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 10: Interests of Shadow and Flame

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PostSubject: Re: 10: Interests of Shadow and Flame   Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:00 pm

Lady Rose Fairwind of the Solomnic order spared a moment to look at the condition of the men with her. There were all battered and bruised and most of all tired from their recent ordeals. She knew of only a handful of their order had managed to survive the attempts to retake the Northern Keep. She quietly cursed the fool of the sword who had completely disregarded her orders to pull back sooner. Not only had they lost the force stationed at the keep but now also a second force in the fool hardy attempt at revenge.

She could only sigh and shake her head muttering to herself "Such is the fate of fools who abandon the path of justice for the path of vengence..."

A young knight of the crown had approached and saluted "Is everything all right Lady Fairwind?"

Looking up Rose saught composure as she drew herself up in her saddle and nodded. Morale was shattered and she knew it was her job to keep what was left in tact. She chided herself mentally for her lapse.

"I am fine... I was simply lost in thought..." She loooked at him with a smile recognizing him as one of the few men she had sent out to scout things out since the trembler hours beforehand. "Now I assume you have something to report..."

"Yes m'lady... there appears to be a small contingent of knights not far to the north east. They have their hands full trying to calm the populace."

Rose simply nodded her head in response. "Well get the men ready then. We move out to lend our aid as well." She did not envy whoever was in charge of this mess. She knew the area northeast and half the panic was probably due to teh accursed towers and the wave of sickness. She knew deep in the depths of her being that this was the work of those two mages.

As the commander of the force sent to retake the keep she had held back on saw the destruction wrought by the paiir fromt he battlements of the keep. She had ordered a withdrawl but was defied by one of the sword who questioned her devotion for not seeking to stamp out the evil or seek vengence for the fallen. A commander had to make hard choices and she knew the fight was a lost cause but the loss of the commander of the sword had made many of the order unreasonable. She brushed the thoughts aside as the handful of knights with her assembled and lined up behind her on their horses.

With a gentle nudge she urged her mount forward heading North East to lend aid as any good knight was honor bound to do. With a quick consultation witht he young scout she knew it would only be a couple hours at the most before they would arrive.
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PostSubject: Re: 10: Interests of Shadow and Flame   Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:38 pm



The hours went by in seconds. Trystan was exhausted and it was still only mid day, but he continued to aid in whatever ways he could to calm the populace. It was not his manner to use force, and several times he had to pull lower ranking, less experienced Knights off their duties to give them a chance to calm themselves down before they snapped. He turned to assist a young woman and her child when he noticed Kellan, a good ways off, tending to the needs of another family. He could not help but smile as he watched her speaking gently to a small child, rubbing the hair off the young boys face and kiss his forehead. She had been an obedient squire, enthusiastic and willing to do every order she was given without complaint.

Ceridwyn walked up and placed a gentle hand on Trystan’s shoulder. He turned and nodded to the white robed mage with a grin, “Good to see you Ceridwyn, may I assist you?” She shoke her head gently and looked at him with her deeply brown eyes, “No Sir Trystan, in fact I was about to ask you the same thing, but could not help notice that you were getting all the comfort you need looking at you protégé over there.” She smiled and he leaned back slightly, “No, no Ms. Ceridwyn, it’s not like that at all, she was my squire and I was with her through all her deeds that showed she was honorable and worthy of the Knighthood.” Ceridwyn merely smiled and nodded, “Of course.”

Trystan swallowed hard and leaned forward, about to speak but Ceridwyn pressed the tips of her fingers against his lips and shoke her head again, “Worry not good Sir, your secret is safe with me.” Trystan only half smiled and looked back at Kellan, she happened a glance his way and he smiled with a nod, and then looked back to Ceridwyn just in time for his cheeks to flush. She smiled and nodded, “I know Trystan, I know.” With a laugh Trystan took half a step back and then something caught his attention on the rise behind them. A small contingency of Knights, rode on exhausted horses slowly appeared and Trystan yelled to his men, “KNIGHTS! WATER! FOOD!, LADY ROSE RETURNS!”

The Knights all turned and looked, cheering as they scrambled ignited with new energy at the site of the Commander. Trystan turned and looked at Ceridwyn, “I beg your pardon Ms. Ceridwyn, I must…” Ceridwyn shoke her head with a laugh and spoke, cutting him off mid-sentence, “GO for the sake of the land Trystan go to your Commander!” She playfully shoved him and he smiled, turning and ascending the hill that separated him from the crowd and his former battalion commander.


Ceridwyn turned to Aeolis and gave him an exhausted smile, “Well Aeolis, is appears that someone has just arrived that will lift the spirits of these people. I don’t know her but the Knights are all excited to see her, perhaps this is the exact uniter we were hoping for, yes?” She looked up into Aeolis’ gaze with her soft brown eyes and stepped towards him, taking his hands in her own, “It is good to see you so changed Aeolis, truly.”



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PostSubject: Re: 10: Interests of Shadow and Flame   Thu Jul 22, 2010 4:41 pm


Work. It’s all Kellan focused on right now. What happened to Liam was pushed aside knowing she would have time to grieve for her brother when the time was right. Until then, there were people who needed her and she had an honor and code to live up to. Tirelessly she talked in a soothing tone to the citizens of Heartlund trying her hardest to keep from using harsh words or using force. On the occasion she had to resort to raising her voice but other than that, people tended to listen and adhere to what she was telling them.

Her body ached but she refused to recognize the exhaustion she was holding at bay. While there were people she had sworn to protect who needed her, she would work until she fell until she was sure every last citizen was taken care of if that was what was required of her.

The children seemed to need the most from her and Kellan was more than happy to aid them. Their parents were doing their best to hold it together but the children sensed their parents fear and in turn their own grew rapidly. A kind smile, a tussle of hair and a warm embrace seemed to do the trick each time. Of course the children felt much better knowing they were able to help when she gave them small tasks to do. Of course the end result was the fact they were calmed and with their mind focused on the task at hand it didn’t have the chance to think about what may be happening around them.

Kellan had just taken care of making sure the child she was currently dealing with was good to go when she glanced over towards Trystan. The white robed Elf was standing near him and when he smiled and nodded to Kellan, she responded in kind. Standing and stretching her back, she had just started walking towards him when she saw the same thing Trystan saw. At first she thought it was trouble on the Horizon because of how slow the horses were moving but when Trystan yelled it was Lady Rose returning, Kellen felt her tired, aching body find a sudden burst of energy knowing their commander had returned.

A Trystan began to make his way towards the arriving band of Knights, Kellen felt a twinge of disappointment but she quickly pushed that aside. She would have the chance to talk to him later. Perhaps he would be able to help her understand how to deal with Liam’s demise. Until then, she had to get water and food for her returning Knight brethren. As she passed by Ceridwyn and Aeolis she gave them both a tired but warm smile and nod.

”Perhaps now, good friends, we’ll be able to work on the common goal we all long for.”

Moving past them she made her way to the water caskets and began filling several watering buckets with ladles then handing them to waiting Knights to be passed around to the arriving caravan.



Aeolis had busied himself, like Ceridwyn, aiding the citizens of Heartlund the best he could. Unfortunately, his skills were more tactical in nature so he left the compassionate part of things to Ceri. He had just walked over to join her as she was talking to Trystan when he saw Trystan’s eyes glance to the distance. Turning he narrowed his gaze to see the arriving band of Knights. Hearing Ceri’s voice, he turned to glance at her and nodded nervously.

”Yes. I hope she is the one who can help unite us one and all. If not…”

He left the sentence hang. When Ceri praised him for his change, he looked down at the way her hands had gently clasped his own and shifted his weight before he glanced back up and held her own gaze.

”It is not as easy as you may think, Ceri. I still find myself wondering why I am even bothering with these people if they choose not to try and come together for the common good of the world. But then I remember what we are working for and I cannot help but think if I do not at least try, then who am I to judge another for acting the same way?”

He shook his head and let out a tired sigh.

”It is a battle I fight each day and only at the end of the day, before I close my eyes, can I look back on the day past and find solace in my actions. One day at a time, Ceri. One day at a time. It is all I can do for now.”

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PostSubject: Re: 10: Interests of Shadow and Flame   Thu Jul 22, 2010 5:28 pm



Ceridwyn leaned in and pushed herself up on her tip toes. She brought her cheek up against Aeolis’ and gently pressed her lips against his cheek sideways. “Without trying to sound condescending Aeolis, I am proud of you.”

She withdrew and smiled warmly, brushing her fingers down his forearm as she turned to look towards the Knights on the hill. She smiled and spoke nodding her head, “I agree, I hope she is the one that can bring some unity to the chaos.”

Grasping Aeolis’ hand she gripped it tightly and began walking towards the crest of the hill, half dragging him at first until his pace caught up with hers. She felt a warmth in her gut, the tingling between her hand and his. It felt so comfortable and yet she knew it was so wrong to even begin walking down this road with Aeolis. She bit her lip and felt the stirring in her heart. She had refused to let herself get to this place ever again, with any man, yet here she was, walking beside a man she had truly grown to care for, perhaps even love…. Yes, love. She realized at that moment she loved him. Logically in her mind it made perfect sense, they had been together almost exclusively for 6 months. They had been in several situations where they had to rely solely on one another, truly that had become one another’s helper, and completer. Yet, she had already broken her life vow to herself, to not allow herself into another relationship, not after what happened last time.

She unconsciously released his hand as they arrived at the crest of the hill and she approached Lady Rose, the more formal side of her coming out as she approached one of Lady Rose’s rank, “Good day Lady, I am Ceridwyn, Head of the Order of White Robed Wizards. It is a pleasure to see Knights that have worked so hard all day to the brink of exhaustion suddenly come to life at your showing, truly you have filled those who have dedicated themselves to the service this day a fresh breath of new air.” She bowed her head respectfully.


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PostSubject: Re: 10: Interests of Shadow and Flame   Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:02 pm

"I do not wish to cause any more panic to these people. While are bretheren have been working hard to quell the worries we need not add more to the fire. If anyone wishes to know anything about our task then refer them to me. You are free to speak of things when outside of the public eye only. If I hear so much of an utterence f the battle I will see to do punishment myself." She held her knights with a glare before motioning to continue into the city.

Rose hated taking such a hard stance but looking upon the towers in the distance and seeing the faces of the citizenry she had no choice but to lay down the order. The looks on the facfes of her knights told her they understood. Not out of fear of her order but because they knew she was right. Rose was not known for laying down orders with a heavy penalty for disobediance and as a result no one questioned her motives when she did.

The call signaling their arrival rang out and Rose wished to whince. Every knight within her line of sight looked up. She drew herself up tall head up and full of confidence as was expected of her. She could see the half spirited faces light up as they saw her and while it made her smile slightly it pained her heart that she had brought more troubling news. Still her path was set and her resolve was absolute. She would not allow her spirit to be crushed by doubt or regrets.

She could only shake her head as Trystan and Kellen gained ground ahead of the other knights to meet her. As knights came to her with water and and what not she defered to her knights first. There were only about a dozen and a half men with her. Several were her command staff but the most obvious fact about the little group was that other than the four knights designated as the Lady's guard there was not a single Sword among them.

Rose was dismounting when Ceridwyn approached and she greeted the elf with a warm yet tired smile. She was obviously exhausted but Ceridwyn would see the strong will of a leader forcing her to move onward with her duties. She bowed saluting out of respect to the mage.

"It would be my pleasure to meet with you Lady Ceridwyn. I am Commander Rose Fairwind a Commander Knight of the Rose Order. I am glad to see that their spirits were lifted though I truly wish that I could do more."

Seeing that all her accompanying knights had been taken care of she finally took a waterskin and quenched her parched throat. Wiping her lips she inclineed her head. "You will pardon my lack of decorum dear lady it has been a very long and tough journey..."
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PostSubject: Re: 10: Interests of Shadow and Flame   Thu Jul 22, 2010 7:46 pm



Ceridwyn nodded and bowed her head respectfully to the Commander, speaking only a brief exchange, "Of course Lady Rose, by all means I understand. When you are rested I would seek an audience with you... privately."

She bowed her head again as she gave a smile of understanding and her voice discretely filled Aeolis' mind, ~ 'She is a veteran of the Battle of Northkeep, I can see it in her eyes. Battle scars the soul, and she is wounded deeply.' ~



Trystan stood by the Commander, known throughout the land as "the Rose General". Some said her name was serendipitous while others dismissed it as coincidence. Trystan had been stationed as a squire under a Knight who was under Rose's command many years ago. Though he had little face to face contact with her, his Sir was deep in her council. When his Sir died, Trystan saw in Rose's eyes the depth of that loss, and rightfully so. Sir Gregory was a man of noble character and honor, a gem among even the most elite Solamic Knights. From that day on Trystan had silently pledged to follow Rose with honor and courage, for if his Sir was that devoted to the woman, there was obviously something worth following.

"My Lady", He bowed low to Lady Rose, "I will send runners to prepare your quarters, the watch is set, I took the liberty of assuming command since no other Knight was willing amidst the chaos. The towers are under full watch, and the activity seems to have died down. I beseech you to get some rest, I will call for you should anything change." She would see it in his eyes, a million questions lingered behind his gaze, but he knew the boundaries of his position, and he did his duty, reporting without pushing. He turned and sent two Squires to prepare her room and then he turned back to her, "Until the morrow my Lady, when you are ready to hear my full report."

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PostSubject: Re: 10: Interests of Shadow and Flame   Thu Jul 22, 2010 9:48 pm


Aeolis felt the warmth of Ceri’s cheek when she pressed it to his and he closed his eyes for a brief moment as he inhaled her scent deeply. Over the past six months he had gotten to know her more than he had gotten to know anyone. Even his sister. And in that time he had discovered he wasn’t so immune to feeling for others as he had forced himself to be. Ceri had slowly chiseled away at all the barriers he had set up over his many years and while he couldn’t let her know, he knew what he felt for her he could never say. It would simply be unfair to both of them. So he accepted what ever they had between them as what ever it would be. When she told him she was proud of him, he whispered soflty back to her.

”I could not have done it without you, Ceri.”

When she pulled away and tugged him to come with her up the hill, he let his fingers gently closer around her hand and cradle it. He enjoyed the feel of her hand in his but all too soon she released his hand when she approached the Solamnic Commander. Leave it to Ceri to find the right words to say in a situation. He stayed slightly behind her as she spoke to Lady Rose not wishing to crowd the Commander or Ceri.

When Aeolis saw the look on Lady Rose’s face, he knew something horrific had occurred and when Ceri’s soft voice slipped into his mind, it made perfect sense to him. His heart ached for the woman as he saw the way she refused to be nothing more than honorable and noble in her task even though he could imagine her news was nothing but grave. As Ceri gave Lady Rose her leave, Aeolis bowed his head respectfully and placed his right fist over his heart in a salute to her.

When they turned to leave, Aeolis glanced over at Kellan and saw the profound sadness in her gaze as she looked at Rose. What ever happened at Northkeep finally hit the Lady Knight fully as she obviously held onto one shred of hope about something. But as her eyes saw the Knights who returned with Lady Rose, her hopes were crushed on jagged rocks.

With a heavy sigh, the Elf walked along with Ceri as they sought refuge for the night now that things were to a point where some kind of rest could be taken. When he caught up to her, he reached out and took her hand in his as he spoke softly to her in their native language.

”I fear Lady Kellan has suffered a great loss this day, Ceri. And I fear it is only the beginning of many for her.”




As soon as Kellan had filled enough water buckets and made sure they were dispersed among the returning Knights, she made haste up the hill to join Trystan as he greeted the Commander. While she half heartedly paid attention to what Lady Rose was saying, she was anxiously scanning the faces of the small group who arrived with the Commander to see if by some miracle Liam was in their ranks.

To Kellan’s despair, he brother was no where to be found. As if she expected him to come riding up at any moment, she kept looking beyond the group for any stragglers that may have been bringing up the rear. With each passing second she felt her heart sink even further and when Trystan dispatched the Squires, she knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, Liam was indeed one of the fallen.

But it wasn’t until she finally got a good look at Lady Rose that Kellen realized just how bad things really were. Lady Rose, for all her training, couldn’t hide the look in the depths of her eyes that spoke volumes of the devastation she had witnessed and the horrors she had faced. Feeling her composure slipping away, she glanced at Trystan and quickly spoke up.

”By your leave, Sir Trystan…I shall instruct the Squires. Lady Rose….”

Kellan bowed slightly as she quickly turned to make her way away from the gathered Knights but especially Trystan. She lived to make him proud and the last thing she wanted was to disappoint him by seeing her tears fall. She had never let one fall before and she wasn’t about to let him see them now.

Walking as quickly as her feet and legs would allow her, Kellan felt the dampness sliding down her cheeks, making thin lines in the dirt that had gathered on her skin as she worked diligently to aid the citizens of Heartlund. By the time she made it to the bottom f the hill she could barely see but she pressed on. Taking huge gulps of air and swallowing hard she forced herself back in control and by the time she reached the Squires, she began instructing the Squires to make sure they had everything perfect for Lady Rose. Each time she felt her control slipping, she would clench her jaw tight and curl her delicate hands into tight fists. When the wave moved on, she would begin moving once more.

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PostSubject: Re: 10: Interests of Shadow and Flame   Fri Jul 23, 2010 10:49 am



Ceri was walking towards the town and Aeolis hurried to catch up with her. Her stomach fluttered again as he grabbed her hand and if it had not been for her hood he would have seen the smile it brought to her face. She swallowed hard and listened as he spoke, she nodded and turned to look at him, there was sadness in her soft chestnut brown eyes and she responded in their native language, “Aye, something is wrong and I suspect it is more than the loss of friends and comrades. She will let us know if it is prudent for our involvement, though I wouldn’t be surprised if she finds council somewhere other than us Elves.” She turned and looked at Trystan who was off in the distance as she spoke these words. “There are others she will trust more than us whom she just met.”

She unconsciously squeezed his hand but never moved her head to look at him as they walked, keeping her face semi-hidden under her hood. They were after all going into a human town again and it was usually best for a female Elf to keep her face hidden from the human males. As they came into town two Solamic Knights approached and the higher ranking spoke, “Lord, Lady, Sir Trystan instructed us to set up accommodations for you, if you will accompany us please we have done what we can to provide lodging that is comfortable but space is limited so we beg your forgiveness if something was overlooked.”

Ceri looked up from under her hood and the man was instantly captivated by her beauty but maintained his composure and listened as she spoke, “We thank you Captain, you need not apologize. We are not expecting more than whatever you managed to provide. Given the circumstances peaceful sleep is all one can truly hope for.” He smiled and nodded, “Well spoke Miss.” The man looked up at Aeolis and nodded respectfully as he motioned for them to follow.


Trystan turned to look at Kellan as she spoke and requested leave. He spoke as he observed the pain in her eyes, “By all means Kellan. If you…,” He paused and stopped what he was about to say. Simply nodded his head he started over, “By all means Kellan, send a runner if you need anything of me.”

She turned to leave so quickly he could only assume that she was trying to separate herself from everyone. He knew that she was concerned about her brother, and rightfully so, the man was the last family she had. He watched her leave with pain in his heart, knowing her grief, but duty called and within seconds he was back on the job, doing what he could to aid those who were still flooding into the city to get behind the walls and protect themselves from come what may.



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PostSubject: Re: 10: Interests of Shadow and Flame   Fri Jul 23, 2010 11:49 am

Rose simply bowed to Ceridwyn "As you wish Lady Ceridwyn..." She could tell the woman had come to many conclusions in their brief exchange. Wizard's were a perceptive lot so she did not feel a loss as a result. This mage was likely en route to see what the disruption was. It made sense to see one with such ability in this place.

As the elf woman walked away with her companion she turned her attention to Trystan. The knight was as loyal and above all else dependable.She knew he had questions but she was in no state to give the answers.She was exhausted and she knew he could see it. "You are right Trystan... I should rest. Carry on with your duties and I will expect your report when I wake. I also want a meeting with all the remaining command staff..."

She saw the look in Kellen's eyes and it made her heart ache. She knew of the woman's brother but had no concrete knowledge of his fate. Alas after what she observed at North Keep there was little doubt what had befallen one of the newest of the order. Saying nothing more she retired to the quarters readied for her leaving Trystan to the relief efforts. Her rest sadly would not be peaceful.
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PostSubject: Re: 10: Interests of Shadow and Flame   Fri Jul 23, 2010 1:27 pm


Aeolis glanced over his shoulder when he saw Ceri glance over hers and seeing Trystan standing there he put two and two together. As things sunk in he blinked and looked at Ceri with a confused look speaking quietly in their native language again.

”But…I thought there was no fraternization permitted among the ranks.”

Aeolis squeezed her hand in turn when he felt the pressure of her delicate fingers holding his hand a little tighter. When the two Knights approached, Aeolis felt his protective instincts kick in and he placed himself a half step closer to the men than Ceri and moved so that he could easily move before her if need be. He knew she could easily take care of herself but old habits died hard.

He knew human males found themselves captivated by the Elven female beauty but each time he saw the way human males reacted to Ceri’s beauty he felt a pang of jealousy course through him before he reminded himself it was only natural for them to be that way. Besides, he admitted to himself, her beauty was rare and so it was no surprise even the Knights were not immune to her presence.

Aeolis nodded in turn and walked along following the Knights and when they were shown a single room with only one bed, Aeolis groaned inwardly. Knowing he would take the floor this night, he hoped they had some extra blankets to pad his make shift sleeping mat with, he merely nodded to the Knights when they asked if the accommodations would suit.

”They will be just fine, Sir Knights. Thank you for your generosity. We will be just fine here.”

When the Knights left and closed the door behind them, Aeolis looked over at Ceri and rubbed the back of his neck then chuckled softly.

”Well. It appears as though we are going to have to share our quarters once again, M’Lady. I hope my snoring doesn’t bother you too much.”

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PostSubject: Re: 10: Interests of Shadow and Flame   Fri Jul 23, 2010 1:50 pm


Kellan made sure Lady Rose had just about anything Kellen thought she may need set up in her quarters. A small desk occupied one corner near the window so the light from outside would aid her in her tasks. A separate sitting area near a fireplace where she could at least find a comfortable chair to ease her tired body into and she made certain her bed was fluffed up and fresh linens placed upon it. When Rose came to claim her quarters, Kellan bowed respectfully to her before silently slipping out of the room and leaving Rose to her privacy.

Once things were set there, Kellan returned to the streets to help the remaining citizens who were trickling in from the farthest reaches of Heartlund. She worked well into the night making sure each family she dealt with had what they needed and what ever they were missing could wait until the next day. When things settled down to an eerie quiet Kellan had to face the fact she had no choice but to return to her own quarters.

To make matters worse, when she got there, she realized many of the Knights had to double or triple up so any privacy she was hoping for would be few and far between. Still, she gathered up a clean cloth and some soap and made her way down the hall until she came to the place she could wash her face. Dipping the cloth into the water, she brought the cool dampness to her face and easily washed the dirt from her face.

She felt her well of emotions bubbling forward once more and she buried her face in the cloth to let some of the pressure off as her shoulders heaved with the silent sobs she was giving way to. After a moment she lowered the cloth from her face and glanced back down the hallway where her quarters was located. It was too crowded there for her right now. She needed a little space and someplace where it was almost deathly quiet. She longed to seek out Trystan but she knew he was just as exhausted as the rest and she would feel guilty if she took time he could be resting.

Glancing out the window, she saw the stables. Drying her face off and ridding evidence of her earlier tears, she walked quietly out of the building her quarters were occupied and into the stables. Immediately the smell of horse flesh and fresh straw filled her nose and she let out a sigh of relief. Glancing around, she didn’t see anyone and walked to the back of the stables where she found her horse. The equine neighed softly when he saw her and caught her familiar scent. She shushed the animal and walked to the front of the stall, stroking his velvet soft muzzle.

”Shhhhh….it’s just me, boy. Rest easy.”

The horse shifted his weight form one set of hooves to the other then settled once more as his mistress stroked his soft muzzle. Leaning forward, she pressed her forehead against the horses and closed her eyes.

”It’s been a long day, Smoke. The Longblade family is just you and me now. Guess we better get used to that, fella.”

The horse snorted softly and Kellan couldn’t help but chuckle softly. Leave it to Smoke to find the appropriate thing to ‘say’ when things got heavy.

”Yeah. I suppose you’re right. Better get some rest. Tomorrow isn’t going to be any easier. G’night.”

With a heavy sigh Kellan slipped out of his stall and made her way out of the stable. The strange crackling of energy could still be heard and as she saw the moons still dim in the night sky, she couldn’t help but shake her head. Things were definitely looking bleak right now.

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PostSubject: Re: 10: Interests of Shadow and Flame   Fri Jul 23, 2010 3:05 pm



Ceridwyn turned and looked at Aeolis as he spoke about fraternizing within the ranks. With a soft chuckle she responded, “There isn’t, which I suspect is the reason nothing has come of it.” She winked and as they walked she was grateful to have him close when the guards approached. They were friendly and accommodating, but hundreds of years experience had taught her that having a male counterpart in these situations tended to make things so much easier.

As they were lead into their quarters she looked around and nodded to the men, “My thanks to you gentlemen, good night.” She turned as the door closed and saw the look on Aeolis’ face regarding the sleeping arrangements. The look on his face said it all and she walked up to him with a smile, “Worry not dear friend…” She turned and hissed magic, waving her hand over the bed as she dropped a handful of dried and crushed reagents onto the sheets. The bed began to twist and morph, the legs began to grow roots and spread across the floor while the straw mattress burst open as living growth came forth. In a matter of seconds a very large, very comfortable looking configuration living plants, much like Elves would arrange and sleep on in the wild appeared. “Well now… looks like there should be plenty of room for the both of us wouldn’t you say?”

She removed her outer robes and laid it over the one chair that was in their room and curled up into the thick growth. She brushed her fingers over some of the large leaves and they responded to her touch, wrapping themselves over her and she snuggled in, lying on her side and staring up at Aeolis with gentle eyes.


Trystan was outside watching the towers. His mind was focused on the grotesque obstruction in the landscape when he saw movement coming out of one of the martial gates along the inner wall. It was Kellan, he could tell instantly by the comely silhouette. He puffed on his pipe and watched as she went into the stables. No doubt she had gone to check on her mount, Smoke. He began making his way towards the stables and leaned against the wall beside the door. After a bit she came out and walked past him towards the wall, he spoke softly so as to not startle her too bad, “You doing alright Kel?”

She turned, only slightly surprised, after all they were within the safety of the walls so there wasn’t much reason to be on edge, not to mention he made every attempt in his tone to not be startling. As soon as she looked at him he could see she had been crying. “I know Kel, I know… me too. I was hoping he would be with the Rose General when she started up over the hill. Word is every known survivor accompanied her on the way back.” He could see that she was breaking and he spoke with a softness in his voice, “It’s ok to grieve, there is no shame in it, especially where your brother Sir Liam is concerned. He was a great man, an honorable Knight, but most of all he was a great Mentor and Teacher. I promise you, you aren’t the only one who feels his loss.”

When she managed to look his way again she would see the welling up in his own eyes, and a single tear rolling down his right cheek, “I will miss him almost as much as you.” He knew that his words might not bring her any comfort but she would certainly hear the sincerity in his voice, his heart was hurting and she would know it.

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PostSubject: Re: 10: Interests of Shadow and Flame   Fri Jul 23, 2010 3:34 pm


Leave it to Ceri to make meager accommodation into something Aeolis could seek not only comfort but refuge in as well. As the spell finished and the room looked more like a welcoming grove than a bedroom in a building, Aeolis shook his head and smiled. She would never cease to amaze him. Of that he was certain.

As she removed her outer robes and settled into their naturally made bed, he removed his formal Guard over tunic and draped it at the foot of the leafy bed. Looking over at Cerui as she settled into the leaves and foliage, Aeolis smiled softly as he eased his exhausted frame down into the soft, cool leaves. Turning his head so he could look over at her, he smiled softly again and reached over to let the back of his fingers gently brush against her soft cheek.

”Rest, Ceri. Tomorrow will come upon us far too soon. And with it, the reality of the situation.”

Did he mean what happened in Krynn today or what was happening between them?



The sound of Trystan’s voice washed over Kellan like soothing water from a waterfall. He seemed to always know when she needed him most. And she really needed him right now. When she turned to see him looking at her, she let her gaze move over his form before quickly coming back to his face. He knew her better than she knew herself at times and this was one of those times.

She felt her emotions welling up again and she knew she wouldn’t be able to stop them this time. She was too tired to even try. But she felt her cheeks flame knowing Trystan would see her tears fall. The first time ever he’d seen them. Not even when she took a shot from a blade to her thigh had she cried. But this pain was different. It seemed to suffocate her and she didn’t know how to deal with it.

Kellan took a step towards Trystan then hesitated. She wanted so desperately to go to him but she didn’t want to put him in an awkward position. Nor did she want to take the risk of anyone seeing them together. She would give anything to confess her feelings for him but she dared not. He was her Lord and trainer. While she knew he admired her she also knew he didn’t feel the same for her as she did for him. And she refused to cause herself the embarrassment of making such a confession to him. Besides. It would mean she would have to be reassigned and she’d much rather hold her true feeling inside and remain with Trystan than insuring she’d be reassigned to another regiment.

Still, as she listened to his emotionally filled voice and saw his own emotions surfacing, Kellan lowered her head as she felt the tears starting again. Trystan had been one of Liam’s best friends. And they had grown close, almost like brothers. And to know he was hurting as she was brought her some comfort. But the emptiness she felt at Liam’s loss was still there. And would be for a good time. When she was able to stop the tears, she looked back up at him and saw his own tears and felt her last bit of control dissolve and even as she looked at him tears began slipping down her cheeks once more and she hated herself for letting him see her like this. Her voice trembled when she spoke as she tried hard to keep from losing control entirely.

”I….I don’t know what to do. Liam….was all I had. I never once thought he would die….not without me being there anyway. We were….we were supposed to be there for…each other. I can’t help but think if I had been….he…he might still be here. By the Gods, Trystan…..what do I do now? I mean…I know what to do….but….I don’t know what to do. Liam was the one with all the answers….I was the one with all the questions.”

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PostSubject: Re: 10: Interests of Shadow and Flame   Fri Jul 23, 2010 4:23 pm


Ceridwyn watched as he crawled into the leafy bed beside her. She inhaled deeply as the leaves seemed to morph and move with them, softening the motion that occurred as the bed shifted when he entered. Her eyes stayed locked on his face and as he spoke should could not help but smile. Speaking in their native tongue she whispered, “The situation is confusing and grips the guts, twisting them so as to cause pain in the chest. Never in my days on Krynn have I been so conflicted and burned with such confusion.”

Her words hung in the air between them. To any that might have ears in the room, it sounded like she was speaking of the towers, but for Aeolis, the double meaning was obvious. She reached up and pressed the hand he had brushed on her cheek tightly against her face and closed her eyes, letting out a soft sigh. Speaking again in their native tongue she spoke again, this time there was sadness in her voice and she never opened her eyes to hide the small swell of tears that were beginning to form, “Aeolis, before we go any further there is something I need to tell you…”


Trystan watched Kellan and could see the pain she was going through, and rightfully so, losing a fellow was one thing, losing a family member was another. Even the hardest of Knights had feelings. As she stepped towards him he reached out and put his arms around her shoulders, pulling her in tightly and embracing her. Yes, there was protocols, but even more than that, there was comradery. Perhaps this was inappropriate, but this was also a hurting soul, one that needed him. She sobbed softly into his chest and he inhaled deeply, wishing there was more that he could do, wishing there was a way to bring Liam back, to see his friend and Mentor walk over the hill, tattered armor, maybe even wounded, but at least alive.

“We would server his memory best by carrying out our duty in an honorable fashion. Our honor is our life, he lived by the code, as we pledged to do, he would want us to continue to serve the order, and the people with the mindset of keeping our vow.” He held back his tears but his voice began to shake, “I know your pain Kel, I wish him back as well.”



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PostSubject: Re: 10: Interests of Shadow and Flame   Mon Jul 26, 2010 9:36 am


Aeolis stiffened. He was no sort of special being who could sense emotions on a level others were unable to but he also wasn’t a rock without emotions either and he could tell by the change in Ceri what ever it was she was about to tell him wasn’t going to be good. Besides, he had grown attune to her moods and while he had seen her in many different ways, he had never seen this side of her. Obviously what ever it was she was about to tell him weighed heavy on her heart and she felt she HAD to get it out.

He held his hand where it was on her delicate cheek as he let his eyes search her beautiful face. While he might not want to hear what she was about to say, he knew he had to hear it. For both of their sakes. Swallowing hard, he nodded ever so lightly. When he spoke, there was more emotion in his voice than he wanted but there was nothing he could do about it. His voice was barely over a whisper as he replied in their native language.

”My ears are yours, Ceri. Speak what is so heavy on your heart you barely contain your tears.”




Kellan cried bitter tears of grief and relief. If Trystan couldn’t hold back his tears, then how could anyone expect her to do so? She clung to him as though she would fade away if she didn’t. The strength she found in him helped her over this terrible moment and when she finally began to calm and heard his soft, pained voice in her ears, she knew she wasn’t as alone as she imagined herself to be.

She had Trystan. Kellan couldn’t tell him how much that meant to her and somehow she hoped her actions would show him. Finally she sniffled softly and reluctantly stepped back from him, wiping her forearm across her eyes to wipe the moisture from them. Her light brown eyes were puffy and red from her release of tears and she still took a shaky inhale of breath. Finally Kellan nodded at Trystan and swallowed hard. Her voice was still trembling slightly when she spoke.

”I will honor my brother’s memory by carrying on as he would want me to. With everything he taught me before I took the oath and everything he taught you that you will teach me, I will do everything in my power to honor his life by living mine in the image of his.”

It was late and morning would come all too soon. The last thing she wanted was to leave Trystan’s company but she knew she couldn’t go without rest. And it was simply impossible for them to even consider resting together. Even if things were honorable. It was simply frowned upon and could end up putting blemish on their untarnished images. And Kellan simply wouldn’t allow that to happen. With a slight nod of respect, she looked at the wet mark she left on Trystan’s tunic as she spoke.

”Rest, M’Lord. We’ll need it come the morning. We still have much to do.”

With a slight hesitation Kellan turned and walked back to the building she and her fellow Knights were bunked together in crowded rooms.

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PostSubject: Re: 10: Interests of Shadow and Flame   Mon Jul 26, 2010 1:50 pm



Ceridwyn sat up and leaned against a large chunk of root that had sprung from what was only minutes before a corner post. Her face was sullen and she looked at Aeolis, not speaking for a long moment. Finally she inhaled, the shuttering sound she made as she did told Aeolis that she was struggling and was on the verge of a massive emotional breakdown. With a voice that was weak and shaky she began.

“When I was a young mage, just months after I completed the trials of wizardry I met a man. He was human, handsome and charming, a high ranking Solamic Knight of the Sword named Sir Thomas Etwin. We were assigned to work together by the Council of white robes and the Solamic Order, hundreds of years ago there was still much cooperation between the groups of Krynn. He and I were paired to investigate a disturbance in Estwilde, a vile Necromancer and Cleric of Tahkisis was creating havoc in the entire region and we were to go stop him. There was some killings and reports that a rift of some type had been open through which the Necromancer was attempting to bring forth minions, but it was all speculation and rumor more than any substantial proof. That was why they only sent two of us. It was a chance for me to cut my teeth and begin working tightly with someone other than my Master, Nim’Sul.”

“Together we ventured out, I a bright eyed young white robed wizard and he the experienced Knight. From Heartlund we traveled many uneventful days getting to know each other as we went. I was still pretty young but I could see immediately that he was captivated by me. I admit, I found him quite handsome as well, for a human. I think what it was more than anything was his character. He was noble and found comfort in such small things, ‘It’s the simple things that bring the most pleasure’ he used to say. Being of more humble origins I had always found satisfaction in smaller things, and so his disregard for all the pomp and circumstance of most Knights was what truly attracted me to him. After we arrived at Laman Busuk, the valley that splits the mountains through the whole region of Estwilde, we made camp and both felt the very eerie sensation that we were not alone. He took guard and allowed me to rest. About an hour later I heard his war cray and woke to the most ghastly sight. There were dozens of undead minions surrounding us, he had just drawn his weapon and several came in at once. I fired a ‘turn undead spell’, they scattered and he managed to pick off the few that managed to eventually make their way back. Needless to say we didn’t sleep the rest of that night and got to the nearest town the next morning.”

“As we made our way into a town called Julein, we could tell the local populace was petrified of what was happening all around them. Being that this place was only a kilometer or so from where we were camped we acquired lodging and set up a base to investigate from in the Chuckling Goat, a typical tavern but a place that will forever remain in my heart. We hired a runner to move back and forth for us once a week to give our reports back to the Solamic Knights and the Council and then went to work. Weeks turned to months as we interviewed dozens of people and made daily trips into the hills together searching for the Necromancer who was plaguing the area. The hardest part was we could both feel the evil in the air, but every single time we thought we were starting to get something of a break we would hit a dead end. What did flourish during that time however, was my relationship with Sir Thomas. We had in fact, stopped paying for two rooms after about eight weeks and things were blossoming in a way that was much faster than I ever thought I would involve myself with another.” She was blushing slightly, and the implication was obvious. She took a deep breath and moved on with her tale.

“We were five months into the investigation and our breakthrough day finally arrived. The night before there had been horrific howling on the ridge that moves along the north side of Julien, we went up and found dozens of slaughtered elk, their blood drained completely from their bodies. We found traces of dark magic and with a reveal spell I was able to track the most minute trail to a well hidden cave several thousand feet up the hillside. At the time I thought I had finally made a discovery, but now I know, it was a set-up. We entered the cave immediately and made our way for almost an hour through a twisting pattern of tunnels. The evil was the only thing thicker than the atrocious smell in those caves, but we pressed on. Finally we came to a large dome shaped room, purple and green light from enchanted skulls filled the whole place and Thomas began to step, I sensed the power just a mere second before he moved, but it was too late. A whirlwind of power scooped us both up and flung us to the center of the room. Magical chains bound us and I was hexed with a curse that would not allow my tongue to move, I was helpless. Thomas was a mere meter away from me, bound fast with slimy black roots that held him fast to the floor. A dark figure emerged from a bubbling pool of thick oozing blood and made his way over to us. Staring down his voice was like gravel as he addressed me, ‘Ceridwyn, I heard you passed the trials, what a delight to meet you face to face.’ Looking over he spoke to Thomas, ‘And Sir Thomas, gallant Knight of the Sword. I must say I have only come to know who you are in the last couple months, however I am impressed.’ We watched in horror as the Necromancer moved to reveal the head of our runner on a pike, he had been dispatched only a couple days prior to bring back a very telling report of the region. As if reading our thoughts he turned back and looked at us, ‘Your Squire was unable to bring your last report, unfortunately there was more information than I was willing to allow your Knights to read.’”

“The Necromancer chuckled softly and walked back over to me, kneeling down and placing a hand on my stomach, ‘So now is when things get interesting my little white robe, you see I have been watching you, both of you,’ he turned and looked at Thomas, then back to me, ‘There are secrets even between lovers.’ He stood and turned to Thomas, looking down at him but before he could speak I spoke a missive to Thomas’ mind, ~ ‘It is true Thomas, I am pregnant, but I wanted to wait until we were done with the investigation, I didn’t want your mind clouded, we were so close to calling in the guard to take over… I am so sorry!’ ~ Thomas’ eyes welled up and he smiled at me. He began to speak when the Necromancer cast the same curse on him to swell his tongue and prevent him from talking. ‘Tsk tsk Thomas, I am the only one permitted to speak. You see, you have set back my operation here and as such there must be a penalty. I will give you the choice Sir Knight, since you are the superior in this little duo, the life of your child, or yourself, after all, leadership has its consequences.’ He turned and looked at me with a devilish smile, watching my face as I twisted and began to send a missive again. Then the agony hit me like a mountain had fallen upon me. My mind was so blasted by magic that I could not send the words, and the pain made me buckle under the bindings that held me to the ground. Thomas looked at me with pleading eyes and then looked at the Necromancer. ‘Very well then Sir Knight, it is decided.’ He turned and drew a black bag from the table, grabbing a handful of rose petals he threw them onto Thomas’ chest as he hissed words of magic. Thomas bucked and jerked as the spells literally melted and dissolved his body into nothing. I screamed in my heart, he had chosen his child to live, he had sacrificed himself for a baby that had not yet been born. I turned and looked at the Necromancer, my eyes full of hatred and he spoke again, ‘Awww little dear, this is the way of life, when one fails, one suffers.’ He reached his hand out over my womb and hissed words of magic, I could feel the pull in my guts as the magic burst through me and the world went black.”

“I woke in our room at the Chuckling Goat. I had memory of everything that had happened, I could feel that I was still pregnant, but I had no idea how to return to where the entrance was, it had been purged from my mind. I wept for days, I could feel the child in me, even so young, and I knew that something horrible was happening in me. The weeks went by and I remained in the room, wrapped in Thomas’ clothing, there was no moisture left in my eyes. Finally, after two months, I miscarried. The blackened fetus, so horribly disfigured by the spell passed from me and I can never begin to explain the agony I felt. I had lost the man I loved, and the child I never had a chance to hold. I went into seclusion for many years afterwards, working my family’s business as a seamstress and had vowed to never again use magic. Nim’Sul of course came to see me after many years and we talked. He was an amazing Elf, and finally, after many more years of private council with him I returned to the robes.”

She looked up at him, her face was puffy and red from the crying and she looked at Aeolis with her soft chestnut brown eyes. “I vowed I would never love again Aeolis. I did not want that type of leverage, or disadvantage in a fight again. It was my promise to myself when I returned to magic that I would quit using magic if I ever fell in love again, and here I am, wearing the white robes, and in love with a city guard of Silvanost.”


Trystan stepped back as Kellan spoke. He nodded and smiled gently as she gave HIM the order to get some rack time. He could only chuckle softly and spoke, “We are agreed Lady Kellan, today was long enough. Get some rest and I will send a Runner when Lady Rose wants to meet, I can not in any good conscious give my report without you being there.” He smiled and she could see in his eyes that he was proud of her performance today. “You are noble and wise Lady Kellan, your brother was always proud of you, never forget that.”



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PostSubject: Re: 10: Interests of Shadow and Flame   Mon Jul 26, 2010 3:40 pm


Aeolis sat up, like Ceri, as he listened to the white robe relay her story, removing his hand from her face and laying it in his lap. As he listened to Ceri tell this story of such a painful time in her life, he felt his heart twist in his chest. So painful were the emotions he was feeling that several times he had to take short, quick breaths to work through the pain. He was familiar with the story but he had never heard this side of it. Until now. And what he heard from her lips brought such an ache to his chest he was certain he would die from the sheer pain of it all.

He had never been able to relate to another in such a way as he related to Ceri. And to know she had suffered this great pain made him want to draw her into his arms and hold her tight against him, never to let her go. But he knew he could never do that. She was a free spirit and she needed the ability to flutter around like the butterfly he knew her to be. Her practice of magic required her to be able to go where she was needed, when she was needed.

For the longest time, Aeolis was unable to speak. He simply sat, looking at Ceri and swallowed hard several times. He couldn’t imagine the horror of the things she had suffered. Even his own nightmare couldn’t compare to hers. Finally he looked away from her and closed his eyes as he tried to get his heart and mind in the same place. Finally he opened his eyes and his green eyes shimmered with unshed tears as he forced them back. His voice was full of emotion and he didn’t care she could hear it.

”I learned if you make promises to yourself, they will be the hardest ones for you to uphold. All of my life I have lived to prove something to someone. To my father that I was worthy to take his place among the Guards. To my mother that I was every bit of the son she wanted me to be. To my sister that I had something to offer the people of Silvanost as much as she did. To the people of Silvanost that I was more than capable of protecting them from outsiders. But I was the one who allowed the outsiders into our home. It was I who dishonored my father. It was I who made my mother ashamed of me. It was I who drove my sister away. And it was I who allowed a dark force to attack our home.”

He swallowed hard once more then continued on.

”I swore I would never get involved with anyone who I would have an emotional attachment with. It was when I made that promise to myself I allowed the seed to be planted in my heart that set the events in motion. I would be dead now if not for you, Ceridwyn. You were the only one who dared to even investigate what was happening with me. And it was you who drew the darkness from within me. And it was you who my eyes first saw when I could once more see clearly. You did more than save my life that day, Ceri. You saved my heart. You saved my soul. And it was then I realized how truly empty my life was. It was you who brought light back to me and it was you who taught me how to love.”

He looked away for another short moment before he looked back to her again.

”We cannot control our hearts, Ceri. I love you with every ounce of my soul and will walk away now if that is what you wish me to do so you are not put in that position again. It will not keep me from loving you. Nothing could do that. Not even death. But I do not want to see you look at me with such love and such sadness at the same time. Each time you do, I feel my heart twist painfully within my chest. And I would rather leave knowing our love for each other cannot be used against you than see your brown eyes look upon me like that. If you want me to stay, I will do all I can to prevent anything like that from happening again but you and both know we cannot control the future. But I also believe we were brought together for a purpose perhaps yet to be revealed to us. After all. We are here. Together. In the middle of a Solamnic Knight stronghold trying to unite Krynn against a force that could easily wipe us off the face of the land.”

He leaned forward and brushed a tear as it slid down her cheek once more. Smiling softly, he tried to give her silence reassurance but he knew the choice was ultimately hers. Hopefully he hadn’t given her such a terrible ultimatum but he also knew in the depths of his heart this was the way it had to be. For both of them.

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PostSubject: Re: 10: Interests of Shadow and Flame   Mon Jul 26, 2010 5:10 pm

Leaving her guards at the door Rose entered her quarters. Hidden away from the outside world she let out a long sigh. Her shoulders drooped and he posture slackened. A she could do was stand there in the room her focused on the events of the last few days. Never in her years as a knight had she felt so helpless. As she sighed there was a knock upon her door.

Straightening her back she called out permission to enter. A young woman entered and Rose could only smile slightly as the women bowed. The young lady was her hand maiden Larissa "Lady Rose... I came as soon as I heard you were back..."

Rose could only nod "Yes... and I am in dire need of rest according to my men..."

Larissa took a good look at Rose and though she would not say as much she agreed witht he assesment. With not a word the young lady was at Rose's side removing weapons before asisting Rose with the removal of her gear. There came a great feeling of relief when all the armor was off and set on the stand. With little more to say Rose dismissed Larissa. Whom protested slightly noting the lady needed to eat yet.

"Larissa as much as I apreciate your concerns I have no desires to be found by my men on the morrow smothered in my own food because I fell asleep in it. Now let me rest I will be sure to eat first thing when I rise."

With a bow Larissa knew she could not press the matter further and let herself out of the room. Rose herself slipped into her night clothes before dropping unceremoniusly onto her bed. No sooner had she slipped under the covers and she was fast asleep. She was so exhausted that her sleep was deep and this one night she would be spared the nightmares of the battle with the devil mages.
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PostSubject: Re: 10: Interests of Shadow and Flame   Wed Aug 04, 2010 11:30 am


Ceridwyn smiled at Aeolis. The burden of her life had been exposed, the sadness that constantly lingered under the surface was revealed and she had no more words to speak. Laying her head on his chest she fell asleep swiftly. Her dreams were quiet and she breathed slowly through the night.

She woke just before dawn and blinked as she stared at the rising sun. Her swollen eyes, the after effects of last nights crying turned and gazed at Aeolis. She smiled gently as she watched him sleep a moment, leaning forward she softly kissed him on the cheek. His face twitched peacefully and she leaned back, a sad smile crossed her face and she whispered as her body faded from view in a thin wisp of white smoke, “…for the sake of love…”.


Trystan sent a runner and then went to bed. The runner was given specific instructions to not arrive at Lady Roses’ room before 9am, to deliver the message that he and Kellan would arrive at 11 to give their full report, and then leave a note under Kellan’s door to be at the Commanders quarters at the meeting time. He knew the Commander was tired and needed rest, and so did Kellan. Normally he wouldn’t wait so long into the morning but he didn’t want either of the ladies to be disturbed. He went to bed, falling asleep almost immediately, his thoughts lingering on his conversation with Kellan.

As he woke he stretched, the aches from yesterday’s activities lingered but he was strong and he worked them out quickly as he moved around the room. Washing up he put on his clothing, leaving his armor. This morning’s meeting wouldn’t require armor or weapons, however to be respectful of the Commander he dressed in his fine clothing, the uniform worn during the more formal gatherings of the Knights. He checked the sundial, it was only 9:30, he smiled and decided he would take a walk, checking on things around town before getting to the Commanders quarters. Grabbing a loaf of bread from the basket outside his door he walked through town, assessing how things were the morning after.



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PostSubject: Re: 10: Interests of Shadow and Flame   Wed Aug 04, 2010 1:12 pm


Her almond shaped chestnut brown eyes moved across the circle of gathered wizards. The council of all three orders were present and she stood in the midst of them. “I know that we are all concerned about the sudden appearance of the three towers. I have been to the location and, I am sad to report there is nothing less than a shutter in the spine at the sight of them. Though our orders may sometimes disagree about the motives and the direction magic should lead us in this life…,” She paused a very brief second as she looked at the black robed magi, “…we all agree that magic must be governed by a constant natural balance, as is the will of the gods. These towers are a plague to magic, they exude an evil that is beyond even the pursuit of the god Nuitari, there is no balance in their existence. As I investigated, there is a temporal rift hovering above their location which creates a perfect, three dimensional pyramid of anti-magic. This shield that surrounds is the deepest, darkest ambient magic I have ever experienced, and I regret to inform and report that I don’t see how anything we can do will penetrate it, even the moons dim at its existence and the closer I got to the source of this power, the weaker my magic became.”

She stared around the room, the sullen faces of the elder Wizards of Krynn looking back at her, “I suggest that we unit and fight this war as a collective, for if we attempt to come at it from our own angles, we don’t stand a chance. As I said, we disagree on magic’s use, but we need to all see that magic itself is threatened, and if we can’t find a way to defeat whoever is responsible our very way of life will be lost.”

Ariterus, the head of the Black Robe Council spoke to her, “Ceridwyn, I would like to thank you for your investigation, your information, though minimal, is valuable.” He looked at her with his deep, yellow eyes. “I agree, all wizards are threatened, and all wizards should work together as we did during the creation of the sanctum towers.” She nodded, looking at him with a blank face. She had expected little resistance, the threat of losing their power was motivation enough for the black robes. As she turned and looked at Raju, head of the Red Robes, she knew there might lay the challenge. The red robes were a constant pendulum from which balance hung. They believed in true neutrality, and if they felt the towers must exist to balance out all wizardry, they would not get involved. However there was too much evidence to suggest these towers were natural to this world, and all she could do was hope they saw that. Raju took a deep breath and spoke to Ceridwyn, “You have the pledge of the Red Robes, we will fight this war.”

With a nod Ceridwyn looked back across the faces of the assembled and spoke, “There is one more order of business that I need to discuss, my retirement.” There was audible gasps, a break of the normal silence that rarely occurred in these meetings. The wizards looked at her curiously and the white robe members were particularly disrupted by this news, “I made myself a pledge, that I would cease to practice magic when my life changed course, and for the love of magic, and to maintain my personal oath, I must retire from the Art, as well as the Council.”

Aurtimus, an aged human wizard and second in command of the white robed wizards stood and spoke, “Ceridwyn, this is not the time to be leaving the ranks, we have a critical situation on our hands, the entirety of Krynn depends on us at this very moment!” Ceridwyn turned to him, a soft smile on her face, and a twinkle in her eyes that had been abscent for many hundreds of years, “Aurtimus, if we are not true to ourselves, if we do not serve our own vows, then how are we to properly serve others? By remaining true to a commitment I made hundreds of years ago I fulfill the essence of what our order believes in. A promise is a promise, even one made in haste, or under rash circumstances. Nim’Sul aided me during the darkest moments of my life, and I followed him a second time but under a personal vow to only serve when the time was right, and to leave when it wasn’t. It is not right for me to serve this council, or these robes, if I break a vow to myself, and to Nim’Sul.”

Aurtimus sat and turned to the assembled. His face was full of sadness, a sadness that was reflected in all the white robed magi, “We then…., we can only accept your words and hope you have made the right choice. This meeting is adjourned” He nodded gently and sat back down.

Ceridwyn turned and looked at Ariterus, there was a thin smirk on his face and his voice entered her mind, “You mask your fear well, for fear is what motivates you at this moment, fear of loss and fear of feeling pain once again.” She narrowed her gaze on him as he stood and the entirety of the black robed council exited the room. She wanted to retort, to argue, but she was held silent as his words lingered in her mind.



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PostSubject: Re: 10: Interests of Shadow and Flame   Wed Aug 04, 2010 8:28 pm


Aeolis finally awoke and instantly knew Ceridwyn was gone. Her unique scent was not as strong this morning and he knew why without even looking. Somehow he knew she would be gone when he awoke and while he respected her decision, he also felt hurt by it. But he couldn't be mad at her. Perhaps in his former life, yes. But not now. He silently wished her all the best in her life's work then slowly forced himself out of the natural, leafy bed she'd made for them the night before.

There would be time for wishing later. For now, he had to help these Knights at the painful task of trying to figure out what the hell was going on here and how to best aid their citizens. As he splashed water on his face and prepared to leave the room they'd been given, he looked back at the leafy bed once more before he walked out and closed the door behind him again. As he made his way out into the streets he noticed it was eerily quiet. So far the only people he saw moving about were the Knights. IN fact, one caught his attention as he recognized the sad, light brown gaze that looked over at him as he emerged from his lodgings.

Kellan was up and already working at getting some more things organized. He gave the young woman a small smile and was given one in kind. He was just making his way over to her when he caught a glimpse of Trystan out of the corner of his eye. Remembering what Ceri had said about the two of them the night before, Aeolis took his time in approaching making it seem as if he were looking things over to determine what, if anything, could still be done.



Kellan had risen with the first light of dawn. Her sleep had been troubled and plagued with terrible visions of her brother in all sorts of twisted carnage. The last time she woke it was to one of her fellow knights shaking her shoulder she finally decided it was just best to get up and stop disturbing the rest of her bunk mates. She wasn't dressed in the finery Trystan was but she was dressed better than she normally dressed. Her blond hair was pulled back away from her face but left to fall freely to her shoulders in the back. Dark circles surrounded her light brown eyes and her shoulders seemed to be slumped just a little and not held square and proud as they usually were.

She finished up grooming her horse when she decided to take a walk around Heartlund once more. The ominous rift in the sky was still there as the light of day finally broke through the darkness of the night sky. Furrowing her brows, she cast her gaze skyward as she looked to the heavens. What in the name of the Gods was happening to Krynn? What were these towers and why had they been constructed? And better yet....who had constructed them?

Pushing these thoughts from her mind, she made her way towards the center of town and saw the baker's light on. Stopping by to check on things she was delighted too find he and his wife had risen early to bake up some sweet treats and fresh bread as a thank you for the knights and ll they had done for them the day before. The smile she gave them both was heartfelt and she thanked them both for their thoughtfulness. After that, she made her way through the city once more to triple check on things.

She was just returning from her check when she saw the Elf, Aeolis, walking out of the building he and the White Robe had been given a room to lodge in. As the Elf gave her a small smile, she returned one in kind then saw Trystan. He looked nothing short of handsome in his finery. Already she could feel her cheeks flush just at the sight of him in his formal attire. She suddenly felt under dressed and smoothed out her tunic and straighted the belt at her waist then stood a little taller as he approached.

The Elf Aeolis approached at the same time as well and she greeted them both with a nod a small smile.

"Greeting, M'Lord Trystan....and Aeolis. It appears as though we've survived the night. That has to be a good omen of some sort. Don't you think?"

Aeolis smiled and nodded in kind.

"Greetings Lady Kellan. Lord Trystan. And yes. I believe every morning we awaken is a good omen. Now it is up to us to make the most of the day we have been given."

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PostSubject: Re: 10: Interests of Shadow and Flame   Thu Aug 05, 2010 4:42 am


Rose slept like the dead and as she lifted herself from her bed awakened by a knock upon her door she felt like the dead as well. Her sleep had been dreamless and restful but she still felt drained mentally and spiritually. With a light grumble she reached for something to make herself decent and bid her guest to enter. She knew it had to be a messenger as it was the only reason the person would even be allowed to knock.

The youth saluted and Rose nodded to him in kind. "Sir Trystan wished me to let you know he and Lady Kellen would arrive at eleven bells to deliver their full report on the situation ma'am."

Rose frowned slightly noting the lateness of the time but she did not question it. Trystan likely wanted her to get some rest and that made her ponder on how she must have looked upon her arrival Did I really look that bad. Quickly she brushed the thought away and dismissed the runner and asked for Larissa to be summoned. Within minutes she came bursting in with a tray filled with food and a look that dared Rose to argue about eating.

There were many who commented that the young lady often stepped outside her post, but it was one of the things Rose liked about her. When there was a battle to be waged Rose was very susceptible to tunnel vision. Larissa was responsible for making sure she did not neglect her health and as a result she was given certain liberties in regards to protocol.

Knowing the look all to well Rose sat and waited for the food to be set. Larissa said nothing and only smiled before gathering up Rose's armor "I will take your gear for repair m'lady... it won't be ready for your meeting but it should be ready this evening."

Looking up from her food Rose raised an eyebrow "exactly what time is it Larissa..."

"a quarter tick past nine in the morning Lady Rose. I thought you would sleep the day away until that boy arrived." With a smile she was gone as fast as she entered.

Rose sat in silence once more and ate her meal. She found that she was surprisingly hungry and soon everything was devoured. She set the tray of dishes aside knowing it would be dealt with when the storm returned. She set about the task of cleaning herself up to look more presentable and dragged out her formal wear. She did not wear it often here in the field but since Larissa hard carted off her gear for repair so it would have to do. A simple formal commander's attire that was a deep purple trimmed out with a cream white.

She would spend the better part of an hour fussing over every detail, and anything she missed would be caught by Larissa no doubt. As the eleven o'clock hour approached Rose sat studying the maps laid out on her table. Her mind focused on the areas the towers now stood as she tried to comprehend their purpose. Unlike many she had a good idea of who had created these towers, but the purpose left her baffled. She reached for a glass and sipped from a cup of tea.

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PostSubject: Re: 10: Interests of Shadow and Flame   Thu Aug 05, 2010 9:35 am



Trystan smiled warmly as he saw Kellan, saluting formally but his eyes held something deeper that only she would be able to interpret. “Good morrow to you Kellan, I trust you slept well.” He looked over her shoulder as Aeolis approached and extended a hand in friendship, “And good morrow to you Aeolis, pleasant to see you up and about.” He looked at the elf a brief second before turning his attention back to Kellan, there was something in the Elf’s face, something that was buried deeply, a sadness. He did not linger on it and he turned back to Kellan.

He smiled as Kellan said her words, a good omen to have made it through the night. He was about to respond when Aeilis spoke and Trystan, who’s thoughts were much less gloomy, decided to keep his words regarding the situation to himself. “Not to be too straight to duty Kellan, but are you prepared for our meeting with the Commander? I suspect she will be asking a lot of detail questions, she’s a planner, more than most, she is going to expect every detail.” He smiled and turned to Aeolis, “Aeolis, it would be a pleasure to have you and Ceridwyn join us as well. Lady Rose hasn’t seen you in months and she will most likely want yours and the Wizard’s insights into this whole situation. Can the two of you join us?”



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PostSubject: Re: 10: Interests of Shadow and Flame   Thu Aug 05, 2010 3:52 pm


Ceridwyn felt the twist in her heart, the conflict that still lingered within her. Was she truly motivated by fear? Was she really taking the easy road? Her cottage in Silvanost felt empty and cold. She began to cry as she held her robes in her hand. She had been folding them to put them into storage. Unfolding them again she held the pristine white silk in front of her and through blurred eyes traced the finely knit seams with her eyes. Had she gone too far? Had her emotions finally come unchecked and caused her to make a rash decision from which she could not back away?

Tossing the robes onto her bed she walked and looked out across the rooftops and tree homes of Silvanost. She inhaled deeply and she shivered in her confusion. Ariterus seemed to speak as if he had looked directly into her soul, and the worst part was, she was starting to think he was right. Could she really give up magic? Could she walk away from hundreds of years of dedication to the cause of light? Or worse than all these lingering questions, was she a fool to even make such a vow? She began to sob heavily, her face buried in her hand as she leaned against the balcony door. Even the lovely coolness of the air around her couldn’t cure the fever she was feeling in her heart. She had been married to her magic for so long she had forgotten what it meant to care for someone beyond compassion alone. Aeolis had cracked a shell that nobody knew existed, and now the innards were spilling across the floor of her cottage.

She looked up again, her eyes lingering on the trees, the flow of nature all around her caused her to shake with nerves, but it was too late. She was no longer the leader of the Council, she had already made that choice, and there was nothing she could do to take that back. She knew that the promotion of Aurtimus had most likely already taken place, this was wartime there would be no delay. That was the least of her concern however, handing over leadership of the Council was more a relief than a burden, where the conflict was coming to a head was in her spirit. Could she follow through, could she turn her back on the god of magic who had shown her his favor time and time again. She looked up, the silver moon of Solinari shown through the canopy and she felt her eyes well up again, it was as if the very eye of the moon’s god was looking at her. “I’m sorry…,” she whispered the words through her shaking voice and she turned to walk back into the room. It occurred to her that it was not magic she had to leave, it was adventuring, it was putting herself out there, fighting the evil that she would have to give up, it she couldn’t do that, not with a clear conscious.

She slipped the white robes again, and she felt a tingling sensation move through her body. A sensation of peace coursed through her body and she felt the light of Solinari fill the room as she closed her eyes and bathed in its warmth. A gentle voice echoed in her mind, “Child, you have always been loyal, even in your darkest times. It is not wrong to love again, it is part of life, it is part of why you were created. From the creation of the Greygem we intended love to be a motive not a hindrance. It is time to let your pain go, it is time to understand that you are worthy of happiness once again, you always were, you simply let your grief blind you.”

The light slowly receded from the room and she opened her eyes, smiling brightly, “Thank you lord.” She gathered her things and teleported to the region of Heartlund. Standing in the center of the Solamic stronghold she saw Aeolis assisting a human woman with her child. He sensed her instantly, she could tell as he turned and looked at her. She smiled, her face was warmer than it had ever been, her eyes sparkled and she stood tall, the burden of her past lifted from her shoulders. She waited patiently as he finished assisting the woman and when he stood and faced her again she began running to him, closing the distance quickly, her eyes echoing a depth of true love that could never be faked.



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PostSubject: Re: 10: Interests of Shadow and Flame   Sun Aug 08, 2010 6:35 pm


Aeolis felt pang cross his heart when Trystan asked if Ceridwyn would be able to join them. That sadness Trystan had picked up on just moments ago could clearly be seen now but only for the briefest of moments. True to his proud Elven heritage, Aeolis gave a small smile and shook his head.

”No. I fear it will be just me, Sir Trystan. Ceridwyn had business to attend to elsewhere that drew her away in the early morning hours. We most likely will not be seeing her for quite some time.”

It took every ounce of energy Aeolis had to say that statement without so much as a cracking of his voice. But he did. He saw the look that passed between Trystan and Kellan and knew they understood the full meaning of his words. It hurt even more to know he could fool no one.

He looked away at the brave Knights who were starting to mingle about more and more as they assisted the frightened citizens of Heartlund. Finally he looked back and gave that small smile to them again.

”When the meeting takes place, I will join you both. Until then, I will assist the population of Heartlund in any way I can. Please send a runner for me and I shall meet you both there and offer any intelligence I can.”

With a quick salute, he turned and made his way into the growing number of people walking about. He would immerse himself in following through with the plan he and Ceri had originally set out to do. It was, after all, all he could think to do at the moment.



Kellan gave Trystan a salute, as protocol dictated, but she also gave him a smile that let him know she was forever grateful for what he did last night. When he asked about her sleep, she shrugged a shoulder and avoided the issue as best she could by telling him she slept about as well as she could all things considered.

As Aeolis approached she noticed the sadness in the Elf’s eyes as well and after she heard what he said regarding Ceridwyn, Kellan understood what she saw in the depths of his green eyes. As he excused himself to work, Kellan kept her eyes on his retreating back as she spoke softly to Trystan.

”It appears as though we weren’t the only ones with revelations last night.”

When she turned her light brown eyes to settle on his gaze there could have been much more to the meaning of her words but before he could even give them much thought she was talking to him about the meeting with the commander.

”I’m ready for the meeting. I hope I’ll have the answer to the questions she’ll be directing to me. Although there isn’t much to really say other than those towers arose, terrified the masses, made our fellow knights cower in fear – though not because they lacked courage, and murdered our fellow Knights. I believe the exchange of information will be heavily one sided in her favor. Although, I’d be lying if I stated I wasn’t interested in finding out what she had to report. After all, she has seen much more than we have.”

Once again she couldn’t help but notice how Trystan’s eyes held a different look to them this morning. Her brother’s death, while tragic and surreal, had allowed them to bridge a gap that seemed to spread far and wide between them. There had alwys been mutual respect and Kellan was never one to question Trystan’s orders. While she may not have fully understood them, she trusted him enough to know everything would come full circle and she would see the full lesson he was trying to teach her.

Sometimes that lesson was very hard. At other times it was merely a matter of testing her resolve. Not once, though, had he ever treated her with anything but dignity and understanding. Even when she had trouble understanding the full depth of her training. He was patient enough to keep working with her until the light finally shone in her eyes that she understood. Not that it happened all that often, but when it did, she could count on Trystan to guide her through it to the other side.

Now, as she stood standing next to him and seeing the look in his eyes (that also caused her heart to beat just a tad bit faster) Kellan understood what it meant to have someone who truly understood what she was going through. He would forever be her Lord and Master but on this one thing they were equal and Kellan could never express her gratitude enough to let Trystan know what it meant to her.

Finally she took a deep breath and looked around Heartlund as the citizens began to rise from their fitful slumbers and see if the nightmare from the day before was still there. As the sounds of concerned voices began to fill the air, Kellan knew they would have to stop things before they got into a full fledged panic. Looking back to Trystan, she gave him a small smile and nodded.

”I believe duty calls once more, Lord Trystan. I’ll join you at eleven in the Commander’s strategic office. Until then, I’ll take care of keeping the nay sayers under control."




Aeolis slipped away from Trystan and Kellan and dove into helping the populace of Heartlund the best he could. More often than not it meant quieting fears and reassuring the citizens the Knights, and others in the area, were doing all they could to find out what caused the appearance of the towers and the rift in the sky over them.

He’d been working for a good hour and was talking with one of the humans who sought refuge from an outlying area when he felt a presence he was certain he wouldn’t feel for a very long time. Instantly his eyes left the woman and rested on the most beautiful face in all of Krynn.

He wasn’t even listening to the woman as he stared at Ceri from the distance. Too many questions were circling around in his mind. Why was she here? Did she come back to tell him good bye? Her eyes were puffy and red. Had she been crying all night? Why was she holding her things? What was going on? Finally the woman grew frustrated when Aeolis didn’t answer her right away and she bumped into the Elf’s shoulder as she brushed by mumbling something about rude Elves. Aeolis snapped out of his stupor and quickly apologized as he glanced at the retreating woman.

When he turned back to look at Ceri he saw the look in her eyes as she started running at break neck speed towards him. His face broke into a bright smile as he took two steps before catching her as she practically threw herself into his arms. He held her close and buried his face in her neck as he lifted her up off the ground and held her tight against him. He whispered softly in her ear as he spoke to her in their native language with a voice choked with emotion.

”If I am dreaming then do not awaken me. My heart soars seeing you again, Ceridwyn.”





Kellan was heading towards Trystan to join him for the meeting with the Commander when she heard a flurry of activity and some raised voices. Instantly she thought the worse and as she spun around her blade was half way out of the scabbard when she saw Ceridywn rushing towards Aeolis and jumping into his waiting arms.

As she watched the Elves embrace and cling to each other she felt a pang cross her heart. Slowly sliding her blade back into the protective sheath, she smiled slightly as the happiness of their reunion made some of the nearby citizens smile as well. Taking a deep breath, she turned and started to head towards Trystan again when she saw Trystan looking at her. The look in his eyes and on his face made her blink as she paused.

Feeling her cheeks grow warm from the way the look made her feel she silently berated herself then took another deep breath, pushed her girlish dreams aside, and squared her shoulders as she started walking towards him again. By now the look on his face was nothing out of the ordinary so she knew she had just been wishful thinking.

Seeing his eyes look past her now at the Elves, she smiled when she reached him and turned to watch Aeolis and Ceridwyn again. Speaking so only his ears could hear her; she kept watching the Elves as she spoke.

”It appears as though Lady Ceridwyn has had a change of heart, M’Lord. Lady Rose wil be very pleased at this turn of events. As it appears Aeolis is.”

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