Fable - Ask The Shadow of Spring

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Nairth San'Seya

The King of Spring -- Preservation Through Action
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There were few things that a true King could openly admit to fearing without risking doubts and dissent among his people. When one rules a land, they must be resolute and determined in all actions they make, without the slightest hint of hesitation behind their words. That's what made it so difficult for Nairth to accept that he was frightened of whatever it was lurking somewhere out in the forest he gazed out upon from the window of Grovehaven Castle's library. Oberon had accrued a massive literary collection, and the San'Seya had been pouring over every tome he'd left behind in search of an answer to the problem that both he and those loyal to him would be facing very soon.

It was to no avail. Nairth could find no mention of the terrifying black entity that hunted him like prey, corrupting his animals, his forest, his life. The thought of it caused him to angrily grit his teeth, hands clutching at the robes he wore. The sight of what had once been a horse, twisted and malformed into something ungodly as it thrashed through the thick trees surrounding what was now his city. Whatever it was, it threatened everything, and the time had come to inform those loyal to him of the danger they would face.

The great hall at the base of Grovehaven was eerily quiet and empty, a far cry from the bustling coronation ceremony that had been held just a few weeks prior. Nairth found it oddly sad as he descended the stairway into its vast expanse, seeing a place designed to hold so many harbor none. Truly the Spring had become a very small few. That wouldn't change if he couldn't stop the Shadow. If he failed, there would be no Spring to speak of.

Quietly stepping over and ascending the dais, Nairth lowered himself onto his throne with a sigh. Shaileigh and Quacey should be arriving at any moment. Shaileigh would never refuse a summons from him, and he had little doubt Quacey would either; the two of them hadn't had time to talk since he'd been crowned, and he was aware that the Knight had many aspirations for the court. Quacey's passion was boundless. and the San'Seya King quite admired that.

The air outside was calm, the wind warm and soft against the walls of the massive castle of stone and oak. Good. Disposing of Oberon's corpse had slowed the entity down a fair deal, but it would be back. The time to strike was now, and with the help of his Court, he would drive a piercing light into the Shadow that threatened his new reign.
 
The Chamberlain of the Spring Court glided into the great hall with dark green skirts flowing around and behind her. She had been granted the position of Chamberlain shortly after the coronation when Tharu became an ambassador to the Vitae Court. Shaileigh had vowed to serve her King in any position he needed and she had done just that. The difference now was she had a fancy title and more work to do.

She approached the throne and bowed low to Nairth. He had been seemingly more frustrated in the last few weeks and it had her worried. He had shared some of the concerns, but she knew there was something bigger and deeper weighing on his mind. When she rose, she smiled at him with all the warmth and love she held for this male. She knew as soon as she saw the look on his face that she was not here for fun.

No one else was around but her next words were still soft as she ascended the dais and took his hand gently in her own. "What is wrong, Nairth?"
 
Hence toll the bells,
Water leaks from your wells.
Death comes for all,
No matter how you stall.
Life is but a test.
All you can do is your best.

A morbid poem. Quacey looked down upon it. Something about his poetry of late had proven to be somewhat cryptic and prophetic. Not all but too much. A more obsessive fae might latch onto it and try to decipher the hidden meaning.

But he knew better. Trying to predict the future and alter fate was hubris. Nothing good from attempting to escape destiny.

It was in this moment he received a summons from Nairth. King Nairth now he supposed, not that the title mattered much to him. The Spring Court held its power more in the parlors than the kingship. They were not the Summer Court after all. But he was not going to ignore it for one simple reason: Nairth never meant why he was summoned.

Quacey knew Nairth enough to know the fae would not expect him to just come barking if called. A reason would be given and a prayer it was deemed worthy enough for him to part from his duties to the lost long enough to see it through. The lack of one meant it was too serious a matter to even provide a brief hint about why.

So the fae got himself prepared in attire suitable for court and potential combat then left his home.

==============

At the gates of the new palace, Quacey had been stopped by a pair of guards. They bickered amongst themselves when they heard his title as Lord of Twinhome on if it was a legitimate title or not. Personally he did not care if it was or not himself, but most fae generally did not argue with him over it. He had a meeting to get to so he flashed them the seal on his message and their response was immediate. Entry was allowed and apologies given for delaying him.

At least some good was coming from Nairth's title as king.

The large fae entered the throne room to find a red haired woman he was mostly unfamiliar with holding Nairth's hand. A vague sense that some question had been asked clung to the air. Judging by the look upon his friend's face that question no doubt had something to do with why he was making that face.

So he decided to give the pair some space by standing near the shut doors. If he was needed then he would be called over and he would approach. If not then they have some semblance of privacy to discuss their matter. Either way, he was at least doing the respectable thing.

Nairth San'Seya Shaileigh Ilayda
 
Shaileigh lived and spent much of her time in the castle with Nairth, by her own choice. She'd been a member of Summer for most of her life, and when she'd arrived in these forests she'd had nothing to her name but the coy smile on her face and the clothes on her back. That the new King held such trust in her was both due to the passion for his ideals that she showed, and the feelings that had begun to grow between them.

At first it had been purely physical, a means to release the stresses of his incoming anointment as King. Shaieligh's affinity for pleasure certainly helped, but it would likely have happened either way. After spending so much time in one another's presence, however, true affection and adoration had begun to take root in their hearts. His new Chamberlain was quickly growing very precious to him, so when she finally arrived and bowed before him Nairth felt as though the weight of his news was much lighter.

Holding her hand tightly in his own for a moment, San'Seya offers her a small smile before nodding towards the doors. "Quacey has arrived. Step down and I shall tell both of you." Before she left his side, he would raise the hand to kiss the back of it ever so gently, before looking over to Quacey. "I'm very glad you could make it. Please come closer, the words I have to speak are of great importance."

It was when Quacey stepped forward to stand beside Shaileigh that Nairth would drum his fingers against the arm of his throne, tilting his head for a moment, jeweled crown glittering in the light as he pondered something. "Tharu won't be joining us. I've sent him on an assignment to the Vitae. He already knows of what I'm to tell you though. Quacey, I trust my men didn't give you too much trouble outside? They are... new to service. Lesser fae, that I have given a chance to work for greater change."

After a moment, Nairth sighs, shaking his head slightly. "Listen carefully. Oberon was not killed by mere illness as I have told you. There is an enemy amongst us, lurking within these very trees. It corrupts and twists all that it touches, driving it to madness. I refer to this enemy as the Shadow."

Shaileigh Ilayda
Quacey
 
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Shaileigh was worried about Nairth and after he kissed her hand, she stepped back down to where Quacey was walking over to. She knew of the Lord but only in passing. They had never met before. He seemed to be a trusted member of the Spring Court and she was happy to have him here for whatever this news was.

Shaileigh listened to her Kings words letting the horror of what he was saying sink in. Something was coming to destroy everything she held dear. The Shadow as Nairth called it had already killed one king so it obviously had no qualms about who it destroyed in its path.

“What do you know about this Shadow, my King?”
Her tone was formal since they were now in the presence of another. Her voice held the same worry that she could hear in his voice.

Nairth San'Seya Quacey
 
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The only response to Nairth's first to him was a nod and then him approaching the throne. So the summons was indeed important. It had to be if the new King was summoning an outcast of the Court in all but name like Quacey was. He might be a Lord, but there had been no expectations of him from the previous administration. Seemed that was not carrying over now.

He did hold a response to the second words from Nairth. So he spoke as soon as he had arrived at the base of the steps leading to the throne stopping his advance.

"They did their duties and questioned my status. Best to be suspicious at times like these and not take an unknown fae's word as complete truth." He then pulled out the summons with the seal of the Spring King on it out. "They did immediately respect your seal. So as I said, they are doing their duties."

Perhaps he was being too nice to the guards. They did give him more issues than most other Lords or Ladies of the court would tolerate. If it had been another then Nairth likely would be dealing with a series of complaints. But thankfully for them both Quacey did not care for such trivial things.

There was already some suspicion in Quacey's mind over Oberon's death when Nairth began to reveal the matter at hand. He had thought the new King had played a more or less direct hand in it then seized the throne. The Spring Court was not above such methods after all and more than a few had gained their position that way. He was fine if that was what had happened.

But it was not and this face got a frown from him.

The culprit was something else. A foreign entity within the lands of Spring. Where they were about life and freedom it was about death and control. Their inverse in that way. He did not like it one bit. Especially hearing that part about the twisting and the corrupting. He had felt the presence of the lost when he entered. He always did. But he had learned to tune it out better. Or perhaps it was more accurate to say he was just less sensitive to it now than before. Like draining the fluid from a blister to ease the pain and allow the healing to begin.

So he focused and began to open himself up to the sensations of the lost. If his thoughts were correct then the effects of this thing would be noticeable immediately. Nothing could become twisted and corrupted without losing sense of what it was. He prayed to the Twins he was wrong, but would soon find out if he was.

Nairth San'Seya Shaileigh Ilayda
 
Nairth nodded to Quacey's appraisal of his guards, silently making the decision to have a small discussion with them. They could not entirely be faulted, of course; they were made vaguely aware to be on the lookout for a 'hostile being', and coupled with the fact that they were so new to serving directly under a King, he could imagine their nervousness about getting everything just right.

San'Seya also was well aware of the suspicion in the air regarding his personal involvement with the end of Oberon. It wouldn't have been shocking to many; such things were common in the annals of Fae history, many kings passed their legacies by bloodshed, and it would also have explained why the San'Seya had been so tight-lipped about the whole ordeal.

Here and now though, Nairth told his two most trusted the truth. An evil was loosed on their land, threatening the safety of all of them. In answer to Shaileigh's question, Nairth could only shake his head. "Very little. I first encountered it some time ago, the first time it had twisted what had once been a stallion into something more resembling the stuff of nightmares. I was barely able to put that beast down, and not without help."

He did wonder what happened to that young mage who'd helped him with that little mess. Turning his head, Nairth gazed out of one of the long windows that ran from the floor to the high ceiling of the hall. "Even so, that darkness escaped from the mangled body and found even more victims, spreading and taking root in more and more places. I've no doubt it's causing more death as we speak, biding its time until it regains its strength. I did a considerable amount of damage when I purged it from Oberon's body." He winced at the memory, the visage of his former king being consumed by that same darkness. If it hadn't been for the mild illness he was suffering, Oberon could have fought it. Such an unfortunate end. Nairth would make sure it was not in vain.

"I will be relying on the both of you to help me conquer this new foe. Fortunately, I have a plan." It was time to put Quacey's skills to use, and to put his full faith in Shaileigh. "Quacey, there is an artifact that I believe we can use to neutralize this shadow. It is known as the Prism of Rekkar. Currently, it is in the possession of a young elf traveling towards these very woods. I'm entrusting both you and Shaileigh with the retrieval of this artifact." Turning his head to Shaileigh, he smiles. "I'd like you to accompany him, to assist him in any way possible. Cn you do this for me?"
 
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Shaileigh listened to Nairth’s words with growing worry. She was not liking this one single iota. An evil shadowy presence that was on a war path to destroy everything she held dear. The Spring Court was small and they did not have an army to take on such an entity. She was genuinely worried and afraid for the first time in a long time.

Nairth spoke of an artifact that he wanted her and Quacey to go find that would help take out the shadow. She was not a fighter. She knew basic combat, but her affinity was not one that was meant for altercations. She would make it work though. She would go where he commanded her to go.

"I'd like you to accompany him, to assist him in any way possible. Can you do this for me?"

Shaileigh looked up at the King and smiled back. Of course, she would do this. “Yes, I would be honored to go and help find this relic.” She bowed her head for a second before looking back up at Nairth again.

Quacey Nairth San'Seya
 
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Whatever this shadow was, it could hide itself from Quacey. There was many lost beings within the palace, but nothing was different from any other. This got a frown out of him. It reminded him of his early youth learning how to use understand his sensations.

His attention went back to those in the room with him. The request was for Quacey to retrieve this orb for Nairth. An item that could be used to stop this shadow. And from the sounds of it the location was already known as well as the keeper of said relic. An elf. Odd. It was rare for mortal to possess such powerful fae relics.

Quacey looked to Nairth was a question in it. His childhood companion would know it was curious as to how Nairth knew this already.

His gaze did not last long before it was directed towards his new companion, Shaileigh. The most obvious reaction would have been if it was wise for the Chamberlain to be gone during such a crisis, especially if something should happen to the King. But Quacey already knew the answer. The point was that she not be here should something happen. How much it was motivated by political interest was unclear. He had a feeling it was a more personal interest for the King.

"I welcome your lovely and pleasant company my Lady."

A bow as Quacey lowered his head and extended out his hand for her to take. Best they start this off politely. And he had a feeling Nairth would be rather upset if any unintended slight were directed to his close adviser.

Nairth San'Seya Shaileigh Ilayda
 
Shaileigh's loyalty was as unwavering as Nairth had expected, but the King knew there would be unspoken questions when his story was presented to the likes of Quacey; the eccentric man was far more clever and wise than he often let on, and the addition of an artifact to this task was sure to draw his curiosity even further. Even mere days into his reign Quacey had begun to request Nairth's blessing to embark on quests for relics of interest to him. Certainly, he was a restless one at times.

The San'Seya hadn't intended to tell them this final piece of information. It was rather personal, even for a lover, or his most trusted friend. If they were to retrieve the prism that Nairth needed to ensure their victory, however, it was only right they know everything. "The elf that the Prism is in possession of... He is also of San'Seya blood. Descendant of my daughter Isa San'Seya, who fell in love with a mortal peasant elf long ago." He did not need to elaborate. They both knew how that story had ended, the rage of Nairth that had boiled over and spilled onto all of his children except Tharu. "His name is Varys San'Seya, and he knows not of his lineage. If possible, I would prefer you to keep it that way."

Varys was a loose end, one that Nairth had never been able to bring himself to tie. The young mage didn't need to be involved in this any more than was necessary.

"The both of you are to leave as soon as you are ready. The quicker we retrieve the Prism, the faster we can use its power to give us the advantage. Be careful in the forest, however. The Shadow looms, and its power has grown enough to rival the strength of a Duanann."

One last look was cast to both of them. Shaileigh, with whom his blossoming romance had begun to mix with professionalism in a way that only spelled trouble if Nairth could not sort out the feelings she stirred within him. Quacey, who he'd known the longest. He was enigmatic, often vanishing for long periods at a time, but whenever Nairth needed him, he was ready to do whatever was in his power to help.

Despite the small size of his court, not only did he find himself with a loyal group to serve him, but a pair of dear friends. If he could trust anybody with this task, it was them.

"Good luck, my friends."

Shaileigh Ilayda
Quacey
 
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Shaileigh gave her hand to Quacey after his bow and once he had finished his introductory pleasantries, she returned the bowed head and smiled at him. Their attention was quickly taken by Nairth as he spoke again. He was not done with the information he was going to be sharing with them.

The Chamberlain knew of her Kings story and she simply nodded to him. She did not need to know any information beyond the information that was provided. The fact that Nairth did not want the boy to know about his heritage was curious. It was probably for the better though.

“Good luck, my friends.”

“Please give me a few minutes to change into more appropriate travel clothing and I will be ready to go.” Shaileigh did not wait for a reply. She set off to her room to change into a pair of dark brown pants, a dark green top, and brown leather boots. She slung her belt with two daggers around her waist before returning to the great hall.

“We can leave, Lord Quacey.”

Nairth San'Seya Quacey
 
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The details provided were of some concern. Quacey was aware of what Nairth had done to his children despite his isolation and disconnection from the fae community as a whole. The fact one of her descendants lived was a miracle, especially with Nairth being aware of their existence. It was all the more so given their possession of this relic orb they were needing to retrieve.

When Shaileigh presented her hand, he would softly kiss the back of them and then let her hand go. Lingering was only for those unattached and free to flirt with others. He could tell with these two that was not the case. She excused herself to go travel. He offered her a smile in return and made sure he was out of her way.

While she was gone his attention went to Nairth. "Is there anything I need to know of this prism and your descendant? Or will I be walking amongst secrets on this quest?"

He expected no answer. Nairth was the King after all and so likely already shared what he wished to share. But Quacey had waited until they were the only ones in the room to ask. Perhaps there might be something his friend from youth would share between just them.

When Shaileigh returned he would smile to her once more. "Agreed." He would turn to Nairth and bow to the King. "By your leave."

A step would be taken back and then Quacey would pivot to face away and head for the door with Shaileigh.

Nairth San'Seya Shaileigh Ilayda
 
Usually, when Varys rode this deep into Falwood, he got a sense of nostalgia from the place. The years he'd spent here had been far from pleasant, sure, but he couldn't pretend that the sounds of nature surrounding him on all sides, the clean, crisp air that only seemed to be enriched by the presence of the trees didn't fill him with some sense of home, of belonging. Maybe that was just the elf in him, and this would always be his kind of place.

That was why it struck him as so strange that he felt so uneasy; an odd tingle seemed to linger on the back of his neck, as though he could feel invisible eyes burning his flesh from afar. The elven mage certainly didn't think he'd been followed, not this far from the city. Everytime he would slow his horse and turn to look behind him, there was nothing. Damn it all, it was bad enough he'd gotten lost on the way to the old place, but now he had the heebie-jeebies to go with it.

It had been a good decision to leave his apprentice behind in Fal'Addas while he came out here though. There were some aspects of Varys' past that he'd rather not share with her until he was ready, and his destination was the place it had all begun, the burnt and scattered remains of the house he'd been born in, ravaged by wildfires and abandoned amongst the many trees of the forest. He finally saw it now, the wooden remains sorted into small piles on the forest floor, long since overgrown with moss.

"Whoa, boy." Varys pulled back on the reins of the horse he'd rented out from town and slid off to approach the assorted wreckage. One year ago, he'd hidden something among all of this garbage, something important. He'd promised himself he'd destroy it, but at the time he hadn't had the strength. Now, it was time to rid the world of that damned Prism once and for all.

As he knelt down to retrieve it from its hiding spot, tucked underneath the thick layers of moss, he heard a rustling of leaves and the sound of footsteps. Quickly his head shot up. Somebody had to be following him. He wasn't that crazy.

"Hello? Who's there?!"

Shaileigh Ilayda
Quacey
 
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The trip was longer than expected. Tracking down this mortal they sought was not as simple nor as easy as originally thought. This descendant of Nairth's was competent. But eventually Quacey's feet took him where he needed to be. A small perk of his domain. He always ended up where he needed to regardless of if he did so intentionally or not.

The trees of Falwood were dense and thick. They were even more so while in the parts closest to fae activity. This mortal had actually traveled close to them. Odd how that happened so often for him. But it was a pleasant change. The quicker they could return the quicker they could deal with this issue.

Instead of approaching this mortal on foot, Quacey had turned himself into an eclipse of moths and had been shadowing him for some time. Likely his presence in this form would seem more natural and keep him hidden. As he had observed this elf, the kind of mortal he had proven to be, the fae had learned something. This elf didn't have the orb on him and was in a hurry to be somewhere. His instincts told him to follow and they would find the lost item in question.... Had his domain expanded to objects as well?

One of his moths landed on Shaileigh's shoulder. In a hushed voice seeming more directed into her head than echoing to her ears he said, "Approach him. I will grab the orb while he is distracted."

Then while waiting he adjusted his form. His smaller moths all fly together into a big ball which morphed into a large moth big enough to lift the orb once gathered. He was rather big in this form but such large moths could be found in the deep wilds all over the world if kind of uncommon.

Varys San'Seya Shaileigh Ilayda
 
Shaileigh heard Quacey's words and nodded silently. She could distract a young elf with ease...she hoped.

She stepped out of her place among the trees and addressed the San'Seya descendent. His head shot up and she let out a small gasp. He looked very similar to Nairth and it had shocked her. Yes, she knew Tharu but she had gotten used to him and being around him. This was strange especially since he had no idea of his heritage.

"Hello, young elf," she honestly didn't know what to say to him. "You do not belong here, Varys, and I believe it would be best if you left now."

She had decided to go with ominous. Sure, that would work. She was not built for such manipulation and shit. She should probably get better at that especially if she needed it in her new position.

Varys San'Seya Quacey
 
Varys had been certain something was emerging in front of him; he knew the snapping of twigs and the rustling of leaves far too well to be mistaken. Who had followed him here? For what reason? If it was some crusty road bandit looking for money, he could dispatch them with ease. Likewise, if it were a wild animal seeking a meal.

Nothing emerged from in front of him though. Instead, he saw a figure to his left stepping out from the cover of the shade. It was an elven woman, or looked like one; he couldn't tell past the otherworldly beauty that seemed to emanate from her. She was absolutely stunning, without flaw, and seconds passed before he realized he was staring.

Something was going on, something he wasn't privy to. The redheaded woman was ravishing, but her words caused his brow to furrow. She knew his name, but that wasn't uncommon given his history. It was that she tried to drive him away that struck the elven mage as odd. Surely she didn't think that would work?

"Nice to meet you too. I'll be on my way just as soon as I pick up something I left here, thank you..." Tearing his eyes away from her beautiful visage, the youngest of the San'Seya continued to dig through the rubble in search of the prism. Finally, he saw it, lodged under a strip of lumber, the dark crystal-shaped object glowed softly in the daylight that peeked through the rubble. Carefully, he reached out and closed his hand around it.

As soon as he did, another loud rumble from the trees sounded. Much closer.

It hadn't been Shaileigh that Varys had heard, but something else. Something worse.

He'd no time to react when the jet black creature leaped from the trees and collided with him, sending him flying back to the ground and sending the Prism hurtling through the air. It looked like a wolf, but it was different. More sinister. Its eyes glowed with an unearthly silver color, its coat seemed to ooze strange darkness that ate away at the air around it, and its maw was lined with far more teeth than were natural.

Varys swore as he rolled onto his back, a fresh wound on his chest from the Shadow-Like being's claws. "Th-The hell is that?!"
 
The giant moth fluttered in the trees above. Watching. Always watching. Things in the shadows, in the darkness, always did. A walker amongst them to guide, draw himself, towards the light....

Quacey was getting too much into his own headspace here. It was always like this in the beginning of things. Calm moments before the sudden burst of action. It was the only time one could catch their own reflection within the mirror of their soul. That mercurial, liquid thing. Ever changing. Ever flowing....

His companion approached the youngest Nairth. She was not very subtle. His name called and command given. Certainly these were Spring lands, but that did not mean he was so unwelcome nor that they intended harm. They simply wished for the relic. Could she have not been more friendly or kind? Perhaps not. His kind had a habit of treating mortals as too beneath them. Spring might not be the worst but they still believed in a heirarchy. Seelie fae. Some times he forgot that.

But things escalated quickly. The orb was found but then tossed into the air as something assaulted the young elf. The Shadow. Had it followed them or had it followed him?

Regardless the great moth flew down and touched the prism. Like a cloak of swirling shadows, the duanann took his fae form once more. Prism safely in hand.

He dropped onto the back of the beast. His sword drawn into his free hand as he had fallen. The tip aimed downwards so that his weight along with the fall would send it into the creature's flesh.

"Retreat. I will find you both soon."

Varys San'Seya Shaileigh Ilayda
 
Shaileigh quickly accepted that she was not made for espionage or subterfuge. She was made for diplomacy, schmoozing, and dazzling those around her. She had attended court parties her entire life, she was prepared for those...she was not prepared to be out in the forest tracking down an elf, an orb, and a shadow thing.

Before she could speak to the young elf again though, he was attacked. The black creature barreled into Varys and took a chunk out of him. Shaileigh watch the orb fly up and it was caught by the moth that was Quacey.

She heard his words telling them to retreat and she held her hand out for the elf. He was wounded now and she wished she had healing magic for once. She couldn't help the boy though.

"Come on," she said as she pulled him to his feet and started to move away from Quacey and the shadow creature.

Varys San'Seya Quacey
 
Varys had been caught off guard by the shadowy houndish figure, sure, but he'd be damned if he wasn't ready to fight back. This was no pushover that these people were involving themselves with; Varys was a powerful mage in his own right, and he'd stood toe to toe with worse than some mutated beast of a wolf. The wound now adorning his chest was painful, but far from lethal; It'd take more than that.

Before he had a chance to collect himself and fight back, however, the woman was tugging him up herself, urgency in her voice as she tugged him away from the fray with strength betraying her size and beauty. No ordinary elf indeed...

This wouldn't do though. Varys wanted to fight. He was no coward, and he needed to protect...

The Prism.

Where the hell was the Prism?

Tearing away from the woman's grip just enough to turn his head back to the fray they fled from, he saw the very thing he'd come for in the grasp of another man. No, the energies he was giving off were far too similar to the woman pulling at him. They were together, without a doubt, and whatever they were was far from ordinary.

The beast howled and lurched forward as the man descended to land on his broad shoulders, shining blade piercing the black flesh as the man landed. It was a devastating blow, but the power he felt flowing through that monster... Varys turned back to the woman. "It won't be enough. It's not the wolf that fights him, it's what lies within it."

Sure enough, while the beast beneath Quacey dropped low, struggling under the weight and pain of the blade, something refused to let it die. Something within it drew furious howls, gnashes of teeth beneath him. The blackness, like oil dripped from its fur, running out and across the grass.

The Shadow making its escape, to find a more powerful host.

Again, Varys would tug at Shaileigh, scowling. "He's letting it get away! We can still chase it!"

Quacey Shaileigh Ilayda
 
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