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Ashara

Post  Colin Marcus on Sat Dec 26, 2009 2:35 pm

Ashara could taste blood. At first she thought she must be experiencing another 'training' session but when her vision cleared she heard beautiful music and saw that a young Elric was staring intently at an elf playing a mandolin. It seemed the bard, if offical bard he was, had lots of friends. Groups of people surrounding him. Everyone gave him their rapt attention. As she saw young hands trying to imitate the chords she could still taste blood. The feelings she was getting were curiosity and interest mixed with jealousy, glee, and bloodlust.

With a shock she realized where the other Elric, her Elric, was right now. The coppery taste in her mouth made her want to vomit, but such was not the nature of the spell they had cast. All she could think was 'Now he knew.'

Despite his assurances, she had tried to warn him. Reading and seeing were very different. Her heart ached as she realized he hadn't even seen her do these things now. He had felt her do them. As sure as he had done them himself.

Part of her wished she could see him right now, but a wiser part of her was glad she couldn't. He had been so sure nothing would change, but she wished she shared his confidence. Logically she knew that they were still sitting alone in their meeting room, they were holding hands, and in each others minds. He was right there, but she felt so very alone. She found herself yearning for a happier time and a happier place and with unexpected control she took the spell right where she wanted to be.

Perhaps it was a waste of the spell. After all she was actually there for that memory and if she lived to be a hundred she would never forget it. Still it was what she wanted to see and feel at the time. As her vision cleared she saw herself pouring tea and curling up next him. It was peculiar to see from this point of view. She knew she was techniquely kissing herself, yet the powerful feelings of Joy, Hope, Excitement, and most important Love, that Elric had felt that night were so similiar to her own they filled her with a warmth that had nothing to do with the fire. When they embraced, even from this view it was easy to imagine his strong arms around her.

Though it didn't occur to her till she was well into that wonderful fireside chat that, Elric would feel and see this too. Perhaps this reminder of their love would be a light to the darkness that she remembered so well.

After a short time, the responsiblity started to weigh on her again. The spell was limited, and there was so much more to see. With a sigh she released the vision of her engagement night, and watched the world start to spin again.
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Elric

Post  Penelope on Sat Dec 26, 2009 11:43 pm

The stench of blood grew stronger as the world came into focus once again. So much blood, he was wading through it! Guilt, sorrow and a powerful sense of failure assaulted his mind. The medallion around his neck illuminated the darkness and through that light he began to see six dwarven corpses surrounding the mutilated body of the mighty minotaur.

Elric easily remembered that brutal fight in the temple to Shar, deep in Dagadar. Kaber had been the only one to fall, but all of them had been badly injured on that day.

Still numb from the horror of the previous memory, he barely registered that he was pushing Kaber's organs back into his body. So much darkness and blood in her mind... One of the reasons he suggested this merging of memories, was that he wanted her to see the times that he himself lost control, or gave in to violent impulses or was magically controlled... He wanted Ashara to understand that he knew what it was like, but he didn't really have a clue at the time. NOW he knew. He knew all too well, and he understood why she was still dealing with the darkness that occasionally hung over her like a cloud.

The scent of dried rose petals cut through the metallic odor of the blood, and Elric found himself watching a fire burning in a fireplace, and felt his hand running through Ashara's hair as she rested her head against his chest. Love, joy and contentment, his own emotions at the time, woke his senses from their dulled state. Why had she gone to that memory when she knew it as well as he did? It struck him then that Ashara had just relived one of the murders that she had tried so hard to put out of her mind. She must have needed him to comfort her at that moment, so she had gone to a memory where she had felt the most loved. Elric knew that she would need him still after this spell was complete, and he would be there for her. No matter the amount blood or darkness he found here. Steeling himself against whatever may come, he forced the memory of Kaber's body back to the forefront of his mind.

After reassembling him in what she believed was the correct way, Elric knelt over the minotaur and watched as Ashara lay her gore-covered hand on his chest. His vision shifted downward then, and he heard words issue from his mouth that he couldn't understand nor even know how to repeat. He got the sense that using Lathander's power, she was calling their friend back to his body. After a few long moments, he felt the chest beneath his hand begin to rise and fall, and his vision snapped up to see Kaber whole, but unconscious. He felt immense relief, as if she didn't know for certain that he would come back to them. Anxiety began to creep into his mind as she pulled her holy symbol from her neck. At first he didn't understand why she would be anxious now that Kaber was alive again, but then he remembered that she had yet to Heal him.

Ashara had explained enough to him about the differences between Raising and Resurrecting, and he knew that Raising someone only brought them to just this side of living. He felt the priestess brace herself for what was to come, and Elric did the same. The sound of the divine words were familiar to him now, and as the flood of power drained from her fingertips, there was only pain. He felt long ragged gashes cutting across his abdomen, back and sides, hacking and shredding him to pieces. Then it was gone. Reduced to a dull throb. He was surprised as he saw Ashara retch from the brief agony of it. He hadn't noticed it at the time, and she had never spoken of it. Elric felt her explore a deep cut on her tongue, where she had bitten it to keep from screaming out and embarrassing herself. Exhaustion from casting two such powerful spells washed over him.

As he stood, the weight of her robes surprised them both a bit. His view shifted downward, and he saw that the skirt of her vestments was clinging to her legs, and was stained up to her thighs with blood and sick. She looked around at the ruined bodies scattered about the room, and his vision quickly turned red with rage. Not over the soiled clothing, but at the cost of life that had been paid here. He felt his right had grip the shaft of the mace and his legs propelled him toward the statue of Shar in the center of the room. Screaming with holy fury he launched himself at the idol smashing it with every last bit of strength remaining to him. Elric watched as fragments of the thing flew everywhere, but he continued to abuse it until he heard a tiny pixie voice yell out.

"ASHARA WAIT! Look!"

His view turned, and the pulsing red rage died down as he noticed that on the fragments were familiar characters written in Dethek...

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Ashara

Post  Colin Marcus on Mon Dec 28, 2009 1:28 am

With renewed purpose Ashara watched as the world came back into view. Regardless of her recent respite, she could feel an overwhelming weariness as Elric watched the memory of piecing the minotaur back together. So much of her life seemed to be drowning in blood. It was hard to believe that it had only been a few short years since they had formed the Champions. So much pain, so much death, and so very much blood. Some were her own doing, most were not, but she sincerely hoped Elric would find his way to some happier memories soon. She knew she had a few...

As she noticed her surroundings she realized the weariness wasn't all spiritual and wasn't all hers. Whatever this Elric was doing, he was sore and approaching exhaustion. Another training session she realized with a smile. He certainly did that a lot. Since he'd returned to Impresk he was always training with the dawn. Length of time seemed to vary depending on what he was doing that day. Sometimes he ran, sometimes he tried different things she didn't really understand, but he was usually at it for an hour or two. The only exception she could remember was when he was injured a little too much. Whether in their early days when her healing was limited or when she was affected by the curse and had none to offer... there were times he needed to be wary of reopening wounds. Like after the ghasts of Mistletoe Keep she remembered. Their first true trial by fire as an adventuring party that nearly ended in disaster. He was so close to death that day... The thought gave her chills.

His dedication had always impressed her. Now she realized with some amusement how much he had slacked off since his early training! Eldorath had him up at dawn every morning that's true, but they did a lot more than an hour or two. She had seen them train for hours at a time, at all times of the day. Sometimes well into the night.

This particular memory seemed to be taking place in the mid-afternoon. He was weary and frustrated, and his hands and wrists ached. Around him she saw various objects. Targets of different shapes and sizes. The one he was focused on was obviously man shaped. As her fist slammed into the dummy with distinct precision she hear Eldorath behind her call "Stop!" with frustration in his voice.

As she turned to face him, she realized that the elf looked much shorter today. She knew by now, that this meant Elric was older in this memory. The jumping around was confusing to begin with, but when so many involved the same activities... It was a little trickier to keep the proper perspective. She guessed he was probably about seventeen to eighteen.

"You missed your target." the elf said calmly. He walked over to the manequinn and pointed at a spot a few inches from her last strike. "This, is where you need to hit. Watch." She felt annoyance roll from Elric as he stepped back to watch the master at work.

As she stepped away, she was able to see the target a little better. Elric had a few set up in the training room, despite the fact that he was rarely around to use them. Large bags filled with sand, smaller ones hanging from the ceiling. One that looked to her as a just a bunch of boards put together, but Elric insisted they were for a blocking excercise. This was similar to that, but there was more to it. For starters this one was holding a knife.

It seemed that with a pivot of a lever, this mannequin would simulate a knife thrust. As Eldorath reset the attack he seemed caught in another lecture. "You knocked the wind out of him, Elric. You didn't stop him. When someone attacks you, end it! End it fast. The longer a fight last the greater the chance you'll lose." He shook his head, and with the tiredness she felt from Elric, she assumed this was not the first time they'd had this conversation. "Remember, it doesn't matter how many battles you win. You only need to lose one!"

"Now watch..." She watched as the master triggered the exercise. Ashara gasped as the dummy spun around much faster than she'd expected with the knife aimed right for his midsection. Elric however was only anxious, but she didn't get the feeling it was concern for his teacher. More like he wasn't where he wanted to be this day.

With blinding speed Eldorath swung his arm to block the knife hand. Using his left hand he forced the blade up wide and exposed the targets chest. With a resounding crack, his right fist dove into the body at precisely the place he had pointed out.

"That, would have stopped him!" Eldorath sid proudly. This attack performed as designed, would have broken his rib and would have most likely puctured a lung. Worst case scenario, he's on the ground sucking wind and spitting up blood. Best case scenario he dies right there." She could feel Elric getting a bit naesous. "Fight is over. You walk away. Now you!"

A nervous half-elf stepped up to the mannequin as Eldorath reset the knife. "NOW!" he shouted as the knife came whooshing in. Unlike other training days, she could tell Elric's heart wasn't in this. Still as the knife came in his attention didn't waver. Neither did he mimic Eldorath's move. When the knife came in he he threw his body mass backwards and the blade skimmed harmlessly above him. As it returned with the less powerful backhand, Elric trapped the arm and delivered a resounding back fist to the dummy's face.

Eldorath just raised his eyebrows. She felt a touch of fear run through Elric as he must have realized how thoroughly he had just disobeyed the elf. "Stunned. Not stopped!" Eldorath said with a hint of steel in his voice. "Now, I can only imagine that you completely forgot where his lungs are. Unless you have a better explaination?"

Elric was sweating now. She could tell he was trying to think of the 'right' answer, but finally just said hopefully, "Stunned is stopped..."

Eldorath's eyebrows furled together in frustration. "Is it?" he asked. "What if he had two friends standing behind you? Can you 'stun' them before he regains his senses?"

"What if he was just hungry?" She heard Elric retort. Sudden shock came over him. She didn't imagine he spoke back to his teacher very often!

"Then he should have asked!" Eldorath said knocking the mannequin in the head for emphasis. "Instead he attacked you with a knife! You have the right, the responsibility, to defend yourself! That's done by ending the fight as soon as you can."

Elric was on a roll now, "So he makes one error in judgement and I get to kill him?" She felt a growing anger in the young man that was turning into confidence. She guessed his line of thought was 'If Eldorath was going to get mad at him, then he may as well see it through...'

"Yes." Eldorath said with sudden calm. "We all make mistakes, we all pay the price." He spoke slowly and made sure Elric and by extension Ashara gave him their complete attention. "You can stop an unarmed man without lethal force. But the moment he picks up a weapon, you do the same! The only difference is you are a weapon, and you have a responsiblity to me! I didn't waste all these years training you so you can walk away and get knifed in the back by some enemy you've already beaten! More importantly, you have a responsibility to yourself! Live your life as long as you can. Protect it!"

While delivering the lecture Eldorath went back to reseting the knife device. "Now, do it again. This time remember that there are two more waiting when you finish this one. Stop him!"

A dejected Elric walked up and resumed his stance. Suddenly she felt a surge of hope break through. "Stop him?" A suddenly chipper Elric asked. The old elf nodded solemnly, and released the trigger.

As the Blade flew toward him, Elric again improvised his own attack. He spun completly around the knife and locked the arm at its full extension. With a move she had seen him break stone with, his fist shot out and shattered the arm at the elbow. Almost simatanously, his foot shot out toward the opposite leg and shattered that too. Before the knife actually hit the ground Elric caught it with his foot and sent it spinning harmlessly away, and was up and in a defensive position facing where Eldorath had told him other opponents would be.

"Is he stopped?" Elric asked with an exhilarating feeling inside. He Looked back at his teacher.

Eldorath quietly knelt and examined the remains of his training dummy. She thought there was a touch of pride in his appraisal, but if so it was quickly covered up. "Yes, I'd say that stopped him... He'll be in a lot of pain, but he's out of this fight." The ancient elf sighed and looked her right in the eyes. For once the brightness was dulled as if the ancient elf was feeling his age. "You don't want to kill anyone, fine. Shows character... Maybe a foolish character, but character none the less. Perhaps your dance doesn't lead you down that path."

"However, perhaps a hungry fool with a knife isn't 'worth' killing for... but some things are! It's up to you to decide what that is. When you do, I'll have seen that you have the tools to do it. You can choose when to use them." She recognized the wisdom of those words, but she could feel Elric had doubts. Obviously he never believed that he would willing kill someone.

It saddened her that he knew differently now! They'd had a few conversations on the roofs of Calimport about what exactly was to be done with those Priests of Cyric spreading the curse. He knew they had to die. They both did.

Still, she always admired how far he'd gone to save lives, even the lives of his enemies. Even when his allies asked for no quarter and gave none. She had often wondered where that attitude came from, and while this memory was a prime example of it... It didn't answer that question. She'd seen the way he lived. Hated, scorned, ignored. She had felt the pain bottled up inside him, where did that innate mercy come from? Not from Eldorath as she had once suspected. He was a good person, but obviously too pragmatic. Perhaps there was no defining moment. Maybe it was just who he was. Regardless she thought with a grin as the memory started to fade, she was going to keep looking!
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Elric

Post  Penelope on Mon Dec 28, 2009 10:34 pm

As the darkness of Dagadar lifted and began shifting to a different moment in her life, Elric watched the memory Ashara had found and smiled. That particular training session was a pivitol moment for him, though he hadn't realized it at the time. He had chosen his path that day, and though it diverted slightly from his mentor's, the dance had become his own. Elric was still amazed at where his path had led him. All they had accomplished and all the people that had been saved... He felt that in some way his life was making a difference in others' lives, and he was proud of that. Was he trying to prove something to all those that had doubted him just because of what he was? Maybe by doing great things, by being the hero, he was showing them all that his life was worth something... Hmm.. Or maybe spending all this time in Ashara's head was making him a bit more introspective than he was used to!

He felt himself walking before the vision appeared before him. The sky was a pre-dawn grey, and by the delicate flowers blooming along the lake at his left, he could tell that it was springtime. Elric felt the weight of a pack on his shoulder. He was heading south along the banks of Impresk Lake, but he wasn't sure when this memory was from. Hope and determination kept her feet pointed in the right direction, and it seemed she knew where she was going, though he did not.

Ashara was singing to herself as she walked and watched the sun rise, and Elric smiled when he realized that it was the same tune she had sung after her prayers that Midwinter morning. By her voice, he could tell she was very young in this memory, but she was not surrounded by the buildings and fields of Impresk as she should have been at that age. He could see nothing but plains in front of him for as far as her eyes could see.

She walked on alone for quite some time before he heard the pounding of hooves behind her. His view whirled around, and he saw three horses riding up fast. When they were close enough, Elric could recognize a more youthful Ebbard, flanked by two younger men that seemed familiar though he couldn't remember their names. Ashara's father leaped from his mount before it came to a complete stop, and ran over and knelt in front of him, grabbing him by the shoulders.

"Where do ye think ye're goin' then? Ye had yer mother worried sick!" Ebbard wrapped in him a tight hug, and Elric thought he could see moisture in the man's eyes when he pushed him back to arm's length. Ashara was apprehensive about something, and he could feel that she was sorry to have worried her parents, but she said nothing. "Ye know better then t' run off on yer own!" When her father looked her over and saw the pack, his eyes narrowed slightly. "I spoke with Mr. Featherdawn this mornin', and he said he never even spoke t' Elric 'bout workin' for him! Why did ye lie t' me, Ashara? Do ye know where he is?" He could feel her hesitation, and even a touch of fear, but she couldn't bring herself to answer Ebbard. With his massive hands on her shoulders, he shook her gently but firmly. "Ye'll be tellin' me, girl! It's been three days! The boy could be hurt or worse!" The girl was scared now, though not of her father. Elric sensed confusion and shame as well. "He made me promise, daddy!" The look the farmer gave him then was laden with threat of a whippin' she wouldn't forget! Ashara relented. "H-he said he was gonna go to Caradoon and then start lookin' for his mom..." Ebbard's jaw clenched tightly and he looked over her shoulder to the south. "And ye were goin' t' what? Go help 'im?" The tone of his voice was soft, but strained, as if he was trying to control his anger. Elric felt Ashara nod slowly, before her father scooped her up and sat her on one of the other men's horses. "Dannel, take her home. Bergan, yer comin' with me." After hearing the names, he seemed to remember that the two men were farmhands that the Rosemorns had once employed. Her father pulled Ashara's chin down so her eyes were level with his. "Yer not t' leave the house. I'll be talkin' t' ye when I return. If he's been hurt..." Ebbard let go of his chin, and slapped Dannel's horse on the rump, sending it back to Impresk. His view turned to watch her father mount his horse and start riding hard with Bergan toward Caradoon.

Elric was shocked. Ashara had never mentioned any of this to him! He hadn't meant to get her into trouble with her parents, it was simply something he felt at the time, that had to do on his own. Why would she try to follow him like that? In his surprise, he lost his grip on the memory and it began to slip from him. Grasping for the threads of it, he was able to pull it back into focus.

He found himself sitting on her bed up in her room. She was anxious and scared again, and he could hear why. Outside of her door, Arryn and Ebbard were arguing. He couldn't hear all of it, but he caught snippets. "Oh Ebbard, lemme talk t' her! Ye need t' go downstairs and calm down, or yer gonna say something ye'll regret!" The man grumbled something that he couldn't make out, then Arryn replied, "I know...I'm worried 'bout him too, Dear." He could hear heavy footsteps descending the stairs as Ashara's mother entered the room and shut the door.

Elric felt the girl burst into tears and run to her mother. "Momma, I'm so sorry I made everybody mad, I just wanted to help Elric, and he'd already been gone for DAYS. Did daddy bring him home?" Ashara felt horrible for lying to her parents, but wrapped up in her mother's arms she felt safe again, and loved. He couldn't help but be a bit jealous of her then. He had never known his mother's love. It was likely he never would, though he hoped this spell could at least get him some answers. He hoped it could get BOTH of them some answers.

"Ashes...," the woman began, but stopped due to the lump forming in her throat. "Ashara, they couldn't find 'im. Maybe he hitched a ride with a caravan headin' out o' town, we don't know, but no one yer father talked t' in Caradoon seems t' remember him." Elric felt her confusion, as if she couldn't understand why he wouldn't be there. Her mind must have drifted to her father's words, because he felt fear more strongly from her then. "It's my fault if something bad happened to him, isn't it... I know should've told you, but he wanted it to be a secret! Momma, I promised!" Elric felt her tears flowing freely now and Arryn Rosemorn picked up the girl and sat with her on the bed.

"Aye, ye should've told us the truth, but even if we'd found him and brought him home, Elric would likely just 'ave run away again. Ever since his father died, poor boy's seems very...alone, and it's only natural for him t' want t' know the rest of his family." He felt Ashara nod, and knew she understood. Even at that age, she had talked about wanting to know her true family and why they had left her. They had that in common. Perhaps that was what had bonded them in those early years. They understood that need in each other more than any one else in Impresk could.

Arryn held him for a long time, rocking him slowly, before Ashara spoke. "Momma, do you think he'll be back soon? Playin' knights n' dragons is no fun by myself." The woman's breaths became slightly irregular, and he realized that she was crying too. "I don't know Ashes, I just don't know... Sometimes our lives'll be takin' diff'rent paths for awhile, but that don't mean they won't be meetin' again father down the road. We'll just have t' pray that both Chaunteau and Lathander watch over 'im and that he finds what he needs t' be whole. I know that it don't seem like yer doin' much to help yer friend, but someday ye may discover that a simple prayer can change the course o' one's life."

At seven years old, Elric had never considered the affect his leaving would have on the Rosemorn's. He felt terrible shame as Arryn sniffled into her daughter's hair. He had come to live with them for about four months after his father's death, and though he never really felt that he was a part of their family, it was becoming apparent to him that perhaps they had come to feel that way about him. It made him wonder how different his life would have been if he had never left; if he and Ashara had grown up as siblings.

He felt the warmth of family love surrounding him as he released the memory from his grasp.

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Ashara

Post  Colin Marcus on Tue Dec 29, 2009 3:14 pm

Ashara still remembered the day she tried to follow Elric. She was so sure that he'd get into trouble without her help, then when she learned that her father couldn't find him... She was so worried about him. She knew her parents believed him to be dead, with good cause she admitted. A small child alone in the wilderness? He should have died. She had forgotten how much it had upset her mother and her father though... At that age she was so concerned about herself and Elric and whether her father was going to whup them both, that she hadn't really paid attention to their feelings.

They may have considered him dead, but she never did. Whenever she asked about him, or wondered where he might be... her parents tended to get real quiet or change the subject. Eventually she stopped talking about him. But every once in a while, when the eternal sameness of the little town of Impresk set in, She would wonder about what kind of adventures her friend may be having in the great wide world.

The world was slowly spinning back into view again. She was back in Evereska. Apparently this was taking place at night. Evereska shown with a special kind of beauty at night. many of the buildings seemed to glow softly with magic of some kind, and the towers almost seemed to reflect and amplify the stars above. Ashara found herself feeling sad as she watched the city race by. She knew the elven stronghold was under siege, and had been for some time now. The thought of such a place at war depressed her. What kind of damage may be inflicted here? Would these beautiful buildings still be there? She could almost picture it, the ground red with blood. the buildings crumbling and blasted by magic or fire.

It confused her that Elric didn't want to rush back to this place that had been his home in hopes of defending it. She knew about the rejection, the unpleasant memories, but she also now knew the good times too. Resting peacefully near the babbling river playing his music. Laughing with vistors in the taverns. The city seemed to radiate a serenity that she knew he remembered. Was he really that scared to return? Was it fear for himself, or the rest of the Champions he'd lead back there?

With that, she noticed that the feelings coming from him was nowhere near serene. He was running through the woods with a masked elf female. Ashara was bombarded with sensations of amazement, curiosity, excitement, and lust. The priestess assumed with horror that this must be the dreaded Syrlynna memory. She didn't recognize the elf. It was difficult for her with her human sensibilities to recognize much of anything when he was seeing in infravision. Between his blindfighting and her penchant for light spells and tokens, few of Elric's memories after leaving the elves involved this complicated variations of color and heat.

Still she had gotten used to it enough to know what he was seeing. Apparently this was one of the elves' many festivals, and the costumes she could see from the few elves she saw were either garish or indecent. She could feel herself blush as she realized which route this elf chose. Ashara was absolutely stunned. There was practically nothing to it! Little more than a mask! What kind of woman would go out in public dressed like that.

It was some kind of game she could tell. Syrlynna seemed to be teasing and flirting the entire way, egging Elric to catch her with a soft melodic voice. Ducking behind trees, running around rocks. She always stayed 'just' out of reach. Until they reached a barn. As he ran into the barn after his elusive prey, she felt soft arms catch him in and pull him into a passionate kiss.

Ashara wanted to speed up the memory, but for some reason didn't. They had agreed that nothing was to be held back, and though she had felt Elric seeing her darkest moments, she still felt like she was prying when watching this one. Still she couldn't turn away. She knew how this memory was going to end. Elric had already told her about Syrlynna and she didn't beleive he'd held anything back. As she looked at this woman through Elric's eyes, she felt a special kind of hatred for Syrlynna. This was the person who was responsible for so much pain in Elric's life.

She tried to stay focused, but the emotions flying around were staggering. Excitement, joy, and of course lust. There were a few surprises too. Regardless of what Elric had told her about Syrlynna, she couldn't help but think of her as a rival. What would he do if this eternally gorgeous woman came strolling into Impresk begging for his forgiveness? It was a stupid fear she knew, but deep down it was always there. There had been another woman in his life, and Ashara doubted her ability to measure up. And that was all before she had seen her!

As she felt Syrlynna's kiss and felt the clothes fall away, she was more amazed at what she didn't feel. She didn't feel any love. There was lust, but not as much as she had expected. There was lots of excitement and wonder. Still the overwhelming emotion she felt was a feeling similiar to what he had felt in Waterdeep. A sense of accomplishment. A feeling of a quest completed. He felt accepted.

She realized in that moment, that this was probably the only time in Evereska that he truly felt accepted as one of them. With a heavy heart she realized how disappointed he was about to become. Again she felt a certain wrath toward the manipulative elf. Apparently she knew exactly what buttons to push in the half-elf. According to Elric she knew what kind of response her father would have too. Part of her wished this wasn't a memory, and she was actually standing in the same room with her, another smaller part was glad she wasn't.

Having seen more than enough for this lifetime, she let the memory go. Elric had never loved Syrlynna. She was fairly certain of that. She thought back to the fireside they had shared together and compared the emotions. With a smile she knew that his feelings for her were greater.
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Elric

Post  Penelope on Wed Dec 30, 2009 3:59 am

Elric could still feel the comforting arms around him after the memory faded away. He felt like such an idiot for not only running away and hurting the Rosemorns like that, but risking his life on a quest for a woman he hadn't the first clue how to find! Though at the time it seemed like something he had to do, he realized now what a dangerous decision it had been.

Suddenly the motherly hug became an urgent one. Hands pulled at his clothing, and he felt his lips press against...Syrlynna! Her undeniably beautiful face materialized before him and sent chills down his spine. He knew it was only a matter of time before Ashara got to that memory. Talk about stupid decisions! Elric felt like a fool for allowing himself to be played by the scheming elf maid, and he knew that back in the room in Impresk the tips of his ears were turning red as he was watching the memory progress. It was bad enough having to live it all again, but it was much, much worse knowing that Ashara was experiencing it. After Waterdeep, his encounter with Syrlynna and the subsequent bounty on his head were no longer secrets, and he knew it ate at the priestess. Elric hoped that after this memory, she would understand the truth; that those heedless moments he had spent with the elf could not compare with the depth of love he felt for her.

Try as he might, he could not bring himself to regret those bad decisions he had made in the past. If he had done anything differently, he might not be where he was today, and Elric was very happy with where his life was at this point in time. He forced the embarrassing visuals out of his mind, and instead focused on Ashara's memory that was forming around him.

He found himself walking down a snow-covered road in Impresk. Arryn Rosemorn walked next to her daughter, who in this memory, was taller than she was. Elric felt strangely...heavy as they walked along talking, but it wasn't until he heard the metallic ring when Ashara's mother rapped on her breastplate, that he realized she was wearing her plate mail. All that added weight would have made what he did in battle nearly impossible, and although he occasionally teased her about it, he felt a bit more comfortable having her encased in mithril.

"Y'know Ashes, I didn't even recognize ye when ye came t' the door at first! It's a wonder that boy even looked twice at ye, dressin' as ye do... If yer not wearin' that formless potato sack of a robe, than yer wearin' a tin can!"

Ashara's laughter echoed his own. "It's mithril, and I know a few places where calling this a 'tin can' would get you killed. Besides, fancy clothes aren't exactly practical for what we do. We were trudging through the sewers of Calimport a few days ago for example..."

"Bah, t'would be a better excuse if ye had a diff'rent wardrobe when yer here at home," Mrs. Rosemorn stated as she cocked one eyebrow at him. "No husband wants his wife dressin' like a man!"

Elric felt her blush fiercely. Excitement, joy, anxiety, and love swirled around him before he began to sense a growing suspicion as they walked up to a building he recognized as the seamstress shop. Now it was Ashara's turn to raise an eyebrow. "Mom, why are we here?" He heard her ask with some trepidation.

Her mother grinned at her with Gwilly-like enthusiasm. "We're here to get ye measured for yer wedding dress o'course!"

Elric was whisked away into the store where Arryn and Mrs. Blacklace stripped her down to her undergarments and assaulted her with measuring tape, fabric and pins. He wondered if the dwarves had been any more gentle with her when she was fitted for the plate mail!

Mrs. Rosemorn stood back a few steps and looked at him appraisingly before poking him in the ribs. "Do ye eat anymore, girl?" She turned to the elderly woman who was also eyeing him with a disapproving gaze. "Opal, could you add another inch or two to the measurements? We'll have to get her healthy again before marrying her off." The woman nodded and started to walked out of the room before turning around and asking, "What color did ye say she'll be needin'?" Mrs. Rosemorn turned her head slowly toward her daughter and raised her eyebrow again. The connotation of the eyebrow was obvious.

"White of course!" Ashara answered with a touch of panic in her voice. Elric would have laughed if he could have, after feeling her horror at having to even have been asked that question. He was fairly certain she would have rather clawed out her own eyes than have that conversation with her mother. Satisfied, Mrs. Blacklace nodded and left the room.

Ashara's mother watched her closely as he began putting the layers of clothing back on. "Ashes, is everything okay? Seems t' me ye should be a tad more excited 'bout this than ye are. Not havin' second thoughts 'bout the boy are ye? Is that why ye haven't gone 'n set a date yet?"

Elric felt her heart ache slightly at the question. "No, momma. Elric is one of the things in my life that I'm most sure of. We're just...really busy right now, and we've been too distracted by those obligations to think much about the wedding." Those last words sounded hollow to him, and apparently to her mother too, the way she was eyeing him.

"Have it yer way then," she said, throwing up her hands in resignation, "Long as yer sure 'bout him that's what matters. Gotta say though, yer father was pretty surprised when yer pixie friend told us 'bout you two. Not that he don't like Elric, mind ye, he cared for the boy like 'is own son by the time he ran off. Just hadn't thought that one day he'd actually BE our son. 'Tween you n' me, I think he was hopin' t'would be the ranger that ye'd fall for. What ever happened to 'im anyway?"

Aretis?! Elric was mortified. What had ARETIS ever done to garner her father's favor!

"Aretis?!" Ashara's mind was filled with shock, annoyance and more than a touch of guilt. "We don't know where he is right now. He left Impresk over a year ago now, and we haven't seen him since... What do you mean daddy 'was hoping it would be him'!?"

Mrs. Rosemorn looked slightly concerned at the tone that her daughter's voice had taken, so she lowered hers to a more soothing note. "Well, they'd takin' quite a liking t' each other after he saved you from that bear all those years ago, y'know. 'Practical,' he called him, 'with a good head on 'is shoulders.' The only reason yer father relented 'bout yer choice o' lifestyle, was that Aretis swore t' watch over ye."

Elric seethed with anger. Not ONLY had she been a companion and friend to Aretis, but he had given his word to her father, and STILL he was willing to just put her down like a rabid dog if he couldn't find a way to cure her? He was quite sure that Ebbard would have a change of heart about the ranger if he knew everything that had taken place over the past two years.

Ashara's emotions were all over the place. He felt the heat of anger flash through her body just before guilt and concern set in. She was concerned for him?! Of course... She must feel responsible, though wrongly so in his opinion, for anything that might have happened to the Aretis while he was out hunting her.

Elric's view went black as she shut her eyes for a moment and breathed out slowly. "The next chance we get to all sit down together, we need to discuss some of the things that have happened since we set out. You both need to know who this man is that I have every intention of marrying. You don't yet, and that's mostly my fault. And you have to stop calling him 'boy'... You told me yourself before we left that he wasn't the same boy I used to know, and you were right. You and dad will get to know him, then you will love him as much as I love him!"

"We do love 'im, Ashara, and don't ye be thinkin' otherwise!" Her mother smiled and gave her arm a squeeze. "Yer father might come across a wee bit harsh at times, but he's loved that boy...err...Elric I mean, from the day Arturo found 'im! Ye've gotta understand, it's a difficult thing fer a man t' give up his only daughter, but he's comin' around. Ye know he only wants what's best for ye."

"I know that, Momma. I know..." After she finished strapping all the armor back on, Elric's view shifted to the window and the sun that was descending toward the horizon. "I've got to get back now. I really only came to say 'hi' and finish this earring for Kaber."

"We were hopin' ye could stay for dinner t'night," Mrs. Rosemorn said, slightly dejected, "but, ye've got more important things t' do, I s'pose."

Ashara ignored the guilt trip and hugged her mother tightly. "Thank you for getting the dress ready for me, I really am looking forward to seeing it! Once we get this business to the west settled, we'll come home right away. I know Gwilly is making some plans too, so you two will have to get together!" Elric felt her smile before she added, "I love you, Momma. Tell Daddy I love him and I'll see him again soon!"

He watched as they parted company and he made his way to the elm tree she used to Transport back to Calimport. As Ashara began walking back to their inn, he wondered if he could control the spell enough to find a specific incident. It seemed strange that she would never have mentioned the ranger saving her from a bear. He was sure if it had been important she would have told him about it but... He couldn't help but be a little curious. Ashara had known Aretis for three years before Elric had come back to Impresk, but even during all those conversations about their pasts on watch down in Dagadar, she never once mentioned him.

He tried to focus on where he desired to go. Back. Years ago. As Elric concentrated, time seemed to reverse itself, and the memory began to play backwards, but much too slowly. By force of will he tried to speed it up, but instead, the memory disappeared and it felt as if he was hurtling backwards though time.

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Ashara

Post  Colin Marcus on Wed Dec 30, 2009 6:32 pm

So now she knew about Syrlynna. She had been dreading that memory. She could still feel herself blushing from that encounter, but she was glad she now knew where she stood. It had been embarressing, and awkward, but she found that she didn't regret viewing that part of his life.

And she knew more about the contract now. Elric didn't mention it very often, and tended to dismiss it whenever she brought it up. That confused her a lot. She wanted nothing more then to keep him as safe as possible... and he didn't really seem care! She knew they had a lot of enemies, but still... she ranked the assassins as high as some of the others!

"Honestly, 'they' are the least of our concerns." She suddenly felt him say. They were sitting on the top of the towers in Zazzesspur. She remembered this time quite clearly. It was one of their first times truly alone since Dagadar. As she listened to him rail on about all the reasons why the assassins wouldn't come after him, she remembered how convincing he had sounded back then.

It was a little different from this point of view.

From THIS side of the conversation she could feel his fear. It wasn't very focused, but she knew that despite his brave words, he was really worried. She could also sense his uncertainty. It was like he didn't know how to fix the problem. He had a point, she admitted. She knew they couldn't buy their way out or just kill the nobles of the elven families. It was a dillema. She could tell he didn't want to worry her, but it was much to late for that. Now that she knew the truth, she wasn't going to let him deal with this problem on his own. Whatever the solution, they'd find it together.

The memories were spinning faster again. Entire portions of Elric's life spun past her. It had taken awhile, but she seemed to have some semblance of control again. In this world emotions were like sign posts and some of Elric's shone brightly. She latched onto one and felt the world slow down.

Awkwardness... Horror... Uncertainty. Where was this she wondered. The vision never fully came into view. There was light, but the light only seemed to enhance the shadows, not banish them. She recognized where he was. The mines of Dagadar. Were they about to face the Shade again? She really didn't want to see that again! Once in a lifetime was more than enough!

Elric was sweating. She could feel his heart beating way too fast. Despite knowing it was in the past, Ashara was a little concerned. He was shaking his head as if to clear it somehow. As he turned his head, she could make out in the darkness the blood caked, shaggy form of Kaber. The minotaur was just staring intently at the half-elf.

Elric was flustered. She could tell that easily, and she had a really bad feeling she knew when this was! As if on cue the deep rumbling voice confirmed it. "You should take time for yourselves... You should...Hmmm.." The minotaur seemed to be frustrated himself. "I don't know your words... mate?"

She could feel the blood rushing to Elrics face and knew hers was certainly matching back in the meeting room. She'd wondered for so long what had gone on between them back in Dagadar. Every time she asked Elric about it, he just got red and tried to dance around the subject. He'd finally given her the basics of the conversation that night by the fire. But still, knowing and hearing it was very different.

They could laugh about it now, but she could tell at the time he wasn't laughing... He was fairly horrified getting advice like this from Kaber. Sweet, misguided Kaber. She knew he meant well... but wow! It was no wonder Elric came back white as a sheet. This was the next day, mere hours really, from when they first acknowledged their feelings and she could feel Elric's head reeling. It felt like he was in a dream and wasn't sure if he was awake or not.

She was so glad Kaber never said anything like this to her! She'd have given Elric a run for his money on the Stuttering and stammering department! Her heart went out for him. Yet at the same time, she felt like giggling uncontrollably. It never ceased to amaze her, how far the two of them had come in so short of time. Especially with all the 'help' from their friends! It wouldn't have surprised her one bit if as soon they were out of the caves, he had bolted for the beach. Dove into the sea and swam as fast as he could to the mainland never looking back!

She smiled as the two of them finished their debate only to return to Therogeon laughing hysterically. Ahhh... friends she thought, as she let the memory slip away...
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Elric

Post  Penelope on Wed Dec 30, 2009 8:55 pm

Elric's head was spinning by the time the memories jerked to a halt. He found himself in the Rosemorns' living room apparently in the middle of an intense conversation. Not where he intended for the spell to take him, but considering the tension Ashara was experiencing, he thought this might prove interesting! Her parents didn't seem much younger than he knew them to be now, so this memory probably didn't take place more than a few years ago. Ebbard sat on the edge of his favorite chair, his teeth clenched so tightly on his pipe, Elric wondered if the stem would snap right off. Arryn was sitting on the chair next to her husband, hands folded tightly in her lap. Her eyes shifted between Ashara and Ebbard, as if she wasn't sure who to be more concerned about. It felt as if Ashara was anxiously waiting for something. A response?

"Did yer GOD order ye t' go out and risk yer life like this? Well, ye may have chosen t' serve 'im, but I'm yer FATHER, and I say ye'll be stayin' PUT! Tend that shrine if ye must," Ebbard nearly spat, "but yer not leavin'!" Elric had seen him angry before, but nothing like this. It wasn't just anger though, there also seemed to be a kind of sadness in his eyes. "Or is yer own family not good 'nough for ye anymore?"

He felt those words cut Ashara deeply. She was trying very hard to remain calm, but her emotions got the better of her. Elric watched her parents' faces as the priestess rose in indignant fury. "Daddy, I'm TWENTY YEARS OLD! We just want to see more of the world and help those that might need helping! What exactly is so wrong with that!?"

It was her father's turn to stand now. "If it ain't Lathander pullin' the strings, then what is it? Why do ye have t' go now?!' Ebbard's eyes bored into his. Elric shuddered a bit as that look reminded him of the awkward dinner over two months ago now. "This is his idea, ain't it," her father's voice softened, but he wasn't backing down. "Elric always was a bad influence on ye... Ashes, you've been chasin' after that blasted boy all yer life, and I'm tired of pickin' up the pieces when he leaves or gets ye hurt! I'm tired of it!" He moved over to to her and took her hand in an effort to bridge the gulf that was forming between them. "Yer young... Ye've no idea what an adventurin' life can be like!"

Furious, Ashara jerked her hand out of her father's. "No, this wasn't only his idea, it was ALL of ours! It may come as a shock to you, but I'm old enough to think for myself!" Elric felt the heat burning up her neck, and he knew she was about to say something she was going to regret. Her voice raised an octave as the words poured from her lips. "And what do YOU know of adventuring?! You chose to live in this dull little village and be a farmer! It's just not for me, dad, and I'm sorry if I'm such a disappointment to you, but there's a wider world out there and I intend to SEE IT!"

He felt her regret almost immediately, and watched as a red-faced Ebbard stormed up the stairs. Elric knew she hadn't meant half of those things she said, and he was reminded of how much she had grown since they set out on the road that spring. They had all grown and changed in ways that they could never have expected. It hadn't even been two years since the Champions of the Red Dawn were formed, yet in many ways it felt like a lifetime.

From behind her, he heard Ashara's mother stand. "Ye both have the same temper..." Arryn sighed as she moved over to stand next to him. "Ashara, yer father's just worried 'bout ye. He loves ye more than ye know, and he's afraid he's goin' t' lose his little girl."

Regret shifted to shame. "I need to go apologize," he heard Ashara say purposefully, as she gathered up the skirt of her cassock to follow her father.

Mrs. Rosemorn laid a gentle hand on her daughter's arm and stopped her in her tracks. "Aye, and ye will, but not b'fore he gets a chance t' cool down."

It was interesting to Elric to watch these exchanges between them all. Ashara certainly got her temper from her father, but also a healthy dose of his practicality. The way her mother stopped her with a touch was something he had seen the priestess do as well. Kaber had asked him once if she was using magic on him when she did that. At the time he honestly wasn't sure, what else could calm an angry minotaur? Though Ebbard and Arryn may not be her biological parents, it was plain to see that much of what she had become was the result of who they were. All if it made Elric wonder if he was anything like his parents. Maybe he would soon know...

Her mother pulled her over to a chair and sat her down, then took the seat next to her. "We both knew t'would only be a matter o' time 'til ye'd leave. Ye've always been...restless here. I've got some concerns 'bout all this too though! Ye barely know these fellows ye want t' go out on the road with! Three men and a minotaur?! Really? Sounds more akin t' the beginin' o' a bad joke, then somethin' I want me daughter t' be involved in!"

Ashara's rage was already spent, but she shook her head in disagreement. "Momma, I've known them all for years now...well, with the exception of Kaber, but Aretis has known him for a long time, and trusts him!"

Arryn Rosemorn raised a hand to calm her. "I know ye got this thing in yer head, and ye won't be talked out o' it, but at least ye'll be hearin' me out. I've no problem with Aretis as ye know, and since yer father invites 'im over as often as he can, we've come t' believe he's the trustworthy sort. Though I must say, I don't entirely approve o' the way he's been lookin' at ye lately..."

Elric was surprised to feel Ashara flush slightly, and her heart flutter a bit in her chest. Did she have feelings for him back then? He couldn't sense any strong emotions either way, but it was hard for him to ignore her reaction.

"I can't say how much I hate the idea o' ye travelin' with a minotaur of all things, but ye've spent some time with 'im and the ranger can vouch for 'im, so I don't know what more t' say other than t' be careful! Therogeon seems like a nice 'nough fellow. He's always polite when he comes 'round t' visit," her mother continued, " and I know ye two have spent lots o' time t'gether since Elric came back."

Therogeon had graciously invited Elric into his home, after he had spent a few days with the Rosemorns upon returning to Impresk. Aside from their similar heritage, they had some interests in common and got along quite well. Ashara would visit often and they spent many days laughing and telling stories of their previous lives, and dreaming about where life would take them next. Again, Elric wondered with amazement how that could have only been two years ago!

"And 'bout Elric," Mrs. Rosemorn started carefully, "Ashes, he's not the same boy ye know growin' up. He's a man now. Ye've no idea what kind o' life he's lead out in the world these past twelve years, and ye can't just go assumin' he's goin' t' fill that same niche in yer life as he did when ye were seven."

"I don't assume that at all!" He could feel her doubt as she said the words, as if they didn't ring quite true to her. The truth was, that Ashara didn't start over with him from the beginning, but simply 'caught up' on everything she had missed in his life. Elric knew that from that first moment in the graveyard, she didn't see him as a stranger, but as her best friend that had finally come home after all these years. He now knew that it wasn't until she woke up in Waterdeep that she was able to see him without the label of 'childhood friend.'

After a brief pause, Ashara continued. "Besides, that was so long ago, that it's hard to remember what either of us were like back then. I think that especially Therogeon, Elric and I, have gotten to know each other very well over the last year or so."


Her mother nodded slowly. "Do ye trust 'em all with yer life? 'Cause that's what yer talkin' 'bout when ye head out on the road." Ashara began to answer affirmatively, but Arryn stopped her. "Ye need to be spendin' some time thinkin' on that question. If ye have any doubts at all, this may not be the path for ye." She squeezed her daughter's hand and then got up to head toward the kitchen. "Now, go apologize t' yer father. Ye said some hurtful things back there, that he wasn't deservin'."

Elric watched as Ashara headed up the stairs and asked Ebbard for forgiveness, to which he responded with an encompassing hug and an apology of his own. He couldn't blame her parents for their concern. If they had known then what that little band of adventurers would have to face, they certainly would have locked her in her room and thrown away the key.

He released the memory and tried again to focus on his original destination. He was slightly more curious now after feeling her reaction to Aretis' possible interest in her. Would it really matter if Ashara did have feelings for Aretis back then? No, he decided. There was certainly nothing for him to be jealous of considering she had already made her choice. Still...they had agreed to hold nothing back, and this was new information to him, so he decided to pursue it.

Everything spun around him for a moment before Elric was jerked backwards, hurtling through time. When the world rematerialized, he found himself on his knees harvesting a patch of herbs. Lemon balm, he knew, grew in good amounts in the foothills of the Snowflake mountains. The air smelled of falling leaves and the slight chill in the breeze confirmed that it was autumn. Ashara was humming as she took the cuttings of herbs and packed them away gently in her satchel before she turned to leave. A whuffling sound off to the side of him came to his ears. He felt her fear as his view spun around to face a massive brown bear no more than a dozen paces from him. Her body ached to flee from the animal, but fortunately her good sense won out. She began backing slowly away from the bear, trying to avoid eye contact, but it began taking steps to follow her. Elric knew that bears were not uncommon in the Snowflake Mountains, and during the fall they would move further from their homes seeking food for hibernation. This fellow appeared to be hungry. The fear oozing out of Ashara's every pore told him that she figured that priestess was about to be on the menu.

As the bear continued to move toward her at a quickening pace, Elric felt her heel catch on something in the grass causing her to stumble backwards onto the ground. Suddenly a shrill whistle knifed through the air from behind the animal, causing it to turn. As Ashara scrambled to her feet, she saw a man moving towards it. His arms were outstretched, and in his right hand, two fat hares hung, tied together with a bit of string. Elric could hear him saying...something in a very low, rumbling monotone, but he couldn't make out any words. When the bear turned completely toward the ranger, he stopped, held out the hares for the animal to see, then threw them as far as he could off to the west. The huge bear snuffled at the man before lumbering off to his easily won meal.

With a familiar cocky, lopsided grin, Aretis loped down the hill towards her, grabbed her firmly by the crook of the elbow and began walking with her to the south at a brisk pace. Elric could feel that she was still in shock, and rather amazed that she wasn't missing a limb at this point.

His view turned to look up at the man at his side and he found Aretis' piercing grey eyes looking back at him. "Do you have any idea how reckless it is to be wandering around up here alone at this time of year?"

"I...I didn't think...th.." Ashara stuttered, trying to get her voice to work after the fear subsided.

"That's exactly right! You DIDN'T think," the ranger interrupted. "Now you know though! Lesson learned. No harm done. Well, almost no harm...those hares would have made for a delicious meal..." He turned to her slightly as they walked on, and he bowed as he introduced himself. "My name is Aretis Shadowmorn, and I believe you owe me a dinner!"

Elric watched as Aretis brought her back home and was welcomed in with open arms. He felt Ashara's embarrassment as the ranger relayed the story and her father gave her a reprimanding glare that promised they would discuss the issue later. Ebbard clapped the man on the back in thanks and even let him sit in his favorite old chair while they waited for Mrs. Rosemorn to finish dinner.

He began flipping through the memories more rapidly then. Aretis was invited over to the Rosemorn's home frequently. Not to visit Ashara he realized...at least not at first, but to sit and converse with her father. He watched as time passed and Ashara grew, that the ranger began to show more interest in her, though his leering eye made it quite clear to Elric exactly what his interest was based upon. She didn't see it for what it was at the time, and she was flattered by his attraction to her. She had a crush and nothing more. Once she had gotten to know him out on the road, those feelings had faded quickly.

Elric thought back to when they had first set out. It seemed that the farther they got from Impresk, the more lewd his flirting had become, especially after the morning hugs were initiated for Kaber's benefit. He thought at the time that it was some sort of crude human custom that he was unaware of, but it became obvious that Ashara didn't welcome his advances at all. He smiled as he remembered how much he had enjoyed watching his best friend rebuff the self-assured ranger in front of the whole group.

The memories faded away as he released them. The world spun again, and he began to feel her fury as he was pulled to a new memory. Another familiar face took shape. A very stocky boy stood in front of her. He was more broad shouldered than should be possible for his age, an a mop of dirty blonde hair topped his large, melon-shaped head. He stood there holding his left eye, as his face grew redder and redder...


Last edited by Ashara on Wed Dec 30, 2009 10:52 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Ashara

Post  Colin Marcus on Wed Dec 30, 2009 10:46 pm

The scenes flew in front of her. She could feel herself screaming at her father and remembered the shame she'd felt at that. She was so glad that she had made things right with him that day. With the dangers they faced so soon after, she would have hated if those were the last words he had heard from her.

Suddenly the world snapped into view. She felt... nothing. Empty. Closed off. It took her a moment but she finally recognized that she was in Theogeon's house. Though by its general appearance she quickly corrected herself. This was Elric's house. Before his father died. Also, she noticed that they weren't alone. Tobias, the Harvestmaster of the nearby temple of Chauntau was there. Although from his vestments it appeared he wasn't Havestmaster yet. It appeared he was still a Watchful Brother of the Earth. Accompanying him from the House of the Golden Harvest, was another Watchful Brother she didn't recognize. He must not have stayed in Impresk long. Small town life wasn't for everyone she readily admitted.

The Chauntaun priests were there along with a much younger Josiah. Though they were standing near to each other, they weren't speaking. Elric didn't seem to know what was happening, but with a heavy heart Ashara did. She recognized that look on the priests' faces. It was a face that said they had done all they could, and the rest was up to the gods.

Suddenly she heard a door open and felt a surge of hope. Elric's small head turned to see her own father coming from the bedroom. It shook her a bit to see him so young. Hair light brown, without the grey, standing with his back straight. So strong, and vital! The way the years had crept up over the last dozen years, were so subtle... She didn't really notice him getting old.

She felt that surge of hope turn to despair as she noticed the young man wiping tears from his eyes and shaking his head to Josiah. Almost at once all four men turned their attention to her with undeniable pity in their eyes. Ashara was shocked, she couldn't remember ever seeing her father cry. Even when she had run away, his emotional outburst ran more toward anger than tears.

Josiah started toward the boy, but Ebbard stopped him and said something. Elric either couldn't hear or simply wasn't listening. He knew what they were going to say. When Ebbard started to walk toward him she felt Elric panic. The boy slipped off the chair and ran out the door into the snow. She could hear her father shouting Elric's name, but the boy didn't stop running. She began to suspect that to his child's mind, he could outrun what had just happened. If nobody actually said the words, then maybe his father wouldn't be gone.

It took her a moment to realize where he had gone. As he raced through the snow of the sheep pasture toward a close grouping of trees that formed a shelter of sorts. This was their secret place, where they used to play and hide from their parents. It looked exactly as she remembered it. She hadn't thought of it in years. Now she remembered how upset she was, when the people who moved in after Arturo had cut it down and cleared it away.

Once he was in the secluded branches she felt the tears come. It was as if a dam had burst and all the despair she had felt bottled up was pouring out. It seemed to go forever. Ashara had never felt this kind of grief before. She thought when she lost Josiah it was bad, but she still had her parents. Still had her friends to help her through it. Elric had just lost everything.

Not everything she corrected herself as she heard a rustling behind him. She still felt the tears freezing to his cheeks, as she felt tiny arms wrap him in a hug. Elric turned his face and buried it into a young Ashara's coat and just wept.

She remembered this scene from both points of view now, though only one was a result of the spell. She remembered her father coming home that day. He took her mother into the kitchen and talked with her for a while. She didn't hear much, but she did hear her father saying "I promised him... " and her mother try to stifle some tears and say something like "Of course Dear... Of Course."

Then her father had called her into the sitting room. He picked her up and set her on his knee. "Ashes..." he started out carefully. "We've got sumthin' to talk to ye about."

"Ye've heard that Elric's papa was really sick..." Arryn jumped in soothingly. "Well... He..." She seemed to have a hard time continuing.

"His daddy didn't git any better," Ebbard finished. "He's not going to be around anymore, and Elric needs a place t' live..."

"He can stay with us, can't he!" Ashara remembered asking.

"He can. Fact is, we was gonna ask ye' the same question." Ebbard nodded. "Now Ashes, Elric's really sad right now. He's hiding from us right now. Can ye help me go get him?"

"Uh huh!" She nodded enthusiastically. "I think I know where he'll be!"

It occurred to her now that if they had really wanted to track the boy through the snow, it wouldn't have been a problem. But apparently her father knew that he needed a little time on his own, and he needed a friend more than anything else.

After some time she heard herself tell Elric, "Elric, lets go home now... It's too cold out here." She felt weak from the emotional release and offered no resistance as young Ashara pulled him out and led him to where Ebbard was waiting with the horse. The young man scooped them both up and they started to ride back across town as the memory started to swirl again.
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Elric

Post  Penelope on Wed Dec 30, 2009 10:56 pm

Dunner Fenkeep. Seeing that face sparked Elric's own memories of being constantly taunted by that bully. It was a face he had no desire to see again... He looked older and even bigger here, towering over the young Ashara. Elric knew exactly which memory this was, and braced himself, as he watched his old nemesis pull back his meaty fist and let it fly. Ashara wasn't moving. Fury had driven her attack, but now that emotion faded to fear and surprise that her punch had actually connected. Unfortunately, Dunner's punch connected also. Elric felt her nose crunch sickeningly, and pain burst across her face, as the world went black.

In Ashara's unconsciousness, Elric felt himself grieving within a vaguely familiar copse of trees. The profound sorrow that he had experienced after the death of his father hit him like a charging minotaur. It was a great gnawing pain, that even after all these years was impossible to forget, and terrifying to remember. The overpowering feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and the sensation of being completely alone, caused his control over the spell to slip and the memories began spinning out of control. He felt Ashara's arms wrap around him just before the strong emotions of the memories flitting past, pulled Elric in every direction.

Horror. Darkness lifted to reveal the demon standing over the priest of Illmater. The Father stood erect, though not by his own strength or will. Ten metallic stakes strategically placed, kept the man standing, his arms stretched out with palms upwards and his legs a little more than shoulder-width apart. Two spikes extended perpendicularly from the floor driving through the hands at the very center of the palm, one for each hand. Two stakes, or poles, came up at slight angles, criss-crossing one another, for each arm. One was driven through the elbow joint, the other through the armpit, so that it came out bisecting the shoulder blade. Two more small stakes were driven through the feet, one each, an inch ahead of the ankle. Finally, two more spikes, both angled slightly outward, come up from between his feet to go into the inner thigh, up through the upper thigh and piercing the hip bone. His entire torso, from four inches below his navel to the base of his throat, had been opened completely up, with incredible precision, by each individual layer of skin and flesh and was kept open wide by strings of his own muscle tissue tied off to the stakes that kept him erect. The entirety of his inner organs were displayed to the open air, each held into place by more strings of muscle tissue tied off to varying bones of the old man's skeletal structure... Most disturbingly however, was that they all were still operating! His heart still beat, lung still drew breath, he could see the priest's blood still running through his veins. Father Marden was still very much alive! His head was tilted to his right, where it rested on his shoulder, his eyes opened wide. Tiny flecks of metal and wood could be seen within them, but his eyelids had been ripped completely off. His bottom jaw dangled open wider than should have been possible, dislocated from his own cries of anguish. His tongue was ripped down the center, with some thick stick in the shape of a 'T' wedged in it to both drive deep within and keep it stretched out.

It was a scene which, if he lived for two hundred more years, he would never be able to forget! Thankfully the vision flashed by as quickly as it had come, and he was pulled toward the light.

Awe. Light burst from her upraised hand blinding him and driving away the grainy shadows around her. When his sight returned he saw Dawnspeaker within her grasp. The sheer power of it rippled through her hand and into her bones, and Elric felt her recognize the truth of the mace the moment she laid her eyes on it. "Carried into battle by Lathander himself," she had told him that evening by the fire. She was astounded. The Morninglord himself had chosen for Ashara to carry his weapon into battle against the Darkness that was spreading across the region, but instead of feeling pride or the thrill of power, Elric could only sense her feelings of unworthiness and humility.

He smiled inwardly as the scene changed again, though his surroundings were the same.

Alarm. Elric felt, or more accurately, sensed Dawnspeaker hanging from her belt now, and his view turned to see the horrifically wounded form of himself remove his blindfold while limping toward Ashara. He remembered that he had been badly hurt in the fight with the Shade, but he was shocked at what he saw. Parts of his flesh were charred black from the fireballs the demigod had dropped, and those parts that weren't blackened were already beginning to turn purple from bruising. Long gashes sliced down his shoulders and chest where the Shade's wicked axe had simply grazed him, but by far the worst, was the wound to his left thigh. The axe had laid open the muscle from hip to knee, to expose the bone beneath. How he had managed to walk at all, he had no idea, and neither did she. Elric heard Ashara gasp at the sight, just before she began casting the familiar spell that would Heal him. The wounded Elric didn't stop when he was within arm's reach of her, and just as she finished uttering the final divine word, he felt his lips crush against hers, releasing the power of the spell. Surprise, joy, love and tremendous relief to still be alive, washed over him. Then, as he felt the pain from his Healed wound course through her leg, he heard her whimper, though not from pain alone, and the leg buckled beneath her. She would have collapsed had the previously wounded Elric not been holding on to her so tightly. He wanted to laugh as he remembered Gwilly whispering in his ear at that moment, "Now would be a great time to propose!" Ahhh, the helpfulness of friends!

The memory spun away and suddenly he felt as if he were rocking from side to side.

Frustration and blood lust. A lantern lit the small cabin on the ship, but Elric quickly recognized the throbbing darkness that remained at the edges of his vision, and he braced himself for whatever might come. He was hunched over a small desk with a knife in his hand. A large rat was pinned to the surface by a dagger that had been driven through the skin at the scruff of its neck. The terrified rodent clawed and twisted, squealing in pain as it tried to escape the monstrous woman with the blades. He felt Ashara enjoying the show of suffering playing out before her, and the power of holding even so small a life within her grasp. Elric watched in disgust as she held its back legs down, stabbing them in precise points to sever the artery in each limb. The priestess chuckled as she watched the animal slowly bleed out, and once it was spent, she pulled it from the desk and threw the corpse into the corner, onto a growing pile of desiccating rat bodies.

Elric shuddered as the memory whirled away, and prayed that he had seen the last of her memories from that dark time in her life. He still felt himself spinning out of control, though the feelings of sorrow that had started the chaos began to dissipate as the memory she was watching faded into another. He tried to focus and slow the whirlwind, not caring where he ended up, just willing the mental assault to cease.

The spiraling images did stop then, and he found himself staring into the cruel, violet eyes of the first of the assassin-priests of Cyric that they had captured. His mouth, and most of his body was still covered in the encasing goo of the Viscous Globe, and Elric recognized that Ashara stood in front of him in his jail cell. He heard their friends around her and felt her fear as she took a deep breath before resting her hand on his bald head and beginning the casting of her spell. Now Elric was afraid! He remembered that she had used her Memory Read on the priest to learn more about the daggers he carried and the murders he had committed. She had also seen the manifestation of Cyric himself! What was more terrifying, was that Cyric had seen HER! Would he see Elric as well, as he watched Ashara's memory of watching the priest's memory!? His mind reeled at the thought, and he had no intention of sticking around to explore that possibility. Being threatened by a deity once, was enough for one lifetime, and he didn't want to press his luck!

Back in control now, Elric leaped back to the memory he was reading before the whirlwind began.

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Ashara

Post  Colin Marcus on Thu Dec 31, 2009 1:17 am

Memories bouncing around. Ashara had a much better control now, but she was still trying to see as much as possible in the time remaining. Scenes from his life flashed past her and she latched on to one.

Pain. She felt as if she had just been punched in the stomach. Actually it felt worse than that. Reliving Elric's training, she knew exactly what it felt like to be punched in the stomach. This was worse. He couldn't breathe, he was confused and very, very scared.

"Did you actually think I was going to give up my home and station to run off with a homeless half-breed?”


The face of Syrlynna came into focus. Eyebrows raised in amusement and she had a sadistic grin on her face. Ashara felt a surge of anger. She'd like to take Dawnspeaker and knock that smirk of the elf's face! Elric had never told her about this. Sure, he'd admitted that the girl wasn't interested in him... but as the pain and confusion overwhelmed the half-elf she realized how much he had downplayed it. She was beginning to realize he did that a lot.

As Elric climbed the fence to escape, he took one last look back. Ashara wasn't sure but there may have been some regret. If there was, she suspected it was a very foriegn emotion to the elf. The priestess doubted Syrlynna regretted much of anything she did.

As the despair, rejection and terror flowed through her she released the memory. She couldn't bear to feel Elric in that kind of state. There was nothing left to learn there, and she'd felt enough of that!

As the world came into view the first sense that revealed itself was smell. She smelled a fresh apple pie. Just like her mother made! As the room came into focus she noticed that Elric was in the Champions house, and there on the table was in fact a pie.

When did this memory take place she wondered? For all his talents, she knew cooking wasn't something that he'd ever claimed. Elric was in the process of dusting, but sure enough his gaze kept returning to the pie, with a strange mix of excitement with an undercurrent of nervousness. Ashara was really confused now. Until she heard a familiar voice from the kitchen.

"Should be cool enough now!" Arryn Rosemorn called out. "Go 'head and dig in while it's still hot!"

"You really didn't have to go the trouble." Elric started to say. On his way to the table of course, she noticed with a grin. "I am the only one around right now..." Hmmm, the priestess thought. This must be when she was in Waterdeep. Probably after the dinner with her parents. That might explain the nervousness he felt. Story she'd heard was he spent a lot of time hiding from her mother... Apparently he wasn't always successful! She still felt a little guilty about not being there that day. Really no excuse for abandoning him to those two. Still she had to admit, whatever happened that day worked out for the best. They'd gotten engaged about a month later.

"Bah!" her mother replied with her typical grin. "Jest leaves more fer us then!" She came out of the kitchen with a pair of plates and cut into the pie. As the scent caused Elric's mouth to water, Ashara realized she was going to enjoy this memory!

Elric was startled a bit, as about a quarter of the whole pie was slid in front of him. Arryn of course took a more modest 'normal' sized peice for herself. As they sat and ate, Arryn rarely took her eyes off the half-elf. She could tell Elric was uncomfortable under this scrutiny, but was trying to hide it by scarfing down the delicious pie. She decided then and there, that before they left Impresk again, she wanted some pie!

Finally Arryn was the first to break the silence. "Yer Papa would be proud, y'know."

Elric dropped his fork in surprise. She could feel confusion and an unexpected sadness. "Really?" He asked the woman.

"Y'don't think so?" Arryn raised an eyebrow. "Ye've grown big and strong, help people who need helpin', been makin' a name fer yerself..." She looked around the house real slowly and when she looked back at the half-elf she had a familar glint in her eye. "Ye ain't much fer cleanin', but ye've been givin' the effort and that counts for something. Don't ye be worryin', we'll have the place spotless by the time the other's come back!" She could feel Elric starting to blush again.

"Course Arturo, he's not to be judging ye on that. He wasn't much for cleanin' either. So where's the doubt?"

She could feel the sadness turn to guilt as she heard Elric answer. "It's not that... it's just... Its been so long, I don't really remember him much. Most of my life in Impresk, it seems so long ago..." Suddenly she felt a glimmer of hope in his voice as he looked her mother and asked. "What was he like?"

Her mother nodded slowly as she looked at him. "He was a good man." She leaned back as if trying to decide what to say and how to say it. "I see a lot of him in ye. He showed up one day out of the blue with a lil' money and not much else. Able to talk his way into that house over there and got a few sheep. Ever'one got along with him pretty well, but he didn't talk much about life before Impresk. Ever'one had their theories, mine was he was a soldier. Imagine he got tired of the life and wanted a new one. Happens a lot in towns like this."

"A soldier?" Elric asked. She could feel his curiosity peaked. "I never really thought of him as soldier..."

"Well, I'm not sure of course... Ebbard had his own theories... Regardless, he never spoke about it. And don't ye be thinkin' a few of us didn't try to get it out of 'im! He was a quiet sort, kept to himself, didn't cause no trouble... I figured let him 'ave his secrets! Man want's to live in peace, he should be allowed to live in peace."

"Course then ye came along!" She leaned forward and smiled mischievously. "If ye thought the tongues were waggin' about where he'd come from before... Ye should of heard them after ye showed up!" She laughed out now. "Ye were the cutest lil' thing. Everyone wanted to pinch your cheeks and see those cute little ears!" Ashara could feel the half-elf start to blush again. Elric was feeling a little awkward, but her mother just kept talking.

"Poor man was a wreck! Someone leaving a baby on that man's doorstep... He didn't know the first thing about babies!" She chuckled a bit at the memory. "The man tried, but he was fairly hopeless! A few of the ladies and meself had to see him through the rough patches," she said with a wink. "Course I didn't know much meself, but a few months later Ashara came around too." She could feel him getting drawn into the story, but she still felt his heart skip a beat at the sound her name.

"Arturo and us, we kind of learned to be parents together ye might say! Ebbard and him became really good friends. Really shook him up when he died." Arryn was quiet for a moment, though Ashara could practically hear the unsaid 'and you ran away'. By the way Elric squirmed a bit and the sudden sense of guilt she could tell he heard it too.

"I never really apologized for leaving back then." She could feel a lump in his throat. "I shoudn't have done that... I am sorry."

"Pshhh" Her mother waved him off. She cut a few more peices of pie. "Long time ago! What's done is done. Ye're back now, and we'll be seein' that ya stay that way!" Elric chuckled at that but didn't seem to read anything else into it. Ashara on the other hand knew her mother a little better, and had a sneaking suspicion that the woman was already planning a wedding!
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Elric

Post  Penelope on Thu Dec 31, 2009 2:12 am

Her eyes opened, and Elric found himself in a modest room, propped up with pillows in bed. There were a few drawings tacked up on the walls and even a small collection of books on one of the shelves. It was slightly different than he remembered. The dolls and toys had yet to be replaced by hanging herbs and scroll cases, but her favorite board game, Fox & Geese, was in the same place he had seen it last, though it was much newer looking in this memory.

One of the drawings caught his attention. It looked a bit more worn than the others, and if he hadn't just watched a memory of himself as a boy, he would never have recognized the young face in the picture. It was a crude sketch, but recognizable, and it was obvious from the other drawings hung up around it, that Ashara's skill had been improving vastly since she had created that drawing of the young Elric. He noticed with some amusement that though anyone else would have made it a point to include the half elf's pointed ears, Ashara had simply drawn him as she had always seen him. Shaggy hair covered the boy's ears, and might have covered his eyes as well if it hadn't been pushed off to one side. Elric smiled inwardly. She never did think of him as any different from herself.

Elric was suddenly aware of the throbbing ache encompassing her head. He'd been punched in the face before, and recognized that pain for what it was.

"Good, you're awake." Her head turned to see Josiah closing a book that he had been reading in the chair next to her bed. He slid a mug across the nightstand to her. "Drink that."

He could feel Ashara's anxiety as she obeyed the priest. Her concern was not about what might be in the cup, but the slightly vexed tone which Josiah had used. The liquid was thick and bitter, but she managed to keep it down.

"Your mother told me what happened, Ashara, and I must say that I'm quite disappointed in you." His lips pressed together in a thin line as he inspected the ruin of her face.

Elric could feel Ashara's surprise at first, then it slowly melted into shame. "But Josiah, Dunner called him a HALF BREED," she whined in defense of her actions. "I mean I know he's half elf, but I couldn't just let stupid ol' Dunner go around sayin' it like that! He meant it in a bad way, and I had to show him that it wasn't okay to talk about my friend like that!"

The younger Josiah sighed softly, looking in that moment much like the older version of himself that Elric was more familiar with. "Ashara, you simply feel too much! You feel too strongly about too many things. To have such passion is a gift from Lathander himself, do not doubt, but you must temper it with wisdom or it will be your undoing." He sighed again and rubbed his forehead in mild frustration. "That Fenkeep boy has been calling you two names all of your lives, and Elric left three years ago", he said softly, "you really need to let him go. You have your own life to tend to."

"He ain't dead, Josiah...," she said stubbornly, knowing exactly what the man was assuming. Ashara swallowed hard and held back the tears. Whether they were from the hard truth, the pain, or both, Elric wasn't sure.

"You mean to say that he IS NOT dead," the priest corrected, "and I'm not saying that he is. I'm saying that there is nothing you can do about it either way. Besides, you know as well as I do that this has nothing to do with him. You feel abandoned and guilty, but you have got to understand that Elric's leaving had nothing to do with you, and if he ever returns, that won't have anything to do with you either. People we care about come and go throughout our lives. Even best friends." Josiah took the girl's hand and patted it reassuringly. The knowing blue-grey eyes pierced through all the walls she had erected to defend herself, and Elric could tell that she suddenly felt very vulnerable. "Even parents..."

He felt the heat rising to her face in anger. "They didn't...ABANDON me," the young girl fumed as she choked on her tears, "They were just tryin' to do the best thing, right?"

Josiah continued patting her hand, trying to calm her. "Ashara, Ashara, you have anger in your heart that you have not yet dealt with, and you MUST before you become something you will regret in time. You need to decide who you are going to be. Justified or not, are you going to be one who lashes out and causes people pain, or are you going to be one that heals the pain in others? NOW is the time to decide," he stated emphatically. "You are at a fork in the road, and only you can decide which path to take!"

Just as quickly as it had come, the anger drained from her. "But, you know that I want you to teach me," she said with some confusion, as she pulled the familiar medallion from beneath her shirt. "My real parents gave me this necklace of the sunrise and left me with you. It's because they wanted me to be a follower of Lathander like you, so that's what I want to do!"

Elric watched as a strange expression crossed Josiah's face that the child Ashara apparently didn't notice. Sadness. Remorse. Anger. Maybe it was a combination of the three played across the man's features. He knew something, Elric realized with surprise. Something he had never told her...

"First of all...Ebbard and Arryn Rosemorn ARE your real parents, and I don't EVER want to hear you say otherwise! They love you and care for as if you were their own, and it would break their hearts if they heard you just now!" Josiah collected himself quickly from the brief outburst. "We don't know what happened, or why your birth parents left you with me, but your life is your own. You must make this decision based on what you feel in your heart, not what you think may be...expected of you. You say you wish to follow in my footsteps? Well, based on your actions today, I cannot accept you as my student. I cannot have you punching everyone you disagree with, and I cannot in good conscience put you on a path that I know you are not choosing of your own will."

Elric felt as if Ashara had been slapped across the face. Hurt and rejected, he felt a wound reopen in her heart that had never fully healed. She winced against the harshness of his words, causing her nose to move, which in turn made her gasp in pain.

Josiah stood and leaned over her with concern in his eyes. "Ashara, I'm not saying I won't ever train you, but you need to do some serious soul searching before you make this decision! Faith in Lathander is all about new beginnings. Are you ready to start over? No matter what happens in your life, you need to understand that when the sun rises, that you have a new chance to make your life better! A chance to make others' lives better. Every morning is an opportunity to refresh your mind and spirit. You will have to learn to forget yourself and be what others need you to be. You will provide hope and encouragement to those who have none."

The priest gave her a skeptical look before turning and taking one of her sketches off the wall. He held it out to her and she took it. It was her drawing of the young Elric. "Are you ready to start over, my dear?"

He could tell that she wanted to scream at him; to deny the wisdom of his words. She couldn't seem to find her voice though, and suddenly her head felt like it was swimming. Elric's view jerked to the side as her head bobbed sleepily.

"I gave you an herbal brew to drink, it will make you drowsy, but also will help to take away the pain." Josiah took the disk of rose quartz from around his neck and palmed it as he reached for her nose. "This is going to hurt a bit..."

The priest whispered a few divine words and pulled her nose out then back to its correct position. Bone ground together and Ashara screamed out as he watched green fireworks burst behind her eyes. Once Josiah had reset it, Elric felt the warmth of the healing magics roll over her. There was still some pain, as it wasn't a complete healing, but the bone had fused back together and no permanent damage was done.

After inspecting her, the man gave him a small smile. "This is a good lesson for you. There are consequences to every action. You must learn to consider those consequences before you act, then you will be able to choose a course that will bring the greatest reward. You could have turned aside Dunner's attack with a word, or a kind gesture, but instead you chose violence and this is the reward you have harvested."

"Get some rest and think about the things I've told you," Josiah said, tapping on the sketch she held in her hand. "At dawn, you will go to the altar of Lathander and pray for guidance. After you speak with the Morninglord, you come speak with me and tell me what you have chosen."

"Thank you, Josiah," Elric heard Ashara say sincerely, but faintly.

"You're welcome, my dear, and I look forward to hearing from you tomorrow morning." The man smiled warmly and patted her hand once more before turning to head down the stairs.

The girl sat for some time before crawling carefully out from under the covers and opening a familiar chest that sat on the floor at the foot of her bed. Elric realized that he had seen this very same chest in her room in the Champion's house, but he had never seen the contents of it. Curious, he peered inside with Ashara. It was mostly empty, but she had a few toys in there, and quite a few more sketches of people and places about Impresk. He noticed a small leather pouch that had his name crudely scratched into the soft surface. His jack and knucklebones set that his father had made for him! Elric wondered if she still had that there in the chest...

"Yer Papa would be proud, y'know." Arryn Rosemorn's words drifted into the forefront of his memory, and he listened again as she told him those few precious details about a father he barely knew. That simple conversation with Ashara's mother had reminded him of his connection to this small village, and although he felt that might not have a culture to which he completely belonged, at least here in Impresk he had a home.

Elric's attention was drawn back to the memory he was viewing, as Ashara lifted up the sketch of the young Elric to look at it one more time. "Don't worry," she whispered with only the slightest quiver of her bottom lip, "I won't forget you." With that, the girl lifted the lid off of a small box within the chest. Inside that box was a stack of what appeared to be letters that had never been sent. She carefully placed the sketch inside the box, replaced the lid and closed the chest. He felt a sadness in her, but something of relief as well. A burden of guilt that she could leave behind, at least for a time. He felt her head begin bobbing again, and the young Ashara crawled back into bed and drifted easily off to sleep.

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Post  Colin Marcus on Thu Dec 31, 2009 3:47 pm

The priestess listened to her mother tell Elric about his father. She remembered a time long past when she had actually been jealous of him. She may have had the medallion as a clue to her birth parents, but he actually had one of them! He knew who his father was, where he had come from. It had never really occurred to her how little he actually knew about the man. She, herself spent many a day playing with Elric while being watched over by the shepherd, but couldn't remember his face. They were both so young back then.

Suddenly she had an idea. She was still in control here! She could instinctively feel that their time was getting shorter, but she still had time for a few more stops on the way to seeing his mother. Though he had never mentioned it, probably never thought about it, Ashara decided it may be time to reintroduce Elric to his father!

As the memories spun by her there were still large clusters of powerfull emotions scattered about that drew her curiosity.

Grief, Horror, Failure. The room faded in and she saw blood covering Elric's hands. The sense of failure hung heavy over him. As his gaze left his hands and moved to the body in front of him, she recognized the place again.

Dagadar. Apparently this place was full of important memories for the two of them. She remembered how upset he was when he'd killed that dwarf. At the time she didn't understand. She knew he didn't like to kill, but this wasn't the first dwarf that had fallen before them since they had entered the dark mines.

The dwarves of Dagadar were tenacious and stubborn. They practically refused to be taken alive, and with their fantastic armor and skill with those deadly axes, the Champions didn't have much choice in the matter. But she had known then as she knew now that this one was different.

Having lived so much of his life now, she had a much better understanding of her betrothed. She knew now that he considered the dwarfs death a failure on his part. A loss of the control and precision that he took some pride in. He hadn't wanted to kill this dwarf, and yet he had. All those years of training to make his body do exactly what he expected of it, and he slipped. He lost control. He hadn't compensated for whatever those new wraps did, and it cost someone their life.

Nobody else had held him up to that high of a standard. In fact none of the other dwarves in that patrol had survived either. She doubted any of the other Champions even noticed his reaction at the time. But she had. She'd been paying very close attention to him down there. His compassion for even those out to kill him had always amazed her. She wished she knew where that came from!

She smiled to herself as she recalled the look of gratitude on Elric's face when she raised that particular dwarf from the dead, soon after the curse was lifted. It was no coincidence that particular dwarf was chosen first, and his smile then had said that he knew it too.

As time seemed to slip past her she sensed something unusal. The purity of the emotion drew her like a moth to the flame. She sensed fear. She had felt memories of fear before, but this... this was a stark raving terror! Concerned she tried to focus in on what had made him feel like this... and the image of a black cloud circled by skulls came into view.

Cyric! She still remembered that day vividly. It was the second time that Cyric had taken personal notice of her. The first she realized in horror was in a Memory Read, just like this! As she was about to leave the memory she felt something else. Cyric seemed to pay her no mind. This time at least he was just a memory. So she tried to examine the situtation. She had been terrified that day, but she also felt something else from Elric. Awe? A need? A Desire to kneel?

Awe? For CYRIC??? That wasn't the Elric she knew! Was this something she should be concerned about? She tried to remember the details that day. It was very overwhelming. Cyric had interrupted her attempt to interrogate the spirit of one of his priests. He had shown up, destroyed his minion, and threatened them all. She had never been that scared in her life. However she did have one thing going for her.

Lathander.

She had faith in the Dawnlord. Cyric could well kill her then and there, but that was as much as he could do. Should she die, she would arrive in the Halls of Morning and know peace. Lathander gave her the strength to stand her ground. She was certain that Cyric could end her life, but that was all. She was wrong.

She had thought she knew fear before, but then Cyric had turned his attention solely on Elric! His soul was unclaimed! Cyric wanted him! If... When he died, Cyric was going to lay claim to the half-elf and do who-knows-what to his soul for all eternity! That thought had turned her blood to ice. She was certain then that she was about to lose him, before she had ever told him how she'd felt!

Was that what she was feeling? She had known her god for most of her life. She felt him around her all the time, work through her when she called, and felt his holy presence itself when he had freed her from the curse. Elric had not. This was the single most powerful thing Elric had ever encountered. Demon's, Dragons, Dracoliches, Demi-gods... Nothing could compare with the sheer overwhelming sensation of being in the presence of an actual god! Creators of world and rulers of entire concepts and ethos. It appeared that when presented with that kind of Power, the natural response is to submit. Her faith and worship was reserved for Lathander. Perhaps that shielded her from the influence of other gods.

She knew gods were nourished by their followers. It had often been a mystery to her what kind of person would willing choose to follow gods of madness and evil. Perhaps all the gods had such magnificent charisma, unclaimed souls were drawn to them?

As the vision of Cyric left them, so too did that feeling of reverence. Terror once again replaced it along with a loathing for weakness in himself. She remembered now that she wasn't the only one who occasionally woke from nightmares. She remembered how she had tried to bring Elric into Lathanders fold before, but the half-elf was stubborn. He had been thoroughly convinced that there were elven gods and that there were human gods. None of which had a place for him.

This was the moment that had opened his eyes to other, darker possibilities! Suddenly he was more open to what she had tried to tell him. She was original content to slowly teach him about Lathander through actions and time. Now however, the thought of Elric's soul as Cyric's plaything caused her to be a touch more aggressive. It took a few more days but by the time they were on the ship to Dagadar she was able to break through his misconceptions and he really started to take to her teachings.

She always knew he would, if he just let himself! His personality and lifestyle lended themselves very well with the tenants of her faith. Creativity, youth, vitality, self-perfection, athletics, optimism, perseverance, encouragement, second chances, pursuit of interracial harmony... Even his impulsiveness is a trait that Lathander himself is known to possess! He was a natural. He had been honoring the Morninglord all his life and never truly knew it!

As she quickly dismissed this memory, she thought about that ship voyage. Alone talking about Lathander and life in general, there were so many times she wanted to tell him about how she felt. She never found the courage. Not till days later when they reached the island. Even then, as she thought of the way she had fled before he could respond, she didn't rank that as one of her most couragous moments! She sighed as she thought of all the pointless fears and time wasted.
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Elric

Post  Penelope on Fri Jan 01, 2010 2:13 am

When the memory swirled back to life, Elric could feel the fat drops of rain from an early spring shower splattering against her cheeks as she walked swiftly down the dirt path. The familiar scent of wet earth and awakening plant life filled his nostrils, and he was reminded that it had been a long time since he'd spent a spring in Impresk! From what Ashara had told him of this memory during the celebration in Zazesspur, today was her tenth birthday, the first of Ches. Her thoughts were apparently not on the party her parents were setting up for her, because her emotions were a jumble of confusion, indecision, and anxiety.

It was nearly sunrise now. She raced through the puddles and up onto the small rise were the Altar of the Dawn had been erected. The girl knelt there in the mud and waited as the rainclouds passed overhead. As the sky cleared, the first rays of the sun broke over the horizon and just as Josiah had taught her, she took a sip of the blessed water from the bowl before bowing to pray.

Ashara's lips moved silently, and though he couldn't hear the words that poured from her soul that morning he felt them deeply and was swept along in the torrent of emotion. The anger, hurt, feelings of rejection and inadequacy, were feelings brought on by the mystery of her true family. Elric knew those particular emotions well. Much more intensely than the budding priestess could understand at that time. His experiences with the elves with whom he had lived for most of his life, yet never accepted him, and the humans who often treated him more as a sideshow than a person, had scarred him in ways he was still discovering. He could remember all of the names he had been called by BOTH races, and even though they sounded beautiful in elvish, they stung just as much.

He felt her tears fall like those fat drops of rain down her cheeks until she shook both from the cold and the outpouring of feeling. As Elric watched her eyes open again, he could feel the sun on her face and feel her anticipation of...

Overbearing gloom encompassed him and the companions that stood about him. Ghostly human skulls swirled around two black eyes that bored into his own with the utmost malice, and he was frozen in terror. Cyric! He knew this easily as his own memory, and not the one of Ashara's he was viewing. It still haunted him...that a god would PERSONALLY threaten his very soul! Tends to bring a new perspecive to a person's life...

Suddenly he saw a rose-red light penetrate the gloom. It drove the malevolent vision away and he saw that the black eyes had been replaced by golden ones, surrounded by swirls of scarlet mist. The eyes seemed to smile at him, and he felt a warmth spread across his body like a cloak surrounding him. Or was it her body? It was hard for him to distinguish between them at that moment, but Ashara noticed then that she was outlined in radiance. A wave of peace, acceptance, sheltering love and belonging washed over them both, burning away the negative emotions. Elric wondered briefly if the radiance he was seeing on the young Ashara was surrounding him in the room in the Champions' house! This was her memory now, but he remembered how Cyric had 'seen' her as she used this very spell to gather information on one of his priests. Was Lathander seeing him?

In that moment of clarity, Elric finally understood Ashara's devotion to the Morninglord. For the first time in her young life, she felt whole. She felt complete, accepted and loved for who she was, in spite of her flaws. It was the beginning for her. She had not suddenly become the powerful and dedicated priestess whose hands he held in his back in the meeting room, but that seed that Josiah had planted in her had just burst from the ground and was reaching for the sun.

They knelt in that place together in awe, the human girl and half-elven man, and they left all their burdens there in the mud before this deity that they were just beginning to truly understand.

The memory skipped ahead and Elric found himself knocking at Josiah's door. When the priest opened it, he heard Ashara's voice say, "I'm ready, Josiah. I've started over..."

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Post  Colin Marcus on Fri Jan 01, 2010 4:10 am

The town of Impresk came slowly into view. She recognized the place too well. The were in the Cemetery. She grimaced at the bad luck. She wanted to share with him a memory of his father, but as she watched the wrapped form being lowered into the ground through the young boys eyes, she sighed. This wasn't the memory she wanted to share!

She could see herself standing near him, and though Elric never looked behind him, the reassuring hand she felt on his shoulder could only belong to her father. She couldn't see her mother, but she heard her nearby sniffling.

The boy's emotions weren't what she expected. There was only a very mild grief, and a hovering sadness, but not what she'd have thought. Mostly he seemed shut down. She remembered now, those early days when he had come to live with them. Elric had cried himself to sleep for the first couple of nights and seemed so distant when he was awake. Perfectly natural she realized now, but what was really confusing her was this sense of... Curiosity? Hope?

The boy's eyes seemed to sweep the crowd of mourners. Apparently Arturo was much more well-liked than she had remembered. It seemed most of the small town had come to pay their respects. After a few moments she realized the boy was searching for something. His gaze focused on everyone, but seemed to hover the longest on the women in the group.

As time passed, she felt curiosity turn to frustration. He wasn't seeing what he wanted to. Soon even the frustration melted into grief or anger. It was difficult to tell which was greater and the hope she'd felt evaporated.

Ashara winced as she knew what was happening. Apparently Elric had just assumed that his mother would be there. That child logic insisted that she would come to his fathers funeral, despite the fact that it was nigh impossible she'd have ever heard about his death.

She had no proof, but the priestess was sure that this was the moment! The moment when Elric had decided that if his mother wouldn't come back here, then he would go find her! The first step on his long road.

Her eyes went wide as she realized where 'her' Elric was now! She remembered that day quite clearly... the day she had decided to follow Lathander fully. It had been a deeply moving experience for her. As she thought about the first time she had felt the love and healing of her god, she hoped Elric's experience would be at least half as effective. He never admitted it, probably hadn't even realized it, but she knew the half-elf had lots of hurt that needed healing.

She took control again and backed the memory up some more. She wanted a pleasant memory of Arturo. Finally she found something that looked promising! As the man came into focus, Ashara nearly lost her grip on the memory! Common belief was that Arturo was in fact Elric's true father. Over the years there was always a nagging doubt that he may have been left on the wrong doorstep. Arturo may have just been a good man in the right place like the Rosemorns. One glance at that face and any doubts were shattered! That was Elric's father alright!

Arryn Rosemorn wasn't exaggerating when she said that she saw some of Arturo in Elric! Arturo was older but still vital. She could see the lines of age creeping in around his eyes. His hair was fairly short, like most of the other men in Impresk, but it was the same color brown with just a few streaks of grey around the temples. He wore a short beard, but it did little to hide the same strong chin that Elric inherited. Elric's cheekbones were a little more angular, but not as much as Therogeon's or full elves. Their noses, mouths, easy smile... were the same. For the most part except for the blue eyes, Elric looked just like his father!

As she studied the image, she smiled at how easy this portrait would be to draw. She had never seen Elric with a beard. He was always very particular about staying clean shaven. She wasn't even sure if he even could grow one till they had left Dagadar. Apparently for half-elves, it grew slower than full humans, but it did grow! Seeing Arturo she realized that it would look good on him, but she doubted he'd ever let it grow out. Not after living his memories in Evereska! She realized now that growing a little hair on your face there, only brought attention to his differences. It could alter your standing from a mere oddity to an abomination.

As she got over her shock she tried to focus on the rest of the memory. They were outside and Elric was laying on the grass watching his father feeling a bit bored. The day was just beautiful. The sun was warm, the grass was dry and the breeze was pleasant. A beautiful spring Impresk day, and a perfect day to be outside. They weren't alone either it appeared. As Elric look around, she saw a young Ashara laying on the grass a few feet away staring at the clouds. She guessed that she was about five in this memory. Perhaps six. She vaguely remembered days when they would play in the sheep pastures where the shepherd could watch over them.

"Papa..." she heard the boy plead. "PLEASE tell us a story!!!"

The young Ashara jumped right in too, with a high pitched squeek "Oh yes!!! PLEASE!!!!!"

The shepherd just laughed at them. "Very well. What do you want to hear this time?" He asked in a deep voice that at once was strange yet familiar.

"ARDEN!!!" Elric immediately shouted.

"Ohhh Yes, YES! an ARDEN story..." Ashara immediately agreed.

"Which one? Arden had many adventures..." Arturo smiled down at them as he sat on the grass.

"The one with the GIANTS!" Elric answered quickly.

Arden! Ashara was stunned. That was a name she hadn't thought of in years! He was Elric's hero when they were young. It seemed like when they weren't playing knights and Dragons they were trying to recreate the adventures of Arden.

"NOoooo. Not the Giants again!" little Ashara countered. "Marinelle didn't fight the giants. Something with Marinelle too..."

"Against the Dragon!" Elric suggested. "She fought the dragon too didn't she?" Ashara nodded happily.

Correction! Ashara thought. They spent their time trying to recreate the adventures of Arden and Marinelle! She remembered countless hours as Arturo would fill their heads with the adventures of his favorite characters. This would be a good memory for Elric to relive! Sitting in the sun listening to his father tell him a story. As young Elric got excited, she found herself looking forward to it too. She used to love playing Marinelle!

"Humph... Very well. The one where Arden and Marinelle fought the dragon." She watched Arturo take a glance around the pasture. Seeing nothing that required his attention, he settled down in the grass to tell the children a story. A story Ashara knew he had told a hundred times, but the glint in his eyes told her that he enjoyed every minute of it.
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Elric

Post  Penelope on Fri Jan 01, 2010 9:18 pm

Elric began to realize that the time he had within Ashara's mind was drawing to a close. It was still astonishing to him that she would be so willing to lay bare her whole life for him to examine, and that she would be interested in knowing him so entirely! Even now, he could sense her there in his mind, bringing to light memories he wished he could forget, and those he wished he had never forgotten. Knowing that there would never be another opportunity like this for him, he wanted to make the most of the time that remained. Fortunately, he had learned a great deal of control in the short time he'd spent at this spell, so he decided that he would start at the present and work back toward the past, flipping through memories like pages of a book until he ended at the beginning. Her very first memories..

It was interesting that she hadn't seemed overly excited at the prospect of learning about her parents. Perhaps she had simply come to terms with it as he had, and although she might be curious, that deep need to know them that she had as a child had been put aside long ago. It was the same for him. He was curious about his mother, but a little afraid as well. She had left him for whatever reason, and as far as he knew, had never bothered to try to see him again. If he ever did find her, it likely wouldn't be a happy reunion. Finding his mother was not his reason for this sharing of minds. Ashara could do that at any time she chose, and he was coming to believe that finding her own parents was not her reason either. To understand someone so completely and still love them in spite of and because of it all? What possible fears could be left after passing that kind of test? What insecurities? Knowing himself, and now knowing her, Elric realized that the thing they both craved most in life was acceptance. A tiny wave of anxiety rippled through him. Would she still feel the same about him when the spell was complete?

The world blurred past him and he found himself in Waterdeep during her time at the Spires of the Morning. He watched as she introduced herself to the priests there, and saw their eyes grow wide when they recognized the weapon she carried at her hip. Elric remembered when she had taken him there on her last trip to the temple before leaving for Calimport. She was just a young, rural priestess from a tiny village with nothing more than a shrine, and yet she seemed not at all out of place in the largest temple to Lathander in Faerun. He had to admit that he was a bit surprised at the attire of the 'big city' priestesses. The brightly colored vestments with their immodestly plunging necklines and nearly sheer fabric seemed more akin to something one would find in a temple to Sune, and though he had seen much more indecent garb during elvish festivals, it seemed less common among human populations. The headpieces they wore were even more ostentatious. The graceful golden neck and head of a sunpeacock rose from the crown of their heads, with its huge fanned tail bursting with gold, red, orange and pink hues at the back. It was certainly in stark contrast to the modest and monotone robes that Ashara wore. Elric was quite certain her father would have never let her out of the house in that kind of get-up!

He listened in as she sung with the Chorus of the Dawn, and when she was pouring her heart out to the High Radiance about her experiences with the Curse. He was slightly hurt that she felt safer telling her tale to a stranger than she did to him, but at the time he knew she thought she had so much more to lose by telling him the whole truth of it. It didn't matter now anyway. He had just lived it all, and he had to admit...he understood why she had been afraid.

In the mornings after her prayers, she would scarf down a bit of breakfast before shutting herself into the library for the day. While she ate, Ashara would watch the warriors of the Order of the Aster train in their various forms of combat, and he felt her loneliness. Eventually she had gone down to them and introduced herself, and Elric felt himself blushing when he heard her enthusiastically going on and on about HIM and the things she had seen him do in battle! He remembered her telling him that the Order had been curious to meet him, and he was glad now that they hadn't had the time to go... He wasn't quite sure he could live up to the praises she had sung of him! As she spoke to those other warriors, Elric sensed her admiration. Not of those she was speaking to, but the one she was speaking about. Ashara admired him. It was easy enough for him to write off her frequent compliments as mere kindness, but when she was bragging about him to people she had just met, when he wasn't even around... Elric was pretty convinced that she meant every word she said.

He laughed as he watched a man poke his pet firedrake in the ribs so it would breathe fire on the red topaz that would eventually be set into his ring. Ashara had never told him all that had gone into its creation. His eyes widened a bit when she set a small pouch of large diamonds into the palm of a man that appeared to be some sort of wizard, and he felt her excitement as the man opened a portal for them to a place of brilliant light. Elric got the distinct impression that if it hadn't been for the magical protections surrounding them, and the dark lenses they wore over their eyes, that they would have been blinded just before being burnt to a crisp. When they returned to Waterdeep, she held a tiny crystal vial in her hands that radiated pure light, which he recognized went into the creation of his birthday gift.

The memories began spinning by more quickly. He felt her peace and happiness during the party in Zazesspur, and saw the emotional exchange with Gwilly on the ship from Dagadar which initiated the drastic change in Therogeon's behavior. There was sadness and guilt as they attended the funeral of those dwarves they were forced to kill in Dagadar. He heard her conversation with Kaber and smiled as he felt the strong feelings of friendship she had for him. That talk was MUCH different than the one he had with the minotaur, and he was sure that he hadn't heard Kaber talk for that amount of time with anyone, especially when dealing with such in depth topics as gods and life-purposes.

A profound sorrow enveloped him as he watched the burnt form of a pixie stop breathing in her arms. Elric knew that Gwilly had helped lift all of their spirits during those dark days under the mountain, and he also felt personally indebted to her for helping keep him sane during all those frustrating months that Ashara lay in a fish-induced coma. He had heard, not seen since he was wearing the mask, that Gwilly had died during the fight with the Shade, and although he knew that she would be Resurrected by Lathander mere moments from this scene, seeing her lying lifeless in the priestess' arms grieved him.

As that sad memory spun away, Elric startled a bit when he saw the long-forgotten memory Ashara was watching. His father... His face so like Elric's own, that there could be no doubt of who the man was. It had been so long, that he had forgotten his face. She lingered there for some time, and he was grateful for that. Arturo began his story, and he was fairly sure that back in the meeting room in Impresk, moisture was collecting in his eyes as he listened to that familiar voice. As much as Elric wanted to live it all again, he knew time was growing short. He knew that he only had to ask, and Ashara would read his memories again someday, and then they could go back to that green field and he could listen again to all of those old stories his father used to tell. Happy, completely carefree memories... He had forgotten that those existed.

When Elric focused again on the memories flashing past him, he came upon a familiar scene. He felt her nervousness as she handed out all the pendants with continual light on them to their friends at the doorstep to Dagadar, and watched as she pulled him away from the group to talk. Eddick grinned at her knowingly as she walked past, which only served to make her MORE nervous. Through Ashara's eyes, he watched himself do a pixie check with the gem, and shoo Gwilly away to keep their conversation private. Once again, Elric mourned the loss of Pixie Check...

When she handed him the holy symbol, her heart was pounding violently in her chest. "I hope you don't think it too forward of me, but I created this holy symbol for you. It would make me feel...more comfortable if you would keep it near you. If you have the faith, it will harm any undead creature it touches."

"Thank you! Down there it might just come in handy!" Elric hadn't even noticed her hands shaking. He felt her delight as the Elric in the memory put the holy symbol around his neck without hesitation. Nervousness continued to escalate.

"I never took the opportunity to thank you...p-personally, for your part in saving me from Cyric's curse. You saved more than just my life, and that is a debt that I can n-never repay," she stuttered, before adding quietly, "though I look forward to trying..." Elric felt as if she was on fire from anxiety and awkwardness, and her heart threatened to beat right out of her chest! Ashara somehow managed to push through the fear. "I am hoping that once we get through this," she said motioning to the looming mountain, "that we c-could explore other...options...in our relationship..."

He could watch with amusement now, as she kissed him on the cheek and ran back to the others leaving him standing there...completely and utterly stunned. Eddick might have seen it coming, but he himself never had a clue. As Elric scanned her emotions during the exchange, he wasn't surprised to find fear, but it was the source of that fear that came as a shock. He believed ever since that day, that Ashara had perhaps not been thinking clearly. He thought that her fear of dying within Dagadar and the chaos that surrounded them had driven her to him, as a ship tries to find a safe port during a storm. He believed up until that night in Impresk by the fire, that one of these days she would wake up and leave him to find someone better. Now he could see that she was not afraid of dying. In fact, he could feel her confidence that they would make it out of there alive! No, she was afraid that he might reject her...afraid she might lose her best friend because of that secret of love she was no longer able to keep. Elric smiled at the thought. Ashara did so hate to keep secrets...

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Post  Colin Marcus on Sat Jan 02, 2010 11:19 am

"Well our band of heroes were riding through the mountains one day..." the shepherd began. Ashara could feel Elric's little heart start to speed up as the boy got excited for the tale.

"When off in the distance Arden saw smoke. Now.. to their knowledge there shouldn't have been anything up there to burn, but burn something did! So they put the horse into the wind, and without any thought of impending danger, sped off toward the fires! Tomar was the first to spot the tiny village..."

"Who's Tomar?" She heard her younger self interrupt.

"You remember! He was the Black Knight of the Forgotten Kingdom!" Elric answered enthusiastically.

Ashara crinkled her nose. "Ohhh Yeah... I don't like HIM! He tried to chop up Arden with a sword!"

"But ARDEN was BETTER!" Elric answered proudly. "He wasn't going to let no Black Knight Chop HIM up! He was going to DO the chopping!"

"But Arden didn't Chop him either!" Ashara countered. "I think he should have chopped up ol' Tomar good!" Ashara looked back up at the shepherd who was obviously trying to keep from laughing. "Why didn't he chop Tomar?"

"Well Ashara, because Arden is the good guy!" Arturo got a far away look in his eyes. "Arden had to chop a few people in his day, but he didn't like it and he avoided it whenever he could."

She could hear a small sigh come from little Ashara, "I still think he should have chopped him."

"Ahhh but you forget little one. After they fought each other, they eventually became very good friends. Do you remember the adventures with the Trolls?" She felt a chill run down Elric's spine and saw her younger self nod half-heartedly. The more she heard Arturo speak the more she found herself remembering. She couldn't remember the details of the troll story, but she remembered it gave both of them nightmares for a week. She recalled with a grin that her mother was none to pleased with the shepherd that week!

"If Arden had killed Tomar when they fought, then he wouldn't have been there to help against the trolls! Tomar, the Black Knight of the Forgotten Kingdom. Enemy of Arden. Saved all their lives that day! Including Marinelle's."

The children were quiet for a few moments as Arturo let that thought sink in. The children seem to accept that explanation and the man continued his story.

Ashara herself just looked on in amazement. She had wondered where Elric got his attitude about Life and Death. She always looked up to him for his ability to show mercy even to his enemies. She never knew where that part of him came from. She was fairly confident even he didn't know! Could it be from here? Simple lessons learned at the feet of his father... Lessons she knew he didn't remember learning. After all the battles. All the training that Eldorath had tried to teach him and the unending mistreatment of the elves in his life. It all came back to this. He showed mercy because his childhood hero had. She knew deep down, he wanted to be a hero. To Elric, whether he admitted it or not, this was his definition of a hero!

"As they approached the village, they saw the horrible destruction of many a building." the shepherd continued. "Roofs scorched, windows blackened, people... screaming and running wild! All three of them heard screams from inside one of the house. Marinelle swung off her horse and ran to help without a second thought."

"Was she Pretty!" Little Ashara piped up.

"Beautiful, as always..." Arturo answered softly. Ashara noted a wistful tone to his voice that seemed a little out of place for the storyteller.

"Did Arden love her... " the girl asked dreamily.

"Oh yes... Very much so." The priestess noticed again how the shepherd seemed to drift from the story. There was a sadness there that he seemed able to keep hidden from the children, but not from her. There was something else going on, an idea was forming, but she wasn't quite certain yet.

She could tell that young Elric was getting frustrated. Apparently they weren't getting to either Arden or action fast enough for the boy. "Papaaaaa... When does the Dragon show up..."

"Hmmmph. Dragon? Why, as soon as Arden was helping Marinelle get the children out of the house. A gust of wind nearly knocked them over, but the horses provided enough cover for them to keep their feet. But it wasn't the wind. A great shadow came over our heroes. Shadows of giant red wings. Suddenly they heard a huge ROAR!" Which the Shepherd leapt up and simulated, which drew squeals of delight from the children. "What do we have here!' the dragon shouted as it saw the heroes." His voice took on a deep gravely sound for effect. "Is that ARDEN.... And MARINELLE! Why... they look good enough to EAT!" and the shepherd made a sudden movement toward Elric.

Suddenly with a squeal of delight, Elric was on his feet with his stick sword in his hand, and little Ashara was right there beside him! The story fell away as the two children tried to fight 'the dragon'. After a while the exhausted shepherd fell to the ground in a grandious fashion. Both children jumped on him and poked him a few more times for good measure before they proclaimed the dragon dead.

"What happened next papa?" Elric asked the prone shepherd. "What happened after they killed the dragon?"

"Well... they didn't actually 'kill' the dragon." the shepherd said between gasps of breaths. "I think you two are better dragonslayers than they ever were!" He sat up and resumed his storytelling position. "They defeated it, scared it away... never to be seen again!"

"After that, the townsfolk threw a huge party in honor of Arden, Marinelle and Tomar. They presented Arden with a brand new sword. Remember he broke his on the scales of the dragon. Marinelle got a new bow. Tomar got a new horse. His was eaten before the battle started."

"What about the treasure!" Elric asked excitedly. "Bradwen says dragons have treasure!"

"hmmph, I've heard that too. If this dragon had treasure the heroes never found it." Ashara detected a touch of disappointment in his voice. "All Arden got was a real nice sword."

"Was that the one he sold when he retired?" Ashara asked.

"Why would Arden retire?" Elric asked sadly.

"Well..." Arturo seemed to think for a moment. "Sometimes even heroes need to rest. They do what they set out to do, then they step aside for other heroes. That time came for Arden."

"He should have kept fighting!" Elric said defiantly.

"Really? Tell me son, How would you rather Arden's story end? Where he kept fighting, till he was old and broken and finally eaten by some monster? Or where he lived happily ever after?"

"Happily ever after, I guess..." She heard Elric say, but could tell he didn't 'really' believe it.

"And so that's the way the story ends! The time came when he sold his sword and armor and retired in peace to live out his days, happily ever after!" the shepherd finished.

"With Marinelle!" She heard little Ashara proclaim.

A look of profound saddness crossed Arturo's face briefly, before it was quickly replaced with his trademark grin, so much like the one she'd seen so often on Elric. "Of course! What's a hero without his princess!"

'Liar' The priestess thought.

Arden's adventures sounded a lot different to an adult's ears then a child's. They were much to accurate, to detailed. The kind of details that only adventurers such as the Champions could verify. Ashara was certain she had hit the jackpot of memories. She was sure that 'Arden' had sold his sword and armor and retired. Probably earning just enough to buy a few sheep and a house in a certain quiet lakeside village. Marinelle however did not come with him. The hero was indeed without his princess. Though later she had dropped off a little prince! That was something that had been edited out of the stories!

She looked at the face so much like Elric's and saw him in a different light. She didn't see an old shepherd anymore. She now saw a retired adventurer. One of the lucky ones who actually survived his adventures. Apparently when the time came to tell his young son stories, the only ones he had known, were the ones he'd lived! Thus Arden was born. She wondered what the shepherd had thought when he saw his son running around pretending to be 'him.' She wondered what Elric would think when he learned the truth?

As the image of Arturo started to fade she could almost see Elric again in his place. She wondered what kind of stories he might tell to their children one day! Stories of dragons, and leprechauns. Pixies and Minotaurs...

Finally what of Marinelle? The look in Arturo's eyes said everything. She was Elric's mother! Ashara had no doubts about that. Was that her real name? Was it another alias? For that matter there was nothing to say that Arden didn't retire and change his name to Arturo... So many answers and they only revealed more questions...
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Elric

Post  Penelope on Sat Jan 02, 2010 11:49 am

As the mountains of Dagadar faded away with the memory, Elric listened to his father's soothing voice. He vaguely remembered the tale now. Arden, Marinelle and Tomar. The heroes of all those stories his father used to tell. Elric mused that perhaps he had been a bard before choosing the life of a shepherd in Impresk. How else could he have been able to come up with so many, such elaborate stories?!

Unless he had lived them himself... "And so that's the way the story ends! The time came when he sold his sword and armor and retired in peace to live out his days, happily ever after!"

He was shocked at the thought. Was it possible that ALL of those tales he had told his son were true? Was Arden, the hero of his childhood, actually his father?! If that was true, than Elric realized he knew much more about his father than he thought he did, and he desperately wanted to hear all of the old stories again! But what of his mother? He had only caught snippets of the memory Ashara was listening to. Was there a clue to her as well? He would know soon enough, because Elric could feel her searching his mind for just that information.

When his attention turned back to the memories that were streaking past, he found himself in what appeared to be the cabin of a ship. Not the same cabin as the one she stayed in on the Summer Breeze, Elric realized. He immediately recognized the pulsing blackness at the edges of his vision, just before she turned her eyes to the form that lay in the hammock in front of her. The young man, though barely even old enough to be called that, was curled up into a fetal position, clutching his stomach. His body was in ruins. Wracked with vomiting and diarrhea, he barely had enough meat left on his bones to be recognizable as anything but a skeleton. The swollen tongue protruded slightly from his mouth. A telltale sign of poisoning to those with enough knowledge of herbs to recognize it.

Ashara sat on a short stool watching the boy intently. Her legs were crossed and hands folded gently in her lap, and Elric could feel a small smile playing at the corner of her lips. He knew she had done this to him. The lost priestess mopped at the moisture on his brow with a clean rag, before trying to feed him some of the warm broth she had brought for him. She was caring for him, but only to prolong his agony. Elric could feel her disappointment in her victim, as if she knew he wasn't going to be her plaything for much longer. By the look of him, she had been at this for days! The only time she had been by herself on a ship while under the Curse, was when she had fled Impresk and bought passage south through the Deepwash. Just before they had found her.

The boy groaned and writhed suddenly, raising his hand to clutch at his chest. Ashara had been right. For a moment, Elric thought he saw a flash of peace cross the boy's face as the poison finally overwhelmed his heart. Leaning close to him, she inhaled that final breath, and Elric watched as the last glimmer of life drained from the boy's eyes and she sighed in satisfaction. It didn't last long though... Satisfaction was soon replaced by frustration, and desperation for another kill. She had made this one last awhile, but it wasn't the same kind of satisfaction he had felt when she killed the man in Port Kir. She wanted blood.

Elric tried to focus on that part of her that remained free of the Curse, but it was very difficult this time. There was not much left. He could barely sense her now, only feelings of exhaustion and hopelessness. He realized that if Ashara had reached her destined port, that she would have murdered every weak and helpless thing in her path. She would have been truly lost. Perhaps even too far gone for Lathander himself to save. He watched as she stormed out of the cabin in a fury, and out onto the deck of the ship. The wind was blowing frigid over the water, but she felt nothing. There was no warmth left in her, and that knowledge gave Elric himself a chill.

Time was quickly drawing to a close, so he jumped back farther in her memory to scan those years she spent in Impresk before the Champions had begun to gather. Her life had been so different from his. Nothing really happened at all during those years. She absorbed all the knowledge Josiah had to pass on, as well as learning how to run a farm and a household from her parents. Elric did get the impression that Ebbard had hoped she might take over the family farm when they were gone, but that was before she had become a priestess. He also realized quickly that her father was not at all fond of her devotion to this deity that took so much time away from her family. Blood relation or not, Ashara had grown up with parents that loved her. That much was certain. In spite of the occasional arguments, she loved them deeply in return.

She grew younger in the memories, and Elric found himself watching through her eyes as she crept silently down the hall with candle in her hand and a small book under her arm. Without knocking, her tiny hand pushed open the creaky door slowly so not to alert anyone in the darkened house, and she entered his room. The young Ashara shut the door and walked over to his bed, setting the candle down on the desk. His vision then shifted to the boy lying under the covers. He looked wilder than in the previous memories he'd seen, with his hair even more unkempt than usual, and his eyes red and blotchy as if he had been crying.

The boy turned his head to regard her. "Go away, Ashara. You should be in bed," he stated curtly as he rolled over onto his side to turn away from her. "You're just gonna get us both in trouble!"

He felt her sadness for him, but there was confusion too. She had been too young to understand such a loss, and while she was trying her best to be a good friend to him, it didn't seem to be enough. The boy needed time to heal, and Ashara couldn't understand why things hadn't gotten back to normal yet.

Instead of accepting his warning, she persisted. "Josiah let me borrow this book of stories about heroes and stuff! I thought maybe we could read some of it," she hoped aloud. "I don't know all the big words yet, maybe you do, but there's pictures, so we can make up the parts we don't get!"

The boy didn't even move.

"Pleeeaaaasssee, Elric?!" She pleaded with him before using the candle to light the lantern at the side of his bed.

He didn't remember much about this time in his own life. It was as if it was all he could do to keep taking one breath at a time, and his heart went out to both of them. The boy whose entire world had come crashing down around him, and the little girl who only wanted her friend to feel better again.

"Fine! If you don't wanna listen, then don't, but I'm gonna sit here and read to you!" The grown Elric laughed at her stubbornness, and watched as the spindly-legged girl crawled into the bed and shoved him over to make room.

The young Ashara sat up against the headboard and read slowly and carefully, trying to get all the words right. She described in detail the pictures on the pages since the boy still faced away from her. Eventually her persistence won out, and finally drawn into the tale of pirates and treasure on the Trackless Sea, the young half elf rolled over so he could see the pictures as she read.

He felt her smile and he knew that she felt she was making him at least a little bit happier. She only wanted to take his hurt away, it seems that part of her had never changed, but the boy was not one of those lost kittens or puppies she would bring home to join the Rosemorn menagerie. Little did she know that only a few days after this, her friend would leave her with a secret, and run off to find the mother he never knew.

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Ashara

Post  Colin Marcus on Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:19 pm

Time had nearly caught them. She could feel the spell slipping away. She sighed to herself with a chuckle. This was the first time she had ever wandered someone's memories and actually wished it would keep going! Normally the minds she invaded were so dark and horrid, she couldn't wait to get the information she was seeking and get out!

This was different though. she had seen so much. Learned so much more about Elric then even he had known about himself. Still there was so much still a mystery. Fifteen hours worth of his life had been opened up to her, but out of Twenty two years there was much still unknown. Still, she felt closer to him now then she ever imagined possible. Any doubts or fears over what she would share with him were washed away. It had all been worth it.

Regardless of all she had seen. There was still one thing left to do. His mother. The very reason she first suggested this spell. She knew now that it wasn't the reason Elric had accepted her offer. He had wanted this for the same reason she did. To share everything they could with the one they loved. Still She was here, and she really wanted to give him this. Return that part of him that had been missing for so many years.

She turned the spell back. Back through the years. To memories he couldn't remember, to things he never knew he had learned.

She felt cold... tired... hungry. This was awkward. She had never gone this far back before. The baby that was Elric had no real attention span. When he looked around, it was all encompassing gazes with little to no focus. Emotions seemed more chaotic. All encompassing. She felt both more and less in control at the same time. The emotions were coming in powerful waves, but it was much easier to separate her own thoughts from the memory of Elric's. What was harder to seperate were her own Memories. Elric seemed to be at the same place as she right now. Both newborns seemed to want the same thing. Food, warmth, comfort. Which was which was getting harder to tell. She tried to push her own memories out of her mind. She focused on Elric.

He spent a lot of time sleeping, and a lot of time crying. Both of which were useless to her intentions. As the time came to a close, Ashara was starting to get concerned that she'd fail in this goal. She skimmed as fast as she could hoping to catch something she could use!

The room was dark, but she could see candlelight flickering on a wall. The room looked familiar somehow. That didn't make any sense. It seemed to be raining lightly outside and baby Elric seemed to find the sound soothing. She could hear voices around her.

"Did you find him?" A soft voice asked.

"Aye... I think so." A gruff voice answered. "Folk says someone fittin' that description is in the next town north." A deep chuckle came from the speaker. "You won't believe this though... A shepherd, they say!"

That's why the room looked familiar she realized. It was an inn. In Carradoon! She had stayed at it before and recognized the decorations. Doubtful it was the same room, but they pretty much all looked alike in that inn!

"Are you sure it's him?" she asked skeptically. "I can't picture Arturo raising sheep!"

They knew him as Arturo it seemed. At least that mystery was solved! Please let her find something else! She knew she was in the last moments of the spell! She didn't have time to look anywhere else! Give her a name! Show us your face!

Suddenly flashes of many faces came into view. Faces that had shaped who she was. The boy on the ship... she couldn't recall his name... who, thanks to her friends was the last of her victims. Elric her friend through the years. Sulime, the first time she truly knew failure. Josiah her mentor. Ashara pushed them from her mind. She was losing this battle with the spell. Elric must have already lost control. He seemed to be skipping about wildly. From the deck of the ship, to her birth, to Sulime.

He had never read memories, and the unexpectedness of the emotions must have been too much. She was fine with that. Her parents would remain a mystery. But his would not! She could do this! She knew she had to focus! She pushed everything out of her mind except for Elric's memories!

"Aye... I'm sure." the gruff voice answered. "Got me a pretty good description, and I talked to a man who bought his sword. It's him all right!" The voice got kind of an exasperated tone to it. "Now that ye found him, What ye going to do about it?"

Silence filled the air. Finally the first speaker answered in that soft melodious voice. "My decision stands, Tomar." A sad sigh filled the air. "I can't keep him with me. It's too dangerous. If I can't be his mother, then it has to be his father. I trust no one else."

Tomar? The Black Knight?

"Hmmph, Just like that then, no second thoughts..." she heard Tomar ask bitterly.

"OF COURSE NOT!" Ashara jumped a little inside as the woman shouted in fury. She felt fear and discomfort coming from the child. Apparently she had scared him with her tone. It passed quickly and the child's eyes closed to rest. She hoped he didn't fall asleep now!

"You have NO idea how hard this is... that's why you have to do it!" Ashara barely heard her over the rain on the window. "Please... I don't know if I could go through with it..."

"Aye Mari... If that's what you want. I'll get it done." She heard a softness in the knights tone. "If it has to be, it has to be. Pack him up warm... best go b'fore ye change yer mind."

The world started to shift again. No! Ashara tried to scream. She was so close! She could feel soft hands lifting the baby up. She could almost see the meeting room again back in their house!!! Soft lips pressed against the baby's forehead waking him up. With every last bit of control Ashara shifted the memory fully into that inn room and the image of a beautiful elven woman snapped into view. Looking through brand new eyes, she saw long golden blond hair mostly loose, but with one small braid hanging over her left shoulder. Her emerald eyes were wet with tears. Ashara studied that face. Locking it into her mind.

Those emerald eyes stayed the same, but as the spell ended the face surrounding them melded back into Elric's. She saw tears in his eyes, and noticed that she had them in hers too.

The last sound she heard before the spell completely ended was his mother's voice near to breaking. "Namaarie utinuamin. Coiuva eina, Coiuva eithel.<Goodbye my son, Live Happy, Live well.> Please Tomar.... Take him to Arturo..."
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Elric

Post  Penelope on Sat Jan 02, 2010 3:07 pm

From somewhere in his mind Elric could sense her urgency, and he knew there were precious few moments left to them. He was growing more nervous and excited with every memory that blurred by. Being abandoned by her biological parents had been a major source of Ashara's insecurities throughout most of her life, and he wanted so badly to give her something that could free her mind of that burden, even if it wasn't a conscious one.

Then there was the anticipation of seeing his mother. Elric had spent years of his life searching for her, but it was here...back in Impresk of all places, locked in a room with that same stubborn little girl with whom he now shared so much love, that he would have the best chance of seeing his mother for the first time! He wanted to laugh at the irony of it. What a long and winding path it had been to take him right back to the beginning! He wouldn't have changed a moment.

The memories flew past him until he saw nothing. He was enveloped by a sudden warmth, and was comforted by the sound of a beating heart echoing around him. Memories before birth?! While interesting, this was a bit earlier than he had intended... Skipping ahead a bit, Elric began to see light and blurred images. The newly born baby girl was cold and crying from the confusion of this strange world she found herself in. He heard voices around her, and thankfully she stopped crying then, as if she was interested in the sounds as much as he was.

A face came close to him, and he could make out a man with brown skin and a neatly trimmed, square beard as black as coal. His eyes were dark and cruel, and he looked down at the child with disdain. Elric watched the man's lips form the words before he completely understood what he had said.

"Get rid of it." The callous remark made his breath catch in his throat. Surely this wasn't Ashara's father... Elric prayed it wasn't. She certainly bore no resemblance to him, and of that he was glad. Still, he started getting a very bad feeling about this memory!

"No, Dhiren, we can't do this again," a tired feminine voice pleaded with the man. "Please, I can take care of her!"

He could feel a soft hand brush the top of her head, as her mother cradled her, trying to protect her from the heartless man. The baby's head turned to the side and he could see the woman's face. She was quite pretty, with large brown eyes, the same almond shape as Ashara's. Her light brown hair was wavy and cut short, and she had freckles dotting her...

Elric's heart sank and he felt himself gasp in his own body back in the meeting room as he recognized that face. Sulime! Oh no... Ashara's last memories of the woman had been cutting her down from the rope she had hung herself with! This is NOT what he had hoped for her!

"YOU can take care of it?!" The man she called Dhiren laughed at her incredulously. "Whores aren't known to make the best mothers, and I have no intention of sheltering a mewling infant!"

"Fine, let me find someone to take her then," she implored, "the gods will surely curse us both if you give another one over to the lake!"

"YOU are responsible for their deaths! YOU are," he spat venomously, and Elric felt baby Ashara cringe away from the harsh tone of his voice. "If you could manage to do your work without getting pregnant, than we wouldn't be having this discussion, and I'D have a fair bit more money in my pouch!"

He suddenly remembered Sulime's words from a previous memory. "I have done things in my life that no atonement could cover." Elric's mind reeled. How many of Ashara's brothers and sisters had been murdered?

The baby begin to cry again, and the frightened mother tried desperately to soothe her child, apparently afraid that it might upset the man further.

"Lisette has a job here Impresk tonight," Dhiren thought aloud, "and we'll be leaving for home as soon as she's done. I saw a shrine on the way into town, so I'll take it there. If the gods want it, they can have it!"

Elric saw the room fade out as the child calmed and her eyes closed sleepily, and he thought he could hear Sulime crying softly. He felt his body begin to tug his mind back to itself, but he resisted. As much as he wanted it to be over, he couldn't let the spell end there! There had to be something salvageable in this horrid memory. Something positive to leave Ashara with...

He quickly flipped through the following hours, as he sensed the spell drawing to a close. The baby girl was dropped into a sack,and the world went dark again. She was afraid and hungry and so cold, it threatened to overwhelm him, but he pressed on. It was all very confusing without any visuals to orient himself, but using his ability to 'see' without his eyes, Elric was able to get a pretty good sense of what was going on. The baby was falling in and out of sleep as the memory sped along, but he could hear the sound of hoof beats at one point and could feel himself being bounced around as if he had been flung over the side of a horse. The fabric of the bag was so rough it scratched at the new skin, causing burns on her tiny arms and legs. Then he found himself unexpectedly airborne for a moment, before crashing into something hard and landing on the cold ground. The infant was stunned silent at the shock of the exploding pain from her head and side. Within that silence he could hear someone mounting a horse and riding off at a brisk pace. As the hoof beats grew faint, the child began to scream with all the strength her little body could muster. Pain, fear, hunger and cold assaulted his mind.

Even sped up, this memory seemed to go on for an eternity... Soon, little Ashara's cries grew weaker, and Elric could feel her dying. Though he knew that somehow everything would be all right, it was still agonizing knowing that this helpless child lay broken and alone in the cold. Before her eyes closed for good, he heard footsteps rushing towards him. The bag opened, and the recognizable face of a young Josiah appeared in the night sky, crying out in alarm before rushing the baby into his home.

It was warm inside, and Elric could smell rose petals as the priest gently laid her on something soft where he could examine the baby's injuries. He noticed him wince as he looked at the side of her head. The child wasn't crying now, but she should have been, and it was obviously worrying the man. Pulling a very familiar jeweled medallion from beneath his robes, Josiah rested it on Ashara's chest and spoke a word. The healing warmth spread over her tiny body, mending soft bones and repairing her torn skin. The man leaned over her and smiled as she began breathing evenly.

"The Morning Lord told me you'd be coming, my sweet girl", he whispered, wrapping the warm blankets around her, "and it's by his grace alone that you're safe now!" Ashara's eyes began drooping as Josiah picked her up and held her gently against his chest. She felt safe again and her exhaustion overpowered her need for food. "Don't worry, just sleep little one," he said with emotion heavy in his voice, "tomorrow at dawn I'll take you to a family that I know will be thrilled to have you!"

He hoped that Ashara wasn't reliving this memory with him. If she was though, he knew her well enough by now to know that no matter what, she wanted the truth. The truth was, that she was loved. If not by her birth parents, than by the ones who took her in and cared for her as their own child, raising her to become the woman he knew today. Still...seeing Sulime's face stunned him. Had she known when her grown daughter was treating her wounds, that this was the baby they had left at the shrine all those years ago?

Elric still felt the weight of the medallion on her chest when the world faded to darkness. As the spell was ending, he was able to drop his focus on her memory, and catch glimpses of the memory 'his' Ashara was watching back in the meeting room. He heard the names, Tomar and Mari, then saw an image of a beautiful elven woman with bright green eyes so much like his own. "Namaarie utinuamin. Coiuva eina, Coiuva eithel. Please Tomar.... Take him to Arturo..." Her words broke through the darkness like a sudden dawn. Marielle, the heroine of so many of the stories his father had told him, was his mother! It was hard to wrap his head around at first. She had made a hard decision, and had done what she felt was in the best interest of her child. Elric wondered if she had ever secretly looked in on him while he was growing up, or if she even still lived. So many questions ran through his mind, but he was now in possession of two things he'd given up hope of obtaining; her name, and the knowledge that she did indeed love him.

His heart ached for Ashara in that moment as the meeting room rematerialized around them. He had expected the horror of her memories under the curse. They both had. Nothing could have prepared him for watching the tiny infant dying at the foot of the altar, left for dead by a prostitute mother... Had she been watching the memory with him? When Elric was finally seeing through his own eyes, he looked up and saw tears in Ashara's eyes, and noticed that he had them in his too.

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Ashara

Post  Penelope on Sun Jan 03, 2010 8:35 pm

The transition was a difficult one. The spell had never manifested its power in such a way, and Ashara found herself tangled up in Elric's emotions and memories as well as her own. It took a few moments to acclimate herself back to just one mind. Normally after casting such a spell, she would have to take inventory of the memories, discarding those that were not hers, and filing away those that were. Not doing so could result in quite a bit of confusion, and depending upon how much time was spent in the other's mind, it was even possible to take on foreign personality traits for a time. Obviously a dangerous thing when rooting around in the minds of murderers! This time however, she guarded them all jealously. Ashara wanted Elric's memories to be as much a part of her as they were of him.

She looked down at their hands until she was fairly confident she was in her own body, then raised her eyes to meet his. That final memory of his mother had brought tears of joy to her eyes! She could have wished for nothing more for him, than for him to know that from the beginning he was loved deeply. There were tears in his eyes too, and at first they seemed like happy tears, but as she studied his face more closely, she realized that something was wrong.

"Elric...," her own voice sounded foreign to her as she spoke, but she smiled broadly at him as the excitement grew within her. How much had he caught of that last memory? It would have been confusing with the scenes of the two infants if she hadn't been able to focus on his memory, but had he done the same?

"Marinelle! She is more than just a character in your father's stories, Melamin! She's your mother! We have some actual clues now, so we may be able to..."

Why was he looking at her like that? A thread of fear wove its way through her heart. Had he seen too much? No, she decided, that wasn't it. She had felt exactly how deeply he cared for her, and Ashara knew that nothing he had seen in her mind would be able to change those feelings. The spell had been overwhelming. She was still feeling discombobulated herself! Perhaps he just needed more time to adjust back into his own mind...

She wanted to draw his mother's face for him, and his fathers too for that matter, but she couldn't bear to let go of his hands and break that connection.

"Elric," she breathed softly as she squeezed his hands, "take your time. I'm here when you're ready."


Last edited by Ashara on Sun Jan 03, 2010 9:04 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Elric

Post  Colin Marcus on Sun Jan 03, 2010 8:56 pm

So much! There was so much happening that the half-elf didn't know where he was. Who he was. The room was spinning. The spell was ending. He was no longer watching a new memory. The memories were now his. Two lives in one mind.

He remembered everything. Life on the farm. Growing up in Evereska. He saw Eldorath. He saw Josiah. He felt the love of his family... no, Ashara's family! He felt the excitement of his first day he went to Josiah for training... NO! He was trained by Eldorath! Ashara was the priestess! He was Elric!

He could hear Ashara speaking to him. Her voice sounded strange. So far away. Was this normal?

He could see his father resting peacefully in the pasture. He saw a glimpse of his mother. He felt the horror as he cut her down from the barn. No, his mother was the elf. Ashara's was the one in the barn. He kept trying to focus on himself. Who he was. Where he came from! His name was Elric.

As the room snapped into view he saw a familiar face. For a moment he thought he was looking in a mirror. No, she was really there. He was really here. It felt like waking from a dream. Waking when you never knew you were asleep. He heard her call his name, but he couldn't focus. A gentle squeeze of his hands snapped him back to the present.

He was ELRIC.

Breathing heavily, he looked into her eyes and saw the concern there. What was she thinking? What was it she had just said?

"Marinelle?" He whispered still dazed. "Sulime? I'm sorry... I don't..." he slowly regained some composure, "Are we back?"
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Post  Penelope on Sun Jan 03, 2010 9:03 pm

After hearing his confusion, Ashara took a breath and forced herself to calm down. Though the spell had been taxing physically, her mind was spinning with emotions and visions and everything she had learned about him. She was over-eager to share anything he may have missed!

'Too much, too soon,' she chastised herself silently. The priestess vividly remembered that the first time she'd ever cast that spell it had been to read the memories of the man called Olden who had been captured in Trademeet attempting to murder his fellow Tradesmen. They hadn't known at the time that he was under the Curse, but she remembered having a terrible time trying to pry herself from that twisted, murdering mind. She started at the thought. It had been so much like her own twisted and murdering memories! Oh, Elric...

She watched as he pulled himself back to reality. It was an impressive feat, and she couldn't help but smile at him in admiration. There was a reason that young priests weren't granted the more powerful spells. If the unaccustomed mind were to channel too much power, there could be disastrous effects to the person's well-being. For the first time, Ashara realized what a risk it was for him to be granted Memory Read! Lathander must have allowed the exchange only when he knew Elric was ready for it.

"Are we back?"


As Ashara looked into his eyes, her own newly revived memories, plus some of the new ones, caused his face to blur in her mind. She saw Marinelle's features appear around those eyes, then shift to Elric the boy, then to Arturo...

"We're back," she confirmed after taking a long breath and shaking the visions from her head. She chuckled softly. "For the most part!"

Squeezing his hands again to make sure he was with her, the priestess, with noted effort, pulled her right hand from his, picked up her charcoal and began to sketch. She didn't want to forget any detail of his mother's face!

Ashara smiled softly and began again, but more slowly this time. "Elric, your mother...her name is Marinelle. Did you see her face? She is truly beautiful, just like your father always said!"


Last edited by Ashara on Sun Jan 03, 2010 10:08 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Post  Colin Marcus on Sun Jan 03, 2010 10:07 pm

Elric looked at her in amazement. She was so happy! Not the expression he expected after that last memory... His own emotions were in a twist. So much all at once...

Marinelle... He had caught a glimpse. Nothing more. He had focused to heavily on her memories to see his own. At least that close to the end. As he watched her skillfully work the chalk on the paper, he began to wonder. Had she seen that last memory at all? What if she hadn't? Should he tell her?

"That... That was a bit more than I expected..." he stammered, still trying to get used to the sound of his own voice. "You... You saw Marinelle?" he started to strain his neck trying to see what she was working on. Shaking his head he relaxed again. She would show him when it was finished. "What? What was she like?"

"I didn't see much of that memory, I was losing control..." He tried to focus on what he had seen. There wasn't much. He softly whispered "Coiuva eina, Coiuva eithel... Did she.. Did she really say that?"

"What of you Ashara..." He tempered his excitement. He had to know. "Were you able to see your mother too?"
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Post  Penelope on Sun Jan 03, 2010 10:18 pm

"That... That was a bit more than I expected... You saw Marinelle? What, what was she like? I didn't see much of that memory, I was losing control..." he softly whisperd "Coiuva eina, Coiuva eithel... Did she.. Did she really say that?"

Ashara glanced up from her work and grinned at him. "I wasn't expecting that either... The spell has never behaved that way before! I think it may have been because we so completely opened our minds to each other, which is something that's never happened in my experiences."

"And yes," she answered joyfully, before continuing to sketch, "Your mother really did say that! 'Live happy, Live well...' She loves you, Elric, and she had Tomar take you to your father because she said it was too dangerous for you to stay with her."

Ashara's brow wrinkled a bit as she remembered the details of that memory. "It wasn't clear exactly what it was that was dangerous, but I can tell you that it was a very difficult decision for her to leave you!"

"You are a hero from a family of heroes! My mother was right, 'Yer, Papa would be proud', and I know your mother will be too!" The priestess laughed, unable to contain her delight at the discovery that might change the negative way he viewed himself at times.

"What of you Ashara... Were you able to see your mother too?"

"No... I felt you losing control, and I was having some difficulty myself holding onto that early memory, so I had to focus on that." Ashara didn't want him to be upset for not being able to find a memory of her parents, so she reassuringly squeezed his hand that she still held. "It's okay if I don't get to learn of them, Elric," she smiled sincerely. "The memories I was able to see reminded me of how lucky I am to be a part of the family that I have! It's been a mystery all of my life, but I think I see now that I haven't missed out on anything!"

Ashara saw the concern in Elric's eyes mounting as she spoke. Charcoal stopped scratching at parchment. "Wait... Did you see something?

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