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 The Shadow in your debt {Tag: Arwyn}

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PostSubject: The Shadow in your debt {Tag: Arwyn}   Fri Jun 15, 2012 1:03 am

Private audiences with the Shadow emperor were not common, and outsiders being allowed in his personal palace was far more rare. Being the Hand of Darnorn brought with it a different set of rules. When Axecaster the Brutal called, you answered. The only difference was, Thade Aran Fey'rial was not stopped and searched at the gate. The Emperor trusted him more than he trusted anyone, and he never truly trusted anyone. The guards at the main gate opened the door and let the elf pass by them unmolested. As was custom, a contingent of guards were waiting outside the Emperor's chamber to be certain that Darnorn still lived. If they did not raise an alarm, all was well and the previous orders stood. Thade didn't acknowledge their presence as he strode away from the Shadowed Halls, the name given to the Emperor of the Shadow Court's personal dwelling, because he had more important things troubling his mind.

The last time he was summoned to the Shadowed Halls, he was instructed to instigate a duel with a Ustmayreian noble. The noble was an opponent of the Emperor's and Darnorn couldn't openly put him down without causing an incident that would send ripples through the united Fae kingdoms. Even putting him down quietly was not an option. A sudden death would be suspicious, and suspicions would cause even worse ripples. Private duels were by law matters unrelated to state, and a convenient loophole for the Dwarf to exploit. Their outcome was final, and retaliatory actions by official offices were forbidden. Thade's heritage and life choices made the path he walked in Court a difficult one. He had been challenged to duels on occasion, as well as challenged those who overstepped his tolerance. Darnorn used this fact to his advantage, and used Thade like a piece on a game board to remove the opposition. In truth, a large portion of the duels that gave Thade his reputation were fought on Darnorn's orders.

The Bastard Heir was as good at manipulating people into picking fights as he was at fighting them. This meeting wasn't about his enemies. This meeting was about getting someone who was not an ally to do something for him. Thade was being forced to exorcise a completely different skill set. He made his way home to the Fey'rial estates that had been awarded to him in Elyria to pack. The task would take a few days simply because he was being forced to rely on other people. Once ready, the Hand set out for the Sun Quarter, the part of the Elyrian capital where denizens Court of Light tended to congregate. It was there he waited.

Arwyn Alia Lu'karn was the target that Darnorn had sent him after. The emperor had a favor to ask of the elven woman, but did not wish for that favor to become owed to the Court of Light. This was going to prove a difficult because the Queen of the Light Court kept this person like a favored pet. Rarely did she leave the Halls of Dawn, the private palace of the Light Court, but she was a person not a pet. She did leave to spend time on her own for time to time. Predicting those times was impossible. Thankfully both Courts employed spies among their opposite. Thade was waiting for one such spy to tell him when and where that time was going to be.

Thade had to wait two days for word to reach him. It finally came on the lips of a house keeper who overheard Arwyn speaking about her plans to one of her personal servants. With the where known, he simply had to wait for the when. Thade went to the new grove that was being tended to on the edge of the Sun Quarter. It had been ten years since the Enlightenment, but nature needed a great deal of time to heal. Even though it was called a grove, the expanse was still only populated by saplings. They were strong and growing healthy thanks to all the tending the Druids and Shamans gave the soil, but time was something Terra needed to heal that no one had the power to speed up. It was there among the visitors and Druids that Thade waited.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow in your debt {Tag: Arwyn}   Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:03 am

Even the company of royalty became tedious from time to time and as much as Arwyn loved her Queen (who was also her second cousin) she did grow tired of being constantly coddled. So for the sake of her sanity and everyone else’s, she would simply slip away unnoticed from court to tend to the many groves surrounding the city. She was keeper of most of them; helping the vegetation grow; along with the other Shaman of the Light Court.

Sneaking away from her personal guard was both easy and fun. Who would suspect Terra’s Princess of defying her Queen’s wishes by traveling so far from the palace without personal protection? Arwyn was perfectly capable of taking care of herself. She’d done so since a small child, as her parents had been too busy with their own lives to pay much attention to hers before they died. Those rumors were still whispered around court to this day whenever she walked into a crowded room.

Blame not the daughter for the sins of her parents, she had heard her majesty tell more than one person in a harsh whisper. For unlike Gwyndel and Larquin, who both had been consumed by malicious greed, Arwyn was the embodiment of unconditional love. She enjoyed laughter and thought it the best remedy to any ailment. She also tried making friends from everyone; even the most crotchety of Elves. Little did she know that on this day she would be coming face to face with one of the grouchiest of them all; The Bastard Heir of the Shadow Court.

So as she slipped from the palace undetected, having changed from her court finery into clothes more suitable for dirt, Arwyn made her way towards the edges of the Sun Quarter where a new grove had been recently planted. Its saplings already sprouting forth thanks to the help of Har’dro, the Prince of the Earth who bestowed upon her his powers of growth when she had need of them; he was, by far, her most absolute favorite of the four elements. He was also the kindest of them.

As she was leaving the safety of the Light, Arwyn carried with her a bow and quiver of arrows. Both slung across her back so that her hands remain free in case she had need of them. Although she abhorred violence of any degree, she was not above defending herself against an attack. Of course there were plenty friends who would be more than willing to take up her battles for her.

Slipping silently into the grove, Arwyn approached the first new sapling and crouched down. She felt around the soil at its base as her lips moved in a soft whisper so her voice crooned to the newly sprouted plant.

Last edited by Arwyn Lu'karn on Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:28 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow in your debt {Tag: Arwyn}   Sun Jun 17, 2012 1:47 am

Hours passed and Thade had nothing to do but exist. The moment he received word of where Arwyn Alia Lu'Karn would be, he made his way there and waited. The new growth grove was a very special place for their people. The Children of Terra had a very special relationship with the planet. Each breed had their own focal point. For the dwarves it was the solid earth, for the ondine it was the vast oceans, the Avians had the air, and the elves had the forests. Even though Thade was not a druid like some of their kind, he still felt a connection to the living extensions of Terra. He did not possess empathy, but he knew where he came from, and where he would one day return.

He walked up and down the expanses of haphazardly planted trees. Humans would have planted the trees in rows so that they could be evenly spaced, but nature needed to take its course. Seeds were planted and those that were meant to take root did. In time they became saplings and the strongest flourished. Druids helped them with their touch, and the strong grew stronger to flourish. In a few short years the new growth grove had made more progress than it would have alone. There was a limit to what could be done safely, because of the strain it placed on Terra herself. The energy and life force came from somewhere, and she was the wellspring of all.

Finally he saw his quarry. Most of his kind had fair hair, his dark locks placing him in the minority, but Arwyn's burned like a second earthbound sun this side of the clouds. He had seen her in Court in the past and knew her face well enough to recognize it even at a distance. He didn't approach her right away. He chose to keep his distance among the small number of Elves who tended the grove, and watch to see if she had been followed, or would be found. Moving too hastily was a mistake that many made to their detriment. Thade had learned that particular lesson in his youth and never fell victim to the trappings of impatience again. In his life situation, such carelessness could easily be his demise.

Seeing no guards or other attendants arriving after her, or circling around in secret, Thade finally decided to make his approach. He was dressed in dark spun silks that were customary of elves who were proclaimed denizens of the Shadow Court. Crisply cut pants that caught the breeze, soft woven boots, and a loose fitting shirt. He wore no weapons that she could see. The city of Elyria was a peaceful place, and the only need for weapon was in Court where they were a show of status as well as a deterrent. Thade made sure he approached her in plain view. He was there to speak with her so he wanted her to see him coming.

"Arwyn Alia Lu'karn," he said in an even toned voice that was a bit raspy for an elf. It could even be considered raspy by human standards. "I am Thade Aran Fey'rial. I have come to speak with you. I am here on behalf of Darnorn Axecaster, the Shadow Emperor. If you will allow, may I have a moment of your time?" Thade stood there silently waiting for her to decide whether she was going to give him a moment of her time. Elves were by nature tall, but Thade was shorter than other males by a few inches. He did however possess a uncharacteristically stocky build for an elf. It was the result of years of brutal training in the art of Ny'zul Kahn. Somehow despite his thicker build, he did not lose any of his elven grace.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow in your debt {Tag: Arwyn}   Sun Jun 17, 2012 6:22 pm

“Har’dro,” she whispered as her fingers began to bury within the soil; churning it up and around so that the ground was softened. A presence to her left drew the elf’s attention away from the sapling so that mossy green orbs fell upon the vine and dirt form of the Earth Prince. * “Sinair l’ waelin.” She motioned to the sapling that she was kneeling by and the sentient prince understood her request. Reaching with the vines that made up his body so that they may wrap around Arwyn’s arms and reach down into the soil her hands were buried in.

Har’dro connected his vines to the roots of the sapling, which were wrapped around the elf’s fingers. She began to pour small doses of herself into the growth of the tree. The help of Har’dro made it so that Arwyn would not overdo it herself and pass out. He allowed her a reprieve so that she may do more without so dire a consequence. The growth wouldn’t be enough to notice right away, but by tomorrow it would be noticeable to anyone else that this one sapling had gotten bigger than those around it. This sapling would one day be a great cherry blossom. One of her personal favorites because of its beauty alone.

Looking up from the sapling, Arwyn eyed the dark featured elf that stood before her. Her hands buried in the soil at the base of the sapling, less she would have offered him a proper greeting, the flaxen haired elf just smiled. “Greetings, Thade Aran Fey’rial.” Her formal usage of his entire name not a mockery to him, but an amusement for her at his being so formal and…stiff. “I do not suppose I have any other choice. You seem to have caught me at one of my most vulnerable moments.” She couldn’t very well just refuse him and go skipping off carelessly; not with her hands trapped within Terra so uselessly.

Lifting her hands out of the soil, with dirt trapped under her once perfectly manicured fingernails, Arwyn began to unwrap herself from the vines before she stood and brushed her palms down the front of her brown trousers. “I would offer you my hand, but…” She looked down to her dirty ones then over to his clean and shrugged with a slight giggle. “I fail to see what I have to offer the Emperor or the Shadow Court. But I will be fair enough and hear what his highness wishes.” She raised a hand and motioned him towards a low, rough made stone bench beneath the shading branches of a young weeping willow. ** "S'tharl lu' telanth xuil uns'aa."

*Grow the young.
**Sit and talk with me.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow in your debt {Tag: Arwyn}   Thu Jun 21, 2012 3:28 pm

The rumors were true. They had to be. Thade had seen proxies of the Elemental Princes before, but they were nothing like this. The Elemental Princes were the concentrated embodiments of the elements, manifestations of nature in its purest form. There have been Children of Terra who were gifted with a strong enough connection to one of the elements that they were able to draw on the power of that element's Prince. They were considered geniuses among the elemental shamans. When they drew on the Prince's power, an ethereal manifestation could be seen watching over them, but this was no specter. The history books told of Proxies who were able to touch the power of not just one, but all of the Elemental Princes, but one had not existed in almost a millennium.

Even though she was only drawing on the power of a single Prince, the strength of its presence manifesting itself at her call was substantial proof that she was in fact a Proxy of the Princes. Thade was awestruck with reverence for the manifestation of one of Terra's many aspects. Part of him felt like he was committing sacrilege by interrupting her, but it was not the first time that he had to do such a thing to carry out the orders of the Shadow Emperor. The deed was done and now he had to see that it did not go to waste. He approached from the side that the Proxy was not standing on and took the hand that was offered to him. He could feel the currents of power pulsing through her. It was like having his hand over Terra's heart, if she had one.

Letting go of her hand, Thade moved over to the bench, and took a seat after Arwyn had seated herself as courtesy dictated. "Thank you for allowing me to intrude. I have come on behalf of Darnorn Axecaster to speak with you on a matter of great importance to the Dwarven Kingdom." He paused for a moment out of propriety. He did not need to get his thoughts in order to approach this subject. He had already done that long before he started out to the grove. "Even though Darnorn rules the Shadow Court and not affiliated with the Dwarven Kingdom, he is still a dwarf. His people share a very strong bond of community. That is why he is attending to this matter personally, not as the Emperor."

"As you know, Elyira is the homeland that the Children are rebuilding for themselves, but in a mountain range to the west, on the very edge of the homeland, a dwarven city has been rediscovered. It is largely intact, but the mountains surrounding it are the problem. The Enlightenment caused a great deal of damage, and they are unsure if they can make the mountains safe so that the city can be inhabited again. " He raised his head and looked to the nearby mountain range that existed on the horizon. It was there that the dwarves had been tunneling and rebuilding a city for themselves.

"They are still continuing work on the city in the Elyrian mountain range, but this place is very important to their history and culture. Finding it intact was a shock, and caused quite a stir, but that stir was hope that all was not lost. If it could somehow be saved, and repopulated it would be a beacon for all Terra's children." He looked off in the distance as if he could see the city beneath the rock that lay to the far west. "All of the Earth Shamans that went to the city say there is far too much damage for them to repair. They could repair the damage, but they doubt that they could find it all. If they did not, it could cause a city full of people to be entombed."

"That is why he sent me to find you. You are the Proxy. With your power and your connection to all the elements, may be the only individual who could find all of the faults and repair them. " He turned his eyes back to watch her and finished his message. "This is no simple task. He is aware of that, but it is so important to his people that he is willing to take on the personal debt. Should you be able to accomplish this feat of repairing a mountain range, which is nothing short of a miracle, the debt that the dwarven people owe you, will be paid by Darnorn Axecaster himself. "
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow in your debt {Tag: Arwyn}   Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:40 am

The moment that she’d broken the connection between herself and Har’dro, the Prince of the Earth element had ceased to be tangible. The vines and dirt that made up his appearance sinking back down to the ground as Arwyn had detangled from his hold. Surprisingly her new companion, Thade of the Shadow Court was gracious enough to help her to rise. Taking a dirty proffered hand and lifting the blond elf to her feet so that she could lead him over to the crude and hastily made bench.

Constructed of flat stones and two long pieces from an old oak to make up the seat and the back, Arwyn perched on one side. Her bow and quiver of arrows removed so that she was free to turn and twist at her pleasure. Arwyn did not begrudge the dwarven king his throne within the Shadow Court, yet neither did she forget that he was the reason that Larquin had died. As thankful as she was to be out of her father’s constricting clutches, he had still been her sire.

“I’ve met a few dwarves before. Not the Emperor, of course since I have never been to the Shadow Court. But sometimes a group of them will pass through the Sun Quarter on their way to the mountains from the groves.” Some of them nasty little creatures with permanent scowls on their faces even as Arwyn would do her best to accommodate them during their stay. It was never more than a day, sometimes even only a short as an hour or two. Try as she might, some people just wouldn’t smile.

“If I fail to do the task…what will the Emperor do?” Recreating an entire mountain city from being uninhabitable was a large task. Even for a Shaman such as herself who was Proxy to the Element Princes. There was only so much that she could do. “Oh! Could I bring some other Shaman with me to help?” Excited now, she turned to face him with wide, mossy green eyes. Arwyn could improve her skills with this job.

“Wait…” suddenly crestfallen, Arwyn slumped onto the bench as her gaze slid to the mountain. “My cousin, the Queen, will never allow it. She has apoplexies when I come here without my guardsmen.” But she never hindered her from doing it. “Going as far as the mountains, she would forbid it without a second thought.”
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow in your debt {Tag: Arwyn}   Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:28 pm

Darnorn always said, much to Thade's ire, that the elf made an excellent messenger. Thade took it as an insult, he was no one's page, but the Lord of Shadow merely stated fact as he knew them, facts that Thade proved time and time again. Arywn's questions had answers, and none of them were 'I will have to consult the Emperor'. Before he left on this journey he spent a great deal of time asking the Emperor questions that the girl could possibly have. The wise and terrible dwarf said it was an extension of Thade's gift for fighting. He could read his opponents and anticipate their movements. To know how an individual was going to move, one had to understand how they thought. It was this 'gift' that allowed Thade to do more than just carry another's words. He became the voice, the intent behind the words, even if that intent was to do something other than kill.

Thade could see thoughts of the possibilities reflected in Arwyn's eyes as they ran through her mind. Darnorn was known for his displeasure when presented with failure. Thade shook his head and gave her a level look, as if trying to bring her thoughts back from fantasy to the here and now. "You have no need to worry Arwyn Alia," he used both of her names maintaining proper etiquette and respect for someone he was not personally familiar with, "The Emperor will bear you no ill will. The city already sits beneath a mountain uninhabited. Its state is not your fault. Should you try and be unsuccessful, then nothing changes. Even if you refuse his request, he will pursue other means, the same means he would have if you were never asked."

The young elf's spirits seemed unshakeable. Soon after she was worried about the repercussions of turning down the request or failing at it, she was thinking about ways to make the mountain whole again. "You could bring anyone that you thought could help you in the effort. The Emperor already has a team of Shamans and Dwarven engineers there studying the mountain and ruins. If you do choose to go, they will be yours to command. If you had others that you trusted more, or thought would be of more assistance, then they are welcomed as well."

The Queen of the Sun Court was going to be an obstacle for the endeavor. The two of them saw this coming. "We would never dream of asking you to do this behind the Queen's back. If it is your safety she is worried about, she may send guards to protect you. While you are doing this favor, I will also be responsible for your personal safety, so you are under the Emperor's protection as well as the Queens. It would mean a great deal if we received the Queen's blessing, but ultimately you are an adult, free to do as you choose. Darnorn will respect whatever choice you make, my Lady." There it was, the seed of rebellion planted gently in the soil of Arwyn's spirit. Yes she was a kept treasure of the Sun Court, but as long as she did nothing illegal, they could truly exert very little power over her. Thade knew this so he felt it was necessary to inform her subtly. From there he would let nature take its course. If the seed manage to grow, so be it.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow in your debt {Tag: Arwyn}   Sat Jul 07, 2012 11:29 pm

It was pleasant to know that the dwarf king wouldn’t make any threats on her life in case she failed to do what he asked of her. Though because he was the Emperor of the Shadow Court, Arwyn felt assured that something would happen if she was unsuccessful; after all, this was the man who poisoned her father. Or had him poisoned; the stories were conflicting. Some say that Darnorn himself administered the poison and others that a hired assassin had completed the job in the dwarf’s stead. All of this though no doubt was another excuse for someone to study the power that Arwyn herself was harnessing day by day.

Wonderful! So, I need to write some letters and…have my handmaiden pack some clothes… she was ticking off this to-do list on her fingers as she started to rise from her seat. Also I have to go tell the Queen that I will be absent from court for a time and that I will need some of the guardsmen to accompany me. She made it only a few steps from the bench before realizing that her bow and quiver were still lying on the ground beside it. Shu! She spun around on her heels and rushed back over to snatch the two items from the ground.

If you would like, you could accompany me back to the palace? It won’t take me long to get things done but while you wait perhaps you would like to freshen up…perhaps eat something? She was pulling the quiver and bow over her head now and turning away from him, towards the exit that would take her back the way she came. If he accompanied her then Arwyn would keep up a flow of endless and unrelated chatter; telling him about the palace where she lived (though he probably already knew) and even going as far as relating tales to him of people he most likely did not known. If he chose to stay behind, then she would run the entire way back.

At the palace, Arwyn first made a beeline directly for her suite. There she was met by her personal handmaiden who she directed to start packing a bag of clothes. Clothes like the ones she was already wearing, plus some feminine essentials that all women needed. Arwyn tossed her bow and quiver on the bed as she disappeared into the adjoining bathroom to wash up before going before the Queen. Changing out of her dirty duds and into something fresh; the same boots, fresher leather trousers, white tunic and leather jerkin. Her hair, damp left to fall freely down her back while she went to see her cousin.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow in your debt {Tag: Arwyn}   Thu Jul 12, 2012 7:10 pm

There were some people would find the sight of Thade’s smile frightening, but this bright faced elven woman was not one of them. Thade’s smile wasn’t malicious, it was born of triumph. He had planted the seed in her mind and it took root in spectacular fashion. One moment she was worrying about what if her aunt the Queen said no, and now it wasn’t a thought in her mind. Dark eyes watched as the excited blonde brushed the dirt off her hands, took up her bow, and began talking about what she wanted to do in preparation. Arwyn had already made her decision and she looked like the type of woman that had a strong will. She was going regardless of what the Queen said.

Without a word Thade accepted her gracious invitation to the Sun Palace, and fell into step behind her. Even though she was running, he didn’t quicken his pace at all. He knew where she was going and as long as he kept her in sight there would be no problem. When he reached the gate she had already gone through and he simply said to them, ”I’m with her. We are here to have audience with the Court of Light.” He stood and waited for the guard to send a page ahead with word of his arrival as was custom, and then bowed his head in greeting to the guards that met him. They were to escort him to the waiting room. Soon he was in a brightly lit, plush furniture filled room waiting for a summons.

It wasn’t long before a page came to him and said ”Her majesty will see you and the Lady Arwyn now.” Thade calmly stood up and followed him out of the room and down the hallway where he met Arwyn outside the throne room. A page came to get Arwyn with a similar message and then waited for her to finish getting ready. When she was done he led her to the throne room, and sent another page to get Thade and bring him to meet them. He was reunited with Arwyn outside the ornate double doors.

”Lady Arwyn, it is a pleasure to see you again." he said with a polite inclination of his head. ”Have you given any thought to what you are going to say to the Queen to convince her to allow you to go through with your plan?” The elf drew himself up into a proper stance and straightened out his clothes so that he was presentable for royalty. ”If it’s all the same to you, I’ll remain silent and let you handle this conversation. I will speak up if you need me too though. She may be more lenient with you because you’re family.” With that, the massive doors opened and even more light poured upon them. The Sun Palace was given its name for a reason. It was magnificent.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow in your debt {Tag: Arwyn}   Fri Jul 13, 2012 5:53 pm

Lord Thade, a pleasure as well. She curtsied to him, even if she wasn’t dressed in her court finery. Arwyn did not want to waste time changing clothes since she was ready to be off on this grand adventure. This was how she saw the request, as an adventure to get her out of the watchful eyes of the Light Court and the chance to expand her abilities, to strengthen her powers and to work on the bonds that tied her to the four Princes. She would take it seriously of course and do her best to dig out the dwarven city from the mountain, but she would not make Thade or Darnorn any direct promises. What they sought from her was a monumental task and regardless of who was there to assist her, the bulk of the task would fall upon her shoulders.

When the grand doors to the court of the Sun Palace were opened, Arwyn had to squint against the bright light that momentarily assaulted her vision. No matter how many years she lived here, she would never get used to it being so bright all the time. She was leaning towards Thade now, as if they were personal confidants and had been for their whole lives, I’m going to tell her the truth, just in a very vague sort of way. Smiling in a good natured yet conspiratorial way, Arwyn led her companion into the room as they were announced.

Upon an ornate, golden throne engraved with depictions of the sun sat the Queen herself, Caladwen. Another lithe, blonde Elven woman dressed in hues of yellow and gold with a diamond accented crown resting upon her dainty head. Colorful diamonds twinkled down upon Arwyn and Thade as she looked upon them with curiosity and suspicion. Lining the walls of the room were the Lords and Ladies of the Light Court; a lot of them too pretentious for their own good. Arwyn did not bother giving any of them her time, nor did she care for their whispered words whenever she walked into a room. *Dosst elamshinae, she spoke while approaching the throne, managing another curtsy out of respect to the Queen and then motioning to Thade. My companion, Thade Aran Fey’rial, of the Shadow Court.

*Usstan zhaun vel'uss uk zhah. Ele zhah uk ghil? She blushed, feeling contrite at the Queens sharp tone and her even sharper gaze when looking at the two of them. He has come to escort me into the mountains. I am to help unbury a city of the Dwarfs for the Emperor Darnorn. I’ve only come to tell you, out of love and courtesy, that I will be away from court and will be taking some of the guardsmen with me. A lesser elf would not have dared speak so formally to the Queen, but Arwyn was neither lesser nor afraid of Caladwen. A buzz of chatter went up around the room as she stood locked within a staring battle with her cousin, with Arwyn wearing a pleasant smile and Caladwen wearing a suspicious frown. The mountains? Darnorn has his own shaman available to him. What need have he of you?

It was now that they both turned to look at Thade. Arwyn nudged him, silently beseeching that he step in with a response.

*Your grace
*I know who he is. Why is he here?
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow in your debt {Tag: Arwyn}   Mon Jul 23, 2012 10:56 pm

It was like having the sun physically hit him in the face, the room was so brilliant it almost sent him reeling backwards. The brooding elf stood his ground and squinted his eyes knowing that the magic would eventually pass so that he could see normally. Even though they were polar opposites the two Courts believed in setting a proper stage for subjects to awestruck. With a straight back and proud step, Thade strode forward, keeping even with Arwyn. He bowed in unison with her and then stood aside while she addressed the Queen. The King was not there, nor did he need to be, because she had just as much authority, but Thade knew she was the more dangerous of the two.

The Queen of the Court of Light had blood on her hands as well, only she was better at washing it away and keeping the stains hidden. The death of Arwyn's father, that most people attributed Darnorn for was not his doing. Before making this trip, The Emperor told Thade the truth in case the incident came to question. The previous Shadow, the elf who Thade vowed to kill, plotted with the Queen to get rid of individuals who would prove troublesome. They took care of each other's 'problems', before Darnorn took power. The Dwarf empowered Thade to tell Arwyn the truth, without mentioning the Queen's involvement if the matter arose. Thade was thankful the matter had not, because he didn't want the Queen to view him as someone who knew too much.

"You're Majesty. A dwarven city has been rediscovered beneath a mountain range. It is largely intact but the mountain range itself is uncertain. He has sent me to as the assistance of the Princes' Proxy as a personal favor. " He spoke loud enough and clearly so that all in attendance could hear him. "Should she grant his request, I am charged with remaining at her side to insure her safety. She will have any and all resources she needs as well as guards to keep her safe. Any guards you wish to send with her" That was the statement of the request, but it didn't answer the question she asked him. He needed to answer that lest she loose her patience.

"The Shadow Emperor does have his own Shaman. He already set them to the task and they failed. They reported that the task is beyond their skill and power. The mountain itself is deeply wounded, and they cannot fathom how extensive it is. He hopes that her connection to Terra through the Prince Har'dro will allow her to divine the truth. Once that is known then perhaps efforts can be made. " He looked to Arwyn and then to the nobles in attendance around them, before looking back to the Queen. "Whether we are of the Court of Light or of the Court of Shadow. One thing binds us all regardless of our race. We are all Terra's Children. If she is wounded then it is our duty to tend to the Mother that nurtures us. The Dwarven people may have a city returned to them, but it is only a result of a great wound being healed." With that he fell silent because there was nothing more to say. It was now for the Queen to pass judgment.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow in your debt {Tag: Arwyn}   Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:45 pm

Her shoulders visibly relaxed when Thade spoke up. Thankful that he had not left explaining everything to Caladwen, she turned back around to face her Queen with a charming smile. Caladwen looked less pleased by the time Thade concluded his speech and she remained silent as one of her advisors bent low to whisper into her ear. Arwyn chanced a glance around the room, looking across the sea of faces made up by the Lords and Ladies of the Light Court. None among them she could in good conscious say were her friends, but she was cordial to everyone she met, regardless of the slanderous words they whispered about her or her deceased parents.

Nor did she care for the pitying looks cast her way from time to time. Like she didn’t know that she was the daughter of a traitor; regardless of what powers she held or how great they were, that bit of knowledge about her heritage would always surpass the rest. Thade Aran Fey’rial, if I grant Darnorn’s request, I have your word that no harm shall come to Lady Arwyn? That her life is far more precious than yours and you will guard her as such? Surprised by her questioning, Arwyn swallowed heavily and twisted her fingers together behind her back. Ussta Valsharess, nindel zhah naut— cut off by a slender hand slicing through the air, she lowered her gaze as if chastised.

If harm comes to the Lady Arwyn, you as well as Darnorn should know that I will be taking flesh for flesh. Against my judgment, I’ve been informed that it will be good for her growth. So reluctantly I am giving my consent to this. You will be given a company of eighty of my best soldiers to escort you to the site of the city. Before the Queen could finish giving her orders to them, Arwyn had left her spot and rushed up the dais to the throne and leaned down to plant a kiss on Caladwen’s cheeks. Thank you! You will not regret this! A begrudging smile met her gratitude and followed Arwyn’s retreating back as she ran back down, snatching one of Thade’s hands as she passed and rushing him from the room.

We must hurry before she changes her mind. Caladwen’s word is a lot like the wind; it comes and goes as it pleases without regard to anyone else. Saying such about the Queen could be an act of treason, so Arwyn was thankful that the only person around to hear her speak them was Thade. You may wait in my sitting room while I finish making the preparations for our journey. My maid will see to your comfort. They weaved their way through the palace to her rooms, where she left him in the comfort of the sitting room that preceded her bedroom. Arwyn sent her maid in to tend to Thade’s wishes (if he had any) while she began to finish her packing. Another maid was dispatched to see about the guards and their transportation.

Her traveling attire was simple while remaining feminine with the way the clothes hugged her petite figure. Come Thade Fey’rial, let us be off! She had a backpack slung across her shoulder and another in her hand; both of them stuffed with clothes and other items she would need during her travels. A footman took her extra bag as they emerged into the halls, when he reached for the second she scowled (though it wasn’t very convincing) until he relented and led down to the courtyard. There the company of eighty soldiers milled about, checking their bows, arrows, swords and other weapons while the carriage that Thade had arranged to carry her was packed with her belongings. A carriage?

She looked quizzically at him, one corner of her mouth lifted into a smirk. That is very sweet of you, but I prefer to ride. As she spoke the lead stableman walked up holding the reins of her horse. A beautiful Gypsy Vanner that stood already at 16 hands; a Stallion of the best pedigree that was skewbald in color with mostly brown over white and a black mane and tail and Arwyn greeted him with the same kindness she showed to anyone. Running a hand up and down his nose while whispering soothing sentiments to the animal as the lead stableman attached her backpack to the back of the saddle. His name is Beinion. The stallion reared his head back, bobbing it up and down in agreement.

Ussta Valsharess, nindel zhah naut = My Queen, that is not
Beinion (BAY-nee-on) = Handsome
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow in your debt {Tag: Arwyn}   Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:08 pm

Most others would have stood before the Queen doing their best to keep from shaking like leaves in the wind but Thade remained calm.  He knew that the queen could have him killed with but a word and no one would have raised an a voice in protest, but there were upsides that only Thade could find to that scenario.  If she dropped her hand and the guards closed in, it would be one hell of a fight.  Thade rather be fighting than dealing with the silent hypocrisy that went on this side of the Great Court.   He was trained to fight and die which were natural to all things of Terra.  The pomp and circumstance of Court was a tedious affront to his values.  If he died fighting on the floors of the Sun Palace it would be a spectacular final chapter of his life, and the insueing wrath of Darnorn would make sure a smile was permanently affixed to his lips.  He watched the Queen as she gave her stipulations, and memorized the exact wording. Such trivial things were of great importanta in this world. "As your Majesty commands, it shall be done." the elf said with a graceful bow. 

Arywn had his hand before he knew it and they were off to her private apartments to pack the last of her things. He waited exactly where she left him, looking out of a window to his right that had a wonderful view. The hand maid came in to ask if he wanted anything and he said, "I need a page to be sent to the Wayward Pine Inn with the message 'Bring the carriage', now," in a voice that was probably harsher than it was meant to be.  Finding peace in the sight of the Grove on the distance Thade waited until Arwyn returned to him, and then asked her to take them down to the Sun Palace stables where, by that time, the carriage was waiting for them.  

In all of this Arwyn had proven to be quite the surprise, but no surprise was greater than her reaction to the carriage that he had arranged to carry her.  It actually gave the Hand pause and made him reevaluate the elven woman.  When she had the steed brought out, Thade could tell that the horse belonged to her by the way she touched him, and the manner she checked his tac explained that she knew what she was doing.  In the face of this, Thade did not complain about the change in plans.  He simply shrugged it away, climbed the side of the wagon, and unlashed his own personal packs.  He took them to the back of the wagon where a broad chested Criollo stallion was tied so that it could follow after the wagon.  "It seems like you get to run free after all, Landstrider. " he said quietly to the horse as he rubbed its jaw.  The horse nickered and nuzzled into him as response, then Thade set to the task of fastening his gear to the horses saddle.  The task was done with all the speed and efficiency expected of a former soldier.  

Once he was ready, Landstrider was untethered from the wagon, and lead over to the carriage seat where the wagon driver was waiting.  "Wagon master, I know it is a change of plans, but could you please grant our horses Terra's Endurance and Protection.  We will ride hard to our destination.  You can follow with our provisions at your own pace. " he said to the man who sat above him causing him to climb down from his perch.  The Plainself walked over to Landstrider and clasped the beast's great head between his hands.  He gazed into his eyes and began to speak in the ancient tongue of Elven magic that brought Terra's notice and her power to them.  Once done he would do the same to Arwyn's mount if she allowed him.  While he worked Thade turned his attention to one of the stable hands and spoke to him. "Groom, please inform the Stablemaster that he may have to perform the same for the mounts of the Lady's honor guard.  I will not slow my pace for anyone but the Lady Arwyn, and I don't think she will slow her pace to wait for any of us."

Once all preparations were complete, Thade took his place in the saddle, and began the journey with a kick of his heels. Their destination lay a great distance away, but the mounts were up for the seemingly impossible task.  The secret was the same reason that the Children of Terra did not have the dependency on machines nor would they ever develop it.  Yes there were magical constructs that were made for travel, but the only reliable form of transportation was one that had a spirt of its own.  Living creatures, some never before seen by human eyes, were able to match or best any human machine in terms of speed and endurance thanks to Terra's bounty.  Shamans were able to call upon Terra's power and imbue it into her many creatures.  This power not only granted unnatural strength, speed, and stamina, but also protected its recipient from the strain of the journey.  

Empowered by Terra's might, the horses speed across the ground as surefooted as ever, guided by some innate sense of where to place their hooves for safe passage.   Wind blew back the hair of their riders, forcing them to lean down, and move in unison with their mounts.  Clouds and sun moved steadily across the sky, while trees and landmarks became blurs beside them.  Occasionally they would see a settlement or city off in the distance where humans or Children had decided to make a home for themselves outside the protection of the Homeland or crowded metropolises.  It was a comforting reminder that life would always continue to thrive, because it was inborn into everything to find a way to survive.  He didn't say anything along the day long journey, as he was an Elf who spoke only when necessary.  Instead he concentrated on keeping his bearings true, and keeping up with the Lady Arwyn.  She turned out to be quite the rider, not forcing him to slow his pace at all.  Occassionally he would look over his shoulder to see the Light Court guards struggling to keep up with them.  That was a satisfying sight.  

Eventually the sun started to disappear behind the horizon which silhouetted the jagged crest of the mountain range which was their destination.  Its gigantic mass cast a shadow that engulfed the landscape in premature darkness, that did not match the vibrant band of orange that snaked through the deepening purple sky.  Steadily it grew larger, until Thade finally reigned in Landstrider, and slowed his pace to a canter.  Their destination was very close.    "I scouted the mountains the last time i was here." Thade said to her.   "We will make camp for the night at the foot of the mountain.  Up ahead there is a natural spring, and some wild grass.  We can set up there so we can water and feed the horses, while we wait for your 'chaperones'  to catch up."  That last part was said with a slightly sarcastic tone.  He obviously didn't think much of her guards because they so easily fell behind.  That was the reason Thade chose a breed of horse that was known for speed and endurance instead of size and brute strength.   Finally the sound of water reached their keen ears, and the promised spring came into view.  It was a surprisingly peaceful locale nestled in the feet of the dark giant that rose ominously above them.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow in your debt {Tag: Arwyn}   Thu Aug 02, 2012 4:27 pm

She waited with an unwavering patience as the carriage driver blessed their steeds. Beinion was unsure of the man as he approached; bumping his nose into the man as he stood with his hands hovering around the horses face while his lips moved in silent deliverance. Arwyn urged her stallion in a whisper to be still; like a mother chiding an unruly child, to which the horse promptly obeyed. Patting his long neck, the lithe blond grabbed the pommel of her saddle and with a foot in the stirrup she pulled up. A leg slung over her mounts back and she settled squarely in her seat and Beinion took a few steps backwards as he adjusted to her weight (as little as it was) on top of him.

She had waited long enough for a small group of her guardsmen steeds to be blessed before she charged off. One by one the soldiers would catch up to the company, which stayed a good distance behind Arwyn and Thade as they rode ahead at great speeds. She was content to share their ride in silence, though she did urge his stallion into small races at times by urging her own into a faster pace that forced Thade to keep up with her. To these moments she simply laughed; the sound rising above the billowing wind that blew passed them, tossing her braid around and causing little wisp to tickle her cheeks and neck.

Reigning in on Beinion, Arwyn nodded her agreement to his words. She was too breathless to speak; exhilarated by the days ride, her chest heaved with each breath, matching that of her stallions as he cantered at a brisk pace alongside Thade’s stallion. You sound slightly put off by my chaperones, Thade. Dismounting as they reached the glade, she led the skewbald stallion by the reigns over to the spring so that he may drink and replenish himself from such a lengthy gallop. Caladwen sent them for my protection. For as much as she accepted the word of your Emperor to protect me, she still trust no one except those that she commands entirely. Which meant Thade’s promise to protect her had been like a grain of salt.

While Beinion was drinking his fill of the water, she took the opportunity to relieve him of his saddle and bridle, then to brush him down and check each hoof. When he was sufficient enough upon inspection, Arwyn released him into the grassy field for his meal with a whispered command, Zexen'uma veir. From where she had arranged her tack, the blond gathered her own belongings and decided to set up her makeshift living area. The skies were clear enough to tell her that their night would be free of storms, so she went against using any sort of tent. Could you gather wood for a fire? She looked up to him from where she was laying out her bedroll.

Once her bed was laid out, Arwyn dove into a separate pack and extracted wrapped parcels. Fresh cheese, fruits, vegetables and bread, all the fine fixings for a light repast; she did not consume meat of any kind. Upon his return and once their hastily built fire pit was ready, she produced flint and steel to strike the fire. Brsingir! She coaxed a spark to life as she struck the two elements together, jumpstarting their fire and bringing the flames roaring to life. Now we wait for the others to arrive. I don’t have anything to cook with. Unless you have a pot in your belongings.

Stay close
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow in your debt {Tag: Arwyn}   Mon Aug 06, 2012 1:37 pm

They had broken their horses down to a canter long before they reached the clearing and came to a stop to make camp.  It gave the horses time to cool down, and eased the shock of the journey on their bodies.  The rules were the same as when riding horses unblessed by Terra's power.  You wanted to give the animals time to cool down and relax before bringing them to a complete stop so their muscles didn't cramp.  Thade took good care of his mount because his mount took equally good care of him.  When they finally reach the clearing he dismounted and removed the saddle from his back.  With the leather and steel burden on the ground, Thade stood up and leaned in so that his face was near the horses head.  He quietly whispered words to the horse that Arwyn could faintly make out with her keen ears.  He was saying something along the lines of, stay near the water and don't wander off.

Humans made the habit of tying up animals their animals to keep them from wandering off because they failed to treat them as equals.  All manner of beast were Children of Terra and loved equally, so they were to be afforded the same respect that everyone wanted.  As an Elf, Thade was raised with this mindset, and that was why his horse was treated as more than a beast of burden and more like an understanding friend.  The horse knickered and shook its mane before wandering over to the pool for a drink.  Thade wandered away, leaving the horse to its own devices, and approached Arwyn who was already unpacking.  The way her hands confidently moved through their tasks was on par with her riding skills.  She was certainly a wildflower, and not one of the cultivated roses that only existed in the vases at court.

"I have nothing against them personally, " he said and that gravelly  voice which sounded much mor ominous now that night had fallen and he was cloaked in shadows as he moved.  "I just don't like having agents with with orders different than my own around when I have a task to complete."  He stopped a few feet away from her and kept his voice low so that it didn't carry too far.   "I believe that she sent them here to protect you, but she may have given at least one of them 'additional' orders.  I cannot be sure wether that is true or not, so I must now watch all of them as well as protect you and our mission.  Again, I'm not implying anything, I'm just explaining 'why' I don't enjoy unknown variables, and keeping a reputation for means treating every unknown as a possible threat."

With his reasons explained Thade turned and started to walk to one of the small copses of trees that existed on the shadow I'd the mountain.  They were making camp and the temperature had a habit of dropping even in the summer when darkness fell. They would need a fire and a fire needed kindling to burn.  He was just making his third step when her musical voice rang out once more, and he stopped in midstride.  Luckily she couldn't see the corner of his left eye twitch, when the annoyance that raced up his spine reached it.  He wanted to ask her how it was that women, no matter what breed of Fey or Human, always told you to do something the moment AFTER you decided to do it on your own.

Thade didn't like any possible reminders that he had anything in common with humans.  Every time something pointing to that fact cropped up he thought of ants.  They were crushed underfoot all the time, but weren't worthy of a second thought.  He stamped the annoyance down and chose not to give any value to the reminder by remaining silent.  After his momentary pause he continued off in the direction he was already headed, to complete the task that he had already decided to do.  It would be nice to be among the trees.  Trees didn't talk to you if you weren't listening.


He returned shortly with an armful of wood, enough to last them through the night with at least one fire.  " I brought enough in case you were planning to have everyone huddled around one big fire. " he said as he crouched down and made a pile beside her.  Thade didn't need to wander off again to secure the camp because he had already done that when he left to gather fire wood.  He used his ability to teleport to a location that he had been in the previous hour to covertly retrace his steps and scout the perimeter without tipping off anyone laying in wait to ambush.  Fortunately he found no one and could now relax as much as Thade ever did.  Being full of anger, hatred, and having enemies kept completely relaxing, a fond memory.  At her question Thade reached into his saddle bags and pulled out a deep welled frying pan that could be used as a  shallow pot if the need ever arose.  "Here. ", he said handing it to her.  "I don't have anything to cook.  All of our provisions are on the carriage.  You can send one of your escorts out to hunt when they get here.  I'm not leaving you alone to forage.  If you're hungry now, I've got dried meats, fruits, and some nuts."  He held the flap of the pack open so that she could see into it.  Inside where a number of separate bundles that were obviously the foodstuffs that he was talking about.  "Help yourself. ", he offered but didn't take any for himself.  He had already eaten that morning, and he was trained to survive on one meal a day, a tradition he never broke so he did not become fat during peacetime.

"See that shadow up there where the last of the sun's light hits?" Thade said pointing up to the dark sky where a thin band of deep purple was.  "If you follow that ridge line to its break, there is a cave about one hundred feet above the base.  Its one of the entrances that will eventually lead to the dwarven city through a cave system.  The main entrance that led to the city was closed when the Enlightenment struck.  The shaman's said that it isn't safe to try opening them until the damage is repaired, or at least understood.  The shifting in the mountainside could cause the entire city to cave in at worse.  The wagon should reach us sometime tomorrow.  Then we can go into the mountain and join up with Darnorn's engineers and Shaman.  He has put a great deal of his personal resources into this."

" "
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow in your debt {Tag: Arwyn}   Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:10 pm

Ah now I see the problem. You’re not in total control and you don’t like it. When he offered her the pan, she took it with thanks and stood up to head for the stream. Those grown men can fend for themselves, she stated in response to his comment about the soldiers. Arwyn was not responsible for their empty stomachs and was certain that she was one of the very few among them that didn’t eat meat. At the stream she filled the cooking pan with enough water to cook with. Beinion nickered from somewhere close by and there was an answering call from Thade’s own steed. She was curious as to their conversation, but was by no means an eavesdropper.

Back at their camp, where a nice-sized fire was roaring and waiting, Arwyn created her own makeshift stove within the flames. She added a mixture of vegetables to the shallow pot of water, a chunk of salt and other herbs that she had packed away in her luggage before she placed the pan into the fire. I don’t eat meat, a matter of fact statement, said in the middle of her whittling a long stick into the shape of a spoon; raking the sharp edge of a hunting knife down the wood to form the shape that she wanted from it. Only fruits, nuts and vegetables. She was too connected with Terra to destroy any form of live that she had created.

The last time she had tried, Arwyn had experienced a grief so strong that she had starved herself for days afterwards. But that was a story for another place and time. She stirred the vegetable soup with her handmade spoon, spying Thade across from her on the other side of the fire, pointing to a peak high above them on the mountain. Her mossy green gaze followed his pointing finger to the exact spot he was showing her. The city can be saved so long as the mountain surrounding it can be refortified. She sat forward, lifting the spoon to her lips and sipping gingerly from the soup. Arwyn tested it a few more times for taste and temperature then eased the pan from the fire and onto another flat surfaced rock.

I find it a little difficult to comprehend why you take orders from Darnorn. You are the rightful heir to the Shadow Court, aren’t you? Not one to be so nosy, nor to begrudge someone that they had, Arwyn couldn’t help but wonder why an entire empire of elves would be content to take orders from a dwarf. A nicker from Beinion drew her attention away; turning so that she first looked at the horse and then again to see what had caused him to stir. The company of soldiers was slowly coming into view from a distance. Caladwen’s banner flying high in front and the LTG riding in front of his command; not even Caladwen would spare her GEN or GA for Arwyn. To be expected though; she hated to be coddled.

As the men were setting up their own tents, Arwyn stood and approached the LTG of the company. They exchanged words, mostly Arwyn making sure that their journey had been an easy one and to apologize for racing off as she had done. A group of the men were gathering their bows and quivers to hunt for their meals; others were setting up fire pits and brushing down their horses. Returning to the spot that she and Thade had picked, carrying a couple of bowls and silverware she borrowed from the soldiers who had no need of them. It isn’t gourmet but I’m not a bad cook. Setting one of the bowls and utensil by him, Arwyn began to spoon the soup out of the pan and into her own dish.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow in your debt {Tag: Arwyn}   Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:42 am

After handing off the cook pan to her Thade moved off to the side of the now crackling fire and started to unpack his bed roll. It was a small and quick set up because he had done it so many times over the years as a soldier. Arwyn's comment came at him from the side because it was so unexpected, and stopped his hands in mid motion. He turned his torso slightly so the he could look at her when he spoke instead of being rude. "It has nothing to do with me being in total control. I'm held accountable for what goes on here. I don't fail." there was a definitive sternness in Thade's voice when he said that last which made it seem like he was stating fact, and it was going to remain that way. With that he returned to setting up his own sleeping site.

Once his hands were allowed to return to the whim of quiet thoughts set to task, they were done quickly. Thade fastened the buckles that were now empty so the straps did not jingle freely. He stood up smoothly and returned to the fireside in time enough to watch the Light Court soldiers begin arriving. His dark eyes, which were uncommon for elves, watched each man diligently. They shifted from one to another as of following something being passed among them, but there was nothing. Thade knew the innate rhythms of military bands, so he followed them from one soldier to another as each performed their duties. "Amazing times we live in," he said with a sense of wonder in his voice when she spoke of fortifying the mountain themselves. "The stories of legend walk among us. The Princes' Proxy in the flesh..... I wonder of this is how the humans felt when we revealed ourselves, or when they rediscovered magic." Among the Children, there was no shortage of disdain for humans, and Thade's personal prejudice against the lesser species was very well known. "At least we can appreciate Terra's blessings when she gives them."

After that, Thade was silent while he watched and the his gaze shifted to the fire when the commander of their forces approached them. Before Arwyn left to speak with him, and could see that Thade's eyes were unfocused as they watched the flames, allowing him to see what happened on the edge of his vision. When Arwyn returned to the fire after her conversation, Thade had resumed his observations by taking particular interest in the way the lieutenant general walked back to his troops. Suddenly he ended his observation of the troops as if he now knew everything he needed, and turned his full attention to her. "I wasn't ignoring your question. I just noticed he was coming over and thought it would be more polite to wait until he finished his business."

Taking the bowl of soup from her, Thade made a traditional elven gesture of touching his heart and opening his hand towards her, which meant his gracious gratitude. He tasted the soup and nodded his head slowly. "This is delicious," he said to her in response to her saying it wasn't gourmet. "Is it because he is a dwarf?" After the question he looked at Arwyn and studied her with those same analytical eyes that watched the soldiers. It was only a moment, but under that gaze seconds could feel like hours. It was common knowledge that elves held a small amount of prejudice against dwarves because as a people they chose to exist beneath the surface, closer to the embrace of their universal mother. It ended with a shake of his head as Thade dismissed any thoughts of this elven female having any such mentality.

"It's true that I have a blood claim to the throne, but I have no right to it." He said the sentence with no malice or hint of regret in his voice. "The courts were made to bind all Terra's Children together so there can be peace and prosperity. The elves may have started it bit it belongs to the races that it governs. The Shadow Throne is held by the strongest, most capable leader. That was my grandfather, until he was betrayed and usurped. My father did nothing, but forswear his claim and step aside." Thade lifted his hand and held his one index finger extended. "I spent my life training and working to kill Emperor Molan'Zar. My driving force was vengeance, not trying to reclaim the throne or restore the empire." Thade paused to eat some of the soup that Arwyn was generous enough to share with him. It truly was delicious and he didn't want to waste it. "Darnorn killed him before I could, but he did it to take the Throne. My reason for living was gone so I found a new one. Darnorn is a hard taskmaster but he is honorable. He is strong and leads well even if it is with an iron fist. My grandfather would say he is good for the Shadow Court, so I serve my grandfather's legacy by serving him."
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow in your debt {Tag: Arwyn}   Sun Aug 26, 2012 9:37 pm

Everyone fails sometimes. Even I fail. Arwyn spooned a mouthful of the soup down her gullet; savoring the warm, flavorful mixture of vegetables as they passed down her throat to her stomach. Being the Princes’ Proxy does not inspire the excitement within my breast as it does yours, or Caladwen’s or Darnorn’s. She stirred the spoon around in her bowl, staring at the pieces of vegetables floating within. But what good does it do to sit here and cry about my fate? All I can do is make sure that no one with a superior authority tries to exert their influence over me. Another spoonful made its way to her mouth as she eyed him over the dancing flames.

His compliment to her cooking made the blonde elf smile; gratitude welling inside her chest that he would appreciate the simple made meal given to him. She did no better when there was more to cook with but at least her food was edible. Slowly though her expression fell as he began to explain the Shadow Court and how he had no claim to it. It was just like back in Caladwen’s court when people spoke of her mother and a heavy sorrow settled on her shoulders like a heavy mantle. The same could be said of her father. As malevolent as the two were she could not escape the affection that they held in her heart.

Finishing her serving of soup, she flashed him a wan smile as she rose in a single motion, taking her dirty dishes down to the stream where she cleaned them. Using the sand beneath the water to scrub, then rinse and return them back to their place before she settled down on her bedroll. Her hands linked together by her fingers and pillowed beneath her head so that it wasn’t resting on the hard ground. What is life like in the Shadow Court? I hear the nobles speak of it, and even Caladwen has her own stories, but I think a lot of it is embellishment. Something about depraved orgies… her voice would hint at the teasing, turning her head so that she could look at him from where she lay; smiling so that Thade would know she was merely jesting with him.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow in your debt {Tag: Arwyn}   Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:50 pm

The long day's journey had left him famished, but he didn't complain or even notice until the offer of food had been made to him. As a soldier you marched long and hard on your stomach and kept the complaining to a non-existent level or else iron handed commanding officers made life torture. That life suited him well because the Master of Ny'zul Kahn that he had convinced to teach him was a heartless taskmaster. Thade made quick work of the soup in silence. Something she said, however, broke his silence and bid him respond. "Darnorn isn't trying to exert power over you, Lady Arwyn. He wouldn't dare to do such a thing. His people revere Terra in such a way that even our Elvish culture fails to match. Your connecting to her is on par with a religious miracle. He can be a hard dwarf, but I don't think he would commit sacrilege by trying to control you like a pawn. Remember, The Shadow Emperor sent me to ask for your help, not demand it or trick you into something. "

It was the truth he spoke to her, plain but maybe not so simple. Thade had read her as he would have an opponent on the battlefield, but that was a matter of necessity. Darnorn sent him to succeed, and he only did what he did so he could launch a convincing argument. Any other individual who would have approached her for a favor would have asked and then argued for what they wanted. Thade just made sure he did a better job of asking. It saved him the time of arguing with her and reaching the same conclusion. He saw nothing wrong in using the tools that he had in order to see results.

Something else she said when she was speaking out about being the Proxy that made him give it a second thought. He knew what it was to have expectations placed upon him that he didn't appreciate. It seemed as if he started his life with them and it would also end that way. His grandfather thought he would follow him in their blood bound duty, and hold the Shadow throne to protect all that their family believed in. He did not sit on the Throne as his grandfather had once planned, but he still protected the Shadow Court from the rot that would seek to destroy it from within. His father had saddled him with a different set of expectations. His father was talented with magic in ways that few shamans ever were. He bore the label genius, and had the strength to carry it to new heights. He recognized the same strength and potential and wanted to push him towards Arcane studies, even at the cost of renouncing the Shadow throne instead of fighting for his birthright.

Thade took his father's hopes and dreams and dashed them against the rocks by studying Ny'zul Kahn. The martial arts style changed the way his body channeled mana, destroying any potential he had at being a high level spell caster. He dealt with expectation in his own way and walked his own path, but he was curious to know how this slight girl who was a thing of legend dealt with it. "You aren't happy about being the Proxy? How does it make you feel?" While she answered his question he helped her clean up the campsite and the dinner dishes that they shared. It was only the polite thing to do. After everything was squared away, he started to lay out his bedroll and prepare to settle down for the night. The journey was exhausting, and the morning came far too quickly when one was tired. It was best to greet the dawn on one's own terms.

After Arwyn answered his question, Thade would make moves to bed down for the night by removing his riding cloak, folding it, and taking off a few other items. His boots were left on because that was one of the essentials that he would need should anything bad happen through the night. While he laid there relaxing, Arwyn's next question caused him to arch an eyebrow in surprise and he looked at her as if she had three heads. "You don't really think the Shadow Court is like that do you?!?!" he asked her with enough surprise that he pushed up on to his elbow so he could look at her. "There are races governed by the Shadow Court that have 'free spirited' practices, but that isn't the Court itself. In the Shadow Court we don't look down on others because of their practices and beliefs. We revere strength and believe in survival of the fittest, as Terra teaches us. To outsiders the conflict seems difficult, sometimes even barbaric, but every Court has it. We just don't pretend that it doesn't exist for the sake of public image."
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow in your debt {Tag: Arwyn}   Sat Sep 01, 2012 10:02 pm

She listened with a keen ear as he again made Darnorn’s case. Arwyn would not speak out against the dwarf king, but she would neither be fooled by him or by the smooth tongued elf he had sent to bring her to the mountains. Miracle? She had never thought of herself in such terms. The word sent a trail of shivers up her spine as she lay there staring up at the night sky. Miracle… Did she want to be so revered by those around her? Arwyn did not aspire to such heights. All she wanted from life was to help Terra return to her former glory and to eventually pass into the void with a peace in her heart, knowing that she had lived her life according to her own dictation, not someone else’s.

I’m not unhappy about being the proxy. But it isn’t as glorious as you might think. Would you or Darnorn or Caladwen even give me a second thought if I was not? She almost sounded bitter. If she was not remembered as the Princes’ Proxy then she would be the Traitor’s Daughter. Arwyn sought peace from the twinkling stars above her; cooling her temper as it had suddenly flared back down so that when she next spoke, her voice had returned to its calm, musical state. I would like for someone to think of me simply as Arwyn for once in my life…not the Princes’ Proxy. Her voice was wistful and barely above a whisper.

As she returned the subject to the Shadow Court and his incredulous response to her question of orgies broke into their calm conversation, Arwyn rolled onto her side and sat up; propped by an arm beneath her until she pushed up to sit with her legs crossed. Free spirited? So you do have depraved orgies! She chuckled good naturedly at him. It was like a slumber party she had never had in her younger years. Tell me about it! The Shadow Court, I mean. Not the orgies… Unless you want to… Her green eyes were filled with mirth as she gazed at him from across the fire; shadows passing over his expression from the dancing flames that separated them. Do you have grand balls like Caladwen?

The balls that her cousin played hostess too were always a grand affair. With every one of the nobles of the Light Court dressing in their finery for a night of drinking and dancing and Arwyn had long ago learned that these occasions were the ones that she chose for herself to avoid. Her first ball had been a severely unpleasant experience, as she had faced her first public rejection. Even with Caladwen as her champion, not everyone could be made to like the fair Arwyn. She would forever suffer the sins of her mother and father.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow in your debt {Tag: Arwyn}   Wed Sep 05, 2012 6:16 pm

"You're right.  If you weren't the Proxy, they probably wouldn't give you much more regard than any other individual in the court." She had asked him a question and he wasn't going to insult her intelligence by trying to say Darnorn would have taken notice of her if her circumstances were different.  He was supposed to enlist her help, not lie to her.  He was settled in his blankets and not hating the conversation.  The girl seemed to be devoid of the guile that ran rampant in the two Courts.  If she indeed had a duplicitious nature, she was very good at keeping it hidden.  If she was of the Shadow Court that would immediately set Thade on edge, because its the ones who appear innocent that carry the deadliest venom.  Growing up in the Court of Light instilled a different set of values and lessons.  Her mother was a rare flower with sharp thorns that managed to thrive in the light.  This one didn't seem to be at all like her parents.

The way Arwyn chose to take what he said about the Shadow Court not enforcing strict codes on their denizens internal practices was completely out of context and unexpected.  Thade sat up bolt right and shot her a look of annoyance.  It was the first time that any emotion of any sort marred the placid face that seemed etched in stone.  The simple fact that it showed so suddenly meant it was strong enough to break past the mask, and that made it honest.  It was the first sign of anything that was truly him and not his duty being carried out.  "That isn't what I said! ", he exclaimed at her without shouting.  With his voice less influenced by his annoyance Thade continued their conversation, but was beaten it by the deluge of questions and requests from Arwyn who was now reminding how young she was, and how young he should have been, because there weren't many years separating them.  

"I didn't say that there were orgies of any sort.  I said if there were orgies, then its no one's business unless they are invited to them.  Its bad form to go forcing your ideals and beliefs on others, or care unless it affects you.  "  Thade  recovered his composure and laid his head back down on the pillow of his bedroll.  His dark blue eyes looked to the sky above and began to search the stars for constellations that he knew. It was something to keep his mind off of his anger, and not let it be lavished upon his charge, because doing so would be counter productive.  "The Shadow Court is the balance to the Court of Light.  For all its differences, the two are very similar.  The Court has nobles, whose titles are given by the Emperor and then inherited through blood.  They don't all get along all the time, but blood feuds are not a quiet matter.  They are openly declared.  Sometimes they are fought through quiet wars of attrition and maneuvering, and sometimes they can become brutal duels in open Court."
 Arwyn would know from gossip in the Light Court that Thade Aran Fey'rial had participated in a number of such duels in open court.  "Once a matter is settled in open Court it is officially closed, and not brought up again.  Doing so would bring dishonor and challenge the ruling of the Emperor." As Darnorn's  Hand dealing with such offenders fell to Thade

"Yes we have balls, but Darnorn has nothing to do with them.  He is a practical dwarf and prefers his celebration to be more 'traditional', though I have seldom seen him celebrate anything. Majority of the noble houses that reside in Court are Elven, since it was our people that established the Court system.   He honors tradition and allows them to have their fun.  The other races join in and seem happy so Darnorn ignores it."  Thade's eyes drifted to the horizon and slowly traced it upward to the sky looking for the moon.  It was the middle of the night and he saw no point in drawing out his light crystal to see what the exact time was, so he simply gauged it by how far the moon had traveled since he first saw it.  "Darnorn appointed the head of a noble house to handle all the Court gayeties in his best interest, and they jumped at the chance.  So far they are still alive which means they are doing an acceptable job. "

His head turned towards the soldiers' encampment, and strained to peer through the darkness that existed in the spaces between campfire glows.  It was there he saw the soldiers already bedded down for the night.  Not all of them were asleep but they knew as well as he, that a good night's sleep was important.  It was unknown what the new day would bring, so if you were afforded the opportunity to be well rested, you made the most of it.  "It's late, and we have an early start tomorrow.  We start trekking through the mountain to the city.  If you have any other questions, you should just visit the Shadow Court.  I'm sure Darnorn would welcome you with open arms since you are doing him a personal favor.   You could even take part in one of those orgies that you are so interested in."  With that he closed his eyes and waited for darkness and silence to take him until the morning.  
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow in your debt {Tag: Arwyn}   Wed Sep 05, 2012 10:57 pm

At least he did not shower her with false hope. Arwyn was not so delusional that she thought for an instant, if she were not the Prince’s Proxy, that anyone would pay her much time of day. She would still be the Traitor’s Daughter, but only then they would acknowledge her to see if she were anything like her parents. It was a great relief to both courts that she was nothing like them that they could tell. She did not aspire to be Queen of this court or Empress of that one. In fact if she could throw away her noble blood, she would. However, because she was of both, Arwyn could never really escape the claim that she had.

His rise of temper, which was the first glimpse of emotion she received from Thade, gave the blond elf pause. She suppressed a grin, though did raise a questioning brow at him, even as he stared hotly at her from beyond the campfire. Oh? Well that is how it sounded. She tried to sound as haughty as he did. Making a mockery of his rigid personality, though keeping a straight face while she did was beyond control. Her lips were forever cracking into an amused grin, which was one of her many worn expressions. If there was amusement in the world, she would find it regardless of her surroundings.

As he went on to explain the workings of the Shadow Court, Arwyn returned to her bedroll. Lying on her side with her hands beneath her head and her eyes staring across the field to the horses; Beinion still grazed contentedly, though she could tell by the sluggish way his jaw worked that he was in the midst of falling to sleep. Bwael isto, Thade Aran Fey’rial. Xal gre'as'anto tlu wun dosst deis. She could be heard saying to him, right before she drifted into a state of wakeful dreaming; when the world around her seemed to slow and her breathing came fewer and more shallow than normal. Her dreams were far too many to recall and of no real significance to be deemed important.

The following morning, one hour before dawn…

Waking slowly, a gentle nudge to the side of her head, Arwyn blinked her eyes open to the purple of a pre-dawn sky. Beinion was beside her, nudging his mistress awake with firm presses of his nose against her cheek. Vrine'winith, she laughed sleepily, pushing him affectionately away as she sat up and stretched; arms rising above her head then coming down so she could rub the sleep from her face. Soldiers were milling around, making ready for the day’s journey that was ahead of them. Rising up with the stallions help, Arwyn made her way down to the water where she splashed her face, replaited her hair and made use of a conveniently placed bush to take care of her morning toilette.

Upon return, she found Thade, awake and ready, seemingly impatient for them to be off. Good morning. Sleep well? She hummed as she set to work packing up her bedroll and other items, then re-saddling Beinion. In the midst of her tightening the strap that wrapped around his middle, the skewbald horse swung his massive head around to the blond and nickered softly, drawing her attention away from her task to him, then over to Thade. Xun naut telanth folt klezn! Xor urrth Usstan orn plynn tarthe dosst crastian whol l' saahene! Chiding the stallion, Arwyn finished her task and stood, placing one foot in the stirrup as she pulled herself up into the saddle. We're’ready.

Good night. May peace be in your dreams.
Do not say such things! Or else I will take away your apples for the week!
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow in your debt {Tag: Arwyn}   Sun Sep 09, 2012 3:52 pm

Sleep was an uneventful affair that was quickly over. He rose before the sun, packed up his campsite, made q quick meal of dried meat, and waited for the rest of their party to join him. In all honesty Thade was expecting the soldiers to be up before Lady Arwyn, and have to wake her up to keep her from sleeping in. To his surprise Arwyn was up at the same time as the soldiers and was done striking camp before them. Because he was among others, Thade forwent his morning ritual of practicing the art of Ny'Zul Kan, and simply meditated during the time he waited. The art was a secretive tradition and allowing someone to watch him practice would have given them chance to see the movements before they were facing them. It was an advantage he was taught never to give anyone. Instead he meditated on the philosophy and method of his art, and played out the movements in his mind. The mind was the strongest part of the self, and the key to all others.

When Arwyn was ready to continue their journey and mounted, Thade stood from where he was seated on the ground. His own steed had been kept free of tackle. His horse gear was left with the wagon driver who had their equipment. It was all stored with the wagon driver who had arrived through the night with their supplies. "We need to g into the mountain now. It would be better for the horses if we left them out here with the coachmaster. He will look after them while we are in the city. Have some of your soldiers help carry supplies since there are many. " He already had a number of parcels ready to carry as his burden. Once Arwyn and the soldiers were ready, Thade picked up his added gear, slung it over his shoulders and across his back, and started up the mountain side.

The terrain wasn't very steep at first but the higher they got the greater the angle became. The mountainscape was mostly hard rock and sharp crags, that required them to be sure of their footing as they traveled. Stretches were lose rock that sometimes became precarious but Thade was an experienced guide. He had traveled this path a few times and knew it very well, so their route was the easiest possible. After about an hour trek the mountain path became perfectly vertical, and that was when Thade started taking them laterally. One thousand yards into it, he disappeared into the mountainside before their very eyes. It would have been enough to give them pause because there was no magic that any of them could feel, a moment later his head appeared and he said "The way is still clear and stable. Come on. Just watch your footing, it's a tight squeeze." There was no magic involved, it was simply the appearance of the craggy rock face. There was a large fissure in the mountain side, that was thin and jagged enough that it blended into the shadows and broken outline of the rock face. If one didn't know it was there, they would easily pass by it thinking it was just a shallow crack.

The crack took a few twists and turns that took the travelers back and forth a few times before it opened into a slightly larger tunnel that allowed them to walk comfortably. "It's not much farther. This tunnel takes us to the outskirts of the city." Thade said quietly, but his voice still echoed down the distance of the winding tunnel. Thade pulled out a light crystal to make sure that there was some illumination for them all to travel by if no one else produced a light source. After a few thousand yards of tunnel, it opened up into a massive cavern that extended into what seemed into infinite darkness. "We're here."he said and then walked out into the massive cavern.

The first structure came as a surprise as it appeared in the darkness, immediately dominating the edge of the light. It was a large structure that rose above them at least three stories before being lost into the darkness once more. There were other buildings around, and streets that wound into the warren of structures, that the soldiers would be driven by their training to spread out and secure. "Don't stray too far. It is easy to get lost down here not knowing the landmarks." He didn't want to have to waste any time tracking down lost lambs. He continued on while they made their rounds leaving it up to them to keep up. If any of them chose to investigate their surroundings, the soldiers would find that all of the buildings were empty, evacuated long ago.

Arwyn would have a far different experience than the others in the party. Entering the mountain she would feel Terra's embrace surrounding her. It was a massively overwhelming presence that encompassed her entire perception at first. She could feel the strength of the mountain, but she could also feel many deep wounds in them. Those wounds turned this once solid place into a puzzle that was holding together, but constantly in the verge of shifting and any one of those shifts could be the last. It would be obvious that while not an immediate danger, she was the only one here that knew the full scope of the impending disaster if the wrong course of action was taken.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow in your debt {Tag: Arwyn}   Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:47 pm

No horses? Beinion was of the same mind as Arwyn. Not that she did not trust Thade’s carriage driver, she was loathe leaving the stallion in a strange place. They were reluctant to part with one another; Arwyn lingering by his side until the very last minute, when Thade became impatient and she could no longer avoid it. She whispered some assurances to the stallion while lifting her pack from the ground and securing the straps over her shoulders. The soldiers were all carrying their own things, plus a little extra of what might be needed, just as a precaution.

When they began the trek up the mountain, Arwyn was keeping pace with the men with great ease. All of her time spent outdoors gave her the stamina and endurance a woman of her lithe physique couldn’t appear to have. Now on a vertical incline, Arwyn’s pace flagged only slightly due to the weight she was carrying on her back. Once they reached the spot where Thade had disappeared into the cavern she accepted the assistance of the commanding officer to haul her over the edge. Thank you, she dusted her hands off and glanced around.

As they began their journey through the tunnel, Arwyn’s army was still filing in through the opening; the beat of their feet marching through the darkened rocky hole echoing several yards ahead of them until they emerged into the vast cavern. Arwyn stood at Thade’s right shoulder, her breathing heavy with the exertion and excitement of their travels. She was staring at the silhouetted structures with a sort of fascination that was generally reserved for small children. Green eyes round and her lips stretching in a great smile. I’ll give the dwarves some credit. They make some amazing cities. The vibrations that transferred through the ground from the constant work of the others at the base camp drew Arwyn’s attention briefly in that direction.

She watched some of the soldiers disappear into the darkness, searching for things that were no longer there but unable to stop themselves due to their sense of duty as well as the training that was instilled within them. Thade led her in another direction, taking Arwyn into the city and thus exposing her to the damage of the mountain. Through her connection with Terra and the Princes’, Arwyn felt herself become attuned to the destruction around her and the precipice that the city was sitting on. Her eyes began to mist over with unshed tears that she quickly dashed away with the back of her hand. This is so sad, she muttered, not to anyone but herself.

Har'dro, xxizz uns'aa kyorl, she called forth, seeking the assistance of one of the Princes’ so that her connection with Terra was sharpened and thus cutting her off from the three others. Around a bend in the road, they came into view of the base camp. 500 yards in front of them with dwarves and other elves from the Shadow Court rushing around like busy little worker bees. So many…
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow in your debt {Tag: Arwyn}   Fri Sep 21, 2012 12:39 pm

If one paid close enough attention to others, it was possible to understand their sense of awareness. There were the simple clues such as the direction and movement of eyes or the tilt of the head. Then there were other, harder to read signals that Thade became very good at reading because they showed him the openings to attack in any given moment. Thade watched Arwyn's awareness change right before his every eyes. One moment she was staring at the subterranean city and the next her eyes seemed to lose some of their focus, and her body language shifted as if her stance was expanding. The subtle shift of her jaw, parting her lips, was an expression of surprise. Thade felt as if he were exposed, being sensed in a way that he wasn't aware of before. So this is what it was to be in the presence of a Proxy awakened.

The Hand allowed himself a brief moment to feel the sense of awe before turning on his heel and leading the way through the darkened stone city. All around him the soldiers fanned out and safe guarded the way, but there were no intruders in this dead city, only the Fey that belonged there. After a short distance of walking, the pools of light given off by their light crystals joined with a larger collection of light sources. They had reached the encampment set up to house the many others who were doing their best to try and bring this mountain range from the brink of ruin. Off in the distance at the far end of the camp were many boxes and crates marked with dwarven runes that read 'Parts', which were no doubt there for the contraptions that the Dwarves would build as needed.

Moving closer to the encampment the group of travelers could make out the various people milling about the area carrying out their tasks. There were far more Dwarves than anyone else, each one hauling tools or some form of machinery. This was dwarves in their natural state, builders and creators, deep in the mother's embrace. Among them there were much taller individuals that had finer builds, and wore robs that hung off their bodies to give them a flowing appearance. There was no mistaking the markings on the hems and sleeves, these individual were Geomancers, Shaman who specialized in magics of earth, stone, and metal. Upon noticing the new comers the activity in the camp came to a slow halt and a number of eyes turned in their direction.

Two Fey emerged from the crowd of onlookers, and approached Thade and Arwyn. One of them was a tall elf with white hair and wizened features. Though he looked of great age his back was unbowed by time and his chin held the prod inclination of one who was confident in himself. The other was a bearded dwarf, as all dwarfs have beards once they begin to mature. His stout body had broad soldiers and were very muscular. Beneath the whiskers Arwyn could see the features of youth, and a burning exuberance in his eyes. They both inclined their head in respectful greeting to Thade and then turned their attention to Arywn. In unison they both dropped into deep bows, paying her due homage and respect.

"Lady Arwyn, allow me to introduce you to Sage Tor Vryn'las and Master Builder Garvin Deepwell. Sage Vryn'las is a Geomancer of the highest order and Master Deepwell is acclaimed as one of the most innovative graduates that the Stone Hall Engineering Guild has ever licensed. Like you they have answered Lord Axecaster's call. I have the pleasure of introducing you to Lady Arwyn Alia'Lukarn, the Princes Proxy." Thade was very gracious in his introductions, keeping proper etiquette at all times.

The two Fey rose from their bows and gave her their individual greetings of hello that were just as gracious as Thade's introductions. It was the Sage, however, that spoke up to speak directly to Arwyn in any form other than greeting. "Lady Lukarn, you must be tired from your long journey from Elyria. I will see that my people take your things and offer you all the comforts of home. When the messages told us of your coming we readied one of the buildings for you. After you are rested and willing, I would love to speak with you about the mountain range and your impressions of it."
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