Completed Flash of the Blade (Caspian)

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A city floating in the center of a lake, Ravok is a place of dark beauty, romance and culture. Behind it all though is the presence of Rhysol, God of Evil and Betrayal. The city is controlled by The Black Sun, a religious organization devoted to Rhysol. [Lore]

Flash of the Blade (Caspian)

Postby Shiress on April 29th, 2020, 8:44 pm

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Kylar watched as the dark form of Shiress's attacker slid from view beneath the surface of Lake Ravok. Glancing down at the assassin's dagger clutched in his fist, he briefly contemplated tossing the weapon into the depths, too, but thought better of it, cleaned the dried blood from the blade, and slid it home in a sheath hidden within his boot. Standing, the Nitrozian spy gave his surroundings a cursory glance before darting his eyes skyward, noting the time.

Ambrosia would be home by now.

Disposing of the body had taken Kylar longer than he had intended, running into trouble trying to find an adequate enough weight to submerge the larger assailant's substantial body, then coming face to face with a small mass of cousins, doing Gods knew what, near the only route back to where the body had been temporarily hidden. To say that meeting was awkward would be like saying Rhysol was kind of bad. So, as it were, Syna's rays had dipped into the west, and the shadows across Ravok were growing longer by the chime.

Arriving back at the Caldera Manor, Kylar paused several feet from the entrance, then slid into the shadows, alert. Shiress's charge may be home, but the front door stood ajar, and the Nitrozian was no longer taking any chances. Metal hissed against leather as he drew his sword from his back and stepped slowly, silently, toward the open door. A sudden illumination from within halted his movements, and he watched as the bubble of light progressed toward the entryway, then stopped. After a tick, Kylar peered around the doorframe, seeing Ambrosia's startled gaze locked onto the remnants of Shiress's attack. Slowly, he stepped into the lamplight, sword held by his side in a non-threatening manner, and spoke in a low, gentle voice.

"Ambrosia? My name is Kylar Nitrozian" he held out a hand, palm out, in a calming gesture. "I'm a friend of Shiress's, and I have come to take you to her and Caspian." Kylar knew the girl would have a barrage of questions for him if outright distrust didn't render her speechless, so he spoke quickly, resheathing his blade and stepping further into the manor. "Shiress was attacked this afternoon, an assassin sent by the Caldera's to end the bloodline of Elias. Shiress was stabbed but will live."

He neglected to say that the same could not be said about her unborn child but presumed Ambrosia would come to that conclusion herself. "Caspian and shiress are at the vacant home of Clyde Sullins." he continued, evenly "I've returned to take you there. You are not safe here."

Thankfully, the girl seemed persuaded to follow Kylar, either from immense bravery or loyalty to her friend, Kylar didn't know. He gave her time to grab what belongings she needed, and just as the last of Syna's rays dipped below the horizon, Kylar and Ambrosia were on their way. The Nitrozian was patient in answering any questions the girl might have as they moved quickly through the city.

More than once, the spy recognized Lark guards looking suspiciously as if they were searching for someone. Kylar tugged the hood of his cloak up around his head and placed his arm around Ambrosia's slender shoulders in an attempt to resemble a couple making their way home.

For the most part, it worked...

Just as the Cullins cottage came into view, Kylar paused for just a tick, listening, then took off at a full run. His sword was sliding free once again.

------------------------------------------

Shiress's scream reverberated throughout the small confines of the cottage, causing the man above her to hesitate just long enough for her to get a shoulder beneath his chest and shove him away. Crab walking backward a pace, she slammed her foot into the side of the man's drug-addled head once, twice, and he went down.

Shiress stared at the prone figure in silence for a traumatized moment, heaving lungfuls of air through a curtain of hair plastered across her face, before swinging around to her hands and knees and crawling toward Caspian. Reaching her friend's side, she gently pulled his head into her lap. He lay very still, too still, and a thin line of blood trickled from the corner of his mouth. Tears immediately flooded Shiress's eyes as she whispered his name over and over and got no response.

The front door of the cottage suddenly slammed inward, reverberating off the inside wall with a loud crack. Shiress's head jerked up just as Kylar followed the momentum of his kick into the room, blue eyes roaming over Shiress and Caspian before landing on the still unconscious stranger. A split tick later, a second figure appeared in the doorway.

"Ambrosia!" Shiress let out a loud, relieved sob, then dropped her gaze to Caspian's pale face, attempting to speak through her sobs. "He gave him something, drugged him, forced something into his mouth!"

Shiress broke then.

Elias

Rook

The attack

Her baby

Now Caspian

All of it, the weight of all that she had endured, shattered any pretense of stoicism. Lowering her head, Shiress wailed her heartbreak against Caspian's chest.

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Flash of the Blade (Caspian)

Postby Caspian on May 3rd, 2020, 2:00 pm

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Snow falls sternly here.

Detachedly but undeniably, so states the rules of his present dream.

When he was younger - no, even younger, yes, than that - he had wondered where snow came from. There was just so much of it in Avanthal, everywhere and all the time, glaciers and massings hewn into towers and walls and it seemed preposterous, firstly, that there be such a wealth at all, and secondly that no one appeared to be actively accounting for it.

“It comes from Morwen,” one of the Snowsong flautists his father employed to look after him on odd days had once exasperatedly replied, casting a look of bemused disbelief to a neighbor tending a fire in the vicinity.

But where does she find it? he would press, if their patience allowed for it. Does she have a basket? Does she stoop and carry? Does she plan for millennia of winters ahead and store them, the way we do, with our fish and flint and grains, buried in the bark?

To their credit, they tolerated him plenty. He was already an odd enough sight, given the angularity and darkness of his features passed to him by his mother, so starkly not of this land, that an unusual line of questioning in that vein hadn’t been any real cause for concern. Marked by the meanderings often exhibited by children when faced with something everyone had upon adulthood desensitized themselves to, they more often than not found his investigations rather funny. Eventually, inevitably, and perhaps sooner than expected, he would learn, they told themselves - it would only be a matter of time until he, like many other children, would start to keep flights and foolishness to himself, especially those of the theological bend. Counterintuitively, the more he learned to articulate, the more sense he would see in keeping mum.

This particular flight doesn’t leave him. At least, he’s quite sure it didn’t, and that he had actually been silent for quite some time. But above him Shiress is crying and clutching, tears falling onto his skin like sleet, like hail, like Morwen in avatar - and maybe it had been Shiress all along, with basket and bark in the Goddess’ wake, bearing winter in her arms.

Suddenly and alarmingly, the world swings back into new focus. He’s not sure when he’d opened his eyes, whether it had just been a moment before, or many, and they had stared up at the ceiling unseeing.

Shiress is still crying. This much he can see, but - he strains. What he had been convinced was snow pouring from her eyes is instead grainy and dark - sand -

A fever rises in alarmingly flush across his skin, as if he’d just been dropped into the dunes of Eyktol without anything to shield him from the sun’s unforgiving rays. Feebly, he straightens up, edges out of Shiress’ hold and the sand spilling onto him, that fills the room and threatens to suffocate them all - and it isn’t her fault, no, and he’s not angry, she just needs to understand -

“- have to not,” he murmurs distractedly. Speaking isn’t usually this difficult, as far as he can recall - doesn’t think he’s usually this tongue tied. But his mouth is dry, the sunlight streaming through the window far too bright - too searching, too bounding, reflecting and magnifying to near unbearable degree .

He blames the sand, drags himself further from Shiress who lies there like a broken hourglass.

Broken in three parts - her eyes, and -

With a jolt that rollicks him from several places twice removed, he gapes down at the blood staining his palms, down his chest, all of it trailing from Shiress, and some of it from Shiress all the way to -

The body of his attacker, limp and crumpled on the floor, like a rat he’d once seen his sister in her raven form drop onto Sunberth stones from several stories above.

“- letting it run, need to not -“ he tries explaining to her, emphatic and wild, because doesn’t she know she’s terribly hurt?

It seems a good idea to stand.

It very much isn’t.

A table is knocked over, the vase and books upon it crashing to the floor. He catches his ribs against the back of a chair and - it doesn’t hurt, really, not as much as it ought to. The unexpected invincibility has him cackling, dropping down to a giggling - and it occurs to him that he might explore what else is new in this dimension, what he might do now that pain is no longer an option.

The floor decides the next round of his experiment for him. It’s not his fault it had undulated and writhed like a snake, seeking out prey and shelter now that Shiress has cultivated its new home - but as he had taken a step forward, like the insouciant and untrustworthy creature it is, had whiplashed him out of balance, and directly into the next chair directly adjacent.

Only after this second blow does he ascertain that no, things are not as they used to be but also they really shouldn’t be, a lot of that having to do with the spine-struck stranger who isn’t lending the room any charm.
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Flash of the Blade (Caspian)

Postby Ambrosia Alar on May 12th, 2020, 2:44 pm

Ambrosia stared at the blood some more, willing the lifeless lifegiving puddle on the floor to make some sense of this all, but it didn’t. The longer she waited, the more she became aware of one thing. She was alone here, and depending on whose blood that was, she might end up alone forever. With Shiress, there was at least a hope of returning to Alvadas, but if she was gone, if she was dead, then…

There was no way of knowing. All she could be certain of was that she was alone in the darkness.

“Ambrosia?”

The darkness spoke to her. It spoke to her and called her by name. Though perhaps this was the time for either one, Ambrosia didn’t scream or run. Instead, she froze, as she always did when she was truly terrified, when she realized there was a body that went with the voice and a sword that went with that body. He wasn’t holding it in a threatening manner and claimed to be a friend, and Ambrosia could only hope he was telling the truth, because she didn’t want to fight.

She’d only ever been in four fights in her life. Two of those hadn’t turned out well. One she’d left with a concussion and a black eye; the other, raking gashes and a broken arm. Two had turned out even worse. Twice, she had won. Twice, she had taken a life. Granted, she had done so with an insurmountable advantage both times, but she had won, and she had killed. And the killing had not disturbed her. In fact, though she had killed for a purpose, she had discovered with a tenuous excitement that it had given her a sense of power, an undeniable feeling of control. Ambrosia was prepared to kill again if she needed to, but she knew she didn’t have the means, especially now with this man and his sword and his element of surprise.

Fortunately, with freezing came time to think, and the more she thought, the more she realized it didn’t make sense for whatever he was saying to be anything but the truth. If he wanted her dead, it would’ve been easy enough to just kill her where she stood. If anyone was worried about the blood, there was already a mess to clean up anyhow. He wasn’t trying to find Shiress, because he claimed to be taking Ambrosia to see her mistress. If he was toying with her, she’d die one way or another. But…

If he was telling the truth, then he’d be taking her where she was needed most, so Ambrosia breathed a sigh of relief and told the man, Kylar if anything he said was to be believed, to lead the way. Perhaps the blood had heard her and had made sense of everything, just as she had wanted. That thought, that blood heard her, made her shiver.

Kylar offered to wait while she gathered possessions she needed.

Ambrosia smirked in spite of herself and held up her branded hand. “What possessions? I might be Shiress’ friend, love, but I’m still a slave. Everything I have is hers. Everything I have is because she gave it to me. Let’s go.”

Putting out the lantern, she left them both in darkness and let Kylar lead her out a back door of the manor. Their trip across Ravok was slowed by his paranoia. His eyes were constantly about, searching for someone to be coming out of the shadows for them, and though he seemed seasoned in going unseen, Ambrosia felt he was beginning to draw attention to them with his vigilant gaze.

To that end, she leaned against him, practically melted into him, and realizing what she was doing, he responded in kind by placing an arm around her shoulders. It wasn’t until his arm was around her that Ambrosia realized just how small she was. He could kill her easily, and he wouldn’t need a sword to do it.

Still, Ambrosia’s ploy worked. Eyes that had initially watched them with some suspicion turned into eyes of envy. Even with her exposed shoulders scarred the way they were, Ambrosia’s smile drew the majority of everyone’s focus. Her smile had a way about it, in that it could take on any meaning. Every emotion, or nearly every one, could be carried in her smile, and that it was in her smile made whichever emotion it was carry all that much more weight. Tonight, it carried the idea of a woman completely smitten, and though it was faked, the low light of the nighttime streets hid any imperfections in the act. Besides, she was imagining arms she wanted to be in, and that was enough to make the idea behind her smile real.

Eventually, her apparent infatuation began to make onlookers uncomfortable, and the gazes began to avoid them. Once Kylar noticed this, his own gaze calmed, and their journey to the residence in question was expedited.

When his arm left her shoulder, Ambrosia knew they were drawing close. From somewhere nearby, a scream sounded, muffled by the walls of a house, but on edge as she was, Ambrosia flinched and froze. Kylar, for his part, had the more ready reaction. His sword flew free from its sheath, and he was sprinting toward a house. It only seemed right to follow him, and though her body was still recovering from its near starvation of the previous season, Ambrosia somehow managed to keep up.

There were three bodies in the room before them, all of them bleeding and only one of them, Shiress, showing any signs of life. The entire front of her lower half seemed coated in blood, and Ambrosia could only think that she was certain a body couldn’t hold that much. Ambrosia couldn’t be sure how much of it was hers and how much of it was Cas’ as his head lay in her lap with a trickle of blood coming from the corner of his mouth. As a breath made his chest rise and fall, Ambrosia gasped in a breath of her own, only now realizing she’d been holding it since they had entered.

It was the one part of herself that had always amazed and frightened Ambrosia the most, how easily she attached herself to others and made them important to her. She’d only ever met Caspian in passing a few times but already, somehow, felt a connection, a bond of something akin to the love of friendship. Too often, strangers in the bar became her family; and she, their confidant. It terrified her that she loved so easily, and she hated herself for it.

The last body, a stranger who Ambrosia didn’t recognize and could only assume was another assailant from Shiress’ rushed explanation, lay unmoving with blood oozing from a cut on his temple.

And as Shiress began to sob, Ambrosia stood there, unsure of what to do. She had relied too often on the simple solution of more alcohol, but ale and liquor were going to solve nothing here. She stared. There were three problems: wounded Shiress, unconscious Cas, and their attacker. Despite the many injuries she had received in her younger days, a product of her and Tess’ curiosity, Ambrosia wasn’t medically inclined. No training had ever come her way; she had always been told to just sit still while her wounds were tended to. What little she knew was going to be of no use here.

One instinct rose above them all as she recalled a body writhing powerfully beneath her until it slowed as life slipped away. What was one more life? What was a little more blood on her hands? Clearing a small table with several uncoordinated sweeps of her arms, she gathered its cloth covering into a bundle and rolled the offending assailant on to his back with one foot, but before she could hold the cloth to the unconscious stranger’s face, Cas was rising to his feet.

Shiress was right. He had been drugged, and right now, the effects of the trip weren’t being kind. His voice was thick, as if his tongue was more of a burden than it ought to be, and his words made no sense to her. Watching as he crashed several times into nearby furniture, Ambrosia decided to do something about everything.

Making her way to Caspian’s side, she placed her hands on either side of his face, forcing his eyes to focus on her and praying to every God and Goddess she held dear that he recognized her. Drugged people were unpredictable and dangerous, and looking into his eyes, she couldn’t be sure how much of him was there.

“Cas? Cas, love, I need you to focus.”

It was a useless request, she knew, if her experience with drunks had taught her anything, but it made her feel better for having said it.

“Cas, you recognize me, ya? It’s me. Ambrosia. Rosie.”

She couldn’t remember how Shiress had introduced them.

“I need you to do something for me.”

Taking his hands from the back of the chair that was supporting him, she threw one of his arms around her shoulders and did her best to keep him standing with his limited help. He wasn’t heavy, not compared to the many drunks she had helped stumble home in Alvadas, but she couldn’t tell what gravity was doing to him in his current state. One thing was certain. It wasn’t being kind.

Step by lurching and rocking step, they made it to Cas’ assailant, and Ambrosia sat her mistress’ friend down on top of the other man, leaving Cas straddling the other man’s torso. He was listing to one side but managed to keep himself upright. Pressing the table cloth into Cas’ hands, she moved his hands, already wet with someone else’s blood over the stranger’s face and shoved down.

Taking his face between her hands again, she looked into his eyes, hoping to find a hint of him there, unsure of whether or not she did. “I need you to hold this here, love. Ya? Be ready. He may buck and kick and punch and scratch, but I need you to hold this here until that stops, until he ain’t breathing anymore.”

Ambrosia didn’t know if the act of dying would bring the man to, but she wanted Caspian to be ready if it did. If she hadn’t been so flustered, she might have noticed how beautiful Cas looked in fabrics of scarlet and gold and the fresh scarlet of blood, but something about panic had numbed her to even beauty. “Can you do that for me?”

Not really waiting for his answer, Ambrosia stood and crossed the room to Shiress, pulling up the table cloth from the table Cas had upended.

At Shiress’ side, Ambrosia could see the extent of the blood, and there was so much of it. There was too much. She had been told once to put pressure on a wound, and that’s what she did now. She couldn’t be sure if the wound was still bleeding, but the warmth of the wet against her hands said it was. The many things she didn’t know filled her with doubt, and Ambrosia hesitated.

With the cloth resting featherlight against her friend’s swollen belly, a dozen thoughts raced through her mind. How much pressure was too much? Could she harm Shiress’ child? If one pressed too hard, could they smother an unborn child?

Oh Goddess! She had left Cas behind her to do exactly that. The thought that she had forced him into that made her sick, and she swallowed against the sensation of rising bile.

Instead of dwelling on that, Ambrosia’s eyes met Shiress’, and she smiled her most reassuring smile.

“I’m here, Shiress. I need you to tell me what to do.”
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Flash of the Blade (Caspian)

Postby Caspian on June 7th, 2020, 2:05 am

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The sudden appearance of Ambrosia feels nothing short of miraculous - that is to say, magnanimous, divine, and just cause for Caspian to buckle down to his knees in another fit of laughter.

Rosie -?

“Rosie!” he exclaims jubilantly, his own answer to the call. Yes, he knows her - had seen her around Shiress and the Manor, quite more than a few times had stalked her around both the house and city at a respectful distance out of curiosity, boredom, and poorly concealed covetousness of what seemed to be a new vector for Shiress’ attentions.

The compression of both her hands against his cheeks feels rather nice, and he sighs in. Goes a little too slack and finds himself being propped up by her hold alone.

To straighten himself out, and meaning, in his own way, to convey wholehearted reciprocation of affection, he places both hands gently on the sides of her face to match, looking deeply into her eyes.

“It is so very good that you are here,” he says with a studious stillness which might come off, to a sober person, as an eerie divorce from the sordid situation at hand. Dimly, he notes that her hair’s rather nice, got this glint and gleam that reminds him of sunset against copper kettles. In a blink, though - her hair’s suddenly greenish-blue instead, neon-like, practically kelp-y, and the blood staining his hands and the floors and practically every inch of Shiress turned grassy along with it.

It’s just the trip, he reasons with himself from far away. It’s inverted all the colors. Remember the wheel in that art studio, the day you met Akvin?

True to form, the sunny blooms in a vase on a side table had rendered themselves purple; the blue vase itself had gone startling orange. Even after Caspian breaks both, they remain curiously transformed. It’s all a bit alarming, but now Rosie, dearest Rosie is steering, and pressing into his grasp a length of cloth so smeared and smattered with all the blood and his perceived snow and sand that even without the visual alterations of his trip, would be difficult to determine the true colors of.

She gives him instructions. Clear ones. Very appreciated, firm direction when things have so clearly been out of his control. But the thing is -

He knows what she means for him to do, and he’d taken up the task without a blink. This is what he was made for - can she tell? Has she always known?

If he goes through with it - as he does now, in the most present tense -

Is she afraid, now that he’s shown her who he truly is?

He doesn’t know why he cares; his sister certainly wouldn’t. But he likes Rosie - well, he supposed he’s never disliked her, and subsequently isn’t that the same thing?

The body beneath him flails. Even with his slight form he has the advantages of leverage, of his trip’s removal of reticence, of remorse, of nerve endings and lethargy that might have otherwise made his muscles go slack.

This would have just been so much easier if he’d brought his Obfuscate dagger. Why go through the trouble of smothering when one could just slice?

The consideration of his own lack of foresight seizes him with a paroxysm of giggles, both him and the attacker who would dare hurt Shiress shuddering in tandem, to a beat both righteous and according to his trip, preordained.

Until the body finally stills beneath him, and with one last, gusty laugh, he slumps sideways and onto the floor beside him.

A wolfish grin spreads across his face, and he holds a green-stained hand up towards the ceiling, marveling at the grit congealing and coagulating between his digits like amphibious webbing.
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Flash of the Blade (Caspian)

Postby Shiress on July 8th, 2020, 12:49 am

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All Shiress could do was stare dumbly at Ambrosia through her tears, mouth working but she could form no words. Shiress didn't know what to do anymore. Everything she had come to love had been torn from her. Her lover, her bondmate, her home and, oh Gods, now her baby. But, no, not everything, Shiress realized, gazing into Ambrosia's concerned eyes. Not Ambrosia and not Caspian. They were still here and they loved her. Didnt they? Grabbing onto her friend, Shiress wrapped herself around the comfort Ambrosia offered.

"I don't know, Rosi" she whispered close to her ear, "but I'm okay." she squeezed a bit harder. "I'm okay now that you are here."

Over her shoulder, Shiress saw Caspian on his back and, of all things, laughing. Concerned swelled in her chest for her friend, but before she could move to go to him, voices from the doorway drew her attention. Kylar stood just beyond the door, head bowed slightly, listening intently as a stranger spoke in quiet tones. The newcomer was taller than Kylar and wore the black of the Ebonstryfe. A soldier then. Any other features of the stranger were hidden behind the hood of a cloak, but when he turned his face slightly, following a gesture from Kylar, there was just enough light that Shiress caught the gleam of light-colored eyes.

The man nodded, grasping Kylar's arm in a warriors grip before moving into the cottage. Grabbing the front of the prone attacker's shirt, the soldier hauled the man up and over a shoulder and, without another word, disappeared back the way he had come. Kylar paused a moment, then crossed the floor to where Shiress still held onto Ambrosia and knelt before them.

With a nod indicating the way the stranger had vacated, Kylar said, "I just received word that a caravan will be leaving the outpost in two days time," Kylar dipped his head, catching Shiress gaze, "You need to be in that caravan, Shiress. You need to leave the city, it's no longer safe."

Fresh tears spilled down Shiress's cheeks as her eyes closed on a sorrowful nod of her head, acknowledging Kylar's words even as he began to speak again. "There's a small cabin there that I have secured for you to stay in until the caravan leaves," The soldier slid a questioning gaze to Ambrosia, "and any who choose to join you. It will be properly stocked, and a healer awaits your arrival, but we must leave tonight."

Kylar stood, then, and stepped to where Caspian lay lost in drug hazed entertainment. Dipping a hand into a pocket, the soldier knelt, pulling free a small, brown vile. Grasping Caspian's jaw firmly, he tilted the small container over the spy's mouth, letting several drops fall onto his tongue. Standing, Kylar turned to face Shiress. "An emetic, for anything left in his stomach. That will aid in bringing him around a bit faster." Kylar's gaze swept the small cottage before returning to Shiress. "I will be back in a bell. Be ready to move." he said, then was gone.

An uncomfortable silence descended upon Shiress, her mind working, gaze drifting between her companions. Her friends. The only family that she had left. After a while, she drew in a breath and let it out in a long, calming sigh. Green eyes finding Ambrosia's, Shiress entwined the fingers of both hands with Ambrosia's and smiled gently.

"A long time ago you came to me a slave and your beautiful, misplaced loyalty has kept you as one, but, in truth, you are a free woman, Rosi. I won't ask you to come with me, but I will tell you that I hope you will. We have been through a lot these seasons, and your friendship is dear to me, as are you. I would be lost without you, but I will find my own way. If you do come with me, I want it to be because you want to, not because you feel as if you have to." Shiress smiled, eyes brimming, brushing a lock of hair from her friend's face. "I love you, no matter what you decide."

Forehead's pressed together, her hands curved around each side of his face, Shiress would ask much the same of Caspain, once he was coherent enough to hear and understand her. In the end, she asked that neither of them give their answers just yet, but for them to come to the outpost and stay with her until she was to leave Ravok.

Shiress's heart broke at the thought of leaving alone, leaving the place she had built a home and a family, but loathed the thought of anyone joining her while grieving for a life they could have had. So, unlike anything ever given to her, Shiress gave those most important to her a choice and prayed her heart strong enough to continue on once their choices had been made.




Moonlight drowns out all but the brightest stars

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