Campaign of the Month: February 2009

Silent Winter

Love Lies Bleeding
In Which Casidhe Faces His First Duel

by Darth Krzysztof

seven years ago

This was hardly the first time that Sim MacDaer’s recklessness had landed him in hot water. Other men had frequently laid claim to whatever woman Sim was wooing, but one hard stare from Casidhe – still in better physical condition than most, with the fancy, proper blades of a duelist on his belt – was usually enough to send such men back to whatever holes they’d crawled from.

But Irial Braden was angry enough to call for a duel, even once Sim made it clear he’d be fighting Casidhe, not himself.

The crowd made room for them in the middle of the tavern. The girl in question, a brunette named Saraid, stood on the bar so she could see everything. “Kill the bastard!” she shouted to Irial, even though she’d been in Sim’s lap, drinking his wine, not five minutes prior.

Casidhe stretched his limbs and recited his oath to himself, trying to shake some of the alcohol away. He rarely drank to excess in public, since trouble followed Sim like moths follow the moon. Once he felt ready, he turned to face Irial.

His opponent was only a year or two older than him. Stronger, to be sure, but many men were. Once Irial’s sword was in his hand, Casidhe already knew the outcome – this man was no match for him.

“To first blood, then?” Casidhe offered, as if to say “It’s not too late.”

“To the death!” Irial shouted, and the crowd howled. “Kill him!” Saraid yelled again.

“Your funeral,” Casidhe said. No sense in arguing, he thought. Let’s just get this over with.

He drew his sword and dagger in one fluid motion, spinning into his fighting stance. A hush fell over the mob. These clowns have never seen a real duelist. Good thing, too, because I’ve never been in a real duel…

“That’s not fair,” Irial said, with diminished confidence. “Lose the dagger.”

“Get one of your own,” Casidhe said coolly.

That got a laugh. Someone pressed a knife into Irial’s other hand; judging by the shift in his posture, he’d been better off without it.

“I am a licensed duelist, and this a legal duel to the death,” Casidhe lied. These people couldn’t tell the difference, and were too bloodthirsty to ask for any proof. He hated this tavern…

“So witnessed!” shouted Sim.

Casidhe raised his sword’s hilt to his face and whipped the blade through the deadly arc of his salute, raising the point back to readiness. “En garde,” he said.

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Knife in the Dark

by DarthKrzysztof

The marble floor was cool beneath Teresa’s forehead. She heard worshipers somewhere behind her in the temple, amused by such an unusual display of devotion. Let them laugh, she thought, prostrate before the shrine. Casidhe had vanished weeks ago, and she had exhausted all avenues of investigation in her efforts to find him. Throwing herself on the Maker’s mercy seemed to be her last course of action.

Her new mission couldn’t come soon enough. Her mind spent every free moment obsessing over his fate; if Casidhe hadn’t been stolen away by some other woman – and that couldn’t be true – then he must be someone’s prisoner, or worse. Perhaps the conspirators had struck at him to get to Teresa? The pain of losing him was unbearable, but it paled in comparison to this uncertainty… with any luck, her new assignment would keep Casidhe out of her thoughts.

Teresa had finally found the words to tell Casidhe about her work, but he’d disappeared before she could tell him.

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But We Do Look Nice

posted by Ellanutella, from a conversation with Darth Krzysztof

“Have either of you seen anything yet?” Simon asked. “It is getting late; the others may be back soon with the clan.”

“If we had, I am sure that one of us would say so,” Gheris snapped. “Being separated from the others is a bad idea anyway. We’re fractured as it is.”

The mage let out a small but audible sigh at the woman. Casidhe offered him an apologetic smile.

“What shemeans is ‘notyet,’” he corrected, his voice oddly pitched and quick.

“Don’t put words in my mouth.”

“Thendon’t -” He broke off, glancing at Simon. “Didn’tyoufixthatspell?”

Simon examined Casidhe, seemingly disturbed by the odd behavior of the spell. “It…appears I haven’t.” Gheris had a sudden and intense coughing fit.

“Great,” Casidhe would have drawled if his voice was slow enough.

Simon glanced back in the direction they came from, then again at Casidhe. “I think I will go back and work on it. This won’t do.”

“Then…can…you…dispellit…fornow?” he struggled.

“Certainly, certainly…”

Gheris cleared her throat, her face tight with the effort of restraining her amusement. “What if we get into danger? You might need the spell.”

“Youaregettingfarrrtoomuchpleasureoutofthis.”

She spread her hands, shrugging. “When a fool with a donkey’s ears removes his hat, I will laugh.”

Simon gestured as they spoke, muttered something inaudible, and Casidhe felt a sensation akin to that of having eaten too much, something he rarely had the chance to do, though much more unpleasant.

“There. How is that?”

“I…think it’s fine now, yes. Yes, it is, thank you,” he said with an appreciative smile and nod. “Can you find your way back?”

Gheris snorted. “His tracks are deep enough for a blind man to follow. I think he can.” Indeed, looking down, Casidhe and Gheris’s footprints were almost nonexistent, with the both of them fleet of foot and practiced in a light step.

The two men exchanged glances which the elf ignored. A few more parting words and warnings to be careful, and the mage raised his hand over his own head and muttered more words. He glanced down at himself, bemused, and turned around, following his own footsteps back, moving quicker than before. He muttered something under his breath, then replied to himself. They waited until he was no longer visible, swallowed by the shade of the distant trees, and set forth again.

They walked a while longer in silence, eyes peeled for a large enough space to – hopefully – hold the remains of a Dalish clan. The trees, however, always seemed too close to permit such large amounts of people. They never strayed too far from the mist, however, as if taking their eyes from it would cause it to leap on them and swallow them. That would be unfortunate.

“You seemed pretty sure that Segonal wasn’t a Grey Warden, last night,” Casidhe said suddenly, giving more voice to his thoughts than asking a question.

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Pretty Things, Part 2

Posted by Ellanutella

The shadows were good places to hide. People don’t look too closely into them when they were afraid of them. But those three hung around darkness as much as she did and could spot her quickly. They surrounded her, their leader tapping a stick on the ground. Tak, tak, tak, it sounded ominously. She pressed back against the building. Her eyes flicked from each of them to the others and to the alleyway around them. There was no escape.

“You can’t run from us, stupid,” the one to the left of the leader called. The leader just kept tapping his stick, a smirk forming on his mouth.

“Wh-what-what do you want?” she whispered. A vile grin was the only response. “I’ll tell my mother,” she announced boldly.

“Your mother is a stupid elf whore, just like you’re going to be,” the leader snarled at last, stepping forward suddenly, bending his neck to put his eyes at her level. “You should’ve run instead of trying to hide, rat.” He moved his hand behind him, gesturing to his two friends.

Suddenly, a rock cracked against the back of his skull. He cried out, partly in rage and partly in pain. Whipping around, he searched for the culprit. “Which of you two thought that would be funny?” he demanded of his companions. They shook their heads nervously, also looking around.

Another rock pelted downward, this time hitting the one on the left. He squealed, sounding almost like a pig. This time, the leader was able to pinpoint where the rock was coming from.

Gheris stared down dangerously at the kids, adjusting her hold on the rock in her hand. Narrowing her eyes, she flung another rock – barely more than a pebble, really. This time, it struck the boy straight in the forehead. His surprise and the force of the projectile knocked him back a few steps.

“Get away from her,” Gheris announced from the window, stepping forward and revealing a bow with an arrow knocked. The boys’ eyes widened, horrified at the threat. They turned and bolted without another word. They did not know Gheris wouldn’t have shot them. She was not good enough with the bow; her skills were elementary. Her brother’s abilities were superior. And they were children. Idiot children, vile children, raised by vile people, but children nonetheless.

The girl stared, her eyes wide and mouth agape, at the woman in the window. Setting aside her bow, Gheris leaned over and called, “Step forward!” The girl hesitantly took a step closer. “Where I can see you properly,” she added impatiently. The girl stepped into the light. Her hair was light and thin, ruffling gently in the half-hearted breeze, and short, revealing two rounded ears. Gheris narrowed her eyes again. “Go home!”

“I…you…” the girl mumbled.

“Go! Go to your mother. This place isn’t safe.”

The child’s face cringed. “It’s not any safer with my mother!”

“Better than here,” Gheris advised firmly.

The girl stared at her, wide-eyed once more, before darting off in the direction opposite the boys.

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Session 7: The Mist
In Which Our Heroes Reach the Valwe Encampment

GM’d and posted by Jennifer

The night was even more bitterly cold than the day, and everyone found it quite difficult to wake in the pale early-morning light. Casidhe crawled out of his blankets and made his way over to Segonal to see if his condition had changed during the night.

“Are you all right?” he asked the blond Warden, shaking the man’s shoulder as gently as possible. His creased eyelids opened instantly and without fuss, like a practiced campaigner.

“What is it?”

“How do you feel?”

“Like a corpse. What did you expect?”

“Fair enough. Let’s get you some food.”

“I’m all right, boy, I’ve been hurt worse than this before. So what are your plans for today?”

“We’re on our way to see some elves,” Casidhe explained.

Aidan stuck his nose out from under his bedroll. “I remember my bed back at the castle . . . I wonder if they’re worried about me . . .” he murmured. Segonal looked down at Gheris.

“I apologize for my behavior yesterday, young lady.”

She stared at the Warden suspiciously, then nodded at Geoffrey. “He’s the one you want, not me.” Segonal returned the eyeing for a moment, then shrugged.

“Suit yourself.”

“We should be moving on,” Ferron said, surveying the horizon. He helped Naessa to get up. Casidhe edged closer to the two elves.

“Is there any chance that isn’t really Segonal?” he asked sotto voce. “Like the mage imposter?”

“I don’t know,” Naessa said. “I’ve never met the man before.”

“Sure, but Simon met the mage and he couldn’t tell the difference.”

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Self-Rhetoric

Posted by Ellanutella

Author’s Note: She’s not as emo as she sounds at some points. I swear. And huzzah for posting the wrong thing late at night. That last one was the initial version. This is even longer. _

It was cold.

It was a stupid thing to think – that is why they were here, was it not? The wild weather, the storms in harvest, the bizarre magical creatures…

Yet it was all Gheris could think of as she lay awake in her tattered old bedroll. It was the one she had used ever since she came to her full height back home, when her clan moved their camp. It smelled of home, or perhaps of dirt and sweat, which reminded her of home…or of her dirty, not-so-fresh self. The others were as close to the fire as they could get without burning themselves, head or feet facing it. Body warmth, the heat of fire…

She was bringing it upon herself, she knew. It was childish of her. But the idea of people near her felt claustrophobic and frightened her, more so than the idea of freezing to death. Humans were no longer visions of demonic life-stealers and slavers; they were now something even more frightening – people just as varied as much as her own, perhaps even more so. Their level of skill was like her own, probably even better. Certainly, the man whose wife they found, Lothaire, fought with the strength of ten men. They were not tricksters bent on the destruction of her kind, slowly sowing their seed so as to outnumber the elves even more than they already were. In fact, they regarded the elves – especially her – as some kind of joke. Like they did not even care anymore. Their storyteller had never said anything like this. Had they been so far removed from outside life that they did not know the changes? Naessa seemed to think so. Or perhaps it was just her. It did not matter out here, in the end. She was alone with the humans and whatever preconceptions she had developed over time were no longer applicable.

But what did that mean for Gialinn?

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Session 6: Hag and Gryphon
In Which Our Heroes Acquire Two New Tales That Shed Little Light

GM’d and posted by Jennifer

Inbolc returned to Alveyin’s tavern early the next morning, tentatively chivvying a tiny grey-haired woman in an undyed woolen dress. Her face was a mass of wrinkles and her eyes filmed over with cataracts, but she somehow exuded an aura of sharpness nonetheless. Certainly, she had no difficulty claiming the one really comfortable chair immediately next to the fireplace.

“There, I have brought the hag,” Inbolc informed Simon. The woman turned her milky stare in Simon’s direction.

“Good morning. Has the Jarl told you of our endeavor?” Simon asked, taking a seat across from the old lady. She smiled very slightly.

“He has. I am Breaga. You are a Circle mage, I understand?”

“Do we really need to get more people involved in this mess?” Naessa interrupted. Judging by her appearance—and tone—she had lost an epic battle with her bedclothes during the night. Simon’s nostrils narrowed.

“Simon Damont, at your service,” he said somewhat sharply.

“It seems likely you have better magicks at your disposal than the ramblings of an Avvar witch-woman, but I am at your disposal nonetheless,” Breaga said, her tone and manner matching those of the enchanter.

“When do you start training to be a witch-woman?” Naessa asked. “What kind of magic do you specialize in? Do you know anything about the weird weather and the wolves on your end?”

“It is less magic that we seek and more history,” Simon said, fighting to suppress a sigh. Breaga turned her blind eyes on Naessa.

“So much talk, to say so little,” she commented idly.

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Unpleasant Memories, Part Three
In which questions are not asked

posted by jillyfae

the middle of the night

The throbbing in her head had teeth and flames this time, and she couldn’t seem to move at all. She tried to moan, to ask for Mihalia, but all she heard was a raspy whimper.

“Shhh…” a voice, calm and comforting, as unlike that last furtive conversation with Mihalia as possible. “Don’t try and talk, sister. Darana says you damaged your throat when you forced magic through it.”

Naessa blinked in confusion, her vision slowly clearing and forming a familiar face smiling down at her in what looked strangely like guilt, or worry, or possibly relief. She started to open her mouth to say something, ask anything that might elicit a sentence (or an expression) that made more sense, when she heard a familiar chuckle to her side.

“You can’t just leave her with that, Ninnion! You know better than tell your sister not to talk without also answering every question you can think of her possibly asking.”

Naessa swore she could hear her eyes creak and groan as she slowly shifted her focus and saw Ferron next to her brother, his eyes twinkling with his usual hidden humor. His face was also colored by an odd, emotional expression she couldn’t interpret.

“Let me see if I can hit the basics in order, so you don’t try and ignore your healer’s advice.” Naessa blinked at her cousin, imagined herself nodding in agreement, and tried to pretend she was settled comfortably, rather than feeling muscles and organs she hadn’t even known she had burn and spark all over her body.

“We are very glad you’re awake. You’re in the infirmary, so Keeper Darana can keep an eye on some bizarre magical thing you did to yourself. All the young ones are fine and back with their families. Mihalia is,” here the twinkle faded, as Ferron’s voice briefly faltered, “doing better, and has visited you every morning, so you can check on her yourself when she and Ashoa arrive bearing tea for all in the morning.”

“They’re all dead, Naessa.” Ninnion’s voice softly interrupted Ferron’s list. “You fried one to a crisp when you attempted to channel a mage bolt through your body. The scouts had almost caught up to their camp when you lit up the night. They charged the rest of them, and brought you all home. Aunt Rielle told us the story when we got back a few days later.”

Naessa felt her hands clench in shock, squeezing tightly and crushing her blanket as she stared at Ninnion, her eyes wide, her mouth opening and closing before she could stop herself.

“I’ve got something else you can keep at hand, da’len,” came Keeper Darana’s pleasant voice, as she slid a carved length of wood under Naessa’s hand and slowly settled onto a third stool, set on the opposite side of Naessa’s cot from her brother and cousin.

“It’s a Mage Staff.” The Keeper raised a hand to stop Naessa as she attempted yet again to open her mouth and ask a question. “I know we don’t usually give these to under-age Firsts, but as you obviously have an aptitude for Mage Bolts, which are safest when controlled by a proper staff, I decided to make an exception.”

I can defend myself now, Naessa thought, her hand almost stroking the wood as she transferred her tense grip to the new weapon, and my clan. As she recognized the fear and worry she carried simply by its decrease, and saw the echo of her realization in Darana’s grim smile, Naessa decided she’d received the staff as much to help heal her mind now as to train her magic in the future. She could feel herself relaxing as she listened to her mentor, her fingers finding the grain of the wood beneath them.

“You’ve been unconscious nearly a week, Naessa. We’ve already moved camp, to help Mihalia and the little ones work past the bad memories. You did a lot of damage with that uncontrolled magic bolt, and you’ll need to heal another few days before you can talk, and a few more before you should try getting out of bed. So even though I know you have lots of questions, you need to sleep.”

With that brief pronouncement, Keeper Darana placed her hand on Naessa’s forehead, and Willed her young charge to sleep. This time, however, the darkness was warm and comforting, and Naessa surrendered willingly.

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Unpleasant Memories, Part Two
In which worry proves to have not been enough

posted by jillyfae

later

“Naessa, please!”

In the darkness, Naessa struggled to wake, her head throbbing in time to her heart, her limbs strangely unresponsive as she attempted to flail herself up and out of… not a bedroll. No blankets? Was that a rock under her shoulder?

She moaned, and tried to roll, squinting her eyes against flaming shadows that she was starting to realize were coming from her sore head rather than her dark and musty surroundings. She could just barely hear quiet crying and shifting around her, and smelled the unpleasant tang of too many bodies enclosed for too many hours into a small tent. There was a nasty aftertaste in her mouth, green and bitter, that she was trying to place when the voice came again, this time with the feel of two hands shaking her shoulder as well.

“Finally! Naessa, can you hear me?”

“Wha-?” Naessa tried to get her mind to focus, to force her voice to respond as more than a croak. Last she remembered, she’d agreed to help Mihalia out on a day trip with a group of young girls. Not usually her strong suit, but she knew most of the berries and flowers in the area, and could help the little ones find pretty plants to dry for making beads and jewelry, a favorite pastime at a long encampment. Not that the charm bracelets, necklaces, or tiaras ever lasted for very long, but that never seemed to discourage them. They’d settled down to eat their picnic lunch, and then? Angry shadows fogged her thoughts, followed by an unpleasantly empty darkness.

“You have to wake up, you have to help us!”

Struggling to curl around her stomach as it clenched tightly, Naessa licked her lips and attempted to swallow her voice back into her throat. “Drug?” was the best she could manage.

“Yes!” Despite Naessa’s lack of coherence, Mihalia sounded relieved to have gotten a question out of her, as if that helped return her world to something she knew how to handle. “I think the water was drugged, as the scouts’ bottles were filled the same time ours were, and there’s no other reason they’d have let us be taken.”

Naessa’s whirling mind had trouble following that sentence, but grasping desperately at that final word, managed to keep going. “Who? Taken?”

“All of the girls are still with us. I did a head count as quietly as I could in the dark last night, and again tonight. I’m trying to keep them as calm and settled as possible, which isn’t hard as they’re really groggy, and barely wake up enough to eat and use the buckets in the corner. They had to give you a double dose of the drugs, though, so it must not work as well on adults, and they really didn’t want you to wake up.”

“They?” It was getting easier to follow Mihalia’s worried outbursts. She was obviously relieved to finally have someone over the age of twelve to help with the situation.

“The dusters. I recognized them when…” her voice trailed off, then continued resolutely. “It sounds like they’re tired of waiting, and took advantage of the Keeper’s absence to start their own wild clan.” With that last bitter sentence, Mihalia fell silent, but Naessa could feel her shaking next to her in the dark.

The spinning in her stomach and head started to slow, and she managed to shove herself to her side, and then sit up. Her wrists were wrapped in twisted leather cords, explaining her difficulty moving. She peered through the shadows, her eyes finding Mihalia’s kneeling form looking at her. In the slight gleam of firelight glowing through the seams in the tents walls, she noticed similar ties, followed by the sight of bruising on Mihalia’s face and rips in her clothing.

“What did they…” Naessa’s first successful whisper trailed off. The fog was lifting from her brain, and she realized she didn’t need to ask. It was unfortunately all too clear. The type of men who would kidnap a dozen young girls had obviously already started breaking them into their new lives by raping the pretty young teacher who watched over them. Instinctively, Naessa started to reach for magic, to try and heal her companion, but was blocked by a spinning vortex within her own mind, and she fell back onto the hard ground, convulsing and spitting in pain.

“Naessa!” Mihalia forgot to whisper, and her shocked cry echoed through the tent, and out into the night surrounding them.

“Fen’Harel take their balls!” Mihalia leaned back in shock at the blasphemous curse Naessa growled out as she rolled painfully back up into a sitting position. “Night’s Tears. From the Wilds. It makes a sleeping draught that blocks dreams. It helps keep us docile, since our sleep isn’t properly restful without dreams. Always wondered how the dwarves managed without them.” She spit on the floor in disgust, unable to resist trying to get the last of the green taste out of her mouth now that she’d finally figured out what it was. “Plus, if you get enough into a Mage, it prevents all access to the Fade. No Fade, no magic, and no worrying about the young magic user you have tied up in your tent.”

Mihalia stared at Naessa in horror, hope and energy draining from her battered body as she realized that letting the young apprentice wake up hadn’t been a mistake of careless captors. The elves had known she was no danger any longer, and had stopped worrying about keeping her asleep.

Before Naessa could try an awkward reassurance, two dark shadows ripped the tent flap open, daggers visibly pointed in the direction of the scared young girls, just in case they were more alert than expected. A third shape leaned past with an unpleasant laugh, grabbing Mihalia by the arm and dragging her towards the opening, ignoring her yells and avoiding her attempts to kick at him.

Naessa lunged at him, and managed to get her head into his gut before losing control over her queasy stomach and heaving bile on his boots. He just laughed again, stepped back to watch her fall, and kicked her aside with a leather boot to her ribs. Mihalia took advantage of the distraction and pushed herself away from the rogue dalish with her feet. He staggered back towards Naessa, who scrabbled desperately at his leather leggings with her tied hands, and tried to find something, anything, her slippery mind could hold onto. She couldn’t manage a spell, but she smelled a well of light somewhere just below the Veil, so she howled, and pulled with intangible muscles, and blew all the light she could reach at the man in front of her.

With a flare of pain and heat, she heard Mihalia’s shout, and the man’s nasty scream, and her mind fell again, struggling against the darkness.

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Unpleasant Memories, Part One
In which Naessa gets left to her own devices

posted by jillyfae

three years ago

“Come, sit, have some tea.” Darana gestured across the small table, and Naessa attempted to settle down gracefully without kicking into anything. Smiling with relief when she managed it, she picked up her cup and breathed in the steam from the soothing brew.

“Scout-Captain Rielle will officially be in charge while I’m gone,” Darana stated, getting down to business immediately, “but she’ll listen to you if you have any concerns, and keep you informed of what she’s doing. I’m sorry to be leaving you here with less than our usual scout group, but there’s been rumors of a new Paragon, something to do with smelting I believe, and I really need to go in person to make sure our trade contacts in Orzammar are still strong.”

“Aunt and I get on very well, Darana. I know you’re concerned about that group of dusters we’ve been hosting the past few months, but they haven’t done anything untoward yet, we all know to keep an eye on them, and you’ll only be gone for a few days.” Naessa smiled at the worried Keeper. “Though, for all I’m not as good at, nor as interested in, trade talk as Ninnion, I’d really like to see Orzammar again. I got on well with the smiths last time, as you know very well. Even Ashoa gets to go with you this time!” Naessa’s cheerful tone proved she was much less upset about missing the trip than she pretended.

Darana smiled back at her apprentice in relief. “You know perfectly well how few of our Keepers have ever been married,” she started.

“Except for Grandmother,” Naessa interrupted.

“Well, yes, but she’s an exception to just about every rule, as you’ll realize when you meet her at the next Gather in a couple years. As I was trying to say,” she pretended to glare over her tea cup at her young charge, “we need to be sure Ashoa and Ninnion are comfortable with the political side of their marriage before we make their betrothal official. There’s very little precedent to support it.”

“Well, there’s no precedent for twin Keepers, so it’s not like Ninnion and I are expecting our tenure to be at all normal. Nor do we wish it to start anytime soon, I remind you, so be careful on your trip, and we’ll be careful here too. Maybe we’ll be lucky, and my parents and their squad will return before you do, and we’ll finally know something. It’s true the Wild Clans are pretty unstable, so our visitors could be telling the truth about their clan simply disbanding when it got too small.” Naessa didn’t sound any more convinced of this possibility than her mentor.

Darana sighed, her worry returning full force. “I just wish I could put my finger on what bothered me about them. Without any evidence, I have no cause to simply expel them, as it’s the mandate of all Clans to bring our people together. Luckily the probationary period is traditionally a year and a day, so we have time before I have to make a final decision.”

Naessa felt a growing case of nerves scuttle down her back as well, and tried not to squirm on her cushion. “You’re still planning on rejecting them when time runs out, even if my parents don’t discover anything, aren’t you? Do you think they’ll retaliate?”

“Let’s hope we never find out. Your father’s an excellent scout, and your mother’s just as good a spy, and they put together a strong team to trace the duster’s trail. With evidence to back up my ruling, there’s no way a half-a-dozen young elves can cause much trouble against an entire clan, however dangerous they think they are. We just have to make sure they don’t try anything underhanded before we expect it.” Darana sat in thought for a moment, obviously concerned yet again by her decision to leave the encampment.

Naessa reached out and placed her hand gently over Darana’s where it rested on her table. “It will be all right, Keeper,” she said softly, “you’ve trained us well. We’ll be fine.” Letting go of her mentor’s hand, she set her cup down, and stood carefully. “And on that cheerful note, we should both get some rest, as you’re leaving early in the morning, and I’d like to be awake enough to give you a proper farewell. Which generally takes an hour and a good strong cup of tea, as you well know.” After a quick embrace, Naessa left to return to her own tent, leaving the elder elf to attempt to quiet her worries on her own.

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