Soren nodded. "Alright, I'll be helping out the wounded. Just give me a shout if you need me." He turned and asked the healer to show him to the infirmary area.
Hah ha ha, well aren't you a saint now...you must feel so proud of yourself.
Soren sighed and whispered. "Shut up..." As he followed the healer, he could feel the strange sense of paranoia and fear the healer was feeling. Soren couldn't blame her though, in his mind and heart he held a madman, a killer born from birth. It was frightening to be in the assassins presence, let alone live in the same body.
D'Hara griped his sword expecting to face some of Raines defenses as she was in a weakened state. He motioned the guards aside and griped the handle of the door. With a grunt his hand flinched back for the handle was colder than the deepest glacier. D'Hara searched for something to wrap his hand in and a guard offered him his cape. The thick cloth was good for keeping the rain of the men’s backs but it did little for defending against this cold. With a quick twist the door was cracked open accompanied by the sound of shattering ice.
Once the door was open there was a fog that flowed out like water from a bucket. It immersed all in the area and there was a thick frost that was left when the fog dissipated. All that were by the door could feel the weight from the amount of frost on them and the guards shook it off and it fell like snow. Once the fog vanished, the room before D'Hara was covered with crystal clear ice. There were a few columns of ice that hung from the ceiling and reached the ground making it hard to go by in the small room. On the far wall the cot had frozen to the wall and Raine was on it. Raine’s body was encased, except her face, with the ice and her breathing was labored. She looked to D'Hara with her frost covered eyes and tried to smile. The sound of breaking ice filled the room as the frost on her face cracked. The ice on her body was extremely thick and clear except for the red ice which covered her legs and her shoulder. She let out a long shuttering breath and the temperature of the room slowly increased slightly to accommodate guests so that the ice would remain frozen but not freeze the people trying to visit. She waited for D'Hara to enter and wondered what he wanted to say.
Feyarie had heard of what had happened to Raine and when she had seen that Soren was at least partly in his right mind, she made her way to Raine's quarters. When she was close she could see D'Hara standing outside the door as what looked to be a thick fog issued forth from the room. That must be where Raine has sequestered herself. Hopefully she is alright.
With the Fire Sword drawn, Feyarie made her way to the entrance of the room. The cool moisture from the fog instantly turned to steam where it touched her body, the temperature of the room not bothering her at all. She looked to the cot where Raine was, saw the injuries that she posessed and knew that she was weak from loss of blood. She knelt down on the ground beside her, kneeling next to where D'Hara stood. Looking Raine in the eyes, Feyarie spoke. "You are in danger of losing a lot of blood if you remove that ice sheild. We could try and wait for a healer, or...I could use this," she said motioning to the red sword in her hand, "and we could cauterize the wounds to stop the bleeding until you can be fully healed." She looked up to D'Hara, and then between the two, "What do you think?" she asked D'Hara, then turned to Raine once more, "The choice is up to you. This is how the Red Dragons would seal my wounds when they were greivous."
"The healer is on his way..." D'Hara told nobody impeticular "just keep looking at us my lady... Fire heart, if you burn the wound it could weep... and give her the blood sick... the healer is close." D'Hara paused and turned to the guard "tell the others I will be here... if they need me."
A scarlet coated room, healers passing to each injured soldier as quick as they could. Most wounded and others dying, pleading for treatment, numbness of the body, even a quick death. The intoxicating odor of blood filled Soren's nostrils, stirring the lust to kill. With a groan he reached for his sword, his hand tightly gripping the handle, writhing at the hard leather bindings. A piece of himself had disappeared from his concience, and a fiend was in it's place. What a lovely man Rowan was.
"...curse you...damn animal.." Soren whispered. He flexed his fingers to remove them from hilt, the growing pain in his head sky-rocketed.
What is the matter with you my friend? You were never like this...you used to love to kill...
"Don't you dare...they were evil..men." No one had taken notice to the troubled elf, biting his lower lip, and talking silently to himself.
Hah hah hah...
The laugh echoed through his head, and it's intense throb ended at Soren's temple.
Evil? Pah...you loved it, pleasure coursed through your body as your sharp blade cut through man and beast. You cared not what they did, or who they were-
"S-shut up...it was cleansing e-evil men.." Soren heard the childish whimper in his voice, he hated it, but could not help himself.
DON'T RUN FROM THE TRUTH!
Thick pain rang in his head, almost as if his skull would rupture.
You are a murderer, and will always be one. All our fates are predetermined at birth, and ours...mine, was decided to take the lives of others.
A lump in Soren's throat began to expand, he could feel the fear and accuracy in his words, it took all his will power not to break down in front of these people.
Do I sense fear in your heart, such weakness...but none can expect more from my fake half.
Those last words forced the young elf assassin from the medical keep, and into the City of Eliy.
Hah hah hah, enough of this foolishness. Just who are you running from, you can't possibly think you can flee with my body.
Soren declined to a walk and panted slightly. "I...just needed some air, couldn't breathe for a little." The maniacal chuckle turned Soren's face into a grimace.
"Please Rowan...go away, like you once were."
Raine looked to D'Hara gratefully. She quickened her breathing slightly and started to make sound but stopped as she realized that she couldn't speak...there just wasn't enough room for her to breath deep enough. Her left eye teared slightly and the tear froze on the corner of her eyelid. She was glad that she had the support of D'Hara and Feyarie. She just stared into D'Hara's eyes and waited.
D'Hara leaned against the door frame looking into Raines face and trying to stay open to her thoughts. Carefully he opened his mind a crack like a geode opening to expose the crystals inside. His thoughts started out as comforting feelings of water over rocks and the ocean on sand. D'Hara called to his friend the dragon to channel his thoughts and was met with a feeling of contempt, but the dragon relented and filled D'Haras mind with a solid black tunnel towards Raines mind. D'Hara let his mind wander to the siege status and other preparations and considerations that might concern Raine and thought of how he would fix or take care of them, He tried to recall the names of the royal guard that was left alive and who would take up the extra burden while Raine recovered. He also listened for her mind and her suggestions but was cautious because the mind speech was very difficult for him, but being one who is stubbornly unrelenting in battle he could see no reason to be any different in any other theater.
Though most of the city was quiet and the citizens isolated themselves within' their homes. Some of the poeple were wandering the streets, inspecting the constant battle, searching for information on the fight with the enemy. A tiny little girl, smaller then rest of the other children, split away from the rest, eyeing a dark cloaked man in an alley.
"...S-sir? Why are you crying?" The tiny child's gaze peered into the dark mans cloak, she was able to see the clear liquid streaming down his cheeks. She waited for an answer, and drew a bit closer still.
"Sir-" She gasped as a pair of murderous eyes locked with hers, the two dark red holes she saw had a sickening twist that sent a chill through her bones. Her fear vanished when those frightening eyes were now formed gentle, both unique with a different color. The man opened his mouth slightly, but stopped. The child drew close again.
"...why were you crying? Are you lonely?" The dark man sighed gently but did not remove his hood or answer her. Instead, he stared, stared at the dark color markings over her face and arms.
"Sir, are you hungry or tired...or-" The dark man's voice boomed out, startling the the tiny girl.
"Where did you get those bruises?" In a few moments, the thoughts of Rowan were no longer on his mind. His attention was completly taken by a young girl he would come to know quite well, a girl named Sayo.
Raine welcomed the mind link and did what she could to assist D’Hara. She took in the images and feelings as if to make them her own. She gave D’Hara a thankful feeling and was relieved to hear the few names of the Royal Guard that were still standing. A sigh of relief came to her as she heard Trissin and Loron’s names, at least they still stood. They would be able to gather the others. She gave D’Hara a feeling of relief to know that he was able to watch the battle. She asked D’Hara in a haulting and slow mind voice, Are you…well? I’m…glad the healer…was able…to help. What…of Soren? …Is he…walking the streets? He…needs…to be watched.
Raine had built walls around their link but she could feel them weakening from her pain, she was trying to keep it out.
That familar garden smelled as beautiful as the last time. Soren sat down on a brown crafted bench, and Sayo, the tiny girl that seemed drawn to the assassin's demeanor, sat closely next to him. Her big brown eyes focused on his covered face.
"Why hide your face? Is it ugly?" For the first time in many years, the blood lustful assassin, laughed. His voice didn't surprise the child this time, in fact her face grew bright.
"Hah hah hah. I don't reckon why I hide my face, just habit I suppose." The tiny girl tugged at his cloak, and he obliged. He let the hood fall from his head, allowing his face visable in the night.
"Pretty eyes! And your an elf too!" Her innocent comments bewildered Soren but the thought only made him smile. Sayo moved her hands in the motion of pincers, and it only took a second to realize what she wanted. He lowered his head and the child touched his ears, thumping the curve with her thumb and rubbing the tips with her fingers. At last, she had enough and let him sit up again.
"They felt funny!" Her innocence was almost too hard to believe, but it had awakened an odd feeling, not in Soren...but in Rowan
. Before he could speak, the thought of the hour came to mind.
"You should be home Sayo, your parents must worry." A flicker of sadness passed over her face.
"My Daddy died fighting those meanies outside, and Mommy got sick when Daddy never came home." Reality washed over then both, life was just as cruel as ever. Sympathy should have enshrouded his mind, but what made her situation any different from others. It wasn't, but still...
"What did your Mommy get?" He was afraid to pursue the matter but maybe it would help if she talked about it a little.
"Heart of pain...I think what it's called. Soren...could you bring her back?" The whimper in her voice broke his heart, since she knew very well he could do no such thing. All it took was a frown, and she broke down and cried.
"Why she leave me...I don't want to be alone..." Soren shuffled carefully and rested his hand on her shoulder.
"Heart of pain...did you mean, pain of the heart?" Sayo nodded but with little enthusiasim.
"Your young, and this may be hard to understand. Do you know what it means to be in love Sayo, and could you say your parents were in love?" She nodded at both questions, leaning close to him and looking down at the plants around them. Sayo took no notice to the sudden change in eyes and his features, nor would she have cared. Rowan
had surfaced but...not the same.
"Your Mother, was like a dove. When her love, your Daddy, died and left her in this world. Like all widowed doves, they lose the willingness to live, even if they have children to watch after. Don't be angry at either of them, be happy, since they are happy, and continue to live your life." He did not expect her to hug him so suddenly, and he didn't expect to return her embrace. Rowan
had barely met this young girl, and yet, he felt he could easily grow to love her. Which he did, even at the moment of her death.
"Why?" D'Hara looked confused and spoke aloud before pushing the thought with his mind, remembering suddenly the effort needed to maintain mind speech. Looking to Feyarie D'Hara explained "Raine feels that Soren... should be watched. Do you feel... the same?" again, pushing the thought to the frozen shape on the bed. "The healing man declared him in good health and your mate commented his mind being stable again. Has he not proven his loyalty? Soran was a creature of evil but he has proven his desire to redeem himself, just as Terra has. I feel I must trust the wind to find his path, I know that he will oppose the army outside these walls simply for what they did to that village he told us about… and the children. He will not suffer a child to die, not one of the elven children of Eliy will suffer if he can stand before the oppressor and stop it. I suspect he will oppose the humans with his last breath no mater what part of his mind is in control.” The power of his thoughts shook the tunnel and cracks skittered around the tube allowing all those around to hear the thoughts of D’Hara. Terror poured power in to the mind lattice and filled it with magic creating a more permanent link between the predestine, like a psychic tether between water fire and earth creating a three-dimensional yin yang of links that was waiting for the other two parts of this construction to be fulfilled. D’Hara’s mind shook with the creation of it, as the mind of the Paragon dragon forced itself lightly into the surface of his mindscape. A rock blast mixed with dragons acid breath mind linked outwards groping for the minds near by.
I called it a flight lock. When a large red entered our area and we needed to band together to kill it we needed a way to communicate with out the other dragons able to hear our plans. So I created a flight lock for us to have shared thoughts with out sharing our minds to each other or our enemies. The dragons mind receded like the ocean before a tsunami that never crashed.
Feyarie tried to block the thoughts from the black dragon from her mind, the force of his presence in her head was a shock, and one that was not necessarily wanted. Growing up with the thoughts and beliefes that black dragons were the ones that should be thrown from the world of the living so that other creatures would be able to live free without the threat from the Blacks. Since she had come to know D'Hara she had realized that this dragon had indeed changed, she herself had experienced it firsthand. After the initial shock of the presence of his mind in hers, she let down the barriers that had positioned themselves around her mind and let his thoughts and his "flight lock" into her stream of thoughts. The clarity of the thoughts coming just from D'Hara and Raine were enough to thank the dragon to herself. She turned to D'Hara, "I do not think that Soren really needs to be watched, because if he did, the Protector would not have allowed the sword to touch his hand, nor the element touch his mind. Right now we need to worry more about Raine and getting her back to where she can do what she needs to do, and the four of us can finally rid this place of the evil one."
He walked her home, pass the darkening buildings that gave more chills then comfort. Sayo wished to hold his hand, but he would not allow it...people sometimes get the wrong idea, it's happened before. The tiny girl stopped and turned to her new friend, her home was just a few yards away.
"It was nice meeting you Soren, your nice." She finished her sentence with a smile, and still didn't ask about the change in his eyes.
"Likewise...Sayo?" He kneeled down to her height and stared at her carefully into her eyes.
"You never told me where you recieved those bruises from, and I don't suppose you will tell me...will you?" She shook her head and looked down upon her feet in shame. Rowan smiled once again, and placed the palm of his hand upon her head, gently stroking her until she giggled.
"Don't you worry about it, tell me whenever your ready. Go on now, you need to sleep and I need to help in this w-" He stopped short, not wanting to say that horrid word that had taken so much from this untainted soul. Sayo knew of it before he could think of anything else to say, and without another word she hurried on home, but not before turning back one shining eye, a gaze that repeated a plea in his mind.
"Please don't die...don't die....don't-" When she vanished from sight, Rowan grunted and began to walk away, Soren's voice speaking softly.
"What was that all about...you surprise me." It only took a moment before he chuckled and shook his head. Hell, he had surprised himself.
Raine allowed herself to enter the “flight lock” and said to D’Hara, I am sorry…I didn’t realize…that he was…better. In this state…Xellos and I…I can’t focus on Xellos… the pain is too much…and I don’t…want him to feel it. She took a sharp breath and a few more ice crystals formed to the side of her eye. I trust you…and your opinion. If Soren is…on our side then…he’s on our side…all the way. I’m sorry…to have doubted.
I need to get back to the walls, the healer is here. Fire heart, will you melt a way through and protect the healer as he works? D'Hara turned to leave looked back and walked out in to the sunlight. D'Hara looked in to his thoughts and felt the flight lock, walked a bit and felt it again. Shaking his head, D'hara continued towards the dragon looking to get a grip on what was happining out side of the walls.
Why, why did talking to that little girl cause him to act in such a way?
I am a beast...I have no heart. A sentence that he would always repeat in his head, to remind him of his corruption. So he could never forget the day he took a life in cold blood, and was branded a murderer. He needed someone to talk to, but not just anyone would do...even the few allies he had didn't seem fit to the position.
Rowan flexed his fingers and clasped them into a fist. His unfaltering eyes watched over the battlefield, where so much blood had been spilled. Around him, a dozen or more archers were forcing themselves to stay awake, not to doze off in the line of duty. Their will power was strong, though morally weak and injured, they would fight to their dying breath.
"Pah, these men are all fools. How can they so easily keep their loyalty to such a lost cause?" Soren answered back in a whisper, his presence was dim. His response only made Rowan smile.
"Protect the ones they love? To hope...pah, that's a foolish ideal." The dark-cloaked man continued to walk along the wall, keeping his eyes on the black armored soldiers so obviously hidden in the thick brush. He could practically hear them breathing from his current postion.
Raine watched cautiously as the healer and Feyarie worked to melt the ice and reach her body. The heat burned her and hurt more than the injuries but she bit her lip and didn't let the whimpers escape. She could feel her body tapping into her little bit of energy that was left to try and defend it's self and she tried to supress it enough so that the healer could help her without her freezing him. Now the heat was near unbearable, they were at the wound on her leg and sweat started to bead on her forehead before it froze into little dropplets. She waited and bit her lip wishing it would finish burning but knowing it wouldn't and her shoulder was next. She looked at the ceiling as her eyes took on a glazed look and she tried to escape her pain by receding into her mind, but she couldn't escape the pain that seemed to be chasing her through her consciousness and into her unconcious when she finally passed out from the stress on her body.
"So Rowan, will you really stay? And defend these people?" The assassin's face was grim and pale, he didn't like these sudden feelings that have long been hidden away in the back of his mind.
"Well, now from what I think. I don't see much of a choice, since this city is surrounded by enemy troops. I could always just cut through the lot, but I suppose that..would cause you heartache, wouldn't it?"
"Yes, it would..." Rowan chuckled softly, and rubbed his chin.
"Pah, your too damn soft. But, I will indeed fight in this battle. If killing those outside will give me a status of honor instead of insanity...then I could get used to it."
"Not if I can help it....we will spare as many as we can. As would our new friends. Rowan sighed in disbelief and picked at his teeth with his finger.
"That reminds me...you, my fake half. Will deal with these....allies of yours. I don't associate with the weak...your an exception of course."
"We need to work on your people skills... Soren spoke his last remark with a sigh. A gentle tap came upon the assassin's shoulder, and in an instant, Rowan pulled his blade at the mans throat....only to be stopped by Soren.
"See? I told you... Rowan grimaced and apoligized boorishly. The archer nodded but looked tense, he continued his watch over the wall.
"I have no idea what your talking about, my fake half."
"SORAN! What do you think your doing?!" D'hara jogged over the frightened archer looking the female guard over for injury. “Be not so quick with your… blade friend. You may bring yourself more harm than… that which startles you.” The archer timidly backed up a few paces. “I’m sorry milord I only wondered at what news there was about the captain.” D’Hara turned to look over the new green field “She will heal”. It was hard to tell if he spoke of the captain or the land. The tall woman shifted in her armor and brought her bow up to use the string to sight a tree far off in the distance. “There has been little activity at the tree line but the fires still count in the thousands at night, these men are mad to stay in the forest this long.” “Agreed” D’Hara nodded “We are hurting for information about our enemy’s movements… I think I will do a little scouting soon… Soran would you accompany me? I know you have skills in the shadows.”
The assassin sniffed and tapped the hilt of his blade.
"And just who the hell is this ugly beast?"
"Rowan! Please...mind your tongue, he's-"
"Pah, I don't care. But if he raises his voice like a dumb oaf again, I'll slice his throat before he even feels it. It's all yours, fake half."
The assassin's features altered once again, and Soren came out reluctantly. He turned to D'hara, and nodded bashfully.
"Okay, I will follow you. Though I will come clean and say, my skills to move unseen have dulled a bit. But they should suffice...hopefully anyway."
"Fake half, you are clearly overestimating yourself. Your skills in the way of the assassin are almost gone. If we are to participate in this scouting mission...I will be in command."
Soren knew that Rowan spoke the truth and would have to rely on him to survive any ordeal outside the walls of Eliy.
"Well...whatever you wish of me D'hara. I will complete it, no matter what stands in my way. I have faith that fortune will shine on us."
D’Hara gave him a calculating stare, looking this lithe elf up and down D’Hara’s brow furrowed. The sun was setting and some of the wall guards where changing stations in there patrol. The guard, startled by Soren, looked to the sky and turned to proceed to her next post. “Your name soldier?” D’Hara requested with out looking away from the forest. “Amant De Boue Sir!” “Thank you corporal Boue, continue vigilances.” She turned to walk away stopped then shook her head and continued to her next station. D’Hara’s brow relaxed. “Well Soren I will gather something to… eat on our trip and some dinner… for tonight. Do you think you will need any supplies for… a scouting mission? Would you like to accompany me… to the mess hall?” The light of the sky was rapidly growing softer until the shadows finally crept in giving everything a harder look. The walls where manned but sparsely.
"Yes I will, I have done no good bothering the guards up here." Soren cranked his neck from side to side before groaning with painful relief.
"I don't eat much, which will lighten our load. And no meat pleas-" A pain, like a sharp dagger pierced his temple. He held in his shout, and only applied his slender fingers to the pulsing part.
"I'm afraid your mistaken fake-half, we do, eat meat."
Soren shrugged off the pain and looked back out onto the battlefield. He wanted revenge against that general, the one who had no heart. It was irony that he did not know, that he already fatally injured that man, with his own two hands.
Nothing had transpired in the camp for days now. Not since that elf boy and the captain of the guard had escaped alive. The commander of the Black army could only hope that the injuries that the captain had received would put her and her magicks out of commission long enough for his men to get close.
“Sir…we have a message from our informant.” One of the lower ranking officers made his way to the commander. “Shall I take it strait to him…sir?” he asked, this time a bit quieter. No one had gone to see the general in three or four days, no one that valued their life that was, and now…it looked as though the commander would have to risk his life for a slip of parchment.
“No soldier, I will take it to him. Go back to your post and ready the border guard. If what this letter says is true…then we had best be ready for it.” The commander dismissed the officer, took a deep breath, and began to make his way into the darker area where their general had been sulking for the past week.
Celahir could not believe that all four had come together, and that damned elf in the center of the woods had returned again, all of her strength returned as though nothing had happened. Three days had gone by since Raine and the elf known as Soren had escaped from his clutches…and now he had begun to wonder if it was even possible to take the damn city. The Port…he had nearly forgotten about that…Port City…if he could take Port City he could attack from the water as well as from the land…at the same time…he could have an advantage…split up the ones that had the swords…get rid of the traitorous black dragon…and fell the city…it just might…
The commander walked into the darkness, only seeing a dark form in the shadows pacing back and forth. “Sir?” came the strong baritone of the commander.
Celahir conjured a ball of dark flame and was just about to release it when he realized who it was that had interrupted his thoughts. “What is it? Be quick about it…”
“We have a message from the informant…I thought you might like to take a look at it before I sent out troops, Sir.” The commander held out the message
“Give it here…” the general grabbed the letter and began to scan its contents. “Raine is in a critical condition…Feyarie is giving all of her concentration to assist in healing…D’Hara and Soren are leaving for a scouting mission…” he looked up, “perfect…I will send a message to our troops near Port City…we will take it and use their weaponry to our advantage. I am sure that you have already set something in motion to stop these two…but what we really need to worry about is this forest…perhaps we should consider moving the troops out of the woods…it might be a little farther…but it will be safer.” The general began to walk away, then turned, “Try to take the two of them alive…if not…just kill them, and make sure nothing will be left to find. Better yet…bring me their bodies…I shall use them for some dark purpose.” And Celahir was gone
In the city of Eliy, the informant waited. She knew that this was important, and that the message she had sent would bring about some response. She only hoped that the commander would be quick about it. If left to her own devices however, she would most likely be able to take out half of what was left of the royal guard and half the town’s people before anyone knew what was going on…especially that silly king of theirs…if she could only allow her blade to taste his blood…this whole siege would be worth it. Though Raine’s shadows were ones that would satiate her blades well…but for now, she would wait, she would watch and above all she would not reveal her location to anyone…she would not be caught by those that walked these walls with her…if only she could find some weakness in the walls…if only…
The City of Eliy