We Were Wild

The capital city of the of Rynmere, here is seated the only King in Idalos.
Malcolm
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67 Ashan 716
Sleep hadn't come easy and after drifting in and out for the last three hours, Malcolm decided it was time to get up, wash his face and start the day. He was down stairs having breakfast when Vanessa came through the door, flustered, her white hair windswept. "Oh good! I didn't miss you," she smiled.
Malcolm stood up quickly and helped her with her bag. "Almost," he teased, "I was just finishing up."
"Sit down!" The woman insisted, "I have to take those stitches out."

Malcolm did as he was told, the removal of the stitches was well overdue, but just like with any injury the man sustained, they all took longer than most people to heal. Vanessa's hands were shaky and she steadied them against his shoulder as she worked, cutting each stitch carefully and counting how many she managed to pull free, recalling that there had been at least ten. To find eleven satisfied her woes about leaving any behind.
"How's it look?" Malcolm asked.
"Sore," she admitted, "does it hurt?"
"No, my love."

Vanessa removed the last stitch and set the knife down that she had used to pull them undone. She took a sip of her husband's drink and sat in the chair closest to his, holding the hot drink in her hands to warm them. Vanessa didn't say anything but Malcolm could tell there was something on her mind. He rolled the city paper up in his hands before setting it down upon the table and looked across at the noble woman. "Vanessa?"
She smiled, "I worry, you know that."
"It will only be a few days, if that."
"Not about the mission," she told him, closing her hand over his knee.
"What is it?"
"You, my darling, how should I convince you that our time is through?"
"Vanessa," his tone of voice grew deeper, stern, "I'm going to stop you right there."
"Malcolm, please," she sighed, "it won't be long before I become a bigger burden to you than your job. My family can look after and provide for me, you don't have to do that anymore."

Malcolm got up and pushed his chair away from the table. He padded across the floor into the kitchen and got himself a glass of water, his back to his wife. Vanessa fixed her hair and pushed the warm mug aside. "I want you to remember the good times," she said, "not think of how sick and tired, and old..."
"Enough!" He turned, "until the end," he said, "that was our promise to each other the day we got married."
"And if I had known," she stood up slowly and crossed the room to join him, her right hand pressed to his cheek, "had I known then what I know now," she whispered.
"It would have changed nothing," he smiled sadly.
"I loved you more than the feel of the sun on my skin," she mouthed.
He kissed her forehead firmly, "I still love you," he assured her, "please don't bring this up again?"

The noble woman offered a simple nod of her head and reached up to kiss his cheek. She held his face in her hands for what seemed an age before taking to the stairs in order to tuck herself away with a good book; she never said goodbye, only hello.

Outside the northern gate, his team was already gathering, stood around or perched on their horses. The captain scanned their faces to make sure everyone was present, Kathryn, Benjamin, Ronald, Simon, Heath, and Nathan. With everyone accounted for, Malcolm steered his horse over to the group and checked to see how they were all doing, that they had their packs and all understood the mission.
"Stop fussing," Heath smirked, "we've done this a hundred times before. Ride north down the back roads, check in on a few old bandit hangouts, deliver the supplies to the northern farmsteads, camp beside the lake, rinse and repeat."
"You got the map?"
Heath nodded, "So does Ronald."
"Good," Malcolm nodded, turning his mount as he heard the heavy footfalls of another rider approaching, "Elyna?" He said quietly to Heath.
"Did you know she was joining us?" The man inquired.
"It completely slipped my mind..."
"She thinks this is another routine patrol?"
"I better break the news," the captain informed his comrade before thumping the gelding in his sides to urge the animal from a standstill into a light canter.

The horse covered ground quickly and fell into a natural gallop, closing the distance in a heartbeat. When Malcolm was forced to pull the animal up, the horse threw his head back and snorted, nostrils flared as he filled his lungs with a deep drag of air. "Lady Elyna," Malcolm smiled, "you will have to forgive me, I forgot we were expecting you today. The team is headed for Lake Krom," he didn't expect her to join them, but would give her the option to decide. "We will be roughing it for a few nights, if you don't have the leave to join us please don't feel pressured to."
Last edited by Malcolm on Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:42 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 876
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Elyna
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It had taken a surprising amount of effort to ready herself and leave the stables to join the patrol. For almost an entire break she’d stood with Ember saddled and ready, stroking the dark brown fur, undecided. Should she go? Worry pulled at her insides, what would they think of her? What would she say to them? She liked the group of Knights and their opinion mattered more than it should. Finally, she gathered her courage and mounted up. Determined not to be caught by surprise again, she’d packed her long coat in the saddlebags along with a small amount of supplies. She pulled on the borrowed mail over a new, dark shirt that wouldn’t show blood up half as badly and checked her sword and shield at least a dozen times when making her way through the city.

Riding out beneath the gates, with the road stretching ahead she felt some of the clouds lifting from her shoulders. Funny how a brief sense of freedom could lift the spirits. She sat up a little straight, even if her fingers tightened on the reins when she saw the group. A fresh wave of worry washing over her. Someone broke from the group and was pleasantly surprised to see Malcolm riding towards her. Ember slowed to a trot and then to a walk as he turned his mischievous gelding and started to talk.

“Good day,” she smiled at him but then couldn’t hide her surprise at his explanation and peered behind him at the gathered party once more. What should she do? He was clearly giving her a way out and really she should take it. But…this was her own time. The Skyriders had made it clear that they didn’t expect to see her training over the next few days before her next duty. She may not have told them that she still intended to patrol with the Knights, something about them being concerned about her wellbeing, the excessive time spent in the training yard. It had all been very vague.

The promise of a few nights spent out in the city though, she considered before she laughed, “I thought I had come prepared! I didn’t want to get caught out again,” she shook her head, “if I won’t be a burden, I would be happy to join you?” She made a mental note that she’d have to extend the rental of Ember.
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Malcolm
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Malcolm smiled, pleased Elyna had decided to join them. If he were being honest, he might admit how much he enjoyed her company, finding the noble woman to be quite humble and easy to talk to. The captain had recognised that Elyna was happy to take things in her stride and didn't let much hold her back, in fact, he was surprised she was still willing to travel with them after the first run in they had experienced, followed by the incident in the alleyway, not that his crew were to blame for that one. Either way, Malcolm felt a certain level of responsibility for the young Skyrider, and wanted to make sure she was safe during their mission, "You can ride with me," he offered, "I see you have the bay again, you should offer to buy the mare, I'm sure you'll get her for a fair price."

Malcolm set the pace, or rather, his mount did, cutting across the open fields swiftly. After a time he chose to bring the gelding under control, ordering him to slow up with a tug of the reins, he didn't want the beast to run out of stamina and slow the whole trip down.
"Control that horse!" Heath called out.
Malcolm turned his head to see the knight laughing and waved, "Be my guest, I'm happy to trade any day."
"Not today!" The man grinned and raced on ahead with Ronald and Simon.

The skies looked clear and the air was warm, leading the captain to imagine that if they were to run into any danger during their trip, it would probably be on a day like this. He steered his horse closer to Elyna's and started talking strategy and questioning her about the way the Skyriders ran their missions. "With so few men and women I have to stagger our movements," he admitted, "three ahead, three behind, and the two of us in the middle, that way if anyone of us is attacked, reinforcements aren't far behind and... our attackers have no idea how many more of us there are."
Last edited by Malcolm on Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:43 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 364
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Elyna
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The captain made a good point and she patted the mare. She quite liked the horse and if she was honest, was developing a good relationship with the animal. She didn’t know how she’d feel about someone else riding her either. Her eyes narrowed with pre-event jealousy and she smiled, “maybe when our nels are paid out,” she agreed. “I’ve had to replace more shirts than I care to think about this cycle, but luckily, the make fair bandages,” she patted the second, smaller saddlebag. The Skyrider had been determined not to be caught out and embarrassed again.

Elyna was surprised at his offer to accompany him, glancing at the rest of the group, raising her hand as a hello as they all set off in their respective positions. Not that she wasn’t pleased to ride alongside him, she enjoyed his company more than she cared to admit to herself. But the faint worry that his band of Knights might see her as a weakness that needed looking after pinched at her. But then, she was an unknown and it wasn’t unusual for Captains to keep a closer eye on greener members of a party. She was just being silly, she would enjoy the chance to relax and talk.

The young woman hid her smile behind her hand and tried to pretend she hadn’t heard the exchange between him and Heath. But she was grinning when finally the horses slowed. The sun was shining and she watched it turn some of her hair to bronze as it shone though the stray wisps that escaped and covered her eyes. She brushed them aside and tightened Embers reins, cooing and praising the horse beneath her breath.

“We tend to stay in pairs, or at least I do at the moment,” her eyes turned skyward. She thought she could spy a Jacacon circling in the distance and smiled again, “you’re sure we could never tempt you up to the skies, Ma- Ser? There’s nothing quite like it.”

She twisted to look back at the riders behind before shifting and settling further into the saddle. Satisfied that no one could overhear their conversation she asked “how is your shoulder?”
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Malcolm
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"Not in your lifetime," came his playful retort, Malcolm didn't know if it was a fear or heights, dragons, or a mix of the two; he found that even the much smaller Volareons looked intimidating up close. "No I think I'll stick to my horses," he grinned and shortened the reins whenever the chestnut pulled or attempted to speed up.

The conversation took a turn then, though Malcolm was still hung up on Elyna's small slip up. None of the other knights called him by his first name, not even Heath who he had worked alongside for some time now. Perhaps while they had been off duty once or twice, not that he could readily recall. Malcolm pondered then whether or not it bothered him that Elyna did it. He almost let it slip that he was fine with being called by his first name, especially if by her, but favouritism wasn't heathy amongst the ranks, and so he let the slip up go by unmentioned.
"My shoulder," he nodded, "I was lucky," the man said and left it at that, the scar, the lie, burning beneath his shirt and leather tabard. He should had died... He would have died if it hadn't been for his mortalborn gifts.

As the day passed them by and the horses started growing tired, Malcolm noticed the group up ahead had dismounted near a stream to water their horses and have a stretch. The grass in the surrounding meadow was long, almost as high as the man's hips, reaching up to about mid-thigh. The captain got down from his horse and realised just how tired his legs were, walking his mount to the stream before he waved back to the rest of the group to let them know they would be stopping for a while, and sat down in the long grass, stretching his long, lean legs out in front of him.
A persistent fly started pestering him, buzzing about his face annoyingly. Malcolm swiped at it a couple of times before it flew off. He then plucked up a young grass-shoot to chew the end of and listened to the world around them, running water, birds singing... that was a good sign. His gelding sniffed his boots before tearing up grass from around his feet. The horse flicked his tail back and forth, seemingly chasing off the same insect that had been bugging his rider only moments before.
"Officer Burhan," the captain waved Elyna over and unfolded a thin leather cloth he had taken from one of the saddlebags before sitting down, the wrap containing a few slivers of dried meat. Malcolm wasn't sure if the woman had packed any of her own food and so chose to offer up some of his own. "Looks like we might rest here for a while and carry on for two or three more breaks before finding a spot to camp tonight. We usually go hunting once the camp is set up, are you any good?"
Last edited by Malcolm on Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:43 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 517
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Elyna found the smile in reply was easy to give and that despite the fact that they were working and on alert, she felt more relaxed the further away they travelled from the city streets. She inhaled all the grassy smells and watched the blossom falling in the wind, the new buds shooting up from the trees. This has to almost be her favourite time of the year. So much life and energy, it was impossible to keep hold of the big black cloud that seemed to dog her steps. She tried not to think about just how lucky Malcolm had been. If he had died – no, that wasn’t something she could get to the end of. Nor could she finish any thought that started with: if he hadn’t turned up when he did. She shivered and focused on the sunshine ahead instead of the city behind. No. She wasn’t going to let those thoughts creep up on her.

As the others started to dismount she found herself staring down into the long long grass, a shudder ran up her spine and she bit her bottom lip. Okay, so warm weather, long grass, sun baked rocks and a river. Perfect for snakes. She gripped the reins a little tighter and Ember skittered. As the others caught up though, she realised that she had little choice and dismounted, lowering her feet carefully to the ground. Once it was abundantly clear that a horde of serpents weren’t going to immediately attack her she led Ember to water as Malcolm gestured for her to join him once more. She tramped a small circled as she stood in the shorter grass, giving herself a clear field of view of her feet.

“Hunting?” She grinned, she was a Burhan. It was all forests and wilderness. She’d spent her childhood playing ‘hunt’ between the trees with a small bow. It had been a long time but she was keen to try, “if I’m completely useless, we’ll have to keep it under wraps,” she smiled and looked down at her feet, keeping watch. What was that rustling?

“If not, I might be disowned.”
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"And not just by your family," Malcolm chuckled and looked around to see that Elyna was treading very carefully through the grass, almost as if she expected something nasty to jump out at her. The man smiled fondly, he could relate to her fears but didn't let them rule his heart like she seemed to. "Don't worry about snakes," he offered then, "this isn't Warrick."

Soon enough the man was on his feet and tucking the rations of meat away in the saddlebag again, he hadn't been hungry, nor did it look like the noble woman was keen to share a bite. His horse took one more gulp from the stream before he coaxed the animal to take a few steps backwards and bid for them all to return to the road.
The first of the distant farmsteads was just beyond the rise and Malcolm's men went ahead to check that everything was all right before the captain joined them, along with Elyna, Kathryn, and Nathan whose horse looked to be limping as the result of a loose shoe. The farmer was able to hammer in a nail that fixed it right up and before they knew it the group was back on the road again, saddlebags a little lighter.
The further north they got of the city, the more trees there were to grace the rolling landscape. The Andaris region was relatively flat around the castle and all the way down to the surrounding shorelines, but in the north the land grew wild, as were the people. Bandits had called old farms and hidden settlements home for an age and it was the Knights who regularly drove them out. The first few checks had come up empty, a promising sign, but Malcolm wasn't convinced, surely after a long, cold winter, there had to be some sort of setup they had missed.
"What about here?" Simon pointed to a clearing for them to camp in just before the trees and the captain shook his head.
"We need the high ground," he told the man, "it makes the job of lookout a lot easier and gives us the upper-hand."

Malcolm was mindful of how small his group was and how easily they might find themselves outnumbered if they ran into the wrong patch of territory. He led them on for half a break before they spotted a hill that would let them see well on all sides, most of which were bare of too many trees. The horses struggled up the hill and Malcolm rode the chestnut weaving back and forth until they reached the peak. On top of the hill the ground appeared flat enough to camp on and there was even a fallen log to tie the horses to and gather firewood from.
Half of their party were getting ready to hunt, those who were competent with bow and spear like weapons, while Malcolm opted to stay back. Kathryn wanted to take first watch and would follow the hunting party with her eyes until they were out of sight, and Nathan took up a sword, ready to test Malcolm's readiness for a fight, should they happen to later stumble into the wrong part of the woods.
"Shield?" The knight asked.
"Yeah I can lift one," Malcolm scoffed as if offended by the idea that Nathan would think otherwise.

The two clashed for some time and as Malcolm raised his shield to defend against a strike, he felt his shoulder protest and stain against the impact. Slowly the two circled before Nathan struck a high move and Malcolm pointed the end of his sword against the breast of the man's iron plate, "dead," he smirked and Nathan smiled.
"How did you know?"
"I didn't," he shook his head, "but your low shots are so shockingly terrible that I hoped."
Nathan laughed, "they aren't that bad!"
"No," Malcolm agreed.

Kathryn was starting a fire while the captain looked around at the view from their hilltop encampment in search of anyone else that might be doing the same. In the twilight there was nothing to report, but a strange feeling kept nagging at the man, one that didn't go away until the group returned from their hunt with a couple of rabbits each under arm. With everyone back together, they could cook and settle down for the night.
Malcolm put down his bedroll away from the fire, though he enjoyed the warmth often associated with such, a slight change in the wind would leave them all stinking like smoke by morning, something he wasn't too fond of. The captain sat down on his bedding and looked up at the sky before turning back to see what the others were up to, and more specifically, Elyna. What was it about her, he wondered, she was so brave and yet, there was something about her that told him even if her heart had once been in it, she doubted her ability now. He waited until she felt his eyes on her and might turn back before summoning her with a look, only for the two of them to sit in silence for a while before Malcolm spoke up. "Tell me about your family, are any of your siblings with the Skyriders?"
Last edited by Malcolm on Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:43 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 898
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Elyna glanced across at him, raising a brow as he offered assurance. No snakes, was he sure? And was she so transparent, or did he just seem to read her much better than anyone else? She rubbed her hand across her neck to hide the flush of embarrassment. She had to get these things under control, and yet there was something about snakes in particular that gave her an irrational desire to let out high pitched shrieks or just freeze entirely, “remind me never to go to Warrick,” she agreed, “or marry one,” where had that come from? Well, it wasn’t beyond the scope of her Mother to come up with other matches. She was just hoping it would be a while before Caelan started pressing that idea again. But either way, the thought of Warrick would now be forever linked with a fear of a thousand snakes rushing at her upon entry. It would be enough to give anyone nightmares.

Ember was a well-built horse, but she wasn’t a war horse or charger so used to carrying armour and weaponry for a long period of time. Mindful of the animal, Elyna took the opportunity to dismount whenever she could and ease the burden. It also meant that she could stretch out legs, again slightly different muscles to riding a Volarean on Jacadon were needed.

By the time the first camp was mentioned she felt weary. As was normal for her, the skin beneath her shirt was mottled with various healing wounds and bruises and they ached, nagging her in small ways. But she remained cheerful, responding to comments and the occasional joke made by the crew as they travelled. Little by little she relaxed further into the journey. Eyes peeled though, scanning the trees. It was exciting to be in the midst of so much forestry. But Malcolm was right, it was better to have a higher resting sight. She missed the vantage of the air, everything was so much smaller but so much easier to see from the cloud view.

He’d seemed almost disappointed that their searches of barns, ruins and farmsteads hadn’t yielded anything of note, or perhaps he was just concerned. Expecting vipers and finding none tended to make her think that they were just hiding better than she thought. She was grateful to finally dismount and care for Ember, tethering the horse with the others.
She chose to follow the others that ventured into the woods, borrowing a long bow she split a little way from the group following the trails and surprising herself at how easily she returned to former habits. Childhood habits from a life time ago. Pangs of homesickness touched the edges of her mind. It had been too long since she’d been back to Burhan. Her choice, of course. They were only pangs though, weren’t enough to send her back, not yet.

Her own contribution to the pot was a skinny rabbit and a collection of root vegetables. She was only grateful she hadn’t returned empty handed. Tired from the journey she’d settled with the others, legs stretched out in the glow of the blaze, head tilted back as she lent from side to side, hopelessly trying to avoid the smoke. No matter where she moved though, it inevitably followed. She gave up, laughing quietly to herself and made her way to the horses, sneaking Ember a piece of raw wild carrot. The horse snuffled against her fingers and Elyna murmured thanks again. Promising herself that she would at least attempt to buy the mare.

She hadn’t so much as avoided Malcolm during the evening, as sought to blend with the rest of the crew. Adding the skills she had and trying to be as unobtrusive as possible. His direct gaze caught her attention and duly summoned she collected her coat and approached.

Sinking down onto the cool grass she folded her elbows in her knees and propped her chin in her hands. The vista was beautiful, the sky was clear. It was going to be cold. She was glad she’d brought her coat, it was proofed against most weather and would serve against morning dew as well. Her pulse was fluttering against her neck. Why had Malcolm summoned her? Had she done something wrong?

His question caught her by surprise and she shook her head automatically, “oh…no….no I’ve only the one brother and he’s well,” she smiled, “he’s a Burhan. I think my Mother counts herself lucky if he spends more than three trials an arc on land.” It was an exaggeration, but it spoke volumes about Edmund, “One at sea, one in the sky…I’m always amazed at how long I’ve managed to remain in Andaris without being dragged back home,” she probably spoke to freely.

Home. Burhan. No, she wouldn’t go back, not yet. Not ever if she could help it. Her Mother respected her decision to be a Skyrider, Elyna counted herself lucky that her parents hadn’t demanded another life for her. She ran her fingertips down the bridge of her nose and smiled. Maybe that was the thing with smiling after all, the more you did it, the more easily it came.

"Thank you for inviting me out here," she looked across at him, picking out those sharp features in relief. He reminded her of a wolf in the darkness, wild. Untamed by the city they shared with countless others. Well, he hadn't technically invited her to the mission on purpose, but here she was.

"Strange isn't it, that people can feel so alone surrounded by hordes of people, and out here where there are so few, there is more community."
Last edited by Elyna on Fri Jun 03, 2016 9:15 pm, edited 2 times in total. word count: 975
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Elyna had a wall up that was difficult to chip away at. Some things came easy to the noble woman, things that made her happy were welcomingly discussed, or so he had noticed, family, duty, flying, these the woman wore like fine jewels, it was all in her smile. When she spoke of her brother, Malcolm had grinned to himself because it reminded him a lot of his son, Marcus, who had his mother's genes and a love of the sea that had come so naturally it left his father to think that it must have been Vanessa's Biqaj blood that burned in the boy's veins.
Malcolm thought about Elyna's words as he looked out over the land that stretched out all around them. A haze of purple and red light slowly faded beyond the horizon where the day retreated and the stars twinkled from behind the dusty, low lingering cloud cover, trapping the warmth of the day. The crickets chirped, the breeze had died down, and the Knights sat around the fire talking about anything but the mission, that was the rule, Malcolm's rule; there had to be some form of separation for them, during the night the only person who was allowed to speak of work was the lookout. Nathan and Heath sat playing with a deck of cards that looked as old as dirt, and the others could be overheard talking about the restoration work that was being done on the castle.
Malcolm turned to rest on his side and plucked a piece of grass from the earth, rolling it back and forth between finger and thumb. "Twelve generations ago," he spoke quietly in a low tone of voice, "a fleet of foreign ships sailed up the river from the east. They docked in the depths of Lake Krom and attacked the small settlement nearby. A tribe of three hundred trained warriors, most of them young boys, pitted against Rynmere's farmers and fishermen, but they did not end a single life. Instead the foreigners turned the village upside down in search of Zor, a gifted peasant boy they claimed had the ability to see the future and had been taken from them by the knights of the dragon," Malcolm explained.

"After three days of searching and with the foreigners finding no sign of the boy, they turned their eye on the noble family of Krom and stayed in the village for an arc. Tired of waiting and fighting for the boy, Zor, they moved on the capital and ten days later arrived on foot at the gates, demanding the safe return of the boy in exchange for a daughter of Krom, but not just anyone," the man smiled, "no, this girl was said to harbour the blood of an immortal. Avari Krom," he said the name as if it brought back a mix of fond and bitter memories.

"The Knights of Rynmere were set upon the foreigners by order of the King. Almost nine hundred Knights died that day while the strangers from the sea suffered zero casualties. Displeased and fearing another wave of attacks, the following morning the King struck a peace deal with the sailors in which they agreed to return to their ships and sail around the coast to dock in Cyrene Bay where the boy Zor would await them. Before the Warriors could return to their ships, however, the men of Burhan and Warrick had taken a pass through the Burning Mountains and sailed down the river into the lake where they proceeded to torch the foreign ships."

"When the warriors finally arrived, the lake looked as if it had erupted, black smoke billowing skyward, a wall of men lined the shores, ready to take the lives of the men who had attacked the City of Andaris. It was a bloodbath, and those who weren't cut down in battle were later hunted like dogs, marked with the King's brand and thrown into the pits to fight each other to the death for entertainment and sport. Avari was taken back by her people and sailed out around the coast to Cyrene Bay where they had strung young Zor up by his hands and left him to die. Greeted by such a sight, the daughter of Krom bit off her own tongue and refused to tell the King what she had learned from the foreigners about their homelands."

Malcolm looked across at Elyna and smiled apologetically, not sure why he had chosen to share that tale with her, perhaps she reminded him of Avari. "The people of Krom named the rivers either side of the lake after the two children and arcs later when the noble woman was grown, she paid for the freedom of the last remaining slaves of that raid."
Last edited by Malcolm on Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:43 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 813
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Malcolm stretched out beside her and the young woman swallowed, her eyes fixed on the fading light on the horizon. She tried to memorise all the colours and shades that she could see, catching them in her memory and above all things, not letting her gaze trail over the long, lean form of the man beside her.

Elyna couldn’t help but wonder again, why he’d requested her company but the question soon vanished as he spoke. The words soft and low were mesmerizing and she sank back, lying back in the grass, resting on her elbows her gaze fixed on the night sky. It was easier to hear him speak, she told herself. She could see the ill-fated armies and imagine all the bloodshed. She flinched as the tale ended in tragedy. She hadn’t known the Captain was so well versed in story-telling or hospitality. She tried to imagine the young girl making such a sacrifice and felt that it tugged at her heart. The rivers Zor and Avari. Now she knew how they had come to be.

There were questions too, why had the Knights of the dragon taken the boy? Had the children of immortals truly walked the world? Perhaps the very ground they rested on now? She heard soft laughter from the card game and couldn’t work out who was cheating who. Men and women, paying such a sacrifice for a war she couldn’t understand. It was such a long time ago, but she felt frustrated on behalf of all those lives.

“Such waste,” she said eventually and slumped no longer propping herself up. She wasn’t sure that Malcolm had wanted an answer to his tale, or even her opinion. Her eyes scanned the stars that peeked through the cloud, and she let out a slow breath, picking out the constellations she knew by heart. She felt so small beneath them, she turned her head to study the Captain, searching his expression before abruptly she sat up again, heart racing. The young woman drew up her knees and wrapped an arm around them.

“A waste of warriors and lives…” She scowled and collected a strand of grass, spinning it between her fingertips, “I hate slavery, and those that make it” she admitted softly, it wasn’t a popular opinion to have but it was the truth. The words weren't even strong enough to express the burning pit of fury she felt whenever she thought about the practice. Something she was reluctant to do, because she couldn't change it, couldn't mend the world.

“I can well understand why she would free them.”
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