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Epilogue

 
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QueenTeleperien
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 2:17 pm    Post subject: Epilogue Reply with quote

Teleperien sits quietly in her study, reading over the summary of the battle to clear the forest of the Chalkotu. Certain the details are correct, she sighs and sets the small book aside. She looks at her tea pot, stands to pour out one more cup, but only a few drops dribble out.

?Well...? she walks over to the rope to pull for more and stops. Instead she steps over to a small cabinet and opens it. Retrieving a bottle of yellow wine and a glass, she pours herself a glass. Sitting now, she takes a sip of her wine. A knock on the study door interrupts her quiet.

?Who is it?? she calls out with a little irritation. Lately she was not in the mood for company.

?It is I Lady, Gwindor.? Came the muffled reply.

?Ah, come in Gwindor.?

The door opens and the tall elf ducks under the lentil and looks down at his queen, bowing hand on his breast. Then he closes the door behind him.

?Lady, the people are asking about you. Are you well??

?I am well enough Gwindor.? Tele answers. She did not want to share her guilt and hurt out loud to anyone.

Gwindor gestures to a chair nearby, Tele nods and offers a glass of wine.

?Yes, I would like one.? He answers quietly. Tele pours one and hands it to him. ?Why have you hidden yourself away Lady??

Tele doesn?t answer immediately. Gwindor gives her a hawk like glance. ?I can guess. You blame yourself for Xenograg?s injuries as well as Lady Murelle?s.?

The scene inside the Dojo flashes back to her. Once she was recovered herself she made it a point to see Xenograg to see how he fared. She tried to heal him, but a force too strong prevented her, throwing her back against a guard. Once more she tried, only to be thrown away again, this time against a wall. Almatea then gestures to her, they go out of the sick room into the hallway.

?This will be the last battle Xenograg will fight for Eldicor.? Her voice is strained and her face is exhausted. ?I cannot live thinking my husband will arrive home to be buried once more.?

For a moment Tele was silent, stunned by the force of Almatea?s declaration. Tele nodded. ?I understand.?

?I hope you do. I think that Xenograg will go into retirement after this.?
Tele only nods and gestures to her ever present Gwindor and they leave the Dojo together.

She hasn?t visited the Dojo since. And Xenograg never visited Eldicor. She missed him, she felt as if she lost a good friend. It has been 18 months.

Tears threatened Tele?s eyes and she nods in agreement with Gwindor. ?I failed them. I could not heal them.?

?Lady Murelle chose to face that creature come what may. She does not blame you for her injuries. She fares well enough and in fact you know she has moved to her own little place and is happily tending her gardens.? Gwindor takes a sip of his wine. ?Erwyn visits Xenograg as you know and has been reporting on his progress. It has been slow, but he is healing.?

?She has been keeping me informed.? Tele answers heavily. Too slowly in her estimation. She also learned that Murelle had been sending teas and herbs for his baths to sooth his skin. Erwyn has made herself a regular customer of Murelle?s little business.

?The people are also asking about you. They notice you have been locked away. Perhaps I can make a suggestion.?

?Oh?? Tele asks now with a little curiosity.

?That ball. Hold that ball. You?ve been wanting to do so since Lady GreyMantle arrived, now is the time to do it.?

At first Tele doesn?t answer, she mulls over the suggestion. ?You are right. There are those who need to be rewarded for their bravery, not just Xenograg and Murelle.?

She smiles for the first time. ?Thank you Gwindor that will help.?
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Murelle GreyMantle
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2015 2:56 pm    Post subject: A Visit Reply with quote

Eighteen months passed since Murelle killed the Chalkotu. She found a little cottage on the skirts of Sawrey that fit her and Gwyn perfectly. The day she moved out of the castle was both unhappy yet delightful. She loved the outdoors and she felt stifled in the castle. The queen was a gracious hostess; it was time for her to live on her own.

Sitting back on her heels, she wipes sweat off her forehead as she pulls a weed, shaking the dirt off the roots. Summer was humid this year, the wind was from the west, and a constant blast of sea air hung over the small village like a wet blanket. Thunderstorms were frequent which suited Murelle fine; she didn?t have to haul water to her garden most of the time saving her back.

Twice since the battle, she had picked flowers, she and Gwyn traveled to the field where those who lost their lives battling the awful ?spiders? to help her in her quest. A flower on each of the marine?s graves that lined up like solders and a bunch next to the magnificent stone Borin created that listed each of those who died. Human, Elven, Dwarf and Hobbit.

Also she opened a little shop that sold herbs, teas and unusual remedies for maladies. Erwyn visited her shop often in search of something that would ease Xenograg?s pain.

Xenograg. She shared the queen?s guilt over his injuries. Murelle heard the queen could not heal him as she was not able to be healed either. But her injuries were not as extensive. She recovered quickly due to the queen?s healer?s help and her own knowledge of herb lore. So she researched what she knew and sent what teas and herbs for his bath that would sooth him. Athelas was included frequently and a constant supply of the queen?s tea.

A familiar voice calls breaking her train of thought. ?Lady Murelle!?

Murelle turns to see the young princess bounding into her back yard. She was so unlike the queen. She had a zest for life and unquenchable cheerfulness.

?Back for more remedies Erwyn?? Murelle couldn?t help but smile.

?Nay! I come with news! Mother is holding the ball!?

Murelle groans.

?Don?t you like balls?? Erwyn asks with disbelief. ?I love the idea of dancing!?

?Not really.? Murelle answers standing with a grunt. ?I will attend of course. I promised I would.?

?Good! It wouldn?t be the same without you.? Erwyn said now a little seriously. ?Your service is to be commended.?

?That?s what I?m afraid of.? She hated standing in front of crowds.

?It will all be well, I promise.?

?I?m sure it will be.? Murelle answers with a smile with cheerfulness she didn?t really feel.

Murelle changes the subject. ?I am now tending bar at the Red Dragon in Rhy-Din town.?

?So I heard. Xenograg told me so.?

?How is he doing?? She could see for herself when Xenograg vested her at the Inn but looks are deceiving.

?He?s healing well, thanks to your medicines. He is getting around.?

Murelle smiles. ?Come on inside, let?s have a cold drink.? They shared the lastist gossip and the goings on at the castle in in the Dojo.
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Xenograg
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was the hardest year of Xenograg's life. Even harder than the one spent running for his life and grieving for his murdered first wife.

He had been seriously injured several times before. He was much younger then, though. Furthermore, this injury was three wounds suffered simultaneously.

The shallow but wide puncture in his back was the least injury because it was just physical. No internal organs had been damaged, but the muscle and tissue damage meant a long (natural) recovery.

The second injury was sorcerous fleshburn. Xenograg had channeled too much arcane power too quickly. His skin tone became blacker than night as the magic had burned through his body. This wound was more magical than physical. No magical healing ever worked for it; it would only abate naturally--if it did at all.

The third injury was exposure to whatever energy was released by the explosive death of the Chalkotu. This was still completely unknown to everyone in both effect and treatment.

Teleperien tried but failed to heal either the first or third wounds. It was thought that the latter prevented the Queen's expected total success with the former. She was embarrassingly apologetic about it to Xenograg. He was forced to admit that he had become accustomed to her near-miraculous skill. This time, only time would bring improvement.

It took a year.

Severe fleshburn brings fever-like sickness and bouts of pain throughout the body. One early, minor infection in the puncture wound worsened the feverishness with the genuine article. Xenograg was completely bedridden for two months. By the end of it, he was very underweight and weak as a newborn kitten. His hair became almost completely grey and white, and had noticeably thinned.

He had to almost learn to walk again. His physicians supervised a diet and light exercise regimen that slowly strengthened his body. Progress was suspiciously below all expectations, however.

Lifting a weapon was beyond him for six months. Attempts at sorcery were not even contemplated that first year. He spent much of it sitting in a chair placed in the first-floor training hall of Xenodar's donjon tower. He was left instructing students with only words and gestures. It was extremely frustrating.

For the first time in his life, Xenograg felt his true age of 66 years. He had to accept the hard truth:

He was old.
He was not going to fully recover.
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"The stupidest creative act is still a creative act, and that the real gap isn't between the mediocre and great work. The real gap is between getting started and doing nothing. If you've created something, even if it's stupid, you've put yourself in a position to do more." - Clay Shirky
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Xenograg
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A week after the winter solstice, an invitation-only gathering was held in the great hall of the almost-finished keep in Xenodar. The guests were all residents of the beylik. Almost all were young. The proportion of males to females was roughly two-to-one. The free feast ensured a full turnout.

Soon after last year's Eldicor military expedition, Amanda succeeded to the sole rulership of Xenodar. As such, she sat in the center seat upon the dais. At her right hand sat her father and, to his right, her mother. To her left sat her younger brother, Urrograg, while Grimblade stood guard behind him. Now almost 17 years old, Urrograg was maturing into a fine young man. The three children of Xenograg and Amaltea were all easily recognized as such, physically, despite differing mixtures of their parental heritages. Amanda heavily favored their father; her older brother, Torin, just as heavily with their mother. Urrograg was a true mixture: his father's brown eyes and skin tone combined with his mother's finer bone structure and red hair.

Urrograg was the reason for this meeting. Once the meal was over, he stood up from the table and stepped down into the center of the hall. Grimblade accompanied him; his sword scabbard, as always, held in his left hand. Urrograg addresses his attentive audience.

"I am Urrograg. My sister is your liege. I am a prince in exile from my father's homeland, far from here. Several years ago, my eldest brother murdered our cousin to seize the throne. This cannot stand. Now that I am of age, it is my task to execute this usurper and take the throne in the name of justice."

"So I am building an army. One open to talents regardless of one's origin, station, or gender. I need bodyguards, soldiers, and leaders of soldiers. I am looking for people to serve me. My sister has agreed to release from vassalage anyone here who volunteers." Urrograg gestures in Grimblade's direction. "This is Grimblade. He is the commander of my bodyguard and will be the general of the army."

"Training will be given to the limit of your aptitude and loyalty. My parents are both masters of the martial arts. They will be your teachers as they are mine. We will all train together, and become one."

"You do not have to decide immediately. Go home and discuss this with your families. Return here the morning after next to join me."

"Good night."
_________________
"The stupidest creative act is still a creative act, and that the real gap isn't between the mediocre and great work. The real gap is between getting started and doing nothing. If you've created something, even if it's stupid, you've put yourself in a position to do more." - Clay Shirky
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