Derak’s sudden outbreak of anger was, in Damien’s twisted mind, not unreasonable whatsoever. He did not shudder, did not shake in fright of the hulking man, having risen so rapidly to his feet to begin yelling at him. No... He sat still, staring, his mind hollow. Derak’s words lashed him, stung his mind like white-hot needles driven into his brain.
“....just....errrr.” Derak’s final argument against Damien trailed off, leaving them both silent for the time being. The bard did not feel the will to speak back against the warrior. He barely even thought over these words as they drifted across the warped plains of his conscience. Each one was spoken from frustration, yet, held meaning deeper than most that Damien had ever had spoken to him.
Grey eyes stared blankly at the plate before him, not even lifting to see Elandor dancing and singing. The kender’s shrill voice was irritating to Damien, but he could care less at the current time.
A banished God...
How can we possibly hope to contend with such a mighty opponent?
Is this how fate is to unveil for us?
I cut the strings from my limbs, freeing myself from the great Puppet Master. Was it truly the best idea? Perhaps, had I left myself in the control of lifting fingers, I would earn salvation, redemption, rather than a journey straight to hell.
“You should have left me.” Damien suddenly spoke up, his voice monotone and devoid of all emotion. He said this loud enough for Derak to hear as the big man stormed out of the room. He spoke loud enough to be heard over the kender’s song, to be heard by everybody.
“You should not have wasted your time and effort to bring me here. You would have been better off, leaving me to die in the mud of the goblin camp. Why did you not?”
Damien shut his eyes tightly, tilting his head even further forward, limp. He did not rise to pursue Derak, nor to swat at Elandor. Right now, he would not have cared if the kender had lifted his favoured rapier from its sheath and ran about slashing at people. Perhaps he would get lucky, and Elandor would slip and impale himself. If he was even luckier, the kender would kill Damien with his own weapon. At least then, he would not be destroyed by the Dark Lord incarnate.
What are the odds that it would happen? Why get my hopes up...
“All is lost.” Damien’s voice rose from silence once again, still lacking any form of emotion or expression. “It is futile to fight Gerugoth. What can three humans, a kender, a satyr, and a cross-breed of a human do against a reborn God? What hope do we have in this? Surrender would be a better choice.... Yes...surrender to Gerugoth... Perhaps then, we shall be spared from the ultimate suffering which he is sure to inflict upon us.”
This prospect greatly appealed to the bard, who, though saw no point to his existence, would rather be slain by a knife in the back rather than total obliteration and an eternity of torment beyond life at the hands of a God.
“I would not hesitate to turn sides in this.” He whispered to himself, the words pleasing him, the most harmonious of all tones he had ever heard.
Perhaps I could even please the Dark One with an act of obedience to himself. What would be the best means of doing this, though?
Slowly, he opened his eyes, lifting his gaze to the door through which Derak had exited. The man would not be expecting Damien to leave after him, following him from the darkness of shadows...
The corner of his mouth twitched.
I cannot do it. We cannot win, but I am not about to doom the world by removing two possible “saviours’’ from it’s ranks. I shall have to find another means of pleasing the Dark Lord...
Teros was listening to Derraks question when the bard gave an answer back and in return Derrack yelled back at him. Teros did not see much of a point in yelling back, but the answer was a little cruel. Finally Derrak left, and Teros got up to pursue when the Kender began to sing. Thinking it rude to leave with such a nice performance he stayed and listened. Smiling and nodding his approval.
Finally he turned to the door once again. This time he heard the bard speak of surrender, thinking it hopeless that this little group could hope to take down a god. Enraged Teros slowly approached the bard and grabed the front of his shirt, lifthing him up to look him in the eyes. His hand shook slightly and his other hand moved uncertainly to his side, where his sword was. It gripped the shirt tightly, and through the shirt his knuckles could be felt pressing down into his flesh. The sword's hilt was pressed hard against Damien causing uncomfort. Teros's eyes were hard and certain, looking down into his eyes with a fierce anger.
"What is running through your mind bard?! Do you think it is chance that we have met?! You are a damn foo! Are you trying to escape your fate, your destiny?! You speak of surrender, well I will kill myself before I surrender, and I will kill you before you surrender. I have lost too much and gained too little to throw all my hard work away to some pathetic bard who lost his will to live. Look around you! We rejoice at us being choosen, yet you here are already giving up!"
Memories of him first meeting the bard flew back into his mind. He gave the man a disgusted look, like something a mean rich schoolgirl would give to a homeless begging man who was missing an arm and hadn't bathed in at least a year. His eyes burned with a passion like they hadn't before. He threw him down on the floor and looked down on him.
"Why is it that whenever we try to have a good time, whenever there is happiness you seem to ruin it!! I'm tired of you! End this speak of surrener or I will end your life!"
He turns to everyone else, calming down a bit as he looks over the group.
"Sorry for the intertuption. And uh..nice song Elandor.."
He nods to the Kender and gives a smile to everyone in general before leaving to talk Derrak into comming back in to enjoy what was left of the festivities.
OOC:You did say that you thought we should surrender out loud right? I know one part was all silenced and crap, but the other one said no part of being quite so I assumed I heard. If not I will edit it.
The threat that Teros made against Damien did little to intimidate the bard. He didn’t even tense up as the desert dweller grabbed his shirt and lifted him up, driving his sword hilt into Damein’s stomach. The thrust pushed the air from his lungs in a wheeze, but he did not react immediately. He stared into Teros’s eyes with a blank expression, his eyes lacking all emotion. He could have passed for a corpse, has he no need to draw breath, so lacking of expression and humanity was he.
“The gods have forsaken me, Teros. Of course it is chance you had the misfortune to meet me in that tavern.” Damien considered bringing up his knee to strike Teros in the groin to let him go. He was not intimidated, but prefered not being manhandled by others. The thought passed from his mind as Teros continued his banter.
He wouldn’t dare strike blow to me if I wished to surrender. He thoughts as he was thrown violently to the floor, stared down on with a disgusted look from the desert man.
“You won’t throw it all away for me, so don’t. I don’t ask it of you. Not once have I asked anything of any of you, except to leave me be. You would be happier that way.” He sneered, his eyes still blank. His voice lacked it’s usual melodic tone, rather, being one devoid of all emotion.
“Happiness is only temporary. It is poison to me, for once my happiness leaves me, I am even more depressed, being stripped of what joy was there for such a small amount of time. Can you understand this, Teros? That is why I am the way I am. I have no reason to be happy. We are fated to die, so why celebrate? It is a fool’s way of trying to make the best of the end to come.” Damien continued on, still looking at Teros. He made no effort to rise from the floor. He lay where he had been thrown, laying in a crumpled pile of body and cloak. The hilt of his rapier was visible to him, the sight being almost relieving to him.
I could kill them all while they sleep, and make my escape. Perhaps, just maybe, I can get away from them, be spared from the wrath of Gerugoth. No job, no matter what reward it promises, is worth spending an eternity of torment for dying at the hands of a God.
“Darkness will prevail. Such has shown itself to me throughout the course of my entire life.” He said, loud enough for any nearby to hear. He truly did not care what the others thought of him now. His life was coming to a close. His dark melancholy would probably have him killed at the hands of Teros or Derak soon enough, and if not them, then Gerugoth would send him spinning into the deepest recesses of hell.
At least, He thought to himself. I know what to expect once I get there.
(OOC: Yes, Teros, the part you question was spoken aloud. If, because of his sorrow, Teros or Derak attacks Damien upon re-entry, Damien will draw rapier and activate it, fighting back using any means to kill the man who attacks him.)
”The power of the Enemy is vast. Even now his dark fingers stretch forth from the shadows of Gildor. His is the power of one. For he sits on his dark throne, bending all in his realm to his will. Every breath taken in Gildor is by his leave. Every thought taken is only a reflection of his own. He as One mindset….”
“Yes. Under the warped shadows of his twisted landscape, everything is his, entirely and wholly. If it exists without his knowledge, it exists without his consent.”
“One mind…One mind forged from the blackened steels of hate. Noldaria does not see its danger.”
“The eye that wanders the most, sees the least.”
“The blind eye sees the least…The veil of ignorance hangs over Noldaria. It does not see…”
“It needn’t see. His only threat fabricates this night.”
“Threat? Not a threat…It takes a pack of dogs to drag down the lion. One by one, it will devour them.”
August 8th/Saturday Evening
Valnor Forest/Near the Northern Thollin Border
Celeval/Hall of Council
It is true. The elves aren’t the hardiest of beings. Yet the feasts they throw are rivaled by none; so the party saw that night…Or would have seen, had the night remained as festive as some had planned.
The table was a mountainous landscape of roast meat, bread, gravy and fruit. The rivers that flowed across it were a rich gold, and a deep red. Not many travelers have experienced the splendors of elven feasts; but those who have would sit in local taverns weaving tales about how the elves provide food only for the guests. And that they, themselves nourish themselves on fellowhip.
So it seemed to the party that night. On their end of the table, the druids chatted merrily in their own, melodious tongue. Plates, adorned with fruit as dazzling as gems sat before them, yet they spoke, or heeded more hungrily than they ate. The elf-maiden sat on her stool, radiant as a goddess. The music she wove from her harp flowed through the great Hall, filling it with a beautiful serenity that was nearly tangible. Falienor and Tharanduil sat at the head, conversing cheerfully with one another, and whoever else that bothered to join in.
Elandor was one such person. Falienor had just taken a breath from a tale he had been sharing quietly with Tharanduil; and was taking a sip from his silver, white jeweled goblet, when the kender tugged at his sleeve.
“Excuse me, sir. Is there somewhere I can get a tattoo of an ant in this city? And I would like to have this leaf prepared so that I can keep it forever. It has a special meaning for me. But maybe that would be to expensive. That is, if you would do some magic-thing with it, but I’m not sure if that’s exactly what I’m seeking. Perhaps there is some smith that can make a piece of jewelry from it, with a golden star on it as well. Do you think that would be possible? I know you elves have a way of taking care of natural things. HEY Apples!”
Falienor finished his sip, set down the goblet, and was about to respond, when the kender’s attention shifted from him in a completely other direction…Apples
The overall attention of the room swayed to Elandor, as he used his trusty hoopak to levitate one of the apples. The elves cheered as the apple wove its way by their heads, before bobbing before Mahuo, and settling on her plate. The elves clapped merrily for the little kender, who found Falienor’s gentle hand upon his wrist, which was making its way towards one of his pouches, stowing a silver, jeweled fork.
The kender smiled innocently and replaced the fork.
Derak found himself enveloped in the utmost of joy. Discovering that, of all the people in Noldaria, HE had been selected by the Gods to be a hero instilled a feeling of pride and purpose in the big man that had previously been absent.
Overwhelmed by his joy, he began to converse with everyone around him. That is..between gulps of ale and mouthfuls of meat.
Damien on the other hand, sat uneating, staring at his empty plate as if sharing some angry secret with it. His shoulders slumped, and his hair hang about his face like a black waterfall streaming with crimson. His pale face was etched with misery. Why misery? Who knew. Perhaps even did not know. Nontheless, he was like stain on the party’s newfound robes of glory.
Perhaps it would not go as a big surprise, when Derak, previously joyous, shot to his feet, sending his chair on its back.
The room suddenly went silent. Even the flow of harp music froze.
“Leave you alone?! Leave you alone?!.....that spell musta done some brain damage ‘cause you showin’ me no respect. We coulda left your worthless ass with those Goblins. I carried you through the wilderness for days and you tell me to leave ya alone! I don’t kno’ what your problem is…maybe your mommy didn’t give you enough hugs as a little boy but if ya keep up this…..attitude…..your gonna get a attitude from me, and you ain’t gonna like it.”
Damien sat, staring with blind eyes, like some puppet cut from its strings. It was impossible to tell if Derak’s outburst had sunken in, or had been deflected by the bard’s hollow mind. The big man was quick to recover himself before the eyes of a watching room. Speaking softer, his voice was still sharpened by anger.
“hey man, we’ve all had it rough one point at another and we’ve all had to make sacrifices but we got some real world s*** to deal with and all those problems that you mighta had you to need ta forget because we got some new responsibilities that we owe to the world”
Realizing the frivolity of such an argument, Derak cut short his final sentence, and stormed out of the Hall. Damien’s parting words were like darts, unphazing the big man. His heavy bootsteps echoed cacaphonically in the silent room. The door slammed, like the final blast from a breaking thunderstorm. Only the storm was not over. The air crackled in silent tension.
Desperate to save such a wonderful night from slipping away, Elandor leapt atop the table and sang a song to the tune of the harpists fingers. It was a cheery song, that could not be denied. Yet it fell on dead ears. This night was lost.
Both Tharanduil and Vilyamar were standing with the old mans fingers imbedded in the half-elf’s shoulder. Vilyamar, perhaps in attempt at an apologetic change of topic, tried to steer the Elder’s attention away from Damien. It was futile. The old man’s eyes were locked onto the bard. Infact, so too where the eyes of every elf. Falienor sat, regarding Damien. His fair, once joyful face was now chiseled in cold aloofness.
“All is lost.”
By now, even Vilyamar and the kender had given up, and studied the bard.
“It is futile to fight Gerugoth. What can three humans, a kender, a satyr, and a cross-breed of a human do against a reborn God? What hope do we have in this? Surrender would be a better choice.... Yes...surrender to Gerugoth... Perhaps then, we shall be spared from the ultimate suffering which he is sure to inflict upon us.”
Damien commenced to mumbling to himself. Despite the wall he had attempted set up around himself, it was obvious he was in a struggle. A struggle against himself.
Another struggle was taking place in that room. Teros had heard and watched enough of the bard for one night. Infact, he had reached the jagged edge of his patience with Damien. Derak, who Teros may have come to consider a friend had done nothing wrong to the bard. Yet here he sat, brooding in a cloak of self-woven misery. The sight sickened him. The words Damien had just spoke enraged him.
At last, the fire that burned within him grew too hot. Standing, and approaching the Bard, the dark man stood over him a moment, before lunging for his collar. Grabbing his shirt and yanking him to his feet, Teros forced Damien’s blank gray eyes to find his own.
“What is running through your mind bard?! Do you think it is chance that we have met?! You are a damn fool! Are you trying to escape your fate, your destiny?! You speak of surrender, well I will kill myself before I surrender, and I will kill you before you surrender. I have lost too much and gained too little to throw all my hard work away to some pathetic bard who lost his will to live. Look around you! We rejoice at us being chosen, yet you here are already giving up!"
Though his body had no will, his mouth seemed to. The bards lips parted dryly and he spoke in a voice
“The gods have forsaken me, Teros. Of course it is chance you had the misfortune to meet me in that tavern.”
A belligerent fury burned in Teros’ eyes. The veins in his dark arms pulsed. Throwing Damien to the ground and standing over him, the warrior sneered in disgust.
Still the bard went on, looking up at him from where he lay, crumpled on the floor, like some broken puppet, cursed to speak for eternity, and yet never know what it is like to move.
“You won’t throw it all away for me, so don’t. I don’t ask it of you. Not once have I asked anything of any of you, except to leave me be. You would be happier that way. Happiness is only temporary. It is poison to me, for once my happiness leaves me, I am even more depressed, being stripped of what joy was there for such a small amount of time. Can you understand this, Teros? That is why I am the way I am. I have no reason to be happy. We are fated to die, so why celebrate? It is a fool’s way of trying to make the best of the end to come.”
“Why is it that whenever we try to have a good time, whenever there is happiness you seem to ruin it!! I'm tired of you! End this speak of surrender or I will end your life!"
“Darkness will prevail. Such has shown itself to me throughout the course of my entire life.”
Before Teros could react, Falienor had stepped between them and stood baring down at the bard. His eyes burned with more fury than even the Desert Warrior. He held a katana inches from Damien’s sweaty throat. It gleamed with a thirst for the bard’s blood.
“Do not be so quick to think the Elves will grant a swift death to traders. Such words will NOT be uttered in this hall, or even this city, bard”
By now, the entire room was standing, watching. Tharanduil stepped beside Falienor and looked down at Damien. No fury burned in his ancient eyes, only the light of wisdom.
“Doubt does not carve a trader, Falienor. Pull back your sword for a moment.”
The elf’s eyes remained locked on the bard. They burned like blue fire. Hesitantly, he pulled the blade away, and stood erect, feet apart. His hands still clutched the curving, jeweled hilt. He would not hesitate to strike.
Kneeling beside Damien, Tharanduil licked his lips, and glanced about the room, before staring the bard in the pale face. When he spoke, it was in a voice much like that of a grandfather. Stern and knowing, yet soft and warm. Soothing
“You have a sad outlook on both life, And death, Damien. Were you taught nothing about the Gods as a child? Gerugoth fought so hard to destroy, stain, or even taint Noldaria, because it is all he can effect. He cannot touch you when you die. That is the duty of Erenall, who will judge the souls departed. The wicked are cast to Carithar, in his black pits. All else are welcomed to dwell in the land of the Gods.”
Gently wrapping his hand around the bards elbow, he helps (or forces) him to his feet. By now, Teros had stormed out of the hall, in search of Derak. Tharanduil continued
“All He can take is your life. Perhaps you do not understand death, and that is the cause of your sorrow and doubt. Or perhaps you have truly lived a life of torment. I will not judge. But the Gods have chosen you for a reason only they know. Perhaps it is to reward your life of pain, with an eternity of honor. For that is what you will all receive from the Gods. Do not think your quest will go unnoticed. Upon death, the heros of Alhanna will be welcomed by the Gods with open arms. They shall be granted a throne in the Hall of Stars, beside the Gods themselves. Loved ones shall be reunited, and an eternity of sacred honor shall ensue. He cannot harm you after death.”
Grabbing a random mug from the table, Tharanduil pauses to take a long drought, before continuing. He spoke now in a voice directed towards everyone.
“As for the struggles on this earth, they will be great. It very well may be hopeless, but you must still try. This…God incarnate has power you cannot imagine. It is beyond one mind to comprehend, or to even face.”
His voice hardened into a scold, directed at everyone.
“I look at this prophesized group, and I do Not see heros. As you are, No; you will never even stand before this..”Dark Lord”. You must first come together. Individually, you have no chance. Yet, perhaps you will come to learn the power of Unity, and what it can do.”
Turning to Damien once more, he finished.
“I do not blame you for your fear. I would blame you, however, could you not withstand it. Overcome your sorrow, throw down your fear. Your voice was a gift from the Gods, you shall see soon enough. Use it to help those your destiny is joined with. Remember the rewards you will receive. Remember those you may meet again, and fight for them. Fight so that a joy that cannot die, may live.”
Grabbing a purple grape from one of the many silver trays, He popped it in his mouth, before saying in a soft, almost weary voice
“It seems this feast has come to an end. Perhaps the little “outbreak” was not such a bad thing, however. Ponder over what I have said. Now, I must go. There is still much for me to do this night.”
With that, Tharanduil grabbed up his gnarled staff, and headed out the door. When it closed this time, however, the silence was not as brooding.
The Druids began, one by one, to follow the Elder’s example. They spoke quietly to one another, and nodded a farewell to the 4 party members that remained, before disappearing into the night. The elf maiden went with them, as did Falienor, who had resheathed his sword and strode swiftly towards the door. Reaching it, he haulted and faced the four. His eyes nolonger burned with fury. His face had become a stoic mask. His voice was edged in frost.
“Riadros will show you to your rooms, when you are ready. You may finish eating, or talk to one another, if it pleases you. I wish well this night.”
Turning, he too disappeared in the dark, leaving Elandor, Mahuo, Vilyamar, Damien, and an obviously uncomfortable Riadros. Sliding towards the doorway, the elf bowed stiffly in his dark green, druid robes.
“I will wait outside.”
He said hastily
“You may take your time…When you feel tired, just come on out.”
August 8th/Saturday Evening
Valnor Forest/Near the Northern Thollin Border
Celeval's courtyard was an enormous clearing in the center of the city. The buildings lining it, (including the Hall of Council) made up a perfect circle, facing inward. Lining the perimeter stood pole lanterns. Their silver light splashed against the buildings, and danced on the faces of the flowerbeds that painted the courtyard. Though Celeval roosted within the very boughs of an Avelon, at the center of the courtyard grew another tree. It was the size and shape of a young oak, yet its bark seemed to gleam mystically in the silver light.
Polished, white stones had been set around the tree, enclosing it behind a smooth, three foot high wall. Sitting on this wall was Derak. Jerrily sat, unsheathed upon his thick lap. Its blade glimmered in the flickering, silver light of the lanterns. The big mans fingers were running lovingly up and down its flat. Before him, across the flat of the courtyard, the ledge on which Celval was situated came to an end. Beyond lay a sea of night.
The night was cool and clear, and still the stars shone as brightly as they had earlier. The North star shone more brightly than the others. The circle of vivid stars around it, still twinkled as brightly as when they had surfaced through the murky waters of the night sky, revealing destiny upon the party.
He hadn’t been there long when, in the distance, he saw and heard the Hall’s door swing open, and the shadowy figure of Teros storm out, into the courtyard.
The warrior stood their for a long moment, letting his eyes adjust to the night, before he started forward, searching for Derak.
Catching the gleam of the big man’s sword, Teros headed in his direction, and approached him...
“My outlook is my own. Who are you to judge me?” Damien muttered from his position on the floor, eyes blind of all emotion as he stared at the ceiling. The Gods had turned on him, removing all faith he once had in them. He had no reason to believe in them anymore. He had no reason to believe in anything anymore. The Dark Lord was rising up, and they were the only ones dubbed able to defeat him. But how? All it would take would be one burst of force from Gerugoth’s new body, and they would all be cast into the abyss.
The man Damien had begun to think of as ‘Deceiver’ reached down to take hold of the bard’s elbow, making to help him to his feet. Not willing to help somebody who was so intent on forcing him to face dark destruction, he did not get up on his own. He made the old man pull him upright. Then, Tharanduil spoke on of a lifetime of honour alongside the Gods. Such a prospect did not appeal to the bard in the slightest way. He hated the Gods for taking away his loved one, for making him this way.
“I do not seek honour. I seek relief from this anguish. Being placed alongside those whom I loath is not any form of reward I would ever wish to be the receiver of. I don’t want to be remembered. I don’t want anybody to speak the name Damien LeBlaque ever again. My intention was to speak the dark parts of history in verses of poem and song. Not once had I ever actually wanted to become a part of it, to be told by others.”
Almost immediately after speaking his mind, Tharanduil’s scolding almost brought laughter to Damien’s lips, though it was not out of joy. It was out of sick amusement. “A pack of heroes? Where did you ever assume that we would all be interested in this? You deceived us. You told us nothing of the Dark One reborn. You told us nothing of having to contend with the Dark One. I do not believe the words you speak to us. They do not reassure me, save that I will not spin forever at the hands of Gerugoth in the abyss.”
Damien began to listen once again to the man, seeing that he would not seem to close his mouth after any period of time. Inside him, his dislike of Tharanduil began to fester as he spoke of overthrowing his sorrow and despair. “You make it sound like an easy task. To discard the life I have lived in exchange for, what, a certain demise? What worth is there in that? To help some ‘joy’ live on? There is no worth in that to me, old man.”
The dark strands of Damien’s hair had scattered over his face, hanging limply in front of his eyes, which had finally focused, staring with contempt at Tharanduil. “Deceiver,” he hissed, scowling, the first expression shown in some time. “Do your own damn work. Leave me alone.”
Not feeling up to standing any more, the bard walked over and took a seat at the table, away from the others. He chose not to look at them, not to even glance in their direction. His hatred was blossoming for those around him, as he felt he was being forced into an end through which he had no hopes of pulling through. Leaning forward, he rested his elbow on the tabletop and placed his forehead into his palm, covering his eyes. He thought for a few moments, suddenly breaking out in frustration and knocking the dishes and foodstuffs set before him to the floor with a great clatter, sent flying by a sweep of his cloaked arm.
“Why should we be goaded into this?” He cried out, pushing himself to his feet and turning away with a flapping of his cloak. “I barely have any desire to aid this world as is. Why should I throw away my time and effort to defy the inevitable?”
Whirling about, he reached out his arm, pointing at Vilyamar, Elandor, and Mahou. “Don’t any of you say a damn word to me. I mean it.” He hissed at them, glaring at each and every one of them in turn. Turning away once more, he moved as far away from them as possible, slumping down against the wall, his leg bent slightly and his arm resting on top of it. His head was tilted downwards, his hair falling about his face.
Is it worth it, Damein?
“I know damn well that it isn’t. This isn’t my war, isn’t my problem.”
Are you certain?
Walk away, Damien LeBlaque.
The doubting of his own words came as absolute surprise to the bard, who, managing to hide his shock, felt the words Tharanduil spoke to them rise to the surface of his mind once more. Swearing loudly at the man, he kept his head low, thoughts beginning to dance across the shadows of his twisted, blackened mind.
(OOC: If anybody tries to speak to Damien, he will snatch up the nearest thing to him and hurl it at them.)
Vilyamar’s puzzlement showed on his face as he looked into the hard eyes of the Elder. Cold as ice they began to shift betrayed much but then again, telling little at the same time. Such age old wisdom was beyond the half-elf’s ability to read. He gave into the curiosity and followed the man’s gaze toward the confrontation that was occurring on the other side of the room. As he turned, he noticed all of the room fall silent to the last druid as they all, too, stared in both disbelief and contempt. Now they truly knew why they did not wish humans to come under their vale. Damien, in contempt of the entire hall and out of contempt for the gods, spewed his melancholy about the hall, poisoning the very airs of happiness. Suddenly, the monk was no longer angry for the disturbance, but now he was curious. Curiosity was a trait more akin to his Kender companion, but he felt that it pertained to something deeper than what was in someone else’s pockets.
Why was this dark bard so? What happened in his past that caused him to ride such dark emotional roads? What must we do to remove him from such paths?
Such questions must have run through the other’s minds as well, though they seemed not to be able to hold enough patience to wait out the situation. As Derak stormed from the hall, Teros, too, affronted the bard for his lack of stigmatism in light of their being chosen. The monk shook his head and folded his hands into the sleeves of his shirt. As Teros left the bard upon the floor, Falienor took his turn, nearly beheading the man right there on the very floor with his blade. Vilyamar’s eyes widened with surprise, seeing that even the elves had their limits in tolerance. He glanced about, seeing a few elves shift uneasily with their leader joining the ruckus, but many of them were about to do the same, with much less control. A silent sigh of relief escaped the half-elf as Tharanduil broke up the infighting, but now Vilyamar was worried and the anger started to return. These were his cousins, the elves. And none had the right to insult the proprietor’s honor or values, as Damien had just done, within their own house. As the other druids and elves filtered out of the hall, leaving the remainder of the party to themselves, the tension grew, and Riadros, their guide, quickly took an uneasy leave as well.
“I will wait outside.”
He said hastily
“You may take your time…When you feel tired, just come on out.”
Vilyamar bowed his head in thanks to the elf, and walked behind him to close to door, whispering, “Fear not, cousin, this shall all be over soon.”
Damien moved back to the table, his harsh words with Tharanduil finished. The monk took a deep breath, and turned to watch him. He said nothing, for nothing need have been said. As the bard’s gaze fell upon him, the monk’s face showed nothing but what he saw, torment and anguish from within the soul. The fuming would end, then they would only need to tread carefully as not to enrage the volatile bard once more. Slumped against the wall, the dark human left them, delving within himself to the dark shadows of his soul.
They all stood for some time, Vilyamar just staring at the bard. After some time, he spoke, though not to anyone in particular...
“Destiny calls, young ones, and now we must obey…”
With that he stepped out the door, closing it behind him. He turned to walk away, but there stood Riadros, watching the stars through the boughs of the trees. He did not turn when the shorter monk walked up beside him.
“They seem different now. After one knows something of what the future holds, they see things in a different perspective. Or perhaps it is just the height of these trees, forcing the stars closer…”
The monk looked over, but the elf seemed not to be listening to the poor attempt at small talk as they awaited the others.
“There is change in the air, Riadros. The humans know this, the kender knows, the satyr knows. Can you elves not sense it? This quest will change forever the face of this planet and its inhabitants, but for good or ill, we know not…Trust, do not speak against the human bard. His wounds are deep as you already know, and tomorrow morn, we are departing. I trust you and Falienor or Tharanduil or some others will get him and the others out as quickly as possible tomorrow. I sorely wished this had not come to pass, but humans do as humans are…”
Teros took a step out side, and for a moment just accepted the cold night air. He didn't like the cold, but after what happened in their he didn't care how cold it was. But soon he began to look for Derrak. He saw him, sitting alone with his sword Jilly out. He moved forward, calmed down.
He stood behind Derrak, looking where he was looking. For a while he was silent, then he looked down at Jilly. It was a nice blade. Turning his head slowly he looked down at his own sword. Slowly his hand grasped the handle, and it drew it like it had been trained to do so many times before. He blade responded with its usual 'shing'. He watched the light glow off the blade for a while, looking it up and down in amazment. His hand went to the runes and he felt them up and down until his hand came back and he spoke the command word. Immediatly the blade responded with a soft red glow, the heat of the blade cut the air and felt good on Teros face. He spoke the command word again and sheathed his blade.
"Its a beautiful night is it not? It seems that the stars all sing in glory to us. How is it that some people don't see the glory in what we are destined to do?"
He was looking at the back of Derraks head. He waited to see if the big man would turn around, or if he had even noticed his presence. Of course he had, any warrior would have heard the sound of a blade being drawn immediatly. He must of known it was him as he approached, besides, no elf would harm us here. Not as long as we were content with our god assigned missions.
Derak sat slumped over drowning in a slight anguish from the argument with Damien. Derak felt a presence behind him he assumed it was an elf but he used the polish flat of jilly to show him otherwise. It was Teros, his sword was enchanted, Derak’s was not. Derak slid the basterd sword into its resting spot on his back. Teros said something to Derak but it went in one ear and out the other, many thoughts shot through his mind all at once reflecting Teros’s words in his minds haste. He didn’t want to seem like a bully due to his size to his teammates but he couldn’t help but react the way he did to Damien. “ya kno’ people like that piss me off!” Derak said in his grunty voice breaking the awkward silence between the two.
“it seems like every crew I travel with there’s always a goddamn bad apple in with the bunch…jus’ trying to spoil it for the people who work hard. I outta bash his goddamn pale head in, and if I hadn’t walked out like I did, I woulda’!”
Derak slammed his iron ball of a fist down on a stone next to him in his fury “some people live life lookin’ at the past and not concentrating on the future…do you know why people do that?…’cause their weak, they can’t handle themselves now so the gotta look into the past and pick out every goddamn bad thing that’s gone wrong and say…look at me I’m mad because of this or because of that so people feel bad for ‘em, and so they can feel like a victim so they can get attention or something who knows?! That’s why he acts and dresses the way he does he needs attention…like I said in there before his momma musta not given him enough hugs or something! I know his kind, I can read him like a book, I can read him as well as a powerful wizard reads his spell book! I’ve traveled with many of his kind before but I’ve never worked with someone as pathetic as him, and I’ve work wit’ the losers of losers and the scoundrels of scoundrels and the grunts of grunts but he’s just a waste! ”
Derak shot up from his seat and turned around pointing his finger at the dining hall while also increasing the volume of his voice “you better keep him away from me or I’ll..or I’ll kick his goddamn teeth down his throat!”
Derak begins to shout louder as if he’s trying to talk to Damien from out in the courtyard “I SHOULDA LEFT YOU FOR DEAD YOU SAY?! YOU TALK LIKE YOU HATE LIFE OR SOMETHING LIKE YOU’RE SO GODDAMN PROSECUTED! IF I WAS A BARD I’D PLAY A GODDAMN VIOLIN AND PLAY YOUR ASS A SAD TUNE FOR THE NEXT TIME YOU WANNA TELL US A SAD STORY THE TUNE WILL GO ALONG GUD’ WIT’ IT! YOU KNOW, MAKE THINGS A LITTLE MORE DRAMTIC FOR YA, MAYBE TEROS WILL PASS OUT SOME GODDAMN RAGS SO PEOPLE CAN WIPE THE TEARS FROM THEIR EYES.” Derak’s volume decreased drastically and he said to Teros with a grin…there, now I feel better!
the evening rolled from the time they plucked their leaves. Mahou's aburn eye lifted to the sky several times to see the sparkling stars that marked their choicen roll. following the others to the feast room the night took on a mood of celibration. each taking the enjoyment in their own way.
Mahou watched as the kinder tried his hand at intertaining, her mind wondering as she slipped bits of food under the table to feed her faithful companion Gemi. it was not untell Derak confronted Demien that Mahou took her attention off the small kinder. bewildered eyes stayed fixed on the bard and the warrior as they talked. Mahou's hand lingered under the table fingures intertwining into the corse fur of Gemi's coat. As Darek moved of Mahou breathed a sigh, glade to see that he had resisted his earge to cause violince.
Picking up a piece of fruit Mahou poped it into her mouth, the thought of a story springing to mind mahou smiles. yes, i do owe these people a story she thought to herself as she moved to stand, but yet again her mind wavered as Teros moved across the room. it was only caught out of the corner of her eye, but by the time she turned to look, Teros had Damien in his grasp harsh words moved back and forth from them. this was surely no way to start this adventure. Mahou frowned as Teros moved past her following derak outside. Mahou curved her walk and moved in the direction of the dark bard. her eyes lingered on him for a long moment as Falienor moved forward and "helped" Damien to his feet. Mahou listened carefully to the elves words as he spoke to Damien. Mahou waited untell the kindly elf left Damiens side before she moved in close to him, a whisper on her lips.
"Do you fear the force of the wind, the slash of the rain? Go face them and fight them, be savage again. Go hungry and cold like the wolf, go wade like the crane. the palms of your hands will thicken, the skin of your cheek will tan, you'll grow ragged and weary and swarthy, but you'll walk like a man." Mahou muttered the short poem with a smile to damien. no judgement lingered in her eyes just then as she looked directly into his. she let her words sink in for a moment before turning and adressing the elfs.
"I promiesed a story the other night, one i did not give, i would love to take this time now to tell you something i have learned as a child." With a smile Mahou pulled a seat around to a clear area, and gently set herself upon it. clearin gher throat she waited for a bit of silence. When such was given she began in a light kind voice her little cute tail.
"In the grass a thousand little people pass.
And all about a myriad little eyes look out."
Mahou begain, being careful to keep her words slow and purposful, putting her belief of the words into her tone in hopes to make others to beleive her tale. Mahou's eyes darted around making eye contact with those watching her.
"For there are houses every side,
where the little folks abide,
where the little folks take tea
on a grass blade near a tree;
"Where they hold their Sabbath meetings,
pass each other, giving greatings
so remember when you pass through the grass;
little folks are everywhere.
"Walk quite softly, take great care
lest you hurt them unaware
lest the giant that is YOU
pull a house down with your shoe,
pull a house down, roof and all
killing children, great and small;
"So the wee eyes look at you
as you walk the meadows through;
So remember when you pass through the grass..."
Mahou trailed off a bit finishing her tale with a smile. it was short and simple, light hearted to lighten the mood in the room.
Hopping off the stool, Mahou looked around for Damien. *if he hasn't left she'll head over to him and offer to talk about the task at hand. noting that it is obvious he has reservations about thier fate.
Teros listened to Derrak, just nodding at first at his words. This was the first group he had traveled with. He was used to being alone, helping himself and those couldn't help themselves. Although this was a subject he didn't fully understand, he didn't need to. Damien had lost his will to live for reason, and there was no reason to go any lower. Without thinking he touched the scar on his cheek, running its length from the top conner of his cheeck down to about the middle.
"Ever.." he said in a whisper has he looked down. Suddenly he popped back into reality to hear Derrak screaming and pointing at the place were Damien was. Teros knew he was dead serious, but he couldn't help it, and soon he was laughing.
He missed a lot of what Derrak said, but stopped a little bit after he was done, still smiling broadly.
"Your a good guy Derrak. It must have felt good to give him a piece of your mind, cause it sure felt good to give him a piece of mine. That man has gone beyond just being a pathetic loser, now he wants to surrender to The Dark Lord!"
She shook his head, the smile fading at the simple thought of what Damien has said. That was low even for him! But he didn't think about it too long.
Mahou's head tilted to one side as she approuched Damien after her story. long lengths of silky aburn hair danced around the curved horns upon her head. With a free hand she tucked the hair behind her ear and horns and looked damien over.
"I know that you have had problem in your past, to which you feel responsible." Mahou paused choosing her words carefully as she looked over the dark bard. "and you may feell that to pay for these issues you life is due. But it is apparent to everyone here, that the gods have a different plan for you. and even this which you have done in your past does not compare to what you are ment to do. you listen to me well Damien, weather you hold any love for the gods that run our lives or not. the fact of the matter is, what you do in this life now, directly effects us all. your life all our lives have more meaning then they ever did before. and if we all do not pull togeather to get this done, if one of us does not accept, i only fear that it shall mean the death of us all."
Mahou's eyes meet with damien's deep pools of rusted water drove into his as if looking for a pain she could not fix. "redeam yourself for what you have done, not with your own life, but with your actions. take up this task with all your heart, that heart i know you have, think not of yourself, but all the other lives that have been placed in our hands. and when this task is done, i have no doubt the gods shall give you the reward you deserve."
Mahou fell sielent her head still tilted, letting her horn bruss her shoulder as it curved back over and back behind her ears. No smile graced the tanned young womanly face as she looked still upon the dark bard. Even the ever cheerful gemi, who had plopped himself at her feet, seemed to hang his head low to the ground as the seriousness of Mahou washed over him. Mahou waited for some response from Damien and was determinded not to move untell they had resolved something. They could not all fight, they needed to unight if they wished to live though this all, if they wished to do what they where all ment to do.
Derak felt better after he got done yelling, it was therapeutic. He felt the wieght lift from his shoulders, Teros began to talk to Derak... "Your a good guy Derrak. It must have felt good to give him a piece of your mind, cause it sure felt good to give him a piece of mine. That man has gone beyond just being a pathetic loser, now he wants to surrender to The Dark Lord!" Derak replied with a slanted smile "You gave him a piece of your mind to eh....Thats good, I like you better all ready. You're not afraid to express yourself and thats good." Derak cocked his head back a bit and took in a breath of fresh air "ya kno' Teros...to me that guy's a dead man walking, im'a gonna wash my hands with the guy!" A serious look came across Derak's face and a stern voice filled the air as he said "but if he eva' decides to do anything to jepordize this mission or any of our teammates...im'a gonna lay down a wuppin on em'!" Derak walked over to Teros placeing his hand on his shoulder "come on man...no use wastin all that food in there for a bum like him, i'm going back inside"
Derak walks back into the room with a cocky stride of pride and honor. He looks at Damien down his nose and says along with hand motions forming his words "now...i'm gonna pretend like that never happened ok..." Derak says as if he's talking to a 3 year old. He picks his chair back up from the ground and continues eating as if nothing ever happened. He feels odd in the awkward silence of the room but he shrugs it off and begins to eat first at a slow rate which picks up as he get consumed in the eating frenzy. (Derak is mellowed out at this point and focused on eating. He pays no attention on Mahou's words which she intends on soothing the bard. However, if Derak feels threatened by the bard...who knows what he will do. But at this point even though he doesn't like Damien too much he's given his a second chance to avoid confrontation.)
Elandor just sat back again observing the situation getting way out of hand. He didn’t like the way things were evolving, but he couldn’t deny the excitement it brought. It would really be something if those fighters would both take on Damien. Now that’s a sight Elandor would find interesting. Not favorable, but interesting nonetheless.
As Tharanduil walked out the door, as Teros and Derak had done before him, the silence was not as heavy as before. People started talking softly amongst each other again. Vilyamar too walked out the door. Elandor began to wonder what was so interesting outside. Four people had already left the food, the light and the music for the darkness.
“Maybe they’re admiring their own stars?” he thought. He considered walking out the door as well, to go check on his golden image in the heavens, when he felt a stinging sensation in his left hip. Curious what could cause such a feeling he bowed his head and lifted his shirt. His glasses almost fell from his nose in astonishment as he saw a shining object with three sharp points sticking from under his belt.
An elven fork!
Elandor shot back into an upright position on his chair. He scanned the plate in front of him. An elven knife lay near a half-cut apple. A wide smile appeared on the kender’s face as he saw the fork he had taken from the inn lying next to a big half-munched piece of bread. Somehow these two forks had exchanged themselves. He knew that certain objects did that around him, and it pleased him to see that elven things were no exception. If only WE were so similar in our behavior, he thought, thinking about what had just happened in the room.
Suddenly remembering something he stood from his chair and walked over to Riadros. He addressed the elf and repeated the question about the ant-tattoo. Strangely, Falienor hadn’t answered it. Elandor really couldn’t see why. Maybe this elf could help him.
The gods plan for me to die, Mahou.” Damien said sadly, lifting his head and staring to her from between dark strands of hair. His eyes met her’s, and he listened. She was the only one he respected, her having not lied to or deceived him yet, not aggravated him in some large way. Unlike everybody else in this damnable world... He thought bitterly, licking his dry lips. “Maybe we do all have more meaning now. Maybe there is more that we can do to stop the Dark Lord than there is that anybody else in this world can do.” With a sigh, he flitted his eyes one way, then the other before locking on the satyr’s once more.
“It does not change the fact that this is not the end I wanted.”
The bard watched her intently, his eyes finally focusing on something for perhaps the first time this eve. He was hungry, but did not eat. He was thirsty, but did not drink. He wanted to scream, but kept his voice in check. The least he could do was be polite to Mahou, for she had always done the same to himself.
From within his throat, he began to laugh lightly, wickedly. “The gods could not grant me the reward I so dearly seek. What is it? I’ll tell you, Mahou.” He shifted his position, pulling his legs closer to him and lifting his knees to hold them against his chest. His arms folded over the top of his knees, he rested his face upon them. “They have chosen me. They can’t take it back. I don’t want to be one of the Chosen, Mahou. I don’t want to do this.”
The words of the satyr had inflicted their wounds upon Damien’s mind and soul. Her voice was that of reason, in contrast to all the lies and deceit that had been forced upon him by those he was dealing with recently. He found it so difficult to believe that they had been elected to fight the Dark Lord, especially since he had not even dreamed of making an attempt at such an imposing task.
“We are fated to die by the hands of the Dark One...”
At that moment, the big lout Derak stomped in, staring down at Damien and making a declaration that he would pretend it had not happened. He speaks to me as though speaking to a pathetic dog. The big man then stood his chair upright once again, and began to eat.
Damien turned his gaze back to Mahou, who remained before him, still staring at him. His mouth a thin line, his gaze like that of stone. He looked deep into Mahou’s eyes, as if searching for answers. Apparently, he could not find the ones he sought, for he slowly pushed himself to his feet, shrugging to straighten out his cloak, reaching up a slender hand to move his hair away from his face.
“I’m going to go for a walk, Mahou. Perhaps...we will see if I am to return later... If not...then fare well, Mahou.” He spoke in low tones, his voice returned to its normal melodic chords as it once was, changing from the rasping, bitter voice he had so recently adopted.
Stepping around the satyr, Damien strode out the room. Passing Derak, he strongly considered reaching out and either snatching something from the table to hurl at the man, or even simply to pull his chair out from beneath him. However, he decided against it, though it was difficult and would have given him some amusement, however temporary it may have been.
Striding out the doors into the night with a flourish of his cloak, slightly revealing the rapier at his hip, Damien ignored those immediately around him - especially Vilyamar, whom he saw to be too arrogant and pompous for his liking. He walked through the cool air, looking at the sky above - particularly to his crimson star, amidst all the others illuminating the night sky as beacons of hope, hope which he could not bring himself to accept. He simply could not see what was so glorious about this forboding assignment that the others seemed to appreciate. All he saw was darkness.
*Damien will walk until he is able to see the elven homes*
Damien stopped his walking, stopped his movement altogether, and looked with admiration upon the homes the elves had established, be they constructed or grown. Their magnificance was dazzling, stunning, and drew the bard’s eyes to them with ease.
“So this is what they’re fighting for... To preserves what these people have established. They hold hope, even in the darkest of times.” He thought about his words for a moment. “That, or absolute ignorance.”
He studied the city carefully, watching with interest, though he still did not quite understand what was going to happen. Perhaps he just didn’t want to believe it. Everything to him was so dark. The people of the world, the world itself. He saw little reason to give himself to the cause of defending it...but... Something inside of him, something new, that he had not felt for the greater portion of his life, could not compel him to simply turn and walk away.
Standing, watching the homes of the elves, all that they had accomplished over the years, he stood, and he began to think...