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Post  Sarala on Fri Jun 05, 2015 9:39 pm

So, I've been meaning to post this awhile now, and what with the fact that Feluanil and Thaddeus are finally married it's about time.
This was Sarala's first encounter with the fey queen. At least, the first that she can remember. It happened out in the middle of the Kamelands on our way back to Restov to report the end of our mission. We had just fought and killed the Staglord. That's 4 years back in game.

Desnus 11, 4710

The clear, sable sky sparkled with crystalline-blue stars that seemed to fuse the night air with an unusually palpable chill for the mid-Spring season.  No sound save for the popping and crackling of a small fire was heard from the surrounding environs, making the small camp an anomaly amidst the wide open plain.  Four companions lay sprawled around the heat-generating flames in deep slumber, while one--a beautiful, young sylph--remained awake and alert against the plethora of possible dangers roaming the expansive Kamelands.

At some point within that silent stillness, a sudden melody blended serenely with the chaotic rhythm of dancing flames.  It whispered almost imperceptibly in a language long forgotten or never remembered in the lands of mortal ken, tinkling and bubbling with the soothing music of a deep forest stream.  Ten paces to the southeast of the small group, a thin rivulet of ground water, pure and translucent and sapphire blue, leaped a few inches into the air, then spread outward in a smooth, rippleless fashion, as if forming beneath a layer of glass.  Within a few short moments, a shallow spring existed in the vast plain where none had ever before.

Soon after, strands of silky hair, black as the light shed from a new moon, emerged from the pool without ever scratching its perfect surface.  Even exposed to the dry air, the ebony locks floated as if still submerged in watery depths.  A delicate face the color of newly-formed pearl followed, her features majestic and round as to never strain the eye with a sharp curve or edge to it.  Exotic, pupil-less eyes a mixed shade of emerald and seaweed stared forward and unblinking, the cold and calculating wisdom of countless ages undiminished within their piercing gaze.  As the rest of her body--its unblemished skin appearing smooth and supple as rare porcelain--rose from the unbroken surface of the pool, free-flowing hair moved about her with a life of its own to aptly cover those secret places best left to the imagination.  Though the lips of her blue-tinted mouth remained closed, the quiet song continued to play as a lullaby that surrounded her like an aura of peacefulness.

To those who slept calmly and unperturbed alongside the fire, nothing would wake them . . .

For the one entrusted to watch over them this night, it appeared as though a dream had come to vivid life before her.

Sarala was enraptured by what she saw. Even her normal tendency toward suspicion was waylaid by the beauty appearing before her. Making her every move slow and steady, the slyph crept closer to the vision as curiosity drove her straight to the sight instead of her usual path of circumvention.

Stopping a few feet from the site, the slyph lay under what cover she could find and stared at the flawless creature before her. Time passed both rapidly and at a snails pace. Finally, overwhelmed with a strange sense of urgency Sarala dared to peer out of her cover of shadow. In reverenced tones she whispered one simple, sincere question to the being.

"Who are you?"

Her eyes did not move at the softly-spoken inquiry--indeed, they did not have to, as the span of their gaze took in everything within her field of vision, much as a painting's eyes seem to follow one as they progress through a gallery.  Silky tresses floated about her body with dainty ease, their movement free-flowing yet properly concealing as they formed rills and ponds black as shadow on a moonless, starless night.

"inquisitiveness," she spoke, each syllable hushed and even and without accentuation; a calm breath of air accompanied by falling rain where two brooks meet rather than a forced exhalation of harsh wind.  She started forward atop the tiny spring, her footfalls treading light and graceful across the mirrored surface of water.  Her full-figured frame swayed with an intoxicating sensualness not overtly sexual, but simply from having perfected the art of movement.  Naturally fluid.  Unbroken.  A runnel that falls six feet before progressing along its natural course.

"is it truly now you find your nature again?  why should it have taken so long, child?"

As the being began to move Sarala found herself completely transfixed. She had never seen anything quite like it before. It was like the moon, and shadows, and stars, and whispers, and water, and glass had all come together in a beautiful and mysterious harmony. Like, but so much more. And those eyes. The more she gazed at them the more she felt foolish for trying to hide herself in the shadows. Surely nothing was lost once those eyes beheld them.  "Beautiful," she gasped only to quickly cover her lips, recoiling slightly from embarrassment. The word had come unbidden in her state of awe. Though it seemed innocent enough, Sarala felt her slip of the tongue to be highly improper.

Then Sarala realized that the being had spoken. The vision had parted her lips and words formed in perfect phrases had rolled off her tongue. The being's very breath was a thing of beauty. The sylph's marveling was interrupted by the thought that she didn't know what had been said. In her trance she had forgotten to pay attention. She was about to open her mouth and inquire if the vision would kindly repeat herself when her very words came rushing back to Sarala's brain like a wave crashing on a seashore, clear and precise.

"inquisitiveness, is it truly now you find your nature again?  why should it have taken so long, child?"

But what could she mean? Sarala glanced away as her mind became fraught with questions and doubts. The walls of security that she had built in her mind were starting to erode.

The sylph willed herself to look at the being once more. Both fear and wonder were plainly read in her countenance.

"I don't understand," her voice shook quietly. "What do you mean...? How did you know...?"

"must we do this," she said eloquently, though beneath the enchanting tone resounded the raging thunder of a powerful waterfall.  All the fury of a storm at sea crashed about within the infinite depths of those uniquely green eyes.  Though clearly worded as a question, nothing about her intonation agreed that it was.

A reassuring smile, beautiful as coral along an ocean reef, spread upon the fullness of her lips.  She reached out her hand and lightly brushed fingertips across the young sylph's cheek.  They felt moist and cool and refreshing to the touch.  "questions are important, child, but not of me.  unless, of course, i give you leave."  She lowered her hand and continued, "when you were but a babe, you had such inquisitive eyes.  they sought hungrily to and fro for an answer that satisfies."  Her sigh was reminiscent of a wave lapping against the shore of the sea.  "alas, i warned them not to let you go so soon, lest among humanity you would lose such a boon.  but they would not be reasoned with; to cast you here would 'solve the myth,' they said.

"and that is he," she proclaimed matter-of-factly, despite her attention having never apparently left the one before her.  "that is the manling you call 'brother.'"

She slipped beyond the sylph as water flows around a stone to hover above the paladin deep in slumber.  "do you care for this one, child?  have you grown close?" she asked, staring peacefully down at him.  "will you not tell me of him?"

Everything Sarala knew and remembered about her life felt like a distant dream, slipping away. It felt as though she was waking to a new, mysterious, more vivid reality. Memories tugged at the back of her mind of sights and sounds that she always thought she'd imagined. Yet now they seemed more real, more plausible, more palpable.

The being, the one who knew her, had asked the sylph to tell her about the sleeping paladin. Sarala's gaze shifted back to where he slept by the fire. In her mind's eye she could see his face. It morphed from man to boy all the while smiling and laughing, waving at her through the fog of a distant memory. She felt like she should know him, did know him very well, but what was his name?

With closed eyes and hands grasped shut Sarala tried to concentrate. She needed something to tell the one about this man-boy. Tracing the outline of the scar on her palm she imagined herself stepping through the fog toward the image that was smiling, waving at her. That's when she noticed what was on his hand. On his palm was a scar that bore striking resemblance to her own. Thad. The fog lifted as the memories of life with her brother became clear again.

The tension released from her shoulders as she opened her eyes once more. With confidence she replied to the being's questions.

"Yes, I will tell you of him. He is good and his heart is pure. He seeks to make things right and restore as much as is in his power to restore. It grieves him when others refuse restoration to all that is bright and good," an image of a sneering Hoff appeared in her mind. She quickly brushed it away.

"He is a great man, a man of high principles and ideals, and he brings out the greatness of those around him," a small smile moved across her face as she thought of Paido.

"He believes that we all have been given a choice to do good or ill and that those who do right are to be commended and those who choose to harm must be warned and brought to justice. His integrity is sure and his loyalty is not something lost easily. He seeks to bring mercy when others have lost their patience, though his sword can be swift when the need arises.

"I am very fond of him, he is close to my heart as I am to his. He is my shield just as I ever seek to shield him from any grievous harm. It is as if we truly were of one blood, bonded together..." Sarala looked again at her brother's sleeping form with gratitude in her eyes. "Without him I would be lost.

"Thaddeus is my anchor."

She spent the entire length of the sylph's speech gazing down at the man, and once it even appeared as though a strand of her raven hair may have softly caressed his cheek.  In all that time, however, her expression never strayed from stoic.

"thaddeus," she repeated when the name was finally spoken.  "yes . . . he is known to me.  that debt has yet to be paid, but all things from whence they are made will be accepted in their time properly.

Her eyes reset back to the sylph.  "wake him," she commanded, and in her voice resonated the power of a thousand tsunamis devastating a thousand cities.

The sylph felt the devastation of the command rush through every fiber of her being striking terror in her heart. Suddenly she found herself by her brother's side trying to bring him back to consciousness. She could not remember how she got there, it was as if her limbs moved with a will of their own. Her thoughts were consumed with fear. Fear of her safety if she couldn't comply with the being's wishes. Fear of what strange designs the being may have in store for Thaddeus should he waken. Fear that everything she thought she knew about her life was going to be taken away from her. Gone were the feelings of curiosity toward the strange creature who had shown up during her watch. Gone was the peace she felt when she looked into the being's flawless face. All that remained was turmoil.

Once Sarala realized that her attempts were failing she threw her body between Thaddeus and the being. Looking up toward the beautiful face once more the sylph both feared and desired to feel her touch once more.

"Please," in a tremulous voice she pleaded, "I cannot do what you ask of me. Please, just do not harm him!"

Silky darkness cupped the sylph's chin and crept like vine of shadow upward to tenderly caress the mortal's cheek.  "relax, child," she smiled, her voice soothing as a hot spring.  Though the fire burned hot mere paces away, her floating hair distilled its light so that her face of pearl shone as if in moonlight, with the opposite side away from the flame cast in a deeper darkness.  Her eyes twinkled a delicate green.  In their depths reflected none of the warmth found within her smile.  "the manling will wake upon the morn; watchful and caring, a quiet storm."

The green of her eyes began to ripple and swirl.  In their center, whirlpools formed hollow irises that sank into darkness.  "yet now you know he wakes by my will--not by yours, nor his own.  the harvest of seeds sown--an important lesson even still."

With gentle strength, the sable lock lifted the sylph to her feet, where the visitor affectionately kissed her forehead with motherly tenderness.  When she glided away a step , her eyes appeared calm as a glass sea again.

"i wish you well with all your days, child," she spoke in the calming manner of a warm current as she slowly backed away toward the shallow spring from whence she came, "but with all things come a price."  Her foot touched the pristine surface and began to liquify, mingling with water.  "remember your nature . . .

"inquisitiveness," she whispered like a trickling brook, her entire body enveloped now by the pool, "happens to be the cost of your anchor."

Her head submerged as the last syllable flowed from her bluish-purple lips, and quickly her dark tresses followed, leaving behind only a shallow pool a few inches deep where none had ever existed before.

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