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Drianus's choiceHe reached into his pocket, slowly wrapping his long fingers into a fist around the ring of his forefathers. Contemplating his options only revealed that, in the long run, he really had no choice. Sometimes, the words echoed in his mind as he forcefully ignored the memories of his surrogate father, sometimes, the only way to fight evil was to employ a greater evil whether one agreed with it or not. By the end of the day, only one thing would really matter: whether or not the throne remained in the family line.
If took a season of exile for people to realize just how corrupted things had become, so be it. He had seen exile, and very nearly raised his family within it's cool embrace. Drianus had spent many long agonizing hours turning things over in his mind, hoping to find another way for things to change, but found nothing. He would face battle tomorrow, leading the best of his men into the fray without a second thought. If giving his life in battle was required of him, it
Part of the JobThe sun gently warmed his back as he walked along the crowded street. He knew, though, that the pleasant feeling would not last long once he entered the apothecary that stood as the entrance to the rest of the Guild Halls. There was a certain satisfaction in a job completed in a silent and efficient manner, but Mortael held fast to the lingering taste of bitter regret that always followed his thoughts. The darkness of night only expounded them when he had nothing else to keep his thoughts away from the realities of his chosen line of work. The taste of regret was, as far as he knew, the only way that he could maintain his tenuous grasp of rational sanity. Silently, the assassin slipped through the stone-lined walls where the shadows from the torches danced in his wake. None would bother him this day, not unless he took the initiative and reached out to them first. A disturbed assassin was not to be bothered so soon after a completed mission, no matter what the reason.
The Blood OathI bought my fate straight from hell. What you need to understand here and now is that this is the embodiment of our fear, the vessel of our rage, and the harbinger of your doom. It may seem like a cut and dry matter, especially to one such as yourself, but know that it is anything but. Everything that we do and say is focused around that one concept alone; the sooner you figure out what that means for yourself, the better, as you'll actually start to fit in with us, strange as we are to your kind. My fate, the mirrored reflection of the fate of my people, is one that circumvents generations at a time, insidious weaving its way through our history. This oath, whether you acknowledge it or not, will affect your every dying day as we attempt to make the best of what's been left for us in this wasted world.
I chose my fate the day that I answered the king's call with heart and soul, and I now pay the price for what I have done in answering the Blood Oath's infernal need fo
Returning HomeI woke up to despise the world that I once loved. The sound of the fan in the next room is deceptively similar to the sound of the gentle rain that has gently woken me these past few mornings. For one blissful moment longer, I can pretend that things have not changed, and that when I open my eyes, the dim autumn lights will be filtered through the thick canvas wall of my rug lined pavilion. The thought is a comforting one until the undisturbed quiet is broken by the harsh blaring of my painfully electronic alarm, reminding me that cannot be so.
Blindly, I reach out and silence it before rolling over, pulling my heavy wool cloak back over my head in the same motion. It is entirely too early to face the fact that I'll be pouring myself a bowl of overly processed, prepackaged and artificially preserved cold cereal. Instead, I'd much rather it be my usual boiled grains prepared over a crackling fire, built from yesterday's carefully covered coals. It is an odd realization, but I
Rise of the Ice Kings: The Dream"Play for me, Brandhol." Rathiel begged upon the second evening of eldest brother’s short respite at home."Play your whistle again, please? It's been so long since you played!"
"That's because I've been gone so long, silly," he replied, digging out his tin whistle from an inner pocket of his thick cloak. After a few short trills to warm up his fingers, he began to play a song that seemed to grow and mature as it progressed. Rathiel grinned and began to dance a few bars into the seemingly light-hearted tune.
The children's uncle, Hedhel, sent home from war on permanent furlough lay on the rug, dozing before the dying fire. At the sound of his nephew's playing, he bolted upright, staring wildly at Brandhol for a moment before calming slightly. "I think it's time that you find your bed, Rathiel," he said hoarsely.
Silien looked up from her darning in surprise,"Goodness, child!" she exclaimed, "You should have been in bed almost an hour ago! Hurry and change now, I'll be along
The Final StrawJason Rathen almost ignored the gentle taping on his office door, thinking that the sound originated from further down the hall, but the hesitant sound came a second time, only slightly more audible. Rathen stood and opened the door to be greeted by the person that he least expected and most hoped to see. "Hello, Jessie!"
Jessie nodded, worrying her lower lip in thinly veiled distress. "I... I'm sorry about practice, earlier," she said, rapidly forcing the words out.
"Why don't you come in," Rathen suggested, gesturing towards the other chair in his prop- and book-stuffed office, "and we can talk about what happened earlier this afternoon, if you'd like."
The suggestion was more of a mild order, but Jessie either didn't notice, or ignored it as she nodded and gingerly perched on the edge of the offered chair, grasping her books against her chest.
Professor Rathen took his time in mostly closing the door, and resettling a stack of papers that had been distu
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