Eirikr

Bittersweet: Lex Talionis

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“Watch your step, Artis.”

Eruviel stopped short, halted by Milloth’s quick whisper. The stone tile in front of her gave off a faint, sorcerous shimmer. “Why are we here?” she asked in a hushed tone as she skipped two tiles ahead to be safe, and crowded up beside him.

Milloth’s golden hair cascaded over his grin as he motioned for her to be quiet. The heavy, scraping steps of an orc guard echoed from two corridors down, grew louder, than faded away. “Borrowing something.”

“You mean stealing.”

Milloth motioned for her to follow, and the two Elves glided down to the end of the dark hall with hardly a rustle of their cloaks. “I mean taking preventative measures.”

The elleth frowned up at her brother. “What are we stealing?”

His fingers twitching, Milloth did not respond for a moment. Resting a hand on her shoulder, he pointed through the wide door to a winding stairwell leading up.  “Four flights will take you up two floors. There is a large study, and you should find a little black box somewhere.”

Eruviel seethed. “What, with all the other little black boxes?”

“There is only one.”

“This is a terrible plan.”

“Then why did you come along?”

Huffing a harsh, quiet breath, Eruviel moved towards the stair only to have her wrist caught by Milloth. Looking back to the Elf, he placed a little pouch in her hand. “What is that?”

“For the student resting on a bench to the right of the door — Oh, and be careful of the holding cell one floor up. I couldn’t tell if anyone was there.”

Eruviel gave her brother an incredulous look.

Milloth released her and nodded briskly for her to go on. “Be quick. I will be here. I promise.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Eruviel turned down a dark corridor as she headed back to the front hall, knowing, in spite of her frustration, that Eirikr was right. Her hand ached from gripping the sword hilt too hard, and no amount of shaking her head could expel the fog gathering in her mind as she walked briskly to return to the group near the entrance of the Tower.

Stone. Iron. Orc. Incense. Blood. It was the blood she could smell most. Her fingers shifted on the leather-bound grip. The Elf could feel it, the haze creeping in on the edges of her mind and vision, making her irritable, and impatient. Then there was the hunger….

Darkness trickled into the hall like water from up ahead. If she could end it now, if she could just get one shot, then they could regroup. They could walk out of the gates, and go home, and never have to come back.

Air rushed past her as the dim light shining from behind her disappeared. Rainion’s words springing easily across her tongue, flame sprung to life along her well oiled blade, and she moved to run when a wave of darkness slammed into her. Trapping her arms, the black tendrils whipped about, and for a moment Mornenion’s face appeared, grinning wickedly as he closed in on her…. But then the face vanished. As quickly as it appeared the mass of shadow dropped her and withdrew, retreating down the corridor in the direction she meant to go.

Eruviel landed on her feet. If it had come from the hall be hind…. Shouts from ahead interrupted her thoughts. Leaping into a run, she did not falter as the shadow of an orc stepped into her path. A thrill ran up her arm from the sword and she ran faster, colliding with the beast, sword piercing between plating and ripping out as the Elf did not stop. She could feel it, the cold, hateful soul of a being, twisted from birth, flowing into the bright elven steel.

More.

In the long hall before her, Eruviel’s eyes flicked quickly over the faces of her friends, hunting as the small group reacted to black tendrils yanking Phrazanu off of his feet and dragging him away. Locking on her quarry, she flew forward over the smooth stone tile. Putting her full body into the swing, she half spun with the slash, severing the dark arms.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Mornenion watch from his cover of darkness at the far end of the hall as the Elf paced back and forth. She was faster than she had been minutes before, and certainly more volatile. Like an animal caged by reason and expectation she prowled, searching the shadows, not for the sorcerer, but for him.

No, he had planned to kill the brothers and Bree woman as soon as Eruviel had led them up the stairs. She was closest to those two, the bear and the archer, and making her watch them die would have been delicious. But at the last minute the man had stopped her and somehow convinced her to turn back. Mornenion cursed the Barding. To be honest it surprised him, her relenting to the insistence of the Human.

And there was Minuziel. Lovely, troublesome Min. He had expected some sort of plotting from her, but not like this. She belonged to him, as well as her bastard child, and he would never allow her to leave. Mornenion’s fists clenched, a fresh surge of unbidden anger rising in him as his wife clung to the arm of that horrible boy.

They are mine!

Casting out a hand, a wave of darkness surged across the hall, tossing some, and whipping about others. Poke them, prod them, then let their bones clatter to the floor in piles of their own dust. The swell of sick delight at Eruviel slamming into the wall was swiftly obliterated as he saw Minuziel standing calm and untouched by his attack.

Looming forward, behind the newly arrived second party — What timing — Mornenion focused hard and gathered more shadow from further into the tower. “If you wish to leave, she stays.”

The call of the Bree woman was lost to his ears as Minuziel spoke up.”You may as well come out. No use in acting dark and shadowy when they know who you are.”

Mornenion glared at her for a moment, mulling over the idea. He was using more energy than he had intended… But she was right. He could come out, strike in the middle of their ranks…. The sound of bone rung in his memory again, and Mornenion looked down as the Barding archer drew his sword and…. Was he really pointing a sword at him?

The sorcerer’s laughter rung against the stone walls. “What are you going to do with that?”

The angry, bearded man did not falter. “Poke things that should die.”

Eruviel was ushered further behind her friends, the bear-boy following close to her as the Bree woman pushed herself to her feet and walked over. “Hey, ass, I asked you a question!” she barked at the shadow.

Mornenion sighed. Some people. He manifested the outline of his figure to appear in the center of the room has he turned his attention from the Barding to the Bree woman. A tendril of shadow flicked out lashing the woman hard across the face. She managed to get her arms up in time, and took the full force of the strike, which flung her back to the floor with a thud and sharp gasp.

“Come out, coward!”

Mornenion’s focus snapped to the silver-haired Elf just as the Barding charged at him. Landing in a run, the sorcerer drove his shoulder in to the bearded man’s chest, intent on rushing past. The Barding grunted on impact, but grabbed at his attacker to take him down with him.

The bear-boy roared loudly and thundered toward the sorcerer and his brother, only slightly hindered by his nasty wound. Mornenion staggered a bit as the Barding grabbed for him, but shrugged off his hands and flung a wave of shadow at at the charging animal. It barreled into the bear-boy, shoving him out of the way with a yip in pain just as a sharp kick dropped the sorcerer to his knees.

Out of the corner of his vision Eruviel rushed at him. I’ll finish this once and for all. I swear, I’ll kill all of them as you drown in your own blood. Mornenion lashed out a hand as the Elf drew near, shadow tossing her aside like a doll and reaching desperately for her mind as he turned back to drive —

Amidst a shout, a fist slammed into the side of his face. Mornenion staggered from the force, emitting an angered cry as he fell back. It had been years since he had been struck, and it never felt quite as painfully disagreeable as this. He felt his shadow lift off the white-haired man — then tasted blood as the Barding’s foot caught him in the mouth. Snarling, he grabbed at the bearded man’s ankle… and nothing happened. The Barding should have been collapsing in a heap of dust and hunter garb, but instead he struggled against Mornenion’s grip, very much alive. Somewhere beyond the weight of anger and blood, desperation finally crept in as his shadows were swept away, leaving the great room measurably brighter than before.

Releasing the man, Mornenion scrambled to his feet, panic gripping him as he turned to flee. No sorcery! None! Never had it left him. Was it the Elves? The Barding? Min? Perhaps it was the other sorcerer, or the Council…. Betrayed, betrayed, they all have betrayed you. A little more power and I’ll show them all. They will cower and writhe and I will take everyth — The Bree woman’s hands appeared from the side, causing him to stumble, when suddenly a bitterly cold shock plunged through his spine.

A tormented cry of pain erupted from his throat, filling the room  as a red-coated sword drove out of his chest. Mornenion knew what death felt like. It had not been pleasant, but there were worse things. With a little help it had been easy enough to escape from the first time, but this…. He was paralyzed by cold steel sapping the warmth from his blood. He tried to rebel against it, and pull himself away, but that only increased his agony. Every fiber of him felt as if it were tearing apart.

Gasping, grasping for air, for power, for anything, true darkness crept into his vision as he was forcefully ripped from the spells that held his spirit in place. He felt the weight of a body against his back, the warmth of a forehead against his shoulder. In one last effort to escape his fate he grabbed for the Elf who held the despicable weapon that devoured his essence from the inside – out. Nails caught flesh, then feeling was lost, and as the steel was pulled away, the last he ever saw was the prized cage that had been his body slumping over to exhale it’s final breath.

(Second half derived from in-game RP log, and edited for tense, composition, and Mornenion’s point of view. Thank you to Atanamir, Cwendlwyn, Valthier, Raenarcam, Hallem, and Feygil for all the help and for coming along for the ride!)

Anecdotes: Return

“You sure they’re there?”

Frank grumbled in frustration and pointed again to the distant copse of trees lit by the low orange glow of campfires. “I don’t give shit reports. They are there.”

“Watch your mouth.”

“We should move in now, while we have the chance,” Frank growled, glaring at Ildric through the dark.

Ildric crawled back till it was safe enough to stand, and adjusted the sword at his hip. “I’ll take it from here. You ride on back.”

Frank wheeled around to face the towering man. “I brought the report from the Elf herself. I have seen their numbers and I am staying. I want them dead just as much as –”

Ildric snatched Frank up by the front of his tunic and tossed the young man back. “Go to your wife, Frank. I know you got a score to settle, but you’re no good to me.”

“You bastard,” Frank snarled, scrambling to his feet.

Moving to shove the younger man away, the sound of horses reached Ildric’s ears. Grabbing Frank by the shoulder he drug him in to clap a hand over his mouth. The sound grew louder then faded off to their right, and Ildric did not release his friend till the echo of hooves had faded.

“What you do that for?”

“You’re a mouth breather.”

Frank punched Ildric hard in the shoulder. “I am not. You’re an ass.”

“True.”

“When do we go?”

Ildric frowned down at him. “You’re goin’ nowhere but home.”

Frank set his feet and glared up at the man.

What felt like several minutes passed before Ildric nodded his head curtly. “You’re a pain, Frank.”

Frank sniffed, dusting off his left sleeve as he marched past the older man. “I learn from the best.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Feira leaned over the railing, hands cleaning to the rigging as fresh ocean mist sprayed up to shower her face and cling to her hair. Home! It was just beyond the horizon… and a little ways beyond that, but still! The air slowly turned increasingly warmer, as did the salty sea, and Feira wondered for a moment what would happen if she lept from the side do dive into the frothing hills of blue water.

“Ho! Miss!” called a deck hand from behind her. “Ya wanna be careful. Hit a swell ‘n ya be swimmin’ yer way back teh Gondor!”

Feira shoved her golden hair out of her eyes as she beamed back at the man worn by sun and years at sea. “If I did, maybe I’d beat you all there!”

The man stared at her for a moment, a little bewildered by her response before chuckling and shaking his head. “Well can’ say I didn’ warn ya! S’long as yeh enjoy it and ain’t leanin’ too far I s’pose it don’t hurt any, though.”

Nodding readily, Feira smiled a charming smile at the man, not minding the pitch of the ship since she had got her sea legs a few days before. “I’ll be careful! Thank you!”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Eruviel leaned back against her front door, listening as Eirikr’s footsteps retreated down the hill towards the cabin. The fearful ache started to crawl it’s way back into her chest.

How can you ask me to stay behind?

And she had caved. Of course she had. He thought she sounded crazy. He was angry with her… and she supposed if things were reversed she would have been, too. As much as she wanted to beg and plead for him to change his mind, a fresh confidence also settled over her, knowing that he would be there.

Damn it. Damn it. Damn it.

How could she communicate the danger? How could she tell him — all of them why any of this was happening? Sliding down the smooth door, she stared at the floor between her knees. How could she turn the tides in their favor. He’s arrogant, prideful, dramatic… and scared.

“Going to face him head-on, tracking him down. That is predictable. Draw him out!”

Her gaze turned to the delicate silver chain around her neck. Lifting a hand she pulled the small blue agate out from beneath her shirt, gazing at it for a moment before grasping it in her fist. “Draw him out, hmm? Damn it, Eirikr,” she whispered softly. Leaning her head back she closed her eyes, pulling herself out of each thought and emotion, allowing the white light that filled her mind to become everything that was.

Eruviel opened her eyes. There were no shadows as bare feet carried her up the low, grassy hill speckled with blue and white flowers swaying on silver stems. Carefully she withdrew the light from the boundaries of her mind, and while not blinding and filled with her will, the light remained, like the soft haze of sunlight that blurs one’s surroundings.

It was not long till he came. She sensed him first, cautious and corrupting, his shadows coiling out in attempt to drown out her light.

“I admit that I am surprised. Are your defenses so weak, or are you too tired to care.”

Her skin crawled as he drew close, but the dark form did not attempt to step foot on the low hill, and she did not so much as move to acknowledge him.

He prowled for a moment, circling her small rise with an air that said he was merely humoring her. “How disappointing that you burned the banners, though. I had been saving them just for you. I was hoping you might keep them with you as you steal into my tower to finish what you had started.”

Again she did not respond, gazing off to some distant corner of her mind, her own features obscured by the surrounding glow.

Mornenion stopped, fixing her with a dangerous look. “Why did you let me back in?”

Finally she she turned to face him and lifted her gaze to meet his. “I have been waiting for you.”

Bittersweet: Get Out

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In a cloud of steam and laughter, the women poured out of Stonebluff. Hair damp and eyes bright with merriment, the soak and good company had brought each soul to overflowing.

“– then he cut his apron strings and ran out of there as fast as he could!” cried Beth, laughing lasciviously at her own joke.

“Umm… Yes, I… I think I get it,” muttered Anyatka, cheeks flushed with embarrassment as she looked to Eruviel for help.

Eruviel fought back a playful smirk as both women looked to her. She paused, handing off her basket of food to Feygil who shouted a war cry about beating the men to the feast as male voices drifted out of the Broken Cask. “I think in this rare case your joke would flow better if the baker ‘pounded’ instead of ‘kneaded’.”

Anyatka look utterly mortified, and Beth laughed even louder than before as she skipped ahead to share her joke with Ansithe and Varidia. “Do not look so shocked, oselle,” said Eruviel as she linked arms with Anya, her fair cheeks flushed with one too many glasses of wine. The merry band crossed over the Dunwash on their way to Ravenhold, and behind them Rosie could be heard preemptively scolding the menfolk for drinking all of her good ale.

“I just was not expecting that from you,” Anya muttered, a sheepish smile stealing over her features.

“You will find out soon enough. Just spare me the details when you and Ander–”

Eruviel!” Anyatka cried.

Eruviel threw her head back with a merry laugh, and that was when she saw the lone figure standing on the bridge. Was it Eirikr? Or perhaps Cedoric wandering off?

“What is it?” asked Anya, peering around the Elf in attempt to see what had caught her friend’s attention.

Giving the young woman’s arm a squeeze, Eruviel stepped away from the flow of friends heading up the hill. “Nothing. I will be right behind you.”

Arching a brow, Anya shrugged and waved after her. “Don’t take too long!”

Eruviel grinned and, pulling her ribbon-bound braid over her shoulder, headed for the bridge.

“Hey, where are you going?” called another voice from behind. Glancing back she saw Abbi waving at her even as he snagged a bottle from Hallem’s hands. Behind him was… Eirikr? who’s wave to her faltered as he reached to try and snag Abbi, the younger Tenorbekk scampering around Taja. Chuckling, she waved and continued on.

The figure on the bridge shifted, and she could see it better now, the long beard and stern profile.

“Commander?”

Godric turned again in the dark to face her.

“You should come and join us, Sir. We –”

Eruviel’s words were cut short when the towering man slumped forward in the darkness. She rushed up the bridge, and skidded to a halt when the shadows receded enough to reveal the Commander leaning forward, impaled on a long black sword. Breath caught in her lungs as happy laughter echoed down from Ravenhold.

“I should thank them,” came the cool, all too familiar voice. Eruviel’s fists clenched as she slowly remembered, her dream continuing on without her. “That is one less pest to have to account for.”

“You will leave them alone.”

The shadow leaning up against the railing of the bridge watched her, violet-brown eyes unblinking from beneath the dark hood. “Did I ever tell you what it sounded like? The last ragged breath escaping Milloth from the hole in his chest?”

“Get out of my head.”

“Who should I kill first? Or should I curse the lot of them and save myself the effort?” The robed figure stood and began to approach. Bodies began to bob up in the water below them, Ruby Lake turning crimson in the moon light.

A terrible ache tore through her chest. She had promised. She had promised. The Elf looked down again, and to her surprise the horrifying scene changed. As soon as the bodies appeared they suddenly vanished, one by one in soft puffs of smoke.

“It is no use. Why do you fight? Are you not tired of it all? I might steal whatever magic is in the red eye of your friend. I also have more spirits. You remember, don’t you? I could turn them all against you….”

Shadows snaked around Eruviel to trap her, suffocate her… but they collapsed at her feet in piles of flowers. It wasn’t her….

“Did you forget what he told you? You will never be free, not of him, or me, or the curse that follows you.”

“Get out,” she growled through gritted teeth.

Cold laughter wafted around like a chilling breeze, drawing nearer. “No? Maybe I will make myself a bear fur coat. There is something so sensual about fur against the skin…. And maybe I’ll take that little boy and his father, and –”

Godric’s greying body fell away in a glittering shower of limrafn dust, and Eruviel reached out to catch the sword before it could fall. “Get out!”

Whirling around, she sliced off the hand reaching for her and with a shout, before plunged the blade into the bridge. The figure reeled back as the reality of the Eruviel’s dream shifted violently and heaved up to shatter about them. Starlight flickering like fire erupted with a concussive roar from the Elf and sword, and flooded out, filling every crevice of her mind till his laughter and shadows had nothing to hold onto.

– – – – –

With a cry Eruviel shot upright, the steaming water in her tub sloshing about her. Gasping she sagged back in the fragrant bath, hiding her face in her hands.

He was gone. A small, relieved sob escaped her as she curled up into a ball at one end of the basin. One night of rest was all she wanted at that moment. And somehow she knew he was gone. Finally gone. Whatever, or whoever had helped her —

Fletch’s frantic barks sounded from beyond the closed door. The  growing pup whined, scratched,  and barked again as he tried to dig his way past the door and into her. Grabbing her robe, Eruviel stumbled out of the bath, water pooling in her wake. Yanking open the bathroom door, she was nearly knocked over as Fletched barreled into her.

“Hey, hey, calm down boy. It’s all right. I’m all right.”

Whining worriedly, Fletch nuzzled and licked her face as Eruviel knelt down on the floor.

Wrapping her trembling arms around his neck, Eruviel closed her eyes, offering a prayer of thanks when she saw nothing behind her closed lids. “Shhh, boy. It is all right. Everyone will be all right. I promised.”

– – – – –

Yarig! Benrith!

The Uruk and Angmarim guard exchanged unreadable, yet somehow knowing looks as they turned to step into the bedchamber. They did not so much as flinch as a bench flew to shatter against the stone wall beside them, nor blink as a wave of shadow tore what was left of the bed to pieces. Light bent and twisted, and the Lord marched, sword in hand to stand between the guards.

“My lord,” said Benrith, standing at attention.

Long black hair tossed in a crazed twist over his shoulders, piercing eyes drifted from one guard to the other. “Yarig?”

The Uruk stood a bit taller. “My lord.”

The sorcerer was not the tallest of his peers, and his muscled shoulders not the broadest, but the shadows loomed up about him, making him in his anger appear larger than life.  “Bring me your pick of five of the best you can find in the ranks. I mean to double my guard.”

Yarig did not move till his lord motioned for him to. His long strides only carried him to the doorway before a word from the sorcerer halted him.

“My lord?”

The sorcerer put a hand on Benrith’s shoulder, and with one clean swipe, sliced the man’s head off. It hit the stone floor with a sickening thunk and rolled towards the Uruk even as it’s former body decayed and turned to dust. “Take that with you. Have it sent to Aughaire. It would not do for him to be late in reporting back.”

Bittersweet: Haunting Hours

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The bonfire in the yard of Ravenhold crackled and sparked, embers dancing up towards the stary sky to beat of the music. It was midnight, but the only magic there came from contagious smiles and contented laughter as the happy din drifted out over the homestead.  There was no special occasion, but in truth did they really need one?

Near the totem Oendir played his fiddle, laughing at Nelia and Solstan. Cwendlwyn sat at his feet, smiling as she accompanied him on her lute. The woman exchanged a meaningful look with her husband as the melody danced and mixed just as well as the half-dozen couples that swung together in the firelight. Everyone was there. Taja danced with a woman in blue, Ansithe, Feygil and Beth huddled close as the latter coerced Fey into a prank, and Abbi sat leaning against Atanamir as he embellished a tale of grand adventure for Dorsett and Sage.

Then there was Anders with his arms around Anya, the two whispering happily. Pheadra and Varidia stood with Cedoric, teasing the young man about something as Cedoric’s friend beside him watched on in amusement. There was Gaelyn and Halvel, Hallem and Lichen, and Mor standing in the midst of the romping Torsten, Eboric, and Atrian. Pharazanu and Zabathôr sat to one side, soaking up the firelight and merriment. Near them stood Kemendin who was shaking his head at some absurd comment that had sprung from a happily drunken Raenarcam, and on the far side Godric sat, Wraith’s head resting on his lap as he oversaw the festivities with what might have been a smile beneath his mighty beard.

Applauding with the rest as the song ended, Eruviel excused herself from a conversation with Rosie as she noticed a form lingering in the shadows beyond the reach of the firelight. She had thought everyone to be there, and on such a merry evening no one should be left out. Eruviel glanced over her shoulder to the happy gathering to mentally check off who might not be in attendance, but stopped in her tracks as she looked back to the shadows and found them empty. How strange.

Shrugging, she turned back to return to the party when cold fingers curled over her shoulder. The shadow loomed up behind her, causing her heart to leap up and catch in her throat.

“Looks like fun,” breathed the voice as a hooded face dipped low to hover by her ear. “There are more of them than I had anticipated.”

Every muscle in her body tensed. Unable to bring herself to turn, she fixed a horrified gaze down on the festive gathering. “You’re dead.”

A chuckle sent dreadful shivers up her spine, the breath in her ear cold. “Am I? Yes… yes, I was? I was! You had to choose to stay, didn’t you? Oh, you could have stayed beyond the sea or gone with him, but you never learn. You had to find new people to fill the void of what you lost.”

“How dare you think they are merely –”

“Merely what?” the voice calmly interrupted, the grip on her shoulder tightening. “Don’t get snippy with me. It won’t be as easy as last time. You sssee, I learn my lessons.”

A light rain began to fall. The fire hissed in protest, and the droplets soaked into her skin, but no one else appeared to notice. Eirikr emerged from Ravenhold, Drewett on his heels and laughing. Clapping the farmer on the back the Dalish man wove around the crowd, lifting one of the goblets in his hands as he made his way over to the Elf.

“What are you doing over there?” Eirikr called with a smile. “Come on! Everyone’s waiting.”

Did he not see him? Eruviel forced a smile and accepted the glass with a grateful nod. “I apologize. It’s — It’s a nice vantage from here.”

Giving her a curious look, the man then chuckled and took her hand to rest it on his forearm. “It is, I suppose, but no sneaking off. Come on back.”

The cold hand slowly released her, and the hooded face retreated back into the shadows beyond the yard as she stepped forward to return with Eirikr. “It is you or them…. Enjoy it while it lasts.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Eruviel’s eyes fluttered open. A noon breeze gently rocked her as she lay in her hammock, and Fletch sat on the grass beneath her, whining loudly with concern as he stared up at his Elf.

Heaving a heavy sigh, Eruviel lifted a hand to wipe at her face and was startled to find it wet with rain. Indeed, her dress and hair were soaked with rain water. Sitting up she shivered bodily, glancing about the yard with a frown as her dream quickly faded to a dull memory.

The stress knotted in her gut, making her feel ill. It had been such a good dream, too. Hopping down from the hammock she took a moment to comfort Fletch, assuring him that she was all right before turning to rescue the dripping linens from the line.

Bittersweet: Choices

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“Since we did not need his help, we owe him nothing.”

Eruviel nodded in agreement with Eirikr. All she had wanted was Anyatka back, and now that they had her, putting the orc camp a ways behind them, she wanted to see them all safely home.

Eirikr looked around at his companions. “Then the question is whether we release them or…not.”

Her right hand tightened ever so slightly on her bowstring. Delostor. Not that wanting to steal Anya and put the spirit of Faethril in her was bad enough, now Parmanen had changed his mind and planned to put the long dead woman into the body of his daughter. His only child. It turned her stomach, and made her furious.
“Just give them the damn statue, and let them have their obscene little romance. At least then we never have to see them again,” said Esthyr from behind the tree she had retreated to.

Eruviel shook her head. “It would be very one sided,” she says quietly.

Esthyr’s arm snaked round the tree to point in the direction of Lomiphel. “You heard her! She volunteered.”

Lômiphel sagged as she nodded. Her face was flushed and sweaty, and the Elf looked to the woman’s bandaged arm. We need to get her to a healer, and soon.

Eruviel shook her head. “Giving Faethril a body will not make her love Delostor. And he does not love her.”

“If we give them the dragon, we must return home for it…” Eirikr looked at Eruviel. “What are you talking about?”

Esthyr crossed her arms. “Fine.”

Eruviel could feel Parmanen’s eyes as he watched her and Eirikr closely and with a look of concentration. Did the air around him cool? Be careful. For all you know he could freeze every one of us.

Eruviel looked to Eirikr. “About Faethril or Delostor?”

“Both.”

“Faethril never mentioned Delostor. Not once. It was always Aeron. The last time I saw her face it was when we thought we had killed her and she looked peaceful. Trapping the spirit of a woman one can never posses, then forcing her into the body of another is not love. It is want, and possessive, and wicked,” she says, turning her gaze to Parmanen. It was all a sick, twisted mess. Anyatka being used by this man, Lôm agreeing for, if nothing else, the love of her father, the danger that those she loved had been in for the past two years….

“Then we kill them and go home,” said Eirikr.

Gaelyn spoke up then. “That seems unnecessary.” Hallem nodded in agreement with him.

Eruviel continued to watch the older man with a wary expression as Eirikr looked over at Gaelyn. “We have no jail to hold a sorcerer.”

Parmanen raised his bound hands and suddenly the surface of the lake surged. A wave of water rose and crashed toward them.

She had wanted to try and save him. Ever since reading his journal she had wanted to try and find a way to, in the least,  give the old Parmanen a chance to overpower the Black Numenorean that had been put in him all those years ago. She had tried, and failed. What if he now escaped? How many more lives would he hurt and ruin? The water rushing in, Eruviel drew back on her bowstring, and fired her arrow at the sorcerer.

It was a clean shot, aimed at the man’s heart. But a shout that did not come from one of her friends rose, and as the wave hit them, Lômiphel threw herself in front of her father.

The wave gone, Parmanen struggled to sit up, but the weight of Lômiphel pinned him down. Harsh, rasping gasps for breath fill the air, and Eruviel saw her arrow sticking out of the woman. “Help her! Please!” cried the older man as he tried to get up again.

Gaelyn rushed forward, and Eruviel with him. She glanced to one side. Good, Eirikr is all right. He has Anya…“Esthyr!”

Esthyr stalked over to them all, cursing under her breath.

Parmanen suddenly looked not like a wicked sorcerer, but like a scared old man.

Esthyr squatted down to inspect the woman, and sighed. “Her lung is punctured, and her scapula likely shattered. If we were in Bree, I might be able to do something, but I don’t think she can survive this. I can’t remove the arrow without tearing even more.”

Eruviel, keeping out of her way, knelt down beside Esthyr, her face pale. “She wouldn’t survive the trip back?” Parmanen let his head fall back against the dirt and closed his eyes.

Esthyr pursed her lips as she looked down at Lomiphel. “She’s not going to survive for even a few more minutes.” She looked at Parmanen. “Whatever you want to say, old man, say it now.”

Damn… damn, damn, damn…. Eruviel put her hands on either side of Lom’s head. It was the least she could do. “Lom?”

Gaelyn frowned deeply. “Shit…”

Esthyr squatted down to mop at Lomiphel’s brow in a vain attempt to make her somewhat more comfortable.

Lômiphel didn’t respond. The breaths came slower; her eyes hardly open. It hit Eruviel like a charging beast. Pouring calm and comfort into the young woman’s body, her own suddenly screamed as if muscles had been torn, and her lung felt heavy and on fire. Something was shattered, she could feel the fever and infection from Lom’s arm, and to top it off Eruviel could feel her body weaken as the life drained from the young woman’s body.

Esthyr reached into her pouch. “I have some valerian leaves. It will at least ease a little of the pain before she goes.” Esthyr tried to open Lomiphel’s mouth, and deposited a few of the leaves under her tongue.

Parmanen spat out between gritted teeth, “Just kill us. End her suffering.”

Eruviel continued holding Lomiphel’s head, her features pale, looking somewhere between tears and being sick. Esthyr stayed as well, mopping at Lomiphel’s brow.

“Please,” Parmanen begged as Lômiphel struggled to breathe. “Don’t let her suffer.”

Eruviel shook her head. “S-She has no pain….”

“I can pull out the arrow,” Esthyr offered. “That would probably knock her out…” Esthyr leaned down to check Lômiphel’s breath. Lômiphel coughed, spattering Esthyr’s cheek with blood.  Not seeming to care, Esthyr firmly gripped the arrow shaft where it protruded from Lomiphel. But her hand relaxed when she felt the woman’s chest go still.

Eruviel let out a quiet, pained gasp as she felt the life leave Lômiphel’s body, and quickly drew her hands back. Out of the corner of her eyes she could see Parmanen tremble. No one, not even a man like him, should have to suffer the loss of a child.

What felt like several minutes passed before Eirikr picked up Anya. “Bring them both. We can deal with this at home. For now, let us get further away to a place we can safely camp.”
Gaelyn, Eruviel, and Esthyr all moved to take up Lom’s body, but it was Eruviel who ended up bearing the young woman in her arms.

“Gaelyn?” sounded Eirikr’s voice with surprising gentleness. She couldn’t bear to look at him. Not any of them.

“…Huh?”

“Are you all right?”

“Yeah, I’ll be fine.”

Gaelyn? Had he and … Oh, Valar…. And she thought she had felt ill before. Cradling the deceased woman’s body, Eruviel’s gaze grew distant as she played those few seconds over and over in her head. She couldn’t save any of them, could she? Not Lom, not the warg woman in Rohan, not Ni —

They walked on, following Eirikr’s lead.

“Look, you can’t blame yourself,” said Esthyr as she walked beside her, supporting Parmanen’s weight. “She chose to do that.”

You made your choice, and she made hers.

The pain still singing through her limbs, Eruviel offered a single, agonizing nod.

 

((Taken from in-game RP, 3/12/2016. Edited for tense, point of view, and exposition. Thank you to Cwendlwyn for the lot, and for playing as Eirikr, Anyatka, Lomiphel, and Parmanen!))

Bittersweet: Red

Faethril screamed, this time in pain, as the molten metal directed by Anric’s expert kick to the vat covered her. The jewelry was coated in the hot plasma. They were destroyed, melting beneath the heat, and Faethril lost substance. The gems in each piece burst, her face took on a strange look of serenity and then, just like that, she was gone. In that moment, Anya fell to her knees as if struck.

“They’re… she’s gone,” said the young woman as she stared past red waves of hair at the dirt between her hands.

Eruviel placed a hand softly on Anya’s back. “How do you feel, oselle?”

Anyatka turned her light grey eyes up to look at her. “I…I feel so light.”

Eruviel’s eyes snapped open. She could still smell the deer meat and savory gravy from the pie lingering in the warm air of the house. Drawing a deep breath she sat up in the oversized chair filling one corner of her bedroom, mindful of the puppy that slept on her feet.

It had been two years since the Red Pass. Two years since she had sat in Ost Guruth holding Anya’s hand as a healer had stitched up the young woman’s back. Two years, and they were no closer to being rid of Faethril, and Parmanen.

Reaching down beside her chair, she lifted the red wine bottle with her seal on it’s side, and frowned. She had forgotten that she had finished it earlier. A shame. She liked that vintage. The same that they had almost gotten drunk on a year ago….

“I should be moving out soon. Regardless of breaking ground on the expansion. You need your space back, and my siblings need me there.”

Frowning, Eruviel adjusted the sash of her long, black and gold silk night robe. Glancing to the glow of firelight that could be seen past the cracked open door, she scooped up the puppy who had by now awoken to gaze expectantly up at her.

Anyatka, Anyatka, she repeated to herself, attempting to focus on the more pressing matter at hand instead of the ache that tightened in her chest. It was not the impending departure, but the stoic expression he wore as he’d said it that made her suddenly wonder if it had all just been —  Eruviel shook her head violently. Such a fool. She was being as ridiculous as her oselle. She had overstepped her bounds before, and would not do so again. She would do nothing, for it was not her place, and it was the right thing to do. She was sure of it.

Curling up in the chair with her puppy, the Elf closed her eyes. What would I do without you, my little friend? Getting tackled then tossed about by a six and a half foot, two hundred and eighty pound man had left her exhausted. It was not good for her to dwell on such matters when in such a state. She would need all of her energy for when they left in the morning to go hunt for their lost sister. Anders would get the message by morning and, Valar willing, they would meet Anya half way to the horse farms.

Resting her head on the arm of the chair, Eruviel let out a long, quiet sigh. She drew away beyond the house and the distant memory of his arms, beyond Durrow, and Bree-land till the woods and fields filled with colors and faded. Then all was dark as night, and she slowly emptied herself till all that remained was a luminous star-like being that hovered alone in the blue-black void, filled with gladness, and peace, and purpose.

Dear, foolish, selfish oselle. Be smart. Be safe.

Orome, please… please let us find her first.

 

((Two years since all the fun at ‘Through the Red Pass‘!))

Two In The Morning

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Tap, tap.

Witch!” sounded Ildric’s lazy attempt at a whisper.

Tap, tap, tap….

Eruviel!”

The Elf’s eyes flew open and she shushed the window, feeling a bit of relief at seeing the door to her room closed and latched as she went to open the window. “Keep it down, old man” she whispered, far more carefully than he had. “What do you want?”

Ildric poked his head inside and looked around. “Why’ve you not invited me in before? This is a nice place — Is that really what you wear to bed?”

Eruviel rolled her eyes and cinched the satin belt of her robe tighter around her waist, just to be safe. “That’s none of your business. Why are you here in the middle of the night?”

“The boys have everything packed up. We’re ’bout to head out.”

“It’s freezing, and two in the morning!” she chided in a hushed tone.

“So? You said you wanted to see us off whenever we left.”

Eruviel leveled him with an even look. “I was having a good dream.”

Ildric’s lips curled in an impish smirk as he leaned against the ledge. “I didn’t think Elves dream. Was it a good memory… or perhaps a daydream?”

Failing at fixing him with a withering glare, Eruviel pushed him out of her window. “Get out you old thief. I’ll be right there.”

“Aww, not gonna climb out your window for –” His teasing whisper was cut off as she quickly and quietly closed the window on him.

The puppy had remained asleep, and Eruviel doubted anything aside from Eboric trying to pick him up would wake the canine after the romp he’d had earlier in the evening. Putting a fresh log in her small fireplace and tucking her new quilt under her arm, Eruviel tip-toed silently out of her room, careful to let as little light and cold into the front room as possible before she could close the bedroom door. Careful to not kick a stranded toy behind the couch, Eruviel slipped by the slumbering Eirikr and Eboric. It took all her willpower to not fix the blanket over the sleeping man’s shoulder, but she decided against it, not wanting to wake him on her way out. She would fix it when she got back, she told herself. Plucking up her boots Eruviel swiftly unlocked the front door and silently slipped out into the night.

The change in temperature nearly took her breath away. Ildric stood by the front gate, arms crossed over his chest and leaning against a post, and she waited till she reached him to fit her feet into her boots.

Cor, Witch, if you were human you’d catch your death o’ cold,” he muttered, snatching the blanket out from under her arm and throwing it around her shoulders.

“I think death from cold would be the least of my worries,” she retorted as she let the long skirt of her robe conceal her tall boots. “And I wonder who’s fault it is for me being out at such an hour.”

Ildric adjusted his own wraps as they exited the yard and started down the street. “Late nights never bothered you before.”

Eruviel chuffed, sending out a breath of white clouds from her lips. “I suppose I am getting soft.”

“Bull,” Ildric grunted. “You’re just saving up all your meanness.”

“I? I am not mean.”

The man grinned wickedly in the dark. “And what if I punched your pretty, red-headed sister or stabbed your human?”

“It’s not in your nature to do such a thing,” she responded sternly.

“Not without cause, no,” said Ildric, grinning as the source of the chill in the air changed. The two exchanged looks as they passed a street lamp, and Ildric suddenly chuckled and tossed an arm over her shoulder. “I missed that.”

His gesture broke the unexpected tension his question had caused, and Eruviel smirked as she shrugged off his arm. “Missed what?”

“That look of death in your eyes. I’m glad you got it back.”

Eruviel chuckled, and pulled the blanket more snugly around her. “I didn’t know I had lost it.”

“Aye. When I saw you three years ago, though….”

One corner of her mouth curling up in a smile, Eruviel nudged him with her elbow. “Is the mighty Vrax getting sentimental?”

“Damned old age,” he muttered bitterly. “Does terrible things to a man.” He nodded down the road. “It’s been nice to relax, but I need to get back into my usual frame of mind. Things are well with the camp, but matters on the outside are getting rougher, specially on the outskirts of the Riddermark.”

“You’ll have no trouble with that,” said Eruviel with an encouraging nod.

Ildric nodded curtly, the mask of command slowly finding it’s place over his features. “Good thing about going back is the weather will get better as we go south. None of this blasted damp and cold.”

“You will raid along the way, I presume?”

“You bet your ass we will. The boys are itching for action, and so am I. Plenty of orc camps and brigand lairs along the way. We have an empty wagon for loot, too. Plenty of goodies for the lads and others.”

Humming thoughtfully, Eruviel looked up as they continued along the way. “The group made it safely back then, I take it?”

“Only lost three, and just two had injuries still healing when they got in a few nights back.”

“Not like that would keep them from killing orcs,” Eruviel replied, chuckling.

Ildric echoed her chuckle as he nodded in agreement. “Not at all… Has anyone in the tribe written you lately?” he then hesitantly asked.

Eruviel’s brows rose and she looked to him. “From Aughaire? No, not lately. Why?”

“They were wondering… with the war in the south heating up and all, if you were thinking of coming back to fight.”

The Elf fell silent for a moment, green eyes fixed on the road before she shook her head. “I have thought of it, but I have no intention of going back to Angmar. Not unless the Wayfarers are called north. After…” She shook her head again, and frowned at the night. “No. I have people I need to be here for, and my responsibility to them comes first.”

Seemingly satisfied with her answer, Ildric nodded and swiped a hand across his cold nose. “Good… But enough of that. Met your sister earlier.”

“Oh? You met Anya?”

“Sure did. Nice as you said she was, but you never told me she was a looker.”

Laughing, Eruviel shot the man a glare. “She’s beautiful, but that is hardly something you should care about. Hands off you brigand. She’s already being courted.”

“Lucky kid… What if he stops courting her?” he prodded, leaning in, clearly fishing for a reaction.

No.”

Bittersweet: Merry and Bright

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“What are you going to name him?”

Eruviel looked down at the puppy with an oddly fond smile. It had been… goodness, over fifteen hundred years since she had had a pet dog. “I am not sure yet.” The puppy wiggled a little in her arms before licking the Elf’s hand. He was an adorable little pup, and big brown eyes gazed happily up at her. She always had been a sucker for dogs, and the way this one looked at her made her miss the wolf pup, Háno. This is, quite possibly, the cutest puppy ever.

Pheadra laughed softly. “He is very sweet, though I think he will be quite big.” She gently took hold of a paw. “Look how big!”

Excited by the room full of people and smell of good food, the puppy nipped playfully at the woman’s hand.

Pheadra moved her hand around for him to chase, first to scratch behind its ear, then under its chin. “Do you have any other pets?”

She heard Abiorn departing, but it was the sudden absence of the elder brother’s presence that made Eruviel blink and look up. “Just one…” Still smiling, her bright, keen eyes quickly darted over the room before resting on the door. “A swan, actually.”

Pheadra pulled her hand back and smiled. “That should be amusing with a puppy.” She laughed and glanced in the same direction as the Elf. “Do you live nearby?”

Her gaze lingering on the exit for a moment, she tore it away to look back at Pheadra. “I do. Just a short ways down on Chestnut.”

“I won’t keep you if you need to get going,” said Pheadra with a nod. She gave the puppy’s head another scratch.

Eruviel offered her an apologetic smile. “I do, but we should go shooting together soon.”

“I would like that very much.”

“Good!” she responded with a pleased nod. “I look forward to it. It was good to see you again. A good night to you, Pheadra.”

Pheadra bowed her head and smiled, “You as well. Good night, Eruviel.”

Eruviel inclined her head to the young woman. Taking up the box with her free hand, she bore her happy little gift with her out the door. In the entry she remembered her cloak, and draped it around the pup before stepping out into the cold.

A million thoughts swarming through her head, she left the box by the wood pile, and turned her slippered feet towards home. Unlike the short trip to Ravenhold, she felt no care as the wind whipped her hair and silken, midnight blue skirts about her. She had looked forward to finally getting to wear the dress, and to enjoying the cheerful evening with friends. Now she almost wished she had stayed away and gone on her short birthday outing. But she had come back.

Letting out a soft sigh she removed the delicate, star-like earrings from her pointed ears along with the silver hair comb and ear cuff. Tucking them inside the soft curve of her neckline she resolved to wear them again sometime for herself, and hugged the pup to her chest with both arms even as he snuggled against her. You are not helping, little one.

Casting the small, petty thoughts away, along with the grumble of an empty stomach, she refocused her mind. There were more important things to be dealt with before she could even think about finally escaping to relax and soak up hot water and starlight. First, she probably should not name the puppy. Not that she did not want to, of course. Puppy cuddles were some of the best, and even carrying the little ball of fur and love was unexpectedly comforting. But, in his best interest, he would be better off with someone who could look after him properly. Second, and most importantly, Anya was missing.

When she had told him that he should be happy, she had not expected his response to crush the amusing reply she had prepared. Oh, oselle. It was this alone that sped her pace to a swift glide down the dark, empty street towards home.

Perhaps Atrian would like a puppy for his first pet.

Days Have Passed

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(Thought I would clean out the drafts that had sat forgotten for the past year and a half.)

The last gleam of sunlight disappeared over the hills as Eruviel’s eyes fluttered open. For several minutes she stared up at the star-lit sky framed by tree branches and ruined elvish architecture, wishing she could fade back into her sleep-like trance. There would be no true rest till she had all three human back safely in Bree.

Reluctantly rising to her feet she stretched up, observing Eirikr sleeping a few feet away. He slept hard, and a small pang of guilt stung her as she picked up her boots and silently padded away. Best that he gets as much rest as possible, she thought as she nodded in greeting to the few hunters and fighters milling around the camp. She knew his mind was far to the east, and they still had a long way to go.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

She never stayed up this late. Till the night she’d gone out two weeks back Feira had always been early to bed and early to rise. But now the night was at it’s coldest, and she leaned against the side of a bench on the look-out, feet dangling over the ledge as she watched the horizon.

Why did she even care to watch? She had never been lonely, but then again she might have always been and never knew it. Don’t waste your time, Torrin had said. Nothing good can come from sailors. Maybe he was right. She didn’t know him really. For all Feira knew he was good at hiding his real nature and had shown up amidst the laundry lines just to mess with her… but did it matter much? She had no idea what she was getting herself into, but there was nothing to do about it now.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Having returned cold to her core, Abiorn had not left her side. Long since recovered from the search for the lost hunter, Eruviel sat wrapped in furs, her back against a pillar near one of the fires. Abbi slept leaning on her left arm, and Huor had nested in her lap. Both of them radiated delicious heat that made the bitter hours of tracking through the storm nothing but an unpleasant memory.

Smiling softly to each in turn, the elf turned her attention back to the letter she now knew by heart. The thumb of her free hand traced over the scratched out words as if doing so would make the mark blacking them out disappear. She would never tell, but she allowed herself to hope as the faintest remnants of words brought a warmth to her cheeks that the wolf and her young human brother could not offer. It won’t be long. Help Panja, help Taja, Huor, survive, then home.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Eruviel let out a quiet sigh. “People do funny things when they think they are helping others. Sometimes the reasons are good, and sometimes they are not, but we always need someone to come after us. I’m sure Morty knows you will go after him.”

Hallem shook his head. “He wouldn’t want us to.”

“Because he wants to be left to his fate, or because he doesn’t want you to get hurt?”

“Both, probably.”

“Then I am sure he knows you will come for him anyways.”

Hallem looked to her. “Why does that m-matter?”

Eruviel smiled sadly. “Does it not matter to you?”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A soft thud of the outer door leading in from the corridor summoned Peldirion out of his thoughts. Sitting up from where he leaned took more effort than it should have, and an exasperated sigh poured out of him as he heard the outer door open and close again.

“Boys,” he said in a tired, no-nonsense tone.

The sound of cautious footsteps stopped. Then, obediently, they slowly turned, and two boys in their late teens entered Peldirion’s dark study. Both saluted quickly, and the shorter of the two nervously stepped forward.

“Y-Yes, Sir?”

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!