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12th of Uktar-Dawn-Zazesspur

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12th of Uktar-Dawn-Zazesspur

Post  TRU on Sat Sep 19, 2009 10:24 am

This takes place the morning of the 12th of Uktar, which was the second, and final day of the party in Zazesspur.


They say cleanliness is next to godliness. Though that depended ENTIRELY on which god they were talking about, Ashara certainly felt that way when she woke up that morning. On the ship, she had only replaced the grime of Dagadar, with a thin film of salt covering her skin from the seawater.

The priestess had excused herself early from the party last night, much to Gwilly's ire, to make use of the castle's heated baths. A luxury in every sense of the word. She scrubbed her skin nearly raw, and felt all the better for it. She had a very difficult time relaxing on that first day in the city, and even the king's decree wasn't enough to drive the thoughts of what might lie ahead from her mind, but as she loosed her hair from the tight braids that bound it, and stepped into the warm water, she felt the tension drain from her body.

It was a couple of hours before dawn when she stood in front of the extravagantly large mirror that hung in her room. It had been months since she'd seen her own reflection in anything but water, and she was a bit shocked by what she saw. The figure before her looked older than she remembered...less the little girl she had often felt like, and more of the young woman who was finding new confidence in herself. Her unfettered hair fell in auburn waves past her waist, and she had a flitting memory of the last time her braids had been undone, but she chased it from her mind before it could be dwelled upon. The most suprising difference that Ashara noticed however was that she was very nearly glowing! Whether from Lathander's power, the scalding bath, or the near flaying of her own skin, she didn't know. Perhaps it was due to the dance they shared the night before...

Elric... Reflection forgotten, Ashara skipped over to the cabinet and threw on her scarlet cassock, cinching the golden sash around her waist. She grabbed a blanket from the bed, and wrapped it about her shoulders before rushing out the door.

He had agreed to meet her at the top of the tower at dawn to do his daily training and she, her prayers. Though she was going to be very early, the priestess wanted to see not only the breaking dawn, but the dark of night being driven away. She danced up the spiraling staircase and out into the bitterly cold air. From her vantage, leaning against the parapet wall, Ashara could see the pyres still burning brightly near the party tent. She grinned and wondered if any of her friends had managed to sleep at all last night.

Therogeon had outdone himself. She would never have believed that he would repay his promise to Gwilly in such a grand fashion! The competitions, the bards, the fanfare, food and drink...it must have cost him at least small fortune. For the workers rebuilding the city, as well as for the Champions of the Red Dawn, it was a welcome reprieve. She was looking forward to one more day of respite before the yoke of responsibility was placed back onto their shoulders, and she would do her best to make the most of it.

When the sun's first rays broke over the horizon, Ashara heard familiar footsteps ascending the stairs, and she smiled as she began her morning prayers.
Elric woke with a start. It was still dark and for a moment he forgot where he was. Then it came back to him, he could still hear some of the party in the distance. He would've sworn he could still hear the pixie singing, but admitted that he must be imagining it.

His head felt like there was a thunderstorm inside. Leaning back on the sooo soft bed, he nearly fell back asleep. It would have been easy. How long had he slept anyway? It couldn't have been long. Seems he just laid down, probably just had, but he somehow knew it was nearly dawn, and by default, time to start the day.

Not for the first time he reflected on that point. There was no reason anymore to start this early. No reason not to sleep in a little after a hard night of partying. No one was going to throw buckets of water on him if he slept in 'just a little.' Unless he tells that story to Gwilly accidentaly one day. Then they would probably all wake wet.

Still Eldorath's ritual had become his own. That is when the day starts... and Elric WOULD be there to meet it. Still, Especially when the cold weather started... he wished he could relax his regiment just a little.

"Oh well" Elric decided as he rolled of the mattress. "You knew it was going to be like this when you drank last night! Odds are pretty good tomorrow won't be any different." The half-elf chastised himself. "Deal with the consequences." Another of Eldorath's sayings. "Make your decisions, then live with them."

"Besides," he admitted to himself, "Its not as bad as before, at least now I have company in the mornings." Sudden panic gripped him. Looking out the window he could see the darkness fading ever so slightly. "ASHARA!" The memory of him agreeing to meet her for their mutal rituals triggered. "I'm LATE!"

Grabbing the first clean(ish) shirt he saw he ran to the tower they'd agreed upon. There were a lot more stairs then he had expected when he first started his sprinting. Half way the the top, he decided that this counted as part of his training. OH... It counted.

He was nearly out of breath as he reached the top. He arrived just as the dawn did. The light bathing out over everything, including Ashara. For a moment his heart was in his throat. He loved seeing her in that light. She was never as at peace as she was during this time.

Unfortunately he was too late. She had already started her morning rituals. Knowing enough not to disturb her, he started his own morning exercises. Slowly at first he started practicing the basic manuevers that would turn into blocks and parries. Building up speed He started to leap and twist in midair, always landing in a defensive position. Anyone who had seen him dance the night before wouldn't have believed it was the same person. Funny how one incredibly graceful manuever did NOT equate to another. He really had hoped it would when he went to the dance floor with Ashara. Still, he didn't really care if he made a fool of himself last night. Hopefully he'd do the same tonight.

He didn't train nearly as hard as typically, mostly these exercises were intended to help him clear the cobwebs out of head, and he still considered his training to have started from the bottom of the tower!
When the sun had risen completely above the horizon, Ashara concluded her silent meditation with renewed hope and confidence of purpose. Those mornings without the dawn, deep in Dagadar, had frayed her nerves and tested her resolve, and now when she saw the sunrise, her heart was filled to bursting with joy.

She pulled the blanket around her shoulders again, and smiling brightly, turned to enjoy the next part of her morning. No longer did she try to be discreet as she watched his exercises. Ashara's appreciation for Elric's abilities had increased exponentially over the past months, likely because she was paying much closer attention, but also because she'd seen him do some impossible things in battle.

During the battle with the Shade, he had been a blur of motion. Flowing around attacks from that wicked axe, while delivering his own bone-crushing blows. He was somehow able to withstand strikes that would surely have cleaved Ashara in half. It also hadn't escaped her notice that after Lathander intervened, he was doing all of these things while trying desperately to keep the demigod's attention on himself rather than her.

It was the juxtaposition of hard and soft movements that so fascinated her. Watching him now, the way he spun and dodged and launched himself into the air...it was so smooth and graceful...and deceptive... When he punched or kicked, the clothing he wore would crack sharply, betraying the force of his strike.

There were so many things about Elric that would seem to oppose each other. He was strong and powerful in body, and kind and forgiving in heart. In combat he could brutally shatter bones, yet he could bring Ashara to tears with the beauty of his mandolin playing. He was cautious when planning a battle, but once committed, would throw himself headlong into the fray without hesitation.

He was a hero among heroes, and to say that she admired him, would be an understatement.

Smiling affectionately, Ashara waited while he finished his routine.
Elric heard a russling sound behind him. He knew that Ashara was done with her meditations and was waiting for him to finish. Well, she wouldn't wait long. He'd already worked up more of a sweat than he'd intended to today. And his feet were cold. Thinking about his magic boots sitting by the wall again, he reminded himself that this training was for HIS skills, not whatever abilities the magic gave him. Magic was undependable. It could vanish with a wave of a hand. Best be able to function without it, and when you do have it... treat it as a gift. Once again he made a mental note to pick up a normal pair of boots. He still couldn't remember what happened to his old ones... probably back in the wagon in Impresk.

With a final leap in the air, he spun once and landed on his hands. As his body flowed into a forward roll he ended sitting crosslegged next to the priestess. As he'd deduced she was just sitting there waiting and smiling. He wasn't sure what she was thinking, but it was nice to see her smiling again. It had been a hard year for all of them, but her especially. Smiling back he asked "Good Morning!, Sleep well?"
She laughed aloud as he sat up next to her after his roll.

"I can't remember ever sleeping more soundly." Ashara beamed at him.

Although Elric's face was flushed from the exertion of his training, it could not hide the dark circles beneath his eyes. Sitting this closely to him, she also noticed the dark stubble that was growing in above his upper lip and jawline.

She laughed again and kissed him on the cheek, chafing her lips against the sharp hairs. "It looks like you had fun last night! I'm glad to see it. I don't think I realized quite how much we needed this break..."

Ashara pulled the blanket from her shoulders and threw it over his lap and bare feet.

"I do hope we'll get the chance to go back to Impresk for a time. I'd like to make sure the shrine is being properly tended to, and see how my parents are doing. I'm sure my mother would like to see you again too..." She winked at him and chuckled.

"How about you? Any plans for some downtime?"
"Nothing in particular," Elric shrugged his shoulders. "A little rest and reflection is all." Then he thought for a few moments, and added. "I'm kind of looking forward to telling Ivan about Dagadar. See what the dwarf's thoughts are on the restoration of the lost dwarven nation."

"Other than that, I don't have any pressing business. I'm sure Therogeon will spend it locked in his lab 'like usual.' From what Eddick told me, it sounds like he's got a long list of things to do. Haven't heard much from Kaber or Gwilly. What about yourself? Any plans for the winter? Or... however long we have to rest?"
Ashara pulled her hair over her ears to shield them from the biting wind.

"Well, I will have to go to Waterdeep, to The Spires Of The Morning soon after we arrive in Impresk. I still need to speak with Therogeon about that... I'm nervous about teleporting normally, let alone when his newfound power could be unstable. There may be a chance I could get there on my own, but not likely in one day...it's just too far away."

Fiddling with the fringes of the golden sash around her waist, she continued. "I don't especially like the idea of leaving the rest of you. The Sacred Guardian spell will let me know if one of you was in trouble, but I don't know if I could get back in time to help."

She looked up at Elric and took a long breath. "What if they come for you again?"
"Honestly, 'they' are the least of our concerns." Elric closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He could tell she was worried about the assassins that were after him. The smile was gone now, and it was because of him.

"If they work like I imagine assassins would... then they aren't going to do anything unless they get paid. Elaoth is from Evereska. They're busy with their war right now. I doubt anyone's coming after me till they know he's going to be able to pay them." The half-elf smiled hoping to put her at ease. "Besides, its Impresk! We know everyone there... and we'll be on the look out for strangers!"

Elric didn't even try to hide his concern. "You're the one I'm worried about. Waterdeep is where the assassins WERE last. And its very far away..."
Ashara managed to return his smile with a weak one of her own. She wasn't completely convinced. While it was true that Evereska had its own issues to deal with right now, the tenacity of elves was legendary.

"You're the one I'm worried about. Waterdeep is where the assassins WERE last. And its very far away..."

She had been so concerned about the safety of the others, that the priestess hadn't considered the potential danger to herself. She closed her eyes a moment, and her forehead creased briefly, before she took his hand and laced her fingers between his.

"Would the assassins even know I am part of the group? When we were in Waterdeep last, I had more in common with a corpse," she smiled wryly. "I suppose they wouldn't be completely incompetent though, so they would probably know there was a priest of Lathander with you."

She dropped her gaze as she thought back to that last visit to the city.

"I don't see why they would pose a threat to me, if they are even still there at all. I mean, they're looking for you, right? What would they want with me? Unless..."

Ashara's wide eyes snapped up to meet his. The color had drained from her face.

"No... Certainly they wouldn't..."
"No... Certainly they wouldn't..." Elric was stunned. That thought hadn't really occured to him till just now. 'Would they?' Would they try to get to him through his friends? Through Ashara? Honestly, he didn't know. He knew the Ealoth family had no love for humans... but still, to go that route?

Elric eyes met hers, "No.. I don't think so. Like you said, I'm the one they're looking for. I haven't seen anything to indicate they want to 'hurt' me... well... You know what I mean." He tried to convince her, and himself.

"Make no mistake, you are a known member of the Champions. Wherever we go there are people cheering our names. We're not the same group that started out those years ago. Waterdeep is massive... and nobody may know your there." He squeezed her hand, "Still we have many more enemies than just 'them', There are still the shadow armor guys... Not to mention any other followers of all the gods we've ticked off. I imagine we all have quite a price on our heads... you possibly more than the rest of us." He smiled a grim smile, "The Shade seemed to target you more than the rest."

"Worst of all, if I'm stuck in Impresk, I won't have any idea what's happened. At least you'd know if we were in trouble and get back as soon as you could, heal what you can, raise what you can't." A smile crept in again, " but I'll just be sitting around hoping for news..."
"...heal what you can, raise what you can't..."

Ashara searched his face...was he joking? He must be trying to allay her fears a bit...maybe he didn't know...

"Oh Elric, it's just not always that simple. Though I have the ability to Raise the Dead, it isn't always a certainty that it would work. The soul has to be pulled from another plane, and sometimes the god doesn't want that person to come back, or sometimes...," she swallowed audibly, "the person doesn't want to come back."

She paused a moment, looking down at their intertwined hands. The thought of seeing him crumpled and broken before her drove the air from her lungs.

"If you came back to me, you would never be as strong as you are now. Death has a way of changing people. Kaber for instance, seems to be reevaluating his life."

"As for the healing... I know how simple it looks to all of you, and it's true, it isn't complicated to accomplish, but I've noticed with some of the more powerful healing spells, that I remember the wounds vividly...I can't not. It's like they were my own..."

Ashara traced her finger along Elric's chest, from near his right shoulder down to his upper ribs on the left side. "One of the dwarves on patrol in the mines..."

She touched three spots in a triangular pattern below his shoulder blade. "The balor, where he grabbed you with his whip..."

Placing her hand on the outside of his left thigh, she shivered and looked up into his eyes. "The Shade...it was layed open almost to the bone..."

The surprise she saw in Elric's eyes set her cheeks aflame, and she quickly pulled her hands off of him, folding them tightly in her lap.

"I...I'm sorry...I just needed you to know that it DOES affect me when any of you are injured. It seems that even magical healing can leave scars, if not physical ones."

"You're right though," she breathed, collecting herself, "normally you wouldn't be able to know if I was in some kind of danger, but there is a spell that will allow you to do just that."
Elric was stunned. His mind rushed back to the last two years. Every fight, every wound he'd suffered. There had been a lot of them. Not just his wounds, but everyone's... How could she possibly? "I... I had no idea." he stammered.

"Every time?" The thought boggled his mind. "I'm so sorry... it never even occured to me." The half-elf tried to compose himself a bit, "I've never made a secret that I don't understand magic. Wizardly or Priestly. On my side the wounds just disappear. They may ache for a while, but the idea that 'I'm not going to die' is exhilarating. And the way we've turned the morning hugs... almost into a game... we've all taken it for granted. I never thought what was happening to you. I'm so sorry..."
"No, no please don't apologize! Even if I was transferring the wounds onto my own flesh, I would do it without hesitation... I shouldn't have said anything." Frustrated, Ashara reached for a braid that wasn't there, and getting instead a fistful of hair, decided to yank it anyway.

"It's not any time I heal. Just when I use the most powerful few healing spells that it seems to stay with me. The major trauma." She paused for a moment, before sheepishly meeting his gaze. "Please don't mention it to the others...I just wanted you to know."
'Even if I was transferring the wounds onto my own flesh, I would do it without hesitation...'

He knew she meant it. So willing take the pain from others... It amazed him. He reached for the hand that was pulling her hair. As it released her hair he pulled it to his mouth and kissed it. Looking her in the eyes he said, "I'm glad you told me. You don't need to keep any secrets from me. The others won't hear anything from me."

"Now what were you saying about a spell? Something that would let me keep watch over YOU for a change.."
Ashara could hardly hear what he was saying over the resonant pounding of her heart.


Though loath to do so, she couldn't focus with the weight of those emerald eyes on her, so she looked away briefly.

"Spell, yes...," she flushed again, "I could imbue you with some of my spell casting ability. It would allow you to cast three of my lower powered spells, including Sacred Guardian, the one I cast on all of you that first night on the ship. You would be able to tell if I was in danger, and even be able to see a vision of the circumstances, though there is nothing I could give you that could get you to me in time to do anything about it."
The half-elf was quiet for a few moments. What would be worse he tried to decide. He weighed the options in his mind. To be able to see her in danger and not be able to do anything about it... or to never know at all. Both brought great potential for pain, but in the end he decided.

"I'd like that Ashara. You shouldn't have to bear the burden of watching over us all by yourself." Elric smiled again, "And you deserved to be watched over too. If you have a way to let me do that... Do it."
The priestess smiled warmly at him as she removed the holy symbol from around her neck.

"I know that I'm watched over, Elric. The only reason I'm here now is because of how you've watched over me. I will never forget that!"

She held out the holy symbol, but hesitated a moment, and raised an eyebrow. "This will take a few minutes...are you ready? It will feel a bit strange and you can't resist me or the spell will be wasted."

He nodded slowly but confidently.

Satisfied, Ashara pressed the holy symbol gently against his forehead and began whispering the incantations that would grant Elric the ability to cast the spells she had chosen for him.


Ten minutes later she pulled the rose-hued disc off his head and exhaled, slumping slightly against the crenelated wall.

"Along with Sacred Guardan, I've given you a couple spells that may come in handy tonight..." She rolled her head to the side and grinned widely at him. "Casting Nap will allow you to sleep for one hour and feel as if you've slept for eight, and Rosemantle will remove the effects of the hangover you will no doubt have after today's party."

Ashara laughed aloud and got to her feet. She grabbed his boots that were lying next to the staircase door, and sat them next to Elric. Pulling the blanket from his lap, she threw it back around her shoulders.

"I think maybe it's time we rejoined the party? I'll need to stop and get a few things from the room. You'll have to get your mandolin, because I believe you owe me a song!"

The woman stood over him and held out her hand.

"I know that I definitely owe you another dance!"
As the holy symbol left his head, Elric felt a warmth flow through him. He now had the ability to cast spells. He didn't understand how he knew this, or what it meant... but when the time came he knew it would happen, just as Ashara had said.

Elric laughed. "One dance for One song? I'd better get playing!" As he got to his feet and joined her at the stairway he rubbed his bristly face. "First though, I think I owe EVERYONE a bath!"

As they left the tower to rejoin the city wide party, Elric took one more look around. The champions need this party. The needed to relax and enjoy themselves. However on reflection, he felt sure the peace and quiet of the tower had been even more theraputic for both of them.

"Which do you think is more likely? Gwilly is mad at us for missing a few hours of the party... or that she hasn't even noticed we're gone?"

Posts : 398
Join date : 2009-09-19
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