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Author Topic: Wrath of the Dragonkin  (Read 3870 times)

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Offline Lord BaneTopic starter

Re: Wrath of the Dragonkin
« Reply #150 on: August 04, 2017, 05:34:59 AM »
"Sunrider," Stormrider called out, a smaller dragon with bright orange scales and green eyes walking over to them and stopping next to his king. "Arva and Grim, he will be your ride, I sense he will be more manageable for both of you." The orange dragon lowered one wing to the ground. "Wolfling can even ride him safely if you wish, I have yet to see a wolf whose claws can penetrate dragon hide."

"He's going to try something," Ariadne said quietly Stormrider just as he was about to change back to his dragon form. "If he kills my brother the elves will never help us."

"You are too easily worried," Stormrider replied as he took his dragon form, lowering his own wing for Ariadne and Ebony. "If the beserker believes he can get past me, you and a castle full of Elven elite guard he is welcome to try," he said, chuckling deeply as Ariadne helped Ebony up. "But our first worry should be getting there, make yourselves comfortable, Bel'thani is not a short trip from here." He turned to his mate. "Prepare the army, I will send word when it is time for the might of Dragonblight to march south."

Offline Levi

Re: Wrath of the Dragonkin
« Reply #151 on: August 04, 2017, 06:33:30 AM »
Ebony clambered up behind Ariadne gleefully. She was like a babe in a toy shop, she was excited to be flying. "Wait till father, heard this he's not going to believe  me!" She said happily. Firmly wrapping her arms around the elf, she squeezed Ariadne tightly as she whispered " Don't worry, I'll hold on". The young women let out a small laugh as the dragons took of from the ground, it wasn't long before the ground was to small to make out.

Offline King Kull

Re: Wrath of the Dragonkin
« Reply #152 on: August 04, 2017, 04:13:20 PM »
Grim climbed up on the dragon and sat down quite worried about this trip. He held Wolfling in front of him and wondered what he was supposed to hold on to. Did this dragons have large scales you could grab?

"Hi Sunrider I'm Grim," Grim introduced himself. "How do we hold on here? It's the first time I ride on a dragon and I'm not very good even at riding terrestrial animals. By the way don't worry about Wolfling he just a dog not a wolf."

Offline Lord BaneTopic starter

Re: Wrath of the Dragonkin
« Reply #153 on: August 04, 2017, 04:59:11 PM »
"As Stormrider said, he'd struggle to tickle me," Sunrider said with a laugh as some of the scales on his back seemed to raise up. "Grab hold of these, if the worst happens my wings can stop you falling."

The two launched into the air easily, only stopping climbing once they were almost at the level of the high clouds, before beginning to head south. They passed over a massive Orc encampment, the vastness of the Forest of Shadows and over Ebony's home city, from which a series of fires could be seen.

"That doesn't look good," Ariadne said, looking down. "We can't afford to waste time when we get there."

"We won't if I have anything to do with it," Stormrider said, picking up speed as they approached the coast and headed out to sea. Ariadne had almost fallen asleep when a sudden cough escaped Stormrider's throat. "Ariadne, is that what I think it is?" nodding in the direction of the horizon.

"What do you..." the sentence died on her lips as the orange dots in the distance grew larger, now revealed as large bright red birds, each ridden by an elf. "Fire Hawks," she said. "We must have reached the outskirts of the island quicker than I thought we would." As the birds swooped towards them Ariadne did her best to avoid appearing hostile. "We seek an audience with the king," she called out to the nearest rider. "We mean you no harm."

"Northerners are not welcome here," the guard said, hefting a long spear threateningly. "I advise you turn back now."

"If you think that little...needle can harm me," Stormrider said, half jokingly, half threateningly, "you are more than welcome to try." Suddenly he heard the strangled cry from Arva, his reflexes quick enough to catch Ariadne's unconscious form on his wing. "Ariadne?" he asked, receiving no reply. He could feel the rage building within him as he turned back to the guard. "I am going to tell you something, I advise you pay close attention: my passenger, your own king's sister, is gravely ill. I cannot give her medical attention in the air. I WILL land on the island, you have the choice of making sure I land safely, or I can get to the island THROUGH you. Consider your options carefully, if you know anything of my kin you will realise battling an angry dragon is a good way to meet an early death."

Offline Levi

Re: Wrath of the Dragonkin
« Reply #154 on: August 05, 2017, 07:15:52 AM »
"ARIADNE" Ebony screamed. Grabbing on to Stormriders's raised scales with one hand she reached out to grab the falling elf with her free hand. Her fingers missed by sheer inches, she cried "No.."
The relief she felt when the dragon caught the elf was swallowed up by a burning rage.

" You will let us pass" she stated, her voice sharp and clear, for the first time she drew Dawnhammer. " Do you recognize this blade?" She asked sarcastically. " I am is wielder, for now as well as Ariadne's lover, we came in peace, but if that can not be the case.... So be it!"

Ebony held her head up high, the light of the sun glittered of her blade and the jewel at her neck winked as if to say don't forget about me. Ebony did not need to ask the others if they would help if this confrontation went south. She knew that they would have her back.

Offline King Kull

Re: Wrath of the Dragonkin
« Reply #155 on: August 06, 2017, 11:42:03 AM »
Grim drew his new sword Deathbringer, "Sunrider position yourself on the side of the elf with the spear so I can cut him down!" He ordered the dragon.

Offline Lord BaneTopic starter

Re: Wrath of the Dragonkin
« Reply #156 on: August 06, 2017, 11:58:18 AM »
The elven riders seemed to consider their options for a moment, sizing up their odds against two full-grown dragons, nevermind their riders, before the guard that had threatened Stormrider lowered his spear.

"Follow me," the nearest Elf rider said, his mount swooping below them.

"Sunrider, do not land until I have become human again," Sunrider said as he angled his wing so Ebony could pull Ariadne towards her. "I doubt our landing spot is going to have enough space for both of us at full size." The smaller dragon nodded, before Stormrider set himself into a slow cruise downwards. As they dived below the lower clouds their destination was finally revealed: set out below them was a large Island, walls ringing its edge, surrounding a vast city, far larger than Ebony's home. At it's centre, fronted by a large square which the guards were indicating was the landing place, was a large palace which seemed almost shaped like a flying animal itself. Stormrider managed to land, scattering startled Elves as he did so, dropping a wing to allow Ebony to dismount, before turning to his human form as Sunrider landed behind him. He rushed to Ariadne side, placing a hand to her forehead. "She is burning up with fever," Stormrider said, looking at the Elf's companions. "What happened before you came to me? This didn't happen once you were within Dragonblight."

"She was stabbed by a goblin blade," Arva replied. "But she was cured of the poison, she shouldn't still be suffering from the effects."

"She isn't," the dragonlord said, grimacing. "I am unsure what the cause is but my healing skills are insufficient." He picked Ariadne up, who appeared like a child's toy against his immense frame, turning to one of the guards. "Take us to the sickbay, NOW." The guard made no attempt to argue with them, leading them into the palace, winding through Elves who seemed unsure how to respond to the strange newcomers, and to a room in a quiet part of the palace. Within was a bed which Stormrider laid Ariadne on. "Get your best healer," he said to the guard. "And tell your king the lord of dragons seeks an audience with him, assuming his sister's predicament is insufficient to attract his attention."

Offline Levi

Re: Wrath of the Dragonkin
« Reply #157 on: August 06, 2017, 01:50:58 PM »
Ebony practically trotted at the dragons side, as he strode determined into the elves palace. As he laid Ariadne down she asked "what's wrong with her? Ebony reached down and caressed the elf's hot cheek. " Is it something to do with why Ariadne didn't want to return here?" Ebony mused outload, the question was addressed more to herself then Stromrider.

Ebony felt torn, of course she wanted to stay at Ariadne's side to wait for a healer, but she also wanted to be present for the meeting between the dragon and the elf king I wouldn't mind giving him a good trashing she thought irritated. Crossing her arms, she scowled as she thought over the best course of action. Ebony could hardly ask Grim or Arva to watch over Ariadne, they had as much right to a audience with the King as she.


Offline King Kull

Re: Wrath of the Dragonkin
« Reply #158 on: August 06, 2017, 02:13:31 PM »
Grim could see Ebony hesitating and said: "I think someone better stay with her, I don't trust what her brother might do to her. She hired me so I better guard her, I will make a personal audience with the king later." The rest of you go ahead.

Offline Lord BaneTopic starter

Re: Wrath of the Dragonkin
« Reply #159 on: August 06, 2017, 02:59:20 PM »
"You're on an island full of armed Elves," Arva said, raising an eyebrow. "You think any of the guards will let you into the same room as the king if they so much as SUSPECT you're going to try something."

"Stop it," Stormrider growled. "This...THIS helps no-one. There is every chance she has been ill for some time and none of you picked up on it." He felt his anger subside, letting out a sigh. "Sunrider, guard the door," he said to the other dragon. "I'd like to see anyone try fighting their way past you." Sunrider stepped out through the door, Stormrider turning to Grim, staring down at him. "I cannot stop you doing anything, but bear this in mind: the wizard is right, her brother will be surrounded by guards, if you fail to kill her I doubt they will show you mercy." He rubbed his eyes with one hand. "I'm beginning to understand why my father stayed out of the affairs of other races unless he had to."

"I'd hope you had more compassion than that," said a voice from the doorway, causing Arva and Stormrider to reach for their weapons, until they saw the source was an aging Elf, armed with nothing more than a medicine bag. "I'm sorry Storm, I should not have been eavesdropping." She winced as the dragon hugged her tightly. "Even as a human you have more strength than you realise, you should be more careful who you hug," she said, laughing as the dragon backed off slightly. She stepped towards the bed, letting out an anguished sob at the sight. "Oh, dear Ariadne, what has happened to you?"

"Who is this exactly?" Arva asked, still holding onto his staff.

"She is..." Stormrider paused, trying to think of the explanation.

"My name is Melia," the elf said. "I am this city's greatest healer, and I am Ariadne's second mother, since even before her mother..." she fell silent for a moment. "The king would be here himself, but while the wars of the north may not be here yet, that does not mean this place is without enemies." She opened her pack, placing a hand upon Ariadne's forehead and looking concerned. "Answer me this barbarian," she said, without turning to Grim. "Assuming you can get close enough to the king to kill him without his personal bodyguard sticking you with her sword first, what do you think you will achieve?"

Offline Levi

Re: Wrath of the Dragonkin
« Reply #160 on: August 07, 2017, 08:20:24 AM »
Ebony grabbed hold of the warrior and planted a kiss on his cheek. "Thank you" she said fervently. The woman turned to Melia. " I leave her in your care, please help her" Ebony asked, grasping the healers hands and trying to convey with a simple touch how much Ariadne meant to her.

Ebony took a step back, as what the healer said about a war flashed a little warning light in her mind "Does that mean the King is not here?, Did we come all this way for naught?" She asked dramatically. After a small delay she asked more normally "what war?"

Offline King Kull

Re: Wrath of the Dragonkin
« Reply #161 on: August 07, 2017, 10:16:05 AM »
Grim looked at all the people siding with the king. Their one and only argument was how powerful everyone was, but even if they are all Gods the honourable thing is to at least try. Well he worked for Ariadne not for them. The dragons had their own agenda and he begun to feel doubts about Arva as well. He turned to the healer. "Then Ariadne will claim the throne and wage this righteous war instead of siding with orcs."

As Grim left the room he told Sunrider: "Also make sure Melia is not leaving until this is settled, she know more than she should." He had no illusions that the dragon would do as he said; after all he had refused him when he had the chance to kill the elf threatening Ariadne. But at least he would show his true colours when letting Melia run to the king and report. Right now he only trusted Ebony and Wolfling.   

Offline Lord BaneTopic starter

Re: Wrath of the Dragonkin
« Reply #162 on: August 07, 2017, 11:33:51 AM »
"Let him go," Melia said as Stormrider moved towards the door, the dragon giving her a quizzical look. "If he wants to test the guards of this place I do not have the energy to oppose him."

"He will start a war," Stormrider said. "He thinks he's going to HELP us stop Myraz, this will make it worse."

"If he will not listen to you Storm, my words will be of little consequence," Melia said, slumping into a chair and sighing. "He and the king are more alike than he realises. We can only hope that HE realises it before he does something he can't take back." She got up and laid a damp cloth on Ariadne's forehead. "Wake up youngling, we need you desperately."


Elsewhere in the castle the king, an elf slightly shorter than Ariadne, in blue armour, with similar eye and hair colour, was poring over a map spread on the table. Although a pair of guards stood outside the door the only other occupant in the room was a female elf as tall as Ariadne, wearing bright red armour, a long fur cloak thrown over her shoulders, and a large sword close to her hand. Her skin was such a pale colour she appeared almost ethereal.

"Husband, your sister needs you," the female elf said, resting an arm on his shoulder. "Can the work of a king not wait a time?"

"You think I WANT to do this Maia?" he snapped, almost instantly regretting his response. "I do not know how my father did this," he said, sitting down in the chair next to the map and placing his head in his hands. "My sister needs me and I am stuck figuring how to stop what amounts for a peace accord from disintegrating around me."

"You will figure it out my love," she said, before moving her hand to her blade, subtly enough the king couldn't see it. She knew something was wrong, what though she wasn't sure of.

Offline Levi

Re: Wrath of the Dragonkin
« Reply #163 on: August 07, 2017, 11:55:27 AM »
"Come Stromrider, it does no good for us to delay here" Ebony said, she nodded to the healer, and then she to left the room, no messager had yet to return from the dragons demand to see the king, so Ebony decided she might as well take a look round. She strode determinedly down corridor after corridor. Elves scuttled this way and that on there day to day business, but Ebony did not stop for directions. "If I were a King, where would I be, someplace private and yet guardable" the young woman decided logically

"There!" She said pointing to a doorway slightly ahead of them she turned to Stromrider, this honourable creature had carried them here, he had protected Ebony's loved one, and now he sought the attention of the King, yes he was powerful but could he convice this elf. " Let me speak first?" She asked of the dragon. "I haven't really contributed to any of this, I'm being towed along by Ariande's and Grim" she smiled. "I've a great liking for that warrior, it is for his sake that I ask. Let me speak with the king?"

Offline King Kull

Re: Wrath of the Dragonkin
« Reply #164 on: August 08, 2017, 09:29:20 AM »
Grim scanned the place. He must have misunderstood the others because he thought they were going to see the King as well. Whatever, Grim followed the main Street to the centre of the Palace where he could see large closed gates with a few guards outside and what looked like a clerk sitting at a desk. It was an unarmed woman and what made her seem like a clerk was that she had vellum and ink on her desk. Grim walked up to her and the guards looked at him suspiciously and held their weapons ready.

"Good evening madam," Grim greeted, he didn't know what title tu use and it was hard to tell the age of elves. This woman looked young but so did Ariadne. Her hair was not white thou, more light blond. Was that an indication of age? "I am Grim Direwolf of the Hercynians, on behalf of Princess Ariadne I seek audience with her brother the King. Do you know where to turn? It's a large palace and I don't know it yet." The woman looked puzzled.

"It's not my duty Sir I'm responsible for deliveries of supplies but I could write a message and send him, how do you spell your name?" She answered. "Spell? Ehhh, you decide I'm sure it will be fine." Grim looked around and pointed to what looked like a tavern or mess hall. "I'm waiting in there". 

Offline Lord BaneTopic starter

Re: Wrath of the Dragonkin
« Reply #165 on: August 08, 2017, 11:09:28 AM »
"Wait," Stormrider said to Ebony, seeing the messenger approach the table behind which the King was sat. "Something's happening." He let out a frustrated sigh, unable to tell what was passing between the three elves from where they hid. "If you wish to talk to him though, I will allow you to. At least I'll be by your side if anything goes wrong."


The king sent Maia to find Grim, picking her way through the palace and out towards the tavern. The guard inside the door immediately pointed Grim out, Maia striding over to him. Although she kept her weapon sheathed, as the King had told her to, she made sure the blade was highly visible.

"Grim?" the Elf asked, looking down at him. "I hear you want a word with the king, he is...well, as ready as he is likely to be at this moment in time." She was trying to hide her concern, aware as the King's closest confidante the population would grow suspicious if she showed too much worry.

Offline Levi

Re: Wrath of the Dragonkin
« Reply #166 on: August 09, 2017, 11:48:56 AM »
" Wait!" Ebony practically hissed. " Wait?" She asked again her anger from there welcome had not diminished and she currently showed the full force of it in blazing eyes to Stromrider. Being a dragon this human anger was like crushing an ant under a human foot, but still rather impressive for the mild mannered Ebony."I'm done being polite" she announced, whirling away from her companion she began to walk down the room towards the table.

"Your highness" she called out, the elf properly knew they were there but she could still follow through with some manners.
"I am Ebony, I am here on behalf of those I love. We seek the aid of the elves" she began. She had no doubt that the King was properly fully aware of who she was but as she approach she noticed how run down the elven king appeared, and her anger simmered down slightly. I need to take this out on someone she thought.

Offline King Kull

Re: Wrath of the Dragonkin
« Reply #167 on: August 10, 2017, 12:23:13 PM »
Another ageless elf, this woman was very pale but in armour as a warrior. Grim stood up and left a couple of coins on the table for the food and wine he had had. Besides his bow and arrows on his back he had his old sword as well, he wanted to try his new sword in combat before he left that sword behind. And would dragon magic work against dragons?

"Yes I am Grim, i must say I'm surprised he would see me so soon. Please show me the way miss, what is your name?" Grim answered. "By the way I'm curious about a thing about elves, how do you tell their age? For example how old are you?"

Offline Lord BaneTopic starter

Re: Wrath of the Dragonkin
« Reply #168 on: August 10, 2017, 12:48:53 PM »
"My name is Maia," she replied, picking her way through the throng of elves as she passed through the square. "I am uncertain how you tell us apart, I have been told at times that a truly old elf can be spotted if you know what to look for however," She nodded to the guards as they let them pass. "I am younger than I may appear, the late king used to joke I was so pale that I couldn't be fully elf, few elves look like me." As she entered the room, she was about to announce Grim when she saw Ebony near his table, reaching for her sword.

"Maia my love," the king said, raising a hand. "While I appreciate your concern I am in no danger, yet anyway." Maia let go of her sword. "I take it you are this...Grim my secretary told me of?" he asked, looking the barbarian up and down. "You are the ones who brought my sister here I take it?" he asked, watching Stormrider closely. "There may not have been a dragon here in some time but I know enough of history to see one in human form when it is stood in front of me."

"What did you do to her?" Maia asked angrily.

"Maia, calm down," the king said. "Ariadne is being treated as we speak, you promised me you would not react."

"She means no less to me than you," she said, clenching her fist tightly before a soothing look from the king calmed her. "I'm sorry," she said, walking over to him. "My husband is right, I should not have responded like that."

"I hope you take no offence at this question your highness," Stormrider said. "But, you appear...unwell, what has happened?"

"The thing which may cause issues with aiding you," the king replied, getting unsteadily to his feet. "The thing if I had had more courage I would have told my sister about rather than allowing her to flee believing I ignored her beliefs about our parents."

"What if we offered our aid in dealing with whatever is happening?" Stormrider asked. "A trade, we aid you, and in return you join the alliance our grandfathers once saw as a debt of honour between our races." He turned to Grim and Ebony. "I would not assume to tell you what to do, nor to speak for Ariadne's wishes. Make your choice and Sunrider and I will respect it."

Offline Levi

Re: Wrath of the Dragonkin
« Reply #169 on: August 10, 2017, 01:37:22 PM »
"So why didn't you?" Ebony lashed out, " For I don't know how long, Ariadne's has had to walk this world ALONE. Feeling betrayed by her only living FAMILY" Ebony's voice was rising with her anger. She was angry with Ariadne for shutting her out, she was angry at the elves for keeping them out, she was angry at Stromrider for speaking even though she had asked to speak for them. On top of all that anger was hurt and worry. Tears began to collect in her eyes as she stared at the King of elves and the Lord of Dragon's.

Without answering Stormriders question or waiting here whatever pathic excuse the king wanted to give for what he had done, she turned and left, it may have been childish, but she could not see past the pain in her heart. Storming down corridors, she scattered serving elves and guards alike. There was almost like an extra aura of emotion pushing out of Ebony's body, forcing elves out of the way. On some unknown instinct, she grabbed the handle on the nearest door, she opened it and stepped inside. Closing it firmly she rested her head against the cool door and wept bitterly. When the tears abated she turned to see where she was an found herself, in her own sanctuary, the library.

Offline King Kull

Re: Wrath of the Dragonkin
« Reply #170 on: August 13, 2017, 11:46:32 AM »
Grim agreed with Ebony and understood her for being fed up with this stuck up elves and dragons; Ariadne seemed so much more genuine and reliable than these intriguing individuals. At least he still had her on his side. 

"King, if Ariadne doesn't regain her conscience and can have a say I will help you if you help her. But I can say this: It will not be good for the reputation of you and the elves if you don't help her against Myraz; it will be said you sided with the Orcs! And I will be the one informing the lands of the humans and dragons about it!"

Grim turned to Maia still trying to understand these mythical elves. "Maia what about the king's secretary I somehow got the impression that she is young; how old is she exactly?" He must seem unbalanced to the Elves; first threatening their king and then ask about trivial things without seeming to care. Even thou Grim seemed careless he was ready for I fight; he moved in a way that he was always in a balanced stance and he never had his right hand more that a few inches from the hilt of his sword. Likewise his left hand was never far from one of his throwing axes. He was sure he could take out the King and Maia before the guards interfered the problem would be Stormrider. 

Offline Lord BaneTopic starter

Re: Wrath of the Dragonkin
« Reply #171 on: August 13, 2017, 12:10:19 PM »
"Maia, find Ebony," the king said, turning to her. "She is more likely to listen to you than she is to me. For Ariadne's sake you two need to talk to each other."

"He is threatening you," Maia said angrily. "Maybe not openly but I am not a fool, I will not leave you defenceless."

"I will be fine," the king said to her calmly. "Stormrider is no fool, besides, I may be ill but that does not make me incapable of defending myself." He rested his hand on hers. "I will not order you to go, but I am asking you to." The female elf eventually reluctantly walked out of the door. The king turned to Grim, giving him a deceptively friendly smile. "We are fellow warriors so I will offer you a warning if my wife is correct, you are acting with only partial knowledge of what happened to my father. If you wish to earn the enmity of every elf in this palace, your companion included, I will make no attempt to stop you, or you could allow me the chance to explain."


Maia eventually found Ebony, mostly with the help of one of the occupants of the library. She took pity on her, feeling the anger draining out of her as she sat opposite her. She took off one of the two rings she wore, an understated but still dazzling piece of jewellery, and place it between them.

"You are not the first who loved Ariadne," she said quietly. "I was the one who helped her escape, and gave up what hope I had that she would be with me. Not that I am bitter, I would choose you over me any day," she couldn't help letting out a soft laugh at her last comment.

Offline Levi

Re: Wrath of the Dragonkin
« Reply #172 on: August 14, 2017, 10:07:28 AM »
" I would choose me to" Ebony replied bitchily setting down the book that she hadn't been reading as she had just grabbed one for appearances. She picked up the ring staring at it, her eyes were red from her earlier loss of control. "Why you give up on her, clearly you didn't love her!" Ebony's free hand was itching to draw her sword, she had just about had enough. "Tell you what, duel with me, if you win I'll listen, if I win you elves help us defeat Myrez, and look into the death of her parents"

Ebony flung the ring bitterly across the table, she stood and walked towards the library doors she didn't turn to see if the elf followed her or not. Ebony knew Maia would want a tussle to, after all she had seen Maia restraining herself several times already. She had no idea where would be a good place for a duel, she shrugged, she didn't really care where they went. So when she entered the corridor she simply drew her sword.

Offline King Kull

Re: Wrath of the Dragonkin
« Reply #173 on: August 16, 2017, 02:40:28 AM »
"Well King, what do you want us yo help you with," Grim asked. "I think we are as ready as we will be to go ahead, I would just want to see how Ariadne is doing before we leave this palace. That is unless you need help here?"

Offline Lord BaneTopic starter

Re: Wrath of the Dragonkin
« Reply #174 on: August 16, 2017, 08:30:50 AM »
"I will happily bring my army north once this is dealt with," the king said. "But I will not leave this island unprotected while there is still a threat hanging over it." He spread a map out on the table in front of him, the Elven fortress at its centre surrounded by chains of islands. "Ariadne was right, though to this day I have been unable to prove who was responsible. My father was betrayed during a journey to Aka'leith," as he spoke he pointed to a large island off the south coast of the fortress. "Now there are rumours someone there plots to attack me, I have grown ill attempting to maintain the peace of these island chains but if this situation deteriorates further then there will be no help I can offer you." He sat back, wincing slightly. "This is not your fight, I cannot make you help me, but...I choose to believe we started off on the wrong foot. I would be glad for your aid if you would give it willingly."


Maia strode out of the library, grabbing Ebony's wrist in a vicelike grip like she was a doll, her other hand resting on her sword.

"You have no idea what I had to do," she said, tears forming in her eyes. "I did what I thought was best." Suddenly it was as if she broke out of a trance, releasing Ebony and letting go of her blade. "I cannot do this, I will not hurt Ariadne again." She placed the ring on the table next to Ebony. "This ring is yours by right, it was given to me as a promise I failed to keep to her, I don't deserve it." With that she turned round and walked away, past a young female elf stood watching them in a doorway. The younger elf walked over to Ebony, offering her a glass of water.

"She told me what passed between them once," the elf said. "When they were young, unlike now, a regal elf like Ariadne and a...commoner like Maia were not supposed to be together. The only way they could be together would have been if Ariadne denounced her claim to the throne. The princess would have done so but..." she paused, looking at the ring sadly. "Maia wouldn't allow Ariadne to throw her life away for her. Ariadne even begged Maia to go north with her, and the fact she chose to refuse hurt Maia more than an elf as stubborn as her would ever admit. Her relationship with the king only started after months of her own heartbreak, a change of the law and her belief she would never see Ariadne again. Do not judge her for what she did, she has punished herself for it for many years."