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01/22/2005 5:47 PM

The stallion raced up the hill, neck stretched out, ears flat against its’ skull. Mane and tail dripping with the rain coat dark with rain and slick with sweat. Lightning flashed, and set the stallion’s blue eyes alight, the light dancing along the silvery coat. A bit-less hackamore made of braided blue silk graced the stallion’s head. The Stallion neighed and reared up, steel shod hooves pawing at the electrically charged air.

At first glance, a stranger to this hard, yet beautiful land, would have thought that the elegant stallion had broken loose from it’s master, that it was now running wild and terror-filled from the storm. A stranger to Sylfean would have thought the girl that was running up the hill behind the stallion was crazed to try to recapture the horse in the storm...

The girl would have been unearthly beautiful to a stranger’s eye, even among her own people she was a beauty. Her skin was pale, translucent rose, long dark hair that fell in rampant waves around her shoulders to fall like rippling water to the small of her back. She was slender, and of an average build. Her eyes were as blue as the eyes of the stallion she chased, as bright and energetic as the lightning that arced across the looming cloud-filled skies. She wore clothing that was once of gorgeous blue and white silk, and was now sodden and dark with rainwater.

Her delicately pointed ears were partially hidden with her thick hair, but the tips could be seen, and golden cuffs encrusted with jewels could be seen glittering in the rain. A circlet of entwined gold and silver, with winking sapphires glinted in the flashes of lightning. The girl laughed, and the stallion paused, turning his elegant head towards her. He neighed in response and the girl threw her arms around the stallion’s neck. He half-reared, pulling the girl off of her feet for a moment. Once he had all four feet on the ground, he arched his neck over the girl’s shoulder in an awe-inspiring gesture of comradeship.

“Kyel! Of all the times to go running around!” She laughed.

The stallion regarded the girl for a moment, as though he were actually contemplating what to say.

“Of course I enjoyed it too, you big oaf!” The girl giggled, and then grasped hold of the hackamore, and vaulted onto the stallions’ bare back. “Come on, we had better get back before we’re missed.” She said, the merriment still tinting her voice.

The stallion actually nodded his head, and then turned around and walked easily down the slope as not to dislodge his rider, before setting off at an easy canter towards the crystalline palace that glittered on a distant rise.

The gates swung open for the sodden pair, and a young boy helped the girl slide from the stallions’ back while another boy in dark blue livery began to rub the stallion down with a thick towel.

“Kynia!” Came a deep voice, husky with worry. A man, a human, stood at the food of the white marble stair, his long black hair falling in disarray around his shoulders. The girl turned and warm affection flooded her eyes, as a deepening flush graced her cheeks. The man wore the livery to their people as the Queen’s Consort. Deep blue silk accented with silver brocade. He also wore a circlet, simple in design, of carved silver. “How could you rush off in the midst of such a storm?” He demanded.

“Blade, you are hardly my keeper....” She said crossly, as a young girl helped her slip on a thick robe. “Kyel wanted to run, free.... And so did I.” She said softly. The hidden meaning behind her words were not lost upon Blade. At the moment he chose not to voice his hot opinions, knowing to do so would not only earn him some very scathing remarks, but would also dishonor Kynia in front of her people, and one always knew that servants would talk.

He took hold of her arm, a tad roughly, and she glared at him. He glanced at her, and then led her towards their chambers. Time had roughened her... changed her from the kind, loving creature he had met in Palanthas so long ago, to the hard woman that had seen too much death in her lifetime. The moment the silver gilt doors of their rooms closed behind them, she pulled her arm violently from his grasp.
“Yes, Blade, I have changed... You knew that the moment you agreed to come here, to my land. Kellan would tell you so.” She cried, turning from him, her damp hair flying wildly around her shoulders.

“Kynia, these are your people, you are their Queen, you cannot simply abandon them...” He said softly, the concern for her was visible in his dark eyes.

“I didn’t ask for this Dylan!” She cried, using his given name, one that only she knew. “Never, ever in my life did I ever think I would become Queen! My twin and I were of the lowest caste of the Royal Family, and even so, Kynia was older than I...” Tears glimmered in her eyes, and she stared at the fire roaring in the marble hearth.

“Keep your voice down; you’ll wake Crysta.” He hissed. The mere mention of the servant sleeping in the nearby room took all of the fight from her. Her mind calmed, and she fell into the nearest chair in defeat.

“I never asked for this....” She whispered, as the tears began to fall in a silent parade down her cheeks. The memory of twenty years past. The destruction of Cryshaven by the dark crystal dragon, Navarre. Miraculously, Kynia and her twin sister Krystal had survived the attack. The sole survivors of a direct attack against the royal palace. Where a ball in their honor was underway, with all the members of the extended royal family present... they set sail for the distant land of Ansalon, hoping to find help for their people, the Kirioyal.

And help they did find... Krystal and Kynia separated, hoping to find the help that they sought. Kynia had gathered a group of adventurers... Tempest, a Que Shu Plainswoman, Clarence, a nimble fingered Kender, and Blade... This ex-Solamnic Knight, who was cast out of the order for practicing magic, was a wonder to Kynia at first, and he was merely grateful for the fact that she healed his wounds with her seemingly miraculous powers.

Their love bloomed on a fate-filled night at the temple of balance, dedicated to the God Gilean. That same fate-filled night when her twin betrayed her. Controlled by the dragon, Krystal attacked her twin, Kynia, who was more expert with the sword, had no choice but to destroy the only other thing besides her land that she held dear. Krystals’ blood still haunted Kynia’s dreams. Yet they had gotten what they had sought... and their land was purged of Navarre’s presence, but that’s another long story.

Blade had eventually accompanied her to Sylfean, after being chosen by one of their Ancestral Guardians, the warrior Kellan. And ever since their final return to Sylfean things had been laced with tension. Kyel, Kynia’s own Ancestral Guardian, warned her that this might happen if she chose a human... an outsider to

But even the Ancestors could be wrong sometimes. It wasn’t Blade it was her... it had to be. She hadn’t wanted to rule, she only wanted to save her people, but being the only surviving member of the royal family, it made her Queen by default.

“inheriting rule by blood is barbaric... even Kyel has said so. The previous ruler should choose their successor.” She mumbled.

“Kynia...there wasn’t a ruler when you were chosen, your people chose you because you saved them. You liberated them from the dragon’s claws... no other. You.”

Kynia didn’t speak aloud her thoughts, thankful that Blade, being human, couldn’t read them.

::ah...But I can, little one... He is right you know::. Came Kyel’s unbidden mind-touch.

::But this never should have been mine... Krystal was the leader, this was what she would have wanted... :: Came her cry.

:: Perhaps...:: was all he would say.

Kynia stared at the flames that danced in the hearth, her hair falling around her shoulders, soft as the silk robe that she wore about her shoulders. Kyel. Through these last ten years her Ancestral Guardian was her only voice of reason... her anchor in the chaos of her life. She shivered, though the room was warm, and she felt Blade slide his arms around her shoulders.

“Perhaps I should return to Ansalon for a while, I feel chained here, A wild Fenrir bird caught in a gilded cage. I will go mad if I am kept like this too much longer...” She whispered softly, and after taking a long, searching glance at her, Blade nodded his agreement.

“Perhaps you are right...” He said, and stood up. “You should start to pack things, and get Kyel ready. I’ll alert Talimir, and get the SeaStar ready to set sail.” He said as he headed for the door. “Then you should get some rest, so you can set sail in the morning.”

Kynia stared after him for along moment, her surprise at his acceptance evident in her blue eyes. She stood, albeit numbly, and pulled out two heavy saddle packs as well as a smaller third for herself to carry. She filled the first saddle bag with clothing, some lighter, fancier silks, and woven flax as well as some heavier clothing, made of choral wool and soft leather, painstakingly tanned to a beautiful texture. At the top of this pack she added a small bag, holding medicines for minor problems, such as a cough. With that went a flint and steel striker, and a tinderbox, as she had no skill to start a fire without it.

The first bag filled, she pulled it closed, and then buckled the cover over it. The second one was layered at the bottom with coins and jewels, bartering fare at the markets she would see ahead of her. On top of that went emergency rations of grain for Kyel, she knew that Blade would have the ship stocked for the three-week journey across the sea.

She sought out Kyel in the gardens that her rooms opened up to. The stallion could be seen on the eastern most corner, nose deep in his meal. Oats and other grains, especially barley as it was his favorite, dusted his nostrils as he raised his head at her approach.

The storm had passed by, leaving the flowers and leaves sparkling in the mage-lights, everything seemed dusted with diamonds. She didn’t say a word at first, but simply rested her forehead against his neck, her nose and mouth buried in his thick mane, breathing in his husky, familiar scent.

“Kyel, we’re leaving with the dawn...I cannot stay here like this. Our people will be safe, with Navarre banished, only his children are free to come here, and they have already been sworn to our aid... especially that elegant gray, Silar did they call him? He promised to guard our kingdom.”

Kyel looked at her solemnly for a long moment before dipping his head once. :: perhaps you are right... these past ten years have been hard on you. We were lucky that the path of the dragon Overlords that threatened Ansalon did not come to Sylfean. I will go to the tack-room at dawn and have the stable hands get me ready. I’ll go in full regalia for show, but you had better take it off of me as soon as you can.:: He snorted, and returned to his meal.

Kynia turned away and slipped back inside the ornate doorway towards the bedroom. Quickly she slipped off the silken robe and the blue and silver silk gown, the fire in the huge hearth silhouetted her slender body. She slipped into a sheer silk dressing gown that was a pale shade of blue. she reached into a box on the mantle and grabbed a handful of the powder within. She tossed it onto the fire, and it blazed blue for a moment, before returning to normal. From the flames the scent of lavender and chamomile filled the room, born on the gentle rain-kissed wind that flowed through the open crystalline latticework that served as windows.

She yawned and stretched, the silk robe sliding off of one pale shoulder, revealing an eight-pointed blue star tattooed there, the symbol of her status... ten years ago it was only a four point star. She didn’t jump when a hand rough with sword-calluses lightly cupped her shoulder, and then traced a line to the back of her neck. Blade moved behind her, one hand wrapping around her slender waist, the other tangled in her hair to lift it away from her neck. His kiss was light and soft, as the cool breeze danced across her skin. Kynia smiled and allowed him to lead her back towards the bed.

Dawn broke over horizon, setting the ice-capped mountains ablaze. Kynia sat in her favorite traveling attire. The blue tunic bore a carefully embroidered collar bearing the eight-pointed Silver Star that was her standard. The silk of the tunic was heavy, a triple weave that would keep her warm when she needed it. A tooled leather belt held her sword, a narrow rapier that was honed to a razor edge, the blue star sapphire gleamed in its hilt.

She had no worry about carrying such finery, she had traveled Ansalon before, and she knew that most of the dangers the land had to offer wouldn’t post much of a problem. And those that would pose a problem wouldn’t be after only her finery.

She pulled back her thick hair and with the help of a nimble-fingered girl, she had braided her hair so that only a few loose curls framed her face. Tiny silver star clips held her hair in place. A silver coronet was placed on her brow; a smaller star sapphire gleamed in its center. She took a sip of the warm Kava at her elbow and then stood. She grabbed the small pack with some of her lighter supplies, and other trade implements, and slung it over one shoulder.

She thanked the girl, Crysta, and wrapped her dark blue-gray cloak around her shoulders, pinning it with a simple silver pin.

Once outside of her rooms, she was accosted by Talimir, known as the Queen’s Own. His dark hair and eyes met hers with an intensity that halted her steps.

“Why do you go off alone my Queen?” He asked.

“Talimir, I must. If I am kept shut up in this palace I am sure I will go made, As your Rolan; he will tell you how I feel, for he has linked with Kyel several times during our conversation.” She said as she made to move past him.

“Then at least allow Roland and I to accompany you!” Talimir exclaimed, worry tinting his voice.

“Talimir, I must do this alone, I feel that I must be away from my people for a time... I will return, and besides, the people need you more than I do, and you’ll have to help Blade while I’m gone.” She said and this time succeeded in moving past him.

She met Blade at the entrance arch. His armor gleamed in the struggling morning sunlight. Kellan and Kyel stood shoulder to shoulder just past the arch, both draped in their formal regalia. Kyel’s blue and silver tack gleamed and glittered, tiny silver bells chimed from his reins, and from the chest strap attached to the small ornate saddle. The saddle skirt was a deep royal blue, with the tiny silver stars embroidered around the hem.

The crownpiece of the hackamore sported a Star Sapphire, and his mane was braided with blue and silver silk ribbons. He tossed his head and made the tiny bells chime sweetly.

Kellan’s mane was braided with scarlet and gold, with tiny gold bells tied into her hair. The crownpiece of her hackamore glittered with a dusting of crushed garnets. Her saddle skirt was of dark scarlet linen, embroidered with tiny golden swords and crowns. Her black coat was brushed to a brilliant gleam.

Blade held out his hand and guided her as custom wonted, helping her mount up. Kyel stood rock still under her, only the flickering of his ears signaled his amusement. Blade turned and then swung up into Kellan’s saddle. Kynia grasped the reins, more for her balance than for guiding Kyel, and he turned. Raising each hoof high, neck arched regally. Kellan followed suit, following slightly behind, and to the right of Kyel. Two more Kirioyal followed both upon roan horses used for the Royal Guard. One carried her Standard, the blue flag was edged in silver, and sported a large, eight-pointed Silver Star in the center. Both were well armed, and they followed the Queen and her consort, alert for any danger.

The ride down the valley was short, and at the base of the trail, Kynia turned in her saddle, to look back at the palace. Its crystalline towers glimmered in the sunlight, making it almost impossible to look at. The water that was a lake up there, fell in a torrent to the valley below, creating a wide, deep river that ran all the way to the eastern sea.

She urged Kyel forward with a light nudge of her heel, and he set forward again, using the same regal pace.
The ship was docked a half a mile down river, it wasn’t huge by any standards, and it was actually the same ship that she and her twin had used to first travel to Ansalon. The main mast towered only about thirty feet from the topside deck, with smaller masts both forward and aft. The sails were still bound to their riggings, the quintet of sailors that would accompany her were busy loading supplies for the journey.

Blade and Kellan moved to stand shoulder to shoulder with Kyel and Kynia. He turned in the saddle and embraced her, all custom be damned. “I love you... be careful out there, I want you to return to me Kynia...” He said softly, his lips brushing hers in a wistful kiss, reminiscent of last night. Kynia’s arms tightened around him for a moment before pulling away.

“Wait, here, take this.” He said, holding out the necklace that she had given them on their promise ceremony. The chain was of twisted chains of silver, gold and platinum. Dangling from the bottom was a rare Star Ruby. The jewel gleamed in the sunlight; the golden, four-pointed star in the center glowed from inside the semi-transparent gem.

“So you won’t forget me...” Was all he would say as Kynia’s hand closed around the chain. Kynia nodded silently and then Kyel turned his head to the ramp that lead to the ship’s upper deck. Once aboard, Kyel moved carefully across the Ironwood Deck, his steel shod hooves making no mark on the iron-hard wood.

She turned to face the crowd of people that had followed their small procession. She raised her hand in a silent farewell, as two of the sailors unfurled the sails, the wind filling them immediately, the ship pulling against it’s anchor. As the remaining two pulled the anchor using a winch.

Kyel reared up, his forelegs pawing the air as he neighed in a combination of triumph and farewell. Kynia kept her seat as the expert rider that she was, and waved. Before the ship had even cleared its’ dock, the small procession turned and began its’ short journey back to the palace. Kyel set all four feet back on deck and turned his head back to Kynia.

:: Get me out of these trappings and below deck... I never cared for sea travel....:: His mental voice groaned. Kynia laughed and slipped from the saddle. She took hold of the reins and led the stallion below deck. The large room below was a combination storage hold and living quarters for the Guardians. One half of the hold was strewn with hay, which would have to be replaced daily, from the many bales that occupied one quarter of their supplies. She unfastened the buckles to Kyel’s saddle and pulled off the heavy brocaded saddle skirt. She pulled off the leather hackamore and lay all of this on their proper hooks and stands in one corner. Kyel shook his head happily, glad to be free of the formalities of state.

Kynia smiled and scratched his nose and the other areas chaffed by the hackamore. She replaced the leather with silk, the bright blue braided silk hackamore was much more comfortable than the leather one. He made no objections to this, he even would have been happy with the silver hackamore, he did have a tendency to be vain. Kynia did unpack it, and placed it with the others, the tiny cut and polished sapphires winked in the dim light, the silver of the hackamore was so bright and flawless it seemed to be made of liquid moonlight. Another fine silver mesh formed the reins of this hackamore, covered in silk to protect his rider’s hands.

Kyel sighed and leaned into her ministrations. She rubbed him down and then finally rubbed a camphor smelling ointment behind his ears.

::There, that should help with the seasickness...:: She sent soothingly.

Kyel closed his eyes, and rested his head against her shoulder. ::Thank you...:: He sent softly. Kynia sighed and leaned against his shoulder. This was as it should have always been... just her and Kyel... just as it was in the beginning. Even her closeness with her twin had never exceeded her bond with Kyel.

“We’ll be on the open sea within a candle-mark.” She said, glancing at the large candle within the glass lamp. Small lines were carved into the candle with a warm knife covered with soot. each line represented approximately one standard hour, most candles had twenty-four marks on it, and were lit at midnight. only seventeen marks remained, which meant it as about seven in the morning.

Kynia yawned, and stretched. Kyel had knelt and finally found himself a cozy spot on the floor, cushioned by the thick carpet of hay. Kynia smiled and then lay with her back against his flank, her long hair falling in a curtain over his back.

The following days were clear and bright, sunlight danced upon the waves, gilding them with gold. Eleven days later found them halfway to their destination. “M’lady! Come down from there!” Called one of the sailors, the one with the highest rank, she could see the stripes on his collar from here. She sat against one of the mizzens her back firmly pressed against the main mast, the crows’ nest just above her head.

She had let her hair fall free, and wore a sleeveless white silk tunic, belted at the waist. her choral wool trousers were of a pale blue-gray. Her pale skin had already darkened from the sun as she insisted in helping the crew.

“Do not worry! My sister and I sailed this ship ten years ago on this exact path on our own!” She called back in chastisement to the sailor. His cheeks reddened and he seemed about to speak again when she shook her head and jumped from the mizzenmast. The sailor cried out, but did so in vain. Obviously this man had taken the stories told about her as mere myth, exaggeration. Some of it was, however, but most of it was true. She caught one of the riggings and using a silk bandana she slid down it to the next mizzen catching the riggings there with her legs, then dropped with a flip to the deck below.

She landed on both feet, arms extended for balance, and the wizened sailor could only stare at her in shock, in disbelief at what he had just seen with his own eyes.

“I told you that there wasn’t anything to worry about.” she said, smiling, clapping him lightly against one burly shoulder. He turned, and shaking his head as a smile broke across his face.

“I’ll never again doubt your word M'lady.” He said, smiling. Kyel had chosen that moment to return to the deck for his daily visit. he normally kept himself below-deck, but insisted that he brave the sight of open water once a day, for the chance of breathing fresh air. His ears had lain flat against his skull when she jumped. He shook his head and fought off the chill of fear as she pulled off the stunt.

He paced forward, and narrowed his voice so that only she could hear. ::Are you out of your mind? Pulling off a stunt like that!?:: He cried, the fear-taint still in his mind-speech.

Kynia turned, her blue eyes meeting his. “don’t you start too... I knew that I would have no problem...” She said aloud. Her hands were on her hips, awaiting his answer. “Oh, Kyel... please don’t be cross... I’m quite sure that once we reach dry land you’ll be quite willing to carry me into a multitude of ‘dangerous adventures’” She laughed as she reached Kyel’s side. She caught his head in her hands by means of the silk hackamore. she stared into his deep blue eyes and then laughed. His ears pricked up and he joined her with a merry wicker of his own.

The land of Northern Ergoth was unchanged from Frost’s deadly touch, and remained as varied a climate as Southern Ergoth once was before his arrival on Krynn. Kynia braided her long hair, and hid her circlet in a pouch at her waist. She wore a priceless mithril chain-mail shirt between two layers of silk brocade. It had been many years since she last saw any of the members of the Kagonesti tribes, and there was no point in taking chances.

Kyel also sported the same mithril chain mail, draped over his back and chest, held in place by the straps of his saddle. He wore a silver hackamore, this one adorned with opals, and a carved opal horn that spiraled four inches above his head.

He always did like this gift, the Kagonesti were wonderful carvers. Kynia had given them several of her jewels and as a parting gift had carved this horn and helped Kynia affix it to one of his favorite hackamores. he shook his head, and Kynia tightened the one silver buckle under his jaw another notch, to make sure that the horn did not wobble.

Kynia fixed her cloak with a pin made to resemble an oak leaf, carved from a single emerald. The sailors weighed anchor and lowered the sturdy plank to the stone dock. Kyel walked down first, followed by Kynia. She pulled herself up into the saddle. Kyel’s saddlebags were filled as far as they could, and Kynia herself wore a pack that held some of her clothes and other miscellaneous items. The Sailors shouted their farewells and against hoisted the anchor... they would return to Sylfean and would return next midsummer's’ eve.

Kynia raised her hand in farewell, a gesture that ended in a salute. Kyel reared slightly and spun sharply on his heels, to gallop off to the west, quickly lost to sight among the trees.

The ruined remains of the temple in Neraka was still abandoned, no one had ever-dared set foot on that desecrated land, all but one man. He was draped in ebony robes from head to toe, he led a weary, wild eyed horse by the reins, heading for the circle of crystals, that once brought great evil to the land. The horse shied, and with a hiss, the man stilled the beast, though it’s eyes still shone with white. A shrouded figure could be seen sitting astride the beast. She was beautiful, with long dark hair and light blue eyes. perfect but for one thing... her eyes were empty, no light shone within their depths. She did not shake in horror of her surroundings, nor did she revel in its’ existence.

The man led the beast to the edge of the circle, and then helped the woman down from the horses’ back. She obeyed his commands, and walked slowly behind him. A sudden gust of wind swept the hood of her shrouding cloak away from her face. The elegant features were unmistakable, the slightly longer ears than the native elves of Ansalon, the unearthly beauty this girl possessed. but she seemed nothing more than a walking corpse. She breathed, she ate, she responded....but her spirit was gone, her soul passed on from this world.

A second gust and the cloak flew away from the man’s form, his dull sanguine eyes narrowed. If anyone else had seen him, they would have shrunk back in horror. But as it was, there was only the girl, and she did not react. The man was black...not of the generic sense of the word either, not just dark skinned, but black. He had no hair, his obsidian skin gleamed as lightning lanced through the sky. He gestured and the girl lay down on the cold, lightning scarred ground.

The man chanted in a soft, unknown language as ethereally musical as it was harsh. His long fingers tracing illegible symbols in the dust that covered the crystals from disuse. Each symbol began to glow a deep sanguine, and then lightning struck that particular crystal, arching from the crystal to the prone woman laying on the ground. When lightning had struck each pillar, a circle of arching black lightning surrounded the pair.

“Wake....” The man said in common, his voice laced thickly with an unknown accent. The girl’s eyes opened, and she blinked once and then stirred. A newborn soul was thus encouraged. She stood slowly... her gaze going from her hands to the man before her. He drew up his hood and smiled. “Who am I?” She asked, the timbre of her voice sweet. The man’s eyes narrowed and he told her...

“Your name is Krystal; you are a princess of a lost land, a land taken from you by your treacherous twin sister. She now rules them... it is you whom are meant to be Queen, not her.” He proceeded to tell the girl a twisted version of her life, including her own death...and how he had brought her back from the dead. She looked at him with a dawning expression, accepting his every word; newborn souls were so easy to guide.

“Who are you?” She asked.

“I am your key, your guide, and your guardian... I am the calm before the storm.” He said, smiling.

Kyel froze in mid munch, his blue eyes wide. He raised his head, not bothering to finish the chew, or to even attempt to swallow the mouthful of grain. His ears strained forward, as if to catch a ghost of a sound. A twitch started in his neck, and stilled only when Kynia lay her palm against it.

“What is it?” She asked, fear dancing a chill along her spine. He shook his head, his mane tangling in her fingers.

::I don’t know... something of great power disturbed the thought-web that connects all of our people.:: He said thoughtfully as he finally swallowed the half-chewed grain. He carefully picked up the whicker lid to the basket that he was eating from, the flaxen twine gripped firmly in his teeth. He carefully tapped his right fore-hoof on it to close it.

::I don’t think we should stay here much longer... perhaps we should press on... we’ll reach the eastern shore by sunset...” He said, tossing his head as if to rid himself of the feelings that had just ripped through him. He suppressed a shiver and then helped Kynia shovel dirt over the remnants of her little fire. He stood still as she re-laced the saddlebags and then laced her own pack onto the back of the saddle, so it balanced on his rump.

::I’ll just sleep in the saddle...:: She mind-spoke as she yawned. Kyel nodded his head, still deep in thought. Kynia pulled herself onto his back, buckled her legs with the straps that were attached to the saddle, and wound her hands with the reins, her fingers twined in Kyel’s mane. He started off at an easy pace, but his nervousness go the better of him and he broke out in as fast a gallop as he could without causing injury to his rider.

His thoughts were deeply hidden from Kynia, and rightly so... if she had heard these thoughts he would have scared her half out of her wits.

::::That light touch... so familiar. And that darkness, also terrifyingly familiar. But both were impossible... Lady Krystal was dead... slain by Kynia’s own hand... and Navarre... he had died at the claws and flame of the overlord Malys... But the powers were so similar. To make matters worse, in the last moment before the power faded from my awareness, the light touch that was so similar to Krystal turned dark, and filled with hate.::::

01/23/2005 3:05 PM

High up in the sky a greenish shimmer began to form, expanding in size and faintly glowing. When it had reached the size it had to, electrical sparks were trailing the edges of the phenomena. With the sound of thunder, a shape came falling out of the greenish haze, a black form which swiftly extended its wings and began to fly, spiralling down towards the ground. Gentle as a breeze in summer the dragon landed on the ground, then looked around again, as he had done while gliding downwards to the surface. This was no time to dally about, dragons were not exactly the most welcome thing on this world, as far as he had heard from the stories, but it was the only form he could have taken that could travel between worlds.

With a single talon, the dragon traced a runic pattern on the ground before him. As soon as he was done, a mist started to rise from the ground, covering a large area and rendering him invisible to the eye. A light sparked within the mist, growing brighter and lighting up the mist against the evening sky, then gradually the mist began to withdraw, slowly reseding towards the center of where it had sprouted from, while the light slowly dimmed out. The crossing between the last world he had visited and this one had taken longer then he had hoped, thus this transformation had to be done during nightfall. He had hoped to do this at day, when the mist and light would not have been so easily spotted, but fate had left him no other choice. Unknowingly that this was straight in the path that Kynia and Kyel would follow.

After fully dissipating, the mist had left the figure of a man behind, who had covered himself with a brown hooded cloak. Calmly the figure sat on the stump of a fallen tree, placed a number of stones in a circle and began placing wood inside the circle, leaving enough room to put a hand underneath it. As the wood was stacked, the figure made a rune in the air and spoke a single word: "Dhue". Immediately, the wood inside the stone circle caught fire, surrounding the makeshift campsite with a warm reddish hue.

He unfastened his swordbelt and placed it next to himself, leaning against the log he had seated himself upon, then he took his pack from his back, set it on his lap and pulled a blanket out from it, which he spread onto the ground and next to the fire. With the grace of an elf, he slid off the log and laid down onto the blanket and put the pack behind his head. In the morning, he aimed to travel further, looking for kinsfolk that called themselves the Kagonesti. Before he went to sleep, he traced a rune on the ground. Anything coming within a radius of 50 feet would automatically trigger the rune, waking him from his slumber. Satisfied, he dozed off.

01/23/2005 6:39 PM

Kyel had eventually slowed his pace, resigning himself to a slow, gentle gait as Kynia dozed in the saddle. The sun had slipped past the horizon, and he knew that they should make came soon.

Before he was able to rouse his chosen, he caught wind of wood smoke in the air, and saw a dull glow ahead of them.

:: Kynia... I belive we'll have company on our trail. Should we investigate?:: He sent softly

Kynia stirred and yawned, her eyes easily adjusting to the darkness. She took a deep breath, also noting the sweet scent of wood smoke. "Maybe whoever started that fire will be willing to share." She said, and Kyel quickened his pace, as Kynia unbuckled the straps on her legs.

They were wtihin sight of the fire now, barely fifty feet away when Kyel slowed to a deliberate walk...

01/24/2005 6:07 AM

...The young knight sat astride his warhorse, a shadow darker than the night surrounding him. A gentle breeze stirred colourless hair, like molten snow floating upon the wind, it whipped across his pale blue eyes causing him to raise a dark gauntlet to tuck the errant lock behind his ear, the blackened metal stark contrast with pale alabaster of his cheek.

The moonlight which flickered from behind the clouds glinted wetly from his armoured form, partially hidden beneath his black greatcloak that lay draped across the flanks of his steed. The moonlight glinted softly from the ebon steel of his armour, catching the inlays of dark lillies threaded with thorns all crafted meticulously in life-like detail as they sought to drink the dying light of the wan moon.

He sat motionless in the saddle, his eyes fixed upon a single soft glow in the darkened distance, his steel-clad hand coming to rest upon the pommel of his sword with a casual practised ease. His blue eyes scanned the surroundings slowly looking, searching for any signs of danger, any sign at all that this could be a trap for the unwary.

The warhorse snorted suddenly and shifted its weight as if it caught the scent of something that didn't agree with the beast. His hand went instinctively to his chest seeking the comfort of his medallion, but found nothing but the cold steel of his ebon breastplate and the effigy of a black lilly that was crafted there. He chuckled softly to himself, but there was little mirth in the sound, the loss of his goddess was still felt keenly by the knight and his once beloved medallion, the same one worn by his father, now lay with the great crystal testament that marked the final resting place of the dragon Nevarre.

Stirring himself from his reverie and the painful memories of his past, the young knight touched his heels to the slab sides of his mount, urging the battle-trained beast into the darkened night towards the small amber glow of the campfire ahead...

[Edited by Arandur on Monday, January 24, 2005 12:54 PM]

01/25/2005 6:22 AM

As soon as Kyel crossed the outer marker of the rune, the cloaked figure awoke and sat upright, while looking at their direction, but seemed to relax when he laid eyes on the stallion and its rider. Calmly he awaited their approach, while he placed some more wood on the fire. As they had closed the distance to a mere twenty feet, he spoke and motioned towards the fire. "Although I wasn't expecting guests, you are welcome to share the warmth of the fire. Traveller hospitality should be respected and I will be no exception to it."

Patiently, like one would expect from an elf, he waited for his 'guests' to make themselves comfortable and to introduce themselves to him, as costumary during these encounters. Whether they would give out their actual names or not, the distraction would be welcome. He however kept up his guard, until he was sure to be able to trust them, since he knew he would not be the first one to be attacked in the hospitality of his own camp. People these days could not be too careful, which was something he had learned in the course of the years of travel.

Despite the friendly tone of voice, which gave out a hint of being foreign to these lands, his face remained hidden within the hood of the cloak. His arms seemed quite strong and below the sleeves of his shirt, a glimmer of metal could be seen sparkling in the light of the fire. His attitude came across as calm and friendly, but there remained an aura of mystery around him. "Riding at night can be dangerous, ambushes are more easily concealed and traps are less easily spotted. Enjoy the relative safety of this camp until morning." He stated. Again the foreign accent was audible, yet a familiar melodic undertone carried in his voice.

01/25/2005 6:43 PM

"I thank you. And while riding at night can indeed be dangerous to any common horse and rider, it poses little threat to myself and Kyel. His eyesight vastly surpasses my own."

:: Flattery will get you everywhere...:: Kyel's voice whickered in her head, and she smiled.

"My name is Kynia Risarlli, and this is Kyel. While we are not native to these shores, I do admit that I am familiar with it, and I cannot place your accent... Pray.. tell me, where are you from?" She asked.

:: Tred carefully littling... this one is dangerous if provoked...:: Kyel intoned, snorting audibly, stamping a forehoof.

01/26/2005 3:18 AM

Barely visible from under the hood, the man curled his lips to a slight smile. He turned his head towards Kynia and nodded to her, before he replied her question. "You have a good ear, young one and aren't afraid to follow your curiosity. You are correct however that I am not from these parts, for it is the first time I set foot on this world today. I came here in search of kinsfolk, as little of my own people remain." He pointed towards the tips of the young woman's ears, which made his sleeve crawl up a bit, revealing the edge of an exquisitely crafted bracer, covered with runic patterns.

"From the looks of it, you have an elven heritage, Kynia. What brings you to this part of the world? Returning to home or travelling to see family?" He paused briefly and seemed to be looking Kyel over. "Tell me, little one, is your four legged friend trying to tell you something? He seems a bit restless to me, although I must admit that he is a magnificent looking animal." For a short moment he pondered, then continued to speak. "Where are my manners? I am Caelin Earebrion, former lord of the Lythari, now travelling in search of elves. I have heard there is an elven race in these parts, which is the reason of my little travel."

Slowly he pushed back the hood, revealing his elven features, refined though with a slightly angular jaw. His greenish eyes stared at Kynia, emanating warmth with a glimmer of the knowledge behind them. The raven colored hair he carried tied back at the neck, though small indications of greying could be spotted. The skin resembled that of his hands, moderately tanned through exposure to the sun, yet it showed no wrinkles, nor other signs of aging. His hands were a story by itself, strong but not overly so, with small signs of callous, indicating he was at least proficient with a weapon.

01/26/2005 2:33 PM

Kynia stifled a small laugh, and Kyel snorted in mild indignation. "Don't let him intimidate you... he is much more than he seems..." She laughed.

:: I'll remember that laugh next time you complain of saddle soreness:: Kyel snorted and fixed Caelin with his sapphire eyes, in order to speak to him.

:::Not just a simple animal if you please. Now, howmany elven maids do you know can handle a full blood stallion in his prime?::: Kyel's whinney seemed more and more like laughter as he tossed his mane.

Kynia could only smile, wondering just how this man would take Kyel's dry humor... and the fact that this horse just spoke to him.

01/26/2005 3:05 PM

Caelin blinked at Kyel, then seemed to ponder for a short while. After he thought about what had just happened, the elf spoke in a very calm manner. "Sorry for the hesitation, but I am not used to converse in such manner, Kyel. I gather this is the way you and Kynia converse? Interesting concept to talk directly from mind to mind, yet it can prove to be dangerous when used on someone that is not prepared for it. You nearly startled me, which is not entirely safe. Can it be learned?"

Then he glanced at Kynia and grinned widely. "No ordinary ones, Kyel, but I know a few that are more then ordinary. Luckily I have met quite a few rare characters in my travels, otherwise your direct method of communication would have been considered as intrusive. Can you read my thoughts as well as send your own to my mind?" While he spoke, his eyes sparkled lightly and his hands slid into his wide sleeves, clasping his forearms. For an instant, the sound of metal against metal was heard.

Caelin turned towards Kynia and spoke in a rather direct fashion. "These elves in this region, do they have a name and is it where you are heading? If this is so, would you mind my company?" The though rose that he would have to keep up with a horse and rider, but it merely made him laugh a little inside. "Keeping up with Kyel's pace should not pose a problem, I think."

01/26/2005 3:15 PM

Kyel shook his head, his blue eyes bright with amusement, and again his gaze locked with Caelin's. ::: Nay... though I could, should it be needed if my chosen were in danger...doing so would severly damage your mind. Your thoughts are safely yours. as for if it can be learned....::: He thoughtfully pawed at the ground, before continuing.

:::I can usually only speak with others not of the Kirioyal by meeting eye to eye... Even many of the Kirioyal cannot speak this way... only those chosen:::

Kynia nodded in response to Caelin. "The elves are known as the Kagonesti, and I am familiar with them and indeed are heading to meet with them." she was about to question caelin about his choice of words when she heard a soft rustle and a snapping twig.

Both she and Kyel whirled with ingrained speed, Kynia's sword drawn and held at the ready...

Standing at the edge of the clearing, a large white wolf stood there. When the creatures posture remained unthreatening, Kyel paced forward, his head low and ears forward...

01/26/2005 3:38 PM

Caelin reacted with the same speed, though much differently then the others. "Kynia, please lower your sword and ask Kyel to return to the fire. Please do as I ask and i'll explain later." With a few strides, he approached the wolf, slowing down as he came closer. He started to speak in a melodic tone of voice, though odd words were mixed in his choice of words. "Easy now, Serrah, come to me. We will do you no harm." Calmly he crouched a mere three feet before the wolf and slowly stretched out his palm towards it.

"Karch am Caelin, Serrah. Cantah me." He remained in this position, allowing the wolf to come to him at it's own free will. He did however not remove his eyes from it and showed no sign of fear. "There we go, white one, come closer. Are you hungry?" Next he began making sounds, first that of a wolfcub, then slowly and gradually his voice grew, ending up in a howl that was eerily close to that of a wolf, just as they do when calling to their kin.

01/26/2005 3:52 PM

The wolf paced forward, moving cautiously, and startling visibly as Caelin literally howled. They could all see that she wore ornaments of silver, crystal and white feathers. Even parts of her fur had been dyed with color. Heavy leather bracers adorned each leg, dyed and tooled beautifuly.

Nakira bared her teeth, and a low, rumbling growl filled the clearing. Before either Celin or Kynia could react, Kyel snorted, and whickered, snapping his teeth on air. The wolf started again, and fixed her emerald gaze on the stallion...then her gaze fixed on the ornamental horn on his halter and her growls ceased.

She cast her gaze towards Kynia and then towards Caelin... and lifted her quite delicate muzzle to the stars and her howl filled the clearing. A soft silvery mist surrouned her form and Nakira stepped from it wearing a one-peice long tunic made of softly cured leather. Her long silver-white hair was bound in braids with silver clips that dangled feathers and crystals that chimed when she walked.

"I am Nakira Trailwinder. I greet you in the name of the Kagonesti. You are welcome in our lands for one reason..." She gestured towards Kyel and Kynia. "These two are valued friends of my people, that you share camp is good enough for me."

01/26/2005 4:08 PM

Caelin smiled widely, then made a short bow and extended his hand to her. "Mae govannen, Nakira Trailwinder. I am Caelin Earebrion and perhaps closer related to you then you might think. I like that wolven form of yours, it reminds me of something." With that said, he glanced at Kynia. "I think I am going to enjoy getting acquainted with the Kagonesti. This one even seems to be able to change form, Kynia. I wonder if she is able to shift into more forms then this."

Gradually he walked back to the fire and sat down, though he did not take his eyes off Nakira. "Anyone interested in some food or perhaps something to drink?" The elf seemed more at ease, with the arrival of the kagonesti and for some reason, he seemed more easily approachable from that moment on.

02/03/2005 4:41 PM

Nakira flushed, and Kyel's ears lay flat as he felt a surge of emotion from the girl. "This is not common of the Kagonesti. I am alone in this 'gift'." She said softly, but there was a hidden pain and hatred deep in her voice, and Kynia regarded the girl with further interest.

"Perhaps a meal would be a good idea... I have some trail bread, and I am sure I can bring down a rabbit or two if Nakira says it's okay."

Nakira met Kynia's eyes and shook her head. "No... You are an honored guest in our forests... I will find what we need." She stood and turned her back to them before shifting. Kynia now saw that where the girl had brightly colored tattoos on her skin, her fur seemed dyed the same color.

Nakira lowered her nose to the ground, searching out scents and finding a recent trail, darted off into the foliage.

02/04/2005 4:45 PM

Caelin titled his herad slightly as the Kagonesti shifted, suppressing an urge to do the same, but genuinely interested in the elf. As Nakira dashed off, he spoke softly. "Her voice carried a lot of emotion. Why exactly does she resent her gift so much? Does it make her an outcast among her kin?"

His voice had been calm, but revealed an undertone of interest. He looked straight at Kynia as he posed his question. Then he fiddled around in his pack and fished out two apples, of which he threw one towards Kynia and the other towards Kyel. "To build up an appetite." He simply explained.

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