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Alright, I'm guessing you know how this works... You know the whole; I start the tale, you add bits 'n' pieces, and we see where the story ends up:D:p
Wipe the dust of your imagination and let it flow! :rolleyes:;):D Enjoy!!
April 10th, 2008, 01:47 AM
The Apprentice Healer leaned against the wall and pushed her ghostly white hair back from her forehead with dark fingers. She glared into the pot of viscous purple liquid bubbling ferociously over the fire before her, her ice blue eyes narrowed in irritation.
I've done it again, she thought to herself, sighing heavily. I'll have to throw it out and start again. Why did I ever think to become a Healer? I've never been good at herb lore. Surely the Great Sajanu frowns on me.
She lifted herself from her position on the floor and hauled the small, black cauldron from the fire, carrying it idly across the room to the window and emptying it's contents upon the flowerbed outside. The flowers crackled and fizzled in protest as the last of the purple liquid trickled through their leaves. Laelia watched as flowers wilted, their leaves and petals curling, charred and and dying.
"Oh no, oh no, oh no!" she cried. "Nasrin's wild roses! Oh, she's going to be so mad." The young girl returned the pot to it's place above the fire, then she moved swiftly to the flowerbed outside. She knelt down and examined the dying plant with a practised eye. The entire bush was beginning to wilt, the faulty potion had obviously begun to seep into it's roots.
"Not good," Laelia whispered, placing her hands on the ground near the flower's. "Maybe..."
She closed her eyes, searching for a deeper connection with the roses, muttering words in another language under her breath. In her mind's eye she could see the wild roses and within it, a deadly poison. Laelia's dark hand's began to glow a faint green, growing stronger and brighter with every word.
Slowly but surely, the leaves began to uncurl and the petals of the roses shed their ugly blackened coats revealing bright red's and vibrant yellow's. The girl, of no more than seven-and-ten, opened her eyes and sighed with relief, the green glow around her hands dying away.
The sound of a gate opening and closing behind her gave her a start. As she turned to see who it was, a small dark hand grabbed her wrist and before she was even aware she was inside the house again. A small urgent face appeared before her. Danae.
"Princess? What's wrong, Danae. You are pale," Laelia placed a hand to Princess Danae's forehead.
"Lia, you need to listen to me," whispered the frantic girl, glancing over her shoulder furtively. "You are my best and truest friend, and I trust you with my life. I have a favour to ask, but no one must know..."
April 23rd, 2008, 05:49 PM
"Heal a man?" Laelia questioned. "Danae, I value your friendship also, but it does not appear that you require of me the greatest of sacrifices! Am I not, reputedly, some kind of healer?"
Danae took her friend firmly by the arm and forced her into a seat at the wooden table at which she had latterly been experimenting. "Do not mock me Lia. I ask no simple task. This man, he is imprisoned, locked away in the depths of the Keep, both tortured and starved and most likely diseased by now."
Laelia stared intently into the Princess's serious face. "Then he is beyond my help," she stated, "even if he were free, were here right now, it sounds as if he may be beyond salvation. But even your charms cannot gain us entry to those levels and you know it!"
Danae looked to the floor and remained silent for a while, then spoke without raising her head. "That part I have already overcome, and you are wrong, my charms are greater than you credit."
"Dan!" Laelia gasped, "what have you done?"
"Nothing more than distraction," Danae pleaded, "honestly, the guards and their silly games. Their heads are easily turned."
"It is not their heads you need worry about!" Laelia scolded, but instantly felt pity for her scarlet faced friend. "Look, there's no harm done, obviously, but tell me, what is your fixation with this prisoner? What's so special about him?"
"It's not him exactly," Danae whispered, "It's what he knows, or what he thinks he knows..."
May 13th, 2008, 11:54 PM
"Indeed? Are you going to tell me exactly what information this man holds?" Laelia whispered curiously, eyebrows raised.
"Well, I don't know exactly..." Danae replied, her eyes darting towards the window.
"Dan," Laelia sighed. "We've been friends since we were small, I know when you're hiding some-"
"Lia, please! I promise I will tell you in time! I just need you to do this for me, for your dearest friend."
The young healer studied her friends intense features. Her storm grey eyes glistened in the afternoon light and her dark hair fell neatly about her face. To any other person she would have put on her royal facade, showing no unhappiness, no excitement, no emotion whatsoever. Laelia sighed, her features softening.
"If I get thrown in a dungeon after this, you will be the first I strangle when I escape," she said, smiling.
"And I will not stop you!" Danae beamed, wrapping her arms around Laelia and squeezing her tightly.
"Do you know his condition?"
"Well, both his legs and both his arms were broken so he could not use magery to escape. I think the Healers said they had cured his fever. I think they clamped his vocal cords because he was always shouting and they probably drugged him as well. I'm sure that's all. I read the Healer's reports, but you know how I am with remembering stuff."
Laelia had gathered her herb pack, a small bag of food and a flask of sweet smelling liquid and was now pulling a clean white Healers tunic over her sky blue knickers. She buckled a thick brown belt around her waist then fastened the herb pack and bag of food to it, placing the flask in a hidden pocket inside her tunic. She had written a note for Nasrin, saying she had gone out to get more ingredients for the potion she was supposed to be making.
"Lead the way, Princess," Laelia said, her silver hair falling like starlight across her dark face.
July 19th, 2008, 12:42 PM
The depths of the Keep were dark and musty, the walls of the staircase that Laelia was descending slick with the water that ran down the hewn rock face. Torches were affixed to the walls at only irregular intervals and in the dimly flickering light that they afforded she took care not to lose her footing and slip.
She dallied momentarily, wishing that Danae would catch up to her. Surely her friend had tarried in the guard house long enough? Laelia turned to listen but she heard no footsteps following in her wake, only the steady drip, drip, drip from the sodden walls, "where are you Dan?" she whispered before turning to resume her descent.
Eventually she reached the base of the stairs and found herself at the head of a gloomy corridor, again lit at intervals by torches ensconced within the walls on either side. The floor was sparsely covered with straw, doors lined each side of the corridor, most of them hung in an open position.
She could hear little high pitched squeaks and knew not whether they belonged to mice or to bats. She cared not for either of them and hence proceeded forward with some foreboding.
Laelia almost jumped out of her skin, then, clutching at her breast, she turned to face her friend who was stood at the staircase's base, "Dan! Did you have to to that?" she asked, breathing deeply, "you scared me half to death!"
"Okay!" Danae pouted, "sorry again! Look, it took me a little longer to get away than I anticipated." she crossed the distance between them to grasp Laelia's shoulders reassuringly. "But I'm here now, alright?"
"Alright," Laelia replied, "but I don't want to spend a moment longer down here than we have to. It just feels so.....crushing. I don't think I've ever been anywhere so deep."
"Well," Danae replied, "there is nowhere deeper. Not in these parts anyway. This is the Keep's very bottom level."
Laelia looked up and down the dim passageway, "Let's get on with it then. Where is he, this prisoner?"
Danae smiled broadly, which served only to infuriate her friend further, "that should be easy enough," she said, "he's the only one down here." Whereupon she strode ahead down the passage peering first left, then right, into open doorways as she went.
Laelia hurried to catch up, "wait for me!"
Danae halted and Laelia, unable to stop in time, collided into her. "Careful Lia," Danae scolded, then gestured to the closed door beside them "look, I think this must be it."
"How do we..." Laelia stopped herself as her friend carefully withdrew a large ring of keys from the wrappings of her skirts and jangled them gently before her face.
"Hopefully, with one of these." They stepped up to the door and Laelia felt first for the lock itself and then for its keyhole. She reached out for Danae's hand which clutched the first of the keys and guided it towards the hole. She maintained her hold as Danae tried first one way and then the other before withdrawing the key and fumbling for the next one. This time, although with a rusty sounding clunk, they were rewarded with the full turn of the lock's mechanism.
"Ready?" Danae enquired.
"No," Laelia replied, "I want to go home, now!"
"Look, we're here now aren't we? Don't be a baby. You did promise me remember?" Laelia could see virtually nothing but could well imagine the look of pleading on her friend's face.
"Alright," she agreed, "but first, let me get one of those torches. I'm sure it's going to be absolutely pitch black in there."
"Mmm, I hadn't thought of that. I'm sure you're right. See what a mess I would be in without you?" Danae gestured further down the corridor, "grab that one, but be careful not to set yourself alight!"
Laelia brushed past her, "well, I'll try not to obviously!" She carefully lifted the burning torch down from its holder and held it well in front of her as she returned to Danae.
"That's better," Danae said, approvingly, "right, I'm going to open the door now. You go in first and I'll be right behind you, alright"
"Oh yes, that sounds like a wonderful plan!" Laelia whispered harshly, "you better had be right behind me!"
But her friend was already pushing the door inwards. Laelia stood still for a moment, her feet unwilling to step across the threshold. Danae's other hand in the small of her back helped her to overcome this. She stuttered forward, a prayer racing through her head. Why had she ever allowed herself to get into this situation? She promised herself that it was the last time ever that she would do anything even slightly adventurous. A humdrum existence would suit her just fine.
The torch lit up the small chamber quite brightly and Laelia took in her surroundings at once. Again the floor was scattered with straw, although much of it had been gathered into one corner, presumably as a crude bedding material. Two small mice, startled by the sudden brightness, scattered for the shadows of the room. In another corner were a bucket and, nearby, a wooden plate. Chained to the wall before them was a slumped human figure. At least, she thought it was human.
She felt Danae beside her, removing the torch from her own grasp, to mount it in a holder on the wall.
"Lia, wake him, if he's alive. I want to hear him speak."
Laelia glanced at her friend uncertainly but Danae's only response was to impatiently propel her forward once more. She sank to her knees before the prisoner, almost retching at the foul stench that assaulted her. She tried not to breath too deeply and reached forwards for the man's wrist. It was difficult to feel around the manacle that restrained him but eventually she did find a pulse although it was extremely weak. She advised her companion of this.
"Can you bring him around?" Danae enquired.
"Perhaps, but maybe only for a short while." She reached for the herb pack fastened to her belt and rummaged within it, searching for the Eviola berries that she had stored there. She gathered two of the tiny pungeant berries and held them up below where the man's head lolled forward. She crushed them in what she guessed must have been the vicinity of his nose and waited.
She did not have to wait long. The figure came to with a start, shaking his head from left to right hurriedly.
Danae knelt down beside Laelia, "It's alright," she spoke soothingly, "we mean you no harm."
The man lifted his head in an attempt to face them. His hair was straggled and greying, his beard long. His eyes were deepset in their sockets and seemed not to be able to focus. His mouth opened to reveal a few broken brown teeth, the rest missing. A deep scar, from which a sickly yellow puss oozed, ran across his right cheek."
"We are friends," Danae persisted, "tell us what you know, please. We want only to help."
The man turned his shaggy head to the doorway, as if expecting to see other figures there, guards perhaps.
"We do not deceive you," Laelia advised, "we are here alone."
The man turned to face them once more, seemed to regain some focus and opened his mouth, presumably to speak. What came forth was barely audible.
"His vocal chords," Danae whispered, "it is as I said. Let's get closer."
Laelia looked at her friend in horror but when Danae shuffled forwards until she was face to face with the prisoner she found herself following suit.
The man attempted to speak again and this time, amidst the foul reek, there was a word, strained but audible, "Yarna...gone..."
"Gone where?" Danae questioned, "tell me where."
Laelia looked searchingly at Danae. Did she comprehend what this man was saying?
He uttered once more, "...Yarna...t..t..taken..."
"Yes, yes," Danae gasped impatiently, " taken by whom, taken where?"
The man looked up with a glimmer of light in his eyes, "Cethrin," he clearly said, before his head lolled forward once more.
They waited, but the prisoner did not stir again.
"Wake him again," ordered Danae, "quickly! I must know!"
"It's no use," Laelia replied, her hand once more clutching the man's wrist, "he's dead."
She sat back on the floor and pulled Danae to face her, "what is this Yarna that he spoke of?"
"Not Yarna, Laelia, Aiyana, as in..."
"The Eternal Blossom," Laelia finished, "the lifeblood of the Kingdom. But, it can't have been taken, everyone would know."
"Would they?" asked Danae, "or would it have been kept quiet? Anyway, we have one clue. A name, Cethrin. We must find out who this is."
"That," Laelia announced, "is not a problem." She looked her friend straight in the eye, "he was my Father, once."
August 15th, 2008, 06:26 PM
Danae's eyes widened in surprise. "You...you never told me that..."
The young girl shrugged. "I never had a need to," she said, fiddling with the hem of her skirt. "
"Who was he? Why...why is he important?" Laelia's friends asked, standing and leaning against the wall, her dark hair falling across her face.
She took a deep breath. Laelia hated these conversations. First her adoptive mother, then her apprentice, now her friend. But if they had to know...
"He was..." she took another breath. "Cethrin was a peasant, once. He was a poor farmer's son. And even though everyone is supposed to be well here; to have what they need, his family didn't. They were continually fighting with the neighbors, the government, and pretty much anyone else they disagreed with." She smiled softly. "They weren't exactly the nicest people. But because of it, they went hungry, and no one cared for them as they should have. But Cethrin wanted to change that. He wasn't like the rest of his family. So he...he ran away."
Danae gasped. "No one runs away! We're....we're always happy here."
"He wasn't," she said flatly, and stood up, brushing off her pale hands, which glimmered faintly in the darkness. "Let's go back. The guards will want to know he's dead."
Danae assented quietly, and followed her out. She opened her mouth to ask more about Cethrin when Laelia began speaking again, almost blindly, numbly, the words spilling from her mouth like a waterfall.
"So, he ran away, and he sought a place that was eternally peaceful. Somewhere that he would truly never feel afraid, or hungry, or angry. A perfect place. So, he traveled to the ends of the earth. But that's when he knew that it couldn't be anywhere on earth, since earth is a sad, sickening place. And, in his despair, he cried out. But his cry wasn't heard only by the earth. It was heard by the stars. And one little star, from his great shout, was dislodged form the sky and fell down to him. He caught it in his hands and watched as it transformed into a beautiful girl. She was crying, and when he asked her what was wrong, she told him that she could only be happy in the sky, because earth would never be peaceful. But he couldn't help her, and that is what he wanted to do most. And so, to comfort him, she told him to go out and find a flower, the prettiest flower he had ever seen. And to place her inside of it, so she might rest in happiness forever. Confused, he did so. And that was when peace spread over the land, because a star inhabited the earth, in the form of a star.
"So, now we truly are at peace," she finished. "But without her, that eternal blossom, we won't be for long."
Danae was silent for a long while, and then opened her eyes to speak, when a brilliant light suddenly flashed in the darkness, even brighter than the flickering of Laelia's skin.
November 16th, 2009, 04:37 PM
When the light dissipated, the two girls were nowhere to be seen.
Raist smiled softly as he saw what was his newest catch. My Master will be pleased, he thought. Two girls stood there, shivering and confused. He saw one of them was one of the Starborn, the protectors of the Eternal Blossom. Yes, he will be pleased.