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 Unearthing a Legend - (Callineb/open) 
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Taff saw Brett answer the door and invite the figure in. He assumed they were known to her or she'd have held them on the doorstep a moment longer. He was about to return to close up the barn and head into the house when a very large black figure made it's way towards his house. This was definitely not someone he already knew, large black and ominous would stick in even his distractable mind.

He took a step out of the door, and began heading towards this dark giant. He clenched his hand in anticipation of what could be an uncomfortable situation, but found the ring bit deeper into his finger. He unclenched his hand and saw blood seeping around the edge of it. The ring was gaining a golden tinge to its previously silver shine. Definitely not good.

A booming knock returned his attention to the figure now waiting on his doorstep. He rested his hand on the hilt of his fireblade and walked faster, but unhurriedly towards the behemoth outside his home. While he was still several yards away, Brett opened the door. He drew closer in time to catch her voice.

Ah, here is Taff now.

He had almost reached the porch he felt a chill run down his spine. He felt the touch of a presence on his.

My master extends his greetings, I bear a message

Despite the softness of the touch and the innocence of the words, there was no mistaking the insidious nature of this being. His time in Tiavain had given a name to it, Risetti. Well, he knew much that Taff had never dared entertain thoughts of, if he were here then he would be useful.

He took the proffered scroll and looked up to where the creatures eyes should be. Putting on his least unflustered voice he forced a smile.

Pass my greetings to your master. I look forward to meeting him.

He tucked the scroll in his robe so he could read it in private. He caught a glimpse of a figure in a window to the side of the door.

If you will excuse me, I believe I have another guest to attend to.

He managed to manouvre his way around the creature and into his door, he rested his hand on Brett's arm ressuringly. He soon recognised the elven visitor.

Ah, Arrnek, what a pleasant suprise.

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Sun Jul 04, 2004 1:38 pm
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Sliding the blades back over his back and waste into their respective sheaths, the elf turned.

Ah, so here is the man of the hour. You know your house here is quite popular today?

Adjusting his cloak, Arrnek rubed his hand litely. A stiff spot had developed for some reason or another.

Looking up, Why am I a pleasent surprise? Both you said that like you had expected your next visitor to have slaughter'd your beings or something of that sort.....

Anyways, as I was telling you little lady her, I have come to offer you my sword and my guard. My attention was brought to your need by the guards lying dead outside the city. Dead guards aren't a good thing to have in a city with no walls.


Proping himself up in the window, the elff look'd to the Prif.

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[center]I once fought for a city I loved.
But it has been taken from me.
The Istari have done what all mages do in trouble,
run.......
[/center]


Sun Jul 04, 2004 1:57 pm
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Taff listened attentively to the elf. He didn't know exactly how Brett would feel about being called 'his little lady' but he expected she wouldn't be too amused so he spoke quickly.

Well, I didn't know you were in Callineb, which explains the suprise. And seeing a familar face is always pleasant. Today's suprises have not all been pleasant.

He stopped himself as he found himself fiddling with the painful ring that had attatched itself to his finger.

What guards? No, that's not important. Anything you can do to help will be greatly appreciated.
Take some of the builders working on the south wall, and have them make you somewhere to live. The safety of our people is important, let me know what else you would need. We have mercenaries and guards, but if they are being killed I suppose we would need more.

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Do not attempt it in your own home.


Sun Jul 04, 2004 3:25 pm
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The demoness had wandered far over the isle. Farene's Master had given the freedom to move freely among the people of this land. A freedom that she had never really known. So many years had been lost to her, locked away in that wench, Anarane. If she could, her thoughts wandered, remembering the day she had been pulled, spitefully from her body. Hurdled in the the black abyss. Left there by the wench's brother, Guidion, to live in a place of darkness, a poisoner. Left there for years, months, maybe just days, she could never be sure. Time in that place seem to stand still. Then he appeared. The brother, the self-righteous man that had sent her there. Because of a war set upon him and his guild, he had released her from the abyss. Given her form and freed her to once again roam the land. Farene hated the man and his kind. With each passing day her hatred grew. For the time being she had left it lay. She had returned to her Master, to her home. She was after all was said and done, Risetti!!

Farene returned to the house of her Patriarch, reaffirming her pledge to Him and House Risetti. Granted by her Master, and given the pendant she now wore, giving the freedom to move among the people. The pendant that hid from their view her true form, with the illusion of an appearance of anyone else. Save for another demon or any of Risetti, no one could discern that she was anything more the a mere mortal.

Farene roamed the lands for weeks, exploring, exacting pleasure for herself in the torture of lost souls along the way. Souls of the ones no one would miss or that had any connection with others. Feeding on their anguish, pain, their meaningless existence. Their sorrows feed her and kept her traveling the lands, but now. Now it is time for her to return to the city and to her Master. She had, as of late, felt changes in the status of Risetti. Farene left the city she had been in. Leaving it behind, she slipped the pendent, that bore the symbol of the Risetti molded on it, placing it in the small pouch she carried at her waist. Reverting to her true form. Unfurling her wings and with a grand push of her legs she took to the skies. Slowly, lazily she circled the city below. She chuckled lightly as she lifted on the thermals and turned away to the north. Watching as the cities, towns and villages passed below her. Thinking how lucky some of them were that she felt the need to return to Risetti.

As Farene grew close to where Risetti should be, she could feel something was amiss. As she circled the city, she could not feel her home below. She reached out with her mind and found nothing there. For seconds, even minutes, she searched to the feel, the mind of her Master. Something to lead her to Him. She felt a pull, a power. She reached out to her Patriarch to lead her to Him. She had be gone to long and she needed to feel her Master, to begin to be trained in the arts He would want her to use in His service. She whispered, her voice carrying across time and space to reach her Master.

My Patriarch, guide me to You.

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Sun Jul 04, 2004 4:26 pm
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Bathasar turned away from Taff as he tried to shuffle past. The Prif Call might indeed like the darkness, if only he were to taste it. He would see, in time, as Risetti became more familiar to him. Or perhaps he would not, only time would tell.

Making his was down the street; the people gave Bathasar a wide berth, not wishing to be even within feet of the monster. They knew who he was, and many questioned why Taff would allow Risetti into, or more appropriately, under the city. The older citizens did not wonder, they understood. It was better to allow a monster into your home then have to worry about him entering without your knowledge. Also, having your own monsters tend to be very useful at times.

Bathasar approached the gate to the new city of Risetti. There was a small building there, standing next to the closed gate. Not that there was worry that some may try to enter Risetti, but to protect the locals from anything that may exit Risetti. The Road of Bones which led to Risetti was indeed a peril in itself.

The two black clad Istari standing at the gate saw Bathasar approaching, and opened the gate, made completely of what looked to be bones, so he could enter. There were no lights, but Bathasar did not need them. As he disappeared into the darkness, the road sloping downward, the Istari closed the gate to Risetti quickly. One could not be too careful.

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Sun Jul 04, 2004 10:21 pm
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I’d barely spoken when it turned in to the direction Taff was approaching. I could barely hear the conversation between them but I did note the scroll Taff tucked into his robes. I wondered what is was and I wondered what business he had with such as this. The encounter was brief and as Taff eased his way past and through the door he touched me on the arm, I guessed in an attempt reassure me. It didn’t have the effect that he had hoped

Ah, Arrnek, what a pleasant surprise. I smiled and nodded in agreement. It had been a nice surprise and quite a welcome one compared to the visitor to the house prior to him.

I took Taff by the arm and tried to gently guide him into the study and out of the foyer. As I had little success I gave up for a while and listened to Arrnek's conversation as he more or less repeated what he had said to me earlier. I didn’t miss the ‘little lady’ comment, I stiffened. I did not like being patronised. Under normal circumstances I might have said something. I decided diplomacy was more in order and taking a deep breath I smiled slightly.

It was also lucky for Arnnek that I suddenly saw what looked like blood on Taffs hand, otherwise he would have been reminded that window sills were not for sitting on. Taff you’re bleeding. I took his hand gently in mine and I taking a soft linen cloth from my pocket I began to soak up the blood. I felt Taff wince under my touch; it was then that I noticed the ring. What’s this on your finger?

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Mon Jul 05, 2004 6:43 am
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The elf was actually enjoying the flow of cool air in through the open window. It was greatly refreshing.

Prif, I will need no house untill the walls are finished. I would request four builders though. They need not be master builders, yet experienced ones would be greatly appreciated. I would like to see the city enclosed within two moons.

Taking note to move into another room, the elf stood up, but didn't go anywhere. His host didn't pick up the note yet.

A second request that would not need be granted for awhile would be a plot of land to build a multi-sub layer barricks, the type seen in Avenport. They are very efficient in storage and offer a much smaller target for catapults. Assuming one could home into it's target, The top floor housing the troops, which would obviously be empty during war, protects a second floor holding whatever you mages conjur up for an arsenal. I shall bring plans before you if you wish, once the walls are completed.

The lady had found some intrest in Taff's hand. The elf looked a bit curious, but it wasn't his business, or hand.

_________________
[center]I once fought for a city I loved.
But it has been taken from me.
The Istari have done what all mages do in trouble,
run.......
[/center]


Mon Jul 05, 2004 9:55 am
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Sayer made his way to the door and took a breath. Chuckling to himself, he realized it had been far too long since he had seen any action in the way of wars and far too much time spent in his yacht visiting his most adored places.

He glared around him to take in his surroundings. The day had become rather hot, he thought to himself. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his favorite handkerchief, it always brought a lot of emotion to Sayer's mind. She was one he hadn't and never would forget. He let out a sigh and lifted his cane and tapped on the door three times.

Strange, I haven't felt something like that in quite a while

Sayer searched his mind for an answer. Though most would consider Sayer to be some what of a prophet, he never believed himself to be one, or at least not yet.

The impression he felt at this door was intense. He wasn't sure what to make of it quite yet. The potential for something great was there, but what else?

Patiently Sayer waited at the door, searching his thoughts.

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Tue Jul 06, 2004 2:36 pm
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The bare earth provided scant comfort from the repetitive mockery of conscience. No matter how hard he concentrated on placing one foot after the next, his eyes locked on the slow movement of the cracked soil beneath him, those sing-song voices reminded him time after time of what he had abandoned in the forest, those he had left behind.

The Prophet; long since retreated inside his sanctum, and - some whispered, in darkened corners where they hoped he could not hear - inside his own mind. To escape the proof of the failure of his project, or to find the link, the evidence which had escaped his compatriots in the Espial conclave? It mattered not; the reality was that leaderless, the group had splintered and divided. Treasures stolen in midnight elopement, long convoys of high-packed wagons departing amidst tearful goodbyes and long, pondering thoughts on the part of those who remained in their stead.

The best had stayed. The most brilliant, the most devoted, those who the Prophet had gone out of his way to recruit - the true Friends. How long that friendship had stayed their hand, though, was unclear; with each departing wagon the chances of escaping the dying forest dwindled until even the talk of leaving the conclave had a desperate, needy edge.

Only five remained when Chalchiuhtotolin finally packed his few belongings into a small knapsack, took up his trusty cane and set out towards the rising sun to find his future away from the past which at one point had seemed within their grasp. The Sli Nau Rails were something which Espial had been gathered to discover, and which still lay tantalisingly close, their magic a hair's breadth away from being unleashed. The width of a hair, and yet it could have been all the distance in the world and then some; so seemed the distance between the Rails and the parched earth upon which Chalchiuhtotolin now paced, his breaths as long and steady as his gait.

The parchment held crumpled in his hand felt as dry as the air and as the earth; it's contents were held and repeated as a mantra against the mockery and reminders of his bitter departure. Callineb. Callineb. Traitor. Exile. Friend no more.

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-Chalchiuhtotolin, advisor of Espial
And thus I clothe my naked villainy
With old odd ends, stol'n forth of holy writ;
And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.


Tue Jul 06, 2004 5:14 pm
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His beast was calling out for guidance. Never Solis looked up from the tome he had been examining, his head tilted to the side. Yes, one of his children was calling for his help, for the way to find her way back to Risetti. She must have felt quite a scare, finding Risetti missing.

Yet Lord Solis waited a while before putting his book down. He debated letting the daemoness know where Risetti was. He tapped his fingers on the desk at this thought, quickly dismissing it. No, she would return home, his creature.

The Patriarch opened removed a pendent from within the folds of his robe, placing it around his neck. It was the pendent that everyone of Risetti either wore or possessed. There was a subtle difference, however. The Pendent of the Master was made from the blackest of material; unknown of this plane for it was an abyssal substance, the Risetti symbol, that of a misshapen claw grasping a human skull was drawn upon the surface with a gleaming red substance.

Concentrating for a few moments, he sent a flurry of images to the happenstance of Risetti. His child would learn of the move, of the new home beneath Callineb, where Risetti had been invited. He also revealed the entrance to the Underground, the entrance to Risetti, a gate made entirely from bones. Two black clad Istari stood guard, more for the benefit of the populous then for the protection of Risetti. He also conveyed the dangerousness of the Road of Bones, which led to Risetti through the earth. The last image he sent his servant was that of Risetti, under the ground, the sky of Darkness. Finally, Risetti was indeed a city of Darkness, a place for those who could go nowhere else.

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Wed Jul 07, 2004 9:07 am
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As Farene circled over the place where her Master was to be, her head turned sharply as she felt the touch of her Master. She saw what had happened and what the Patriarch had done to secure Risetti. She dropped a wing and turned in the direction that He had indicated to her.

As she winged her way toward the new home of Risetti, Farene received more images from her Master. Her powerful wings carrying her ever closer to the scantuary of Risetti and her Master. The hours passed and soon she found herself circling over another city. As she had grown closer to Callineb, she could feel the power of the Patriarch become stronger. She soon found the gate that He had told her of. She glided down, her misshapen clawed feet, planting just a short distance from the Gate of Bones.

Taking the last few steps to the gate, she did not bother to put on the pendant that lay in the pouch at her waist. She was after all, home. There was no need to hide herself from the Istari that stood at the gate or any of the other creatures of Risetti. As she approached one of the guards swung open the gate allowing her to pass.

Farene found the Road of Bones just as her Patriarch had indicated. As she took steps upon the road, she heard the gate close behind her. A twisted smile touch her lips, she was back home at last. With each step she took into the darkness, the feeling of comfort and relative safety, grew more intense. She knew though that there were different dangers along this path. Dangers that would drive most mortals insane.

The cold, inviting darkness enveloped her with each step. She felt the road slopping ever downward, going deeper and deeper below this city and the sunlit skies. Her hands moving up rubbing her arms. Not because of the cold but for the sensation of evil that permeated all that surrounded her, including the air. After walking some distance, she could see the end of the tunnel, not to far in the distance. She slowed her pace somewhat, so that she could take every small nuance of their new home. Soon, she thought to herself, soon she would be back in the room that her Master had given her.

Farene knew it was not needed. But she could not help herself. The Patriarch have known as soon as she had come within a short distance of Risetti. Farene wanted to feel her Master and she knew of only one way. My Patriarch, Master of the House Risetti, Your child humbly announces, that I have returned home and am ready for whatever You required of me.

Farene knew very well that Lord Solis would not meet her as she entered the city, but she knew that someone would be waiting to guide her to the Manor. She was ready to learn whatever her Master found that she was suited to do.

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Wed Jul 07, 2004 2:02 pm
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She stepped through the city's gate and glanced around in wonder at the construction going on. She never had been one to like cities overly much. She preferred small villages and encampments that left most of nature unmolested. But her normal likes, didn't stop her from being impressed with what had been done in this place. If a city could be beautiful, then this one was well on its way to becoming so. She smiled slightly. Or perhaps that feeling was because she felt her quest was near an end and she might actually locate the mage she sought.

Taff. One time nemesis (not of his own choosing), become savior, friend and mentor. Though she hadn't spoken of it to him and doubted he knew how much she had come to admire him and depend on his advice, he had been the first she thought of when the vile ooze had made its appearance on the isle. And so she'd begun her search for him, but it had taken her longer than expected. Longer than it should have, given her heritage. Sighing softly, she rubbed her arm gingerly. The break had healed poorly, but there was little she could do about that. There was little she could do about anything really.

When her magic had been taken from her, it had literally taken parts of her with it. She wasn't as capable as she once had been. She had to rely on information gleaned from others to locate the one she sought, whereas before she could have tracked him and never needed another's words. She had to rely on crude methods of healing, when before she would have healed her wounds with a touch. She had once been sure on her feet and only in the worst of battles did she find herself injured. Now, she found she became wounded and ill frequently and from things that shouldn't harm her. The changes in herself were frightening and she seldom felt safe because of her own body's betrayal. And she felt so lonely that she'd cried herself to sleep too many nights to count. She was ashamed of it, but couldn't seem to control her emotions. Another problem that had never been a factor before she was changed.

After it had first happened, when she still stayed by Taff's side, the problems had existed. She had felt more able to handle them, though, because he had a way of giving her the confidence she needed to face the situation. She'd had good reason to leave his side. Or she had thought she did. Despite his kindness to her, he was still an "enemy". They followed different gods. Staying with him put him at just as much risk as she herself was in. His people may have thought him a traitor, had she stayed. This is what she had told herself, and what she had finally told him in the letter she had finally written and left for him. She hadn't had the courage to tell him with her own lips. If he had tried to change her mind, she wouldn't have been able to go through with it.

Walking slowly past houses that had recently been built and an inn that seemed open for business, she looked around carefully. Turning the corner of the street, she looked toward the building she sought. Friendly and welcoming was the feeling the Edwardian house and barn gave her. She only hoped that it was true- and that Taff wouldn't be angered by her sudden appearance. Biting her lip, she slowly made her way to the front door. The presence of so many other people almost scared her into turning away, but she'd come too far to give up now. Hesitantly, she knocked on the door.

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[center]And I feel, all this pain
I stuffed it down, it's back again
And I lie, here in bed
All alone, I can't mend
[/center]


Thu Jul 08, 2004 10:51 am
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Taff spoke in hushed tones to Brett as she worried over his finger.
Its a ring, I found it in the shed. Somehow its grabbed onto my finger. I'll sort it later.
He let her dab the blood clean before clasping his right hand in his left to hide the injury.

He turned his attention to Arrnek, who was perched on the windowsill, and smiled over compensating for his moment of weakness.
You must of course be housed. I believe the Inn has rooms for the moment if you will not have a house just yet.
I hope too that we can get the walls finished soon. And these barracks sound like a good idea. Would you want a single plot for them or three or four at points around the city?

He began to walk to his study, when a knock came at the door. He motioned for Arrnek to go in and pointed to the map on the wall.
See if there are good locations for them, I'll be back with you shortly

A second series of knocks came from the door. Strangely they seemed quieter, not louder and impatient as one would expect.
Yes, I'm coming
He opened the door to a couple. At least it was a man and a woman, but a moments notice made it apparent that they weren't together.
After a few moments he recognised Dahna, the elfess he had ripped the magic from what seemed like an age ago. She had been coming on well when he'd left her to fend for herself, it appeared not to have worked out so well for her. He smiled at her,
Dahna, its good to see you. You look... hungry, you must have traveled far.
He turned to Brett,
Brett, dearest. This is Dahna, I told you about her. We met while you were playing with the pirates.
He decided not to expand while they were in unknown company, Dahna would have been persona nongrata in Tiavain had she found him there.
He turned back to Dahna,
and this is Brett, my wife to be. The kitchen is just down the hall, I'm sure Wendy can fix something up for you. I'll catch up with you soon

He finally turned his attention to the man with the cane on his door step. He smiled guiltily, aware of how he must have left the man standing there.
I'm sorry, My house is like the main gate on market day.
I am Prif Call Taff, how may I help you?

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Thu Jul 08, 2004 5:01 pm
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He finally turned his attention to the man with the cane on his door step. He smiled guiltily, aware of how he must have left the man standing there.
I'm sorry, My house is like the main gate on market day.
I am Prif Call Taff, how may I help you?


Sayer was still deep in his thoughts when the silence of the two strangers facing each other pulled him back to reality.

Clumsily, Sayer gathered his thoughts...

Prif Call Taff, it is I that should be begging your forgiveness. As you can see I seem to be getting distracted more and more easily as the years pass. I don't have a fanciful introduction, my acquaintances know me by Sayer, I suppose that will suffice.

I've come from a land not too distant and like yourself I have committed myself to Isonia. Perhaps you have heard of my former allies and life-long friends from the allegiance LAW.

I come offering my humble assistance to you, your house, and your friends. I am a rising prophet in these lands, and though I dare not claim yet to be one, I do hope I prove to be more useful than some late night entertainment.


Looking back at Taff, Sayer could see that the floor was still his and though he hated to intrude, he detested an awkward moment.

My good sir, I have traveled many days to speak with you and before I am to return to my duties away from here, though I do not wish to be a burden, would it be at all possible to rest a spell from this heat. The weather seems to have a larger effect on myself than others.

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A little I can read.


Thu Jul 08, 2004 11:37 pm
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Its a ring, I found it in the shed. Somehow its grabbed onto my finger. I'll sort it later. His tone of voice as he addressed me was short and I looked at him confused. The only time he had spoken like that in the past was when I had appeared by his side during battle. I decided that he considered I was fussing too much. I dropped his hand staring at him I whispered, sorry. I turned and as I began to make my way up the stairs I cast back over my shoulder, I’ll leave you two gentlemen to your business.

I had just got to the top of the stairs when a know came at the door. I stopped and started back down the stairs stopping as Taff responded in acknowledgment of the knocks. Taff opened the door and greeted the visitor. Dahna, its good to see you. You look... hungry, you must have traveled far. At the mention of the name Dahna, curiosity got the better of me; Taff had told me some of the story of his meeting Dahna. I descended to the bottom step and peered through the door at the two that stood there.

He turned to me, Brett, dearest. This is Dahna, I told you about her. We met while you were playing with the pirates. I raised my eyebrow at him, playing with Pirates indeed. I almost commented on the incorrectness of that statement but he had turned from me back to the women and this is Brett, my wife to be. I stepped forward smiling slightly and offered my hand in greeting to the Elf Woman. To do any less would have been rude of me. Welcome Dahna to Callineb and to our home. Come in.

I stepped back to allow space for the woman to move into the foyer. He addressed her again in a kindly manner and I became aware of a slight feeling of jealousy. The kitchen is just down the hall, I'm sure Wendy can fix something up for you. I'll catch up with you soon.

I stood there looking at the woman, trying to evaluate her; physically she indeed didn’t seem to be in great shape. I looked angrily at Taff and I sighed lightly, pushing my feelings aside. It seemed I had been thrust unwillingly into the role of hostess and I resented it, but she did not need to know that. I looked back at her and smiled as warmly as I could. Come with me Dahna, Taff is right I think Wendy can find a meal for you. I started down the hall to the back of the house pausing to ensure Dahna was accompanying me.

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Fri Jul 09, 2004 3:10 am
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Taff smiled kindly as he listened.
Well Sayer, please come in. Hiding from the heat sounds like a good plan.
He stepped back and beckoned the prophet in. As he looked around the rooms off the hallway for an empty one to entertain this guest in. He'd sent Arrnek to his study to peruse maps, Brett was about to take Dahna into the kitchen. On his left was a lounge, at the moment the furnishings were sparse, but it would do for the moment. He ushered Sayer into it, taking a brief moment to catch Brett's arm.

He smiled warmly at her. Grateful that she was seeing to Dahna after having looked after the house all day, he placed a soft kiss on her cheek and whispered in her ear, Thank you. Before he had to return to his guest.

He took a jug of fruit juice that was sitting on the table by the door. He used a tiny thread of magic to draw heat from the liquid before offering it to his visitor.
Juice? I believe it is some local fruit, its quite nice
He poured two glasses and sipped one himself.
Prophets are a rarity, even when this city was alive and bustling it was unusual to have one resident. You're presence would be a great asset to us.
Was you talent helpful to your friends in the alliance of Law?

_________________
Kids, Bringing about the Armgeddon can be dangerous.
Do not attempt it in your own home.


Sat Jul 10, 2004 5:29 pm
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Clio watched the dust motes with mesmerized eyes. A little delighted "oh" escaped her lips as she looked about and relized where she was. The fires and wars of the past seemed to have barely touched this place.

There were dust covered tables and chairs. She sank down into the nearest one as her ankle was throbbing horribly.

"You twit, don't you know how to do anything right? Can't even inspect a simple, ruined librabry with out doing something wrong."

"What? I've no idea what you're talking about. Shut up."

"You're dodging the issue. You're a colossal screw up. You never do anything correctly. Never and you know it. Stop wimpering over a few bumps and bruises and look. You'll find something."

"Noo I won't! You're wrong! Wrong I say! I do things right. Always!" Clio wailed and continued to sit and peer at her damaged ankle.

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The voices...
They are calling me.


Sun Jul 11, 2004 12:59 am
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Chalchiuhtotolin's midday slumber under the partial shelter of an outcropping of rock was interrupted by a muffled drumming of hooves on the thin layer of sand which protected the wanderer's feet from the harsh stone ground. His mind, held fast under the blanket of sleep which was yet to realise the rest of his body was awake, was slow to react to the oncoming horse; self preservation was almost too late in curling the librarian's body into as compact a ball as possible under the rock as the horses swept past.

It was some moments after the sounds of their passage died that Chalchiuhtotolin dared peek out from beneath the outcropping, his mind wrenched from slumber by the danger just passed. The world was again at peace, with only a distant cloud of dust heralding the location of the small group of cavalrymen which had almost ended his journey in a particularly messy and fatal fashion. He watched their progress across the barren landscape until even the dust cloud was a mere smudge against the land, and then decided to risk movement, pushing himself out from beneath the rock and gingerly moving to an upright position. Heavy hoofprints spoke of ironshod horseshoes, and Chalchiuhtotolin raised a hand to his head as if to trace the 'u' which would have marked his skin if he had not reacted in time.

A slow breath left his mouth as he sighed in relief at his near escape, and he turned to view the rest of his surroundings. Another dust cloud marked the horizon, this time distinctly larger than the last; and as Chalchiuhtotolin watched, the lead horse and carriage of a merchant caravan emerged from the hoof-strewn sand to approach him.

"Ho, there!" called Chalchiuhtotolin, with too little time to conceal himself once more.

No attention came from the wagon, but another shape emerged from the dust cloud at a martial pace to approach him directly; a mounted man with banded leather armour and a moustache which obviously merited more attention and care than the rest of his clothing.

"We'll have your weapons on the floor, sirrah" came the reply.

"I have no weapons - I am a scholar, travelling to the newfound city of Callineb." Chalchiuhtotolin turned on the spot, his arms held well away from his body to show the soldier that he spoke the truth.

The soldier grunted, obviously torn between sceptiscm at Chalchiuhtotolin's story and disgust at the stupidity of a traveller in the middle of the wasteland being unarmed. "Head to the back of the wagon train and speak to Charin. He'll tell you whether we've space for you until we reach our waypoint near Callineb - might be that you can hitch a ride."

"Tha-" began Chalchiuhtotolin, before realising that the soldier's attention had been drawn elsewhere; for the second time in the space of an hour, he had to step quickly to avoid being trampled as the cavalryman spurred his mount past the librarian and onto some imaged threat elsewhere.

Shrugging lightly and hoping that no more danger would be heralded until the next dawn at least, Chalchiuhtotolin picked his way down the wagon train until he neared the last wagon. Knocking politely on the wooden frame of the rundown vehicle, he pulled aside the canvas and stepped inside.

_________________
-Chalchiuhtotolin, advisor of Espial
And thus I clothe my naked villainy
With old odd ends, stol'n forth of holy writ;
And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.


Mon Jul 12, 2004 9:20 am
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Standing on the porch waiting for her knocking to be answered, she'd almost lost her nerve and turned to leave. Taff and her had parted on good terms, or at least she assumed so though her method of parting hadn't been overly brave, but she didn't know any of these other people. And they were all enemies if they followed strict faith allegiances that dictated all who followed different faiths should die. She swallowed hard as the door opened and she saw the mage for the first time in several months.

And then he had drawn her into the dwelling and called his fiancee to his side. She didn't have time to formulate thought enough to protest that she didn't need food. It would have been churlish to refuse it without explanation and she wasn't up to explaining that she had difficulty eating. Before she knew it, he was leaving to talk with the one that had been standing next to her and Brett was leading her to another area.

Th..thank you. I appreciate the offer....

She blinked uncertainly, watching the other woman through demurely lowered lashes. Brett seemed friendly enough and didn't seem to dislike her presence in her house, but she could sense something in the womans demeanor that made her slightly uneasy. What it was, she couldn't determine, and since she'd been so off kilter the last several weeks, she wasn't entirely sure she wasn't just imagining the odd feeling. There was probably nothing wrong at all. She hoped that Brett wasn't upset by her showing up on Taff's doorstep. It likely seemed odd that she had. A Dardenite seeking out an Isonian? It wasn't done. Yet she had done it. If Brett questioned her motives or suspected her of bad intentions, she wouldn't be able to blame her. After all, Brett didn't know that Dahna owed him her life in more ways than the one he probably told of. She would die for him before she'd ever deliberately try and harm him again.

She couldn't say that though. Swallowing again, she shifted from one foot to the other, not sure what she should say.

_________________
[center]And I feel, all this pain
I stuffed it down, it's back again
And I lie, here in bed
All alone, I can't mend
[/center]


Mon Jul 12, 2004 10:52 am
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As I waited for Dahna to accompany me Taff indicated his next guest should wait in the lounge. He caught me by the arm and placed a gentle kiss on my cheek and whispered in my ear. Thank you. I smiled at him taking his hand I squeezed it gently to let him know I wasn’t really that upset. I mouthed the words, I love you as he gently pulled his hand from my grasp to return to his guest.

I was about to return my attention to Dahna, when I remembered, Oh! Taff a Lord Kyle er Hathborne called to see you earlier. Said you could find him at the inn when you were ready. Would you like me to send someone to fetch him?

I turned back to Dahna; sorry things have suddenly got very busy round here. I was about to lead her to the kitchen but I stopped. I watched her curiously pondering if I indeed had a foundation for my sudden jealousy. I noted she seemed nervous as she shifted her weight from one foot to the other and I wondered if I was the reason for that.

In an attempt to put her at ease I smiled warmly at her and spoke gently, I think Taff is going to be awhile. I know he suggested you might like to eat but is that what you really want or can I offer you some other hospitality?

_________________
Ministry of Stone
Servant of the Wheel
Ceidwad am rholyn, Callineb
Keeper of scrolls, Callineb


Tue Jul 13, 2004 6:40 am
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She was grateful that Brett had seemed to know, without her saying, that she couldn't eat. She would not have to seem churlish or ungrateful now by turning down the offer of food.

Thank you. I really couldn't eat anything, but if you have water? I apologize for taking you away from what you had been doing- I can tell that you are very busy. If Taff is going to be long, I can wait for him outside....I do not wish to impose or be in the way.

She bit her lip uncertainly. She wasn't sure if her words would be taken as an insult or not. She hoped not. She was still hesitant about remaining indoors for long periods of time. Her experience facing the vile blackness that had started her on this journey made it difficult for her to want man-made walls around her. Gingerly, and without thinking, she rubbed the arm that had been broken during the encounter. When she noticed Brett staring at her action, she quickly stopped and pulled her cloak around her shoulders, despite the warmth of the house.

She blushed darkly, not wanting to explain the crookedness of the limb. The scars she bore were embarrassing enough, but at least Brett would know the reason for those. She couldn't bring herself to tell the woman about being twice as fragile as she used to be and not being able to heal herself because she was missing part of herself. It was too shaming. Extremely shaming.

When it occurred to her, she sighed softly, irritated that she hadn't thought of the reason sooner.

I...I don't want to be a problem. Perhaps you are right and I need to stay here where your other guests can not see me. I did not think, but some would not find my being here acceptable...I do not wish to cause trouble.

She was about to offer to leave entirely, but she couldn't bring herself to do it. She'd forced herself to come here because it was the only place where she had a chance of getting the help she needed. Because of what they'd been through, she felt a connection to the mage. Even if he couldn't restore her to what she had been, being near him seemed to give her a strength she didn't have when she was away from him. She knew she would die if she stayed away from him for too long. She was bound to him whether she wanted it or not. Whether he wanted it or not. She wondered if he realized just how tightly he had tied her fate to himself.

_________________
[center]And I feel, all this pain
I stuffed it down, it's back again
And I lie, here in bed
All alone, I can't mend
[/center]


Wed Jul 14, 2004 2:03 pm
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It only took her a moment before she replied Thank you. I really couldn't eat anything, but if you have water? I apologize for taking you away from what you had been doing- I can tell that you are very busy. If Taff is going to be long, I can wait for him outside....I do not wish to impose or be in the way.

Suddenly I felt quite flustered. Were my thoughts towards her obvious and making her so uncomfortable that she felt she needed to stay outside. Alarmed I blurted out, No; no you will not wait outside. You have nothing to apologise for. You aren’t taking me away from anything that cant wait. Taff maybe a while, but you are welcome to rest inside while you wait.

Watching her closely I looked for clues that might indicate if she was indeed aware of my thoughts. I didn’t see any but I became aware of her rubbing at her arm. It was only then that I noticed it hung at an unusual angle. She pulled her cloak about her shoulders when she became aware I was looking at it carefully. Before I had even realised I had spoken I asked her When did you break your arm Dahna, how long has it been? She blushed under my questioning and so I didn’t pursue it, leaving it to her to speak about it when she was ready. I just hoped it would be sooner rather than later.

I...I don't want to be a problem. Perhaps you are right and I need to stay here where your other guests can not see me. I did not think, but some would not find my being here acceptable...I do not wish to cause trouble.

I looked at her quizzically as she spoke. One minute she was talking about waiting outside and the next she wanted to hide inside. Intuitively I was beginning to understand that this woman was out of balance. Swaying like a pendulum. I just smiled at her and spoke gently and encouragingly. Come with me Dahna, lets go and see what we can find for you to drink. Curious about her statement that some would not find her acceptable. I wondered if that was because she was a Dardenite or at least that is what I thought Taff had said.

Indicating the direction to go, we walked down the sparsely furnished hallway. Our footsteps echoing on the brightly polished wooden floor. At the end of the hallway I motioned her in through the door on the right. The kitchen was large with a central work table, a large fireplace set against the north facing wall that contained an unusual cooking hob and a bench with hot and cold running water was set against the east wall. Along the front of the fireplace were sheaves of herbs hung to dry. Busy at the table was a woman, her age apparent by the streaks of grey that could been seen amongst the mousy brown of her hair. She was ample and had a motherly air about her.

Wendy looked up as we entered the kitchen and I introduced the two women to each other as I indicated to Dahna to take a seat at the table. Would you like me to take your cloak Dahna and Wendy will get you that drink of water unless you would like something else? Maybe a warm herbal tea?

_________________
Ministry of Stone
Servant of the Wheel
Ceidwad am rholyn, Callineb
Keeper of scrolls, Callineb


Thu Jul 15, 2004 4:21 am
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If Brett had reservations about her, she didn't seem to be letting them affect her at all. She was more than gracious, quickly stopping any notions of Dahna leaving outside, and when she'd noticed the hesitation the elf had about staying where others could see her, she'd quickly led her to the kitchen where there was more quiet and solitude. Dahnalyse gave the woman a grateful smile and followed her quietly. She knew she'd been asked some questions that sometime she would need to answer when she'd had a chance to gather her thoughts together.

She'd already started feeling better than she had in weeks. She wasn't sure why, but she wasn't stupid. She could put one and one together and get two. She'd been doing well when she left Taff's side. She'd slowly started to develop problems after she'd left him. First her balance was off. Then she'd be ill for no reason. Her concentration wasn't as keen as it should be. She couldn't get enough rest. At first mild and then increasingly more harsh symptoms- the further away she ventured from the mage's side.

When the thought had first entered her mind that her ailments were connected somehow to the fact she wasn't near him, she pushed it away as the nonsensical result of her being sick and injured so often. The fact that she already felt so much better after only a few hours within the vicinity of the mage made her rethink her dismissal of the idea. Of course she would not know for certain until she left his side again.

Smiling at Brett again, she decided to answer the questions in reverse order.

Herbal tea would be wonderful, thank you.

She smiled at Wendy, then hesitantly removed her cloak and handed it over. Without the cloak, her scars were more visible and the odd angle of her arm was more noticeable. She knew that eventually she would have to remove it anyway, so it was best to do so where there were less people to notice. Besides, she had a feeling there wasn't much that Brett missed. Trying to hide her injuries was silly in the least. She carefully took the tea from Wendy as she brought it to her.

Thank you.

She sipped the drink slowly, letting the warmth sooth her throat. She then looked up at Brett again.

My arm was injured several months ago. The inn in which I was staying was engulfed by the blackness that was eating so much of civilization at that time. I barely escaped. Most did not.

She looked down, sighing softly, sorrow flitting over her face before she looked up again.

I had to jump out of the second story window and...well...I didn't land in a good position.

She smiled sheepishly, as if to indicate that she had no idea how it had occurred. The problem was, she knew exactly how it had occurred and she knew that it would continue to occurr unless Taff could help her. The only question was, would he? Could he? And if he could not, then what would she do?

_________________
[center]And I feel, all this pain
I stuffed it down, it's back again
And I lie, here in bed
All alone, I can't mend
[/center]


Thu Jul 15, 2004 1:42 pm
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I relaxed as smile broke across the woman’s face as she requested the tea. It brightened her face and she no longer appeared as gaunt and lost. I looked to Wendy as she set about selecting and combining herbs knowing she would have already summed up the needs of the visitor to her kitchen.

As it was prepared I took the cloak from Dahna and hung it on the hook of the door that led you outside into the kitchen garden. Turning back to her I started as I took in the scars of her injuries. I tried not to show it and as casually as possible I pulled out the chair next to her and sat down as Wendy handed her the herbal tea.

Dahna accepted it and I nodded my appreciation for the tea that Wendy passed to me before going back to her chores. I sat quietly beside the woman and waited for Dahna to speak. Sipping the tea I could easily distinguish the herbs that is contained. I eyed Wendy as I noted the bitter aftertaste, recognising it as an herb that helped one deal with jealousy. I almost laughed out loud, Oh how she knew me. Too well sometimes I thought.

I looked up as Dahna spoke; my arm was injured several months ago. The inn in which I was staying was engulfed by the blackness that was eating so much of civilization at that time. I barely escaped. Most did not. I had to jump out of the second story window and...well...I didn't land in a good position.

She smiled oddly as I grimaced at the thought of the pain she would have experienced. I could tell the arm had not been set properly and I shot a glance at Wendy and saw that she has stopped what she was doing and was observing and listening attentively. Returning my attention to Dahna I tentatively began to speak. If it has only been a couple of months Dahna, it is possible it could be broken and reset. I glanced at Wendy and she nodded, I … Wendy could look at it for you. She is not just my housekeeper but she is also a very skilled healer. I must warn you though, Dahna, that two months is almost the limit that this can be done.

I watched her for a bit as she took in what I had said and waited for her reply. I thought to continue but decided against it. I didn’t want to add pressure, as I was sure Dahna would have an inkling of what was involved. She needed to consider whether she was prepared to put herself physically through more pain than she had already experienced as a result of the injury.

_________________
Ministry of Stone
Servant of the Wheel
Ceidwad am rholyn, Callineb
Keeper of scrolls, Callineb


Fri Jul 16, 2004 5:12 am
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She could taste the different herbs in the tea Wendy had made. At one time she could have named them easily, and even now they were starting to return to her in tiny foggy fragments. If she stayed here long enough, she might actually lose the haze that continually thwarted her mental capabilities, at least for a little while. When she heard Brett's words, her eyes shot to the woman and widened.

Brett and Wendy's offer to try and restore her arm to the way it should be was startling. As it had begun healing badly, she'd assumed that she'd always be burdened with it being the way it was. She hadn't thought it could be fixed. She couldn't keep the surprise from showing on her face or the hope from glimmering faintly in her eyes.

Two months. She was fairly certain that it had not reached two months yet, although it was coming close to that time. She didn't think it had reached two months anyway. Events had a way of slipping away from her memory, much like sand slipped through her fingers if she tried to grasp it too tightly. They might be able to help her. She bit her lip.

Was she willing to go through that pain again? Even now her arm ached with every change in the weather and it was just finally reaching a point where it was strong enough to be of occasional use. It was true she had felt worse pain, but she had been stronger then. The fact was, she didn't really have much choice. A chance to be whole again wasn't one she could dismiss from fear only. And it would be good to have her arm working the right way- especially if Taff could not help her the way she hoped.

If you think it can be done...I will accept the pain of it.

She spoke softly, but there was no hesitance. The more she thought about it, the more sense it made. If Taff could not return the part of her being that had been ripped from her, then she would need as much of the rest of her to be normal as possible. If it weren't for her face remaining as smooth and young looking as it had been before she'd started down her path of destruction, she would have thought that she had suddenly become an old woman overnight, the way her body and mind betrayed her so often. An old woman with a young woman's face.

Looking away from Brett and Wendy again, she looked in her tea.

_________________
[center]And I feel, all this pain
I stuffed it down, it's back again
And I lie, here in bed
All alone, I can't mend
[/center]


Fri Jul 16, 2004 9:21 am
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