Hell of a life

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Post by Admin on Tue May 16, 2017 3:14 pm

101. Disturbance

For a moment it looked as if the leaves high on the huge trees of the forest church formed a melody, when an elven woman in a white robe entered the sacred elvenplace.
Right in the middle of the open spot, she halted and lifted her face towards the sky.
With a smile she whispered a few words and the tone of her voice sounded encouraging.
“Spirits of our ancestors, our family and our friends, never will you be forgotten. We pay homage to the ones who left our lives, but not our hearts.” The woman raised her arms in a relaxed way, as if she wanted to touch the leaves high above her.
“Guide us with your endless wisdom and share your insights with us.”

Incha the Spirit Shaman took place on the ground.
Every month she stopped by at this place to listen to the spirits. They never said anything but sometimes they communicated in other ways... by sending a tingle, a feeling or even a smell. Only three times in her life she received images in her mind. That was pretty rare since Incha was almost 250 years the Spirit Shaman of this community. Even with her 416 years she still looked rather young, a human would say she just reached thirty.

Her hands touched the soil. She closed her eyes and with a relaxed smile she focused. Silence fell in the wood, as if every animal was holding its breath in an attempt to catch the spirit-language.
The requiem didn’t last long though as suddenly Incha’s smile faded. Her eyes widened and she got up from the dark forestland. She left the place as quickly as she could.

The spirit had the feeling that something was expected; but what? Meanwhile it was plagued again with images... without understanding them... fire, struggling, beings running around defending themselves... a familiar face...


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Post by Admin on Tue May 16, 2017 3:14 pm

102. Future

“Elvina? Elvina! Open the door girl! It’s me... Angela!” The bluish-haired woman was growing desperate. Master Roggins told her Elvina was up in her room because she was not feeling well.
She tried to knock one more time,” Elvina! Please, open up!”
No response, Angela turned around and went to see Roggins for a spare key. Along with him she opened the door.

A woman was under the blankets. Angela sighed and nodded to Master Roggins who left the room but waited in the hallway as he was worried.
Angela walked over to the bed and took a seat. “Elvina... hey... it’s me, Angela,” she softly started. Gently she moved Elvina’s face towards her...
The sight of that face struck Angela... it was almost as white as the hair surrounding it.
“Ow no, Elvina...”, Angela’s hand stroke over the pale face... it was feeling cold.
Master Roggins heard Angela and his head popped in to see what was going on. He saw Elvina and rushed out to get some help.

That was yesterday morning. Elvina couldn’t believe what happened, but she was feeling better.
She even traveled a bit after a few good meals, however she couldn't wear her armor for more than a few hours.
Leaning on the railing of the arena, she watched her love exchanging sword strokes with a fierce goblin. She smiled seeing her love in such a good condition. Perhaps they would survive this plague after all.

For a moment she closed her eyes and thought back at the night she told Celestia about her problems. Now that she was better, those things were knocking at her door again. And she wouldn’t ignore them. She heard out Cel’s advice and decided to make plans. Her love already committed to help her.
Getting information about her brother was important, but she needed to make sure not to make a bond with the Master... at least not a lasting one. And maybe there was another way. After all, he came to her... he “admitted” he didn’t had enough power here... which Elvina partly doubted... but, it were his words and she would catch him on those.
The Master also wanted something else, as she heard him mentioning Elvina wasn’t “finished” here... she grinned as she knew she would bring this up again.
Let’s just see how much he wanted her... she would wait him out.

While stretching her arms, she brought her hands together and silently leaned on the railing as she watched her love starting a new challenge.
Her heart was pounding, not only of excitement but also because of her feelings... feelings that grew everyday. Elvina was feeling happy.
The second competitor conceded to her lovers blade, and left the arena with a big cut in his sword arm.
As her love looked around, Elvina’s heartbeat raised even further when their eyes met.
A helm was taken off and the figure in full plate armor walked in the pit towards the side where Elvina was standing. Elvina leaned a bit more over the railing, her long white hair hanging down.
A woman with red hair tied in pony tail looked up and gave Elvina a warm playful smile.
“Hello there, my love... what are you doing here?”
Elvina smiled back,” Watching you off course...”
Jezel briefly looked back at the arena before looking up again. “I have only a few competitors left... how about dinner together, you and me, right after this?”
“An excellent idea, darling... i’ll be waiting here for you.” Butterflies found their place in Elvina’s stomach again.
After they blew a kiss to each other, Elvina took place on a bench.
This would be a nice evening. Further planning could always be done later.


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Post by Admin on Tue May 16, 2017 3:15 pm

103. Plans

“Amilcar, i have to tell you something.” It was a dark night at the inn of Morell.
The fellow warlock approached her with a glas of wine in his hand and took a seat near the fireplace in which she was staring.
The past days she had been talking with a few people about her problem with the Master. This time she wasn’t going to ask any advice, she was going to give it.
“What is it, Elvina?” Angela’s future husband looked up at her.
“He... is back... Amilcar.”
He frowned,” He... what do you mean, he? You mean...?”
Elvina nodded and lowered her voice even further. “The Master, … he is back.”
He widened his eyes and got up again, almost spilling his wine. “Where? What do you mean... what?? When??”
Elvina motioned him to calm down,” Easy my friend. I saw him a few weeks ago, in a forest. I tried to kill him... but that seemed impossible. Instead, he... talked...”
“Elvina, talked... about??”
Elvina looked at him,” Amilcar, … warn Angela. Look for a place to hide for a while.”
“What, is she in danger, but... no, what about you... I.... Elvina??”
Elvina shifted her gaze back to the fire. “Amilcar, just hide with her, please.”
The man put his hand on her shoulder,” Elvina, what does he want?”

Elvina took a deep breath before answering,” First of all, … me...”
“What, no way! You? Why??”
She didn’t looked at him while answering,” He wants me to marry him.”
Amilcar shook his head as if he didn’t believe what he just heard. “To... ma... bu... what??”
Elvina seemed pretty calm and kept staring in the flames.
“No Elvina... is there anything we can do? What... are you going to do?”
This time Elvina turned her eyes to him before answering firmly,“ I’m not going to marry that bastard. And besides, you know who i love.”
Amilcar nodded,” But there has to be something, let me help, why...”
Elvina interrupted him,” You are going to get married... Angela also told me about having kids. Look, the Master didn’t say anything about Angela and that just worries me.”
Elvina smiled,” Don’t think i’m doing this alone Amilcar. I’ve already got some friends who will help me. I don’t think anything in the world will keep Jezel away from my side. Celestia and some other friends who have experience with demons and devils know too. This will be prepared carefully... i only have to wait until he comes.”
Amilcar shivered,” Comes... comes for what?”
Elvina looked back in the flames and whispered,” For my answer...”
“Your answer to what?”
“My answer to marry him, in exchange for information about my brother, my family...”
Amilcar looked worried,” Elvina? What... will you say to tell him?”
She was silent as she had no answer to that, yet.

An hour later Elvina was traveling back to Cear, alone with her thoughts. The first thing she would do was to find Jezel. The blossoming love between them was something else she would fight for. They both survived the plague and Elvina believed in their future. Not even a Demon Lord could change that!
Her feelings for Jezel had been stirring for some time now. Elvina couldn’t exactly determine when she first started to feel something for her but she remembered some moments, weeks even before their relationship started, yes... that ‘something’ was building up... slowly but certain.
There was this conversation on the bridge near the keep of Lendose, the moment Jezel told Elvina she would join the Dasarian rebels on the battlefields. For some reason it made Elvina’s heart jump as she realised they would be seeing each other a lot more.
About a week later they shared some bathing time together at the Mystivale inn... where she and Jezel exchanged a lot of things about their past. Elvina was amazed how she opened up to Jezel... for a moment she even forgot about her “walls”.
And there were their adventures near Tristan, where they “accidentally” touched each other in the Roadhouse... at least the first time... It was then they found themselves gazing deeply into each other’s eyes for a moment. By that time Elvina already knew what she was feeling for Jezel.
However, their first kiss had to wait for even a few more days and happened in Jezel’s room. It was as if they both melted into each other. Jezel kissed her, but neither was leading the kiss. They both rather seemed to explore the other one’s lips, feeling each others warmth...
Beautiful and magical feelings immediately spread through Elvina’s body and it didn’t take long before she was embracing Jezel... fully opening her heart for this new love.

Elvina shook up out of her thoughts when she reached the landing.
Her decision was made.
If the Master showed up she would hear him out why he still ‘needed’ her here. Perhaps there was a deal in that to loosen up some information about her brother and herself. She would be careful not making any other promises as she was scared another bond would be formed.
She would also make sure that Angela stayed out of reach, although she had the feeling the bluish-haired woman knew more about the Master than she told so far. Probably unaware...
If Elvina's brother was secure she would look for a way to take out the Master... she already had some help... but to be effective in finding and targetting him she really needed the true name of the Master... and Angela might be the key to that after all. She could at least tell Elvina about the Master’s forces, and his powers.
She cursed as she remembered warning Amilcar to run off. She shrugged, with a bit of luck Angela was still staying in Cear.
Only thing left after all of that was to find the Master’s weak spot...


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Post by Admin on Tue May 16, 2017 3:15 pm

104. Disturbing information

“Hello Angela,” Elvina smiled as the bluish-haired woman opened the door of her room at the Buck Inn.
“Elvina? Hey! What...,” Angela looked confused,” Come in! Please, come in, take a seat!”
Elvina was wearing a beautiful dress, Angela had to look twice at the door before she convinced herself this was really Elvina.
“You saw Amilcar, Angela?”
Angela nodded,” He told me we had to run... but...”
Elvina smirked,” But you are still here?”
Angela was looking confused again. “Elvina... i had a fight with Amilcar about it... it took a bit time before i agreed. He was really angry...”
Elvina looked a bit worried,” What happened?”

Angela took a seat next to the white-haired woman, releasing a deep sigh. “We are okay now, at least i think. Look, just before Amilcar told me about your warning, that night i had a dream. The Master had taken the appereance of Amilcar and was telling me to turn around and run off, away from everything, also from him. He said that he didn’t want to marry me, and other ugly things... Anyways, When i woke up Amilcar was sleeping next to me and i got out for some fresh air. When i returned i woke him up.” Angela looked down,” Then he told me. He said he was going to listen to your warning and i... i didn’t agree. Soon our words became a quarrel... and i called him... a...” Angela stopped and tears appeared in her eyes.
Elvina laid her hand on Angela’s shoulder,” What Angela? Are you okay?”
Angela quickly wiped of the few tears,” Yes, yes, we are good now... it was only... i saw him for a moment again as the Master in disguise, with the face of Amilcar... and i called him... a coward... multiple times. Elvina... i broke his heart. And i didn’t mean it that way, i thought i was talking to the Master... i was … i don’t know anymore. I was sooo confused.”

Elvina took a deep breath before saying something. “Angela, Amilcar really is a good guy. I just know it. He’ll forgive you if he not already done that. But i assume he might be worried about you now... just as i am.”
Angela looked up again,” Worried? Why?”
Elvina’s eyes seemed to pierce hers. “The Master in your dream,... it could have been an attempt to control you again... confusing you a bit... confusing Amilcar too, and even others. However...” as she watches Angela’s eyes widening,” It could also have been just a dream.”
Angela shook her head,” I thought about it, really, and now even more since you tell me he is back... what did he want... i mean, Amilcar told me what you told him... but... what are you planning?”

The past days Elvina had been running around, wondering if she really could trust Angela. But since she realised Angela might be a source of unaware information...
“Well, i’m going to take him out... in his own house.”
Angela almost jumped of the bed. “WHAT, ARE YOU CRAZY??!!”
Elvina’s eyes flamed a little,” Hush woman, there is no need for that!”
“Are YOU serious... you are going back … back there? You barely survived the previous time.” She studied Elvina’s face and saw determination. “I want in...”
“No way Angela, don’t you think fourty years was long enough?”
The bluish-haired woman’s eyes twinkled,” Yea... but this would be my chance to finish my past for once and for all... well except for Marrent...”
Elvina took Angela’s hand and motioned her to the bed again. “Listen, Angela... you can help me.”
Angela smiled.
“But i only need information.”
“No Elvina, i’m going with you, to the lower planes.” Angela raised her hand to stop Elvina from saying something. “Maybe i can help you with your brother after all.”

Elvina looked confused. “But... why now, you didn’t say a lot last time i mentioned Artega... only that he was a warlock like me and that traveled in the lower planes.”
Angela blushed,” He … euh, hmm, he had an eye on me...”
Elvina’s face turned pale,” WHAT, my brother had a crush on you?? Are you kidding me?! Isn’t he a bit too, euh, young, for that?”
Angela’s face turned red,” Are you saying i am old?? I know, i have been long down there but i barely aged if you look at the number of years... and everything still “works” you know!”
Elvina looked a bit ashamed,” I’m sorry, its just, he can’t be older than twenty and...”
Angela filled in the last words of the sentence with her own conclusion,” … and that is too young for being with a fifty-five year old woman... who barely looks older than you?”
Elvina studied Angela’s face briefly, estimating her age indeed rather behind in the twenties.
Angela’s lips split as she started to laugh... “Girl, i could have been your mother!”
Elvina grinned and joined the laughing.

“Anyways Elvina, please don’t tell this to Amilcar. And besides, it is past.”
Elvina took Angela’s arm,” But why didn’t you know he is my brother, since you know and seen him a bit.”
Now Angela studied Elvina’s face,” Hm, he didn’t look like you... well, he did had white hair... but his face was different. At least i wouldn’t have thought he was your brother.”
Something wasn’t feeling alright within Elvina’s belly, but she couldn’t lay her finger on it.
“Maybe i can help Elvina...”
Elvina needed to think about that.
“Look, Elvina, i CAN help you find him.”
“Down there... he has a place there...”
Elvina’s eyes widened once more. “But, the Master said he was in danger? How... does that match?” But she said it more to herself... again something was wrong.
Angela shrugged,” I only know that he sometimes stayed there.”
“Again Angela, why didn’t you tell me this the last time?”
The bluish-haired woman sighed. “Because of Amilcar... he is … touchy when it comes to men who like me... i gave it a lot of thought, now you know.”
“But you are not going to run with Amilcar?”
Angela sighed,” I don’t want too, but i promised to listen to him, he’s working on something i think. But, i’m going to ask him to help you.”
Elvina got up from the bed,” Angela, i really have to think about all this. Visiting that 'place' sounds ‘inviting’, but we better are prepared.”
Before she reached the door she heard Angela,” You really look good, Elvina. How’s Jezel?”
Elvina smiled as she turned around,” She is fine. Thanks for asking.”
Angela looked curiously,” Perhaps we can do our wedding together?”
Elvina threw her head a bit backwards and chuckled. Angela grinned.

Elvina left the Buck Inn with the promise she would return within a few days and set course to her inn.
But not before visiting the orphans. After delivering the gold as usual, she picked up a new dress in the city.
While on her way, she fell back in thought. Something about the information was disturbing her, and many questions remained. Yet she would give herself the time to think it over. Cautious, carefully, suspicious... as always.
Arianna crossed her path and told Elvina that Jezel was angry... something about losing her sword. She also said Jezel left the inn to search for her precious weapon.
A few hours asking around didn’t deliver any clue where Jezel could have gone. Elvina decided to wait at the Mystivales.
Just before she reached the inn she ran into Celestia, with whom she had a nice and warm conversation. It was so good to see her friend again.
And just when she saw Jezel passing and ran behind her to catch up... she realised what was wrong with the information. But she had no explanation for it.

The next evening Elvina lay in her bed, with her eyes open, staring at the ceiling. Her thoughts prevented her from sleeping. Only a few hours ago she ended a conversation with Orion Steele, a damn ex-canite who was now responsible for her new concerns.
Shayde... her Sister, and one who was becoming a really good friend of her, was according to Orion not the girl who she ‘claimed’ to be.
Elvina remembered how she had to focus in controlling her feelings when Orion was saying all those … things. Things her friend Shayde didn’t tell so far. Elvina was trying to convince herself it was not true, or at least parts of the information were twisted or ‘missing’. She didn’t trust Orion as it seemed to her he was trying to sow discord. And she was almost certain Shayde would have told this about herself... or soon would...
Elvina was ashamed, judging Shayde for the fact she might didn’t tell something, ... as Elvina also kept things behind about herself. And she knew Shayde cared for her.
On the other hand... Elvina told Shayde a secret for which she was first afraid it would end the friendship between them. Elvina smiled a bit as she was glad that didn’t happen.
A deep sigh escaped from her lips as she turned to her side, watching her love sleeping, observing her slow breathing.
Absently Elvina’s hand ran slowly over the arm of the marvelous red haired woman, until sleep finally caught up on her.

Just before she closed her eyes, she made one more decision. Instead of waiting like a frightened chicken for its head being cut off, she would have a little fun.
It didn’t take away her hidden feelings of being afraid, but Elvina didn't want to end up with the Master thinking he had her in his grip... from wherever he was watching...


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Post by Admin on Tue May 16, 2017 3:16 pm

105. Precautions

It has been a busy week.
But, Elvina found ‘someone’. Before starting the perilious adventure that was awaiting them, she needed some... ‘assurances’.
Elvina asked her love and a few friends a question... a terrible question. And off course they all gave her similar answers, or questions in return... except for one.
And if you looked at who it was... it couldn’t get more ironic. But Elvina shook off any raising questions. It was a good friend of her... and to Elvina, friendship was … unquestioned.
Leaving behind this lugubrious but needed precaution in thought, Elvina’s mind moved back to the previous days.

It was an evening with Jezel at the Ravenswatch inn. Amilcar walked in and joined them for a drink, but he constantly sought eye contact with her.
Suddenly he formed the word “Angela” with his lips, while his eyes looked briefly at Jezel.
Elvina smiled. “Amilcar, i discuss most things with Jezel and she knows about it.”
“Ow...” Amilcar looked at Jezel and a deep sigh escaped from his lips. “Elvina, i can’t trust her anymore...”
Elvina touched his arm,” Amilcar, it was a dream that...”
Amilcar looked sad,” She drew my gift against me...”
Elvina frowned, “Look, Amilcar i know what she said... but... your gift... what do you mean?”
“A special sword i gave her... I was angry, almost i...”
Elvina looked briefly to Jezel who tried to lighten up the conversation by saying,” El, remind me, no weapons in our bedroom.”
Amilcar didn’t smile, but he looked worried and very sad. “I want this ‘Master’ dead, Elvina...”
Elvina nodded,” We are working on that...”
The warlock in front of her interrupted her,” ...And i want in.”
Her answer was very short, an answer Jezel did not agree on,” No!”
Amilcar turned a bit red, but Elvina tried to reason with him,” Look, you are going to marry... and have ten kids.” That made Amilcar blush and turn even more red.
Elvina smiled,” She told me Amil, and she loves you... very much... please you should go see her.” But Amilcar wasn’t convinced.
However, the rest of that night they discussed and agreed on a few things.

Jezel would stay by her side in every step they would take. Besides being her love, Jezel has tactical and military insight, so it was logical.
Bringing Angela was risky, certainly in the ‘final’ step. There was a chance the Master could turn her against the party.
Melanie was mentioned too... she had the physical capacities but Elvina had the same doubts as with Angela. What if such a beautiful killing machine came in the hands of the Master?
Jezel mentioned that with two people like that the Master might be killed even before he could turn their minds.
More doubt... however... it struck Elvina there was a good reason to have at least someone like Melanie or Angela in their party. It was something she would discuss later again with Jezel.
Elvina also needed Adrian and his fellow demonhunter to look for the weak spots of this devil. Probably also to kill a lot of demons as Elvina assumed the Master wasn’t alone.
She shivered by the memory of his Shadowguard, appearing out of nowhere... Zinna fell after only one blow by a blade of those... those...
Elvina shook her head... she needed to concentrate.

Jezel’s other comments were very useful. A rogue would be interesting as traps could spoil their unannounced ‘visit’. Amilcar mentioned a certain Alexa and he promised he would seek her out.
Another thing that made sense was to bring someone who could keep their heads clear. Jezel mentioned a magician... but Elvina had someone else in mind. Who else could talk sense into people when they had a difficult time? A devil trying to seduce you was about the same. And this person had a lot of experience with devils and demons.
She moved back to the option of having that magician, but this was hard to answer as sticking a name on it proved to be more difficult than she expected.

Elvina leaned back in her chair. What else would she need besides an army, for the final step?
She remembered one night looking at the bed, observing the sleeping beauty on it. Jezel said she would fight for her, even give her life if needed.
A tear appeared in her eyecorner. Elvina promised, once down there, she would not give up. But precautions needed to be taken. The only thing Elvina wondered about was if she would tell her, or explain it in letter. She looked from Jezel back to her desk, pondering. Jezel would kill anyone that tried to hurt Elvina.
Yesterday Elvina told Jezel about this one person in the party, without mentioning the name.
Jezel was not very happy with it, but after she heard Elvina’s backup plan, the tactician in her got the upperhand and agreed.

Today she saw Amilcar again. While discussing the situation about Angela, Jezel and a bit later Calimus joined. They all agreed Angela needed protection. And it struck Elvina that Angela not only needed to be watched physically.
It was clear Amilcar was concerned about the dream she had... and giving Angela protection in her dreams was a sound plan. The longer they talked about it, the more opportunities Elvina could see.
Jezel hoped to kill the Master in Angela’s dreams if he ever showed up. But Elvina would already be glad if they could loosen up some information.
Calimus confirmed it was possible and he promised to aid them as much as he could.
Elvina smiled to herself, it seemed Angela had some really good friends. Gradually she became convinced with these “joined” forces, anything was possible.

Elvina started to clean her gear. Tomorrow she would head to town and aid Shayde. Elvina offered her help to Shayde with this Orion Steele. Darion, brave as always said he would have a word with him after all the lies he was spreading. Elvina decided to watch their backs, after all … Shade was her Sister and she believed in her.
In a way Orion looked like the Master, trying to sow discord between people. It had to end, but she had no intention of killing Orion... not yet...

She looked around in her room at the Mystivale inn. She would miss her friends if she gave up this room as many of them stopped by at this inn.
However..., the little house she bought with Jezel wasn’t too far from here.

After closing her dairy and note book, Elvina leaned back in her chair, moving her fingers softly over her lips.
Was she going too fast in her plans with the Master? The first step didn’t took place yet, and it wasn’t even her turn.
Elvina grinned, her answer however... the one she discussed with Jezel, would probably sound like a huge flock of cawing crows...
She mumbled to herself," What is he waiting for?"


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Post by Admin on Tue May 16, 2017 3:16 pm

106. The first act

Elvina sat with her back against the walls of Aucklorn Mill, her eyes red. This was NOT what she expected... this was NOT how everything was planned or supposed to go. The possible dead of a friend struck her deep in the heart. Jezel sat next to her, comforting her, not leaving her side. The group in front of her decided Elvina would be ‘guarded’ every hour of the day in an attempt to intercept the Master or one of his actions.

It started only a few hours ago, when Elvina detected a plume of black smoke at the horizon, connected with a dark cloud. The last time she saw something similar, a crazy elementalist was killing people in town with lightning bolts.
In a wood near Korgov’s Maw she found him... as the source or at least at the start of the dark plume... Amilcar...
He asked her to go away and as she tried to enter the cloud she got blinded and needed to step back. But there was something else disturbing about this ‘picture’... Amilcar more looked like a shady appearance.
Elvina turned pale when he started to tell his story.
Amilcar was drawn to a lake and he... drowned, the result of being deceived by a succubus... imitating Angela’s voice.
He strongly believed it was an act of the Master.
Elvina was angry, especially at herself. The past days they discussed how to protect Angela and about hiding her... but what if the Master’s way to Angela was … Amilcar?

Elvina begged him to tell her where his body was and where Angela could be found to resurrect him. His ghost refused, telling her he maybe had a way to the Master... a way to ‘talk’ to this devil. The man was determined... prepared to do literally anything for his love.
She called him a fool... but in her thoughts she was calling herself a fool...
Thats when Lagnapis catched up on her. He was with not far away when she started to run and look for the source of this cloud. Elvina assumed the cloud would also draw other people’s attention. Archie’s arrival was announced by a little bird that landed on her shoulder, and a bit later he showed up, his eyes concerned on the black cloud.
After he heard what happened, her wise friend tried to reason with Amilcar and something in his story gave Lagnapis enough information about the possible location.
When leaving the area they almost they ran into Jezel who was nearby and also investigating the black plume. She joined the party and together they set course towards the lake.
Good thing they were now with the three of them as small hordes of undead tried to overwhelm them on the way.

The group found a beautiful woman in the lake and Archie shapeshifted in a likewise creature and tried to communicate with it. Jezel had to hold Elvina from killing the creature as she heard how her friend got tricked and his body disappeared.
The only thing they retrieved, thanks to a dive of Lagnapis, was a golden ring... Amilcar’s wedding ring...
Jezel offered her assistance to retrieve information from the ‘woman’ but first asked Elvina to walk away. She explained that her ways could be shocking and she didn’t want Elvina to look different at her.
Elvina refused to walk away, she was angry enough to do whatever what was necessary.
Lagnapis got back out of the water, his eyes concerned and gave Elvina the ring while Jezel took ‘care’ of the creature in the water.
But as soon as Jezel put a dagger under the eye of the woman... the creature started to change... in a demon.
“Jezel, come back!! Out of the water!” Elvina yelled while preparing for combat.
The demon threatened the party at the shore but as soon as Elvina wanted to launch an attack, the creature disappeared.
Silence fell over the lake and after a time discussing Archie split from the group to investigate the place where it started.

Elvina tried to clean her face while remembering what happened after that.
Amilcar’s ghost showed up again, asking for Elvina to open a portal for him... to see the Master.
The man, or at least his soul was stubborn... not wanting to tell where his body was... perhaps he didn’t even knew it. And he also refused to tell them where Angela was hidden. He promised however that she was safe... safe from Him.
Amilcar kept asking, no begging for this chance.
His arguments prevailed over Elvina’s doubt. Things couldn’t get worse and he wouldn’t listen.
Jezel was not happy about it, but neither was Elvina as the decision to open a portal was taken.
She had sworn after her time in hell, not to open another portal... ever... and here she was, again...

Long time ago when she just met Celestia, Elvina was experimenting with little portals, summoning all kinds of demonic creatures. Celestia asked Elvina why she was doing this, not that Celestia was angry at her... just rather curious. Elvina now realised that it was her nature back then, almost like it was given in. Perhaps even by Eligor, the devil who had stolen a part of her soul, but who was slain in hell by her friends. It all seemed so far away. Elvina’s soul was fully restored and her ‘lost’ feelings and emotions almost overwhelmed her, especially love.
Yet she managed to deal with them, and slowly but certain she felt ‘reborn’.
This jump into the past made her feel sad as she realised Angela would be devastated if she found out about Amilcar. Elvina briefly looked at Jezel, realising how she would feel if something likewise would happen to the red haired woman she loved so much.
She had to help Amilcar...

Elvina sought a flat place and start to draw symbols on the ground.
When everything was ready she started to whisper, followed by a sinister silence that fell over the valley. Nearly hearable, echoes of every mystical word spoken sounded, giving her deed an even darker feeling. Soon a yellow circle started to appear in the air and when the last word was spoken, the portal flashed once sending a heavy breeze in every direction.
A succubus stepped out which was quickly controlled by Elvina. “Now Amilcar, jump in, quick!” Amilcar’s spirit moved into the portal...
But, the unthinkable happened.
Laughter, chuckling, a devil appearing... and screaming,“ He’s mine!!”
Elvina quickly tried to control him but it didn’t work. Just as they were about to move towards it, the portal closed, leaving the girls behind.
“What have i done?” Elvina fell on her knees.
Jezel put her hand on her shoulder, squeezing it softly,” It was his choice...my love.”
Elvina started to cry softly,” But my responsibility...” And with that she suddenly got up again. “I’m going after him and....”

“After who?” A male voice sounded behind them. There stood her big friend... Adrian.
Elvina jumped up and embraced him, tears in her eyes and quickly telling him everything that happened.
“Elvina open the portal again... i’ll get him back.’
She nodded,” I’ll be right behind you...”
Jezel took her arm,” You are not going anywhere except home with me.”
Adrian looked at her,” Your friend here is right Elvina, don’t follow me, just keep the portal open for me and guard it.”
Elvina didn’t think twice as the clock was tickin for Amilcar. No time for a discussion.
After she summoned the portal again and Adrian entered it, she took a seat in the grass, Jezel right next to her.
“And now, we wait... i hate waiting,” she mumbled.
With their arms around each other they stared at the glowing circle.

But it didn’t last long... suddenly Adrian was back, as if he was thrown out of the portal. His body filled with scars and a huge cut from which he was heavily bleeding. As Elvina kneeled next to him she looked around, no trace of Amilcar’s body or spirit.
Elvina and Jezel tried to take care of the wounds when two more people arrived at the scene.
The first one was Shayde who totally seemed confused with what she saw and heard. But there was not much time to explain right now as Adrian needed care.
The other person was Adrian’s friend, Flamebearer Derek... coincidence or were they together here? Derek, it was a name Adrian also mentioned as help against the Master.
The older man was able to stop the bleeding and with his divine magic Adrian was even able to walk to the nearby village. She would talk to him later after he recovered, but just before he left he said to Elvina that Amilcar’s soul was here again.
And his friend Derek promised to aid her, but she also had to promise a few things... one of them... no more portals...

Elvina got up, enough rest. She would come back after getting some gear and look for any sign of Amilcar. Perhaps they could also find someone to revive a person in case they found him...
In the meantime she hoped Angela was safe and didn’t receive word from what happened. It could break her and even make her fall back in ‘darkness’, knowing Angela a little now... and... knowing herself...


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Post by Admin on Tue May 16, 2017 3:17 pm

107. Concern

“What did you say was shown?” the elf, in front of her, asked with his finger pointing up at the sky.
Incha winced a bit,” The end of our community, destruction, massive defeat...”
“That is what you just told us... but we need more details, Incha.” He looked around in the small circle of magicians.
The lack of etiquette proved that these elves, standing near their forest church, knew each other thoroughly, maybe even as friends.
A sigh slowly escaped from Incha’s lips,” It... happened so fast, so unexpectedly. It was almost as if all of them at once wanted to show me something, but it was too hard for me to digest.” Incha looked down for a moment.
“Incha... what is it? Do you remember anything else... anything speci...,” he stopped talking as he saw the woman nodding.
Clearly she needed time. “I saw... someone i know... among them.”
The tallest of the Loremasters stepped forward, he knew Incha since childhood. “Them... Incha?” He asked while his hands softly squeezed her shoulders.
The Spirit Shaman lifted her head and looked a bit pale,”Devils, demons... spawn... chaos...” She shivered under his hands.
“And, ...who did you see?” His voice more a soothing sound, his eyes warm on her, trying to calm her.
Incha looked up in his eyes,” A woman... i first thought it was Elvina but she looked so... so...”
The Loremaster kept his eyes on her,” Take your time... was there something... different?”
Incha closed her eyes for a moment, as if she had to picture it again. “She looked like Elvina but her aura... she was radiating hate, bitterness... a dark energy surrounded her... powerful. She killed with pleasure, like a cat playing with its prey... enjoying, until the very last drop of life was squeezed out of her victim... laughing with its ‘weaknesses’....” Her voice faded.
The Loremaster smiled a bit and shook his head,” Well, thank goodness this doesn’t sound like our Elvina at all... but... i think something is up.”
The other Loremasters nodded but remained silent, they never spoke before their turn.
Incha nodded,” I know her for so long now, and i just don’t see that happen either... but i’m worried. What do we have to do now?”
This opened up a large but serene discussion among the small group near their sacred elvenplace.


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Post by Admin on Tue May 16, 2017 3:17 pm

108. This is how they remind me of what I really am

For some people the road from Lendose to Ravenswatch seemed a long one... but it wasn’t long enough for Elvina. There was a faster way to travel between them... but she had a lot on her mind lately, to think about... and new things just kept adding so it seemed.
A man she hadn’t seen in a while, crossed her path... Fred. In the beginning their conversation was about common things, just catching up.
But Fred always has been a somewhat mysterious man, on the other hand... Elvina assumed she was mysterious too... and not only to Fred.

A couple hours before meeting Fred, she left the Burning Troll inn, a bit shaken up and accompanied with some mixed feelings... “thanks” to only one man, a soldier.

“Hello Angus, how are you today?!” The white-haired woman smiled as she walked over to the innkeeper.
“Elvina, girl... its been a while. Been busy have you?” He winked to her as he clearly meant Jezel.
She blushed a little and nodded,” That, … and some other things.”
Angus smiled,” Well, being a Vanguard probably means a lot of work i guess.”
A man next to her, leaning on the bar turned to them. “Van’guard, tsss, haven’ see tha guys in ages....”
Elvina frowned a bit without responding. The man next to her seemed a bit drunk. She turned back to Angus,” Well i guess i’ll better check the front and see where they need some help...”
The unknown man next to her chuckled,” No need fo it miss Van’guard, wiv don tha work already fo ya!” He said it loud enough to make other soldiers turn their heads towards the duo at the bar.
He wiped of his mouth after draining his beer tankard, and grinned at her. “We even didn’ neta Van’guard to lead us... ow... hang on! Except ‘maybe’ fo tha fifty-three fallen brotha’s in arms.”
Angus grumbled and whispered to the man,” Mind how you are speaking to, Kragan. Clearly the booz has been eating on your brains. This is Vanguard Elvina Hellcat standing in front of you, her renown...”
More chuckling from the man named Kragan, drawing the attention of the other soldiers again,” Who hasn’ heard of’her yes... but whee was she t’day? An yesta’day? An tha day befo? Whe is tha Van’guard?!” Again he was talking loud enough so the rest of the inn could easily overhear their conversation.

Elvina heard mumbling and when she looked around she saw a few soldiers nodding to his words, but also some leaning over to their brothers and whispering as if to warn them.
“Ya kno, we don neda Van’guard, esp’cially not ones who look lika de’mons...”
The inn fell completely silent. You could hear a needle drop on the floor. All the attention was on the duo in front of the bar.
Angus stepped from behind it,” Thats it, enough Kragan... i’m kicking you out. It seems you have no clue about the history of certain people here. Sleep it off at some other inn and never show your face here again!” He took the man by his arm, accompanied by another soldier who seemed tired of Kragan as well.
Elvina was perplexed and noticed a few soldiers glancing at her.
Kragan put his hands in the air,” A’right a’right, i’m goin... miss...” He nodded to her and left the inn.

Angus was apologizing to her but Elvina didn’t knew what to say. She had the feeling she had to say something to the soldiers at the inn, but words got stuck in her throat... and what if she said something... ‘wrong’?
Angus noticed it somehow and he raised his voice sounding loud and clear for every soldier and traveler,” If there are others doubting miss Elvina here, please leave my inn for its clear they are more stupid than the rear end of pig.” The men chuckled softly and continued with their own businesses.
Angus’ grin was answered by a weak smile in his direction, yet she was speechless. In normal circumstances this would have made her very angry... but now... she was careful. It could have made things worse, and despite the words of Angus she could taste some doubt in the atmosphere.

Even though it was quiet at the front, she decided to prove the Vanguard were still there... as was she.
What did he called her.... a demon? Is that how people looked at her when she was fighting? Is that what they saw each time when...
Elvina shook her head... the incident raised questions within her... questions she asked herself long ago... questions that made her leave the elven forest.
She recalled her short conversation with Fred.
“Warlocks,... like you and me... Fred, what are we? And why do we have these powers? And why... am i one?”
Fred told her a few things he learned. Further they agreed to see each other soon at Cear and continue the interesting conversation.
The few things he told however, gave Elvina something to think about.
And it was weird as she already had her powers when the elves found her at the age of six, long before her covenant with Eligor was made... the devil that got killed by her friends...

So far, according to Fred, there are three reasons why one has the powers which make him or her a warlock.
The first is a bond with a faerie. Elvina had no memory of something like that, but there was a chance it got killed when she was still very young, even before she was found.
The second...a deal with creature from the lower planes... or... the thirth ... mixed blood.
Elvina admitted to Fred there has been some kind of a bond once between her and a devil named Eligor, and that she was about sixteen or seventeen back then.
He looked at her,” It is possible... you made another deal, even before you turned six. "
To Elvina these both possibilities seemed unlikely, even though there was a small chance.
“Elvina, why do you want to know?”
She smiled a bit,” I really need to know more about myself, my past...” She couldn’t tell him about the ‘rest’. Perhaps later...
He frowned,” Be careful girl, digging in the past is not always... well, you may not always like what you find.”
That, was not the first time she heard this... Celestia also ‘warned’ her about it. But somehow it was important, this situation with the Master, … the information could give her an edge.

The city of Ravenswatch came in sight when her mind went back to the day they saved Amilcar. Erica, Celestia, Jezel, Thana and Calimus assisted in the search. His body was found near the Standing Stones.
She asked Erica to raise him, but according to Amilcar’s spirit Elvina was needed too.
Right now, Elvina was wondering how her friends looked at her... a warlock, a witch, who brought someone back to life without the use of a single item. Off course Erica was needed to restore his body... but somehow it was she who made the wandering soul ‘jump’ back into its body.
And coincidence or not but two little imps appeared as soon as Amilcar opened his eyes. Jezel, who was guarding the perimeter saw them as hostile and took them out.
And that made ‘someone’ angry... a devil who claimed to be the right hand of the Master appeared.

She stopped near a tree and leaned against it, closing her eyes.
The devil was killed... but not much later the unthinkable happened... Jezel, her love was taken when she ran into a portal that appeared on a nearby bridge... probably in the hope to slay more spawn.
Then, another devil appeared, naming his price for the captured Jezel. Elvina almost exploded, and by now she realised her reactions got triggered by prejudices. Again she wondered how her friends looked at her that moment, the bitter hate for devils, it just dripped off.
The moment they would pay the Master or any other devil a visit, she would need Celestia’s help, or even Erica’s, to keep her head clear. Could she stay calm when He comes for his answer?
The ‘capture’ of Jezel finally seemed a trial for Erica.
The details of this trial probably would make people frown, however she promised herself not to talk to anyone about it. It felt personal.
And Jezel was never harmed, very soon they all returned to Cear while Amilcar recovered in Two Bridges with Calimus at his side.

She got up and looked at the city on the hill. Its watchtowers bathed in sunlight.
Time to pay Angela and Amilcar a visit. The Vanguard lady took the path up towards the gates, softly shaking her head as if to shrug off certain thoughts...

And where the hell was the Master?


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Post by Admin on Tue May 16, 2017 3:18 pm

109. Haste

A spirit flew over the country, very rapidly, driven by its Ancestors.
There was a small chance its temporary escape was noticed by the Guardian, but time was of the essence and action needed to be taken.

Slowly some memories started to come back... it was looking for a person... names... faces... places...
A spirit... it remembered... once it was a she... she remembered... feelings of love... warmth... she was searching... danger, more faces...
The spirit gained speed, the land under her... flashing... faster, faster...

Who did she look for... a name, a memory... a face... an event... she remembered... a house...
The warning she had to give... she remembered, the Ancestors alarmed... elves... slain... a repeating history...

She had a goal, a mission, … a message,... she remembered...
A place came in sight... houses, a city... people... she remembered...
Stories, things that happened, … friends... a partner... she remembered...

White hair, liquid eyes... sadness,... blue hair, a sapphire gaze... madness, ... a light and warmth, a blond... enviousness,... a male, orc, friendliness, … a man, long hair... a common friend perhaps... she remembered...

Drifting, seeking, remembering... she was running out of time... her energy... fading... faster, faster... more faces, until... she saw a familiar face...

The message was delivered, hope arose... as she was drawn back to her Ancestors, to the place where she belonged... she... remembered...


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Post by Admin on Tue May 16, 2017 3:19 pm

110. The road home PART 1

(by Arianna & Admin)

--- Saying goodbye --- (Elvina)

Elvina cursed softly to herself while lurking in the dense bush, using all her skills to stay out of sight for the angry faeries.
It was now two days ago she left Ravenswatch and the last person she saw, and so far the only one who knew where she went, was Cel.
The farewell was somehow a bit emotional as Elvina, tried not to show she was scared. That moment also remembered her of another event in the past... something likewise... the night she left Morell to see Zinna at the Two Bridges inn...

She didn’t explain everything to Celestia, only that her ‘home village’ may needed Elvina’s assistance. At the same time when she stood there in the room with Celestia, Elvina felt torn apart. She also wanted to help Celestia as knew about the bounty on Cel’s head.
Elvina also expressed her concern to Celestia and promised she would be back as fast as she could. Celestia only smiled and told her to take her time, if Elvina’s village really had problems...
Just before she left, Elvina embraced Celestia. “You are my best friend, Cel,” she said softly while making an attempt to fight of some tears. “And should you see Jezel, please tell her about the note I left in our cottage.”

The moss under her feet was thick and felt a bit squishy. While absently pressing her fingers in the green soil, she recalled parts of the letter standing on the tablet above the fireplace, Jezel’s name on it and wax seal with the imprint of a cat closing it. A pink rose sticking out of the envelop made it more personal.

*a day and date on top of the letter*
Urgent news calls me home, i’m visiting the elven community where I grew up.
Amilcar saw Zinna’s spirit. The things it, she said made me rather certain it was her indeed.
I waited a few days for your return, but I have a feeling time is of the essence. Before taking the road home I will stop by in Ravenswatch and see if I can find Celestia and Angela.

On the backside of this paper you will find a map.
I hope you catch up or that I meet you back at the elven village. Ow and i’m dying to introduce you to my foster parents.

Please don’t be angry with me.

Lovingly yours, El
*a tiny quickly drawn heart at the bottom of the letter as the only decoration*

--- Homecoming and departure --- (Jezel)

Jezel stood motionless as she read the letter Elvina had left for her. She didn't even know what she felt, anger?
And at who...El for leaving without her..herself for being away at the front too long? The Master for playing what ever game he was playing at Elvina and her expense? Fear for Elvina’s life?
The only thing she knew for sure was that Spiri was going to be pushed to her limits if she had a chance to catch up to El...If Jezel had the time she would have felt sorry for the poor mare...she had run the horse hard getting back to Cear as quickly as she could...
Oh if only she had Els ability to travel fast, a rueful smile crossed her lips for a second....there were a lot of things she not so much envied but was in awe of in her lover. Just the sheer aura of power that surrounded Elvina Hellcat..( as apt a name as there ever was) and such passion not just in her love for Jezel... but for life itself.

Jezel didn't even change out of her armour..she hurriedly packed what supplies were in the home and once packed she head back to the stable she left less than an hour ago to see Spiri, her favorite horse...she had ridden the fiery mare from Rell to Cear..and all over the realm in the past year...and she knew Spiri would carry her to where she needed to go now..if a little begrudgingly...Jezel would have to make it up to the mare somehow...
In the past four days Spiri had carried her to the battlefields outside of Lendose...into a number of fights..and back home again..and now they were heading to god knows where or for how long.

The first stop would have to be Ravenswatch, maybe El was delayed there... or better yet, Celestia had talked her out of going with out company...fat chance of that... if Jezel knew one thing about Elvina... once she decided to do something it got done.
Jez just wished her lover would take the time to plan her moves before hand...instead of having to think it up as she went.
If there was anything that could make Jezel tear her hair out... it was someone who jumped before looking. She conveniently forgot... she was guilty of the same vice ...on occasion.

Jezel came as close to flying as possible on her way to the stable...the stable man didn't say anything when the woman who had just asked for a warm stall and a double ration of oats for her horse an hour ago came flying through the door shouting for her horse to be saddled immediately.. The young waif who worked as a stable boy had no such common sense and began berating Jezel for wanting to take the horse out so soon.
“She hasn't even had time to finish her supper..and she’s just been rubbed down..and the way she looked when you brought her in... she needs at least two days rest!" He stood upright..all three and a half feet of him..defying Jezel to say something... which Jezel did.
Looking as if she was either going to burst out laughing at the sight of the boy trying to look tuff..or simply tossing him out of the way and saddling the mare herself.
Laughter won out... just the sight of the boy standing there cooled her anger at the whole situation a bit...Jezel looked down at the boy,,and put a hand on his shoulder.
“I know she needs rest lad..but I must get to Ravenswatch before the sun goes down”...she stole a look at Spiri as the mare burried her muzzle in a bucket of feed...truth be told the horse did look tired... turning back to the boy she knelt down and looked him in the eyes.... “ You have my word...when I get to Ravenswatch I'll leave her at the stable there, with order that she be cared for as if she was the emperors own mount. Spiri is of my fathers stable... and she is bred for strength speed and endurance..she is a war mount,and is used to being asked to do the impossible.”

The stable owner upon hearing his boy rebuke a customer.. .came striding over, and was about to clout the boy on the ear..but a restraining hand from Jezel stopped him in mid swing.
“I would look unfavorably upon the boy being punished for protecting your charges from unthinking riders my good man. The boy is in the right...and if I had a choice I would follow his orders on the matter...you should be grateful the boy is so dedicated to his job,” Looking down at the boy, Jezel took a full crown out of her purse and tossed it to him, “Keep up the good work lad,” and more playfully,” You might want to learn tact as well as wisdom though...not everyone is willing to accept being told the truth so bluntly. Now please saddle her..time is of great import,,and I'm already behind.”

Five minutes later Jezel was mounted and heading out of the stable yard...as she passed the front gate she heard the young stable boy calling to her to make sure she kept her promise when she got to Ravenswatch.
Another five minutes and she was passing the outer gates of Cear, on her way to Ravenwatch. She passed several people quickly leaving the city behind, Spiri snorted her thoughts of the pace she was asked to set. Jezel kept patting Spiri's neck promising a good long rest once they got to Ravenswatch.

--- Delay --- (Elvina)

She sighed. The faeries made her lose almost a day, playing hide and seek 'games' with their prey. It has never been a secure connection, but this time the faeries kindy exaggerated.
And killing some of them did only seem to make them more... dedicated.
There was only small progress in the distances she could travel, sometimes not more than running from one bush into another, waiting, making sure they didn’t hear or see her.
Again she had to admit for being stupid. Maybe if she only waited a few more days, Jezel could have been back... and they could have been making this trip together... without delay.
With Jezel at her side, these faeries probably wouldn’t have been such a pain in the ***.

Elvina really looked up at Jezel if it came to sword work. Her love was a very gifted and talented fighter. Besides that everytime something happened concerning Elvina, Jezel stood up for her... protecting her... it made Elvina feeling a bit weak on the inside... and happy too.
And ever since that ‘accidental touching each other’ in the Roadhouse of Tristan, Elvina longed for Jezel’s touch.
She smiled as she remembered a few of Jezel’s words back then, when they weren't a couple yet,“ I am so glad I made so quickly friends around here... like Amilcar and Angela being even close friends... however... you are special Elvina...”
While spying from under the leaves, Elvina’s heart was filled with warmth as she remembered how a few days later they became a couple.
Some other words Jezel spoke lingered in her head. “And you can trust me, El. I’ll never hurt you...”
A tear appeared in Elvina’s eyes. And she would never hurt Jezel... but maybe she just did, by leaving... even though she left a letter and a map.

--- Catching up --- (Jezel)

Soon Jezel saw the closed gates of Thralls gate loom in the distance. A small shiver ran down her back as she approached...she was always a bit uncomfortable here... the people weren't openly hostile...but one away felt as if the guard were about to throw you in a deep dark cell for some perceived blasphemy... real or not probably wouldn't matter.
With Thralls gate behind her an hours gallop brought her with in sight of Two bridges.
Jezel slowed Spiri to a walk and as she passed the out skirts of the small village, felt the pervasive sadness of the town envelope her.

The sight of a great and awful battle between the the Canite forces, and the empire was the first major battle of the war and though great strides had been made to rebuild the town, and clean away reminders of the destructiuon... the sheer numbers of dead in the battle had left a permanent palpable pall over the area...there were even ghosts of the fallen wandering the fields to the west of the town. still looking to continue the fight.

In fact if it hadn't been for a chance encounter with the ghosts of some of the orcs who fell in battle she would never have met Elvina.
Jezel smiled as she thought back to that fateful day... she had been surprized and surrounded by several orc spirits and was fighting for her life when she felt powerful blasts strike some of her attackers.
After that the battle came to a swift end. As Jezel knelt panting from the excertion of battle she looked around and found a tall beautiful white haired woman standing a few paces from her.
The woman exuded power..and had an air of assuredness about her ability to wield it, but at the same time she seemed both vulnerable and confident.
The woman actually reminded Jezel of one of her adopted sisters..a young half elf named Sarlenis..they both had an almost wild untamed essence.
When Jezel had recovered sufficiently she felt she could stand with out falling over, she rose to her feet and introduced herself, thanking the white haired woman profusely for her assistance. She learned the woman’s name was Elvina Hellcat..a name that suited her quite nicely or so Jezel thought.
They exchanged some small talk for a few minutes on the walk back to town and parted company. It was weeks before they met again, this time in Ravenswatch, and a few short weeks later..they became lovers.

Over their time together they told each other of their pasts, their hopes and dreams, and their love grew deep and strong.
When Elvina told Jezel that an abomination calling himself 'The Master' had began visiting Elvina again, trying to regain dominion over her soul, it presaged the beginning of their current troubles.
This so called Master had told Elvina that he wanted to marry her (over Jezels dead body...and not even then) and it wasn't just El and Jez. Two of her closest friends were also the target of the master’s games... Angela and Amilcar, love was also tested almost to the breaking point...two sets of lovers...both beset by the machinations of some puffed up devil.

Jezel smiled to herself, and accorded a wry smile, as thoughts of Angela and Amilcar crossed her mind. Amilcar had walked into a trap set by a succubus, and it took a trip into hell by a knight or a paladin... Jezel was never sure which named Adrian to get his soul back..and a whole group of powerful people to reunite the soul with the body.
Jezel's cheeks reddened as she remembered that particular day, her rashness had almost caused catastrophy.
Two imps popped up as she guarded those working to restore Amilcar... without hesitation she jumped in and slew both..only to find out that they were merely messengers from a rival of the Master in the lower plains... Jezel soon found herself taken and presented to a daemon who called himself ‘the Overlord’.

Jezel smirked as she wondered if all daemons and devils held such a high opinion of themselves, and gave themselves such pretentious titles.
Jezel was yanked out of her remembrances when Spiri balked a bit and whinnied as she rounded a bend in the road. There right in front of her was one of the famed Varanite Scouts. She reined the mare in and dismounted she recognized the scout having accepted a bit of work dealing with some giants from her in the past.

Jezel approached the scout and offered her hand. The scout looked at Spiri and frowned. "Your mount seems hard presssed... is their trouble the scouts should be aware of?"
"No...no trouble of concern to the scouts, but I'm in a hurry to get to Ravenswatch. I wanted to ask if you have seen or heard of a tall white haired woman passing here in the last day or two?”
Getting a negative in answer, Jezel asked how the road was concerning giant activity of late, to which the scout replied that they seemed quite active on the other side of Tristan this day.

Jezel winced at this news... the last time she traversed the pass with the giants so active she got turned back and had spent three days abed recovering from her injuries.
She thanked the scout for the information and with a bit of trepidation grabbed Spiri’s reins and climbed into the saddle.
Jezel walked Spiri through the mountain village of Tristan, dismounting again at the end of town and the opening to the pass. She decided to lead Spiri through the pass, so she could quickly draw steel if needed.
Spiri didn't have the strength to carry her into battle at the moment and she wouldn't put the beloved horse in harms way. If it came to a fight she would send the mare back to Tristan knowing that someone would claim her and care for her (if the horse didn't take umbrage of course). She was a stubborn, opinionated beast at the best of times...at her worst she was down right belligerent.

It took several hours to walk the pass and as Jezel exited onto the valley that separated the pass from the mountain top fortified city of Ravenswatch, Jezel thanked the gods that she hadn't encountered a troop of giants. of course the gods being fickle beings, she no sooner completed her thoughts of gratitude when three giants walked out from behind a hill and took up a position blocking the road to the City.
Jezel quickly sized up the giants... their positions, and their weapons... if Spiri had been fresh she would have simply mounted and rode around them,but as tired as the horse was... that was a losing proposition, so with an exhausted sigh Jezel drew her sword and made ready to dance.

She called to the one she thought to be the leader and tried to convince him to let her pass unchallenged... apparently the giants thought her to be a great comedian and their laughter was their undoing, as Jezel lunged for the closest and easily disarmed him.
Leaping up, spinning and striking in one motion she opened up the belly of a second, and the left hand of the third was now hanging by a tendon. The leader was so enraged at losing his massive club he didn't bother picking it up, but charged in with both arms raised to bring a crushing blow down on Jezel’s head with a pair of hands bigger than one of the boars running the country side outside Cear.
He either didn't see or didn't care about the fallen giants en trail spread out on the ground for he stepped into them and slipped crashing down on his back, giving jezel the chance to plunge her blade deep into his chest piecing the heart killing him instantly, unfortunately her sword stuck and she didn't dare take time to free it with still one huge lumbering mass of muscle behind her.
Jezel let go her sword and spun ready to roll out of the way of another attack. She was knocked back by a grey blur just as an huge axe cut the air where her head had been a second ago.
She rolled to her feet as Spiri reared upon her hind legs and lashed out with her fore legs, landing a solid blow on the giants knee sending him to the ground, Spiri trotted to her Mistress and turned instinctively so that Jezel could draw her second blade from the sheath she kept strapped to Spiri's saddle.
Jezel held her sword, Dark whispers was it's name in two hands and before the giant could regain his feet, struck with all her strength cutting the head from the body in one swipe. Not wanting to take time to recover even a bit she grabbed the reins and leaped into the saddle urging Spiri into a full gallop...down into the valley and then up the winding path to the city of Ravenswatch.


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Hell of a life - Page 5 Empty Re: Hell of a life

Post by Admin on Tue May 16, 2017 3:20 pm

111. The road home PART 2

--- Detour --- (Elvina)

Elvina softly cursed, again. The further she got into these woods, the more numerous these faeries became.
And they knew she was still out there, Dryads holding their bows in state of readiness.
Elvina had one more option left... taking a detour. It would mean to head back to the road she left and travel around these woods.
She didn’t even needed a quick look at her supplies to know she was running out. It was a choice of her, taking only the things she really needed in order to travel light and fast.
Oh well, if she succeeded in evading these faeries she could always hunt as she brought her bow.
Her decision was made, it would cost her another day or more, but at least she would arrive at her destination in one piece. Only thing she had to do was to sneak past the faeries on the way back... for the second time...
*more soft cursing*

--- Collecting information at Ravenswatch --- (Jezel)

She pulled the reins firmly slowing the mare to a walk at the gates... thankful the stable was just around the corner from the inner gate... Jezel patted Spiri's neck affectionately "Once again I owe you my life" receiving a toss of the head and a loud snort in response..to any one witnessing the exchange they might later swear the horse's actions were a sarcastic rebuke.

Jezel dismounted at the barn and greeted the woman who owned the stable, having gotten to know her from frequent visits over the past year.
“As you can see Spiri is in need of a good rubdown, good food and a long rest. “
The Mistress of horses looked at Spiri, back to Jezel and back to the mare once more," You should be ashamed of yourself Jezel, you've mistreated the poor beast abominably, what in the gods would make you do such a thing... and to someone who has carried you out of death’s grasp many a time!"
Jezel' s cheeks reddened and all she could do was raise her hands to forestall further admonishment. "I know... I know pray good woman let it be for now..you know I would never ask more of Spiri than she was capable of giving...but the need is great. and I intend to leave her in your care while I continue on my path.”
Jezel reached down and pulled the ties of a heavy purse from her waist and tossed it to the incensed woman. “There is 500 crowns in there..for taking care of Spiri...she deserves to be treated better than you would the Emperors own mount...she gets along best with Glennis so take twenty of those crowns for her and assign her to Spiri exclusively please...she’s the only one Spiri is likely to allow to ride.”

At this the stable owners eyes widened, “So you plan on being away for a spell then? Worry not Jezel... Spiri will be well cared for as always.”
Jezel smiled..."Good, I had to swear an oath to Ysgyhm's boy Hutch back in Cear that she would have the best care and a long rest before he would let me take her. Now I have to arrange for supplies and find some people I will need to purchase another horse from you...it doesn't need to be fast or trained to fight, all I need is a pack horse that I can ride in an emergency..do you have one available?”
Getting an affirmative answer, Jezel handed the reins over and turned in the direction of the Inn...stopping a couple of paces later. “Oh, I forgot to ask, did Elvina come by in the past few days?”
The stable owner replied that Elvina had stabled her horse three days ago saying she would also be gone for an extended period of time.
"And one more question...do you know if Angela Wrath or Celestia Lightbringer are in town?”
" Celestia is somewhere about but a simple woman like meself wouldn't know the doings of such a grand personage...as for our dear Angela..she and that elf of hers rode out of here earlier this morning saying they were headed for the reserve."
"Thank you madam...I'll return as soon as possible for the horse."

Once at the Inn Jezel made a nuisance of herself asking anyone and everyone if they had seen Elvina or heard anything about where she was going or when she left.
Getting no useful information Jezel stormed out the door, and set to the business of gathering supplies.
She took out the letter El had left for her... holding the rose to her nose and inhaling the lovely scent her mind bringing El’s lovely sculpted body into focus... her heart beating faster and her body warmed just thinking about her... the love they held for each other.
Then as quickly as the warmth came it was gone, replaced by a cold fear that Elvina was heading into a trap set by this Master... after all did she not say in her letter that she embarked on this journey on the word of her late wife’s spirit..a spirit that was for all anyone knew was still being held by this same Master?

Jezel turned the letter over and studied the map, she had difficulty discerning some of the land marks and names some had been blurred by El’s tears... some from her own, and a couple broken up by the folds in the paper... she would need help... she stopped off at the scouts headquarters..but found no one inside at the moment..not even the white witch.
Jezel returned to the stable laden down with enough supplies to last at least five days.
After that she would need to rely on hunting and living off the land, but she had to find El before the five days were up. On the way to the stable it occurred to Jezel that she should try to find Angela and Amil... after all it was to Amilcar that Zinna’s spirit appeared and gave some kind of warning.

At the stable she arranged for the supplies to be stored and she rented a good fast horse promising she would return it before full dark. Out the gates she trotted carefully descending the winding path to the main road, turning left a the bottom of the hill she set off for Ravenswood.
The ride to the reserve took only about an hour..but it seemed like a week as Jezel’s felling of impending disaster grew to almost insurmountable proportions. She didn't really like entering the woods... especially not alone... she could fight any opponent with steel... but she had to grudgingly accept that she was at a great disadvantage when facing an opponent who could use mind magics... and faeries loved to play with ones mind.

She blew a great sigh of relief when she approached the locked gate to the reserve and found both Angela and Amilcar standing on this side of the gate.
Dismounting in haste she ran up to the newly weds and with out even a word of greeting demanded to know what they knew of Elvina’s whereabouts...the fear and worry heavily pervading her words.
Angela looked at her and the words of admonishment went unspoken as she saw the state of Jezel’s condition. Amil put a hand on her shoulder, and calmly told her that they didn't know where El was... but that they knew where she was going, and Angela offered that she had been there a few times in the long ago past.
Jezel drew a deep breath... held it for a ten count and then slowly released it through pursed lips.
The exercise calmed her heart, and her mind temporarily, long enough for her to ask pertinent questions.

She asked Amil to explain exactly what Zinna’s spirit told him, and how she said it. She explained to them that the manner the message was given... may give a clue whether it was a trap set by the Master to separate Elvina from those who love her or would assist and protect her. Both Angela and Amil blanched at the thought... it hadn't occurred to either of them... and Jezel knew it wouldn't have occurred to Elvina at the time either..though it may have by now....now that it may be too late of course.
When Amil had finished repeating the message just as it was given to him, Jezel thanked him and turned her attention to Angela.

Since Angela had been to Elvina’s home village before Jezel handed her the map, and asked if she could explain it to her.
Amil at this time took his leave saying he need to check on some preparations for their upcoming sojourn to the lower pains, while Angela took a quill and ink out of her pack and redrew the map..explaining as she went what Jezel needed to look for and what villages would be hostile,,and which might be friendly..or at least neutral.
When Angela had explained the route Jez needed to follow, so that even a child would have been able to follow it, she fell silent... the type of silence that occurs when one is about to speak of either a great secret..or confess to a great sadness.

When Angela spoke again..she told Jezel that not only did she probably knew Elvina’s real mother... but that they had been the closest of friends at one time.
Angela explained that Elvina’s mother was known as the left hand of the Master while Angela was once known as the right hand of the Master.
Jezel took this information in... and assured Angela that who she once was or what she had once done... was of no matter to her... she considered Angela a close and trusted friend.
Jezel could tell Angela was worried what with all the goings on over the past couple of weeks.
Jezel told Angela of the plan they had were formulating to put an end to the Master for all time.
Angela became a bit angered when Jezel mentioned that they had considered involving Angela in their plans..but had decided it was too risky. When Angela demanded to know why she was to be excluded from the undertaking, Jezel explained that Amilcar at the time refused to even consider asking if she wanted in on it... and Jezel had to confess to the idea that they didn't want to risk the Master being able to control her.
She smoothed things over as well as she could by explaining that Angela was too powerful a weapon to chance falling into the masters hands... it was felt that having to fight Angela and the Master simultaneously would spell certain defeat... not to mention what it would do to everyone if they lost Angela and Elvina both.

This seemed to put Angela’s mind at ease on the matter... but Jezel felt that she and Amilcar were about to have their first fight as a married couple.
It was at this point Jezel realized she hadn't offered her congratulations on the marriage..which she quickly did, adding with a chuckle that it about the marriage...and added that it might be a good idea for Angela to avoid Sarlenis for a couple of more days...till the girl calmed down a bit.
Jezel told Angela how Sarlenis had been snarlier than a bear with a thorn in its paw since hearing of the marriage and not being allowed to be present.
Jezel and Angela spoke of a small things for a bit longer before Jezel decided that if she was going to keep her word and have the borrowed horse back home before full dark she had better get riding.

Giving Angela a warm embrace and bespeaking her prayers that the Gods always smile upon her and Amil's marriage she mounted and turned once more for Ravenswatch.
Jezel returned to the stable just as the last light of the day fell behind the hill to the west of the city... she was introduced to Toleme, a short legged broad chested not so handsome beast. Jezel had grown up around fine war bred horses and had been taught how to judge horse flesh.
Jezel could tell he would never be able to out run something like a wolf, probably not even a enraged boar... and though not a trained war horse... he had the look of one who would not go down easily and could give a good account of himself in the doing.
Toleme was a good ten years old, just middle aged for a horse and still able to hold up to the rigors of a wilderness journey.
Jezel was happy with the choice and asked to sleep in the loft so she could start out as soon as her eyes opened.

Having been granted permission to use the hayloft for the night, Jezel let her weariness take her to bed.
She debate whether to remove her armor or just turn in and decided she could at least spare the ten minutes or so it would take to put it back on in the morning
So she undid the buckles, and let it drop into the sweet smelling hay she was asleep as soon as her body was laid flat.
She was so tired from the fighting and riding, not to mention all the stress she felt since finding that damned letter... the last thing she did before falling into oblivion was to take the rose and tuck it next to her heart.

Even as tired as she had been the night before, Jezel was up an hour before the sun, and had Toleme loaded. She went to Spiri’s stall and when the beloved mare nuzzled Jezel’s hair she patted his cheek and offered the one of the apples she always had with her as a treat for the horse.
She crooned to Spiri promising to return as soon a she could and admonishing the spirited beast to behave herself for once, telling her that her friend Glennis would take good care of her in the mean time and instructing the mare to allow Glennis to ride her at least once a day.
Spiri for her part took Jezel's hair in her mouth and gave it a firm tug, letting the redhead know what she thought of being left behind while her Mistress went and looked for trouble on her own. Spiri let Jezel loos with one more firm yank of the hair, and as Jezel walked away Spiri began neighing and whinnying...Toleme look directly at the mare..and offered a couple of short whuffs. Jezel could almost imagine Spiri warning Toleme what she would do to him if he let Jezel come to harm.

Jezel led Toleme out of Ravenswatch and down the road to the reserve.
It took over two hours on foot to reach the barred gates. Jezel asked each of the posted guards if they had passed a white haired woman through... one who had not been there the day before said that he had seen such a woman two or three days past and she said she was heading home to see family.
Jezel's heart lightened a bit... she was only two or three days behind at best... that was good. Jezel figured that Elvina probably didn't bring a lot of supplies with her... and she wasn't riding... so figuring that she would have to hunt, or at least gather food...Jezel hoped that she would be able to make up time and distance...and hopefully catch up with in three days, three and a half at most.
She nodded to the guard that she was ready to pass through the gates and waited impatiently for them to open the lock, and remove the bars.
Once done she walked through quickly as the guards preferred to close the gates as quickly as possible..they didn't like dealing with the fey folk any more than Jezel did.

--- Reunited --- (Elvina and Jezel)

Jezel was thankful she had taken the time to don the golden crown presented to her by a Faerie King, when she helped him over threw his queen who had usurped his throne...she looked ridiculous in it... but it was enchanted with protective magics, and most spells could not harm her while she wore it.
Faeries were small,, and lightning fast. If you were in a fight with them, you never swung your sword at where they were... you aimed for where they were going to be...it took patience, practice and good deal of luck to do so consistently. Jezel had worked out a certain manoeuvre where she would swing as if she was aiming for the faerie... but on the down stroke she would change the angle slightly so when the blade descended it swept either right or left a foot or so... as long as she guessed right on which direction her opponent would jump..he flew right into the blade.
She could now hit something six times out of ten and both her blades were enchanted to over come a faeries natural resistance to being hurt.

Suddenly Elvina saw multiple faeries crossing the forest in her direction... or it seemed like that. She fell flat on the ground, and covered herself with magic and vegetation... praying it was not too late.
But the faeries passed without noticing her, and when looking behind her she realised something was going on somewhere back, maybe at the road she left an hour or two ago.
Perhaps another traveler who was thanks to her now in trouble? It was her fault so many faeries gathered. And who could withstand a mass of angry mind affecting faeries?

Jezel had dispatched half of her attackers in a matter of a couple of minutes but more kept showing up.
Jezel was just wondering why they seemed so determined today, usually they would show up, flit around and attack when the could. She held no hate, not even dislike of the faeries themselves... after all they were defending their home..and usually if you held your ground they would realize you weren't going to go away.
And if their magics weren't working against you, they would quickly disperse and hide in the trees... oh they would occasionally shoot arrows at you..but the little ones were mere pin pricks... unless they were poisoned.
But the Dryads now, their arrows could kill... luckily the Dryads were fewer in number than the the flying Faeries... and if you couldn't close on them to use steel they were as susceptible to your arrows as you are to theirs.

Cursing all of the hells Elvina got up and started to head back... much faster than before.
After a bit pushing away vegetation and traveling as silent as she could, sounds of a fight reached her ear. Elvina didn’t had to think twice. Someone was in trouble.
The faeries between the branches were the first to fall for her blasts. Quickly falling back in the shadows, she pressed on, appearing and killing five more faeries near the road.
Behind a turn of the road she saw a whirling figure, a blade flickering forming a dead zone around her!
Elvina recognized Jezel almost immediately, fighting with grim determination.
The very faeries that have been tracking Elvina so desperately were cooling down their anger on her.
From a large distance Elvina took quickly took out two faeries trying to hit Jezel from behind.
Meanwhile more faeries emerged from the woods, finally seeing their earlier prey now.

Jezel had never faced so many at one time... she would kill one and two would take it's place...
She could feel magic hitting her constantly from several directions... one spell had actually penetrated her defences, and she could feel herself losing her concentration... and that would be fatal.
She shook her head and just when things looked hopeless and she was going under, she felt a new and different magic around her.
It was darker and deeper and much more powerful. This was not simple magic to trick the mind, this magic was meant to kill... and kill it did several of Jezel's attackers fell in quick succession.
The others finally fled, and Jezel was able to rest.
She closed her eyes and concentrated willing her mind to focus...
She took a few deep breaths holding each one as she counted to ten with each breath before exhaling... by this time she knew where she had felt such power as that which came to her aid... it belonged to Elvina... her Elvina and no one else.
It was almost more of a taste and an aroma than a feeling. She would recognize it anywhere, it was always surrounding her lover... even if she wasn't actively using it, there was still a hint in the air... like a rose when fully in bloom you can take it out of the room but for a few minutes longed the room still smells awash with the sweetness.

Elvina turned to Jezel who was standing further down the path. She saw her slowly turning in her direction.
The faeries were gone.

Jezel opened her eyes, and looked around... She couldn't see Elvina at first whether it was the foliage or the fact that Elvina could at will disappear for a whole day if she chose.
Suddenly Elvina appeared from behind a tree... the smile that radiated from her face..burned the last remnant of anger from Jezel’s heart.
She sheathed her sword, and ran to Elvinas embrace.

“Jez...,” Elvina ran to her and embraced her love tightly, ignoring the stern look that faded quickly. They held each other for several minutes kissing passionately and reaffirming with words and kisses their love for each other.
Elvina closed her eyes as she felt Jezel’s arms around her... all kinds of emotions running through her body... love, safety, and even more confidence... while listening to Jezel’s soft voice,” I got your note...”
When their lips softly touched again, Elvina knew she wasn’t dreaming.

Once they were able to let go of each other Jezel held Elvina by the shoulders and looked into her eyes, “What did you think you were doing traipsing off on your own? Did you even bother with supplies? Did you even consider that a message from a dead lover whose spirit may still be under the control of your greatest enemy just might be a trap to separate you from everyone who loves you and wished to help you defeat him?”
As Jezel spoke the anger and fear returned so by the time she had finished.. she was in tears,” Do you not know what losing you would do to me....I....I would be dead inside....there would be nothing left of my soul...”
Jez pulled Elvina close and held her tight,” Gods, don't you ever do something like this again...if something comes up and I'm not nearby... hire someone to carry a message to me... or you can teleport... come to me.. and if you don't know my exact whereabouts... leave a message at one of the stables...you know either I or one of our friends will most likely pass through and know where I am.”
Elvina mumbled softly," I'm... i'm sorry..."

Elvina became very silent, and Jezel continued, a bit softer now.
“At least I found you, now we can go together... I brought enough supplies to last at least four or five days. Then if need be we can try to purchase supplies from a friendly elven village..or hunt and gather.”

Elvina smiled as she was happy she wouldn’t have to make this trip alone after all.
They still had a few days travel ahead, and tonight... they would sleep under the green blanket of the trees... together...


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Hell of a life - Page 5 Empty Re: Hell of a life

Post by Admin on Tue May 16, 2017 3:21 pm

112. Reaching Elvina’s home

(by Arianna and Admin)

After the fight with faeries, and an appropriate making up between Elvina and her, the band of three, Jezel, Elvina and Tolome the older horse Jezel acquired in Ravenswatch to carry the need supplies, moved on.
Her own mount Spiri had to be left in the care of one of the young stable hands because the war bred mare was pushed to exhaustion in the last few days.

Tolome had impressed Jezel during the fight with the Faeries. Most horses not trained in battle would have run off at the first sign of trouble. This old sturdy animal merely sauntered a few paces way and began to enjoy a good meal of long grass and leaves.
Once the Faeries had been driven off, and Jezel and Elvina had greeted each other a short whistle from Jezel had brought Tolome to her without hesitation. If she had thought about it she might have gotten the impression that the horse hadn't wanted to intrude on the women as the greeted each other.

The party crept through the Faerie lands hoping they would encounter no resistance to their passing, and thankfully they didn't. The next three days they met nothing more dangerous than a deer startled out of a thicket by the clanking of Jezel’s armour as she walked.
Jezel wished again she had taken the time to pack at least one set of clothing to change into, she was wearing some soft lightly padded linen garments under her armour, no one would willingly don fifty pounds of steel and place it right next to their skin, not unless they wanted to be chaffed raw and bleeding in ten minutes.
She could strip down to it, but if it got dirty or torn... then when she put the armour back on the friction would cause it to rip further, and cause even worse discomfort... so she would wear the armour.
She was used to it... on the front lines one never took off their armour, it just took to long to buckle it back on if attacked.


They continued with Elvina leading the way, and Tolome guarding the rear till the last rays of the sun disappeared beyond the horizon.
As Jezel thought Elvina had been in such a hurry she didn't even have shelter or a bed roll with her. They found a small brook with a stand of large willows and stopped for the night, Jezel stripped the packs from Tolome and suggested Elvina begin setting the camp while she gathered wood and water, and some succulent grass for the horse.
When Jezel returned to the willows the tent was up and her bedroll was laid out. It was late spring so the nights were warm enough that they could spread the blankets flat so they could accommodate two people.

Jezel looked longingly at the blankets wishing she could take Elvina to bed immediately, but there were things to be done first. She grabbed the cooking pot and a waterskin and headed for the brook for fresh water.
By the time she returned Elvina had selected an assortment of food stuffs and was waiting to begin preparing their meal. Jezel was amazed to realize this would be the first time she tasted Elvina’s cooking.
While Elvina prepared and cooked the meal Jezel rummaged through the pack for a curry comb and one of the special apples she always carried as a treat for Spiri. They were enchanted by Jezel’s adopted sister Arianna, an elven wizard who placed an enchantment on them to keep them from rotting for several seasons. This way Spiri or Jezel for that matter could enjoy the sweet fruit all year round. Tolome had earned one for being such a patient steady well mannered companion.

After dinner Jezel and Elvina sat quietly around the fire. They didn't talk much, much prefering the closeness of holding each other.
Jezel didn't know why El was so quiet, but for her if she wanted to admit it, she was still upset with Elvina, and didn't want to spoil the trip with an argument.
The reason for Jezel's anger wasn't so much that Elvina had told of her departure with a letter instead of in person...and it certainly wasn't the fact that Elvina wanted to go home for a visit.
It was more selfish than that.
Jezel's love for the white haired warlock was deeply rooted in her soul, as Elvina’s love for Jezel was a fierily passionate as the hellfire she could call forth with a thought..or without a thought for that matter, for when Elvina was angry...and not thinking clearly.
You didn't want to be with in twenty feet of her, lest you became a pile of ash.

The twilight faded into full dark when the ladies decided it was time for bed.
Though their hearts wanted nothing more than to explore each others bodies, their minds and bodies were in no mood for such doings. They were both so tired that when the lay together that night and kissed,they both fell asleep before their lips parted.
They slep late and by the time they rose, ate something, broke camp and loaded Tolome, half the morning had passed. The rest of the day they wandered over field, and through small forests, they weren't in a hurry but neither did they waste time.
Jezel didn't know why, but Elvina seemed worried about something. She wanted to ask, but knew that unless Elvina wanted her to know, she wouldn't know.

The second night as with the rest of the nights they camped... they set camp ate, held each other till the stars showed themselves then went to sleep.
So tired after a full days travel neither seemed that amorous. They would hold each other close, and sleep comfortably in each others arms, the intimacy of their love would in some ways be lessened by physical love during this journey.


Jezel and Elvina were lucky as the rest of their journey went without any problems.
After a few days traveling they took, near the mountains, a right into the woods.
On the fourth day when they stopped for a short rest, and a light meal at noon, it was at the point where they would turn into the forests of the elven home land.
Jezel made a comment that the forest didn't look any more remarkable than any other, went unanswered except for a wry smile and a glint in Elvina's eye that Jezel noticed.
It was several hours later when the tress which and been getting taller, wider, and fuller every other step. Or so it seemed to Jezel that she began to stare with her mouth agape, here the trees were truly massive and had a feel of age and wisdom about them... if a tree could be said to be wise.
Soon the trees became even huger, taller and finally breathlessly imposing.
Even to Elvina coming home was like stepping into another world... a fabulous world.

The huge maple tree Jezel was currently dumbfounded by was the biggest piece of wood she had ever seen...it's trunk was so massive a dozen hill giants standing with their arms fully extended and only touching each other by the finger tips wouldn't be able to circle it, and Jezel had to lay on the ground in order to observe the top branches seemingly reaching the heavens they were so high.
They made camp under the protective branches of that tree and set no fire that night.
To do so would seem discourteous to the forest. They ate cold ham with cheese and some apples washed down with hot tea courtesy of Elvina creating a small fire in their cook pot, placed on a small rock so as not to scorch the grass.
Even implacable Tolome seemed impressed with his surroundings, looking around constantly but not even tasting a blade of grass under the guardian maple tree.

That night even the air seemed peaceful and when it came time to climb under the blankets, they didn't immediately fall into exhausted slumber, but spent several hours expressing their devotion to one another in a more physical manner than they had previously on this particular journey.
This was also a moment Elvina longed for. There hasn’t been a lot of time lately to do the things that lovers do. Too many days she had been separated from Jezel... in their home the mattress left from her, cold.
Tonight she was more relaxed than the previous ones and took the lead in their love play.
It was really late when they finally fell to sleep and even if a wandering elven scout noticed their ‘activities’, Elvina didn’t care.
Jezel was the first to close her eyes, and Elvina stayed up for a little longer... observing and touching the magnificent woman lying next to her. She felt guilty and made sure to swear never let Jezel behind like that in such an important manner. Jezel would have given her life to reach her and that was more than Elvina could handle.
Putting her head softly against Jezel’s chest and making sure their arms were lying over each others body, Elvina finally closed her eyes, releasing a sigh of happiness.


They rose with the sun and even with the previous nights exertions woke feeling better rested than either had felt in a long time. they ate a little, mostly fruit for Elvina, but Jezel couldn't contemplate the day until after some meat found it's way to her stomach.
They struck camp and while Jezel busied herself with loading Tolome, Elvina walked a few paces into the woods, and when she returned she had a smile on her face.
She told Jezel that they would be in her village before nightfall.

It didn’t take long before they met a first patrol, elves armed with longbows and dressed in clothes likely meant to travel unnoticed between the trees.
Elvina could have entered the forest without them spotting her, just for fun like she used to do when she was a child. But not today... as she brought Jezel with her.
The patrol recognized Elvina immediately. To Jezel it was as if the patrol of elves appeared by magic on the trail in front of them. The patrol leader approached and greeted Elvina warmly. He spared but a glance for Jezel even though the tall some would call stunning redhead wearing expensive obviously altered armour to fit her perfectly, and even to show off some of her attributes, and wearing a well crafted sword and scabbard denoting a warrior of some skill and means.
Jezel was actually a bit offended at being regarded in so blaze a manner.
They parted company with the patrol shortly. None of them had even tried to talk to Jezel, but at least they didn't feel hostile... if anything Jezel got a feeling of indifference from them.
Though she didn't doubt that one or two would be shadowing them just out of sight till they reached Elvina’s village.
It's what she would have done had their positions been reversed.
They were on their way again, deeper into the forest. The average size of the trees increased even further and if you took a moment you could hear birds singing at their distant height.

Another hour walking and still no village that Jezel could see, she jokingly asked Elvina if she remembered her way home. Elvina playfully stuck her tongue out at Jezel and haughtily replied that they had been waking through the village for at least fifty paces.
Elvina took Jezel’s hand and pointed upwards, high in the trees were they could see the first houses, build against the mighty trunks and connected with long footbridges.
She pointed up with a finger and when Jezel’s eyes followed she saw high up in the trees, a huge wooden bridge suspended by thick vines tied to even thicker branches. Jezel followed the bridge to a huge chestnut tree where she espied the fairly large structures built around the trunk.
By the time Jezel could look away and close her mouth, she had a stiff neck, and a sore jaw. Elvina couldn't hide the smile behind hands placed in front of her mouth, nor contain the joyful giggle that escaped her.

The smell of leaves and flowers mixed with the one belonging to activities of a community reached their noses.
On the ground all kinds of activities were taking place and the few elves they first met looked up and gave Elvina a smile, staring a bit at the tall redhead next to her.
The further they got the busier the elves seemed, it was just like a city except there were no stone facades or paved roads.
Welcome home Jezel was all Elvina was able to say before elves appeared from everywhere at once. They continued deeper into the village, people waving and calling out to Elvina with warm welcome homes, and it's been too long Elvina, are you home to stay...?
Though they were obviously curious about Jezel, none spoke directly to her or verbally questioned Elvina about her companion.
It wasn't until they passed what was obviously a training area since a dozen or so young elves were there practicing bow, sword and spear work under the watchful eyes of experienced elder warriors.

They came to the edge of a market, no different than any market in a human settlement, except that here were no stone buildings, only tents woven from some dark mottled material that when touched made one think of plants.
When she looked at Elvina with a raised eyebrow, she was told that the tents were woven from strands of fibre taken from the thick vines that grew in the surrounding woods... by harvesting the vines the elves kept them from choking the trees to death, thus ensuring the health of the forest.
The elves nodded and smiled to Elvina... she was pretty known here as she was the only human who ever grew up among them... she was like one of them, like an elf... yet human...

They had gotten as far as the centre of the market area when a horde of small children came bursting around a corner of a stall selling pastries and tarts. They ran straight for Elvina, yelling and jumping with the unabashed exuberance only children can manage.
Elvina was trilled, and was so happy that tears of joy ran down her cheeks leaving wet streaks through the trail dust that she hadn't had time to wash off.
Just as every time Elvina returned the small elven children started to gather around her, and also around Jezel,... their curious little eyes looking up at this mysterious woman at the side of Elvina.
Some had never seen a human encased in metal like that. The bravest of the children dared get close enough, their little fingers carefully touching the iron of the woman’s armor tentatively before running away a few feet before turning to stare again, to the cheers and back slaps of the other children.
The little girls giggled as their intelligent eyes looked between Elvina and Jezel and the boys were asking all kinds of questions about the sword Jezel was carrying.
They seemed to like Jezel at first sight.


Soon they reached a huge open spot which was the center of this community. By that time the news of Elvina’s return reached people with who she was close.
Jezel was thoroughly enjoying the children's antics when all to soon an elf of middling age approached and shooed the children away, playfully acting like an old crouch claiming he would turn them all into voles if they didn't leave.
The older man approached Elvina and clasped her hands greeting her warmly and giving her a light kiss on the cheek before looking Jezel over. It took only a few seconds, but Jezel got the feeling she had been weighed and measured, and been deemed worthy of Elvina’s friendship.
Elvina introduced him as Yarik, the person who had taught her field craft, the combined arts of tracking, hiding, and living off the land. Yarik nodded to Jezel and spoke words of welcome... giving her a minimum of attention, but Jezel detected a hint of coolness in his words.
It was later that night when she mentioned it to Elvina that she learned why.
Apparently Yarik had been in love with Elvina for years. His love could never be returned of course, and Jezel could not hold it against him so did not take offense at his attiude.
Elvina knew Yarik loved her, but he would never show it to her as he knew how she felt about men...

As word of their arrival spread through the village, two other elves of middle years, Jezel guessed them to be a little over two hundred, one female who ran with as much happiness and yelling as the children earlier and a male who though walked briskly and looked as if it took all his will power and concentration not to try and race the woman to reach Elvina followed.
“Elvina!” Sha-’della came running down to the white haired woman, embracing her tightly.
Elvina got tears in her eyes, “Mo’m!” She almost squeezed her foster mother.
“Oh my child, I missed you, it’s so good to see you and...”

The woman embracing Elvina swooped her up in a powerful bear hug twirling Elvina around in circles, indicating a strength that belied the reed thin body.
By the time the woman had set Elvina back on the ground, and wiped the tears from both their faces the male elf had caught up and though he stood stoically Jezel noticed the tears that filled his eyes and threatened to fall unabated.
“Elvina... my girl,” Her foster father joined the big hug, interrupting Sha-’della’s flow of words.
He too took Elvina up in a powerful joyful embrace, but didn't swing her around like a doll.

When all three had regained their composure, Elvina turned to Jezel, and said," Jez, I want you to meet my parents".
They turned to Jezel, looking from Elvina to Jezel and back.
Elvina blushed a bit,” Mo’m, dad, meet Jezel Kelandon... she’s my... with... with me.”
Her mother winked to Elvina as she understood it right away before turning to Jezel and embracing the tall woman. “Welcome Jezel Kelandon, my name is Sha-’della.”

Elvina’s foster father repeated the gesture and motioned them to their house not far from the center of the village.
Meanwhile other elves were staring at them, some giving a curious smile to Elvina and Jezel.
Sha-’della touched Jezel’s arm briefly,” It’s always like this when a human or dwarf enters our village. Certainly when that person is at the side of my lovely adopted daughter.”
While trying to make Jezel feeling at home, Sha-'della took El by the hand and lead them up a wooden ramp that wound round and round an enormous oak to a large wooden home where the rooms were laid out in a pattern that followed the contours of the tree... the back wall of each room the rough bark of the tree. The home was spacious and was furnished with tables, shelves and an occasional bench... but there wasn't a chair to be seen. One sat on large soft cushions, many thick enough so when one sat down it was much like sitting on a low stool.
The view was breathtaking.

Jezel had not said much since her initial greeting of Elvina’s parents. She wasn't aloof on purpose, but seeing the pure joy on the faces of the villagers and especially the children at Elvina’s home coming... she just didn't know how to react.
She grew up on a large estate with a house full of servants, but her parents being soldiers were away more than they were at home... and when they were home... they let Jezel know how much the loved her.
They made sure they spent as much time with her as they could... which wasn't much, what with Jezel spending hours a day practicing with her sword work, education, and the eternal galas and balls which were more for political purposes than simple pleasure.
And her parents were never so demonstrative when expressing their love.
Jezel could see where Elvina’s passion and compassion had come from. That's what made them so complimentary for each other... Elvina all passion and emotion... Jezel who looked at a situation made a plan, well most of the time anyway, then considered the possible outcomes of a particular action before committing to it, and once committed she jumped with both feet whole heartedly with a passion equal to Elvina’s.
It just took a little longer for the flame to burst forth.

Some time later Jezel and Elvina were sitting on a comfortable couch, sipping from their drinks and just after Jezel introduced herself to Elvina’s foster parents, Incha the Spirit Shaman walked in... her eyes directly going towards Elvina before looking at Jezel briefly. She nodded to Sha-’della.
Incha walked towards Elvina and took her hands,” Welcome back my dear.”
Elvina quickly introduced Jezel to Incha. They exchanged a few words before Incha also took Jezel’s hands, squeezing them softly. When she offered greeting to Jezel, Jezel felt Incha’s words were genuine.
Jezel still wasn't sure if Incha was a man or woman, but she wasn't about to ask, even when Incha took Jezel’s hand and gave them a loving squeeze it gave no hint.
Sha-’della offered Incha a seat.
No sooner had Incha and Jezel exchanged greetings, when another person arrived... this one definitely male, though almost as old as Incha.
Elvina recognized him as one of the Loremasters. He looked a bit pale, just like Incha did when she came in. After he greeted Elvina and made acquaintance with Jezel he took a seat next to Incha.

By that time, with the presence of these two persons, Elvina knew something was up for certain... and she didn’t even spoke a word yet about her adventures, or about Zinna’s message.

At least she was home...

Last edited by Admin on Tue May 16, 2017 3:22 pm; edited 1 time in total


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Hell of a life - Page 5 Empty Re: Hell of a life

Post by Admin on Tue May 16, 2017 3:22 pm

113. Rest

(by Arianna and Admin)

--- The conversation --- (Jezel’s observation)

Once Jezel had been introduced to the newest members arrivals, they assembled on cushions spread round a low table. Refreshments were served, as the important issues were discussed, those being what Elvina had been doing since she last visited her forest home.
Jezel listened as her lover began to retrace the events in her life of the past few months. She knew Elvina had a sorrowful past, but listening to her now gave more insight into what made Elvina the person she was, strong of character, determined to succeed in life.
She had an iron will, much like Jezel, but it was surrounded by a softer more compassionate soul. Jezel listened and discovered why Elvina could exhibit an almost child like innocence... the years her soul, or a part of it, was held captive, meant that it couldn't grow and mature... now that she was once more whole in body as well as spirit, she was experiencing a growth spurt... emotionally and spiritually.

When it came time to tell all about the Masters apparent plans for Elvina, it was all Jezel could do to not jump up and strum around the room. She managed to remain calm or so she thought, and she managed to offer information where she could, so a more complete picture could be seen.
She noticed a distinct reaction from Sha-’della when Jezel mentioned that Angela, a friend of both El and Jezel, had told her that Elvina's birth mother may be a woman who was once a close friend of Angela,... a former friend who was even closer to the Master, being known as the Master's 'Left Hand'.
That being said Jezel had to also mention that at one time Angela had been known as the Master's 'Right Hand'.
Jezel was surprised that this bit of information caused only a couple of raised eyebrows, but nothing more.

The conversations had hit a lull when Sha-’della stood slowly and declared that they had spoken enough for one night, and that everyone should get some rest.
She looked at both Elvina and Jezel, and mentioned that the two had had a long journey, and were probably exhausted.
Jezel noticed the corners of her mouth turn up and a distinct twinkle in her eye as she did so. Apparently no one was in the mood to argue with her so the group broke up and Incha and the Lore Master took their leave first.
It wasn't until they had left that Jezel realized she hadn't heard his name mentioned... nor could she remember Elvina's fathers name.
She shrugged to herself... it was probably due to the excitement of meeting everyone she was sure she would remember after a good nights sleep.

Elvina asked Jezel to wait outside while she had a private word with her parents. And that is where a few minutes later Elvina found her.
It was too dark to see much but the scents of the forest came to her.
She closed her eyes and breathed deep through her nose trying to pick out individual odours, of those she was able to discern were several different woods from maple to pines, all seemingly alive. She could also pick out the deep earthy aroma of the soil that gave life to the forest around her.
The compilation of aromas gave Jezel a feeling of vibrancy and life. She would take time to explore the village and it's surrounds on the morrow. She had decided to ask the weapon trainers if she could work out with them, and would see if she could offer her experience and expertise with training the younger elves.
She knew she couldn't teach them anything about bow work, but she hoped she could learn a thing or two in exchange for training them in blade work.

When Elvina came out on the, Jezel didn't know what to call it... it was wide enough to be a patio, and with the planks laid where the trunks made a Y, thus the tree gave it walls on two sides with the house closing in the third. It could be called a courtyard, then again it might be a porch. She gave up trying to decide as she felt Elvina's arms surround her waist. She once more regretted being encased in steel, all she felt was a light pressure, barely noticeable.

--- The conversation --- (Elvina’s view)

She and Jezel were standing on the balcony of El’s house with a glass of wine in their hands, looking at a view that was hidden in the dark, listening to the sounds of a forest in the night.
After the long conversation with Incha and the Loremaster, Elvina had become very silent.
She told the elves about everything she knew, her discoveries and also her thoughts. Jezel helped her by filling in some gaps.
Elvina talked about the Master and his desires, knowing it wasn’t very pleasant for Jezel to hear but it was a necessity. She told about Amilcar and Angela and shared the information Jezel picked up from them just before she started to look for Elvina. She told the elves she discovered having a brother, Artega. Finally she explained why she came home... the reason... Zinna’s message.
This triggered Jezel to tell about Angela’s insight... and about Elvina’s possible birth mother... named Mirri.
Elvina knew it was hard to bring elves out of balance... yet it happened.
Sha-’della was even a bit shocked. Elvina soon learned why.

Incha told her about the contact, the vision she had when ‘communicating’ with the spirits.
By the time Incha hesitantly came at the part of where she saw Elvina in it, leading the spawn and bringing down the elven community, Elvina had burst into tears, because it has been her worst nightmare for a long time now.
One could see the Loremaster didn’t approve Incha telling this to the group.
“I don’t want to change... become something like that...,” Elvina whispered. Jezel was already comforting Elvina when her foster mother quickly followed the gesture, whispering to Elvina everything would be alright.
At this point Jezel took over from Elvina, telling them about the plans they made so far.
What Elvina didn’t tell them, and she was grateful Jezel also didn’t, was the part in her plan where she ‘hired’ her personal ‘assassin’... should things go wrong in the final part.
The long and emotional conversation was ended by Sha-’della, suggesting everyone but especially Elvina and Jezel needed a rest.

--- El’s home --- (Jezel)

When Elvina’s stepped out of her parent’s house, Jezel turned to Elvina and lifted a hand to the white hair, lovingly caressing the soft straight strands. They kissed sweetly and then taking Jezel by the hand Elvina lead her across the elevated wooden roadway to a narrow but sturdy staircase leading to the forest floor.
No sooner did they reach solid ground when Yarik and half a dozen scouts drifted into view, saying he would escort the women to Elvina's small tree house she had here.
Jezel wondered why they needed an escort when Elvina knew the village like the back of her hand, and could see in the dark as well as any elf.
But considering the reaction Yarik had to her earlier she choose not to comment.

Elvina simply thanked him for his kindness, if there was a touch or sarcasm in her voice Yarik didn't seem to notice. It took only a couple of minutes before they were standing at the foot of another narrow stair.
Yarik and his scouts came to a halt, and it was all Jezel could do to keep from punching him when he suggested that he find another place for Jezel to sleep.
Luckily before she could, Elvina simply told him it wouldn't necessary, that her house was just big enough for two.
It was too dark for Jezel to tell whether Yarik’s face reflected the same tone his words of goodbye had, or if it was showing the disappointment she guessed he was feeling.

Jezel followed Elvina up the stair to another wooden path, she could see where she was going due to wooden posts set every few paces that had the thick vines in three lines running through holes drilled through, and flameless lights set atop and secured with nails.
They walked about 30 paces when Elvina stopped in front of a dwelling built around a cedar tree about fifty paces in circumference.
Jezel waited for Elvina to unlock the door, and was surprised when she simply reached for a thin cord secured through a small hole in the door at one end and a loop at the other secured over a small twig descending from one of the cedars branches.
It must be nice to live where you can walk out of your home be gone for months if not years... and not have to lock the front door, knowing that when you return everything will be just as you left it, she thought to herself.

Once inside magic lamps instantly came one to light the interior.
Jezel stepped through the door, and surveyed the place. It was much the same as her parents’ place, only smaller, and therefore more cozy.
There were a plethora of cushions of all sizes and hues laid out... a long low table in the centre of the main room made of some dark wood, with ornate carvings of woodland creatures on the legs and sides of the table. The room was longer than it was wide with doors at either end. Jezel figured one led to the sleeping area and the other to the kitchen area.
She wondered where the lavatory was, and Elvina told her it was off the bedroom, and the house was kept free of odours and flies, via an ingenious system of water pumps and pipes that pumped water from the river nearby up to every home in the village. The pumps she said were operated by huge fans that were built to catch the wind and thus with the wind turning the blades of the fan, which in turn rotated a shaft that ran into the ground and operated the pump.
Elvina offered to show her one in the morning if she was interested. to which Jezel gave an emphatic nod.

With the tour of the home completed and nothing pressing on their plates, Jezel was finally able to shed her metal skin. She took her time and was careful not to let just drop to the floor as she shed each piece she stacked it neatly in a corner, frowning as she inspected each segment for dents and rust.
She soon knew what she was going to be doing for most of the next couple of days. She would have to get Elvina to introduce her to the village smith, one of her shoulder pieces was so damaged it would have to be replaced. There were several large dents that would require the heat of a forge and pounding of a heavy hammer to remove.

A deep long sigh of relief escaped Jezel’s lips when she was at last free of all metal, she didn't wear plate boots opting for a softer pair enchanted to give her a little more speed and agility in combat, so she didn't have to go barefoot.
She looked herself over searching for rips or sit on her padded linen under garments, finding none but not wanting to risk getting some. She asked Elvina if she could borrow one of her spare outfits. Jezel was a little bigger than Elvina and several pounds heavier, but she thought she could squeeze into one for now, and she could alter it in the morning if need be.
Elvina of course said yes and went to through the door at the left end of the room, returning shortly with a smile offering a soft pair of leather breeches, and a long shirt made of the same cloth that the tents of the market were made.
Both were mottled in shades of dull green and blown, so when walking among the trees as she stood still she would be almost invisible. Jezel was surprised that Elvina had breeches as Jezel had never seen her lover in anything but form fitting gowns and robes.

She was even more surprised when after pulling on the breeches, and pulling the lacing's tight and tying them in a bow knot they fit perfectly.
Jezel looked up and caught Elvina's smile. In answer to the raised eyebrow and unasked question in her eyes, Elvina told her someone had left them while they were with her parents. The shirt fit just as well, and once redressed, Jezel walked out to the little porch, and stood leaning again the railing looking out to through the trees.
She couldn't see much, just lines of little lights, denoting other elevated road ways through the trees, and the occasional light shining from one of the other homes built in the trees
Every once in a while a shadow would be seen as the occupant of the tree house passed in front of the window. Jezel looked up through the cedar this house was built in looking for stars,but the branches were too thick.

--- Preparing for the night --- (Elvina and Jezel)

An hour ago they had entered Elvina’s place in the forest which was a little house build against a tree at the edge of the village.
On the way there Elvina and Jezel were accompanied by a small escort of elven hunters lead by Yarik. A couple of them would remain this night at the foot of the gigantic tree.
Elvina smiled to herself and shook her head as she recalled Yarik’s question when they arrived at Elvina’s house.
“I can provide a little house for miss Jezel too if you like.” A small grinn appeared on his face when he saw Jezel turning red, clearly taking her time to gain control of her reactions.
With this darkness it was not sure if Jezel saw he was only joking... in the typical elven way.
Elvina had quickly taken Jezel’s hand and led her up into her house, saying goodnight to Yarik and thanking the rangers for their concern.

After showing Jezel around Elvina joined her on the porch and offered a cup of cool sweet wine, saying she would be right back after she changed clothes and washed up a bit. Jezel took the wine kissing El softly before El disappeared inside the little house once more, leaving Jezel to listen to the forest at night. Occasionally a word or two would drift up from across the forest, some speaking of love or desire and some with the heat of argument...village life was village life after all, and wherever more than one person gathered there was bound to be arguing at some point, Luckily none sounded as if it were about to turn physical.

Elvina returned unnoticed...
It felt a little weird, standing here with Jezel... at a balcony she shared with Zinna for ten years. Almost nine months have passed since she and Zinna parted... and three months ago she died...
She shook her head as if throw off images from things that passed long ago.
Her new life started a while ago now. Ever since her soul was whole again, she saw things in a different perspective.
The words she exchanged with her foster parents while Jezel was waiting outside kindy underlined that. She briefed them about her current situation in Cear, and about buying a house with Jezel. Aeron, her foster father smiled and told her they would soon come over to see it for themselves. She could already hear his advice in how to make the repairs... totally unaware it would guarantee future debates with Jez...
However, … Elvina didn’t tell Sha-’della or Aeron about the marriage proposal... not yet... too many things going on right now, so much information... and she didn’t want to overwhelm her foster parents.
Before Elvina left her parent’s house, Aeron had asked her,” My dear, are you still with the Vanguard?” Obviously he noticed she didn’t wear her Vanguard cloak.
Elvina kissed him on the cheek,” I didn’t want to mess it up and my other cloak is more suitable for these woods... but yes, I am still a Vanguard at heart. And it’s also... good to be home.”
On those words Sha-’della embraced Elvina once more.

Elvina observed the tall redhead who was leaning on the railing, staring in the dark, her glass half empty on the wooden floor next to her. On the background nocturnal insects hummed and darted.
Elvina was happy this gorgeous woman walked into her life.
For a moment Elvina tried to visualize how their future would look like, being happy together and finally settled in their home, warmly nestled... and without major concerns... oh how much she longed for such a future.
She was wondering what her red haired lover made of these surroundings, and the elves. Elvina had no idea how familiar Jezel was with elven villages.

She was very curious about Jezel’s parents. Perhaps after they returned they could spare the time to visit them. But Elvina didn’t want to push that, it was up to Jezel to decide when and how.
However, if there was one thing Elvina had learned, it was that she needed to enjoy the rare moments when nothing or no one was demanding hers or Jezel’s attention... like... right now...
Elvina approached her silently, her arms going under Jezel’s armpits, embracing her softly from behind, crossing her arms over Jezel’s chest and kissing her carefully in the neck.
She whispered softly next to her ear,” … I love you...”.

Jezel had placed her half empty cup on the floor and was leaning on the railing, thinking of nothing in particular when Elvina returned coming silently up behind Jezel and putting her hands under Jezel’s arms encircling her chest, and leaning her head against Jezel's back...usually if someone came from behind without a sound Jezel would react instinctively and the person would find a sharp dagger against their throat... but Elvina's approach did not go unnoticed. The sweet scent of the soap she used to wash with let Jezel know she was there, before the red head felt her lovers touch.

They stood that way for several minutes, words were not needed to say what each wanted the other to hear. Eventually Elvina slowly motioned Jezel walking backwards with her, through the dining room... blindly evading every obstacle... she steered them both past every object in their path without incident... right into the bedroom... where they each took great pleasure in removing the clothes of the other.
They stood naked, their bodies pressed against one another so tightly one wouldn't have been able to pull a thread between them. The couple lowered themselves to the pallet covered with thick soft blankets, and spent a glorious night making love.
Their explorations of each others body uncovered as yet undiscovered passions, and on more than one occasion their attempts to please the other more than they themselves were pleasured, left one or both sweating and hyperventilating.

--- The next morning --- (Jezel and Elvina)

Elvina smiled, she woke up as first and was admiring the woman next to her. Poor Jezel was exhausted, but she looked very cute now, lying on her belly, her naked back partially covered by the sheets and her face turned towards Elvina’ side.
She could swear she recognized a vague smile in Jezel’s expression... Elvina giggled softly... Jezel was probably still dreaming. Gently she covered her love and got up from the bed they shared.
Last night they all agreed to continue the discussion on the very next evening... so technically, Elvina and Jezel had the day off.
In order not to wake her lover, Elvina tiptoed to the kitchen side of her house. When she opened the closets she smiled. During the conversation of last night, her foster mother had someone send over to fill Elvina’s stocks. Now she was able to make breakfast.
There was a bit lack of meat and Elvina hoped Jezel wouldn’t be to grumpy about it. She chose for a typical (healthy!) elven meal consisting off dark elven bread, an apple-like fruit called Celarta in slices, some berrys and a special kind of roasted mushrooms with on top a bit molten white cheese.
While preparing the meal Elvina considered to ask Jezel if she would like a guided tour through her village. For a moment she pondered about walking to the forest church but she quickly rejected that idea.
It was already decided they would visit the spot with Incha and the Loremasters later. And besides, what could she accomplish there except hoping Zinna’s spirit would appear for her as well... offering its help to Elvina to bring the Master down?

Jezel woke that morning to find Elvina already up and from the sounds emanating from the other end of the house was preparing breakfast. Jezel rose with a groan... she was going to consider being here as being on vacation, and it was indecent to get out of bed this early when on vacation.
She was deciding whether to risk splinters and walk bare foot to the kitchen area but noticed a pair of soft slippers at the foot of the pallet, she put them on. They were a bit tight but seemed able to expand with wear so she put them on and went to find both something to eat... and with an playfully evil smirk some desert.

A creaking floor announced Jezel was awake and heading towards the kitchen... probably drawn by the smell of the food... at least... that’s what Elvina hoped.
She smiled to herself and turned around to greet her lover.

Jez found Elvina in a small kitchen area tending to something frying in a pan on a small square stove, on a table able to seat one on each side there were an assortment of nuts, fruits and berries.
One of the fruits looked similar to an apple, but was a bit rounder, with a light almost pink colouration to it's skin, and the meat of the fruit was tinged with yellow streaks. Jezel picked up one slice and put it against her lips testing the flavor, which she found to her liking. She bit down on it and was amazed at the taste. The texture was the same as an apple but the flavor was more of a cross between an apple and a blackberry, and it was almost a juicy as one of those big yellow balls that grew in the warmer regions of the empire.

Elvina motioned her to sit, and then placed a plate of what looked like pieces of round thin venison. Jezel picked one up gingerly and took a small bite.
She couldn't place the flavor, but it definitely wasn't venison, the texture was all wrong. The taste and texture wasn't unpleasant, and Jezel was soon looking at an empty plate. She looked at Elvina an asked what sort of creature that was... and when Elvina broke out in a fit of the giggles, Jezel was at a loss to know why.
When Elvina regained her composure and informed the shacked Jezel that it wasn't a ‘creature’ but a large mushroom that was a favorite of hers. Jezel was both amazed, and curious... she would never have thought a plant could be cooked like meat and be as satisfying at taking away hunger.
She smiled and told Elvina that she enjoyed breakfast very much and looked forward to lunch.


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Hell of a life - Page 5 Empty Re: Hell of a life

Post by Admin on Tue May 16, 2017 3:23 pm

114. Forest Church PART 1

(by Arianna and Admin)

--- Dissertate --- (Jezel’s view)

The group assembled once more, on comfortable cushions around the dark wood table in Sha-'della's home. Areon her husband and Elvina's adopted father at either end, with Jezel and Elvina on one side, and Incha and Ja-uth on the other.
Jezel was glad to be wearing soft leather instead of hard metal this time. Her armour was crafted to fit comfortably sitting or standing, but it was unyielding and did not lend itself to lounging on cushions strewn about the floor. There was simply no flexibility in it and she thanked Sha-'della for providing the garments she now wore.

Jezel was much more at ease now that she had met several of the villagers, and though their appearance was markedly different, their personalities, and attitudes quite similar to humans.
They did have a greater reverence for nature, and were more accepting of things magical than your average human, but when you had almost ten times as many years to experience life one could understand the Elven traits of patience and acceptance of things that happened to them. Still it was hard to accept that the elf you were talking to,who looked as if they were a mere child..may be older than your great grandfather.

They sipped tea and spoke of mundane things for the first while.
Ja-Uth and Areon both asked Jezel many questions of her home and family, as well as her experiences since leaving home. Areons questions leaned toward learning of her character, naturally wanting to make sure she would continue to make his daughter happy, and that their relationship wasn't just an opportunity for a new experience on Jezels part.
Jezel answered each question Areon asked honestly, and by the time the subject turned to the matters concerning all of them Jezel felt that any reservations Areon may have held were put to rest.
Ja-uth's questions were pointed in the direction of learning of other cultures, what motivated them, what they held sacred, what would likely influence their decisions on matters of politics, war, or acceptance of others. Jezel claimed that she was no politician, being the daughter of soldiers, but Ja-Uth pressed the matter saying that he could see in Jezel one who studied other cultures, and tried to anticipate what influence a persons heritage, and cultural experience would cause them to act a certain way.
Jezel thought for a moment before conceding Ja-Uth was probably correct, she did look at others and instantly formed an opinion of how they were likely to react to her... be it as simple as how to speak to the person to avoid offence, to what would make them challenge her to a fight. So she gave her honest insights on the people and cultures of the various provinces with in the empire, having spent at least a little time living in each one.

Once the conversations turned to the up coming ritual, and the reasons for it, Jezel once more listened more than she spoke... answering questions put to her, but not offering her thoughts on the matter. She was completely out of her element when the talk turned to things spiritual, or magical...she didn't mistrust or dislike magic..well not unless it was being used against her..and she understood and accepted magic had it's place in battle.

Jezel listened as the process was explained, and what if any role she would have in it.
Incha stated firmly that Jezel was not to interfere or disrupt the proceeding while Elvina was walking the dreamworld. Incha stressed that doing so could lead to Elvina being trapped there and it would take all Incha and the Lore Masters could muster to even have a chance of finding her again.
Jezel felt Elvina’s hand find hers and squeeze it reassuringly, when Jezel stiffened a bit showing her concern for the dangers Elvina would face. Jezel was told that in the unlikely chance something went wrong and Incha was incapacitated that it would be up to Jezel to call Elvina home.
When she asked how this could be accomplished, everyone smiled.
“Why with your love of course,” Incha answered,” You will only have to hold her body and call her name...remind her of your love for one another and that she belonged and is needed in this world.”

--- Dissertate --- (Elvina’s view)

Elvina wasn’t worried as she always had put great trust in Incha. They did this before... the only difference was that she would step out of her body instead of exploring her own mind.
She wouldn’t go far either and Incha would be right next to her.
There were not many things she could add, except suggesting the group could be led by Yarik and some of his archers. Meanwhile she looked sideways at Jezel, wondering how her day with Yarik was. Jezel only told about the things she saw but not much about Yarik himself.
Was it possible they had words? But she couldn’t ask after it, could she?

While Incha and Ja-Uth were explaining the ritual, Elvina however noticed that her foster parents gave her a few concerned looks.
Her feeling was confirmed when they proposed to join the group too and how they looked when Incha shook her head. Incha didn’t gave a reason and Elvina assumed they would have a 'privat' talk about it afterwards.

When she realised what the ritual would be like she wondered how Jezel felt about all of this.
After all, Elvina was going to meet the spirit of her deceased ex-wife. Would Jezel be jealous or something? That made her think about other situations as well... Elvina’s way of dealing with people whom she loved... What did Jezel think about her when she was embracing one of her friends? Yarik, Calimus, Amilcar, Shayde, and off course Cel...
Jezel never said anything about it so far... but to assume she felt okay about it was a step too far. Perhaps one day one would bring it up.

--- The night before the ritual --- (Jezel)

They talked for another hour or so, and when they parted, on the way back to Elvina's home... this time without an escort of rangers..at least none that were seen Jezel teasingly talked of giving Elvina something to remember while she was in the dream world... something that would make her fight to return to this one.
She only grinned when Elvina playfully asked," What ever do you mean miss?...”

They retired as soon and as the could undress each other they were lying in bed holding and gently caressing each other.
Soon their passions got the better of them and hands that were caressing were replaced by lips and tongues. Jezel being especially teasing as they explored every curve and crevasse of Elvina's body. Elvina was soon bathing in sweat, and her body squirmed with impending orgasm which Jezel would bring her to the edge, and then pull her back. This went on for a long time before Elvina finally jumped over the edge, almost violently. Jezel tried to hold her, but her mere touch seemed to set off another climax in Elvina.. Jezel was beginning to worry, when Elvina's breathing began to slow, and her body cease to spasm.

As Elvina quieted and finally rested, Jezel lay down at Elvina's side and took her up in her arms once more just holding Elvina whispering her love in the white haired beauty's ear. They were still wrapped around each other when the sun rose on a new day.

--- Love --- (Elvina)

She smiled to herself as she softly brushed her hair against Jezel’s chest, her body slowly relaxing. With her eyes closed she tried to describe how she felt besides the tingling that was still leaving her stummick. Passion yes... that was definitely present, but it was more... a lot more. Jezel already heard Elvina say it... ‘I love you’ ... many, many times. And she meant it, oh god, she could really feel she meant it... for a while now.
In her mind she pictured Jezel, not naked like she was now laying next to her... but just Jezel... the woman... why did she love this woman... this person so much? And was it okay to ask herself this question?
The answer came lightning fast... off course it was! She never thought about it with Zinna... she was just... ‘focused’ on her... not sickly, but still. It wasn’t however hers or Zinna’s ‘fault’, Elvina learned that Eligor and the Master had something to do with it... twisted it somehow by stealing a part of their souls almost ten years ago.

Before Zinna, she only had one person... an elf, a male... who raped her... the start of her distrust against men in a relationship. She quickly tried to forget him.
After her soul was restored, many months ago now, she changed... at least that is was people noticed and some said.
She was able to explore other feelings... new feelings... discovering other kinds of love. But it took her a while to realise that.
She fell in love with Celestia... while being overwhelmed with all kinds of warm feelings at that time. Until the moment she couldn’t hold it anymore and told Cel about her feelings... and gave her a spontaneous yet decent kiss. However, to herself it expressed the outburst of her emotions and she was a bit ashamed of herself afterwards. And it took her some time to realise it was friendship... a special kind, but nevertheless, friendship.
The only relationship she had after Zinna was with Adele... another of her best friends at that time. Looking back at the on/off status this relationship had, Elvina realised she discovered and learned more about two other kinds of love : passion and compassion. For the time they were... ‘together’, Elvina couldn’t let a night pass without worrying about Adele... Adele and her... demons. Again she was focused... never letting go, sometimes to be pushed away by harsh and probably unintended words coming from Adele or the thing within her, sometimes walking close, too close near the border separating this world of the living from the others.

There were still things she never told to Jezel, but was that necessary. After all, the past is the past, right? Her new life started a while ago... the time she took up the oath of the Vanguard... the time Zinna died...
She turned her head towards Jezel, her long white hair tickling the other woman’s face.
So, why did she loved this woman? The answer was more simple than she ever could imagine.
It was a combination of all the previous things... friendship, passion, compassion, love, devotion... and much more... she smiled to herself as she remembered when she enumerating all these types of love on another occasion... her conversation with Shayde some time ago now.
Before falling to sleep, she shortly wondered how her Sister in the Vanguard was doing now.

--- Relaxing --- (Jezel)

Jezel opened one eye when she felt the suns rays play across her face. She smiled and opened the other focusing on the woman at her side. Elvina looked so at peace when she slept with an almost child like innocence about her. Elvina's eyes opened and her arms tightened on Jezel's first movement. The smile splashed across her face told Jezel that Elvina was still thinking of the nights pleasures. It took all of Jezel’s determination and will to free herself of Elvina's embrace and rise from the pallet her resolve almost abandoned her when she heard Elvina moan her disapproval, and reach out with arms imploring Jezel's return.

It wasn't until Jezel offered to make breakfast, and bring it to her that Elvina jumped out of bed. She had knowledge of Jezel’s cooking, and though she could manage cooking meat, and root vegetables...her skill..or lack there of with more delicate fare would become legendary if she ever managed to cook for anyone else.
It wasn't that she didn't try..but Jezel had no clue what foods would go nicely with another or what herbs and spices blended well... if she liked a certain flavor and it was at hand... it went in the pot. The same went for food stuffs... If Jezel wanted something fried, or something broiled... thats how everything was cooked...all in the same pot... to save on clean up she said.

So Elvina quickly donned a soft baby blue robe and shooed Jezel into the lavatory to wash up while she started breakfast. When Jezel entered the kitchen Elvina had a simple breakfast of fruits,nuts, and some of the travel rations left over from the their trip here.
The sausage was preserved magically the same as the apples Jezel always carried in her stores for her horse, so it wasn't dried out or rock hard, the same went for the sharp tasting cheese Jezel always carried.

While Jezel ate her fill and Elvina sitting across the table enjoying her own breakfast of fruit, nuts and cheese, they spoke of this evenings ritual. Jezel had resigned herself to being just an observer, but she didn't like it... standing around being useless never sat well with any Relite. They were a people of action.
Jezel was actually considered a ditherer among many of her peers because she took the time to plan things out... most Relites would flash steel at the drop of a hat, and they were not known for having an over abundance of tact or diplomacy. And truthfully neither did Jezel, she was plain spoken for the most part, and if she felt she was being insulted or debased she would pull her blade as quick as any Relite.
Where she differed from her people was in the fact that when she pulled her sword... she would wait to use it, where most Relites would draw blood immediately. They probably wouldn't kill, but the person who offended a Relite would have a new scar to tell stories about. There was an old tradition among her people that if a blade was drawn... it couldn't be sheathed until it tasted blood, be that of a foe or ones own.
It was an old tradition not widely kept any longer, and Jezel didn't practice it... but blood lines were bloodlines and Relite blood could boil as hot as any barbarian from the plains.
That is the reason there were no Relite units in the Empire from the time of their annexation, to last year when Jezel’s Mother had been giving command of a full Relite division.
She was with her father guarding the left flank of the 10th legion. Jezel figured that they were positioned there so that if the Canas came against the 10th again the Relite division would be loosed to hammer his flanks and hopefully cut through the enemy and annihilating them.

With their hunger for food at least sated, Jezel took up her swords and gathered rags, oils, and her whet stone, walked out to the porch, where the chairs she bought yesterday were set.
Looking at them in the morning light made her wince. Gods they were the ugliest things she had ever seen, she couldn't blame Elvina for denying them a place indoors.
They hadn't looked that bad in the carpenters shop... or last evening in the waning light when she arrived home, but now they were almost too much to witness on a full stomach. Maybe she could find some material to replace the myriad of colours everyone more gaudy than the last.
When Jezel reentered the house, Elvina had dressed and asked what Jezel wanted to do for the rest rest of the morning stating that she would have to meet with Incha after the noon meal to re acquaint herself with the steps of the ritual.
Jezel nodded and explained that she had offered to show the young trainees some new techniques, and that their instructor had offered to spar with her to show his charges what two experienced fighters were capable of. For this morning though Jezel reminded Elvina that she had offered to show her one of these giant fans that drove the water pumps.
So off they went to inspect the wind mills.

Jezel was a impressed and awed by the mills as she was at the sheer size of the trees that supported the village. Here the tress were much smaller the biggest on only about forty feet in height and a mere ten paces around.
The giant fan was placed atop a wooden shaft that Elvina and Jezel could just encircle with their arms there was a ladder built into the shaft running from the ground to the large machine at the top of the tower.
The tower was well over one hundred feet in height and the the blades were about as wide as three people with their arms straight out from their bodies.and laid over a frame work of wooden slats, the blades were too high to make out what they were made of but Jezel surmised it was the same material they used to make the market tents and the shrit she wore.
There were three blades attached to a center hub. The blades spun slowly on an axle that lead from the hub of the fan assembly to a large rounded apparatus atop the tower.
Elvina claimed she didn't know the technical terms but that the large bulb housed gears that allowed the turning of the fan blades, to cause a smaller shaft inside the outer to also turn thus operating the pump buried in a chamber twenty feet under the ground
When Jezel asked why it was so deep Elvina replied that it was so it didn't interfere with the roots of the trees.

Jezel and Elvina walked leisurely back home enjoying the warmth of what morning sun filtered through the trees.
They talked little neither wanting to dwell on what was to happen later that evening, and words were not needed to express their feelings for each other. They arrived back at Elvina's tree house just about noon, and while Elvina prepared a meal for them Jezel set about donning her armour for this afternoons workout with the trainees.
It shone so brightly that it would out shine the light of the Lightbringer, she was wondering what they were doing with her shield since the lad who dropped her armour off had taken off with it claiming it needed mending.
Jezel walked into the kitchen and could only grin at Elvina's reaction to her new found splendor. Elvina fist gasped, then smiled, then fanned herself with the cloth she held in her hands, pretending to be on the verge of fainting, at seeing such beauty.
Jezel played along assuring the fair maiden that she would catch her if she fainted. Jezel then sobered just a little and claimed that she now wore armour that shouted "PLEASE SHOOT ME NOW" to any bowman within a league of her.
To which Elvina replied "the way she found trouble it would be dull and dirty again by the time they returned to Cear."
Jezel could only laugh and agree that she was probably right on that account.

Jezel took a seat and Elvina sat across the table from her they held hands for a moment and Jezel told Elvina how much she meant to her. Elvina returned the sentiment, and they enjoyed a salad of fresh greens, leeks, and an assortment of berries, tossed in a dressing consisting of soured cream, a hint of horse radish, black pepper corns, nutmeg, and a liberal amount of the sharp cheese Jezel always packed when she was on a journey.

They took their time over the meal, and enjoyed a sweet wine made from fermented blackberries. When they could delay parting no longer Jezel stood with a deep sigh, leaned over and kissed Elvina goodbye saying she would return long before it was time to prepare for the ritual.
Elvina accepted the kiss and returned it in equal measure tasting the berry wine still on Jezel's lips, admonishing Jezel to be careful and return with no cuts or bruises, as the warrior walked out the door.

--- Nightfall at the Forest Church --- (Elvina and Jezel)

When Jezel was bathed and dressed in her now clean armour and left the little house. It wasn't that long to walk to Elvina's parents home, and when Jezel knocked on the door it was Elvina who opened it.
The women embraced and kissed, before Elvina took her by the hand and led her into the main room where the others had gathered.
When Areon approached to greet her he embraced her in a hug, speaking into her ear that he had been at the training ground to witness the match between Faridor and herself... he went on to say that he was now sure that Jezel was quite capable of protecting his daughter, and that he welcomed Jezel to the family as another daughter.

Jezel couldn't speak but the tears than formed and trickled down her cheeks was answer enough.
She quickly dried her eyes before Elvina could see them and worry, she didn't need any distractions this night of all nights.
Incha clapped her hands twice to get everyone’s attention and announced it was time to go.

Evening fell... yet it was not completely dark.
The small group led by Yarik almost needed an hour’s walk to reach the most sacred place of the elven community, the Forest Church... or the place where the spirits of their ancestors housed.
There were no forest creatures with in ear shot at the moment.. but Jezel suddenly realized she could hear footsteps to either side of the path. She was further amazed to find that she knew they were scouts.
“We are almost there,” Elvina whispered to Jezel. She looked around and observed the group once more.
Yarik and a few of his scouts advanced on the group, making sure everything was safe. It was a sacred place and no creature would dare to enter it... yet it was a precaution after all of Elvina’s stories.

The woods here became a bit more dense as not many travellers crossed this region. The whispers of the trees kept normal people away... suggesting their minds to turn back or take another route.
Elvina could ‘hear’ it too, but it was tempered this time. The reason for that was Incha who was mumbling to the spirits, putting them at ease with warm and calming words.
Almost all of the Loremasters joined the group, Elvina counting four of them. She still couldn’t understand why they were all needed. Among them was Ja-Uth, the Loremaster who joined Incha at Elvina’s parents place the first evening, now two days ago.
She observed the man briefly. He was dressed in woodsman clothes, not the typical mage outfit, probably so he could move more easily in the thick vegetation. In his hands he carried a large oaken staff, softly glowing green on the edges. His eyes moved to Elvina as he felt her gaze upon him and gave her a little nod.
A small squadron of the finest elite archers covered the rear. Elvina saw them at work once, and knew they were feared by the enemies of the elves. Their shots were both legendary and... magical. Fired by their huge bows, with a keen eye and driven by spells their arrows hardly missed, piercing through any armor they could find.

A few passes from the huge open spot in the forest, the group halted. Even here in the green nature normally filled with forest life, everything was silent.
Elvina saw Yarik disappearing, taking up his role as Scout Leader.
While they were waiting Incha turned to Elvina. “I know we discussed this, but... I’m not sure if it will work.”
Elvina shivered as she looked at the open spot while Incha was talking to her... memories of the ceremony for the spirit of her deceased ex-wife hitting on her for a moment.
Jezel must have noticed as she took Elvina’s hand, softly squeezing it.
Finally the white haired woman turned to Incha after giving Jezel a little smile. “We need information Incha, and I never had the chance to talk to her about the Master. I only know what Angela told me. Perhaps Zinna’s spirit knows other things too.”
Incha nodded,” Normally I wouldn’t agree with this, as the spirits and our Ancestors deserved their rest. But with the events of the past weeks, and your story... well. I’ll do everything in my power to help you as I also feel it might be important for our community.”
Elvina embraced Incha lightly.

Yarik appeared in front of the group, as if he stepped out of the shadows. It even surprised the Loremasters how time after time this famous Shadow Captain could appear and disappear without the use of magic... and without them spotting him.
On the wrong side of a conflict he could be a dangerous opponent.
“Clear,” He bowed lightly at the Loremasters in respect and briefly looked at Elvina, his eyes showing concern.
Surprisingly, in the past days Yarik was the one who offered to show Jezel around. He took great honor in treating Elvina’s friend with respect while showing nothing but courtesy towards El.
Incha took the lead and the group entered to Forest Church. To Elvina it almost felt as if the spirits were holding their breath, so quiet was it in this peaceful surrounding.
Even been here before, the place left a big impression on her, it was almost as if the immense trees here formed a cathedral, their branches reaching for each other in one place, entangled in another.

The group entered the sacred sancutary and Jezel scanned the place... there were dozen of those flameless lamps and they lit the entire area. With the light reflecting off Jezel’s armour she once more looked to be shrouded in an aura of divine protection.
She looked to the roof and discovered that it was nothing more than a bare space below the trees, with the branches so intertwined not even water would find it way through.

Elvina and Incha walked towards the altar... where she stood during the ceremony when Zinna or at least her spirit was ‘called’.
Again a shiver of nervosity and memories ran through her. Would she be able to communicate with Zinna? And if so, what would they tell to each other? Since they split they had nothing but quarrel... except on the last time she saw her... just before she died. Zinna was listening to her, and Elvina was prepared to listen to her. But it was not to be.
Elvina could still see the blade piercing Zinna’s heart, ending her life within seconds.
And for what, with what reason? To make her angry? To show the Master how powerful she was? Why?
The archers formed a protective circle around the group. The Loremasters kept a few passes from the Altar. Yarik put a hand on Jezel to let her know she needed to wait next to him. There was nothing she could do now.


Incha took Elvina’s hands and motioned her to sit, in front of the altar and between the white flowers growing around it.
She looked upon Elvina and said,” This will be like our dreamwalks we did together, remember? Just hold on to my presence and nothing can happen. We let the spirits come to us... we never... ever... go to them as it implies too many risks. Just..., picture Zinna... and it may be enough to call her back. I will try to establish the contact and maintain it for as long as I can. Are you ready my dear?”
Elvina nodded, but just before Incha started, she was struck by a memory of not so long ago. When Archie and Celestia entered her dreamworld they could see who she really was. But they never really talked about if afterwards. She wondered how Zinna would see her... would she recognize her? She shook her head and focused on Incha’s chanting.

Without noticing it, Elvina fell asleep... but when she opened her eyes all what she could see was... was... hell!
Black mountains, a red sky, a volcano spitting out fire in the distance, the smell of sulfur...
“Elvina... you are going the wrong way... where are you girl?” She heard Incha’s voice and looked around without spotting her.
“Listen to me... focus on me... on how I look, and who I am to you... just like when we walked in the dreamworld. Right now you are entering your dreams... and you need to step out of them.”
Elvina did it and soon the dark environment made place for something... warmer... lighter... First she saw faces, friendly faces. They smiled upon her... Shayde, Lagnapis, Raxde, Amilcar... the sky became brighter as if the sun was making attempts to push away the clouds... except there weren’t any... instead she saw more faces... Jezel, … Angela, Darion, Adrian, Karethias... she could feel their friendship, their love... and she could feel her own love for them... and concern, …they looked like stars, like … angels watching over her,... Celestia, … Erica, Calimus,...
More faces appeared but faded quickly when she heard Incha’s voice again,” I feel you are happy Elvina, but you need to focus on one person now, someone who deceased... and you know who.”
Elvina mumbled, if that was even possible in this world she stepped into,” … Zinna...”

It seemed an eternity but wasn't more than a few minutes and Jezel was looking at the two women, one ancient, and one young, both walking a dangerous path at the moment. A path Jezel would be powerless to follow should things go horribly wrong. She was so worried about what dangers might present it self to Incha and Elvina on their dream walk she didn't notice the danger that was close at hand here in the real world...........

This time the sky broke open to Elvina and a star became visible... no, it wasn’t a star... but it was warm, definitely warm.
“Remember my child... let it come to you... never go after it.” Incha’s voice was but a whisper, yet she picked it up and mentally nodded to herself.
She was right, it wasn’t a star... it more looked like a sun, a little one, like an orb radiating warmth and kindness, and... love.
She tried to focus on the object that was approaching her and it was almost as if she could see a face... not like a human face... but more the physiognomy of a soul... if such a thing existed. It was hard to explain, but she knew who it was.
Sad feelings ran through her, remembering how it all ended.
“ No, Elvina... don’t be sad...”
She could swear she heard Zinna’s voice, but not coming from the floating light. It more sounded within her own mind.
“Zinna,” she whispered softly...

“Elvina, listen... we don’t have much time and I have many things to tell you.”
She focused on Zinna’s voice. “I...”
“Its of no use to dwell on the things of the past, yes... things happened between us... but what matters is the future, your future... the future of my former community. During my lifetime my mind was clouded ever since the He showed up. But as a spirit and with the help of my Ancestors I not know such a limitation.”
“Zinna, can you help us?”
Elvina could almost swear feeling a smile from Zinna’s presence.
“I will do anything for you and for my family. But we may not waste time. Warn the elves and tell them war is upon them... and they are only the first step. Elvina, his little plans have greater goals and you must stop him.”
“I will Zinna, I promise...”
“Elvina, listen to me... all will be lost... if he ever wins your heart...”
“It will never happen...,” Elvina replied before Zinna’s sentence was finished.
Zinna ignored it and finished her sentence,” … with or without force...”
“One can never force someone to give up his heart...”
She could almost feel Zinna’s spirit sigh.
“Elvina, I can help you with something... to bring this great evil down... you must know its name. And he is afraid of it... afraid I know it... that is why he killed me.”
Elvina shivered,” Why Zinna, why did he kill you?” Her emotions barely under control she focused on her spirit.
“His name... Elvina... I know his name... it escaped him once...”


“What a nice gathering have we here...,” A smooth voice sounded from the bushes.
The elves turned around, this time a surprised look that someone was able to mislead their senses.
Jezel’s sword already had left its scabbard when a man walked out of the vegetation and then entered the open spot... fearless.
He wasn't anything special in the looks department... not beautiful, but not ugly either, maybe a little above average, but nothing to drool over.
He was looking at many sharps arrowpoints, a red haired human with a longsword and some mages with glowing staffs. The man shrugged when his eyes seem to follow an invisible person. “You know,... I can sense you Yarik, so please come out.”
A few passes from the man Yarik appeared, a blade ready in each hand, pointing towards the intrudor. “Who are you and how did you get here?”

He stepped into the light and when Yarik asked his name, the man stated that some called him the Master. The man chuckled, showing a row of flawless white teeth.
As soon as the words escaped his lips Jezel moved, intending to remove his head.
Jezel was heading towards the man, only to be stopped by Yarik... and by a raised arm of the Master. “Now now... don’t be rude dear Jezel... first, let us get ‘acquainted’.”
Without loosening his hold on her arm Yarik spoke softly telling Jezel that if they spilled blood in anger here Incha and Elvina would be lost.
Meanwhile the Master looked briefly over his shoulder and as if by an invisible command, red eyes appeared in the dark vegetation. The group could hear growling while the bushes rustled. It was like the typical nightmare of child... but here it became real.
Yarik looked around, eyes filled with disbelief as he realised they were surrounded.
The Master looked back at them and smiled. “Now, … lets talk...,” His teeth flickered in the twilight of the forest.

Jezel lowered her blade a little but did not sheath it and looked the Master in the eye,” We have no business with you, leave before I hurt you and take your.... assorted pets with you.”
The Master showed no reaction to Jezel’s challenge, he merely raised his hands palms out.
Jezel called him a few other things and the Master only smiled at this show of bravado... but the smile didn’t reach his eyes... they didn’t shine, there was no glint. One could see a tiny fire if looking a bit longer at them.

Then, he started to talk … with a calm voice.


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Hell of a life - Page 5 Empty Re: Hell of a life

Post by Admin on Tue May 16, 2017 3:24 pm

115. Forest Church PART 2

Jezel quickly assessed their situation. She knew they were surrounded, but with the group standing in close proximity to one another they could be surrounded by an enemy less in number than they.
She looked left and right judging how far away the Master’s pets were and if she could close on him before one of them could get to her. She didn't even know if their teeth would pierce her armour, but even if they couldn't she rightly guessed from the height those glowing red eyes were from the ground, the beasts would probably outweigh her even in her heavy armour, and could drag her down with ease.
On the ground she would be next to useless....
She tried to look at Yarik out of the corner of her eye to see if he was going to attempt something. Jezel noticed he was doing a thing with his fingers but she didn't know what. She moved slightly back and to her right to put her in a direct line between the intruder and Elvina trying to block the Master’s view of her, it was a small defiant action she knew, but any annoyance she might give the hell spawn she would.

Jezel was so angry and had so much adrenalin coursing through her body at the moment she was quivering, like a spring wound so tight it would either have to be released or shatter.
She watched Yarik closely... this was his home, and he was a more than competent leader, it was his call. If he acted Jezel would take it as a sign to lay waste to as many of these interlopers as she could reach before dying.

She always had at least two enchanted blades when she was traveling, polar opposites of each other.
One with the appropriate name Dark Whispers would if it found flesh cause her enemy to feel drained and weak, but at a cost to her as well she couldn't fight as long or as hard, as the sword would take a little of her life force to work it's magic.
And it would actually work against her if she was fighting creatures of the lower realms. It used negative energy, the sword would actually enhance the abilities of most lower plains dwellers.

Jezel silently thanked the gods that she had opted to bring the other blade with her this evening. Where Dark whispers was dull and shrouded in a black fog, the one she held in her hand shone as brightly as her armour did in the sun earlier.
She had named this blade Demon's Bane. It was enbued with the power of the light, and it would hit her target with positive energy, and would slice through an evil creature’s negative energy defences easily enough. The only determining factor in how long an enemy lived was how strong it was physically and how powerful it's defences were.

The Master slowly raised his arm one time up and down, and every creature within earshot, animal, human and demon-like, fell silent.
His nice white teeth remained visible when he started to talk, his voice smooth yet clear and loud enough for everyone to understand.
“May I ask you to not do anything rash... and besides..., ” the Master looked around and turned to Yarik,“ Am I correct that most of your precious Loremasters are here... and not in the village...?” Leaving his sentence somewhat unfinished, his eyes went meaningful from Yarik to the Loremasters... grinning when his eyes made contact with Ja-Uth. Yes, it sounded like a question, but he made it very clear who was superior. The Master was confident.

Yarik knew the man in front of him was right, more even... the Loremasters had powerful skills but they weren’t prepared for an attack. And should it come to that, he would need to buy them some time. If they started to cast any spells right now, even protective ones, it would be considered as an act of war.
A glance at Loremaster Ja-Uth was enough to understand he felt the same.
But Yarik had a plan, … from the moment the Master stepped out of the green, Yarik had been communicating with one of his best scouts, using the language of the fingers.
While they were talking, his scout, who already stepped back in the shadows, would try to sneak through the cordon. And so far they hadn’t noticed him, yet...

Jezel was standing only a few steps from Elvina now. The Master was speaking an no one tried to interrupt him. His attitude was smug and arrogant.
Jezel chuckled to herself, that was an advantge she could use when the time came, anyone that arrogant simply couldn't grasp the concept that he could be defeated, but this one would be defeated.
Even if it cost her her life... this creature of the neither world would die with her sword burried in his chest. And Elvina would be free of him!
Jezel detected the sound of something large moving in the trees behind her and stole a glance over her left shoulder.

Suddenly a huge black hound entered the sacred place from behind them. A few of the archers turned around and while aiming at its head between two flaming eyes, they saw the beast was clamping something between its monstrous jaws.
When it stepped closer, Yarik saw it was a bloody bodypart of his scout.
“You missing someone, Yarik?” The Master chuckled.
By the ashen sickly expression on the Scout Leaders face it was obvious that they were now down a man. Jezel could see that even Yarik had troubles with keeping his emotions under control, but for the sake of the others... and off course Elvina, he remained calm.
Just like a dog, returning a bone back to its boss after fetching it, the mighty beast dropped the bloody heap in front of Yarik before walking to the Master and taking place next to him. It sat on it’s haunches and nuzzled the Master's hand just like a dog who thought he had earned a reward would.
The Master smiled and patted its head softly,” That a boy...,’ He looked up again,”Enough fooling around...”

Jezel wondered how the hellhound was able to rip a man to pieces and not make a sound... the scout hadn't even screamed. Jezel discovered why they had heard nothing, when she tried to speak, and though she heard the words in her head...nothing was heard by her ears, nor did anyone else hear what she said.
The enemy's voice rang loud and clear to everyone though.

“First of all, wake up my future princess, now!”
Yarik looked back at Jezel. He assumed they were outnumbered. Waking up Elvina and Incha might give them a chance should it come to a fight. Elvina was quickly battle ready and with her skills she could create enough confusion to give the Loremasters a chance.
While Jezel walked to Elvina, Yarik turned back to the Master.
“One day even you will have to answer for your deeds... ‘Master’,” Yarik said with a voice cold as ice.
Suddenly a voice sounded in his head,” If you want we can make a deal about ‘her’.”
Yarik blinked and shook his head as if he couldn’t believe what just happened... did he just hear someone talk in his brains?
The voice in his head chuckled,” Don’t be afraid, you are not ill. Now, I know who you desire Yarik, … Elvina.... What if you could have her for next twenty years... would that satisfy you?”

The world around her was... almost white... but in different shades of the color. She didn’t know there were so many shades of white. Or had she just lost her judgement on how things looked like? Her appearance was bathing in light, comforted by the spirit in front of her.
“I am so sorry about everything Elvina...”
Elvina mentally reached out for the spirit,” Don’t be Zinna... we haven’t done anything wrong. It also seems everything that is happening right now, started way back in the past... maybe even before our time.”
“Your mother...”
“Yes, … Mirri... have you ever heard Him talk about her, Zinna?”
She could almost feel the spirit sigh,” Only one thing, and what I told you... Angela must have known your mother.”
Now it was Elvina’s turn to sigh mentally,” I should have talked to her before I traveled here, and...”
“Elvina... you have to go back!” Zinna’s voice sounded urgent now.
“But... Zinna...”
“Now Elvina! Your place isn’t here...yet... know this... we..., I will wait for you.” A warm feeling was radiating from the spirit.
“Wait for me?” Elvina asked softly.
The appearance started to fade,” Yes Elvina, as your spirit is truly elven...”
Had she been able, she would have started to cry right now, but there just weren’t any physical commands available in this world.
Suddenly she heard other voices... she tried to focus on the direction if such a thing would exist here.
“El... El... wake up, love.” A female voice... whispering to her. Then she heard another voice, more insisting. “This way girl... concentrate and focus on my being. Imagine you can take my hand.”
Elvina could feel someone reaching out for her... she recognized Incha’s presence.
“Go to them Elvina, … please, go now...”
Everything started to fade... white was turning into black...

Coming back to the real world was like having a big shock, mentally but also physically... it was as if a cold biting wind touched her soul, as if she just had left a warm comfy house in the middle of a winter’s day. And her body believed it as she started to shiver... she could feel her fingers grabbing something... she could feel air entering her lungs before it escaped again from her lips... her lips... were touched... and she could feel her stomach react as if it was filled with butterflies... a kiss... someone was kissing her.
She forced herself finding the command to open her eyes...

Jezel was holding Elvina. After kissing her she looked down and saw her waking up. To Jezel Elvina looked as if she had slept a whole night.
Incha sat up, just next to Jezel, her eyes terrified as she had already realised the trouble they were in.
Incha woke up minutes before Elvina and was quickly briefed by Jezel about the situation.
The Lore Masters stood in a group and there was no change in their demeanor nor could Jezel determine if they were ready to fight, or if they were motionless with fear. She wished she had the talent of mind speaking, as she desperately wanted to get Yariks attention. She was wondering and hoping that like many human rangers, Elven rangers had four legged companions who they could rely on for help and support.
If they did, and the scouts were still able to communicate with them they could warn the village to prepare for war, or create a diversion by harassing the hell beasts.

“El...,” Jezel started softly. It took a couple of seconds for her to realize she could talk again.
A spark of hope flared in Jezel’s breast, cause if Elvina could hear her then Yarik could too, and Jezel could try to get his attention and form a plan. Jezel asked Elvina softly to feign sleep.
But as soon as Elvina realised she was awake and realised what was happening she got up, gently pushing Jezel aside.
“No, El wait...”, Jezel started as she could see little flames awakening and starting to color Elvina’s eyes... red... like smoldering coal.

The Master grinned as he saw what he considered the highest prize he could gain stop in front of him... within arm reach.
Dear Lords of Hell, he had longed so hard for this girl... and tonight … yes... tonight it would happen.
The power she was radiating, he could almost taste it with his tongue. Yes, sure, she was mortal... but he could change all that... and he wouldn’t make the same mistake again... letting her go...

When Elvina pushed her away, and stood Jezel tried to keep her close. Elvina freed herself and walked right up to the Master, with Jezel a few steps behind and to Elvina’s right.
Elvina was angry, everyone could see that. Yarik didn’t even think about it to stop her... he knew better, and besides... he would protect her as he walked with her only to stop a few steps behind her, next to Jezel. With the three of them they could buy the time for the Loremasters, if the situation would demand it....

“Elvina, my diamond... welcome back to the land of the living.” He giggled, clearly pleased about some in-joke he just made. “I promised you I would come back.”
Elvina didn’t laugh and while crossing her arms she said coldly,” These are elven grounds, you are an intruder and you are violating the sancitity of this place.”
While Elvina kept the Master's attention on her, Jezel whispered softly without turning her head to Yarik.
The Master chuckled as reaction on Elvina’s ascertainment,” Dear girl, I really don’t think you are in a position to tell me what to do and not to do.” He smiled briefly to Jezel before proceeding,” However, maybe in a nearby future...but as for now,...I have come for my answer.”
One could see Jezel was boiling...
When Elvina opened her mouth to reply, he lifted his finger in the air. “But first, I want you to meet someone.” The Master snapped once with his fingers.
The wind of small shockwave somewhere in the green behind the Master struck the party at the open spot in the face... it was warm, but it was also followed by a stench... sulfur.

The red eyes lurking in the bush started to move at the side where the wind came from.
What stepped out of the shadow of the forest was a vision torn from ones worst nightmare and gave everyone goosebumps. Elvina turned pale and Incha almost fainted.
Everyone took a few steps back, the archers confused, not knowing whether to target the Master or the newcomer.
They were looking at a monstrous black horse with burning red eyes and it looked as if its hooves were on fire. Each breath was accompanied with a deep rumbling sound inside the beast’s dark shiny body and when it exhaled it emmited something what could pass for steam.
When the horse, or whatever this thing was, whinnied, they could see a red glow in its mouth.
If the beast didn’t already struck fear into one’s heart, its rider would...
The man on the horse was dressed in an aggresive looking black and red armor, in his left hand he carried a huge spear, more like one of those lances knights used in duels. His right hand leaning on the saddle was glowing red-purple in the darkness.
Strands of white hair covered his left and right shoulder, while the rest of his long white hair was bound in a pony tail... white like...
Elvina managed to look in his eyes... eyes that were looking at her... eyes just like hers... eyes... glowing like coal.
The rest of his face looked a bit familiar... yet strange. But she had no doubt who she was looking at. Her gaze was answered with a smile from his side... and even his smile... was intimidating.

The smile this man gave to Elvina even frightened Yarik. From the moment this guy entered the Forest Church, Yarik knew he was very bad news.
He looked over his shoulder and saw Incha licking her lips which had turned colorless, mumbling a few unintelligible words.
Yarik looked back to Elvina in front of him. He hoped everyone would remain calm, including the red haired woman standing next to him.
Damn, … if he only had brought some more archers. A hidden unit behind the enemy lines right now could have made a lot of difference... but perhaps Jezel’s few words she just whispered to him weren’t that bad thinking.

The figure sitting astride the horse was very impressive. Jezel could feel an arrogance as great or even greater than the Masters rolling off the man... if it was a man. His hair as white as Elvina's... Jezel knew in an instant that Elvina had met her long lost brother... Artega.
She also knew that it was most likely Elvina would be an only child once more... or have a second lost love to haunt her days, before the sun shone again.............


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Hell of a life - Page 5 Empty Re: Hell of a life

Post by Admin on Tue May 16, 2017 3:25 pm

116. Forest Church PART 3

--- Sibling ---

The Master exuded confidence now. He looked between Elvina and the newcomer. “I believe you know each other...”
Elvina was stunned, but Artega only smiled without releasing himself from Elvina’s eyes,” Hello sis... finallly...”
The Master chuckled when he saw some elves widening their eyes,” May I introduce you all to Artega... Elvina’s sibling.”
A voice sounded in Elvina’s head,” And perhaps you can still save him...”
Elvina fought to gain control over her feelings but this was hard... for almost whole her life she had been wondering if she had family... somewhere, anywhere... and recently she discovered it could be even a brother. She closed her eyes briefly in an attempt to recall images of her past... when she was a little child, trying to bring up a baby... a little brother.
But nothing appeared in her mind, it was all dark and blank.
Opening her eyes and looking back at the intimidating man on the monstrous horse made her remember Celestia’s and Fred’s words... when you dig in your past, you might find something that you don’t like... guess it was too late for that now.

She was convinced that this man was her brother, she couldn’t explain why but it had something to do with the glances they exchanged. No, it was more than that... invisible for the others they were assessing each other... estimating how big the other ones power could be and determining what their ‘aura’s’ consisted of. Just like, rivals... but also like siblings do.
Elvina opened her mouth in an attempt to say something... but she couldn’t find any words... this whole situation was so.... ‘not-what-she-expected’.

Jezel stood quietly. She had already decided that if it came to a fight...she would try to get Yarik to concentrate on Artega, she would hamstring the demon horse. There was no mistaking the creature was bred for war, and probably liked killing, just like it's owner.
She hoped Yarik would naturally signal his men to protect the Lore Masters from physical attacks until they could bring their magics to bear. Jezel knew that Elvina would keep the Master occupied, long enough for her to take the horse out of the fight, and come up on the Master from the rear. It wouldn't considered honourable by those who call themselves nobles, but they had a confused notion of what war was.

There was no such thing as an honourable war. It was kill and maim as many enemies as possible, by any means possible! Especially when losing meant pain and suffering for everyone left behind.
She had no qualms about using evil tactics to fight evil enemies. If she could run the Master through quickly enough, even if she didn't kill him, he would lose control of the fight... and might confuse his forces long enough for the elves to gain the initiative.
She wished Yarik would let her know if the village had been warned. And also, if they lost here... the village would be defenceless.

--- Demands & desires ---

The Master stepped a bit closer towards Elvina. “Now you are reacquainted with each other again, may I please have your attention sweet diamond?” He smiled.
“Not only have I came for my answer... but I also have a … ‘proposal’.”
Elvina looked from Artega back to him,” I don’t make deals with devils... not now, not ever...”
A voice sounded in her head,” I wouldn’t be so sure about that...”
The Master looked at the elves and Jezel behind Elvina before turning back to the white haired lady. “I think it wouldn’t … ‘hurt’ just for listening, right?” He chuckled softly. "Celestia didn't teach you anything?"
The voice in her head sounded,” And you might even keep that redhead of yours.” Simultanously the Master started to talk, loud enough for everyone to hear, while he walked fearlessly towards the center of the open spot, stopping near the altar. “First of all, nobody gets harmed when you promise yourself to me Elvina. And you don’t have to come with me right away though.”
The voice in her head sounded,” You see, you can spend some time with Jezel first. Have fun and all that.”
The Master touched the altar carefully and winced a little before letting go again.
Incha stepped forward,” Don’t... touch that...”
He ignored the Spirit Shaman and licked his finger as if something just bitten him before turning directly to Elvina. “I also believe we can help each other. Let me tell you first what I want.”

Elvina stepped closer to the Master.
Meanwhile Yarik moved near Jezel, whispering softly about the idea she had.
Now that the Master’s attention was fully on Elvina again, or so they thought... they had the opportunity to hold over the situation.

“It’s not a secret what I want from you Elvina... I want you to be my left hand and together with your brother as my right, we will rule the Lower Planes.”
Elvina blinked, so this is what he wanted... he needed … new ‘hands’ and dominate hell. Along with her brother...
The voice in her head sounded,” And Jezel can be your pet, your toy, anything... you will be allowed to do with her whatever you want.”
He looked at Elvina,“ You see, my previous ‘hands’ couldn’t stand each other.”
“My... mother... Mirri...”
The Master smiled,” Very good, yes, your mother.” He didn’t even seemed surprised she knew the name.
“And... Angela...” Elvina continued.
Calling this name seemed to trigger Artega as he jumped from his horse and walked over to the Master.
Even Yarik and Jezel fell silent as this man who struck fear in their hearts just by looking at him passed them.
Meanwhile the Master nodded to Elvina,” Yes, aaah... the good old days... Mirri and Angela. Lovely girls, but after a while they couldn’t go along well with each other. Always fighting over me...,” he giggled before turning played sad,” Until I finally had to dispose one of them.”
“Mirri...” Elvina filled in.

Somehow her name coming out of the mouth of this beauty made the Master feel really sad... for a moment. Elvina looked so much like her mother and even her voice almost sounded the same... or was it just his imagination? “Yes... my biggest mistake ever...”
Incha stepped closer,” And more are to be made.”
“Watch it Shaman! And your spiritual crap doesn’t mean anything to me... however...” He looked back at Elvina. “I also want Zinna back.”
Artega, who had been silent so far took place next to the Master and turned his head from Elvina facing to his. “And bluehair...”
The Master patted Artega’s shoulder,” Don’t worry... she is yours... however... something unexpected has occured. … Angela bears a child.”
That made Artega rage,” WHAT, WHO?!”
“Amilcar,” Elvina mumbled to herself but somehow her brother overheard what she said.
“I’LL HAVE HIS HEAD ON MY LANCE!” The outburst from this already aggressive looking man intimidated everyone. It was clear he was out for blood.
The Master remained calm and talked to Artega as if he was talking to his pet,” There there dear boy... Amilcar is already being taken care off as we speak. Soon he will pose not threat anymore.” He giggled as it was clear he loved his own secrets. This was the Master in his element.
“If you ever touch my friend...” Elvina started with a dark voice.

Jezel figured it was time to try and throw them off balance a bit. She interrupted Elvina and said to Artega," In order to have Amilcar’s head on your lance... you first have to leave here with yours attached to your body... that hasn't been decided yet!".
That definately got everyones attention. The glare Artega fixed on Jezel would have put fear into many. The Master stopped speaking in mid sentence, his mouth actually hanging open like a fish gasping for air for a brief moment. The assembly of elves froze in place, Jezel heard one gasp from behind her. Elvina looked stricken.
Here she had finally met the brother she had been worried about for so long... only to have the woman she loved threaten to fight him to the death. How could she choose between the two, and who ever won... how would she be able to look at them ever again?

When the master regained his composure and arroganly mentioned that Angela would be Artega’s as promised, Jezel almost attacked him on the spot. Thankfully her head won the internal battle with her heart... this time.
Instead she snorted derisively while holding the Master and Artega both with her stare and spoke purposely putting as much sarcasm, and scorn in her voice as she could muster at the moment," You are making promises you can't keep. Angela is married and apparently bears the child of another... she belongs to herself only... as does Elvina.”
As Jezel said this last she put a hand on Elvina’s shoulder giving it a gentle reassuring squeeze.

Jezel continuing challenges seemed to have more of an effect on Elvina than they did on either the Master or her brother. She became pale, and shuddered, turning her head to look at her lover, emploring Jezel with her eyes to quiet, and not force the issue... yet.
The stricken look on Elvina’s face and the lost look in her eyes broke Jezel’s heart. She sighed softly, and finally nodded her head, letting Elvina know that she would back down for the moment. She gave Elvina’s shoulder a firm squeeze, trying to tell her that she would trust Elvina's lead.
The Master,” I, however, wasn’t finished yet.” He said it somewhat stern... however his everlasting smile almost followed immediately, looking from Jezel to Elvina.
The voice in Elvina’s head sounded again,” Don’t worry about your elven friend, he will live... at least, if you let it rest. However that lover of yours...”

--- Hope---

Once Elvina had turned back to face the intruders, Jezel stole a look to Yarik who had been trying to tell her that the village had been warned, and was preparing for the imminent attack . He also managed to convey the fact that a small division of swordsmen were coming to their aid, by serepticiously pointing at himself, then at Jezels sword, and looking briefly behind him. Jezel nodded to say she understood.
She assumed his personal compagnion, which she hadn’t seen so far, had something to do with it.

Jezel exhaled audibly. knowing there was asisstance on the way came as a great relief... hopefully they would arrive in time. At least with her challenges she bought some...
Jezel looked towards the Lore Masters, lifting her chin so that Yarik would see that they were still standing in a close knit group , with her back to the Master and Artega, she motioned with her hands pretending to fire a tiny bow, then spreading her fingers, and pointing in the direction of the Lore Masters again and once more spreading her fingers.
She prayed Yarik would understand that he had to get his archers to protect the Lore Masters, and to get them to stand apart from one another. so that one blast of magic couldn't hit them all.

Yarik nodded his understanding and made the proper signals with his fingers. His men slowly put more space between each of them, while one seeming to just meander to the Lore Masters bidding one to come away from the group so he could speak in private.
The two elves too several steps away from the group and every few minutes later another of the Lore Masters would be seen strolling over to another archer even further away until all Lore Masters were seperated from an other by a good ten paces, and between at least two archers.

Jezel looked over the area every couple of minutes while also listening to the exchange between Elvina and the Master. Finally satisfied that everyone was in a better position in case a fight was forced upon them, she turned her full attention back to the Master.

--- The offer ---

“Now... let me show you my offer.” The Master raised his arm and the creatures hidden in the forest entered the open spot, yet they stopped at the edge of the treeline.
It was now clear to the party in the middle that the Master hadn’t bluffing. Elvina spotted a horde of hellhounds, somewhat smaller than the one who brought that bodypart. Behind them stood their masters, and they looked like humans. Elvina had seen such creatures a couple of times before. One of them was even a friend of hers... Raxde, a tiefling.
It made her suddenly wonder where her duelist friend went.

Jezel was taken by surprise to discover that each of the thirty beasts wore a thick studded leather collar, and was leashed. Holding each leash was what appeared to be half demons... Jezel had met a few of their kind years ago.
Tieflings they were called, and were rumored to be half demon, half humanoid, and most people considered them cursed. They were treated with more hate and scorn than any half elf or half orc had ever encountered. The few Jezel had met when she was a child, seemed nice enough, but these ones looked very very bad.

“Yours, Elvina...” the Master said smilingly.
She blinked,” What?”
“If you accept my proposal... and become my Dark Princess, in the nearby future, I will help you with ‘your’ war against Canas.”
The voice in her head sounded,” And maybe some help with your ‘dear’ friend Celestia.”
The Master’s arm waved from the left to the right,“ These troops will be yours, did you think I came here to attack you?”
Yarik couldn’t keep his mouth now,” Tell that to my scout you creep, ...don’t listen to him Elvina.”
A voice sounded in his head,” I would listen too if I was you.”
The Master glanced at Yarik,” Only a little misunderstanding... from both sides.” He looked back to Elvina. “You would probably have to leave the Vanguard, but you will be more Vanguard than ever with your own faction my dear.”
The voice in her head whispered,” And people will forget the Vanguard, which wouldn’t be such a bad thing... right?”
It made Elvina think back of what happened in Lendose, about how the soldiers looked at her, and how they currently felt about the Vanguard. At least that was her interpretation...
The Master chuckled,” And if you don’t like the dogs we’ll have cats instead... Hellcats!”
The voice in her head sounded,” Imagine, your own Shadowguard...”

Meanwhile Jezel had been observing the Master’s troops.
They had stopped at the edge of the open area, some looked as if they feared being so close to the light. Even the hounds they held at bay would pace back and forth on the edge but would come no closer.
This little piece of information made Jezel's heart leap for joy. If the hounds and their handlers wouldn't cross the threshold, and if the group stayed within the light, they could pick them off one by one, that left only Artega and the Master being a real threat.

Incha stood now next to Elvina,” So you haven’t come for war? At least you can give her some time to reflect.”
“Ah, my lovely Shaman, that is so diplomatic of you. But I’m afraid my offer only lasts for now, this night.”
Incha put her hand on Elvina’s shoulder,” And what if we don’t agree?”
The Master walked closer to Elvina and Incha,” I am convinced we can work something out, otherwise, … well...” He turned his eyes to the woods, and looked as if he was standing on a high mountain, narrowing his eyes at something in the distance.
“Did I just hear a scream? Did... you hear it too?” He smiled and looked back to Incha who turned pale as she immediately realized what he insinuated.
The village...
“But...” Incha started.
The Master gave her a fake warm smile,” I only said I didn’t came ‘here’, to attack ‘you’...”
Mom, dad, … was the only thing Elvina could think off.

Jezel assumed the Master was bluffing when she heard his last sentence.
She turned her attention to Artega, who's eyes were still locked on the Master, with what..a look of distain, anger, maybe even hatred?
She decided to see if she could drive a wedge between them and caught Artega’s attention with a small cough.
“I also have an offer. I know you and Elvina are sibblings... so let me ask you this : do you hold love in your heart for her? Or do you see her as some kind of pawn in some netherworld game of thrones? I think that you are not exactly devoted to that arrogant ***, so he obviousy doesn't trust you in the slightest.”
She smiled before continuing,” So, is he your pawn, or are you his? I mean you obvilously crave power as much as he does, else you wouldn't be at his side. Let me put this to you... join us in defeating him... and take all that was once his for yourself... leaving Angela and Elvina in peace to live their lives as the desire."
Shrugging her shoulders she added " Or we could do battle and once you're dead our problems are half solved anyway."

--- Showdown ---

Both Elvina and the Master heard what Jezel said. Her love turned pale and the Master raised his eyebrows,” What is this? Trying to play my game? Artega! SHE is all yours !!”
The white haired man had been listening to Jezel with his arms crossed. He shook his head to Jezel,” Perhaps if you had left out bluehair’s name, you might have convinced me.” He sounded sarcastic and the Master chuckled.
“So darling, you know it will be more than a contest?” He leaped on his monstrous horse and prepared his short lance.
“Jezel, no!” Elvina took Jezel’s hand,” Do not go into this, stick with me.”
Jezel shook her head softly as Elvina had no idea she was buying more time for them. She just had to do this...

Jezel knew the moment of decision was at hand. the tension in the air was so thick it made on gasp for air. She caught sight of elvina out of the corner of her eye. Jezel could see feel the heat building around her, a quick look to the other side told her Yarik was beginning to draw his bowstring. Artega made his move and drove his beast in her direction.

Jezel was prepared for this and waited for the right moment to dive forward under the lance, and with a back swing of her sword tried to strike the beast behind the knee. She felt the sword bite, but it was off the mark and struck the horse high on the thigh, the damage to the leg was further reduced by the fact the horse was moving away from her.
Jezel came to her feet and turned prepared for Artega to turn and charge once more. He probably expected her to try the same tactic again, but this time she would spin to the right as the lance point reached her and she would take Artega as he passed.
Artega did indeed charge a second time, and just as the lance tip connected with Jezel's shield, she spun redirecting the lance down and too the right and as Artega’s arm passed infront of her she struck down with her sword hitting his arm just above the wrist.
The force of the blow was absorbed by the protective field surrounding Artega. He dropped his arm with the force of the blow but was not harmed by it. His protections did suffer though and were drained by the positive energy given off by Jezel’s blade. The impact of blade through magical shield jarred Jezel's arm and the flash of blue flames at the point of impact was bright enough to blurr her vision.

She staggard back a few steps, blinking and shaking her head to clear her vision. Jezel hadn't fully revovered when she felt a heavy impact on her shield that took her off her feet and drove her back several feet crashing into against a trunk with enough force to stun her.
She slid down the tree trunk limp as a wet rag. She didn't lose conciousness, but she was disoriented. She was able to focus in time to react when Artega's lance appeared seeking her head, she rolled to her right and the lance brushed her hair as it drove deep into the wood of the oak trunk she had impacted with.

Jezel regained her feet and turned to face the man who was the greatest challenge she had ever faced. She had tried and failed to take down his beast, she had struck him with a blow that should have seperated his arm from his body, and hadn't even slowed either of them.
She stood ready for another charge, and wasn't disappointed, but it wasn't the lance that she faced this time but the firey hooves of the hellhorse. The beast reared to it's full height, easily half again the height of Jezel’s six feet. The beast hooves were half again as wide as Jezel’s head, and were moving as fast as one of the pesky faeries she had faced on the way to find Elvina.
With the beast flailing hooves driving for her head, Jezel had to take the defensive meeting each strike with her blade driving the firey hoove to the side at the last moment. She changed tactic once and instead of deflecting the hoove she drove her sword up and into it. The horse screamed. Her blade won this time and as she withdrew the blade the beast fell to all four legs, and stood momentarily drained and weak. Jezel took her chance and thrust for the throat of the horse only to be stopped in mid stride by wall of energy that knocked her back and to her knees.

Artega had stopped the redheaded warrior from killing his companion with an eldrich arrow that shoud have put an end to the inconvenience, and was truely amazed that she not only survived, but was able to stand and wanted to continue the fight, and that sword she weilded..he felt it's power.
Artega considered himself to be an honourable man, he would have preferred to battle this woman without using offensive magic, but he had never before fought a mortal who had even a chance of hurting him, let alone killing him.
This woman was not only a capable fighter, she was smart, and studied an opponent, and was patient enough to wait for an opening. Artega also knew that fueled by her love for Elvina, and her sense of right and wrong she wouldn't stop until one or the other was dead.

Artega smiled ruefully, and shook his head as once more the woman gained her feet, and stood ready for him to charge once more. He decided to oblige her but as he spured his mount forward he unleashed another eldrich blast that struck Jezel full in the chest, knocking her to the ground where she remained immobile. The distance closed and as Artega readied his lance for the thrust that would end the battle that elven scout appeared between them... With no time to alter either course or speed Artega drove the point of his lance through the elf's chest.

“NOOOOOO!!” Elvina screamed as she saw how Yarik appeared between the oncoming rider and her heavily wounded lover, in an attempt to protect Jez. But it was too late. The leather armor Yarik was wearing proved no defence against the sharp impact, and just like with Zinna, Elvina had to witness how another of her friends was pierced in front of her eyes. “YAAARIIIIIIIIK !!!!!!!!!!!”
Elvina raged. It didn’t matter that the rider was her brother, her emotions took control and she activated her hellfire shield... after all, she still had to save her love who lay wounded on the ground.
It also seemed just before Yarik was pierced, one of his blades struck the horse in the neck. And Artega had already jumped off and was on his way to finish his work, first Yarik, then Jezel.

Jezel realized that she was about to die, and there was nothing she could do to prevent it. The knowledge actually had a calming effect on her. She accepted her fate praying to Rell to protect those she loved, and to strike down any who threatened them.
She saw Yarik’s body a little ways off he was motionless and she noticed the dark stain spreading across his armour, a few paces further on she found the body of Artega's mount also motionless with a dark pool of blood deepening around it's head.
But then Elvina lashed out to her brother, hitting him with a purple blast from the side and drawing his attention to her.

As a reply on Elvina’s reaction the Master forced his troops to attack the Lore Masters. The black beasts were released from their master’s leach and stormed towards the elves. Their masters disappeared...
It took a few arrows to take down each of the hellhounds. Their number was reduced by half before they hit on the group. The Lore Masters had no time for many protective spells and instead used powerful offensive magic. While the rangers kept the hounds at bay as much as they could, the Lore Masters released magical blue-white arrows illuminating the sacred place even further as if it was constantly struck by lightning.
It rained down magic on the hellhounds yet a few managed to get through the lines... one of them immediately gnawed at the throat of one of the wizards. Blood sprayed from the wound and soon his white garment turned red.

Elvina saw it all happen and had to make a choice. Keeping Artega away from Jezel and Yarik’s bloodied body... or... protecting the Lore Masters. While the rangers were fighting with was left of the hellhounds, there were still the tieflings to take into account.
She decided to try both and ran to the Loremasters while blasting at Artega. With her hellfire shield active she might take out any of the invisible planetouched... even if it meant she would take her share in scars, or worse.
She succeeded to distract her brother who was taking her hits more like annoying flies around him... even though she knew she had hit his flesh. He seemed to shrug off the hits just like he did in the fight with Jezel. Artega reminded her of those Kor bersekers... but much, much worse. And after seeing him also activate a ring of fire when fighting with Jezel, Elvina assumed they shared the same powers... or was it more like a curse?

Jezel blinked, reaching for her wounds while she lay on the ground. There was no sign of Artega, and she couldn't make out any body else, she only knew that the battle continued. Jezel’s last concious thought was that she heard battle cries coming from the forest to her left.

With her attention on Artega and a half eye on the remaining Lore Masters, Elvina didn’t notice the first tieflings approaching her. One already stabbed her in the back and even though the creature’s face got burned from Elvina’s shield, Elvina fell on her knees...
She could hear the Master scream,” NOOOOO,.... NOT MY PRECIOUS GIRL !!”
But it was too late.
A stabbing pain was spreading from her back to her chest, and she could feel her back turn warm from the blood guttering out of the wound.
From under her eyelids that were growing heavier, she saw the scouts turning to the Tieflings who had become visible for some reason, ... ... she saw Incha and the Lore Masters finally casting their protective spells... ... and somewhere in the distance she heard an elven horn.

She smiled just before she fell forward on the ground, Faridor had come.

Everything turned black... ... and she could feel someone reaching out for her... ... a familiar warmth, caressing her being... ... telling her,... it was all over...


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Post by Admin on Tue May 16, 2017 3:29 pm

117. Beyond

“Yarik...?” She whispered.
“Yes, Elvina?”
“Where are you?” Elvina tried to look around.
“I’m right here my dear, don’t worry.” His voice sounded low and was calming her. She was safe...
She noticed warm feelings running through her left.
“Yarik,... and are you alright?”
A silence before she heard his voice again,” Yes I am, darling.”
“And Jez...?”
She could feel Yarik came closer now,” She... she can’t hear you right now.”
“What do you mean, … is she... sleeping?” His answer alarmed her.
“No, not exactly...” He said..
“But, she is okay??” Elvina asked worried.
“Yes, she will be.”
“Yarik,... why can’t I see you? Is it night?”
“No... here...” It felt as if he gave her a hand. “Come... stay close with me.”

It didn’t feel cold or warm while walking around, but she didn’t see a thing for her eyes.
The only thing she could feel was Yarik’s presence, a warm feeling where her arm was supposed to be.
It was... comforting...

“Yes, Yarik?”
“We are almost there, but first I would like you to listen to me, … very carefully.”
“Yarik, … what is it?” It felt as if her heart stopped, she could feel bad news was on the way.
“First of all, I would like you to stay calm... can you do that for me?”
“Y-yes Yarik...”
“It’s going to be alright with you.... I just know it.”

Suddenly she could see a light in the distance, and it was growing... no, it was coming closer.
Despite the fact it was radiating rays of light, Elvina still couldn’t see Yarik... or herself.
“Yarik, what is this? Where are we?”
“This Elvina... is your stop.”
“My st... but where are you going?”
“I...” His voice faltered.
Suddenly she could feel him as if he was embracing her. And she could feel herself reaching out for him. It was strange, she didn’t feel his arms around her, nor did she feel his chest... but she could feel warmth... energy... she could feel his love and it was facing in her direction.
“El... I’m sure going to miss you.”
“Yarik? Wh...”
“Its okay girl, lets go... I’ll bring you there.”

The light came closer and Elvina could swear she heard whispering... voices.
“Yes love?”
“I’m scared, … I don’t want to go there.”
She could feel him embrace her again. “You don’t have to be afraid... and even though it may seem our ways part... I will be always with you, my dear.”
“Yarik... are we...?”
“... yes...”
“But... no... we go together... show me the way, which way... Yarik?”
“I’m still here Elvina, but I have to go soon. El.... I want you to know this.... from the day I first saw you I... I loved you.”
A memory struck Elvina... the moment she made acquaintance with Yarik she was almost sixteen years old... she remembered the warm smile he gave her and how her heart jumped.
Elvina answered softly,” I know Yarik, I’m... I’m so sorry it stayed unanswered all that time.”

She could feel Yarik all around her now. “Its quite alright my little girl, it was never unanswered as our friendship always meant a lot to me. Your smile, your shining eyes... the sparkle you always carried with you. I … only wish I could have protected you more.”
“Yarik... “
“I know... its not our fault...”
“Please, Yarik, ... don’t go... I’m sorry I never showed you my feelings... I love you too.”
She could swear she felt his smile,” I know, but it was another kind of love... not the one between lovers.”
“Yarik, what do you mean?”
It was now as if he was holding her, like a child... and she imagined she was leaning against his chest.
“Sooner or later you will find out, and you will understand... but not yet... just not yet. You are only at the beginning of long and happy life. And you still have so much love to give...”
“Life... but?”
“I have to go Elvina... please...” She could feel how he motioned her towards the light... the whispers became voices.
She turned around once more and she could see him now... as a shade.... “Yarik?... Ya...?”
“Go girl, I love you... go... you have my blessing. Be safe...”

She lost sight of him and she had no idea if it was due the light around her or the darkness in which he disappeared.

Elvina cried for two days in Jezel’s arms. It felt like she lost a piece of her soul again. She didn’t even feel the pain in her back... and besides, it didn’t matter... she had much more pain somewhere else. And it started from the moment when she was told Yarik died in the Forest Church... when he was protecting her lover.

Will it feel like now, everytime I lose someone who is dear to me? And how can I protect them... with nothing but my love?
How am I able to go through with this? And will I be able to end this... for once... and for all?


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Post by Admin on Tue May 16, 2017 3:29 pm

118. Aftermath

Elvina was wearing the exquisite white silky night robe Sha-’della had given her. It had a slit on the side in order to increase comfort when walking around.
She sat in her bedroom, alone, on the bed and her back against the wall. With her legs bend, the robe had slipped a bit down, exposing her long smooth and lightly tanned legs.
While closing her eyes for a moment, she pressed the notebook a little harder against her knees, as if this could force her to settle her thoughts, … and her emotions.
She needed this... she needed to write things down... it... it would help her...

Elvina resumed with writing in her dairy...

Jezel would have died for me, and for the elves. It was a bold move, challenging my brother. Facing and challenging such an intimidating man takes a lot of courage or is driven by ... impulsiveness. It’s like how most people would judge over Jez, but not this time. There was a lot more to it. And whatever it is or was, I love her and I’m looking forward to marry her. These past two weeks we have even grown more towards each other.

She briefly stopped writing and smiled by the thought of her. Right now, Jezel was getting her horse back from Ravenswatch, where she left it before starting on their latest adventure.
Elvina promised her she would stay in Cear, home. She grinned... she also had to promise not leaving any notes.. just to avoid possible incoming heart attacks.
Well, most likely Elvina wouldn’t go anywhere as the wound on her back discouraged walking around.
Something in her back got seriously damaged and even after they brought her ‘back’ and healed her... the pain didn’t disappear... making her even limp. Incha explained her it could take a few weeks, maybe longer... but in order not to worry Jezel too much, Elvina said she would be fine within days. Besides, she wanted to return as soon as possible...
And that made her think back of everything what happened... she lost Yarik. And not only Yarik, but also other elves fell... among them one of the Lore Masters.
And they couldn’t bring anyone of the elves back... the bodies of the deceased more looked like empty shells Incha told her.
The community was still mourning when Elvina left, and she was feeling guilty.

I feel guilty not only because it feels like I left them behind... but also for bringing this dark shadow upon them. But leaving was my only option as I want to rectify this 'situation' as soon as possible and I don’t want to bring even more sorrow by staying.
I should have been dead, but instead I was the only person who could be revived... why? Why me and not the others who died there?

After four days of rest Elvina had finally convinced Jezel and the elves she had to leave. Off course they knew about her plans and knew she wanted to put an end to this once and for all.
Since she was still in pain, walking back or riding a horse wasn’t an option. It was Ja-Uth who brought them to Cear with his magic, a teleport like Elvina witnessed with Phelan.

Dad is so sweet, he said he loved our house but he didn’t say much about the flaws. I assume he was smart enough not to start about it... not now. And mom almost immediately wanted to test the furnace and the rest of the kitchen. They left the very next day but promised us they would return soon... and mom whispered she would bring a few nice things for the house.
They are gone for a few hours now,... and I already miss them.

She brushed with the feather of the quill against her cheek. The Master had made his move, and not just one. Well, she would make sure the next move was hers... and he wouldn’t see her coming.
However, there was an extra concern... why did he want to help them with the war against the Canites? Was it just an ultimate offer to convince Elvina to marry him or is he unfolding a bigger plan?

‘More lives like a cat’ : were the first words I heard when I woke up. Yes, I am a Hellcat after all... and even though it is not my real name, I like it !!
*she underlined the word ‘like’ three times*

Elvina grinned, the Master could keep her real name. She wasn’t interested anymore. The elves gave her a name and she had no intention in changing it, not even if she discovered her real name. He could go to hell.
Elvina giggled devilish, this time she had a ‘mean’ inside joke. She left the elven forest with a secret... a secret that she was anxiously keeping to herself... until she met the right people to tell it too.
She learned... the Master’s true name...

And what do I have to think of my brother, the man who killed Yarik and almost Jez. Will I kill him on first sight? No, I still have hope to save him because he is probably my only family. Will I be able to do what is necessary if that part fails? It is clear that Artega got tricked, just like Angela in her past... so, I don't know.

It reminded her of the next steps. First she needed to warn Angela and Amilcar and she hoped Jezel would find them in Ravenswatch. Meanwhile she would send word to a few of her friends about her return. She needed to see Adrian and hoped she could reach him. Another one was Cel, the thought of that bounty on her friend’s head never had left El’s mind. And after everything what happened Elvina was even more concerned.

She winced as it implied she had to leave the house, to pick up her birds. Before she left she looked around. In order to decorate the house further, she could just as well look for a table in the shop just across the street.
An hour later the Vanguard lady was limping from building to building, cursing softly...
“I’m going to need a lot of help...,” She mumbled, and by that she meant a lot more besides bringing home a new table.


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Post by Admin on Tue May 16, 2017 3:30 pm

119. Friends paying a visit

She was staring at the message which Calimus had personally delivered to her.
Elvina opened up her dairy again since there wasn’t much else she could do. Ow yea... besides ‘resting’... Calimus really insisted by repeating it for at least ten times.
She grinned, he could say that for himself too.

Calimus’s story shocked me. Who would want him dead? It seems that these days every friend I have is threatened in some way. Coincidence? I don’t know, but I guess. As soon as I'm better I will investigate.

She closed her eyes briefly, recalling the visit of the Vells Brothers. It’s been a while since she had seen Kryle but he seemed alright and didn’t changed a bit. The way he put things... typical Kryle she assumed.

Still I think Cal’s brother will take action. I’m not misled by the way how Kryle sometimes talked about his brother. People who don’t know these brothers would say Kryle doesn’t care much about Cal, but I know better. I even bet he loves his brother.

Is Kryle a man who doesn’t show his feelings and hides them behind a somewhat rugged appearance? Elvina could only guess, but she assumed Angela knew. The way he talked about the bluish-haired woman, Elvina could easily deduct he was a good friend of her. Who knew what past they shared?
And now she also had his help, Kryle would look for Angela and warn her. The brothers would also look out for Erica.

I should have told Cel when she visited me earlier today. Her visit was only short as she had other things in the city to attend to. But she promised me she would return soon.... I guess we have much to talk about.

Elvina shivered, something was going on with Cel... she only told her a little but enough to worry greatly. The thought of another friend in trouble made her worry again.
She cursed softly as she continued writing.

Why the hell am I cripple! Did I really deserve this? I am scared, but I will never give up! And if Cel shows up again, I will also ask her if she has seen Erica. The girl may be young but I have witnessed her skills when we revived Amilcar together.

Her nails softly scratching her ear she recalled the other visitors of the past days. Melanie had surprised Elvina the most. She stopped by a few days ago and also today to make sure if everything was alright and if El needed anything.

I think she has changed a lot, the difference with the Melanie I learned to know months ago is huge. But I guess I could say the same about Angela. And it seems Mel will be on my side for my next adventure.

She also saw Shayde, her visit was very short, but enough to know as soon as they had time their talk would be long.
That made her remember the conversation with Cal and Kryle again. And how she whispered she might needed a second assassin... a backup should things go … terribly wrong.
“Don’t think about how to cross a bridge before you are standing in front of it, El...” is what Cal said... or something like that... it made Elvina smile a little. He was right off course.

And her last visitor had just left the house. Earlier today, when she crossed the street to get a few things for the house, Elvina bumped into Sarlenis. The young girl helped her out with carrying some things and visited her place. Sarlenis stayed for a few hours and they talked about many things while she was helping Elvina to decorate the place.

Today I have learned there is a long and a sad story behind Sarlenis. My heart already melted for this girl the first day I saw her... and it’s just like Jezel said. You have the feeling you want to protect her. Now I also consider her as a little sister and all she needs is a little bit more confidence. Still young but she’ll be great, everyone can see that.

That reminded her of Erica again, another young but promising girl. Elvina winced as she changed her posture. Now she was almost lying down, flat.
She prayed Erica could help her, and before Jezel could start asking questions about El’s back.
Just before she closed her eyes she picked up the message from her friend again and read it once more...
“Ow Adrian..., please give me a sign if you need me,... I surely need you my friend,” she mumbled.
Just before she closed her eyes she looked at the door, hoping Jez would arrive home soon.


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Post by Admin on Tue May 16, 2017 3:31 pm

120. Elvina Hellcat

Elvina closed the door softly behind Celestia. After her visitor left she leaned against the door for a while.
The past week they had several conversations, sharing their stories...
Elvina walked to her bedroom and while she slowly got dressed for the night, she recalled Cel’s earlier visit with Erica.

Both worried about Cel’s condition Elvina asked Celestia a lot of questions in an attempt to discover the reason for the “burning” inside of Cel.
The story that had caught Elvina’s attention the most was when Cel told she got lured by a man... it was … shocking... How could she have been so naive?? Agreed, Cel is a strong girl who knows a lot of tricks... and yes, she just wanted to help that man... but to spend the night in an unfamiliar house... with a man...
A cold chill ran over Elvina’s back when Cel was telling her story... and even now when Elvina’s was recalling it... it gave her goosebumps. The story remembered Elvina about something that happened during her youth. How she was lured... by a man...
Anyways, she was convinced this lead deserved attention, as a matter of fact it had priority to Elvina.
That’s how she found herself on the road to Ravenswatch to look for the burned house. That investigation was quickly ended as she realised she had no directions to find that place.

She picked up her diary and made a few notes, scratching her chin and continued :

But today Cel promised me we would look for it together soon. And I really hope we find a solution quickly!
The whole conversation reminded me of something that happened earlier this week.
It was night when I was investigating a few problems some locals brought to my attention. Some villain had been threatening people for a few nights in a row.
Just when I finished a talk with some man called Rome a suspicious looking figure popped up out of the shadows, not far from me. If I knew any better I would say he was teasing me. This person also carried a longbow in his hand while everyone knows weapons are forbidden in town. I followed the man and saw him enter a house, not far from the docks. He left the door open.
Praying he couldn’t detect me, I took all precautions and cloaked myself. When I crossed the doorstep I could hear two men talking. One of them I recognized, Fred... a man with who I had really interesting conversations in the past. Apparently the mysterious man was making an order for deadly weapons.
At some point I managed to give Fred a signal that I had entered his nightly shop and that I wished to speak with him after his “customer” had left.

Elvina left her desk and took place on the bed, flattening her night dress before writing in her diary again.

I didn’t learn a lot about that man, Fred only told me he saw more and more of this mysterious orders. I decided to rest the case for now and drop in with Fred once in a while.
However, I wasn’t finished there as Fred asked me how my search about my past was going... and if I already had discovered why I had these Hellfire powers.
Then, he showed me something, but first I had to swear to keep it a secret. What he showed me screamed for questions... but I remained quiet as Fred exposed a piece of himself while he was very aware who I am, a Vanguard.
Somehow I trust Fred, I know him for a very long time now and he already had given me some “directions” and help in the past. At least Fred knew who he was... and his name wasn’t Fred.

Elvina grinned as she always suspected Fred had been lying about his name.

I discovered something about myself, and I was so shocked I really needed a second opinion. So I asked Erica and Cel if there was a way to test it. And it was there, yet...

She stopped with writing as a weird feeling took place in her. Did it matter? Did it really matter??
After all she...
Elvina nervously tapped with the quill on her diary before she suddenly closed her diary, only to open it again on the last page... a blanc page.

My name is Elvina Hellcat, or rather it was, if someone else besides me is reading the diary that has never left my side. You reading this, means I am no longer.
Elvina is the name the elves gave me and on the moment I wrote this I have accepted and embraced the woman behind this name.
Vanguard Elvina Hellcat... that is who I was. For a long time I have been trying to discover my true identity until one day I realised I already knew myself. Like one of my best friends said : we decide for ourselves who we are and we choose are own path.
I have decided... I am Elvina Hellcat... or I was at least.
I may have lost my parents, I may have made many mistakes in the past in search of my path, I may have used questionable magic that is connected with the Lower Planes, I may have brought a devil in this world, I may have fought like a demoness on the battlefields, I may even had a dip of fiendish blood in my body or for all I care even celestial, who knows...
Everything I have done, everything I was... I only meant well.
And from the moment I wrote this I decided I will continue doing this! Putting the person I was between evil and good, protecting the people, taking care of the family I have found among the elves and the Brothers and Sisters of the Vanguard, loving my friends and embracing the ones who needed it.
I do know I have friends who believe in me and accept me for what I am, for some of them I’m even holding a special place in my heart. And they don’t care about my true name, they don’t care about what blood is running through my veins... they care for who I am and what my next step will be.
Vanguard Elvina Hellcat, at their service, … with pleasure!
Or at least, I did...


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Post by Admin on Tue May 16, 2017 3:31 pm

121. Help

It was as if someone was hitting on her head with a light hammer. Slowly she opened up her eyes. Noise, bashing, the sound of an armored fist hammering on a wooden object. And she heard yelling, someone calling her name.
Her room was still dark, so it was night. Slowly she pushed the blanket away and looked for the command to order her feet, telling them to turn sidewards... their mission : searching the border between her bed and the floor.
“Ugh... too much wine...,” she mumbled. Her bare feet even managed to discover her slippers, avoiding a cold confrontation with the floor.
She stopped for a moment after leveling herself to a sitting position. She listened... it... it stopped!
“Elvina!! Open up!” The hammering on her head started all over. Who the hell could find it necessary... and had the courage to wake her up like this?! Then it struck her... perhaps it was Jez... she hadn’t returned yet from Lendose. After she got up she quickly tested her balance and after that seemed not so bad she walked out of her bedroom towards the dining room.
With a hoarse voice she said,” I’m coming... just a sec...” Quickly taking a nightie off the chair to make sure not to catch a cold she moved towards the front door.
At least the bouncing had stopped so she assumed the person on the other side must have heard her. Elvina unlocked the door and opened it...

“FINALLY!” A bluish-haired woman stormed in her house.
“A-Angela? That you?” Elvina closed the door behind her and turned towards the armored woman.
“Yea... its me alright...”
Elvina got tears in her eyes and embraced the with cold metal clad woman. “Finally...”
She could feel Angela’s arms slowly embracing her. “Hey, I’m sorry to wake you...”
Elvina looked at woman and lit a few candles after releasing her,” Its, its alright... I have been searching for you guys.”
Almost at the same time Angela said,” I need your help...”
They looked at each other and smiled a little.
Elvina said,” Take place near the fire, I’ll poke it up and make us something warm to drink.”
Angela nodded and a short time later Elvina took place next to her, cautiously sipping the hot tea.
“You start, Angela,” Elvina said.
The bluish-haired woman told Elvina about being pregnant, a part in which Elvina just had to embrace Angela again, congratulating her. Next she told Elvina about her last adventure with Amilcar at Aucklorn Mill, and by the time she hit the part where she discovered Amil was a demon and that he had disappeared shortly afterwards, Elvina turned white as chalk.

Angela noticed it and motioned the white haired warlock to do her story. Elvina told her almost everything, how she traveled home, the faerie attacks, Jez catching up with her and finally... Forest Church.
“He offered me great power there and he said he already had taken care of Amilcar,” she repeated.
Angela was crying and Elvina tried to comfort her. She kissed her softly on the head,” We’ll find him Angela... don’t worry.” Off course those words were only of little comfort to someone who was expecting a baby while a devil was weaving a web around them and while her husband was in serious trouble.
“Why, Elvina, why are you leaving me out of your plans?” Angela cleaned her cheeks and turned with watery eyes to her. “You know what I am capable off, and yes, I know... you don’t trust my earlier bond with him. But you don’t have to worry... I promise, I can take him down... I even know how his place looks like and...”
As if she was talking to a small excited child Elvina answered shortly but calm,” I’m sorry Angela, no. And I’m already taking a risk with bring Melanie along.”
The bluish-haired woman jumped up,” WHAT, excuse me !? Come again?!!”

Elvina let her rage until she finally motioned Angela to sit again and drink her tea.
“Its not fair!”
“Enough Angela! Besides, my story wasn’t finished yet.” So she told her about Artega and his duel with Jez. It was Angela’s turn now to turn white and while she shivered Elvina continued about the battle, … and the death of Yarik, and almost her own.
“You see, Angela,” Elvina said softly while she was being embraced by Angela, “I care for your safety... you will have your child... I promise... but we are not exposing you. I’m sorry... ehm, you have someplace to go?”
Angela shrugged.
“Good, you are staying with me for now.”


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Post by Admin on Tue May 16, 2017 3:32 pm

122. Cel

Elvina felt guilty. She rubbed Selene’s arm one more time and looked for the last time at the door of Cel’s room which seemed warded or something.
Together with Selene and Amelia they had made several attempts to open the door, only to make acquaintance with weird electric outbursts.
Only two days ago she had seen her friend at the smithy here in Ravenswatch and she recalled how Cel had asked her to join for some adventure. At that moment Elvina had other things to attend to, but right now... those didn’t seemed worth it. If something happened with Cel on that adventure, Elvina would never forgive herself.

She glanced once more at Selene with who she had spend the whole day investigating some child kidnappings here and around Ravenswatch.
Selene, many, many months had past since the last time Elvina had seen her... and that was a period in her life were she still was caring for Adele. So much has changed ever since, especially in her love life. That made her recall Jezel’s last ‘announcement’. Soon they would travel to Rell and Jezel would introduce Elvina to Jez’s parents. An exciting moment to look forward too, but also a troubled one as Jez was allowed and had joined the Vanguard... while another duty... or at least what her parents expected... was awaiting her.
She would stand by her lover, ready to defend anything Jez had done so far.

Elvina nodded one more time to Selene and with the promise of returning soon, she took the stairs down and left the inn.
Exre... or Celestia’s lover, so did Amelia mentioned and Selene had confirmed it. Why didn’t Celestia ever told her about him... or at least about having a lover? It didn’t seemed a secret either as at least two other people knew about it.
Elvina tried to shake it out of herself... it... it wasn’t important right now. Cel’s problem and now that door of her room worried Elvina. First she would visit Angela and Amilcar who had recently returned to their house in Ravenswatch. It would be the first time Elvina would see their house.

Meanwhile she would also try Adrian’s place, to see if he had returned already. After all, she really needed him... and she was eager to tell him the news she had.
With the true name of the Master her friend was able to find and … ‘target’, or at least that’s what he said, the devil lord.
While moving uphill Elvina absently touched the knob of her new weapon, a dark blade she had recently become from an obscure merchant. She knew the blade was evil, or at least that it had been used for evil purposes.
After she used it for her intended adventure she would probably see that it was destroyed.

She stopped... was she doing it again? … Discovering dark paths? Elvina looked over her shoulder at the inn where Cel hopefully was staying. Her friend had helped her a lot in the past and that help had made her leave the dark path. Playing with demons, talking with and charming vampires, opening portals... and almost even killing people... like Adrian.
A tear appeared in her eye... no, she wasn’t going that way again!
But didn’t she show Amilcar something, a week ago? Yes, and no, she had tried to prove him something. Yes, she had opened a portal to summon a small demon, but only to show Amilcar that it didn’t “change” her. That she was still Elvina. And she did it for him as he was worried about himself, about this thing with changing into a demon, about his concern for Angela. She had tried to convince him that he was still... Amilcar.
Another friend to worry about.

Elvina sighed and reluctantly shifted her gaze from the inn to the houses up the hill.


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Post by Admin on Tue May 16, 2017 3:32 pm

123. Scared to death

It was dark in the forest. A single cricket was audible and for a moment it sounded as if all the other crickets were females, just listening, impressed by a lover’s song.
A single moonbeam struggled through the leaves of the treetops in an attempt to touch the dark forest soil. Here, a bit deeper in the pristine forest the smell of humus was well noticeable.
Without making a single noise, a winged predator navigated between the mighty tree trunks, chasing the ubiquitous night bugs, before flying over the heads of two unusual visitors.

“Come, … we are almost there, darling.” The young elf smiled at the white haired girl walking next to him. He squeezed her hand softly, a typical gesture to tell a girl everything was alright with a male at her side.
She moved step by step and even though she grew up in the forest, she didn’t share the night vision which was so typical for elves.
The young girl had but no choice then to let her lover lead the way, carefully walking in his footsteps and avoiding any graceless slippages. After all, she was wearing her most beautiful dress.

The elf at her side stopped, and took the bag he was carrying of his shoulder. The girl looked curiously at its contents before observing the surrounding environment.
“Are... are you sure there are no wolves in this part of the forest?” She asked with a soft voice.
She could feel his arms sliding around her belly, his lips touching her neck while he was breathing near the girl’s ear. With a somewhat sultry voice he said,” I’m pretty sure we will be here all alone... no one will disturb us.”
The young girl turned around slowly, looking in the sharp elven eyes and with a warm smile she said,“ So, when do I get my present? You promised...,”
With a smile playing around corners of his mouth, the elf put his finger on her lips, an indication she needed to have patience.
He kissed her softly on the lips only to be answered by an almost passionate but somewhat inexperienced kiss from her side.

He motioned her down to take place on the blanket he had just spread on the cold soil.
The girl smiled while kissing until she couldn’t hold it anymore,” My present?”
“Ow right... well, first of all... lets have a drink.” While saying it, he slowly let her go and reached for his backpack.
The young girl widened her eyes a little as she saw him taking out a bottle. And she knew exactly what it contained.
“Wine!” He grinned.
The girl giggled,” But, but I’m too young to drink that... you silly...”
The elf looked around as if he wanted to detect any authorities before looking at her with a playful smile. “Ahh, no one will see... we just gonna have ourselves a little party.”
He filled two cups and offered her one of them while putting the bottle away. “Just one... one to celebrate...”
The girl giggled again,” What are we celebrating?” She looked a bit shy at him.

His hand moved to her cheek, his fingertips softly touched the smooth skin... slowly they stroked her cheek before moving to her hair, taking a few hair strands between his fingers and carefully winding the white hair around them.
“First of all, your everlasting beauty... from the first day I saw you... I wanted you.”
The white haired girl blushed.
“Secondly, because today we are taking an important step...”
She giggled,” Are you asking me to marry you... because you can’t... I’m still a bit too young...”
The elf chuckled,” No, that’s not it, my darling. Let us toast at what I said first.” He raised his cup and with a small metal ‘klang’ the cups gently bumped against each other in the air between them.
The girl sipped from the wine and grimaced before sipping again... soon her cup was half empty while listening to the sweet words of her lover, enjoying the attention of his fingers softly touching her face and shoulders.

“Fill you another one?” The young elf grinned.
“Eeeeehhmm, I donno... that would be my... thirth... or was it fourth...?”
The elf chuckled,” You are so beautiful when you are drunk.”
The young girl faked an angry look,” Drunk?? Do you reaaaallyy think I’m drunkk?” She giggled.
Gently he removed the cup from her hand and placed the two cups outside the blanket.
He turned back to her and moved a little closer, taking her softly on his lap with her legs spread over his. She threw her arms around his neck and kissed him.
“I... I think I love you...” Her eyes looked into his.
The young elf smiled and his hands started to move under her dress, his fingernails accidentally scratched her leg.
The girl shivered but continued kissing.
The young man removed his hands from under her dress and slid under her arms, and gently started to open up her dress from the back.

All kinds of feelings and sensations started to run through her veins... it made her even break the kiss. “W-what are we doing...?” She started.
The young elf only smiled and continued opening her dress before saying,” Making you a woman, my darling... that is my present to you.”
Her face suddenly turned more serious, while she softly pushed him a bit away. “What, what do you mean... your present?”
He chuckled,” I knew it... I knew you wouldn’t understand. But come, let us proceed and you’ll soon learn.” He gave her a warm smile.
Nevertheless somehow it felt awkward to her and a cold chill ran over her back. “I.. I dunno... ehm...”
The young elf’s smile faded,” Hey, you knew this was going to happen, right?”
She blushed... the truth was that she could have expected this... but she also considered him as a … a gentleman.

She made her decision,” I... I’m sorry... but... but I don’t want to do this... ehm... not now.”
The elf widened his eyes,” What? First, you are ‘cheering’ me up and next you are telling me it’s all over??”
“No, nooo... I’m just a bit … confused now... just let us hold each other... spend the night here and head back before it gets light again.”
He grabbed her by the shoulders,” No we are not... listen, I told the guys … “ Suddenly he stopped.
The young girl frowned,” What... what did you... did you tell them we were...?”
The elf grinned,” Oh c’mon... its something fun... and really nice... I love you darling,” He said as his fingers tried to touch her cheek.
She evaded him and got up from his lap,” P-perhaps I have made a mistake.”
He jumped up in front of her. “What, are you saying its over? No, no, you can’t...”
But the girl was already heading back in the direction of the village.

Suddenly she was grabbed from behind, two strong arms picked her up and carried her back to the blanket. Somehow, the soft voice he used didn’t match with his actions.
The young girl was overwhelmed, partially a consequence of too much wine. But there was something else too, she noticed it as she got up... a weakness in her muscles.
Did he.... did he... ?
She was turned on her back in a rough way and received a hit in her face. “You bitch! First making a guy excited and then you run off. No way!” He yelled in her face. Somehow this didn’t feel like the same sweet elf she learned to know five months ago. Or was it the wine too?
She felt powerless and overwhelmed as he gave her another blow of his flat hand in the face.
“I’ll show you...”
Suddenly she could feel how her skirt was lifted and her underpants was torn from her legs.
She started to scream, and to kick... hitting him in the stomach, but only to receive a punch in the face, almost knocking her out. She screamed louder, desperate yelling for help only to feel a rag being pushed in her mouth.
Her knees almost found his manhood and while she kept kicking and resisting...

She woke up suddenly, her night dress was soaking wet.
“It's not happening again... a dream, Elvina... only a dream...” She whispered to herself.

Talking about men last night with Soap must have triggered this... but deep inside she knew not all men were like that...

However, just the memory and the thought of ever running through these feelings again... made her scared to death.


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Post by Admin on Tue May 16, 2017 3:33 pm

124. Staying in Ravenswatch

Outside the inn, Erica told her what happened with Cel. Elvina couldn’t believe it... her best friend heavily injured, yet recovered and walking around in Ravenswatch.
It felt strange seeing Cel again, and somehow it didn’t only had something to do with her concern about her friend. It was back... ‘the’ question... why?
Erica could feel something was going on with her and with her typical innocent approach she asked Elvina about it. Meanwhile Cel had entered the inn with a man.

“C’mon Elvina... you could have just asked her... ask her now...” Erica tried to cheer her up.
“No... she has to tell it herself... can you already hear it?” Elvina shrugged,” ‘Hey Cel, do you have a boyfriend?’ ... I mean... we talk... we share... at least that’s what I thought from my side...”
Erica tried to reason with her and somehow... this young girl made Elvina feel a bit ashamed... and silly.
Celestia has always been busy with others... and not much with herself. Perhaps it was … private? But why the hell did others knew and did she had to find it out in some bloody hallway?

A man... actually good looking stepped out of the inn and turned to Erica,” She’s all yours again...”
Elvina looked curiously as this was the man who had a drink with Cel. She quickly discovered that this was not her lover, but a man who also just found out about Cel’s relationship.... Somehow she could feel he was disappointed.
They briefly said hello to each other and made acquaintance. What she didn’t know at that time was that she would meet him again the next day... and that he would prove a somewhat interesting man.

After he left, Erica decided to motion Elvina to the inn and have that talk with Cel, despite the many objections Elvina raised.
Cel was still inside, talking with a man who earlier tried to have a conversation with them outside... but due Elvina’s ‘state’ and mood, he had taken off.
She decided to straighten that out... this way she could avoid an too early ‘confrontation’ with Cel. While Erica walked over to Celestia, she took place next to the man who listened to the name Daniel Bane. Another handsome man... Cel must have had a ‘rough’ time. Elvina grinned to herself...

While in conversation with the man and having only a few but ‘decent’ drinks, she could hear Erica whispering to Cel and feel them glancing at her.
At some point Celestia gestured Elvina to come closer. She apologised to the man, saying she would return immediately and after taking a deep breath ... she walked slowly to Celestia.
“Tomorrow night, Ravenswood...,” She whispered in Elvina’s ear.
Elvina nodded and could only but give her friend an awkward smile.
She ordered more drinks and decided to rest the case... for now.

A little bit later a man had taken place at the bar, sitting not far from them. Elvina heard a familiar voice and turned to see the man from his side... wasn’t that... was it?
“Derek! Hello there.” Celestia, who was sitting next to her, said.
So it was the Flamebearer indeed... and he had come... after her letter.
Setting the thing with Cel completely aside now, she walked over to the man, took place next to him and whispered.
He nodded and whispered back. “I received your letter, Vanguard, and your situation is... dire.”
They talked a bit before Elvina decided to mention she had new information.
Derek looked around and said a bit louder,” We better talk somewhere privatly, take the friends you trust in this case with you and meet me outside.”

Elvina turned to Cel who had been curiously watching between her and the Flamebearer.
“Cel... can you, do you have time to …” Elvina tried to say lightly.
Celestia smiled and nodded. Elvina turned her gaze to Erica and pondered. Recently she had told the young girl that she was the same to her as Cel was. But she was still so young and this adventure could really become nasty. On the other hand, Erica was a little miracle and also one of Cel’s best friends. “Erica?”
In the end, Daniel Bane, who seemed to be trusted by Celestia, also joined the small group gathering outside the inn.
They picked the Temple of Utu as safe place to talk about Elvina’s matter.

In the peaceful temple under the streets of Ravenswatch, Derek took the first word.
“I have come to assist one of you in a matter... but perhaps, Elvina, you should begin.”
The others looked curiously at her.
It was a bit sudden, but she quickly ordened thoughts and facts and after taking another deep breath she started.
“Ten years ago, I made a mistake and summoned a devil...”
Elvina told the group how that devil with the name Eligor had stolen a part of her soul. She told them, with her eyes on Celestia, how she ended up in hell seven months ago and how she was saved by Cel and a lot of other friends... how her soul was restored.
“But this wasn’t the end... as I didn’t summon one devil... but two. And Eligor, was just the disciple. The other one tricked Zinna... and is making still a mess of my life and other lives. He is responsible for the death of my ex-wife Zinna Dawn and recently he...,” Her eyes went back to Cel as she was the only one to who she already had told what happened at the Forest Church,” He ordered an attack at the ones I call family... many died, and among them a very good friend.” By that time her eyes got teary but she tried to keep a restrained face.

Derek nodded,” Tell us what he wants, Elvina.”
Her face turned pale and she wiped off the tears out of her eyes,” He... he wants... he wants to marry me... he is obsessed by me.” Several eyes widened.
“But that’s not all... there is something that worries me even more.” Her eyes looked around before resting at Celestia again.
“He made me an offer, back at the Forest Church. If I married him, he would help me with ‘my’ war against Canas. He wanted me to leave the Vanguard off course but he would provide me with my own troops... his troops. And this is the part that makes me shiver... I mean, what does he want? Why would he want to do this? Am I a key to something bigger? A tool, or whatever?” Elvina knew by now she was chosen by him probably because of his earlier obsession for her mother, at least if she had to believe what he... but also Angela told. However she decided not to mention this part... it wasn’t important. What was, is that the plans of the Master got interrupted.

Celestia studied her briefly before saying,” What do we know about him, about this Master? Things that could help us fight him...”
Elvina turned back to her friend. “Imagine a super intelligent devil lord who clearly has the power to come and go to this world, who seems to have eyes and ears everywhere, able to gather information and always staying a step ahead, who has an army and clearly the power to bring some of his troops to our world, who has the power to look and talk in people’s minds...”
Derek interrupted her,” They don’t look in your mind Elvina,... they look in your soul.”
Elvina shivered and nodded after getting clearance to continue.
“He is a threat, and must be eliminated as quickly as possible. I know he has a weakness for beautiful young women, but then again, which devil hasn’t. However... there is a but... he keeps control of my … brother, Artega. And I want to save him.”
That said and have made clear that this could be something he could hold against them, she turned back to Derek, gesturing that she said the most things she knew... except for one thing.

They talked briefly about the information Elvina had given before the white haired woman said,” I also may have something important... like I mentioned in the letter, Derek.”
The others look curiously up.
“Adrian, my good friend, told me, if I could get a hold on the Master’s true name... it would give us an edge.”
The Flamebearer pulled on his beard and nodded,” We can trace him better and identify him... perhaps even find weak spots. So... what is it Elvina?”
She looked around,” Must I say it … here?”
Derek nodded,” This is a safe place, so do go on.... what is his name?”
Elvina was a bit anxious, took a deep breath and looked around while saying it. “His true name is … Samael.”
The Flamebearer narrowed his eyes and said,” Samael... the rival of Carolus if I’m not mistaken.”
Elvina widened her eyes and looked briefly at Erica, recalling one of their adventures.

“Yes, with this information we have a very good chance. I tell you what to do. First of all, stay sober. Is anyone of you right now drunk?”
Elvina winced as she felt responsible for Erica’s earlier state... To ‘pay’ her back for telling Cel about Elvina’s ‘problem’ she had ordered something strong to drink at the inn. Knowing Erica, the girl off course tried it and … well...
However, with her magic Erica somehow had expelled the alcohol and her eyes looked pretty clear now.
Elvina turned to Derek,” There is something else...,” She said, blushing a bit for interrupting the Flamebearer.
He smiled only and nodded a bit,” Well, don’t keep us waiting, shoot.”

“I have been talking with a lot of my friends and may have found members for a fellowship, should we decide to pay Samael a visit and take him out. And I even took some precautions...” She stopped suddenly as this was a part of which she wasn’t sure to tell right now.
Derek immediately reacted, “Precautions?”
Celestia nodded,” Elvina, it would greatly help us if we know what you are up to.”
Silence fell in the temple as it was clear that Elvina didn’t want someone to look in this card.
“Elvina? C’mon, tell us.”
She decided it was time to tell this part of the plan,” Our fellowship will consist of people with different skills and abilities, but among them there is someone with a special assignment... should things go wrong.”
“... should things go wrong...” Celestia repeated with a frown.
Elvina looked at her feet.
“Elvina? What are you up to?”
She sighed,“ Imagine if he can gain control over someone... important... for instance... someone who seemed to be a key for him.... me. I have decided to... to...”
Derek filled in,” ...To kill yourself at that point.”
Elvina shook her head,” Not only that, as there may come a moment in which I cannot decide this anymore for myself.... so... an assassin...”
Derek shook his head,” Bad idea...”

Elvina lifted her hand to interrupt him,” There is more. I also asked people with certain abilities... to bring me back... but not before we made Him think I am dead.”
Celestia sounded concerned as she said,” You want to trick him? Trick a master trickster?”
Elvina looked up at her. “That may give the rest of the fellowship the time to take him out, he may make mistakes as soon as he realises I am … gone.”
Derek turned to her,” There is only one problem with this plan, Elvina.”
A cold chill ran over her back as she knew she wouldn’t like what he was about to say.
“If you die there... he will be able to claim your soul.”
THAT was something she didn’t knew so she quickly asked how much time she would have after she died.
Derek only shook his head,” None, as soon as you die... he can claim it...”
Elvina didn’t knew what to say... and now, she was scared. She didn’t want to marry him, she didn’t want to become his Dark Princess and forced into a life she feared. She didn’t want friends dying for her and she didn’t want to grant the Master, Samael, another foot in this world.

Celestia turned to Derek,” So, what can we do?”
Elvina got plunged in thoughts a bit while Derek started to tell them to rest, to stay sober and look for information about Samael, perhaps a best way to start was in the Collegium.
Elvina only nodded, but was still trying to digest that a part of her plan wasn’t waterproof.
The Flamebearer said goodbye and promised to stay in touch with bird mail.
Almost mindlessly Elvina followed him when suddenly hearing Cel’s voice next to her.
“Elvina? Be safe... and don’t forget... tomorrow night... come alone.”
She could only but to give Cel an awkward smile and nodded before leaving the temple.
It looked like she would be staying in Ravenswatch for a while.

She walked to the inn and decided to write a letter to Jez who was staying in Lendose again.
A small week ago they saw each other one evening... one... and they had a short passionate night together before Jez had to leave again. But right now, Elvina couldn’t leave for Lendose, not yet.


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Post by Admin on Tue May 16, 2017 3:33 pm

125. Theft

A shadow was moving quickly from tree to tree, its destination and destiny came in sight. The trees rose up high above the blackisch looking forest soil and would bring in normal circumstances more darkness to the place.
But not these days, as the sacred place was guarded. The scouts patrolling in the bush around the open spot didn’t form any problem. Elves may have a keen sight, but these lacked magical vision.
The magical lights and wards at the edges of the spot were something different. It was certain that these could form a threat for the mission and blow its cover. But it had a plan, and for that it needed a victim. It studied the elves and picked one suitable for the job.

“Yaron... Yaron? What are you doing?” An elven scout whispered.
The other elf waved with his hand,” Just checking something, Erim.”
“But the Loremasters told us to stay out of the open...” Erim whispered again.
Yaron nodded,” I know, I know but I thought I saw something on the other side...”
Erim shook his head,“ Hm, we have scouts there too.”
Yaron turned around,” If there is really something out there, I don’t like to alarm it.”
Erim hesitated,” Alright... lets go together.”

Two elves stepped out of the bush in the open and started to cross the Forest Church.
When they approached the altar, one of them stopped near it and touched it.
“Yaron, come on... and don’t touch that.” Erim said when he looked over his shoulder.

A man was waiting on the border where the forest was separated from the first mountains.
He turned around as he could feel it approach. His teeth flickered in the moonlight as he watched how a blond elven female stepped out of the dark green forest.
He giggled,” Welcome back.”
The elven woman smiled.
He took her hand and with a word made a little light to study her more closely. “Yes, that’s her alright, perfect! So, how are the memories?”
The girl grinned,” Perfectly accessible. It’s almost as if I am her.”
The man looked a bit concerned,” But you can control her, right?”
“Not a problem in this body, Master.”
“Excellent!” He embraced the girl and kissed her softly on the lips. “Hmm, how have I missed this one.”

The demoness who had become Zinna was very charmed with his attention and wouldn’t ignore any of his desires.
He snapped with his fingers and with a flash combined with the stench of sulfur, the pair disappeared... unable to hear the alarm that was sounding not far from the Forest Church. A bloodied dagger had been discovered...


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