Private Tales The Last Resort

Draedamyr

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Staind in dark ichor, the blade Reverie barely caught the light as it was pointed at the door. There was a fierce look on the face of the elf holding it. His eyes flicked between each of the people standing in the door.

"Get inside," he growled in the human tongue. Behind him crowded a mix of townsfolk and the surviving guards. The sound of hammering rang around the small Inn, drowning out the sobs and groans of the survivors. Those in the best condition continued boarding up the windows. One other guard, his boiled leather armour tattered and torn, stood at the door with Draedamyr.

"Can't let in any more," the veteran guard grunted. He ushered the last of them inside and waved over someone with a hammer.

It had started an hour ago. The odd mists had crawled across the landscape and enveloped the town. The most superstitious had started praying. The pragmatic has passed it off as strange weather. Draedamyr, sensing a shift in the magic, had collected his belongings to flee the town.

The beasts had emerged from the mists before he could leave. The farmers in the fields had been the first to die. The townsfolk had tried to defend the boundary of the settlement, but there hadn't been enough of them. They had never been organised enough to repel such an attack and stone walls only protected one half of the town.

The things attacking the town hadn't been organised either. Draedamyr had come with a group of guards and some survivors to the towns largest inn. It had food, water and old stone walls nearly a yard thick.

As they went to board up the door, Draedamyr couldn't help but feel that they were only delaying the inevitable.
 
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Her heart pounded in her chest, reflecting upon the state she founder herself in at this very moment. The red mist surrounded her, every breath carrying a tendril of the foul smelling cloud into her lungs, into her flesh. She didn't know what to think about that, either. Surely, at some point in the past there was a precedent for this, but if there was she could not recall it at the moment.

The twisted beasts in the mists were the problem, and they were of a kind she had seen before. It always amused her when people called them demons, because they weren't really. Just creatures that came from another world altogether else, not Arethil at all. If one wanted to be technical, she herself and all of her kindred trapped on this world were demons, too. The only difference was that they didn't seem to be pissed at the world, nor have an axe to grind with the locals. Some of that could have been cultural, of course - the Sidhe no longer vied for Empire, no longer tried to make anything that would last. At least those old enough to recall the early days, the wars. The sorrow.

Something hissed at her, and then a shape emerged from the mists, Lovecraftian in nature. The sweet flow of power within her shifted slightly, channeled through mind and then through the staff she carried in a death grip, focusing and empowering it further. A tree snapped at its base, as though struck by a giant hand, and toppled in slow motion behind her, crushing the strange creature beneath it, sending blood spraying as bones crackled beneath the immense weight. Surely there was a place of refuge nearby; she'd crossed tended fields with their owners lying dead among the crops, savaged by beasts as fanciful as she was herself.

Sure enough, as she ran down the road, a village appeared before her. A town, unprotected from such and invasive force. The red mist lent everything an ethereal quality, like she was moving through a dream world. She knew she wasn't, knew that the shambling horrors that moved about unseen were not the product of addled mind, or at least not the products of her addled mind.

Not for the first time, since this nightmare began, did she wish for her dutiful mare. Her legs were too short for running, and she was not built for it besides. She panted, out of breath but still managing to maintain a tenuous grip on the raging tide within, ever wary of losing control. It would be horrifying, letting that kind of power slip from her control. Not for her, though, as she would be quite dead, burned to ashes where she stood.

There! people, gathered around what looked to be an inn of some sort. She really could care less about them, other than what they probably had among them: sword-and-bows, men with steel in hand that were, for preference, stouter than she was. The inevitable assumption that she was a child - irksome at the best of times - could be overlooked in favor of a body to put between her and all of the what-the-fucks that were chasing her, each other, everything.

Something shrieked behind her, and a casual hand flung behind her, a twisting flow of ephemeral magics, and the street ripped itself apart beneath the offending shrieker, stones piercing flesh and sending bits and pieces flying dozens of feet around long trench ripped into the roadbed.

She pelted for the building with its people on her short legs, sweat streaming, breath coming shorter and shorter.
 
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Draedamyr

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"There's a child coming!"

Draedamyr had already turned his back on the door. His sword had been placed along the length of the bar as he leaned over to see what was behind it.

He turned to see one of the younger guards peering through a crack in the boards.

"How far?" called the veteran who seemed to be in charge. Draedamyr had heard his name but in all the chaos he had forgotten in. The man had worn features and an unkempt beard sprinkled with salt and pepper. Might have seen war as a younger officer from the way he conducted himself.

Before anyone else could act one of the women who had been curled in a ball in the corner of the inn leapt to her feet. Colour suddenly returned to her deathly pale cheeks.

"My Tobias!" she cried out. The veteran had to move to block the door. The woman threw her entire weight against his chest as she bolted for it.

Ignoring the commotion, Draedamyr took up his sword and walked through the door. He stood just beyond the threshold, eyes scanning the mists. The only thing he could see moving was the child running for the inn. It wasn't even a child. Diminutive by human standards, but he could tell the difference between a child and one of the smaller races of Arethil.

He stayed there until she had reached the doorway. He cast one last glance around the town before stepping back inside.

The woman had recognised that the last one to join them before the door was boarded shut was not this Tobias. Her expression fell. To his credit the veteran managed to support her weight as she crumpled up. He leaned her against the wall where she wrapped her knees up in her arms, drew them into her chest and went back to rocking.

Draedamyr sighed and went back to continue looking at what wine was underneath the bar.

"Well, you're safe for now," he said to the latecomer. There was no hope in his voice and the humour that was there was exceedingly dry.
 
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Darting into the confines of the inn without a word or a backward glance, she immediately collapsed to the floor on her hands and knees. Great sobbing breathes prevented any response to anyone at all for a time, especially as the fire in her legs, lungs caught up to her and the adrenaline drained away. It did not help that a pounding headache was already beginning to develop, and if she wasn't careful that would end up being a crippling thing. For the first time in forever, she could feel the ghostly pain of her missing wings.

After several minutes she managed to get to her feet, sweat drying finally. She took in her surroundings. It was typical of common rooms everywhere, though it appeared many of the tables had been drug outside and used to board windows up. There were only one or two left, the stone floor dotted with chairs and little else.

She levered herself up with her staff, constant companion of millenia, and took stock of the people here. Common folk, working men and women, all dirty and scared, huddling together in corners. The image it conjured in her mind...

She shuddered, mind shying back from those memories, no less sharp for the thousands of years. The peasants huddling together while the foul lights of heathen ritual magic slaughtered them by the thousands, laid waste to cities and sundered the hillsides with awful sorcery. Thinking back to those days filled her with a little guilt and sorrow for what she wrought. There was no penance she could accept for the death of an entire world, except to have died with it.

Was it cowardice that made her choose to flee and live?

"Safe?" She said, a frown on her face. "In the balance, yes," she added. If his voice was dry, hers was a desert. She brushed the dust off of her skirts and adjusted them, as if that were something important.

Looking around, she scowled. "Thank you for letting me in, but I trust you plan on doing something more than cowering in here?" Her voice was higher pitched, like a child's would be, but carried the right mixture of thankfulness and exasperation. She pressed her temples with her fingers, stomach doing slow flips.

"If you have anything strong and wet down there, it would be appreciated."
 
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Draedamyr

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"You can't take Algryn's stock!" someone protested at the sound of glass bottles being jostled.

Draedamyr hopped over the bar for a better look. He spared a glance for the young guard who had spoken up.

"He can stop me if he wants," Draedamyr replied. He ducked down behind the bar and reemerged with a dusty bottle. There was a pop as he pulled out the cork. "This strong enough?" he asked the latecomer, waving a bottle of gin. She didn't look quite like the halflings he had met before.

"Algryn died," the guard finally replied sadly.

Draedamyr shrugged. It didn't seem worth winding the lad up by pointing out that it meant the remaining supplies had no owner. The point was made.

"I was planning on having a drink too," Draedamyr replied. "But no other plans beyond cowering just yet."

This wasn't the kind of thrilling fear that powered action. It was a slow burning dread, a sense of futility. Draedamyr had never imagined he would die just by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Who would? He had pictured dying of old age or perhaps appreciating the final thruster of a finer swordsman.
 
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She took the bottle without comment, opened it, and swallowed a few mouthfuls. And then sputtered and coughed a bit, handing it back and nearly spilling it in the process.

"That should do," she replied roughly, still choking on the strong liquor. Wine was her preference, but it would take a fair bit to dull the headache caused from so much casting in such a short period of time. There was the strong possibility that she would have to do more, before this was all said and done. It made her cringe inwardly at what effect that would ultimately have on her, but life was - ostensibly - worth any amount of pain to preserve, even if it was questionable sometimes.

She looked for a chair, but all of them were designed for people much taller than she was. For a moment, she considered just plopping right there on the floor, and dismissed it. Enough indignity had already been borne for one day, and climbing up into a chair was far less undignified than sitting on the floor like a child. And so she did.

With a tired sigh, she leaned back against the back of the chair, a rather inconvenient distance from the front of the seat. Eyes closed, she asked the question that had been on her mind since stumbling in here. "What in the name of Angeliques' tits are those things? And who is in charge here?"
 

Draedamyr

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"In charge..." Draedamyr mused. He swirled the burgundy liquid around a clean glass and took a first sip. It wasn't swill, at least.

"Did the town have a major?" he called out to the room. The looks were enough of an answer. "I don't think they have a leader any more," he said in a hushed tone. Humans without a leader were a difficult group to convince to take action. Draedamyr gave a subtle nod towards the eldest guardsman. If anyone was going to be listened to, it was him.

Not that Draedamyr had a plan to try and get him to execute. By the sounds he'd heard from the stables the horses were gone. He didn't fancy their chances out there on foot. The elf tried to swallow the creeping despair along with the wine.

"No idea what those things are, nor what they're doing in this mist. Were you just passing through on the road?"
 
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The gin was doing the trick, she thought, as the tightness behind her eyes diminished. She eyed the wine thoughtfully, but decided against anything more. She needed to keep most of her wits about her. Looking around and seeing the despair in all the faces, as if they were already defeated, made her scowl.

She fought the desire to snap at these children, shaking her head slowly. "All of you ready to throw in the towel, then?" Thr grumpiness in her voice could not be contained. Her lack of fear and hopelessness was at strong odds with everyone else there.

The ancient woman took a deep breath, and released it. "Wandering. Always wandering, stranger. If you walk long enough and far enough, everything changes by the next time you set foot on a place." She sounded utterly weary of that, for some odd reason. "Every now and again, something new crops up. Being attacked by some kinda of giant, mutated chicken us certainly not a common occurence," she remarked very drily.
 

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"Running always invites a predator to chase," Draedamyr replied. He had expected one of the guards to reply, but they seemed to have no interest in her questions.

Whilst it sounded quite clever, Draedamyr didn't really know much at all about the behaviour of wild beasts. He travelled, but stuck to safe roads between the towns. He hunted wanted men and dangerous mages, not monsters.

"We have no horses either. Maybe when the sun rises it might lift the mists and give us a chance to run." Draedamyr wasn't sure which of them he was trying to convince.

"I am Draedamyr, swordsman and mage hunter. Also passing through," he said, giving a half bow without taking his hand from the wine glass. A moment of mundane formality in the chaos.
 
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"These predators don't appear to care if you run, or if you stand your ground," she remarked, drily. She eyed the bottle that Draedamyr had broached, and with a sigh went to go retrieve it and a glass or a goblet or something to drink it from. The glistening liquid was enticing, and the rich odor it gave off scarcely less.

At the mention of horses, she felt a pang of regret and worry. Nightwind, her mare, was still out there. The little pony had been with her for more years than its kind should have even lived, thanks to the gifts she had given her. But those gifts did not include being immune to predation by fiends such as those outside.

She sent a silent prayer up to Angelique, knowing the Goddess was dead but unable to bring herself to care.

"I am Seska. I am a prisoner of this world, and have been for quite some time." She carefully assessed the man, determining if this mage hunter business would be a problem or not. "You could say I dabble in the Art," she added blandly.
 
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"I only go after those I'm paid for," he replied. He leaned across the bar and poured her a generous glass without asking how much she wanted.

"Usually that's humans on account of the fact that they tend to dabble with powers they don't understand."

"Hey!" one of the guards protested.

"I didn't say all humans," Draedamyr countered. "It is merely that you live such short lives that you take risks with magic in a constant attempt to improve your understanding. Which can go very, very wrong."

Draedamyr gave a shrug and took another sip of wine. He was beyond being cautious with his words at this point. Surviving until daylight seemed a slim prospect right now.
 
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She snorted, then drained the goblet of its contents and looked speculatively at the bottle. The ache was mostly gone now, which was absolutely wonderful. She felt...pleasantly relaxed, despite the situation. Of course, she was no as wrought with despair as everyone else here was. "The irony in calling humans short lived is not lost on me," she mused aloud. "If there were one great truth of the world - this world, others, it matters not - it is that no one can see far enough into the future to understand what their actions will cause. Time moves one way. Even my people have not found a way to reverse the flow."

Was there perhaps a touch of bitterness there? The woman sighed inwardly. Yes, perhaps there was. Dying worlds notwithstanding, there were plenty of other things she would have gone back and changed had she the ability.

"Your kind were no less guilty of the Fall than mine were, even if the sorcery you conjured in the end was not as strong. Such power..." She shook her head, a touch sad. "That such a thing is never seen again. Although," she added, looking toward the door. Outside, night reigned, and so did the beasts and the mist. "Although, perhaps a touch of that power could have been helpful here. Alas, there are too few of us left to enact such rituals anymore. Not to mention the source of that power is gone, dead as dust. Forgotten, but for those few who lived it."

She gestured with the empty glass, indicating she would like more, for all the world as if the world were not ending outside. The goblet seemed oversized in her small hand.
 

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Draedamyr wasn't even sure what past events she referred to. He didn't care to interrupt or enquire further. Instead he arched an eyebrow at the request for more wine. She was on the small side and had already taken a swig of gin.

A barely perceptible shrug came before he refilled her glass.

"I have caught many mages who claimed ignorance of the damage they ended up causing. Yet they often imicate themselves in their own notes. It's these colleges that make them compete for positions and the chance of a lucrative court position. This could all have been caused by a mage who knew this would happen with failure, but weighed it up against riches if their experiment succeeded."
 
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She snorted, after inclining her head in thanks for the renewal of her drink. She sipped of it, savoring the flavor now rather than drinking to dull the pain she had inflicted upon herself. If it was not for the terrified people here, it would almost have been pleasant to share this moment with the mage hunter.

"There are as many reasons for those who misuse the Art as there are stars in the sky, as many as world yet untouched." She sighed softly, heavy kidded eyes regarding the elf curiously. An inner light burned within those pale amythest orbs, faint but noticable in the dim. "It always amuses me to see children building their schools, marching about as if they are the greatest of the great. At least the ills they cause are small in scale. Easily cleaned up after."

She swirled the wine in the glass staring at its gleaming surface, and recalling shredded fragments of ancient memories. "I will never understand why the Gods granted the the impure access to the Art in the first place. But...surely the Trinity did not preside over all worlds. Perhaps that had never been something at their discretion to begin with." Her eyes, regarding him. Weighing and measuring him for some reason. Those eyes were inscrutable, and conveyed a sense of age that was unpleasant to contemplate.
 
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Had Draedamyr not grown to recognise age in the virtually ageless members of his race he might not have noticed. His gaze narrowed as he contemplated what Seska had said. A prisoner of this world? Perhaps an old spirit trapped in a young body?

Another time and it might have formed an interesting conversation. Draedamyr could sit for hours to soak up an awe inspiring sight that he had not crossed before. Much of the world bored him, but he had near endless patience for those rare things that he knew nothing about.

His eyes turned towards the windows. They were still out there. He could hear one scrabbling around in the mud not far from the Inn.

"And what is impure to you?" he asked. His voice had dropped to barely above a whisper.
 
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She sat in silence for a long time, carefully mulling that question over. The seconds stretched to a minute, and then longer until the silence was almost palpable, unbearable. Finally, the ancient sorceress sighed, and shook her head. "Once, in my youth, I might have been able to answer that questions. But...." she said, raising her hands in a strange gesture as if to indicate that there was no single answer.

"When I was but a young lady - a girl, really - I thought that I could cleanse the world of those who defiled the sacred Art, though others of my kind told me it was a foolish venture, bound to failure if it wasn't a worse fate I arrived at." She paused. She was clearly still here. "Several centuries of that was enough to convince me that no matter how many threads I snatched, there would always be more." She raised a finger to forestall any protest that she hadn't answered the question at all.

"There were the heathens that were impure. The great Jihad that such vehement belief spawned. Then it was the minions of some personal devil. Then it was myself who was impure. Now..." She sighed, took a sip of her win, savoring the flavor. She could hear the beasts outside too, but for the moment they were out there, and she was in here. Seeing as no one was inclined to take charge, only cower in the darkness, she would have to do something about it herself.

"I can't answer your question. Either everyone is impure, or no one is. The world just isn't simple black and white." A pause. And then: "So, are you just going to roll over and die here?" She was looking towards the door now, too. The inner light in her eyes had intensified, but only a little. She had not embraced the power locked within, yet. Now was not the time.

"All of you. You cower and cry, are you going to face this threat on your feet, or are you going to wallow in self pity until you die from sheer despair?" The diminutive woman was standing now, eyes aflame with emotion.
 
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"You wanna go out there? Happy to open the door, but would say it's you looking to die," called the veteran. There was anger in his eyes not, though Draedamyr felt that it didn't burn nearly as bright.

The elven duelist had half a mind just to watch and see how this would unfold. A curious creature this Seska. Full of old stories and fire. There was context to what she described that he was entirely missing. Threads that he might have been able to put together had he spent more time among his own people. But his people were not the elves of Fal'addas. They were the people of a city whose name had almost been forgotten.

"Thick stone walls have always been a fairly good defence against monsters," Draedamyr replied. In all the confusion and with the mists obscuring his view he had missed those small tells that might have told him a very important truth. That the creatures out there were not monsters driven by instinct. They were something else entirely. Creatures who might not understand this land, but who all had a strong sense of identity and a keen intellect.

And anger. Far more than Seska could muster towards the mortals clinging to the protection of stone.
 
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She stood there, imperious and strong in herself...and then the fires went out, and she sat back down with a sour look in her face. "Stone works well against all manner of things, until it doesn't. How much food and water do you have here? How long can you hold before you are forced to face the situarion?" She gave a challenging look to Draedmyr and the veteran, and all the others in this room.

She shook her head, dispelling momentary anger. "I cannot go out there alone. I would be fine for a time, but ultimately I am but one woman. The strength of my life us great...but finite," she said. "I have not lived as long as I have by cowering in the dark, or by waiting things out. Sometimes to my regret, others to my profit. Just what do all of you intend to do?"
 
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The veteran soldier stood tall and crossed his arms over his broad chest. Draedamyr searched for his name. It had been something short and punchy. Something like Bran or Jan.

"Patch up the wounded. Count our supplies, equipment and people. When the sun is up we see if those things are still out there and we either make a break for it or we send a runner to get help from Kratos Town."

"Well said Ken!" added one of the townsfolk.

Ken! That was it!

Draedamyr turned towards Seska and managed to shrug with a brief motion of his eyebrows.

"I'd thought as far as finishing my wine," Draedamyr apologised. "I liked the speech though," he added, lifting his glass a few inches in salute before bringing it to his lips.

A thought occurred to him. That when it came to 'let's send a runner' someone would turn to 'doesn't the elf look fast.'

"Another town may not be able to help," Draedamyr spoke up. "We should try and leave together. Even if you want to wait for dawn."
 
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"Morning sounds delightful," she replied with a nod and the same raising of her glass. The pleasant numbness had increased somewhat, the headache completely buried now. The ache in her muscles had receded, if the fatigue had not. "A group will mean more eyes, easier to spot trouble before it is too late to do anything about it."

She looked to the door. Somewhere out there, Nightwind was running about, her large and intelligent eyes filled with fear. It was just the sorceress's horse, but that pony had been with her for hundreds of years. That gentle beast might not even truly be a horse anymore, for all the magic that Seska had infused into it. All in s bud to keep the reaper away a little longer.

Just a little longer.

A thought. That must be what it was like to be mortal. Always stretching for more time, for that extra day. She had probably thought this same thing before, but time was a wheel, after all.

Since they were not going to deal with whatever beasts waited for them beyond just yet, the Sidhe felt that she could indulge in perhaps just a little more. The bottle was half gone already, anyway. It would be a waste not to finish it.

"I can offer some assistance with mending your wounded," she said, going for the bottle again. Sweet, dreamless sleep. That was the ticket. "They may or may not appreciate it, but they will be more or less physically restored." All true, though the costs of the Sidhe's healing were not to be scoffed at. "I am also curious about you, Draedmyr. You speak as someone well versed and knowledgable of the world. What brings you to this place?"
 
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"Maybe ease off the wine if you're going to look to tend some wounds," one of the villagers grumbled. Draedamyr didn't catch which one of them it was.

He let his gaze pan around the room. There were more below in the wine cellar. Just a handful who looked fit and strong enough to wield weapons. Several wounded and there were at least ten children downstairs. What would they even arm everyone with? He had a spare dagger, the guards might have a few extra weapons and then they were down to using whatever they could find. Planks of wood, hammers and glass bottles seemed like pitiful things compared to what waited for them.

The elf turned back towards Seska. "Old enough to remember too much. Hardly knowledgeable in monsters and how the world works," he replied. "I keep to the roads and this town just happened to be on one I was travelling.

"And what brought you here?" he asked.
 
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"The wine helps me deal with the price I pay for using my Art to heal you," she snapped at the nameless speaker. "Magic is not without cost. I trade my suffering for your life," she added sharply.

"I am perhaps a bit cynical," she said, this time to Draedmyr, and in much more measured tones. "I was here looking for an...old friend. I am unsure of how long it has been since I met Lia, last...maybe a thousand years?" An thoughtful expression, lips pursed and eyes gleaming. "I do not really have any purpose," she admitted. Except trying to escape this world. The laws of magic bound her here as surely as chains would have.

"Let me get to work on these people," she said, setting wine aside for the moment. "You can explain to me what we have to work with here while I mend what I can."
 
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For a moment Draedamyr thought she wanted him to find healers tools. When he realised his error he was left with one question that went unvoiced:

What are you?

He had met godlike creatures with a seemingly unlimited lifespan. In truth, he had met one godlike creature with a seemingly unlimited lifespan: Velaeri

Draedamyr reached over the bar to find a rag for cleaning glasses. It wouldn't fulfill that purpose ever again. Not after he used it to wipe the black ichor from Reverie before sheathing the blade.

"Work with? A handful of weapons and even less who know how to use them. The stables have been...emptied," Draedamyr said.

Ken seemed to perk up at this discussion. "I saw Harry, the lad from the forge. He could swing a blade well enough. Rioth, go see if he's downstairs and promote him to guard-in-training."
 
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She moved a trifle unsteadily, although that would not matter much for what she was about to do. There were several here who could use the aid she could offer, and she set about that thankless work with, if not enthusiasm, then at least enjoyment. Opening herself to the source, to the power locked in her own flesh and blood, she seized it and allowed it to suffuse her entire self.

Once, a very long time ago, she had been warned of the seductive nature of magic. It would be all to easy to get lost in the feeling of life that made her want to shout to the heavens. Sex was the only thing to compare it to, and this was even better as far as she was concerned, although far, far more dangerous. Balancing on the edge of a sword.

An apt metaphor. Reckless desire and abandon would result in her death, and perhaps many others...but no matter how careful you were, you would ultimately cut your feet.

Sweet power pulsing through her like a beating heart, she knelt next to an unconscious woman who had been unceremoniously deposited on the floor,blood staining clothing. She was alive, at least.

"So few," she murmured as she knelt, placing a hand on the middle aged lady. Deft weaving of mana, creating a pattern that gave form to the formless. Such was magic, creating order from chaos, tinkering with the laws of the world. Power flowed from the tiny woman into her patient, seeking as it went. And forcefully healing anything it found that was wrong, coiling around injury like a serpent to squeeze all the ills out.

There was a cost associated, of course. From her, in the draining of her very essence. And for the patient...

...a wound that the body insisted was still there,that hurt as much - if not more - than before the forced-healing had occured. She had witnessed some fall to madness trying to reconcile in their minds the real world and the one their minds insisted was true. Rare, but for all it was unpleasant. And draining.

"I will not end here," she muttered to herself as she finished her task with the first. The women's wounds had been completely healed, or at least the physical ones had. Despite the wine and the gin, though, the headache was back, and she could feel a deep ache on the rest of her body as well. "We can not give up," she said in a louder voice, rising and making her way to an old man, face wrinkled in pain, broken arm clutched close.

"You have not given up already," she added, half question and half statement as she made her unsteady way to the next.
 
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Character Biography
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Every magic had its own distinct timbre. They way each discipline resonated through the ether felt different. As he felt her weave it through reality around the wounded woman he tried to recall a similar sensation.

It wasn't the carefully controlled high magic that his own people claimed to have mastered. It held more of an underlying quality of the shamanistic practises of orc kind. It was unique, not quite like anything he had crossed before. Draedamyr was also sensitive enough to tell when someone was trying not to do too much, rather than achieve too little. In his line of work tracking down rogue mages he knew too well what could happen when those lines were crossed.

"Are you sure you can continue using your strength healing?" Draedamyr asked. His question was asked in a calm, measured tone. The meaning beneath his words was cold, logical.

Is your magic better used healing now, or seeing us to safety when we leave?