ground, seizing with a manic laughter she couldn’t stop. Minutes passed. Still choking on crazed giggles, she wiped the blood from her hand onto the grass and crawled up the steps to her home. Her home. Free, and alone, and without a care in the world.

 

~~~***~~~

 

The late hour was called out by a distant town crier. A cool night breeze that smelled like the sea wafted through the stables as Torrin cleaned up a work station. Hanging up his pitchfork he affectingly patted one of the Ladies mares on the neck as he passed.

“Feira?” he called softly as he closed the large doors behind him. She had promised to stop by hours ago. His little sister often was distracted by her books, but rarely did she fail to show.

Shaking out his sleeves, the stable hand nodded to the guards as he made his way to the gardens. Taking a moment to stop and exchange a few words with two or three that he knew, Torrin began searching all the hidden corners.

About to give up, the young man, on a hunch, ventured into a hidden alcove guarded by a trellis and flowering trees showing the first signs of spring. There, on a curving bench a short ways in, Feira lay sleeping. A thick book served as her pillow and her apron had been folded up to cover her bare arms.

“What are you doing back here, Faerie,” muttered Torrin as he ducked under the trellis. Feira breathed softly, and rolled to lay on her side as he approaoched, but she did not wake.

Quietly chuckling, Torrin reached down. Brushing her tangled waves of curls out of her face, he then retrieved the letter that had fallen to the ground.

“What have we here, little sister?” he asked under his breath. Angling the letter to read by moonlight Torrin read it once, blinked, then read it again. Letting out a gruff breath he looked up to the sky. “Fell asleep star-gazing, I see.”

Folding up the letter, he tucked it safely into a pocket of her apron. “I suppose I’ll kill him a little less. For your sake,” Torrin muttered as he knelt down. With as much care as he could, the young man bore her up in his arms, remembering to take her book as well. She mumbled incoherently something that sounded like an apology.

“C’mere, little Faerie. Let’s get you to bed.” Feira sighed and settled close against his chest as he bore her to the servants quarters, muttering another apology.

“I know, I know. You’re forgiven,” he hummed softly. “You’re all right. Better that I tuck you in, instead of the other girls seeing you wander in in the early morning lookin’ like this.”

 

Moments: 100th post

“Everything’s put away. I’ll start on the molds in the morning,” called Ris as she hung up her thick leather apron and shook out her short, strawberry blonde hair.

“That’s fine! Thanks for the good work,” responded the forge master, glancing up from his bench.

Raising one hand in a small wave the young woman unbuttoned the collar of her coveralls with the other. “Good night, then!”

Slipping out the shop door she took a deep breath of the frigid air, the smell of Bree only partially ruining the moment. Swinging her satchel of tools over her shoulder, Risala strolled past the guards at the South Gate and set off for home.

The thought brought a euphoric smile tingling up from her toes and stretching up the pink corners of her mouth. Home. She not only had one, but a reason to be there.

– – – *** – – –

A month and a half. Mira kept telling herself that it wasn’t that long, but the first night with Rath gone felt like an eternity. She could wait that long. Not much else could be done.

Leaning against the door frame she watched Thamon’s small body rise and fall with steady breaths. For not having a drop of his parent’s blood in his veins Mira was amazed at how similar to the Ranger he was. He was beautiful, the little boy, in all his vitality and willfulness. Even after  being brought to the relative safety of Bree-land, the spark of a new fight lit in his eyes every morning.

The dark Eryn Vorn wolf that curled up next to her son blinked his yellow eyes open to look to her. The small knot of trepidation that had begun to wind in her gut loosened. A moment passed between them. Then the animal closed his eyes and Mira closed the door. Yes, she could wait a month and a half. She’d wait as long as it would take.

– – – *** – – –

The last rays of the Gondorian sunset shimmered and reached across the horizon where the sky embraced the sea. Tossing her soft, blonde waves of hair over her shoulder, Feira’s face inched closer to the ivory pages of her book, squeezing as many words as she could into the last few moments of light. A final burst of pale gold shot across the sky before the sun winked away, and the girl snapped the volume shut with a triumphant flourish. Chapter complete.

The winter had been a mild one. In spite if the brisk wind that washed up the sea cliffs Feira pranced ahead, barefoot and balanced atop a low stone fence that ran along one side of the road. Novel secured in one hand and slippers swinging in the other, the young woman danced ahead to a song only she could hear.

Lalaith’s most recent letter had been sent. There was nothing new to report, but Feira’d thought it would be nice to send one anyways. Two more weeks till visiting day.  In spite of occasionally seeing Lalaith, and her brother suddenly being more interested in her life, an ounce of loneliness trickled through Feira like an sip of bitterly cold water.

Tugging at the empty locket that hung around her neck Feira looked out to the sea. He had disappeared. Stood her up. The few, wonderful days of Lhainan’s company only made the ache of being left worse. He would have shipped out by now. Maybe she’d never know why he hadn’t shown.

Frowning, she shook her golden mane and pranced forward atop her perch with determination. There was no good in wondering. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Humming the secret, celestial tune, Feira turned her eyes to the heavens as she made her way home. Careful to not miss one, she looked to each star in turn, just in case.

– – – *** – – –

The wind did not drive as fiercely up here. Finding a handhold in the ice Eruviel pulled herself up over the cliff’s edge. The thrill of the climb faded as she fixed the thick of her cloak beneath her and turned her emerald gaze out. The night was darker, being so far north, but the frozen realm glittered as a swath of color danced across the obsidian sky.

The freezing air pricked at her lungs as the Eldar took in a deep breath. The sensation was fleeting and she did not mind. The silvery chime of a delighted chuckled spilled out of her. Hugging her arms across her chest Eruviel plopped back to lay in the tuffs of snow blanketing her perilous perch.

Oh, but it was good to be back in her own body! She meant no disrespect to Abiorn, or males in general, but she very much liked her body without the hint of scruff and extra parts between the legs.

The green and violet hues shifted and changed above her. It was mesmerizing. She reached for the notebook in her pocket to make out a sketch for Anya, but stopped. She reached a second time for it but stopped again, even though she’d gotten so far as to have the notebook in her hands.

Eirikr’s letter could wait. Every word she wrote him felt burdened; the beauty lost in the black and white of her parchment. If only he were here to watch with her. She didn’t need any words spoken, nor small touches, though she would not protest the latter. No, she only wanted his company, and the quiet understanding that might have been shared between them, looking out over the crystal wonderland that was Forochel.

Fitting the book back into her pocket Eruviel stood on the precipice and let down her hair. She allowed the bitter, rising wind to wash over her as the silken swirls of lights swam and danced to a distant tune she could just make out. This land was beautiful. While missing an audience of two, the moment seemed perfect. And it stretched on and up, as infinite as the vastness above her.

Innocent Heart: Come Callin’

HB4

Feira lumbered out of the wash house, the hem of her dusty indigo-toned dress wet with wash water, and her arms overflowing with linens destined for the the already full lines. A grey bandana kept her blonde curls our of her face and hours of chores maintained a pink flush in her cheeks. The sun shone bright, although a blustery wind swirled about, and the girl passed into the first row of white sheets, taking in a deep, satisfied breath.

Lhainan had easily enough strolled onto the grounds. The orchards and gardens were often open for folks to tour. He’d made his way to what seemed likely to be servants’ area and sure enough, there she was, stringing laundry up in the sun.

Lhainan grinned and watched Feira for a moment; her pretty pink cheeks, the way her nose wrinkled as she heaved linens over the high lines. What was it that was reeling him in, more sunk than a fish on a line? By Ulmo, he was gonna find out. Waiting until any other laundresses were gone back to the wash house, he crept closer, winding between the billowing sheets, as familiar to him as the canvas sails on the jib.

“Hallo, Miss Orchid.”

Feira, lost in a happy thought, jumped at the unexpected voice and whirled around to face the newcomer, brandishing a dish cloth. “Oh! Hello Master Lhainan!” she responded as she saw who it was. The girl’s cheeks flushed a shade pinker and quickly she hid the cloth behind her. “By Emeleth, what are you doing here?” Feira asked, looking around them for any other maids.

Lhainan grinned. He didn’t smirk. Well, not exactly. But it was sly and sure and amused all at once as he regarded her. “Toldja I’d come callin’, soon as I could find ya,” he said, hooking his thumbs into his pockets. He lifted his chin as he inspected her. “That’s not a bad defensive stance there. …somebody been teachin’ you to fight?”

“Nah, just reading and teaching myself,” she responded with a wry smile as she turned to hang up the cloth. Glancing back at him with an indiscernible smile she picked the next damp sheet out of the basket. “It has been a few days. I was beginning to think you wouldn’t figure it out.”

Lhainan grinned, seeming pleased that she could read. “Well, you set me a pretty good puzzle. You know how many estates ’round here got special flowers?” he asked, rocking back and forth on his heels.

Feira could not help but laugh as she reached up to secure the corner of the sheet. “Why no,” she fibbed as she pulled down a dry linen and folded it to make more room. “How many?”

“A lot,” he said, prowling closer. “So… you were afraid I wouldn’t figure it out, huh?” he asked with a wolfish grin. “That mean you were thinkin’ about me?”

“I never said I was afraid you wouldn’t,” she responded innocently. Dancing between the softly billowing sheets she took another down to fold and shot him a wink. “But if you’d been searching for me all that time I must have been on your mind a fair bit.”

“Ev’ry minute,” Lhainan proclaimed quickly as he circled, trying to hem her in so he might approach as if she were some wild filly and he intended to snare her. “Save when I was hungry or sleepin’,” he admitted frankly, but added with a beguiling grin, “…even sometimes when I was sleepin’.”

Feira chuckled softy, securing her basket on her hip and pivoting around another line before he could flank her. “That is quite a lot of thinking,” she hummed as she plucked smaller towels from the next line, and silently prayed that she’d stop blushing. “Have you no family or friends who would better preoccupy your time?”

“Nah,” he said, disappearing behind the shade side of a set of sheets. “No fam’ly save my gran’mother, and I see her plenty when I’m ashore. And my friends’d call me awful queer if I spent much time ponderin’ over their ugly mugs.”

“And you’ve been accused of being queer much, I take it?” she teased. Turning and seeing him gone she hesitated before retreating into the shade of a sheet as she folded another. Biting her lower lip to keep back a laugh she crouched down as the wind picked up, hoping to catch a glimpse of his feet.

If there was one thing he knew, it was the wind and how to take advantage of it. He didn’t rise to the bait of her teasing, but stayed quiet and out of sight.

Suddenly, a dry sheet fluttered down on top of her, blocking out the sun and, well, everything else too. Feira gasped and whirled around in attempt to find her attacker, inadvertently twisting the sheet about her, causing herself to stumble.

“Whoa! Hang on there, little lady!” Strong hands caught her hips and righted her. “…sorry, I, I wasn’t tryin’ to trip you up.” For the first time, Lhainan’s confident tone wavered.

Laughing merrily Feira batted at the sheet about her head, her bandana lost as she finally found the edge and emerged back into the sunlight. “I’m not that clumsy. I promise,” she snickered, putting a hand on one of his as she caught her bearings.

His smile restored by her laughter, Lhainan didn’t let go. “I’ll catch ya any time you’ll let me, whether you need it or not. So when’s the next time you’re off work?” he asked, taking in her blonde curls with a pleased sort of look.

Feira took in a breath as if for a moment she’d forgotten to, and her small smile grew brighter as it reached her amber eyes. Static keeping her grey bandana stuck to her skirts she moved to step out from his hands and tie her hair back once more. “I have a day off in three days,” she said with a casual shrug. “When is your leave over?”

He seemed to sober a bit. “A week.” But then he snatched at her kerchief, trying to yank it from her hands. “Why would you cover up those pretty curls?”

Feira didn’t let go, tugging back on her end of the grey cloth. “Cause I have to work, that’s why,” she said with a smirk. “Why do you wanna know when I have a day off? It’s not like you know me all that well,” she said more quietly, suddenly feeling incredibly shy.

Lhainan gave ground, but didn’t let go of the kerchief, letting her reel him in closer. Suddenly he stood just an inch away, grinning down at her. “’cause I want to,” he said quietly. “And what I do know, I like.”

Feira stared up at him, heat rising to her cheeks. “Well I know just as much about you as you do me, s-so how about you buy me supper in three days?” she proposed, slowly taking a small step back. “You can learn a lot about a person in a week.”

Lhainan’s grin nearly tore open his face. “Hey Blondie… I ain’t gonna hurt ya,” he said, still in that soft tone. “Promise.” He released her kerchief. “I’ll tell you anything you wanna know about me. Got nothin’ to hide.”

“I’m not afraid of that,” she said quietly unable to keep back a smile as he grinned, ” but I’ll hold you to that promise.” Tossing him her kerchief she looked around for her basket. “One of the other maids owes me. How about the day after tomorrow? If your grandmother can spare you, that is.”

Lhainan blinked, surprised. “…sure! Day after tomorrow, aye!” He clutched her kerchief. “Say… eighteen bells? I’ll come getcha.”

Feira smiled and nodded, her loose curls bouncing over her shoulders as she pulled a dry sheet from the line when it billowed up into her arms. “Sounds great! I’ll be waiting.”

Hearing the return of at least one other washer from the laundry house, Lhainan stepped toward Feira. “Will you get in trouble if they see me?” he asked quickly, running his fingers along the edge of her kerchief.

Feira looked in the direction of the sound, grateful for the three — no, four rows of laundry that separated them from view. “I’m not sure,” she muttered in a quick response. “I’ve never had a boy call on me before. If you don’t leave I could always put you to work, just in case,” she said with a wink.

Lhainan laughed quietly. “I’d stay and work right by ya if I knew for sure it wouldn’t get you in trouble. So I’ll take my leave, but only for that! …can I keep this?” He held up her kerchief, wrapped around his hand, and smiled his best charming smile.

“Sure, you can keep it,” she chuckled softly. “And I’ll find out if you’re safe if you ever happen to drop by when I’m working the washing.”

As the women’s voices came closer, Lhainan grinned mischievously and stepped even closer, reaching for Feira’s hand. “Til day after tomorrow, then?” he whispered.

“Yes; day after tomorrow. Now you should go! Unless you want to be caught here,” she whispered, looking down as he took her hand.

“I won’t get caught!” he hissed with a smile, and lifted her work-worn hand to kiss it before he darted away through the billowing sheets.

Feira stared after him as he disappeared through the sheets, holding her kissed hand to her chest as the women finally came upon her.

“Feira! There you are! Your aunt’s looking for you.”

“I’m coming, don’t worry,” she assured them as she tossed her hair out of her eyes and retrieved her basket.

“Honey, you alright? Your face looks flushed!”

“I’m fine! Really. Leave your load and I’ll hang them up with the rest,” she called over her shoulder as she swept over toward the wash house, fleeing from their curious expressions. Auntie was waiting in the door, scowling down at her. Relinquishing her basket she took the full one shoved into her arms. Glancing back as the sour woman set into scolding her, Feira didn’t hear a word that was said as she looked to where the boy had disappeared.

(Taken straight from mail RP, and edited for tense and grammar.

Thank you Feygil for rping as Lhainan!)

Innocent Heart: Friends First

Feira unhooked her arm from Lalaith’s as they walked and skipped over to a leafless tree. “Mind if I walk you to the crossroads?” she asked as she jumped up to snag a thin vine of little flowers that clung to a branch.

Lalaith heaved a sigh, catching her breath. “Not at all . . . but isn’t it out of the way for you?” she asked, looking up at the vine.

Pulling the vine down with her, Feira broke off a length and turned back to Lalaith. “Not too far,” she responded with a shrug. “Besides, you have to be back soon. I don’t have to be back to work till breakfast is served.”

Lalaith smiled and nodded. “Alright. What have you got there? Tenacious little thing, isn’t it?”

Feira grinned as she fished the ribbon from their lunch box out of her pocket. “Not sure,” she chuckled. “These always bloom late, though.” Weaving the flowering vine with the ribbon, she then tied the ends and offered the circlet to Lalaith. “Here!”

Lalaith laughed and accepted the little wreath. “Shall I hang it on my door?” she asked, amused.

“You can. You do whatever you like with it,” she said as she clasped her hands behind her back and strode forward. “I don’t know the rules with Sisters, but if Emeleth made flowers I would think he would want you to enjoy them.”

“Well. Elmeleth did not make the flowers, but I am sure she would have enjoyed them,” she said, settling the circlet jauntily on her head as they walked on.

“She . . . I knew that,” Feira muttered with an embarrassed smile.

“What will you do if that boy finds you again?” she asked, adjusting the crown so that the flowers did not droop over her eyes.

Feira walked beside her with an dance-like gate. “He probably won’t,” she said with a shrug, a hint of regret in her voice. “The girls like the stern honorable knights or the sailors with broad shoulders and easy smiles. He probably has a new girl on his arm every day.”

“I forgot. You want a wild Rohir,” Lalaith teased. “A saucy sailor won’t do.”

Feira rolled her eyes and grinned. “I never said that . . . I dunno,” she said a bit more sheepishly. “Auntie says sailors are trouble, but he’s the first boy to ever call me pretty.”

“Any sort of boy can be trouble, if one doesn’t keep her wits,” Lalaith said. “I should know,” she sighed. “If his intentions are honorable, you’ll know. And if they aren’t, you’ll know. Trust your feelings.”

Feira nodded confidently, but a few steps later she shook out her arms and skipped a step. “It’s so silly,” she grumbled, “feeling nervous at the small possibility that a boy might call. Work couldn’t come sooner so I can get hi — it off my mind.”

Lalaith smiled faintly. “It’s a thrilling feeling. That isn’t wrong. It just is.”

Feira hummed thoughtfully but sidled over and hooked her arm ’round Lalaith’s. “Well boys are exciting, but I’ve had too much good all at once. Don’t want to dive in too deep when I’ve just gotten my feet wet.” She then squeezed the young woman’s arm. “Boy or no boy, he can wait. Friends come first.” The wind picked up as they left the walls of the city behind and broached the peninsula which housed the Temple.

Lalaith smiled, touched. “Oh Feira,” she sighed. “I am very glad to call you my friend.”

The wrought iron gate of the Temple grounds loomed before them. Feira beamed a warm smile, her lower lip trembling faintly. “Before I’d just hoped to end up as your servant forever, but this is much, much better. I’m glad you’re my friend too.” The young woman looked to the Temple before them with both awe and regret. It had hardly taken any time for them to walk there, and she wished good days did not pass by so swiftly. “Today was so wonderful. Thank you for spending it with me, Lalaith.”

“I would much rather be your friend than… your mistress,” Lalaith said, and hugged Feira tightly. “I hope we will spend many more days together.”

Feira hugged her back just as tightly. “I hope so too. You truly are the best. If anything exciting happens I’ll write. Otherwise, see you next month?”

Lalaith’s smile brightened. “Even if nothing exciting happens, I should like very much to hear from you. I will write too, if you like. Perhaps I’ll be given an errand in the city and might meet you for lunch. A short one, anyway.”

Feira bounced on her toes as she grinned. “Oh that would be splendid! Here’s hoping that you do. And, I will be sure to write. If that boy show’s up you will hear all about it!”

Lalaith giggled. “Good! Goodbye. Be careful returning.”

Feira hopped a step and turned, walking backwards as she waved. “Goodbye for now. I’ll be careful! Cross my heart. Have a good night!” Watching Lalaith disappear through the tall gates Feira turned back around and sauntered down the path. A lively waltz playing in her head she hopped atop a low retaining wall and pranced over the stones as she set her path towards home.

 

(Taken straight from mail RP, and edited for tense and grammar.

Thank you Feygil for rping as Lalaith!)

 

After a Party: Yule Cheer

“Really, Miss, I just –”

“By the Valar, hold still!” Aryl insisted, taking a pin from her mouth to use on the sweatshirt she had fit on the first stranger through the door.

Crazy elf,” Ildric grumbled, holding his arms out as the dark-haired elf maiden circled around him, pinning the pieces of warm cloth together. “I just want my tunic mended! I’m not your dummy. ”

Arylieth scurried to fetch her shears from a cluttered tailoring bench, waving a hand at the man. “You’re a bit broad compared to the boy, but I’m sure he will fill it out soon enough.”

Ildric groaned in protest as she ushered him to a mirror and motioned for him to spin. Arms extended, the man stopped and stared at his reflection, or more specifically at the picture worked into the thread of the sweatshirt. “A bear? Really?”

“It’s a Yule gift!” Arylieth explained with an excited grin. “Now if you would please stop complaining I’ll mend your tunic for free once I’m done.”

_ _ _ _ _

“Best friend EVER!” Feira exclaimed, sliding down the railing of a flight of steps in a far wing of the manor. A letter fluttered in one hand as she used the other to catch herself from falling as she flew off then end into a lower hallway. Spinning a few steps she re-read Lalaith’s letter for the twentieth time. Someone had written her a letter! Her!

Carefully folding the letter back up and slipping it into her pocket, Feira snatched up a broom and dust pail. This might have been the best day she’d ever had. Well, beside the day she first visited Lalaith at the temple, the day the Wayfarers returned from defending the city, and the day she had off in town when a gentleman told her she looked lovely. But this might just out rank them all.

She had to finish her chores. She had to finish them quick!

‘If you are still inclined, I thought we might visit your friend’s cheese shop. The one with the delicious gouda! Might you be free?’

“Yes!” she laughed, skipping nearly too many steps in one leap. She had made sure to get visiting day off. A day in town with a friend? And gourmet cheese! Life just kept getting better.

_ _ _ _ _

You bloody fool. Eruviel didn’t bother closing the door to her dark house all the way as she dumped her Yule basket and Anric’s gift on the long, cushioned lounge chair. Yanking the green ribbon from her hair she drew the letter from her pocket and paced towards the hearth that still cradled half a dozen hot coals.

She stopped, the letter extended before her, and after a long moment drew herself away from the mostly cold fireplace. No, she couldn’t burn the letter; little Eboric’s hand print. Clenching the letter in her fist she turned and slammed her hand down on the map table. What had she expected? She had fretted over the letter since she’d received it, stressing over if she should actually give it to him or not. But it was too late for that.

Letting out an enraged shout she shoved the map table back, threw up her rug, and lifted the hatch to drop down the steps that led to the cellar. Grabbing up a fresh quiver of arrows she selected a short sword from the collection on her wall and hopped the steps back up to the common room. Shedding her dress, discarding it, her circlet and ribbon by the rejected letter on the map table she then disappeared into her room. A minute later she emerged, clad in her hunting garb, buckling on a bracer. Fitting on her sword belt she sifted through the stack of warrants on the corner of the map table and selected one out.

She was mad — no, she was furious. Never had she meant for the letter to remind him of Ninim, and yet the guilt for every little glance and thought towards him, each hope she felt suddenly became like salt on a wound. But it didn’t matter what she had meant. She had been thoughtless; selfish, and that was the worst crime of all. She should have known better, and the look of pain that had twisted his face hurt worse than the beating she’d taken in Angmar months earlier. Eruviel stopped, her hand resting on her toned abdomen for a moment before snatching up the quiver of arrows. She hadn’t told anyone, but she should have told Cwen . . . if anyone could help her with that it would be Cwen. She couldn’t tell Eirikr. Not now. And possibly not ever. Not after tonight.

Grabbing a pad of paper she sketched down a note and left, not bothering to add a log to the fireplace. She had a bad habit of taking off with no one knowing. Maybe the piece of paper was her compensating for how much of an idiot she felt like. But she couldn’t take off without leaving some sort of word for Cwen in the event the woman showed up. She’d find her bounty, and if it ended up being too easy maybe she’d go on a run. A long run. Tacking the note to the outside of her door she turned and disappeared into the dark as flakes of snow began to drift down from the night sky.

Cwen,

Went out on a job. Be back in a day. Make yourself at home.

Innocent Heart: A Slight Detour

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The morning, Gondorian sun streamed through the shop windows, casting rainbows through the cut glass. The last of the morning orders had been filled and Berest set to work knowing he had a few hours to replenish the cheese on his shelves before the afternoon rush. Looking up, he saw her golden hair before the bell of the door rang to announce her entrance, and a smile lit his face as she bobbed a curtsey.

“Good morning, Master Berest,” the girl chimed as she glided towards the counter, careful to avoid the display tables.

“Good morning, Feira! Is it payday already?” Berest asked as he set his cloth aside and leaned forward to rest his elbows on the counter. He’d never seen that blue dress on her before, and though the long sleeves covered her arms the young shop-keeper had to force his eyes to remain on her face.

“It is!” Feira practically sang. “But no treats for me today. I’m off to visit a friend — oh, well, I hope she’ll be my friend,” she said more quietly, a slight, worried frown creasing her forehead.

Berest arched a brow curiously. “Why would she not?”

Feira pursed her lips, a full-on frown twisting her features as she looked at him. “Cause she’s nobility. But . . . but she’s at the convent now. Not sure why,” she sighed with a shrug, “but I figured now that she’s there we could be friends . . . the Sisters can have friends, can’t they?”

Berest stared at the young woman in disbelief before standing up, his rich laugh filling the shop and trickling outside where several heads turned to see where the sound had come from. “I s’ppose they can, Miss Feira. You must have the day off then.”

“Mm-hmm,” she nodded in response. “I was in such a hurry that I almost forgot to stop by, as I’d taken a slight detour.”

“Keeping out of trouble, I hope, since the city’s calmed down again.”

“I’m rarely in trouble,” she chuckled softly as she peered into the glass case.

Berest laughed softly and looked down through the top. “So what can I get you for your friend?”

Digging a hand into her pocket, Feira pulled out a small coin purse and laid out her month’s wages plus a little savings on the counter. “Whatever small corners that can get me. Maybe a gouda . . . a biere, and a morbier . . . .”

“Not the belloc?” asked Berest with a smirk. Why would she be taking food to the temple?

Feira looked to her coins and shook her head reluctantly. “No, just those will do.”

Berest mulled over her stacks of coins, took three fourths of it, and set to work cutting off bits of each cheese, including the belloc. “Do you need a box for these?”

Her blonde curls swished over her shoulders as she shook her head, and Feira opened the parcel that was held under her arm. “I have this,” she said as she opened it and laid it out.

The box had two sections, one side already filled with berries he assumed she had picked on her way to town. Detours, he laughed quietly. Wrapping the cheeses he noted that she noticed the larger portions as he set them into the box. “Hmm . . .” Berest sighed as he looked thoughtfully at the box.

“W-what?”

“This is nice, but you cannot have cheese without bread.” Before she could voice her protest Berest slipped in several thick slices of fresh bread and a small wooden knife for the cheese. “There,” he said as he closed the box and handed it back to her. “A fine little picnic.”

Feira dropped a silver into the tip jar, put the remaining silver and few coppers back in her purse, and took the box with a curtsey. “Thank you, Master Berest!” she beamed.

“You’re welcome! I hope things go well,” he smiled, raising a hand in a wave as she hurried for the door.

“I’m sure they will!” she called back, raising her free hand in a wave as she opened the door, the bell chiming above her. “See you next month!”

Interlude: Another Afternoon

“No . . . no, no NO!” huffed Arylieth, crumpling up her page and casting it into the fire. It landed square on top a pile of fragile black husks of parchment, edged with embers that mushroomed up in a puff as the new reject joined the smoldering remains. Pushing her seat back in what might possibly have been the most docile display of frustration, the young elf snatched up a hair tie and twisted her raven waves up into a soft bun.

“It’s not right,” she muttered with a sigh as she scooped up her manuscript and began rifling through the stack of pages. “Nothing fits.” The first half had been the simplest. Plot flowed, intrigue and the weave of characters had fit so perfectly. The following chapters, though, had grown more difficult with each passing page. Now, when the most important and seemingly honorable of characters were about to win . . . she could not think of a way to kill them. She had intended for everything to be turned inside out and for the truth of the favored heroes to be revealed, but nothing she wrote fit. Nothing was dark enough. Nothing molded the amount of tragedy she hoped to convey. She had read nearly every book in the Bree-town Archives (which, admittedly was not that great of a feat), and none of it sufficed.

Dropping the stack onto the desk she tied up the pages with twine and packed her few things into her satchel. Eruviel’s books had only helped so much, and though the maps were nice, they did not help at this point in her writing. Aryl felt proud of herself for not reading the box of letters hidden in the guise of a thick, dully titled volume, and the most thrilling part of the whole day had been when a particularly petulant swan had chased her up the path to the house.

She needed experience. She needed inspiration that would give life to the last remaining chapters. Fitting on her thick cape, Arylieth closed the decorative iron grate over the font of the fireplace, and swung her satchel over her shoulders. “Maybe I should go for a ride and get captured,” she thought aloud. Eruviel had told her most of her own experiences, but it just seemed disrespectful to pry further than she already had. She wouldn’t really let herself get captured . . . that would be foolish! But if she could find someone with a more devious history . . . or better yet a book full of dark deeds who’s writer was already dead . . . .

“Yes! That would work splendidly,” she sang. Slipping out the front door into the crisp autumn afternoon, Arylieth locked up the house, hid the spare key, and scurried down the lane before the disgruntled bird could reappear.

 

 _ _ _ _ _

Thamon stared at the target, weighing the throwing knife in his hand. “M-May I see you do it one more time?” he asked quietly.

The little brat, thought Ris, glancing down at her brother’s adopted kid. His first several throws had missed horribly, and by their accuracy she knew the boy to be a terrible liar. “Sure. Here.” Drawing out another dagger she took a step back and with a swift flick of her arm cast the dagger into the bullseye. “Like that, see?”

He looked up at her and his hand shook slightly in a feigned moment of nervousness as he nodded. “Okay, Miss Thorne.” Thamon threw a dagger and the hilt bounced off the tree nearly a foot below the target. “S-See? I am terrible.”

Risalra put a hand on her hip and considered him with a wry smile. “You do a very good job at missing,” she commented casually. Stepping forward she walks towards the target. “Care to go one more round?”

“Yes, Miss Thorne,” Thamon grumbled, watching her as he followed to retrieve his scattered knives. Walking back he glanced forlornly back at the target. “I just don’t get it! I-I am bad at this. Why do you insist I do it?” Flinging a hand out in frustration, a knife escaped the boy’s grasp and landed with a thud in the bullseye. “I-I . . . didn’t mean . . . .” His eyes widened and turned away.

Risalra chuckled, not bothering to look at him as she eyed the target. “Cause you were so excited for this when we left your house . . . and I enjoy a little competition.” She shot Thamon wink and threw her own dagger, sticking it in the end of his.

A smile flashed across the young boy’s face and for the first time that night Risalra could see him lower his guard. “Thank you, Miss Thorne.” Walking over to her, Thamon chose a blade, inspected it, and pointed out his target. He hit the corner of the branch with ease. “Guess you won’t be able to keep up,” he chimed.

Yup. You’re a brat. Risalra sighed. “I suppose not –” she said as she started to turn, casting her knife away. The blade sailed across the yard, skinned along the side of the boy’s blade, and sunk into the soft wood. Glancing back to him she twirled another dagger in her hand. “Your turn.”

Thamon blinked at the target but quickly put on a smirk. He picked up another knife but in his haste completely missed, and this time not on purpose. “Ugh,” he groaned, scrunching up his face. “Put me out of my misery while you have the chance.”

Risalra snickered and pointed to the corner of the box garden. “I figured you’d be good –” She threw the dagger, hit her mark, and offered another knife to the boy ” — but didn’t think I’d have to work at beating Rath’s kid. I think you might be able to match him in throwing.”

Thamon looked up at her, a new spark lighting in his eyes. “You . . . you really think so?”

_ _ _ _ _

 

Clear . . . clear. Feira glanced out the door, down to one end of the hall, then the other.

Okaaaay . . . gogogogoGo! she thought with an excited panic as she sprinted down the hall with only the faintest pattering of her feet sounding in the corridor. Slipping into the library, the servant girl narrowly avoided closing her blonde curls in the gilded door and stood for a moment with her back against the wall, her chest heaving as she caught her breath.

A heavy sigh of relief deflated her chest as she saw that the house library was indeed empty, and after waiting a minute, listening for the sound of approaching feet that never came, she stepped away from the entrance. Using a chair for a boost, she stepped up onto a sturdy shelf of a bookcase and reached over the top to grope blindly through the dust. Oh please no spiders, oh please no spiders. Ah-hah! Her hand found the three-foot dowel she had procured from the gardener and, glancing around the empty isles, jumped down the four feet to the floor. Her skirts swirled around her as she stuck the landing, and she curtsied with a flourish of the dowel to her imaginary audience.

Returning the chair and fixing the few books she had displaced, Feira sauntered down one row of books then another, her eyes grazing over the titles as a lady might have a closet of shoes or a lover a street filled with flowers. Finally she found the one. Plucking the leather-bound petals from the shelf she peeked back around a towering shelf to the library entrance, and quickly retreated to the back corner of the room.

“Page . . . ah, here we are,” she whispered as she flipped through the soft leaves, stopping on a chapter titled by a picture  of two knights locked in combat. “Draw your sword before you engage,” she murmured, reading aloud as she extended the dowel before her. “It takes longer to draw a sword than it does to get hit.”

Continuing on, she relaxed her shoulders and set her feet, taking a moment to figure out just what angle to point her front foot. “There is no middle-ground nor compromise . . . .” Careful not to strike a marble likeness of a swan set up on the end of a bookshelf, Feira attacked forward at an imaginary Black Rose, the prized book on swordsmanship a shield in her off-hand.

“Tell Me.”

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Jumping up to grab hold of the gable of the roof, Risalra pulled herself up onto the old tile with a practiced ease. Ducking behind a chimney she peeked out to watch one of the town Watchers ride past. Not that she was doing anything illegal, per-say, but she didn’t have time to get stopped. As soon as he disappeared around the corner she jumped up and ran down the valley of the roof and faulted across the short expanse of an alley to the next house.

Finding her way easily over the maze of Bree rooftops she finally clambered down a tree into an old, hidden courtyard. Honestly, she had considered ditching the afternoon lessons. But she needed to get stronger. Her skill with a sword was elementary and she had every reason to work hard to get better. Leaning against the trunk of the tree she crossed her arms over her chest, entertaining the thought of running her newly forged blade through her instructors heart.

Don’t loose your head Ris, she chastised herself. There are two sides to every story . . . . She chuckled dryly as the Elf clad in formfitting, black leather armour dropped down from the roof across the courtyard to the ground, landing with ease. But maybe I won’t give her a chance to tell her side. . . . A second individual, a young woman in her early twenties with a wolf pelt draped over her shoulders, stopped on the roof the Elf had come from and sat on the edge, watching.

“Good to see you showed up, Ris,” came the first’s flowing voice, soft brown hair tumbling out of her black hood as she pulled it back.

“Eruviel,” Ris grumbled in greeting, her grip tightening on her hilt. “Course I’d show up. This was my bloody idea, wasn’t it?”

Eruviel nodded and tossed her cloak aside. “Why don’t we start with a review then,” she said, not looking up at her human pupil.

Look at me, dammit, Ris fumed, drawing her sword. “That works for me,” she responded curtly. The Elf’s eyes did not rise till Ris had begun going through her paces. Pouring her anger into her practice, Ris got done with her practiced stances so quickly that Eruviel made her run through them again. Then she did them backwards, and after that was taught a whole new set of moves, this time with two blades instead of one.

Panting for breath, Ris was nearing the end of the new steps when her toe caught on a tuft of grass. Crying out in frustration she stabbed her dagger in the ground and stopped to catch her breath. The strange woman still sat on the edge of the roof, watching as her feet swung freely in the open space below. Looking up to Eruviel, Risalra could see the elf’s face was hard as a mask. Though not insincere, layers of minor emotions shielded something else. Ris felt her anger swell.

“That was well done, Ris. You — you look tired. We can be done for the day if you like,” said Eruviel, giving Ris a sad smile.

That was about all Ris could stand. Snatching up her dagger she turned on Eruviel. “Tell me,” she growled, her blue eyes flashing dangerously. “You need to tell me why.”

Her emerald eyes taking Ris’s posture and approach, Eruviel took a step back, a hand moving to the long dagger at her hip. “Please, Ris,” she responded quietly, her voice catching. “Not . . . not right now.” Risalra could see that she clung to her mask desperately, and it fueled her desire to tear it to shreds.

“You elf witch!” she cried, parrying Eruviel’s block and thrusting forward with her longsword. “You broke my brother’s heart!” Swinging wildly, Ris lost it, her vision blurring as she put all of her practice to use. Just one drop, was all. She just wanted to see her bleed.

Retreating one step at a time, Eruviel easily blocked and parried Risalra’s attack. “Ris . . . Ris! Please!”

Her sword was knocked out of her hand and in a flash the elf huntress had her wrist in a vice-grip. “Why?! How could you — ” Risalra’s words caught in her throat as she finally looked Eruviel in the face. The elf’s jem-like eyes glistened with tears, filled with misery. “E-Eruviel. Please. Please tell me why,” she asked quietly, drawing her arm back as the elf released it.

“I couldn’t Ris. I couldn’t give him everything.”

Risalra’s brow furrowed. “What do you mean? He’d give you everything!”

“And he deserves everything in return!” Eruviel shouted, turning away. “My love never lessened, but I loved him as a friend and brother. It was not the kind of love that one gives to another when they intend to bind their lives together. ” Turning back Ris could have been knocked off her feet at seeing tears coursing down Eruviel’s cheeks. “I — am sorry, Ris. I could not give him children. He told me we didn’t need to have any, but you know Rath. I cannot go off to fight wars he cannot go to when he is old and childless. I cannot keep bringing death to his door, endangering both our lives. Even more, I am not willing to give it up for him. He needs some one who can give him everything in return. Someone who can give him a full life.”

Risalra swallowed, her eyes narrowing. “Did you tell him that?”

Eruviel nodded ‘yes’.

“And he argued back, didn’t he.”

“He did.”

“And you still ended things.” Risalra gave Eruviel half a second to nod ‘yes’ before slamming her fist into the Eldar’s face.

The elf didn’t even try to stop her, stumbling a step back from the force of the punch. A small smile curved up her lips as a stream of blood trickled out the corner of her mouth. “For Rath?”

“No,” Ris huffed, shaking out her hand. “For me.”

Eruviel wiped the blood off on her sleeve, nodding. “See you next week?”

Risalra retrieved her weapons and shoved them back into their sheaths as she walked away. “Sure.”

 

Introductions: The Road

“Pack . . . dagger . . . noteboooo –” Arylieth’s voice trailed off from her checklist as she turned in a circle. Scuttling over to her small desk in the corner she dropped a pile of papers on the chair and rifled through a stack of books. Her stomach sank. Where on earth was it?

The notebook wasn’t anywhere in the house. Picking up her skirts she ran outside, her long black hair billowing behind her as she padded down the front steps into the yard. She found a pencil by the gate but not her notebook.

“By the Valar,” she groaned, slapping a hand to her forehead. Glancing up at the sun she yipped and hurried back inside. “Curse it all, I’m gonna be late!”

Throwing her pack over her shoulders she snatched up her saddlebags packed with food and blankets from the common room. It had to still be at the Archives, she assured herself as she locked the door behind her. Gliding down the road towards the stables she suddenly scooped up her skirts and leapt into a sprint.

“A map! I cannot forget a map!”

__ __ __ __ __

“Are you sure you won’t stay?”

The young, rugged woodsman looked up at her as he stuffed his last shirt into his bag. “The whole family is going. You know father’s talked about going south for years.”

Huffing a stray hair out of her eyes Amiraen pushed off from where she leaned against the wall of the cabin. “Forgive me if I prefer forests of trees to those of stone.”

The man narrowed his eyes at her as he righted himself, fitting the strap of his bag over his shoulder and across his chest. “Gondor isn’t all that bad, sister. It would be a new adventure and you might even find someone.”

Amiraen scoffed, waving an idle hand at him. “I will find my own road, thank you. And I will not let father tie me down to some stuffy merchant’s son. If I end up in Gondor some day it will be my own choice.”

Her brother picked up his bow and walked over to her, tousling her hair like she was a child. “What am I going to do with you,” he sighed. She hated when he did that, but she knew she would miss it every day after he left. “Here, take this then,” he said, handing her the weapon.

“But — but you will need this!” she stammered, carefully holding the bow in both hands.

“You goose. If the war reaches us then I have my swords, and Gondor is full of fighting men. You are the best archer in the family. It’s only fair that you take it.”

Nodding, she clutched the weapon to her chest as she walked with him to the door. “Safe travels then. I will write when I figure out where I end up.”

“Love you,” he chuckled, planting a kiss on her forehead. “Take care of yourself Ami.”

Mira, you oaf,” she corrected with a smirk, giving her brother a playful shove as he turned to walk away. “Love you too.” She would see them again, she reassured herself. Life was funny like that. Securing the cabin she fixed the prized bow on her back, watching him confidently stride away.

He waved back at the turn in the road, and then he was gone. In the silence the Black Woods came alive as raindrops began to patter down through the evergreen canopy.  Binding her soft curls in a low pony-tail a smile curved up Amiraen’s face as it was kissed with each cool drop of water. A crisp wind whispered down through the branches of cedar and pine and, turning north, she let it sweep her away.

__ __ __ __ __

Risalra strolled down the path, a staff crossing over her shoulders and she rested both hands up on either end. Her first day away from the forge in two weeks, she nearly skipped down the path with joy. Nodding in greeting to the constable she turned down the left fork in the road, heading for Chetwood.

“Today could not get more perfect,” she hummed, stretching both hands up into the air, still holding on to the staff.

“Why can I not hit it!” sounded a man’s voice from up the hill, a quieter stream of curses following.

Looking up, Ris stopped as she saw a man facing down a tree, dagger in one hand as the other rubbed his shoulder. Smirking, she raised a hand to cup around her mouth and shouted up, “I think it’s already dead!”

The man jumped and quickly looked at her, startled. He smirked slightly to hide his embarrassment. “I um. . . yeah. . . my arm is not fully healed,” he sighed. “Just practicing.”

Glancing down the road to the woods Risalra turned to look back up at the man. “Maybe you should let it heal a little longer before getting mad at it for not doing your bidding.”

“I guess I am just eager to get better. I can’t help anyone if I’m injured.”

“You won’t do anyone much good if you’re a dead hero,” she replied frankly, watching him pick up up his daggers. He was tall and built. And with ideals like that he was the kind of man she might have pick-pocketed just to get close to without fearing repercussions. But she’d given up being a petty thief so she promptly put the thought from her mind. Shrugging, she offered a slight wave as she turned to be on her way.

“I am no hero miss,” he said as he walked down the hill to the road. “I never want to be. I just believe every child should grow up innocent.”

Risalra stopped and looked back at him, dumbfounded, unable to decide if she should stay or continue on. “That is a noble sentiment. Too bad there are more children in the slums than you can handle.” What a fool.

The man shrugged his broad shoulders and Ris locked her gaze on his face. “Why is that a reason to give up?” he asked softly. Looking to her with a small smile he added, “My name is Ranthier, by the way.”

Arching a brow she studied him, but did not respond to the question. “I’m Ris. A pleasure to meet you, I suppose.”

“Well Ris, if you would excuse me I have work to do. Will . . . will I see you around?”

Bema save me, Risalra smirked. Rolling her shoulders she turned and walked away. “It’s a small world, so I suppose you will. See you around, Knight Ranthier,” she called over her shoulder, her eyes twinkling as she felt rather proud of her quip. He did not respond, but as they walked in opposite directions she could have sworn he’d called her a smart ass.

Arylieth, Eruviel, Amiraen, Risalra

Arylieth, Eruviel, Amiraen, Risalra