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 Book 2 - Ch10: The Retrospection Before the Storm

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PostSubject: Book 2 - Ch10: The Retrospection Before the Storm   Fri Mar 28, 2014 1:52 pm


The ground beneath Rorie’s feet was packed and firm, the gentle, slow, deliberate steps he and Piramay took barely made a sound as they came up over the hill of the northern most road that lead into Heartlund. As the tip of Kali’s tower came into view Rorie looked intently, feeling for her presence. If she was in residence she had masked herself well, he could not get the slightest indication.

He turned to look at Piramay, still not completely familiar with her new face, but there was something in the eyes that he would never miss. He looked around to make sure they were completely isolated on the road before speaking, “I get no sense if she is there or not, it matters not, this route will give us the best view of the tower as we pass. I will need your memories to fill in the details of what has been altered and what has not.”

As they walked he looked across the landscape. Truly the magic used to create the towers was immense, even though the event was almost a year in Krynn’s history the signature still lingered, stronger than he had felt in a long while. He scanned the massive craters and areas of ground scorched so intensely that vegetation still wouldn’t grow there. One area close by had a clump of rocks that had been made so hot they fused together and melted into a new, distorted shape. Ghostly figures in the shape of six men in various positions were pressed against the rock, dimly outlined as they were vaporized. He gave Piramay a sideways glance and whispered, “Your handiwork I can only assume?”

The wry, mischievous smile she offered in response was all he needed to know. He smiled in return and continued to survey the landscape as he pulled the cart of wares behind them. It was full of lotions, balms, liquids, slaves and the like. Their plan was simply, sell these items to the residents of Heartlund, and the magic within them could be released at their time of need.

The cart creaked softly as it rolled over small bumps in the road, Kali’s tower now on their left side. He looked to the side, scanning the shiny black obelisk of power, lusting to get access to it’s library and learn all of it’s locked away secrets. Piramay pressed a gentle elbow into his ribs as two mounted soldiers approached, coming up out of a deep valley in the road ahead. Rorie immediately brought his head forward and continued to walk. The two soldiers, clad in the armor of their rank and each baring the insignia of Lady Rose on their right arm passed without hardly taking notice of them. Rorie turned and looked at Piramay from under his beige hood and gave a small smile of satisfaction in their disguises.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch10: The Retrospection Before the Storm   Tue Apr 01, 2014 3:50 am


When the knights had passed Pirmay returned Rorie's grin in kind. In the short bit of time that they had traveled they had passed and been passed by a variety of caravans. The past year had been a productive one for trading and with the influx of people coming from the north it made for lucrative business. She let her eyes fall back on their cart of goods that were graciously donated for their cause.

With a chuckle her eyes drifted back towards Heartlund itself. She took a careful look at the land before focusing on the city noting the differences since she had last been here. She leaned towards Rorie with a bit of amusement in her voice. "It would seem that the knight commander is a bit more resourceful than I had originally thought. She has managed to completely repair the battlements and wall that were destroyed in the battle." Her finger pointed to the charred cone and followed the scar to the wall and it was obvious that new stone had been set.

"I do say I think this trip is going to be most.... entertaining..." She knew they were here to gather intelligence but at the same time neither of them would miss an opportunity to sow a little chaos. Her eyes drifted back to the tower for only a moment before they shifted in the direction of the molten lake. The memories of the power she had wielded here were intoxicating but she managed to push them off for the time being.
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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch10: The Retrospection Before the Storm   Fri Apr 04, 2014 11:21 am


Rorie looked at the wall where Piramay had gestured, he noted the obviously newer stone and whispered, "I look forward to learning more about this power you managed to tap into and wield, if the size of that repair is any indication I am eager to learn the secrets." He smiled cooly and noted that the blast area didn't indicate any burn or scorching, not to mention it was in a much different location than the melted stones they had passed earlier. He whispered again, "Is that Kali's handywork?"

Piramay nodded just enough to communicate in the affirmative and Rorie glanced at the repairs again, noting more details, "Clearly my niece is becoming quite the aficionado in destructive magic. It is shadow based you say?"

Piramay touching his hand softly with hers again, Rorie had become so engrossed immediately with the lust to learn and know more about this power that he had forgotten his surroundings and they were approaching the north gate, also known as "The Gate of Roses", named after the Commander as it was the gate which faced the former battlefield. As they approached, a massive rose carved from a single piece of stone decorated the middle cross stone under the battlement that connected the towers. The stonework was clearly dwarven, as elegant as it was strong. It was one of the most impressive gates that Rorie had ever seen, and it hummed with energy. He glanced sideways at Piramay, knowing she would feel the protective enchantments around it as well. He ached to talk about it with her but held his tongue.

He brought the cart to a stop and looked up at the Quarters Guard who kept track of all wares coming into the city, "Oi travelers, welcome to Heartlund. Your names?"

"Thomas Oliver Grey, and this is my wife Justine Holly Grey. We are lotion, salve and balm makers."

The guards eyes lifted from his board and he looked at the cart, "Haven't had any of your kind before, mostly wood, textiles, dyes and food."

Rorie smiled kindly and spoke, "Word has reached us in the north of Heartlunds recovery over the year, and its affluence in culture and success. Our products are highly celebrated in Kalaman for keeping the skin young and smooth."

The soldier nodded, half interested, which was exactly what Rorie was after, "Kalaman you say... good, that answers my second question. Your intended duration of stay?"

The man looked up at Piramay and then to Rorie. Rorie responded, "Until we sell all our wares."

With man nodded and tore off a small piece of paper, handing it to Rorie, "Take this up there to the inner gate, move along."

Rorie nodded, "Thank you kindly sir."

The man waved him on and Rorie walked the ten meters through the gate tunnel and stopped at the second portcullis on the inside wall, another soldier was standing with a hammer and a bag of nails hanging off his belt, "Card please."

Rorie handed the piece of paper the first guard had handed him and the man looked it over quickly, then walked to the cart and lifted the canvas, inspecting the wares with a second soldier. Satisfied he walked to the side of the cart and nailed the card to the cart and looked as the next merchant was already on his way through the gate, "Move along Mr. Thomas."

Rorie nodded and began to walk, looking at Piramay and the city. It was massive, and beautiful all at the same time, clearly the work of detailed planning, both in navigation but also in maximum defendability, clearly this Commander Rose knew what she was doing. Rorie looked up at street and whispered, "So where is this inn of yours?"

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch10: The Retrospection Before the Storm   Wed Apr 09, 2014 3:44 am


Piramay kept her eyes focused on other things as they passed through the guard houses. She put on the face of a curious wife paying little attention to the discussions Rorie had with the guards. In truth she was making mental notes about the more mundane defenses as she probed for the magical. Rose had put her allegiances to good use as she established her new defenses. No doubt preparing for future conflicts that may have a heavy magical influence. Certainly even the queen herself would find this fortress city a more formidable place to take.

She resisted the urge to investigate any further and brought her attention back to Rorie as they passed the second gate. Offering a small smile she motioned her hand to their right "I do believe that the Quiet Harpy is this way my dearest husband."

She took his arm as they led their cart in the direction she had indicated and before to long they came across the rather modest two level tavern inn. The sign over the door depicted a quite dead harpy sprawled out giving meaning to the establishment's name. Piramay spoke with an amused tone as she looked at the sign. "Tavern owner's are quite the witty types are they not.."
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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch10: The Retrospection Before the Storm   Mon Apr 21, 2014 2:22 pm


Rorie looked up at the sign Piramay had mentioned and with a raised eyebrow he spoke, "Indeed they do... wife."

He looked at her with a wry smile and turned to one of the young hands who was sitting out front, "Boy, come."

The young boy, roughly 14 years of age or so came and bowed, Rorie handed him two coppers and spoke in a warm tone, "See that this cart is brought to the back and secured, then I would like you to personally keep watch over it for us. We know to the bottle what is on this cart, if it is all accounted for in the morning I will reward you with a silver piece."

The boys eyes went wide and he nodded enthusiastically, "Right away sir!"

He bowed and with the help of another hand wheeled the cart around to the back of the tavern. Rorie watched them disappear around the corner and turned to look at Piramay who was looking at him in amusement. With a smile in return he opened the door and gestured for her to step inside.

The smell was typical of a tavern, stale beer mixed with the sweet smell of mead, sweat and lingering smoke from tabac and pipe weed. He ruffled his nose slightly and bit his tongue to keep from uttering something reflective of the peasantry that patronized the common room. A fat man in a white apron approached and gave a low bow as he returned to his full height, which was a good head lower than Rorie's, "Welcome Master and Misses, to the Dead Harpy!"

Rorie looked down at him and spoke, "My wife and I are looking for a room, a three week stay or so, can you assist us?"

The man flicked open his small ledger and looked down the list, "Well, I can accommodate you for a week, but then we have the May Festival, unfortunately my room are booked up for that but..."

Rorie cut him off, "What is the rate?"

The man looked up and cleared his throat, speaking with a smile, "One silver a night sir, and that includes breakfast in the morning."

Rorie spoke, "And how long is the May Festival?"

The man quirked a brow as if he didn't understand how someone would not know, "Well, a week sir."

Rorie turned to look at Piramay and then to the man again, "As in as much as my wife would prefer not to be discomforted by having to move rooms part way through our stay how about this, I will pay you one silver a night for this week and the third, but for the second week I will pay you two, if you can find some way to convince one of those who made previous arrangements that their room is no longer available."

The man licked his lips greedily and spoke, "Well sir, mistakes are often made in the ledger, and the error would typically go in favor of the one who arrived first... if he had paid in advance of course."

Rorie smiled in understanding and spoke, "I will pay through the second week, and we can arrange to give final payment when we depart after the third."

The man scratched his pudgy chin a moment and looked up with a smile, "We have an accord."

Rorie nodded and reached into his money pouch, retrieving the right number of silvers, "Indeed we do."

"And what name shall I put in the ledger?"

Rorie smiled and spoke, "Mr. and Mrs. Underhill."

The man bowed low and spoke, "Enjoy your stay at the Dead Harpy, Mr. and Mrs. Underhill!"

Rorie turned and looked at Piramay with sarcasm in his gaze but stayed silent. The man returned after a minute with a room key, "One floor up are all the room, last door on the left, you are lucky, there is a striking view of the Keep from that room, Lady Rose sure has made some impressive and colorful improvements to the landscape since that black wizard returned."

Rorie smiled, "Has she? This is my first time here, and I know of no Black Wizards, can you tell me some of these improvements?"

The man smiled and slapped his belly, "Well, the tower of course, I am sure you saw it comin' in, well people don't care for it much, and frankly they don't care for the wizard within much either. Strange folk Wizards, always with a purpose and plan to everything they do you know? Well, since she took up residence Lady Rose has planted lots of gardens and order more color to the buildings, to cheer the place up a bit you know? She also assures us that the wizard is of no concern to us, in fact the rumor is she enchanted many of the walls and gates to protect us if any other magic or dragons come against the city in the future."

Rorie smiled and slipped his arm around Piramay's back in a husbandly gesture, "How interesting, we came for a room and are getting Bard's Tales... please, tell us more, we love learning about new cities that we visit."

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch10: The Retrospection Before the Storm   Mon Apr 21, 2014 3:31 pm

Keatara had not been herself since she'd seen James a couple of days earlier. James acted like the concerned friend, but inside he was smiling, knowing that it was only a matter of time now. He watched as she kept looking at the gates and could tell that she was thinking about her brother. Finally, he approached her. "Tara....what say we take another ride to the stream. Mayhap Tynen will be there and ye can speak to him again." She sighed, seeing the children's concerned faces, having noticed that their mentor wasn't her usual self.

"Aye, James. Perhaps ye be right. We will stop early today and then take a ride to the stream", she said to him, giving him a small smile. He patted her shoulder in a brotherly manner before walking away to his own small group of children. She'd still visited Curtis every day to make sure he was gaining strength and see if he'd remembered anything else. She followed her gut instinct and always went when James was busy so that he wouldn't request to accompany her. Still, Curtis didn't remember anything but his strength was coming back and it wouldn't be long before he could be back at the training arena to begin with easy maneuvers.

She was also worried about Gideon. She'd not seen nor heard from him in some time now as well as Tanjee. Her fears caused her to have nightmares at night about both of them, seeing them killed over and over again by the forces of evil. She often woke in a cold sweat, her small body shaking violently and unable to go back to sleep. It was beginning to show in the dark shadows beneath her green eyes.

Later that afternoon, she called an early dismissal, stating that the children needed time with their families to help them ready for the upcoming festival. They hooted and hollered their joy at that and took off home, leaving Keatara standing as she laughed at them watching them run off. James was there within minutes, leading her mare and his own gelding. "Ye ready, Tara? Let's take that ride."

Within the hour, they were at the stream where they'd seen Tynen days before and she dismounted her mare, walking close to the stream when she heard the snap of a twig. Drawing her shortsword along with James, she turned to the sound only to see her brother step out of the treeline. She couldn't stop the small smile that crossed her face but she didn't move towards him. "Hello, Tynen. Tis good to see you again."



Tynen took in the sight of his sister and a pang of guilt pierced his heart at what was going to be done to her but he quickly ignored it, remembering the rewards that awaited him upon her delivery. He'd found out more about the poison that the bitch witch had infected her with by a spy within her own band, a spy that had since gone to his death. His dear sister thought she was of the Northern Elves.....the late prince's daughter to boot. Truth was, his whole family was descended from the Northern Elves, not just her and his ma and da were indeed her own as well. But, her confusion was part of the plan for she would seek answers eventually.

"Ye be looking lovely, sister. I have missed you since we last met." His took on sadness when he opened his arms to her like he did when she was younger only to see her stay her ground and not come to him. "I can understand your unwillingness to come to me, Tara. I don't blame you but you canna' blame me for trying. How have you been, sister?"

They exchanged pleasantries and no more, but it was enough for she stayed longer than she had the first time. James, as he did before, acted like a guard for her when in truth he was keeping watch for Tynen. He would alert him if anyone approached by alerting Tara, knowing that if she were caught with her brother she would be questioned for treason. Only he knew the truth of it.....that she was only trying to save her brother and bring him back from the darkness, but would they believe someone who had been put in the stockade for crimes, the least of which was suspected treason? He thought not and he grinned. Even her beloved Gideon would see her as a suspected traitor.

"I must go Tynen. I would ask something of ye though." She waited until he nodded his head to her. "I doona want ye to return here. Tis too painful for me and ye have given me no cause to think that ye are even remotely close to coming back to the light. I willna' jeopardize my life here. Not even for you, brother."

This was something neither he nor James had seen coming and it showed on both of their faces. He pleaded with her, even though it went against his very grain, "Please, Tara....the injustice I have done....ye canna' be expecting me to just come forth and offer them my head for that is what they would take and ye know it. I need ye to be strong for a little longer....until I know I can come forth without fear of being put to death."

A tear slid down her cheek at his words and she shook her head. "Nay.....to do so would cast me as a traitor, Tynen and I canna' do that. I have a life here now. A good one. If'n ye have changed then ye will come to the gates and turn yeself in."

She turned and walked over to her mare, mounting in a graceful manner before she turned to Tynen. "I love ye, Tynen...that will never change. But ye chose yer path....and only ye can fix it." She turned then and headed back to Heartlund, tears streaming down her cheeks. James looked at his leader who was clearly furious. "Work on her, James....doona fail me."

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch10: The Retrospection Before the Storm   Thu Apr 24, 2014 4:36 am


While Rorie bantered with the innkeeper for their room Piramay herself surveyed the room. In truth she was surprised the man still had any rooms as the main dining area was already filled with a large variety of people. Everything from a drunkard to a city guardsman was present and it wasn't even mid day. Conversation was quick but controlled at the moment and with a second glance no person of any real note stood out. She reminded herself that they would not be the only unwelcome guests skulking around the city with a festival coming. There would be agents coming for certain and that knowledge could prove valuable.

Her attention was brought back to the conversation at hand as the man before them began speaking of the improvements that the knight commander had made. She looked at the man curiously as he spoke of enchantments and finally chimed in. "We had heard of the great battle this past year and were quite surprised to see that the city was in such good shape compared to the surrounding lands."

There was a nod from the innkeeper as he spoke "A knight under Lady Rose apparently has befriended a silver dragon. He and several others helped with the quarrying and hauling of the stone. Of that everyone in the city can vouch for. I have it on good authority though that a lot of the plant life is a gift from the elves. Lady Rose managed to get herself an allegiance with dragon's and the elves. This past year has definitely seen it's share of miracles."

She only had to partially feign surprise at this news.  An alliance with the elves was not nearly as shocking as dragons, and silvers were nothing to scoff at. She wanted to ask more but at the same time polite conversation only went so far. She simply flashed an excited smiled and looked to Rorie. "I think this will be a most entertaining place to visit my dear. Between knights, wizards, and dragons it appears Heartlund has no shortage of wonders for us to see.

She doubted that Kali had enchanted anything here in Heartlund without a reason. The lion's share most likely came from the silver dragons and the elves.
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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch10: The Retrospection Before the Storm   Fri Apr 25, 2014 11:59 am


Rorie nodded at Piramay and responded, “Indeed my wife, indeed.”

Not to linger too long and cause suspicion Rorie nodded in thanks as he took the key and left the conversation where it was at for now. They had time and drawing more information out of the over chatty windbag wouldn’t be an issue, the man seemed eager to spill all he knew with very little prodding. He gestured and Piramay slipped her arm through his elbow and the pair made their way up to the room.

Upon entering Rorie locked to door behind them and immediately dropped his pack. He turned and waved his hand, whispering soft words of magic. Nothing in the room glowed blue and he turned to look at Piramay in confirming silence. He then turned and removed a small bag from within his robe filled with several sticks made from a compressed grey powder. He took the stick which looked very much like a stick of charcoal and drew a line across the door and hissed words of magic, the line flashed and a small ball of blue light appeared in front of him. Taking the light in his hand he then split it in half, turning to Piramay who had come closer by this point. He touched one of the tiny balls and pressed it against her forehead, then did the same to himself with the other. He didn’t need to explain to her the significance and connection of the spell so he didn’t bother, instead he just smiled.

Turning then he etched a line around the window and hissed the same words of magic. Instantly the line around the window flashed and disappeared. For the next candle tick he went around the room methodically, setting wardings and then hiding the wardings right after to avoid their being detected by any magic users who might come snooping around. It was an involved process that took extra time, however it was worth the effort given what they had just learned from the Innkeeper downstairs.

As he finished he put the stick of reagent back into the pouch and tucked it into his cloak. Turning to Piramay he spoke, “Shall we see the revived city then?”

They left the room and walked out into the warm sunshine. As they made their way to city center they observed all the elaborate and overdone decorations that were being put in place to celebrate May Day. Poles of intricate design and of all heights were being constructed with hanging ribbons, but the one in city center took even them by surprise, it was easily 80 meters tall and half the thickness of a house, clearly a tree from an Elven Forest. Rorie looked up at the top which gently swayed far above them. A passerby noted their travel clothing and spoke up without being prompted, “Pretty impressive aye?”

Rorie turned to look at him and nodded, “Yes friend, my wife and I have never seen a tree of such magnificence.”

The man nodded and spoke, “Aye, came right form the Sylvan’s of Silvanost… there was an attack on the city a couple months or so back, lots of damage, they donated this tree that was felled during the destruction and wished for it to be used during May Festival as a reminder that even in death there is life.”

“Indeed,” Rorie nodded as he looked at Piramay, “Quite a sentiment eh wife? To honor life after death came.”

He could see Piramay was doing all she could to stifle her smile at his comment. He turned back to the man and spoke, “Well it is a grand spectacle to be certain.”

The man nodded and spoke again, “Apparently many of the Elves will be joining us for the festivities, some say the Prince and Princess themselves might attend, and the Lady Ceridwyn who was injured during the battle.”

Rorie nodded and spoke, “Well, that would be a surprise, I dare say I have seen very few Elves in my day, the life of a simple trader does not tend to cross paths with their kind very often… but to see the Prince of the Sylvanesti, that would certainly be exciting.”

The man nodded and spoke again, “So you folk need bread? I hawk for the Baker, finest breads in all of Heartlund I tell you!”

Rorie laughed, “A sales pitch which starts with friendly conversation should be rewarded with a purchase, we would enjoy some bread very much.”

The man smiled and handed him a loaf, “One copper.”

Rorie paid and tucked the bread into his sack as he turned to look at Piramay with a smile, “I think you were right my beloved… this is a very exciting town indeed!”

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch10: The Retrospection Before the Storm   Wed Jun 11, 2014 5:18 am


The clanging of metal accompanied by yelling and cheers echoed through the training halls of Heartlund's garrison. Even with her elevated rank Lady Rose still trained and ate alongside her men. Not content to sit behind a desk and administrate she was currently engaged in a sparring match with one of the keeps better weapon masters Sir Jaereth. Sweat rolled down the side of her face as she deflected a blow from Jaereth's blade with her shield before countering. Jaereth nimbly avoided the counter and their dance continued with strikes and parries. Jaereth was not taking it easy on Rose this day and she was thinking that he might be toying with her just a little bit.

Whether the weapons master was or wasn't Rose did not care. All that mattered for the time being was the match itself. She found that a physical melee was just as good at clearing her mind as a morning of meditation in the church, and as of late there was a lot to clear. The repairs to the city had finally finished in time for the festival which should have been cause for celebration except for an influx of people displaced by events to the north with the Nethermen. The city could handle the  it but there were logistics to deal with and bureaucratic nonsense. There was also the selecting and training of the Dragon Riders going on as well.  She knew that the matter was not of major concern for it was Nol and his brood that would choose the riders but her interest was not derived from her duties as a knight.

Jaereth came from above with a hard blow and Rose smiled seeing a hole in his stance. She positioned her shield so she could parry is blade wide leaving the man open realizing to late she had been bated. Her shield smacked away his weapon leaving her open to receive an unfriendly boot to the chest that sent her rolling back and to the ground. The men gathered winced and groaned and soon began to disperse as Rose gathered herself. With a sigh she held up her hand signaling her defeat before lifting herself from the floor giving the weapon master a bemused look as he offered her a hand. "You let yourself get to eager..."

Rose  sighed softly and shook her head "You would think by now I would have learned that an opening that obvious is exactly that... obvious."

Jaereth chuckled clapping Rose on the shoulder "You still do better than most m'lady. It takes more effort to sneak in some of my tricks with you than most of the men."

Rose just gave him a sideways glance as she took the shield and training sword to the racks and put them away. "Sometimes I get the feeling you are having a little bit of fun at my expense Sir Jaereth."


The knight feigned shock and surprise holding one hand to his heart and the other in the air. "Lady Rose you wound me..." He flashed a knowing grin at her

Rose just shook her head "Either way Jaereth I thank you for the chance to train. I would hate to let my skills suffer because I spend to much time wielding a pen." With a mutual laugh Rose departed heading towards the doors leading from the halls, and waiting patiently was Larissa. Rose slowed half a step smiling as it was the first time she had seen the maiden since the ill fated wedding in Sylvanost. Rose was about to say something but Larrisa shook her head and smiled. "We can discuss the matter later Lady Rose, I only apologize for it taking so long to return to my duties."

With smile on her face and Larrisa in tow Lady Rose exited the training halls of Heartlund. Her trusted aid and friend at her side would make the coming trials ahead a bit more bearable.
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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch10: The Retrospection Before the Storm   Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:12 am


Trystan stood as Lady Rose and Larissa turned to corner to the Commanders office. He smiled warmly at Larissa and then turned to his Commander and saluted as she approached, "My Commander, I would ask how your workout went but I can tell by the moisture on your brow and the limp in your leg that Sir Jaereth was the victor."

Rose raised her signature brow at him and he laughed, raising his hand, "Apologies my Lady, for what it's worth he bested me just yesterday, I only lasted about seven seconds."

Larissa stifled a smile and Trystan looked at her with a half smile of his own. Rose shook her head in her usual manner and gestured for Trystan to enter her office. As they entered Trystan took his place by the large table in the center of the room. It was a perfect scale model of the city, and he gave his morning report, "We have increased the guards along the tower walls as well as posted more city watch throughout the merchant district and taverns. This festival will undoubtedly draw a much larger crowd than usual. With the Elves planning to attend and the rumors of dragon riders showing off a bit, people are coming from over a hundred kilometers away to enjoy the festivities. The tent city outside the walls almost doubled in size over the last two days, and my scouts tell me that the roads are so swollen with travelers that we should see them double yet again in one more. Even with that the traffic inflow may not, and likely will not stop for another week. I have called upon the merchant guild to prepare for the influx, and they will be tapping into their stores to provide enough to sell our visitors, but frankly I am not certain it will be enough, so I am hoping that those traveling here had the forethought to bring some provisions of their own."

Rose looked at him with a raised eyebrow and he nodded, "Yes, extremely optimistic thinking I know. With that being far less than realistic I have dispatched riders to Solanthus and Elmwood offering to purchase food and supplies, they left yesterday and I expect to hear back from them by nightfall... as I told you last week the Magistrates and Governors of both towns are expected to be in Heartlund for the May Day celebration, so I expect they will be amiable to the request. Of course, with demand will come an increase in price, but we can make that up in the reselling to the travelers."

He reached into his soft leather vest and removed a scroll. It was sealed with the moon and star symbol of the Sylvan Elves and he smiled, "I have not opened it as it was addressed to you, however the script is a perfect match of Prince Mythalas. I would assume this is the formal acceptance to your invitation, informally he sent word two days ago that he, the Princess, the Prince in waiting, and Kali would be attending. I also heard from Nol'Lore, Lady Kellan and Raju'min, they will be arriving today around the noon hour. Also..." he reached into his vest and pulled out another scroll, the seal on this one broken, "Lady Ceridwyn addressed this one to me, she has also accepted your invitation, she and Aeolis will be in attendance."

He could see the pleasure on Roses face that the guests of honor she had invited all had accepted, she didn't show it often, but he could see she was pleased. He smiled softly at this and spoke, "Is there anything else you will be needing from me today Commander?"

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch10: The Retrospection Before the Storm   Wed Jun 18, 2014 11:01 am


Kellan felt the wind rushing over her as she rode astride Nol’s shoulders as he and Raju glided through the sky.  It was always an exhilarating feeling to her and she seemed to relish these moments more than she actually admitted.  It was complete and total freedom for her and while she would have felt guilty about feeling that way in the past, she had no such guilt now.  Since the blessing of life had been given back to her, she found herself delving more into the pleasures of her life than she ever had.  While she still practiced the code of the Knights she was raised in, she realized, first hand, how precious life was and she should never take anything for granted now should she miss the opportunity to enjoy the life she had been blessed with.

Knowing his rider the way he did, Nol lowered his head and began a spiraling downward flight that would have stolen the breath from any other person, male or female, but Kellan merely squeezed her legs tighter around him and tucked herself as close to the base of his neck as she could, becoming one with him as she always did when he did these sort of flights.

Squinting her eyes to protect them from the wind as it now rushed over her at break neck speed, she cold see the ground growing closer with each passing second.  To her left, she could see Raju in that same steep dive and could even see the grin on her toothy snout knowing she was enjoying this as much as Kellan and Nol were.  Finally Nol pulled up and began to even his flight out so he could land softly on the ground below.  Already Kellan could see the Knights moving about and trying to determine if it was friend or foe that was descending upon them but when they saw the blond haired rider, she saw how they began to relax slightly.

That is until Raju flew past them still at the break neck speed she had been.  Kellan chuckled as she saw the bodies running for cover certain the giant; flying dragon was going to crash into the ground.  At the very last second, Kellan saw her pull up and land lightly on her feet before a flash of silver filled the air and she stood, grinning and cheeks rosy, at the scrambling Knights all around her.

When Nol touched down, Kellan immediately threw her leg over his neck before her and gracefully slid off his sleek scales, lightly touching his front legs with booted feet before she felt the ground beneath her.  Another flash of silver filled the area and Nol stood beside her in his Elven form.  Smiling up at him before she walked to Raju, she leaned in close to her sister and nudged Raju’s shoulder, speaking softly in her ear.

”It’s a wonder some of them don’t curse you with an eternal itch you can’t scratch when you do that to them.  But the look on their faces is well worth it.”

Now that the place had settled and the Knights were coming to greet the guests properly, Kellan smiled and nodded then looked up at Nol before following the guards into the city.  As they entered, Kellan was pleasantly surprised at the progress the city had been restored.  Even now it was difficult to see some of the damage that had been done.  And with the city decorated for the upcoming festivities, she found it even more appealing.

Of course, ever the watchful one, her eyes assessed the area for tactical logistics as they moved through the city on their way to greet Trystan and Rose.  She could see the increased population but she could also see the increased security that had been put into place.  Knowing Trystan wouldn’t be one to slack on his duties, she imagined there were also Knights that were not so easily spotted mingling about as well to help maintain the peace.

”You are here!!!”

By the time Kellan looked over, Raju was already in a tight hug of a woman with strawberry blonde hair and wearing light, ranger looking clothes.  Kellan glanced up at Nol and smiled knowing who it was before she even saw the face.

Tanjee released Raju then looked over at Kellan and Nol, smiling brightly.

”I am so glad you came.  It has been far too long since we have shared company.  Heading to Lady Rose, I presume.”

Without waiting for an answer, Tanjee looped her elbow with Raju’s and began walking with them.

”So tell me, what have you been up to since last we met?  I do not suppose you have met some handsome male that has swept you off your feet have you?  Tsk, Tsk….what am I going to do with you, Raju?”



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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch10: The Retrospection Before the Storm   Wed Jun 18, 2014 11:23 am


The trio scorched the sky with their speed, and as they approached Heartlund and Nol went into his dive he smiled at the feel of Kellan's strong legs on his body... he had to admit, his love for her was only growing stronger, and sometimes he did these maneuvers just to feel her holding on. The sparse clouds allowed them to see the city and in their usual, spectacular way the two dragons arrived with Lady Kellan, the first of the new Dragon Riders.


Raju watched as the Knights laughed at her antics. One wearing the signet of Wall Sergeant approached her and laughed, "One of these days we won't scatter when you buzz us, you'd think we would have gotten used to you messing with us like this."

Raju smiled warmly and reached up, touching his shoulder gently, "Of course my friend, the moment you stop reacting I will simply come up with something else to keep you on your toes."

The man laughed and turned to his guard, getting them back to their stations. Hundreds of people in the tent city outside the walls were already gathering to see the silver dragons that so many stories had told of. Raju beamed more than Nol did at the attention, and as Kellan came up and spoke her words about the men giving her an eternal itch she only smiled and whispered, "Indeed sister, indeed... but you are right, it is well worth the look on their faces."

With a laugh the two walked and when Tanjee approached Nol touched his hand to his heart in traditional Elven greeting, but Raju ran up and hugged her. As the greetings were passed around and Tanjee slipped her arm under Raju's they walked. Raju looked at Tanjee as she spoke to her and Raju smiled softly, a very slight sadness lingering in her eyes, "My mate died long ago my beautiful friend, no male can fill the void of what was." Tanjee looked at her and her eyes dipped slightly, Raju touched her chin and spoke softly, "Do no be sad for his loss, he died in battle, proud and fierce, and I am happy for the time I had with him." Suddenly Raju's eyes filled with mischief and she leaned in to Tanjee, "But I can only imagine your words are a projection onto me of what has been happening in your life."

Tanjee looked at her and Raju smiled, "Do you not think words have not been heard about your own little dalliance with a certain Knight of the Sword?" Tanjee blushed and Raju laughed with a lilt in her voice, her volume increasing exponentially, "And here he comes now!"


Trystan came and looked at Raju curiously as Tanjee blushed, he cocked and eyebrow at Raju who merely giggled in her playful way and he shook his head. Nol approached and the two embraced briefly. He then turned to Kellan and smiled as warmly as he ever had, "It is good to see you again Lady Kellan."

He smiled at all of them and spoke, "Lady Rose is waiting, and on her behalf let me formally thank you all for accepting her invitation."

He gestured and the group made their way to the Keep.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch10: The Retrospection Before the Storm   Wed Jun 18, 2014 11:44 am



Tanjee blushed even more when she saw Trystan approach but said nothing.  Whatever others were saying about her and Trystan she did not care.  It was obvious to all her feelings for him and she was proud to be associated with him in such a way.  The blush was more from the feelings she had for him and not embarrassment.  She smiled brightly when she saw him and watched him greet the trio.  Then leaned in closer to Tanjee, whispering softly.

”Can you blame me?”




Kellan greeted Trystan in a warm embrace after Nol greeted her friend.  As they moved towards the keep, Kellan couldn’t help but notice the increased population and knew most of it was due to the unrest the Nethermen have caused in Sanction and surrounding areas.  

”I see you have opened the gates to the refugees of Sanction.  Have you heard any more news from that area?  Have things settled any?”

She knew Pela had been named Grand Chieftain and that she had united all of the Nethermen clans into one giant clan and were dealing with things in some unconventional ways.  At times it was brutal and other times it was surprisingly fair and just but no one was happy about the way the city was now in Nethermen rule and appeared it would for quite some time to come.  

Kellan also knew about the Knights that had been sent to the area to negotiate the surrender of the city and the Nethermen but only one of them had returned.  And what he spoke of was disturbing at the least.  She couldn’t help but wonder if Rose was planning on venturing to the area herself to see if some sort of agreement could be reached with the young ruler.

She was pulled from her thoughts when Nol squeezed her hand gently and drew her back to the present.  She blinked a couple of times then looked up at him and smiled, thanking him for bringing her back.  He understood her very well and knew where her thoughts had taken her.  Thankfully no one had been addressing her directly and she was spared the embarrassment of not paying attention.

As they reached the Keep, she looked around again and followed the others into the cool, stone receiving room.  The air was surprisingly fresh and she imagined Rose had the windows opened day and night now to rid the structure of the stale air accumulated over the winter.  Even the smell of fresh straw drifted on the breeze as she moved further into the place.  No doubt it had been spread to help freshen the place up as well but in true Rose fashion, you couldn’t see where exactly it had been placed.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch10: The Retrospection Before the Storm   Wed Jun 18, 2014 12:35 pm


Preparations for the festival were proceeding exactly as she had anticipated. Provisions fr the city during the festival was always an issue but this year with the inflow of people from the lands around Sanction it was proving tighter than usual. Trystan was already on top of things and despite everything the festival looked to be a more grand event than normal. A gentle breeze blew in through the window of her office. Taking a deep breath Rose sighed enjoying the scent of fresh air.

Knowing that honored guests could be arriving at any point Rose slid out from behind her desk catching Larrisa's attention. "Off to your daily commune with Palidine my lady?"

Rose nodded with a smile "A time to commune and reflect upon a great many things. If anyone needs me Larrisa I will be in the chapel."
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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch10: The Retrospection Before the Storm   Wed Jun 18, 2014 4:02 pm



Rayann was making the final preparations for their departure from Silvanost when she heard the familiar sound of little feet running full blast through the hallway. As they got louder, she couldn’t help but smile at the sound of larger feet, while barely distinguishable, following along after the running youngster. As soon as her son burst through the door and headed straight for her, quickly darting behind her legs and peering out at his two escorts, Rayann looked down at him and smiled, lovingly stroking his head. She noticed the bow in his hands and the quiver of arrows slung over his shoulder and wondered if he had been practicing his archery again on an unlikely target.

”And what have you done to come running full tilt into the room and hide behind me?”

When the guards entered, they bowed respectfully and Rayann looked over at them with a quirked brow.

”Dare I ask?”

The guards exchanged looks then looked at her. Finally one of them spoke up after clearing his throat.

”Princess….the Prince in waiting….he was practicing his stealth and….well….”

Rayann was now extremely curious because the guards never stuttered or stumbled to ive her explanations for anything he had done.

”It’s alright. You can tell me whatever it is he has done. I’m sure we can take care of the situation.”

Finally the guard cleared his throat again and finished the story.

”He was in the garden on the west side of the city when a young couple were courting and when he was discovered hiding among the flowers, he panicked and fired one of his practice bolts at the young woman when she became upset. The practice bolt ricocheted off a rock and went straight for the young man. In an effort to dodge the bolt, the young man made a quick move, ended up tripping and fell backwards into a rose bush. The young man is with the Healer now getting taken care of. But….the whole scene caused others to gather and it appears the young couple was quite embarrassed.”

Rayann listened to the whole story and as the guard relayed it, she glanced down at her son. The truth of his actions was clearly written on his angelic like face and in the depths of his green eyes. Eyes that matched his father’s perfectly. When the guard was d one, she looked at both of them and quirked a delicate brow at them.

”And where were you two when as this all started to play out?”

The guards blushed deeply then, exchanged glances once more and the other one spoke up now.

”We were hiding as well, Princess. Teaching the young Prince how to stealth. Everything happened so quickly, we were unable to prevent the events from unfolding.”

Rayann let her gaze drift from one guard to the other and back again. She debated on the whole thing for a few minutes keeping silent, letting the silence drift about them like a heavy fog. Finally she glanced down at her son again, saw his gaze rest on hers and felt the regret in his heart and knew she would have to make things right for the young couple quickly.

As her gaze returned to the guards, she sighed heavily.

”I cannot fault either of you for doing what you thought is best for our son but I do expect you to be more mindful and remove him from potentially volatile situations from now on. He is a child and as all children, he is bound to test the boundaries that have been set for him. But you both need to ensure he does not have any arrows that are not practice bolts in his quiver until his father permits him to carry anything else. Are we clear?”

Both guards snapped to attention and saluted smartly.

”It will not happen again, Princess.”

Rayann sighed once more and dismissed the guards.

”Very well…..you are dismissed for now. We will call upon the couple and make our apologies before we leave for Heartlund. You can accompany us then and say your own apologies as well”

Once more the guards snapped to attention then turned in unison and walked out leaving Rayann and her son aloe in the room. She looked down at him again and then knelt in front of him, drawing him close.

”You need to be mindful of where you are and what you do. Not all you come in contact with are friends. Even those here in the city. And listen to your guards. It’s important. Do you understand?”

He nodded and toyed with a lock of her white hair before lifting his eyes to hers once more.

“I sorry mama. I practice like papa tell me to. I only trying to make him proud. Like granpa is of him.”

Rayann felt her heart fill with love once more and she took her son tenderly in her arms, holding him tight for a few moments.

”I know, Aratoamin (my champion). I know.”

She reluctantly released her son then smiled at him.

”Come…we need to find your father so you can tell him the news.”

She saw the look on his face as she stood up and took his hand gently in her own.

”It was because of you and your actions that someone got hurt today. You know if he does not hear the truth from you he will be very disappointed. You must show your bravery by letting your father know what you have done and how you plan on making amends.”

He dropped his head and his shoulders sagged but he nodded all the same and spoke quietly.

”I know….”

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch10: The Retrospection Before the Storm   Wed Jun 18, 2014 4:40 pm


As the guards came out of the room they both stopped dead in their tracks as they looked at the scared face staring at them. Immediately they bowed and whispered, "Princess Kali, we did not know you were here..."

She looked at them both and spoke flatly, "Do not address me as princess, there is only one heir-in-waiting to the throne, and that is my brother."

The guards looked at one another and one spoke, "Even still my..."

She took a small step forward and cut him off, "Even still, you need to be more diligent when watching the heir of Sylvanesti, lest you loose this soft position within the Speakers Guard... If you can not keep an eye on my brother, than there are plenty of others who can, and will."

She looked from one to the other and they both swallowed hard, and she twitched her head to the side, "Now go."

They left with haste, saying nothing as they left the Prince and Princess' quarters. Kali turned to look at the door and knocked softly, she heard her mothers voice beacon her in and her mothers eyes went wide as Kali stepped into the room. The last thing Rayann expected was to see Kali, and in her usual over emotional show of affection she grabbed Kali in a tight hug, a hug that was returned, but not with as much enthusiasm. When Kali saw her brother squeal and run to his big sister, her face changed however. Suddenly she became soft and loving, and she lifted him up and hugged him tightly. Rayann smiled and spoke, "He was in the garden and..."

Kali looked at Rayann and spoke, "I know, I saw the whole thing happen, none of them knew I was there."

Rayann smirked softly at hearing this and Kali spoke, "Being embarrassed hardly warrants a little Princes apology, if the two younglings were paying better attention, and hadn't become so soft in their mannerisms, they could have easily avoided a bolt fired from a childs recurve with a thumper head on the front."

Rayann knew exactly what Kali meant, a thumper head was a large, soft pillow that would not harm who it hit, they were often used in practice with young Elves. Further still, they flew much slower than a normal arrow, especially from a bow the size and power of her brothers. Kali was about to speak and Kali spoke before she could, "These are hard times Mother, love is not something to be taken out of the equation, but it certainly shouldn't supersede awareness of ones surroundings."

Kali knelt down and set her brother on his feet, he giggled and threw himself back onto her and knocked her backwards onto her butt as his full weight bashed into her chest. She coughed gently as she tried to recover her air, Shaer was completely unaware and giggled as he flailed around on her chest. Rayann came in a sprint to assist but Kali lifted her hand as she coughed, "It is fine mother... he meant no harm."

She managed to get back to her knees and smiled at her little brother, leaning in and kissing his nose softly. She looked up at Rayann and whispered with a soft smile, "Perhaps I should not be blinded by love either eh?"

She looked at Shaer once again and stood, and it was then that Rayann would notice she was not in heavy robes, but instead in a very comfortable but beautiful black dress. It billowed with fabric and folds, flowing around her like liquid smoke. She saw Rayann's eyes and she spoke, "I will NOT be wearing this when we journey to Heartlund, but for around the residence it is lighter on the legs."

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch10: The Retrospection Before the Storm   Wed Jun 18, 2014 9:37 pm

The children had begun to notice that something was off with Keatara. She was always with them, always seeing to their training but a part of her was not there and they could tell. Her eyes had begun to lose their normal light and there were dark shadows appearing beneath her large, green eyes as if she weren't sleeping well. Truth of the matter was, she was worried about Gideon, constantly worried about Tynen and wondering what was going on with Tanjee. Never had she felt so alone, even when she'd been acting as a ranger and guide had she not felt as alone as she did now.

That particular day had been grueling for her, barely able to concentrate on the children's training. James was watching her closely, enjoying the telltale signs he was seeing. Soon, she would return to the creek where she'd met her brother a few times before and soon she would not be returning to Heartlund. Perhaps it would be time to take sweet Tara on her next visit. Obviously Gideon was nowhere to be found, which for James was a good thing. And that meddlesome she-elf, Tanjee was too busy in her own business to worry about her friend. He would get word to Tynen and the work on Keatara to try with her brother again. A smile appeared on his face, one that was more sinister than friendly as he thought about how long would it take for them to notice Keatara was missing once she was gone? From what he was seeing, it would be days and by then they would be long gone with her. And, once Tynen was done with his little sister she would be his to do with as he pleased. Maybe he would return her one day to Gideon, used and broken just to make him remember who had taken his love from him.

Hiding in the shadows was Curtis, watching James as he'd done since the healers had released him. Something was wrong...very wrong with the man. He didn't like the way he kept watching Lady Keatara and it bothered him how Tanjee and Gideon hadn't been around to check on her. Perhaps they didn't think anything was wrong, he thought to himself. He wondered if he should seek them out, wondered if he'd seem too protective over his teacher. For now, he decided to just watch James and see what happened.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch10: The Retrospection Before the Storm   Fri Jun 20, 2014 11:10 am



Rayann smiled as she watched Shaer and Kali with each other. She loved to see the hard shell of her daughter melt away and the love she felt for her brother come shining through. She chuckled at her daughter when she explained she wouldn’t wear the heavy robes while in residence and Rayann completely agreed.

”Why do you think I prefer to wear these simple clothes while not on official business? The robes, while symbolic and functional, are as much ceremony as anything else. There is a time and place for them but in our home, they are not necessary. It’s good to see you again, Kali. I’m delighted you are going to join us. And Shaer is as well.”

She looked at the way Shaer was beaming and couldn’t help smiling in kind. She looked at Kali then.

”Children who are not given structure won’t come to respect others. The apology will be given not for embarrassing the young couple, but for reacting in a way that Shaer should not have. He needs to learn there are consequences for his actions when he chooses unwisely. He cannot be allowed to get away with things other younglings his age would not get away with. Just because he is the Prince does not give him immunity to things.”

She gestured for Kali to join them.

”Won’t you come with us? I’m sure your father will be as thrilled to see you as much as I was. So tell me? What have you been doing since I last saw you? Besides studying.”

There was lightness to Rayann’s words as she spoke. It was obvious seeing Kali was a bolster to her mood and spirit.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch10: The Retrospection Before the Storm   Fri Jun 20, 2014 11:47 am


Kali listened to Rayann's words and she furrowed her brow, the scar on her left cheek causing the outside of her eye to dip slightly. She looked at her little brother and then back to Rayann, "I agree, children can not be allowed to run amuck, discipline is at the central core of our lives, not just in the manner of childhood, but it will serve anyone well to carry discipline into adulthood." She was of course preaching to the choir, as a fellow wizard who had survived the Test, Rayann would know all about having discipline in her life.

Kali looked at Rayann deeply this time and continued, "However... the entire blame can not be put on him, and though I think your intentions are good having the Prince Heir apologize simply for playing in the garden while two young Elflings have attempted to steal themselves away and snog doesn't seem right to me."

Rayann looked at her and Kali continued, "Why were they in the garden?"

Kali's brow went up slightly as she asked the question, "You know it too, though I don't know if you will admit it. The two were most likely there out of disobedience than anything. The garden is so isolated and remote it provides a perfect place to hide. It is densely foliaged, shadowed even more so than the canopy above provides... a perfect nesting place for two who are not to be together to meet and isolate themselves from their parents. The Prince Heir... well it is HIS garden, not theirs. They were most likely there with no purpose than to tingle at some physical touching, most likely against their parents wills."

What Kali was saying made sense, but it was laced with suspicion and mistrust, two characteristics that she had exhibited in spades since the battle of the towers. She reached down and picked up Shaer, holding him tightly against her chest as the three of them walked. Her face was resolute and she sighed deeply as she brought her brothers head tightly against her shoulder. Rayann would see it, Kali was not only in love with magic, there was another male in her life whom she would love until her last breath.

Finally Kali turned to look at Rayann as Shaer drifted to sleep on her shoulder, "If I was out of line I apologize. I don't apologize for what I said, but Shaer is my brother, not my son. It is your place to see he is guided rightly, not mine," She looked at Rayann and offered a truly genuine smile, "But that doesn't mean I won't occasionally offer my opinion."

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch10: The Retrospection Before the Storm   Fri Jun 20, 2014 11:53 am


For weeks Gideon had been out scouting the area.  He traveled all around the base of the Khalkist Mountains and even moved along to outskirts of Sanction before hopping on a ship and heading back across the waters of the Newsea and setting foot on land in Two Creek.  There he got held up because his horse took lame and he gave the equine time to heal.  While he could have easily gotten another horse, he was sentiment about Condor and didn’t want to leave the noble beast behind for anyone else.  

The delay was worth it, though.  While he was in Two Creek for the time it took the horse to heal, he was able to hear rumblings from the locals on how things were going in Sanction.  The Nethermen were a feared group, yes, but it seems they were starting to build a reputation for fair trading from those who actually dared to venture out and attempt dealings with them.  One thing Gideon did find out was that if there was no aggression shown to the large creatures, none was shown back to the traders.  Gideon found that news to his liking.

The other news he heard was quite disturbing.  Pela had gained a reputation that was both admired and hated.  It seemed she had no hesitation delivering harsh, and often cruel, punishment to those who wronged the Nethermen.  He heard stories of grown men being skinned alive, frozen solid, torn apart and then eaten, all by her own hand.  While Gideon knew some of it was stories passed along from ignorant people, he also knew there was some truth to it as well.  After all, a good story always has some truth to it to make it believable.  On the other hand, she had tried to bridge the gap that existed between her people and the humans who were scattered among the area who had no other place to go when Sanction was overrun.  Mostly the elderly or infirmed.  It seemed she took these people in when she found out they were starving and had no shelter, gave them places to stay, food to eat and in return, they taught the Nethermen about Sanction, how to use the common language, helped the Nethermen understand the trade business and work the land.    It was a good partnership and it seemed the humans were starting to see another side of the Nethermen and their young leader no one knew existed.

He knew he would have to relay this information to Commander Rose and Sir Trystan as soon as he arrived in Heartlund but there was someone else he wanted to see first.  Tara had plagued his every waking hour, haunted his dreams when he got sleep and picked at his side like a bothersome thorn.  He yearned to see her and his arms ached to hold her once more.  

When he saw the towers of Heartlund come into sight, he pulled Condor up and sat there for a second blinking, realizing he had finally made it back.  He kneed the horse on again and as if sensing his riders urgency, picked up his pace a little.  He heard the guards calling out to him as he came into sight and he saluted smartly announcing who he was.  He looked a sight with his unshaven face and his disheveled looks and it took them a moment to actually recognize him.  

As the guard came to greet him, he gave a weary smile and clasped forearms with the man as he leaned over his saddle.

“It’s good to see you again Sir Gideon.  We were beginning to wonder if you were going to make it back or not.”

Gideon smiled.

”I was beginning to wonder myself.  Please let the Commander and Sir Trystan I will be to debrief them shortly.  There is someone I must see.”

The guard smiled knowingly and nodded.

“We’ll make sure to walk slowly getting the news to them.  Don’t be too long though.  You’ll find her in the practice court with the little ones as always.”

Gideon smiled again.

”I didn’t expect her to be anywhere else.  Many thanks, my friend.”

The guard watched Gideon go into the outer courtyard then disappear from sight.  He walked back to the other guards and spoke to a lesser ranking guard.

“Inform the Commander and Sir Trystan Sir Gideon has arrived but be sure to take the long way around.”

The guard nodded and headed slowly in the opposite direction Gideon had gone to take the message to his Commander.

Gideon was surprised at the number of people that now called Heartlund home.  He knew many of the refugees from Sanction made their way here looking for protection but he didn’t realize the staggering number.  He also saw the place was being decorated for a celebration of some sort and he wondered what it was.  Being out of touch for so long he imagined many things had happened since he was last here.  He also noticed many guards mingling about the people.  Some in uniform and others not.  Obviously there was a reason for this as well.  He acknowledged those in uniforms but the ones that weren’t, he merely ignored or nodded ever so slightly.

Finally he turned the corner o where the kids area was and he could hear Tara instructing them.  He pulled Condor up to a stop and slowly dismounted.  The horse gave a soft nicker and snort.  Gideon patted the strong neck affectionately before slowly stepping towards the entrance to the little courtyard that had been constructed for her.  

Her back was to the entrance and she couldn’t see him and he was thankful.  As he watched her fluid, graceful movements, he felt his heart constrict in his chest.  He couldn’t help but swallow hard as he felt his throat tighten seeing the sun shining on her dark hair.  His eyes were solely focused on her as he entered the courtyard and walked towards her.  

The children in front of her all slowly stopped what they were doing and stared behind her.  He saw the way she stopped what she was doing and asked them what they were doing.  When she realized they were looking beyond her, he saw her back stiffen and she slowly turned around gripping the wooden weapon in her hand as though it was the real thing.  He stopped short then, letting recognition settle in before he moved any further.  His clothes were well worn, his face unshaven, his hair a bit longer than he liked it but his eyes were still the soft, dark, brown eyes she had looked into many, many times.  He slowly bent his arms at the elbow and held his forearms open, giving her a small smile.  His words were spoken softly but the voice was still the same.

”Well?  Are you just going to stand there?”

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch10: The Retrospection Before the Storm   Fri Jun 20, 2014 2:33 pm



Rayann could have debated for hours with Kali as to why Shaer needed to apologize and Kali would have found fault in all of it but Rayann let it go. There was no need in debating with her daughter over how to raise her son, Kali’s brother.

Rayann chuckled softly and nodded.

”I expect no different from you, Kali.”

As she saw Shaer’s little limbs go slack and heard his even, steady breathing, she knew the child had gone to sleep. She loved to see Kali open up to her brother this way and it reminded her so much of the way she and Rorie used to be. She missed that with her brother. Always would, she reasoned. It was sad the turn of events that took place and caused the rift between them. Even now she seconded guessed herself and wondered if she did the right thing.

Before her thoughts could go much deeper into rather or not she was right or wrong, she looked over at Kali and tilted her head slightly as they walked along at a leisurely pace.

”Are you looking forward to the May Day Celebration in Heartlund?”

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch10: The Retrospection Before the Storm   Fri Jun 20, 2014 2:36 pm


The air buzzed with conversation and Rorie turned his eyes to the sky. The unmistakable pull of a magical presence caught he and Piramay both and the two silver dragons landed outside the walls where they couldn't see. Rorie looked at Piramay who leaned in like a loving wife about to say something to her husband, "The male is No'Lore, the female, Raju'min. Both were present at the battle."

Rorie laughed and responded, "Of course dear wife, we can have your favorite for dinner tonight."

He winked and Piramay shook her head ever so lightly at his antics. The made their way towards the gate and Rorie observed the two dragons in Elven form. Raju was beyond breathtaking in physical appearance and mannerisms. She took time to laugh and talk to any and all who approached. Her shimmering blue dress and symbol of Mishikal hanging from her neck told him all he needed to know beyond that. Nol was the protector, without a doubt. Every thing about him screamed dragon. His keen eyes never stopped moving as he scanned the crowd for danger, ever watchful for anything unusual. He was jovial however, smiling and laughing, but the intensity to which he kept vigil was not unnoticed. The one who had been riding him was beautiful as well, confident and strong. Occasionally Nol would lean in and talk to her. She would smile and touch his cheek lovingly, clearly their relationship went beyond partners in battle.

He looked over at Piramay and saw that she was studying them intently as well, and he made a mental note to ask her more about their abilities when they were in the wardings of their room.

The procession advanced towards the Keep, a massive crowd staying with them and Rorie turned to look at Piramay with a smile, "Confirming the rumors our Innkeeper shared bodes some interest, perhaps more of what he said, or will eventually say will be reliable as well."

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch10: The Retrospection Before the Storm   Fri Jun 20, 2014 2:46 pm


Kali glanced sideways Rayann and the look in her eyes caused Rayann to laugh softly, "I think you know me better than that mother."

Rayann nodded with a knowing smile and Kali continued, "More of who will be there interests me than the May Day celebration itself. The truth is I came here to seek solace from the constant noise coming from the city. Between the influx of refugees from Solace and the celebrants coming in from all around, even the wardings wouldn't stop all the sound."

Rayann cocked an eyebrow and Kali laughed, "Of course I could have cast more magic to deaden the noise, but there was also this little fellow who I hadn't seen for long enough."

She smiled and kissed Shaer on the head before leaning back and looking at his face pressed up against her dress. She could feel the pulse of his heartbeat through their bond. It was a bond he would learn about in time, for now, she shielded herself from him. It was not by any sort of malice or intent to hide from him, but more to protect him. He didn't need to deal with such complex feelings and emotions at such a young age, and the nearly hundred years of training with her dead uncle taught her a lot about "the bond". She had studied and learned how to block it off without severing it, despite never anticipating that she would inherit it. How glad she was that she had taken the time and effort to do so. A bond shared between two of the same age, though complicated, was beneficial for navigating all lifes circumstances, but for a child to share it with an adult, well there were just certain things he didn't need to know, yet. She fully intended on sharing herself completely with her brother some day, but for now, she only allowed her love for him to enter his mind. Though he did not understand it yet, he did understand the feeling of completion that came with her arrival.

They arrived at Myth's door and Kali looked at Rayann, speaking softly she looked Rayann right in the eyes, "Can you please open the door, I still have my arms a wee bit full." She smiled warmly and genuinely as she hugged Shaer tight.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch10: The Retrospection Before the Storm   Fri Jun 20, 2014 2:56 pm



Rayann knew the answer to the question she asked even before she asked it but she couldn’t help herself. She knew Kali’s answer would be less than joyful at the celebration.

”I’m looking forward to going but I also worry. With so many congregating in one place, and with the guest list of important people Rose has sent invitations to, could be a recipe for disaster.”

She paused a moment and her delicate brows furrowed slightly.

”I can’t help but think of Ceri’s wedding and everything that happened there when I think of this celebration Rose has planned. The only thing I can do is pray for the best but prepare for the worst.”

When they reached Myth’s door, Rayann ginned and nodded.

”He is a bit to handle with just one arm these days.”

Without knocking, and already knowing her husband was fully aware of her presence, she opened the door to his rooms and stepped inside, letting Kali follow her in. When she saw the way her husband looked at her, Rayann couldn’t help but smile. But it was the way he looked at his children that made her heart swell even more. There was no doubt he loved them both very deeply and she was a lucky woman for capturing his heart.

Reaching out and gently taking Shaer from her daughters arms, she let father and daughter greet each other while she took Shaer and laid him on the soft mat and let him rest peacefully while the three of them talked quietly.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch10: The Retrospection Before the Storm   Fri Jun 20, 2014 3:01 pm

She felt eyes on her back at first, gripping the wooden training sword tighter in her hand as she put the children through their paces.   But they stopped, staring at someone standing feet behind her.  She gripped tighter as she turned in a defensive movement, ready to protect her young charges when she saw a face she didn't recognize, or did she.  She didn't change her stance until she looked up into the man's eyes and saw those soft, brown eyes so filled with love for her and then he spoke.  The wooden sword fell from her hand and thudded onto the ground, barely missing her foot as she stood there, her green eyes filling with tears.  She thought she heard something similar to a growl coming from James who sat on the surrounding fence of the training arena but surely he wouldn't growl.  Then Curtis came flying by her and launched himself at Gideon, wrapping his still thin arms around the knight's waist, muttering "Thank the Goddess you are returned", his still thin body shaking.  

She watched as he gently pried the thirteen year old boy away from him when she began to move, slowly at first, her head shaking back and forth as if she couldn't believe what she was seeing.  Gideon.  He was home.  He'd returned.  Then she ran to him, her small body leaping at his larger one as she wrapped herself around him, sobbing as she felt his strong arms hold her to him.

"You came back....you're alive."  

She leaned back, still being held up by his strong arms as she began to kiss him all over his stubbly face only to find his lips with her own, uncaring of who was watching as she molded herself to him, pouring her love into that one kiss.  When she finally came up for air, it would become clear that not all was right with her.  There were dark shadows beneath her green eyes and a wariness that had not been there before he'd left.  

"I love you, Gideon...I love you."


James was livid.  That damned knight had the worst sense of timing of anyone he knew.  He would never get Tara away now.  Not for some time while he was back.  Another growl escaped him and a few of the children turned to look at him but he ignored them, his eyes glaring holes into the knight and Tara.  

He jumped down from the fence and stalked away from the training arena, muttering under his breath.  He would figure it out, he always did.  He would get her out of Heartlund and to Tynen and he would get her there without that meddlesome knight.

Curtis noticed everything that James was doing.  He'd seen the murderous glares, heard the ungodly growls and shivered.  He knew now that the Lady Tara was in danger and he would keep an even closer eye on James now.  He knew James was responsible for the attack on himself, he just couldn't prove it.  He was still indecisive on whether or not to go to Gideon about his suspicions.  He didn't want to seem too paranoid but at the same time, his gut was screaming at him that Tara was in trouble and she didn't even know it.

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