Private Tales A new world

Discussion in 'The Chronicles' started by Raigryn Vayd, Nov 22, 2018.

  1. Fife

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    Taking Raigryn's advice, she nibbled slowly at the pie but kept drinking her tea. It was quickly helping her to settle her uneasy stomach, and she could truly appreciate the meal they'd been served. It was flaky and rich and -- oh, she wished she wasn't feeling like she was on her way to the grave so she could have enjoyed it more fully.

    As it were, she dared only a few more bites before sitting back. Raigryn didn't seem to have the same issue, eating his pie without faltering. Responding to his remark, she gestured from her eyes to him, then negate it with a cut of her hand to her throat and made the sign for disgust. You don't look sick. He looked fine. He looked like he was enjoying his breakfast. If anything was ailing him, he was far better at looking presentable than she was. Given, he'd been at this far longer than she had.

    // Raigryn Vayd //
     
  2. Raigryn Vayd

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    "Oh don't worry. By midday you will be right as rain and my head will still be pounding. Experience lets me know when to stop drinking and how to keep a straight face, but my age has other ideas about what excesses I should be allowed."

    He wondered what it would be like to live for a thousand years. He knew that in just twenty years his body would start to break down. With enough coin to his name he could probably retire somewhere warm in the south. Maybe west of Alliria. If he could live that long then how much could he have changed a place for the better? He couldn't imagine being a dwarf with such a lifespan and following the same routine every day. Feeling a pang of regret for looking down on the simple life that the dwarf who had cooked his food might live he stopped the train of thought. Sometimes he wished he could be one of the simple folk who barely considered their own mortality.

    "We're going to need to get some more warm clothes. There's probably snow outside the city. We did travel a long way."
     
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  3. Fife

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    Experience versus youth. She had an exceeding amount of one and was sorely hurting for some of the other. Scowling, Fife took another bite of her pie, hoping he was right. She could only poke at the stuff with her fork after that. It was probably for the best; she had just been telling herself the night before that she'd have to start moderating how much she ate. A little extra cushion hadn't hurt her, but she wasn't about to let her secret slip because she couldn't restrain herself around mealtimes.

    Sighing, she sat back in her seat, a hand draped across her stomach when he remarked about going outside the city. She perked up a bit. She'd forgotten! Last night he'd promised to take her topside! She smiled and nodded eagerly, ignoring the way her brain sloshed in her head.

    A pang of guilt made her pick up her tea and take a drink, looking away. He kept throwing things at her -- clothes, training, food. She didn't want to be a burden. No matter how badly he wanted to teach her, she was ultimately a stray with no skills and no means to repay him. Once he taught her, even, she wasn't sure how she would do it. She sighed into her drink and let it go. It was a worry that plagued her frequently, and thus one she easily set aside.

    // Raigryn Vayd //
     
  4. Raigryn Vayd

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    She wasn't so experienced enough to hide her moods from him yet. Raigryn didn't want to pry. It was one of the aspects of their abilities that had led to their downfall. Nobles started to suspect Empath spies could steal their thoughts and invade their minds. No explanation could counter that. Without being an Empath, how could anyone know how vague the sense of emotions was? Something frequently upset Fife, but he did not know what.

    "Come on, you're barely taller than a dwarf anyway so we should be able to get some clothes for the snow. Will need some big boots, gloves, hat. It's not even it's coldest right now. You ever see snow at winter in Elbion?" he asked her, pushing his chair away from the table noisily.
     
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  5. Fife

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    Finished with their breakfast, Raigryn pushed back his chair to go find some winter gear for their visit to the surface. Fife gave him a surly look ag his comment on her height, lingering in the chair. If she had truly been a 12 year old boy, it might have been fine. As an young adult girl, it was a bit of a sore spot. But she couldn't really be upset. How could she if she wasn't willing to tell him? Raigryn meant well, so she tamped down the feeling.

    She pushed back and took a few quick steps to catch up to his side, trying to think back to the last time she'd seen snow. Chewing on her lip, she wriggled her fingers in a falling motion, like snow, then signed between 6 and 7 before gesturing like she was tossing the numbers over her shoulder. It snowed 6 or 7 years ago. She then pinched her fingers together, holding them in front of her to gauge as she held them roughly an inch apart. But it wasn't a lot.

    It hadn't snowed in Elbion for quite a few years, now that thought about it. She had seen the snow on the caps of the mountain, but the valleys below had always had a miserable rain from the sea beyond. She spent the winter months trying to stay dry in temperatures just above freezing, so not having to worry about snow was a small consolation.

    // Raigryn Vayd //
     
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  6. Raigryn Vayd

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    "Don't worry lad, you've got plenty of growing to do yet," Raigryn laughed as he took to the stairs. For a race of short people the dwarves had a lot of stairs in their cities. Couldn't hollow out mountain and just build one level of city.

    "The mountains of the spine are ten times taller than the ones you can see behind Elbion. There is always snow at the top of them."

    "Fife..." he voice trailed off, clearly about to ask a question. "...do you know how old are you?" He could clearly count, but it very much depended on when he had been orphaned.
     
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  7. Fife

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    Walking was gradually helping her feel better, and Raigryn didn't set a hurried pace, so she looked around more. There was too much to see and she was getting excited to see the snow and mountains. Trying to imagine it took her away from her gawking. Mountains bigger than the ones shielding Elbion? It was impossible. He was surely jesting.

    He spoke her name, and she looked up with a happy grin to wait on his question. His serious tone should have warned her, and her smile faded before she dropped her eyes to the ground. Fife shook her head, clearly ashamed of her answer.

    In truth she had no idea how old she was. Her early memories were a jumble, as she assumed they all were for everyone else. Disjointed, vague, and unbridled, there was no way for her to distinguish their proper order now. She could recall eight or so years confidently, but those that came before were more uncertain.

    Of course, she wasn't going to specify that, but that didnt make her answer any less painfully true. She might have been sixteen, she might have been in her twenties. It didn't matter; she had grown up a long time ago.

    // Raigryn Vayd //
     
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  8. Raigryn Vayd

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    #83 Raigryn Vayd, Dec 14, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2018
    "That's alright lad," Raigryn said, reaching out and ruffling his hair. If he had been a mind reader he almost certainly wouldn't have done that. There was very little chance that the young woman wanted her hair ruffled in sympathy.

    "If you want we could always pick a date and call it your birthday." Realising that it could just highlight the issue he decided to move the conversation on. He opened his door and went to get his coat and purse. Jocelyn had found a new home on his pillow, but had to be disturbed from her slumber. Couldn't leave her here alone.

    "We could always go back out again in the evening. Oh no, tomorrow morning. I always forget its the west side of the mountains the main gates come out at. Anyway...sunrise or sunset over the mountains here is like nothing else."
     
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  9. Fife

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    The hand ruffling her hair was, surprisingly, helpful. It wasn't just a dismissal of her embarrassment, but a roundabout way of comforting her. He'd only ruffled her hair when he'd teased her or when she had sad moments like this. It was the most human affection she'd ever received, and it helped her smile begin to return. His offer for birthday might have made a young boy happier, but as an adult, it would simply remind her of what she lacked. She shrugged, a noncommittal answer and Raigryn seemed to be ready to move on from the difficult subject as she was.

    Fife fetched her jacket from her room and met him at his door. He picked up Jocelyn and his coat and began musing about sunset and sunrise and gates, and she waited patiently for him to figure out what he was saying. For a man who had traversed the world in search of danger and heroism, he was a bit forgetful. She glanced at his light hair and wondered just how old he was. The subject had already passed, however, and to revisit it would be challenging.

    She stepped out into the hallway and put on her green jacket. She was glad now that she'd already changed her tunic, ready to see this spectacular sight for herself.

    // Raigryn Vayd //
     
  10. Raigryn Vayd

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    It wasn't snowing but the powdery dusting of that had settled across the valley was being carried by the biting wind. The dark, heavy furs they had bought for Fife already had a light frosting.

    Having taken a small entrance he turned and pointing back the way they came. Now visible were the great gates of Belgrath.

    "You can march an entire army through those doors," he told Fife. "They did once. When orcs laid siege to the old city of Gilgarra on the coast, King Dolmi marched out to break it. The Slaughter of Blackfire Pass followed when they smashed the orc horde between their forces."

    Despite its grandeur the city itself might not have held her gaze for long. The gates lived in the shadows of mountains that stood high above the wispy clouds. To both north and south the mountains stretched as far as the eye could see. Which wasn't that far today.

    "The Spine of the world," he declared.
     
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  11. Fife

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    Her heart was hammering in her chest as they approached the gates. The deep, dark furs he'd purchased her were gathering a fair dusting of snow that blew in. Her eyes were wide in spite of the wind, and she looked in surprise and awe between the great structure and Raigryn. He seemed to know just where to elaborate, the perfect amount of detail to add to a story to whet the edge of her curiosity without the need for her try asking for more.

    She was glad for his long strides as they came to the entrance, and the world beyond fell away from her. He hadn't been jesting her; Fife didn't know if it was fog or clouds (or both) that skirted the entrance, and she felt an immediate response to seeing the mountains stretching down below. Her feet refused to move any further, even as she felt an inexplicable urge to throw herself down from the disconcerting heights.

    Wide, dark eyes tried to take it all in, but there was far too much. She'd never seen anything like it. Sure, she'd looked upon those looming peaks in Elbion a thousand times, but this? It left her breathless and purged her mind of every thought she had. She was, for the first time in a long time, taken in so fully by something that she forgot to worry. She only realized she was crying because the cold wind seared her damp skin, and she hurriedly wiped them away. It simply wouldn't do to get caught crying in front of Raigryn over something a simple as looking at mountains. She didn't feel like getting teased when she was so unceremoniously happy.

    // Raigryn Vayd //
     
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  12. Raigryn Vayd

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    He picked up a sense of how overwhelmed he truly was. Even if he had seen those tears he would not have dared to tease her. On the road Fife would have been given a sense of just how large Arethil truly was. Yet they could only see a little way at a time.

    Here the grandeur of the world was laid out in full. The Spine gave a sense of just how far the world stretched and just how small people were compared to the greatest mountains. They were tiny, insignificant. These rocks had probably formed the backbone of the world for a hundred thousand years and barely changing to the passage of time.

    There were no facts he felt could enhance the experience, no stories to tell. He crossed his arms over his chest and let Fife soak it in.
     
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  13. Fife

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    After a minute (or two) of getting her sniffling under control, Fife turned away from the sight to smile up at Raigryn with red eyes and blotchy cheeks. She didn't have a means of telling him it was beautiful or to fully express her gratitude and excitement at having seen such a moving sight. All she could do, in the end, was hold up a thumb. Not about to let the bitterness at that limitation ruin the serenity of this experience, she walked back to his side before gesturing.

    Fife pointed to Raigryn, then swung her fingers from her eyes to the peaks. She numbered her fingers with her hand near her eyes, and shook her hand away after five. Have you seen it many times? It was a pretty complex thought, but only the surface of the things she wanted to say and ask. He'd been getting better at catching her meaning, anyways.

    // Raigryn Vayd //
     
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  14. Raigryn Vayd

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    Fife didn't need to say a thing. His world had just expanded outwards so suddenly that it was bound to be overwhelming. Raigryn gave him the space to let it all sink in. Even if he had been able to speak, there were few who could express themselves in a manner that could do justice to the view.

    "Have I climbed...oh how many times have I seen these? Hard question. I've been here to the city three or four times. You can see the mountains from a lot further though so I'm not really sure how many times."
     
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  15. Fife

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    Fife couldn't wrap her mind around how well-traveled he was. It didn't surprise her much, given what she was learning about him. She pointed to him, walked her fingers, then waved both hands away from her in open circles. You've been everywhere. It didn't matter if he understood the observation exactly. She didn't make idle comments much, after all.

    She looked back out at the view, grappling with how small she was on the massive hills. She would remain standing beside him until he decided it was time to go back, but wasn't going to be the first to suggest it. Her face had softened, the standoffish, blank mask she generally wore smoothed by a small smile.

    Eyes bright, she turned back to him suddenly. Fife touched her fingers to her mouth before extending them towards him with a nod. Thank you. It was a gesture she had only recently established, but a useful one. It felt good to be able to say it to him, at long last.

    // Raigryn Vayd //
     
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  16. Raigryn Vayd

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    "I've never been south of Fal'addas, nor the islands west of there. Never deep into the Wilds. Those are on the other side of the spine and they say there are as many lands out to the east as to the west," he explained. His silver eyebrows rose and fell. Even now after all this time on the move it shocked him to think how much more of the world was out there.

    "I tell you what, we'll follow the path up as far as that crag," he suggested to Fife. It was a little bit cruel. The crag looked like just a tiny hill above them. The first hint that it was not was how quickly the jagged path cut into the stone vanished from sight. It was a two hour walk to get as high as the ridge.
     
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  17. Fife

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    So maybe he hadn't been everywhere, but he may as well have been. Fife didn't even know where or what those places were, so it wasn't like his confession was going to change the perception she'd formed of him. He was still an intimidating man who had seen far more than she likely ever would.

    He gestured up toward the crag, and she followed his finger with a bright smile. Nodding enthusiastically, she turned fully toward it. She wasn't a good gauge of distance and was thus none the wiser as to how far it actually was. Raising a thumb up, she struggled to come up with a way to ask a dozen questions and failing to think of anything reasonable, so she let them go.

    // Raigryn Vayd //
     
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  18. Raigryn Vayd

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    Ten minutes later and the sense of scale was made apparent. The crag they aimed to surmount didn't appear to have become any closer. The path still wound ahead of them. Raigryn could feel the cold seeping into his bones. That seemed to get worse year on year. Yet he had walked across a lot of the world and seemed quite jovial about it all.

    "Wind is starting to pick up eh?" he asked Fife. "Good walk this. Should clear away that hangover and work off those lies!" he laughed, keeping his gaze over his shoulder. He had learned to watch a little while after speaking in case Fife had something to try and respond with. Otherwise he would only have to turn a moment later after Fife whistled for him.
     
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  19. Fife

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    Young and excited, the cold hadn't bothered Fife. In fact, it hadn't even really registered; her attention shifted between their destination or watching the path that Raigryn took before her. Accustomed to suffering the cold months in Elbion in straw piles (or with a tattered quilt if she'd been particularly lucky), the bitter cold whipping at her nose and cheeks were easily forgotten as she raised her eyes up toward the crag.

    She hadn't noticed the wind, either. When he queried her on the matter, she looked around them and actually began to take note of their surroundings. It had been too easy to learn how to let her guard down, and she took a moment investigating the hill around them. Though she was uncertain of how strong the wind had been a few moments ago, thanks to her distraction, Fife could still see that the wind was carrying away most of the snow that would have otherwise hindered their steps.

    Other than a noncommittal shrug, she had nothing to remark on the matter. He then remarked on the benefit of the hike on their hangovers, and she hissed in laughter. Raigryn glanced over his shoulder at her, and she gestured her reply. Beginning by mimicking eating and drinking, she then blew out her cheeks to round puffs and traced the invisible bulge of a distended belly before making a miserable gagging expression. I ate until I was sick.

    Fife lacked a way to accost him for letting her drink so much ale when he likely knew how miserable it would make her the following morning.

    // Raigryn Vayd //
     
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  20. Raigryn Vayd

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    "Good pies and strong ale for a dwarven constitution!" he laughed at Fife's complaint. "Get used to that and some tiring climbs and you'll leave here a few inches taller and with a bit more meat on your bones!"

    Yet instead of a young boy who would pack some more muscle across his shoulders, Fife was a young woman who would instead fill out her curves first.

    "I tell you what though, Bardinson's does an amazing slow cooked goat stew."

    It was becoming clear that whilst Raigryn travelled far and wide his stomach seemed to connect up all the civilised places he had been.
     
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  21. Fife

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    Excellent for a dwarven constitution, perhaps, but not so much for a small woman with poor tolerance for such hearty foods and powerful alcohol. Fife waved a dismissive hand at his latter comment and fought a losing battle against a small smirk.

    It was unlikely that she would be growing any taller at her age, though she would certainly start filling out if she kept eating everything he put in front of her -- just not in the way he would likely expect. Fife managed to keep a tight rein on the guilt that was generally associated with such thoughts, telling herself that she'd tell him eventually. When the time is right, she promised herself. She didn't intend to let her guilt run amok while he was treating her to something fun.

    Raigryn remarked on a certain goat stew, however, and she once again blew out her cheeks and laid a hand over her stomach while holding the other, palm out, toward him. No more. Though her breakfast was staying down, she wasn't interested in hearing about food just yet.

    But their hike was going to get her to a state more open to talk of meals sooner than she thought. Her queasiness had finally begun to subside on their walk to out of the dwarven city, and trekking up the mountainside was already promising to flex some muscles she rarely used. She was accustomed to endurance, climbing, and maneuvering through challenging urban terrains on the run, not climbing a literal mountain.

    // Raigryn Vayd //
     
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  22. Raigryn Vayd

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    "Bigger than it looked eh?" he called back, clearly low on breath. It has seemed such a tiny challenge to scale next to the mountain, but the spine played tricks with the eye and challenged one's sense of perspective. "They say it takes weeks to scale the tallest peak!"

    Raigryn stopped and turned to look at the progress they had made. The view of the path winding down below them was vertigo-inducing. He wondered if you could see the entire world from the tallest peak.

    He frowned. There, just on the edge of his senses were more emotional life forms.

    "No..." he muttered quietly in disbelief. They couldn't be this close to the gates. That mix of barely suppressed rage and fear was particular to the orcs that had been enslaved by the kind of Molthal. "Fife. Go behind that rock. Stay there no matter what."
     
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  23. Fife

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    Fife looked up when he spoke to her, nodding and smiling. Her cheeks were flushed and from effort and wind and she was a bit pressed for breath. She had heard talk that the air was thinner up in the mountains but experiencing it firsthand was strange, like there just wasn't as much to the air her lungs pulled in.

    She had stopped with him to look out at the view, casually taking a few steps closer to him at the sight of the land diving away. Fife wouldn't have admitted that her head spun a little at the sight, but she quickly learned something new about herself: heights had the potential to rankle her. Closer to Raigryn it wasn't so bad, the promise of a steadying hand to catch her if she slipped, saving her from a certain peril of tumbling down the ravine and--

    His command was sudden, and Fife blinked up at him with a sharp frown. She didn't have a way to ask him what was wrong, but looked from the rock he indicated then followed his sight. Glancing back up at him, her expression was plainly one of confusion and worry. She stubbornly put up a palm -- her general sign for why -- then waved the hand away from her in emphasis. It seemed indignant, but it was the closest means she had to asking him what was happening, why he was suddenly on edge. Her heart lept, recalling the last time he'd instructed her similarly. Fife would do as he told her, but she wasn't going to be happy about it.

    // Raigryn Vayd //
     
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  24. Raigryn Vayd

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    It was just a few seconds later that the harsh sound of orcish tongue could be heard above the wind. Raigryn hadn't even brought a sword. Venturing so close to a dwarven gate it had seemed unnecessary.

    He caught just a glimpse of them before finding cover at the edge of the path. Their dark skin was covered by angular shards of poorly forged armour and heavy furs. Three orcs in a stretched out line flicking a careful path. They ranged across the open rocky terrain towards the path. If they continued that way they would come within just a few metres of where they were. If he had to fight them so close and one of them spotted Fife there would be little he could do.

    He took a breath. Ran through the little mental octave just as he had shown Fife. It was far better to form a plan and follow through than to be swept along by events. He hadn't lasted this long by chance.

    Not being a seven foot tall orc, he drew on his Tranquility to sharpen his mind and give him the balance to leap up from the carved path and cross the terrain. The warning shout went up from the first orc, who drew his sword. Just as Raigryn had hoped. He flicked forwards his open hand. There was a flash of blue as he drew on his Avarice.

    The first orc looked down at the smouldering hole in his chest. The sword started to tumble from his grip. Raigryn caught it before it could go tumbling down the rocks after its master.

    Fighting wasn't the drawn out, artistic duelling shown on stage. It was short, messy and brutal. Raigryn called on his Fury and cut down the next orc with a flurry of blows.

    The third had a spear. With rocks looming on both sides they were able to force Raigryn back with several sharp thrusts. With no room to maneuver Raigryn used some Desire to draw the head of the spear towards the ground. Confusion crossed the orcs face for just a moment as the heavy spear tip fell to the ground. Then Raigryn split her head almost in two.

    "Fife!" he called as he cambered across the rocks back towards the path. "We need to..."

    He was cut off by a cry from further up the rocks. More shapes moved up there. Concern flashed across his face as he wiped a black streak of blood from his beard.

    "Fife, get running back down the path. Now."
     
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  25. Fife

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    She almost instantly regretted being stubborn. A voice carried on the wind, and she jumped. It was a rough language she didn't understand, but it was all the prompting she needed to take cover behind the rocks without any further prodding. Fife fell to her knees, pointing herself back down the trail.

    It was all she could do to remain calm and she was shaking like a leaf even before the sounds of combat rose up from the other side of her cover. She wanted to watch, to be sure that Raigryn was on the winning side, but she didn't dare look up. Keeping her head down, she was too afraid to close her eyes.

    When the clattering of weapons stopped and her mentor's voice called out to her, Fife's heart nearly stopped beating. She scrambled around the rocks back onto the trail, her eyes raking over him. He was all there, but there was blood on him. She couldn't tell if it was his or another's. Her eyes scanned the landscape behind him, catching sight of a slain body.

    An orc. Fear settled in her gut like a cold fist. More voices carried over the slope, and she followed the sound before looking to Raigryn as he commanded her down the trail.

    Fife wasn't brave -- had never pretended to be. When it came down to it, she was little more than a noncombatant. She only had the knife in her boot, and if any of these enemies got that close to her she would be as good as dead before she had the chance to draw it.

    Her mind split between reason and loyalty. She could practically taste the fear in her mouth, knew that she was more of a liability to him if she remained. But it wouldn't be easy to leave him behind again; her body felt rent in two at the mere thought of turning heher back on him, even if it had been on his order.

    Her eyes lingered on him for one long, agonizing moment before she grimaced and turned away.

    Just like the last time they'd encountered trouble, she didn't look back as she began toward the dwarven gate. Sticking to the path they'd already paved, she carefully drew on some her stored Tranquility to keep her feet sure beneath her and to help combat her rising panic. She couldn't look back -- couldn't risk a misstep that could send her tumbling down the slope. Fife knew what her job was: to get to that gate as quickly as she could and raise the alarm. Worrying about Raigryn wasn't going to change whether he lived or died, but her haste could.

    // Raigryn Vayd //
     
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