View Full Version : ...from grace, Chapter 7: Redemption's Price
03-01-02, 01:37 PM
It was a whisper in his ear. Almost imperceptable.
He shook his head. "Must be hearing things," he muttered, looking side ways at the glass of rum in front of him.
The voice came to him again.
A silky whisper. It clung to him ethereal and haunting. Hanging in the air like the ever present tabacc smoke.
He gulped down the glass and waved to the inn keep for another. "I've got somthing for you..." the voice whispered in his ear as a hand snaked down his crotch.
He turned and leered at the sultry whore who pressed her ample bussom to him. She was Tall, blond. Built in ample proportions and sweeping curves. Her round face had the pale mottled skin and flushed cheeks of youth. But her eyes held a world weariness that belied her youth. She smelled of perfume and sweat. Clearly he was not her first customer.
He slid an indigo hand underneath her hair and behind her neck. Pulling the pale face to his. "I bet you do little girl," he hissed, kissing her hungerly. She was pliant and her lips parted easily. Wine and salt lingered on her breath.
She leaned back, appraising him for net worth. "Wanna go upstairs lover?" She asked.
Without taking his eyes off her, he waved to the inn keep, who oblidgingly came over. "How about a room for my neice and I Tassel?" The old man chuckled and slid a tagged key across the bar to him.
"Twelve pieces gold for you and your neice," Tassel said. Minz rumaged through his pocket, pulled out 2 plat and tossed it on the bar.
He led her up stairs to the room with the same mark as that on the key. He held the door open for her, glancing over the balacony to the growing crowd on the main floor.
The whisper was almost imperative in its call, "Dragonsbane."
He followed her in. Bolting the latch behind him.
Several hours later, the door creaked open. The air was dense with smoke, and the denizens of the bar were substantially more drunk. Minz slipped out pulling the door closed behind. He glanced about firtivly as he locked the door behind him. Licking a crimson smear from his indigo lips.
"Dragonsbane," the voice sang in his head.
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a fat, well dressed man climbing the stair. A meaty northman carrying a massive mallet, walked one step behind him. The girl's pimp. Another northman leaned against the wall a the bottom of the stairs and a third at the door.
Thats when he saw her. She was a Dragon. Her badge was hidden, but he knew her. She was Anari Ravensblade.
Somthing clicked. He knew what he needed to do. The fat man approached him, a self satisfied grin on his pudgy face. Minz subtly flicked his wrist, dropping the black steel shank hidden at his wrist into his hand. The fat man stepped precariously close to him. "I trust you had an enj..."
The pimp's grin become a grimace as Minz buried the shank into his overstuffed belly.
Minz grinned at the surprized agony written all over his face.
A massive hand grabbed the fat man's shoulder hauling him out of the way.
The mallet swung through the air, just missing Minz' ducking form. Smashing through the paneled wall next to him.
Heavy footsteps tromped up the stairs.
Minz threw himself at the bannister. Hitting his shoulder hard. With eyes wide over the hole in the wall, he heaved himself up and over. But the flat face of the mallet slammed into his side. Turning his controled drop into a perilous head over heals fall.
Landing squarly on his neck and shoulders.
Everything went bright white.
His eyes cleared up just in time to see a set of huge spike soled boots plumeting toward him.
He rolled, but it was to late. The spikes tore through his armor and bit into his arm and side. He cried out clench his arm as he scrambled to his feet.
Yell and hustling bodies filled the chaotic atmosphere. Haze of the fall clouded his vision, but the white hot pain in his side forced a singular clarity on him. "Run!" was the only impulse that held any meaning.
Pendragon to the Order of the Elder Dragons
Anari tells Minz "see, that's why you never meddle in the affairs of dragons. You are crunchy and taste good with ketchup."
03-01-02, 01:45 PM
The taverns had been her refuge for weeks now. It was always the same. She would take her table in the corner of the bar, Tassel’s wife would bring a bottle of brandy to the table and take the few plat that were left on the table’s surface. A word was never spoken, and it was learned early on that Anari was to be left alone
She would spend her nights there, hidden amongst the crowds of drunks and whores, drowning herself deep within the bottom of the bottles. She would watch the fights, even start a few. She still sported the bruises from the last brawl she incited. But mostly she would just sit in her corner and stare out into the crowd.
And still, nothing seemed to help.
The faces of those she had once called friend haunted her. Faces of those lost in battle, those she had parted ways with. Faces of ones she had hurt, and betrayed. She saw them now as clearly as she could see the other patrons of Tassel’s Tavern.
She would drink until she could no longer stomach another drop of the bitter liquid. She would rise from the table of the crowded tavern and slowly make her way out of the city and into the Commons, toward a building long forgotten. It was there that she felt at peace, if that is what it could be called. She still saw the faces, still felt the guilt, but somehow being inside that place she wasn’t so alone.
It had been abandoned for years now, but the former guildhall of the Silent Shadows looked as it had the night she and the other Shadows had first entered its doors. Not many remembered what the building once was, or where it was for that matter. But she would find it even if she lost her sight. It was a part of her, and as long as she still drew breath it would be her home.
Her only home.
As she approached it now, the memories of it flooded her as they did every time she looked upon it. There had been many nights that she, Sytran and Huzyur spent drinking and talking into the morning hours. To them she hadn’t been a slave, or a Guild Mistress, or a thief and assassin. They were friends, the best of friends that no mortal force could separate.
But now they were gone, both called into oblivion by their gods. Sytran when the paint on the guildhall walls was still new. Huzyur only a few months ago. She mourned their passing, for the loss of the only two people in the world that knew her and accepted her for what she was. How she longed to join them, to once again drink with them in the world beyond the mortal life. Yet how many times had she died now, only to be denied that which she desired most?
She opened the door, stepping into the darkness
" Illuminate ."
The torches the lined the walls burst to life, their flames filling the main room with their soft light, and a fire began to burn in the hearth. Closing the door behind her she moved throughout the room. Removing her cloak, and weapons belt, she draped them over the back of a chair as she walked toward the fireplace.
Her eyes strayed to the numerous crests that were mounted on the vaulted wall. Each one representing a former member of the Silent Shadows. All of them had gone their separate ways when the guild disbanded, when she had failed them.
Reaching up she removed one, a black raven with a silver sword in its talons on a blood red background. She had taken the name of Ravensblade when she had been released from Neriak. No longer a slave, but no longer welcomed in the tree city of her people. No family, no friends, no place she could call home, she had had no choice but to create her own place in the world.
But doing so had cost her a great price. In turning to the shadier side of Norrath she soon lost sight of who she had once been. Her innocence, honor, humanity. Each one slowly ebbing away with each life she took, with each drop of blood she had shed. It had been just a matter of time before nothing was left of who she was, leaving behind only Ravensblade.
Slipping her hand within the folds of her tunic, she removed the guild pin of the Order of Elder Dragons. She had given it back to Cresida the night Olassen had witnessed her killing the Teir’Dal dragoon. The terrified look in the young druid’s eyes haunted her more than any other. But Minz had sought her out, had given her back the pin and told her she would always have a place among them.
In one hand she held the pin, in the other was held her crest. Two symbols of who she was, of who she could be.
With a scream of rage and disgust she spun and threw the crest across the room, the ornate object shattering as it hit the opposite wall.
Her fading scream echoed through the empty hall as she slumped into a nearby chair. Staring at the pin in her hand she finally began to understand. For everything she had worked for, everything she had gone through over the years, no one would mourn her when she was gone. They would not mourn the Ravensblade. Why would they?
She was nobody.
Lost in her self-pity she did not notice the door open, did not see the silent form enter the hall and move behind her. Only when the figure drew its dark hands from within its cloak did she become aware of another presence. But it was too late.
The garrote wrapped around her throat, instantly cutting of her air. Dropping the pin to the floor, her fingers clawed at the thin rope as she was pull out of her chair and to her feet. It was cutting into her flesh and she could feel blood seeping from beneath the cord. Once again in a fight for her life she found herself wanting to live. She would not die like this.
Years of training came rushing back and her panic fled. She thrust her head back, the fiber cutting deeper into her throat as her head connected with the nose of her attacker. A heartbeat later she drove her elbow into the abdomen with all her strength. She heard the air rush out of the person’s lungs and felt the grip on the garrote falter. Forcing her fingers between the rope and her skin she was able to pull it from the hands of the assassin.
She gulped in the crisp night air as she collapsed to her knees. Turning her head she finally got a good look at her attacker. He - she assumed it was a man from the width of the shoulders and bulk of body - was cloaked in black, a hood covering his face in shadows. A snarl emanated from beneath the hood and two weapons - a spear and a dagger - were drawn from within the folds of the cloak.
Desperate, she grabbed a chair by its legs and threw it at him as she tried to scrambled away. The chair bounced off his arm and he easily closed the distance between him and her. With a low growl he spun the spear and drove the jagged tip into her leg as she crawled beneath a table.
Her cry shattered the night as the spear pinned her leg to the floor. The table above her was easily tossed aside and she lashed out with her free leg. Her foot connected squarely with his knee, the joint snapping loudly as it bent the wrong way. His own scream rang through the hall as he dropped his dagger and clutched his now broken leg, crumpling to the floor.
Gritting her teeth she pulled the weapon from her leg, its serrated edges tearing through her flesh, and used it to get unsteadily to her feet. Her leg beneath the bleeding spear wound was numb and practically dead weight as she limped closer toward him. She knocked the discarded blade away from his hand, and with the tip of the spear she pushed back his hood.
She stared down at the Teir’Dal, blood flowing from his swollen nose, the spear scraping against his throat. " You?! You were at the bar tonight! You’re the one who started the fight! Why are you following me, who sent you?!"
" No one sent me, Anari."
Her eyes widened with shock as she recognized the voice. But how could this be - " Minz?!?!"
"Something new is born this night, born in hurt and fear and anger,
Creature formed of magic's might, born to hate and rend and kill."
03-01-02, 02:37 PM
(ooc: Posted for Kassy Lightborn)
The dream was always the same. She stood upon a plane of endless mist feeling horribly alone and yet terribly exposed. She knew that He was there, that she couldnt escape Him, and yet she ran. Always she ran. It didnt matter, He always caught her, always tortured and battered her to the edge of death, but couldnt kill her. Always His face was crossed with the same wicked grin as He pronounced her fate. The dream was always the same.
This time it was different.
Kassy tossed and turnd in her sleep as the darkness crept over her in her dreams. But rather than waking when at last the pain over came her, she was merely released from the spell that held her still while she was Changed, and crumpled to the ground gasping for air. At once she was glad that the torture had ended and terrified of what was to come. Every night since she had become Tier'dal she had the dream and always it had been the same with only a few exceptions. It was those exceptions, more than the dream itself, that terrified her. Something was going to happen...
The mists shifted, moving about to create a landscape that was recognizable as the Commonlands. To her left was a building that appeared to have seen better days. Now the paint was chipping off and one shutter hung dangling from a window. There was a sense of sadness, of emptiness and loss, about the building, and yet light came from within. With the light came the sounds of battle.
Moving with the grace and silence given to all elven people, the enchantress made her way to the open door of the hall and looked in.
Anari stood there, hurt, but standing over a dark elf who lay upon the floor, one leg obviously broken. Something about the dark elf was familiar, as though she'd seen the face somewhere before... She stayed outside, an inner voice warning her not to be seen, to stay away from that Tier'dal, though she didnt know why. Until Anari spoke...
“I wouldn’t believe her, believe the rumors that it was you that tried to kill her. But this is how you got to Kassy, isn’t it Minz.”
Kassy's saphire eyes went wide as she realized where she'd seen that face before. Her right hand went to the scar that lay above her heart... the scar inflicted by this dark elf's blade. She thought she would fall, and reached out, grabbing the door frame. The paint chipped off at her touch, splinters catching in her soft hands, but she paid them no heed. All of her attention was focused on the dark elf lying on the floor.
He smiled, white teeth gleeming dangerously in the torch light, “Very good. And she was only the beginning. Once I kill you I’ll kill the rest of the Dragons. One by one. Slowly, and painfully.”
“You? Kill me?” The wood elf laughed, though she was obviously unnurved. “ I’m not the one lying on the floor with a broken leg and weaponless. ”
“True, but I’m not the one who’s paralyzed.” He slipped from beneath her weapon, the hatred in his eyes burning hot as he watched her, frozen and now terrified.
Even as she started to speak again, she, Minz, and the building lost their solididty and became once again no more than mist. Echoing through the endless grey came a voice that sent chills through Kassy's body.
"She was only the beginning..."
Kassy awoke with a start, her breathing so rapid that she was becoming lightheaded.
"A dream," she said aloud to comfort herself, "Nothing more than a dream..."
Her voice trailed off, however, as she saw something that made her catch her breath. Lying upon the sheets where she had been sleeping were chips of paint and splinters...
"Something new is born this night, born in hurt and fear and anger,
Creature formed of magic's might, born to hate and rend and kill."
03-02-02, 12:57 AM
*takes a breath*
03-04-02, 07:50 AM
He chuckled darkly and smirked at her. " You seem surprised. Really, Anari, I thought you were suppose to know secrets." He attempted to rise but she kept the bloodied tip of the spear at his throat, forcing him back to the floor
" Don’t even breath!" She hissed. " You can’t be Minz, you’re Teir’Dal."
" Be smart Anari, you know about the Mask- "
" Which is an illusion," she interrupted. " This guildhall was built, then enchanted, to hide and reveal secrets. Illusions don’t work inside these walls. You are Teir’Dal. Beside, you can see. Minz is blind."
He chuckled again. " Perhaps it was the blind Half-Elf that was the illusion." He wiped at the blood from his nose. " Even if it wasn’t, there are ways to cure such things as blindness. Surely with all your many informants you have heard of the blind rogue who sought sight in Paineel? The surgery he undertook? The rumors of the price he must pay to see?"
She thought a moment, her frown deepening as everything began to make sense. "I wouldn’t believe her, believe the rumors that it was you that tried to kill her. But this is how you got to Kassy, isn’t it Minz."
He smiled, his grin sending a shiver through her. " Very good. And she was only the beginning. Once I kill you I’ll kill the rest of the Dragons. One by one. Slowly, and painfully."
" You? Kill me?" It was her turn to laugh, though it was forced. " I’m not the one lying on the floor with a broken leg and weaponless. "
" True, but I’m not the one who’s paralyzed." Carefully he slipped from beneath the tip of the spear, the hatred in his eyes growing as he saw realization in hers.
She couldn’t move. Try as she may her muscles would not do as she told them. The numbness in her leg had spread to the rest of her body, leaving only her head free to move. " How-"
He reached out and retrieved his dagger. " You really should be more prepared for that sort of thing." Grunting in pain he used a table to get to his feet, his good leg supporting all his weight. " You’d think as a fellow thief and assassin, and with all the people who want you dead, that you would be ready for a poisoned weapon."
Her heart began to pound against her chest. " Why are you doing this Minz? Why Kassy? Why me?"
" Why? I was hired to do Kassy. I’m almost glad she survived. Now I get to do her again and actually enjoy it." He hobbled to stand next to her, the edge of his blade caressing her cheek. " And you, I saw you leaving Tassel’s and thought of the fun I could have."
She spit at him, the saliva landing on his face and mixing with the blood from his nose. " If you’re going to kill me, kill me and be done with it."
Wiping his face he laughed. " Now where’s the fun in that?" He pried the spear from her hands, tossing it onto a nearby table. " We could have had so much fun, you and I." He pushed her immobile arms down to rest at her side. " It’s a shame that you have to die." The dagger moved from her face, slowly tracing the line of her neck to the laces of her tunic. The blade easily sliced through the ties. " But it doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy myself before you do."
She swallowed hard, trying to quell her growing fear as he pushed aside the fabric leaving her exposed. " Don’t do this Minz!"
" Begging already Anari?" He leered at her. " We’ll get to that later. Right now I have something else in mind." Tearing the tunic from her torso, he limped his way behind her. " I had heard about these," he said as he ran his fingers over her many scars. " They really did a number on you, didn’t they."
She bit her lip to keep from screaming as she felt the dagger suddenly pierce the skin on her back. The tears welled in her eyes as he dragged the blade across her flesh.
He cackled as she squeezed her eyes closed, the tears spilling out from beneath her lids. " That’s the beauty of these paralysis poisons. You can’t move, but you still feel everything." For a few minutes all was quite as he cut her back again and again, the blade following the lines of her scars.
The stillness was finally broken when she could no longer bear the pain and screamed. "IGNITE!!"
The torches lining the walls flared up, and the fire in the hearth exploded sending flames and sparks flying everywhere. In a matter of seconds the flames were rapidly spreading through the main room of the hall.
He grabbed her hair, pulling her head back and holding the bloody dagger at her throat. " What have you done?"
She sneered, sweat forming on her brow from the rising heat. " I told you, this place was built to keep secrets. It was also designed to destroy those secrets if we could no longer defend them."
" Then you can make it stop!"
" Why should I? You’re going to kill me anyway, and the longer you stand there the less your chances of getting out alive are. You can’t move very well with your leg broken, and the fire is moving to the only way out rather quickly."
Minz glanced over his shoulder. The fire was now circling around them, and it would only be a matter of seconds before there would be no way out. How easy it would be to slit her throat and then leave, but if he did it too quickly she could still survive. He would have to stay until she had bled out, but with the fire moving as quickly as it was, there wasn’t time.
" Burn in hell!" He growled, shoving her hard. Grabbing his spear from the table, and using it for support, he began to make his way through the fire.
Had he looked back, he would have notice that Anari put her hands out to catch herself as she fell.
"Something new is born this night, born in hurt and fear and anger,
Creature formed of magic's might, born to hate and rend and kill."
03-12-02, 10:11 AM
Flames and smoke consumed the room, and she couldn’t catch her breath. Not enough to make the command to stop the fire heard above the roar of the blaze. Her legs still wouldn’t move, and her arms were barely working. Yet the only chance she had now was to crawl toward the bar. A hidden exit in the floor would have unlocked when the guildhall began to burn. It open to a passage that would lead into the Nektulos Forrest.
Lifting herself onto her hands, she began to pull herself toward the bar. A large piece of burning wood fell only a few inches from her head, sending sparks and ash flying into her face. Between the loss of blood and choking on the smoke her head began to swim, yet she knew she didn’t have much time. She had to keep moving. The fallen wood blocked the direct path to the bar, and there was fire on either side of her. She had to find another way.
As she looked all around her, the fire parted and through the flames she could see the Teir’Dal Minz lying on the floor near the door. His pale emerald eyes bore into hers, their hatred intensifying as they saw her. She had seen that look in a man’s eyes only once before, and it had cost her her life. That day in Velious, on the bridge as she faced the Shadow Knight S’Therik. Now she saw the look in the eyes of one she called friend, one she had trusted.
Sweat was pouring off her, the heat almost unbearable. Above her she heard a cracking of wood and looked up in time to see another piece of debris fell from the ceiling. She didn’t have time to move and screamed as the burning rubble fell across her thighs.
As the fire scorched her legs she unsuccessfully tried to pull herself from beneath the wood. Her arms gave out beneath her, and she closed her eyes. Through the pain and tears, she laughed. Her plan to escape Minz was now going to get her killed.
She looked once again through the flames and to the Teir'Dal. His hate filled eyes showed his pleasure at seeing her pinned and helpless. But only for a moment as high above their heads the cracking of wood turned into a deafening roar.
Anari knew what was coming, and a smile found its way on her lips at the sudden fear that replaced the hatred in Minz’s eyes as he too realized what that sound meant.
There would be no coming back this time.
03-12-02, 10:13 AM
Minz stumbled through the burning building. Hand clenched around the shaft of the spear for support. Sweat running down his forehead as he took one agonizing step after another. Shattered leg dragging behind him. The flames seemed to dance before him. Egging him on, and then reaching out to push him back. He spat curses through grit teeth.
Finally the door was within reach. Shifting his weight to stand. Pulling the spear close to him, and wrapping his hand and arm about the stout wooden haft. He stretched out to grasp the door's brass handle. Clenching it tight. A howl of pain erupt from him before he even knew it. The skin on his hand sizzled and bubbled up, burnt to a crisp by the hot metal. He crumpled to the floor in a heap. Good hand clasping the maimed one. Fingers paralyzed in a claw like rictus.
Minz gasped as the initial shock washed over him. Eyes squeezed shut. Momentarily lost in the searing white hot pain. The clatter of a beam falling brought him back. The flames were closing in on him. Shaking his head, to banish the stars dancing before his eyes, he wrapped his hand in a length of his cloak, reaching up to open the door. Touching it tentatively. 'Cool enough,' he thought. Gritting his teeth once more and thrusting his hand around the handle, jerking it hard. But it held fast. "Locked?!" he said out loud. His voice tinged with hysteria. "Locked??" He began to laugh, tossing his head back rolling on the floor at the irony of it. "Oooohh that's too mu..." but is word were cut short as he saw movement in the corner of his eye.
"Nnooo," he hissed. Craning his neck to see around the billowing flames. "No!!" But it was so. Anari was escaping. Her green eyes seemed to sneer at him. Baiting him. He sat up and heaved his harpoon at her, but it fell far short, clattering noiselessly among the burning rubble. The flames roared up, and he lost sight of her. Minz roared out in rage at his impotence. "You will die!" He called out to her.
The huge timbers of the building groaned in pain. Larger and larger chunks fell from the ceiling. He grabbed his dagger from its sheath and clamped between his teeth. The acidic taste of the poison burned on his palate. But it didn't matter. Not now. He hurled himself forward, clawing his way toward her using his one good hand and his elbow. Dragging his shattered leg behind him.
There was a huge crack and a great beam fell from the ceiling. Minz laughed with sadistic glee as the impact's resulting gust of acrid air gave him a view of Anari pinned under a burning timber. He redoubled his pace, slithering toward his prey.
She smiled at him
The room roared.
Searing pain and blunt impact engulfed him.
Darkness closed in.
Pendragon to the Order of the Elder Dragons
Anari tells Minz "see, that's why you never meddle in the affairs of dragons. You are crunchy and taste good with ketchup."
Edited by: Minz at: 3/12/02 12:25:44 pm
03-15-02, 07:33 PM
There was the dull noise of voices through the bar, as the Koada'dal couple entered the bar. The female shined in the candle light clad in golden armor; she surveyed the room with green eyes. Her companion wore long dark robes, and he laid a hand protectively on
her shoulder. He stared around the common room severely. Many eyes slid away from his gaze. "What do you hope to find here?" He whispered between clenched teeth.
Cresida sighed, looking at the rag tag lot before them. "I hope to find anything I can." She said softly.
She moved toward the bar, the bartender looked at her for a moment, but his eyes moved suspiciously to the elf behind her. "'Ow can I help ye?"
Cresida leaned forward, "I'm looking for someone who wears an insignia that matches ours." Ciades glanced around the room as Cresida spoke.
The bartender nodded, "I think I'd seen a little elf skulking around her earlier. someone said something about her being a Dragon or something." He thinks for a moment. "Aye, just before that damned drow killed Jorn and one of his girls."
Ciades looked at the bartender, and said, "A Teir'dal was in here?"
The bartender nodded, "We get them every now and then, they usually behave themselves though."
Cresida waved them both off, "Her? Where did she go?"
"Do I look like I'm her keeper, lass? I don't know. Now, are ye going ta order a drink, or do I have to ask you to leave?!"
Ciades took his companion's arm and bowed a head to the bartender. "Thank you for your time, good barkeep. We appreciate the information. Come, Cresida, let us look for him else where." He gently guided her to the door and out into the street.
She stood for a moment out front of the tavern looking up and down the dark street as Ciades stepped into the street behind her. “I hope that Dey and Kel are having better luck than we are.”
“Oh, aye, I bet they found the bottom of an ale mug rather quickly.”
He inclined his head slightly to her and whispered tightly, “Forgive me.”
She sighed and turned, surveying the street. No one was about but patrolling guards. She called to a passing guard. "A moment, sir. I am looking for a man, or a woman bearing an insignia like mine."
The guard look at her briefly, sneering slightly. “I haven’t seen that insignia. Ye’re with the Elder Dragons then?” He slurred leaning in close to her; his breath smelled strongly of mead.
A pale hand slipped over her arm, and her companion pulled her a step back from the guard. He leveled a dark gaze at the human. “Yes, human, we are with the
Dragons… why do you ask?”
The guard blinked a couple times, and he straightened, presumably when the taller Koada’dal came into focus. “Well, there’s that elven woman. She spends a lot of
time in there, always leaves this way heading out to the Commons that way, rumor has it she used to be a Dragon or somewhat. I’ve never seen her wearing a pin like yours.” He motions out of the city toward the Commonlands.
In the early night sky, a strange dark cloud rises over the rooftops in that directions. A strange dark cloud in a cloudless sky. Cresida takes Ciades hands. “We will try there. Thank you, sir.”
“Cresida, where will we try? It’s the Commonlands.”
“You see that strange cloud… there.”
Ciades stopped as he looked at it. “It’s smoke.”
“Aye, and where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And a good chance that one of our rogues are there as well.”
“Rogues? Cresida, you make no sense.”
They both hurried to the Commons. It was not far, and the fire was well advanced. It lit the Commonlands like a beacon. The roof was mostly collapses on the building, and the doorway had by now completely caved in, so that they could look into the raging inferno… but all they saw was fire. They searched the area around the building and found no one.
“Do you think someone’s in there?” Cresida stepped toward the door.
Ciades pulled her back. “I’ll check inside.” He dispelled his illusion, returning to his Teir’dal form, then softly chanted another spell before he stepped forward into the fiery doorway. He cringed and crouched, covering his nose with his sleeve as he moved in.
Cresida watched him move in nervously. He emerged coughing soon after he had entered, his dark skin was flushed from the heat. “I cannot protect myself long enough to stay in.” He coughed again. “I saw on arm… and possible a leg. In two different places.” He doubled over coughing. “But it’s too hot… they cannot still be alive. The fires been going for too long.”
Cresida straightened at his words. “Two you say? Stay here.” She walked slowly toward the door. She concentrated softly, first calling a spell to protect her against fire. Then she took a deep breath, and called to Tunare to render her invulnerable and she
stepped into the inferno. Although the flames licked around her feet, they did not touch her boots, she could not feel the heat, and she drew breaths of sweet air. She was not far into the hallway when she saw them… a leg not far from her protruding from the
flames, and an arm slightly farther in. She moved quickly, because she knew that she did not have much time and moved as far in as the arm she saw, and quickly pushed burning boards out of the way. Underneath was a Feir’dal woman, without a shirt, and
barely recognizable through her burns. Cresida lifted her without a thought and began to drag her toward the door, laying her in a clear spot as she came to the other body. Time was growing short. There was an ominous creak throughout the burning build. She
reached quickly to the burning boards. As she grasped them she could feel the heat seeping through her gauntlets. Her next breath seemed to sear her lungs, but she held it and thrust the boards to the side to expose a Teir’dal male laying face down. She pulled
the female too her with her left arm and pulled the male up with her right, and concentrating with all her might, let for a mighty scream, lifting them both enough to drag down the short entranceway to the collapsed door. She dropped them both and stumbled over the threshold. Ciades reached out to catch her but pulled his hands back when he touched her armor.
“I’m fine… grab them.” She gasped, kneeling in the grass, and pulling at the straps of her armor to get it off. Sweat poured from her forehead and down her back, and she felt the protection from heat breaking down. She couldn’t remove her armor fast enough.
She finally dropped the last piece on the ground, letting the cool air cut through her linen shift. Ciades had pulled both bodies from the doorway, lain them out in the grass, and covered them with some blankets from their packs. He looked at her sternly when she finally rose. “What were you thinking? They're both dead! There was no reason to risk-”
She raised a hand to cut him off and walked over to the two bodies. Pulling the blanket back, she looked at them. Both of them were covered in burns. The Teir’dal appeared to have suffered only burns, possibly trauma to his head from the falling boards. The Feir’dal looked to be in much worse shape. There was a large cut through one of her thighs, and her several large cuts had been cauterized on her back.
“Ciades,” Cresida said softly, “please return to the inn for Deyorra and Kelvara. I will need Kelvara’s help.”
While Ciades silently headed back into Freeport, Cresida crouched next to the Feir’dal woman, brushing at her blackened face. “Anari…” Her voice caught. “Anari, where have you been hiding, dear friend?” She looked at the body sadly, then gathered the smaller elf’s body slowly into her arms, resting her cheek against her forehead and began to pray. A soft, sing-song prayer in Elder Elvish that rose and fell as one breathes. Anari finally gasped, coughing roughly through the smoke that had settled in her lungs, her eyes fluttered open full of pain. Cresida touched her cheek softly, sending healing energies through her, easing the pain a bit and better searching her wounds. The poison still lay dormant in Anari’s veins, causing Cresida to shudder when she felt it’s touch.
Soft steps in the grass drew Cresida out of her trance, and she looked to her left to see her companions arrive, Kelvara and Deyorra walking stiffly ten steps in front of Ciades. “Kelvara,” Cresida called, “She’s been poisoned, I need your help.”
The shaman moved silently to her side, looking at the elf the cleric held. “Anari?” She whispered.
Anari drew a weak breath and her eyes moved to the barbarian weakly. “She is in great pain, Kel. Please, help me. Cleanse her system of the poison, and I will see to the surface wounds.” Kelvara nodded and closed her eyes, feeling through Anari’s body for the paralyzing poison.
03-15-02, 10:45 PM
Deyorra drew her swords and paced nervously while Cresida and Kelvara worked over Anari. Her steps drew her past Ciades and she leaned slightly to the right allowing her arm to catch his shoulder and push him to the side. The Teir’dal stumbled to the side, barely catching himself from the unexpected push. His dark eyes flashed angrily, but the warrior only smiled. “Oh, I’m sorry, I dinna see ye, all the way down there, little elfy man.”
Ciades simply scowled, straightening and stepping away from her. “I know that you are drawn to me, Savage, but please refrain from touching me… for Cresida’s sake, if not your own.”
The voices of the two healers came muted through the damp night air. The barbarian raised an eyebrow. “Fer Cres’s sake? Now, ye’re threatening her, are ye?”
“Nay. I would simply hate to see her pained, should harm come to you.” He looked back toward Anari as Deyorra began to growl. “Cresida seems to know her. Who is she?” He asked suddenly.
His tone caught the barbarian off guard. Could the enchanter to addressing her without insulting her? Could he possibly be asking a question… of her? She puffed out her chest slightly and began. “Why, Anari. She be a Dragon.”
Ciades simply nodded. “I… I did not know. She went in to drag them out, when I would have left them.” He lowered his head for a moment. “She didn’t know who it was when she went in.”
The barbarian shifted uncomfortably for a moment, the pieces of her armor clacking against each other. “Where’s something ta kill when ya need it?” She muttered under her breath.
“She had a tattoo on her heart. It…well, I’m sure it was nothing. This other fellow confuses me.”
Deyorra snorted as the enchanter walked away. He knelt to study the body of the Teir’dal intently; he was looking at something on the Teir’dal’s chest. Deyorra stepped closer to the body. “Hey… short stuff… wha’ d’ya think yer doin’?”
“This here,” He said suddenly, “there’s something to it.” He pointed to a large spider shaped amulet. It shined silver against the Teir’dal’s dark blue skin, and a large black stone was set in the abdomen. “Look, it’s embedded in his skin, here watch.” He slowly slid the edge of one of his fingers under the spiders head, trying to pry it off. In response, its legs began to twitch… and dig into the dead elf’s skin.
“Tha’s disgustin’!” Deyorra shouted, immediately looking sheepish at a warning glance from Kelvara. “It’s not a real spider… is it?”
Ciades shook his head quickly. “No… it’s an amulet. I’ve been trying to get it off so that I can study it closer, but it keeps digging deeper when I try.”
“Ah, well, ye jus’ have ta show the little bug who’s boss is all.” She sheathed a sword, then reached past him nonchalantly grasping the amulet in her gauntleted hand and tearing it from the elf’s body. As she pulled the legs worked frantically to stay attached, cutting the skin around it. When it finally came away, it took most of the skin around it with it. Deyorra’s lip curled as she looked at it and handed it over to Ciades. “Ugh. There ya go. Ye’re disgustin’ ye know that?”
The enchanter chuckled as he cradled the bloody amulet in his hand. “And this from a Savage. Oh, pardon me, I forget that you are a Lady Savage.”
Deyorra growled low in her throat, “And don’ ye forget it!”
“Leave her be, runt.” Kelvara’s voice came from over Deyorra’s shoulder. The shaman stood behind the warrior, and Cresida was busy tucking blankets around Anari and speaking with the rogue softly. Ciades turned away from both of them and found a place to study the amulet. Kelvara followed him suspiciously with her eyes before coming to stand next to Deyorra. “Anari is well. She is very tired. The healing took a lot out of her, but she needs a tunic, if you can retrieve one from Cresida’s packs for her.”
Deyorra made a face, “Ye want me to go through her froo froo elfy stuff.” She glanced at Cresida folding a blanket to pillow Anari’s head. The high elf was still speaking in low tones with Anari, a pleasant smile spread across her face. The warrior muttered something and trudged over to the travel packs. While Kelvara moved over to the body of the Teir’dal. She looked down at the torn body of the elf, her eyes weary.
After Cresida had seen Anari dressed and asleep, she came to stand next to Kelvara. “I didn’t look closely earlier, but I think his leg is broken. What happened to the skin on his chest? That wasn’t there.”
Deyorra pointed toward Ciades, who was bent over the amulet.
Kelvara reached out and grabbed Cresida’s wrist as the cleric bent toward the body. “You heard Anari. His death is Just.”
Cresida shrugged off the shaman’s hand. “Let me look at him.”
She knelt next to the elf’s body, touching the torn skin on his chest. Ciades held the amulet out to her, gripping it carefully. The flaying legs hovered level of Cresida’s eyes. “We removed this from his chest.”
“What is it?” Cresida asked softly.
“It’s hard to say. I’d like to study it longer. But I also found this in his pocket.” He pulled out a guild pin of the Elder Dragons.
Cresida stared at the two pieces of jewelry for a moment. “He’s a Dragon?!”
Ciades held the pin in his palm. “It would appear so.”
Kelvara speaks softly, “Then why did he attack Anari? Perhaps the thief took it from her. She is not wearing hers.”
“Kelvara, she was not even wearing a shirt.”
She leaned over him, and as she had done with Anari, she gathered the Teir’dal into her arms, and began to sing her prayer to Tunare. This time she seemed more focused as she sang it, and her mind explored his slowly awakening body. She felt his heart beat weakly, very weakly. She felt the crushed knee, the torn skin on his chest, but mostly she felt the taint through his entire body. There was something that acted to keep his lungs from breathing. Something running through his veins to stop his heart from beating. Something… he’s body was responding sluggishly as his spirit returned. She could sense he returned, his cold limbs were beginning to warm. But still he had not taken a breath. Without pausing she began to push the poison from his veins, trying to keep it from his heart and mind, so that she could draw from his strength and he could help her to save him. She slowly opened her eyes, coming out of the trance. “Kelvara. I need you, he’s been poisoned.”
“Cres, why d’ya wanna-”
“He’s alive. Come help me save him.”
The shaman came and knelt on the other side of the dark elf, closing her eyes and joining Cresida as they both returned to the healing trance. His heart beat was stronger, and they could feel the blood coursing through his veins again. The poison was everywhere, all through his body. It seemed impossible to clear it. Together they began to filter it out. This was certainly stronger than any poison either of them had ever encountered, it seemed to fight back even as they sought to rid his body of it. Suddenly, he took a shuddering, gasping breath, and his body spasmed. He cried out in pain and clawed at Cresida’s clothing. Kelvara came out of her trance, trying to calm him, but Cresida continued to chase the wicked poison. A slap on her face drew her out of it, “Cresida! Look!”
The high elf blinked and looked down to the form in her arms. Minz lay, shivering uncontrollably, and gasping as if he could not breath. Minz. “Minz….” He turned his head toward her, barely. She felt him try to speak. “Shh… shh… it’s okay, don’t speak. We’ll take care of that leg, and these burns, and we’ll have you as good as new in no time.” She whispered softly, hoping her surprise didn’t show in her voice. He barely seemed to hear her… As she slipped back into the trance, she held him to her a little more tightly, and careful saw to knitting the bones and the burned and broken skin. Kelvara’s touch soon rejoined hers; Minz had no strength to aid them. They could not leave him to heal on his own as long as this poison ran in his veins, and the more the cleared the worse he became.
“He’s addicted…” Kelvara breathed.
“His body wants it to survive. We can’t let it.” Cresida murmured.
Even as the last drop of poison, Cresida felt Minz’s breathing become more shallow. He was still shaking uncontrollably, and he was barely conscious. But he was alive… he was alive and they had found him. And she was not going to lose him now.
“Kelvara, we need blankets. Have a fire made and tea.”
The last of their blankets were wrapped around Minz, Cresida laid him down gently, reluctant to break the contact. Kelvara propped him up when the tea was ready, and they were able to wake him enough to drink some. Cresida reached to him again, but a hand on her arm stopped her. “You have no more to give. It is time for you to sleep.”
She nodded softly, laying down where she was near the fire. Any blankets they tried to give her she pushed away. “Minz or Anari. They need them more.” She finally fell, exhausted into a fitful sleep.
03-22-02, 03:05 PM
She stood in the still warm ashes of the once great hall, her bare feet black from the soot. Her heart broke as she took in the sight, a chill running through her. Her arms pulled the blanket around her shoulders tighter, a single tear running through the grime on her pale face. Anari looked back to the camp not far from where she stood, but more specifically to the half-elf that fitfully tossed in his sleep. Her sorrow filled heart hardened and she wiped the tear from her cheek.
His skin was no longer that of a Teir’Dal, but that did not erase the events of the past night. The look in his eyes, or the pain of his dagger tearing through her flesh. She had trusted him when she trusted no other, and he betrayed that trust. How easy it would be to walk over to him, while the others were either sleeping or not paying attention, to finish what the burning hall had not completed.
With a sigh she moved through the debris, further away from the camp and the others. The rising sun was just touching the horizon, and with the dawn would come activity at the camp. There was nothing she could do at the moment.
The rogue turned suddenly at the soft voice to her side. " Who’s there?!"
Kassy stepped closer, her eyes wide in shock and disbelief. " What in Tunare’s name happened here?"
" You mean beside having a burning building collapse on me?" Anari snarled, her eyes straying once again back to the camp. Slowly, the story was told. Kassy’s eyes darkened at the part where the Teir'Dal Minz admitted to the attack on Kassy’s life, and darkened even more when he claimed he would do it again. When Anari was finished with the tale she could see the hatred smoldering beneath Kassy’s saphire eyes.
The enchantress’ voice lowered to a dangerous hiss. " Where is he?"
Anari new that look, and new that it was mirrored in her own eyes. Finger’s tightened into a fist and she turned back to the camp. " Believe me, Kassy, I want him just as bad as you do. But now is not the time. Deyorra and the others would not let you get near him. Even if you did manage to kill him, Cresida would just bring him back again."
A quiet growl emanated from deep within Kassy’s throat and her arms crossed over her chest. " He doesn’t deserve to have a beating heart, or to draw breath."
" I couldn’t agree with you more, but as long as he has the Dragons protecting him…" her voice trailed off, a malicious smile forming on her lips. " Then again he won’t always have them around, now will he?"
Kassy scowled, the look fading slowly into a resigned frown. Turning, she walked away, saying over her shoulder, "Cresida should have let him die."
Anari noticed some movement at the camp then quickly followed after the enchantress, the blanket falling off her shoulders and into the soot as she moved. She caught up with Kassy, the camp no longer in sight, and gently grabbed her arm. " Cresida is a fool. I never told her that the Teir’Dal that killed me was Minz. She brought him back even after knowing what he did to me, what he would have done if I hadn’t stopped him. It was only after he was alive again that he changed back to the half-elf.
" I understand how you feel, Kassy. More than any other Dragon I know what kind of evil Minz is capable of. If you are not willing to strike against him, I will not force you. But surely you want justice and vengeance for what he’s done to you? What he’s taken from you? Patience, my friend. With you and I together, Minz Elandril now lives on borrowed time. We will watch, and we will wait, and when the moment is right I will send him screaming back to hell for the both of us."
05-02-02, 07:55 PM
Damnit when are you going to be writing more?!?!?
05-08-02, 07:58 PM
This is titled as chapter 7, where's the rest? Sounds like an interesting story... Bummey Lovepants
lvl 53 Rogue of Cazic-Thule
05-11-02, 11:12 AM
its all in the fireplace, some of it is very deep in their though. i beleive chap 6 had a link to a site that had it all. very good, please write more.
05-12-02, 09:00 AM
/ooc If you like, here are the links to the previous 6 chapters on the OED guild board.