Chapter 17.2


Elmiryn crunched through the snow as her eyes swept through perceived palaces of gray fortification–little imaginings of architecture that existed as phantoms before her face until vanishing in the truth of spacial cognition.  A person can’t walk through walls.  But a ghost?

A minute of contemplation made her aware to the fact that her eyes were really just seeing the wisps of frost carried on the wind, kissing the juts of rock that climbed and melded with the formation that served as Holzoff’s roots into the world.  The dark of the rocks and shadows and muddied snow shifted with shaggy figures and flashing eyes, that marked her with inquisitive attention.  The warrior mirrored her surroundings, crouching in the filth and shrugging deeper into her daesce hide.  The thing stank something terrible–and the woman wondered if it were necessary anymore–but she kept it anyway.  It aided her mind’s sense of ferocity.  If she could keep it with her when entering the tower, she was certain it would serve a decent mental weapon.  What soldier would want to face an enemy dressed in the skin of their worst nightmare?

But a way up.  She had to focus.

The cold was making her sleepy.  Her adrenaline was running down from her fight with the daesce, and the pain of her left arm was turning into a grinding ache, wearing her down.  The woman saw her breath curl through the air in a cloud before dissipating into the night.  She closed her eyes and bowed her head, ears perking now and again at the sound of claws scratching against rock.

Then she heard screaming.

The woman stood and turned her head, toward the tower gate, or as much as she could see of it down on the ground, and–

Lethia standing on the ledge, her back pressed against the stone.  She looked like she were in hiding, waiting for her moment to jump out, but she had nothing of unraveling fear in her eyes.  Elmiryn blinked and tried to find the source of the sound.  She moved back toward the bridge, and through the veil of darkness, she saw the daesce ripping apart the beast she had just slain.  These were the young ones, the weak ones, the sick ones–the weaklings of the sordid community–who were getting their revenge.  Or getting their first meal in days.  The woman’s jaw tensed as she saw two of the little bastards rip off a limb and proceed to fight over it, bloody tendrils sliding along the ground as it was dragged hurriedly.


Beautiful, velvet ribbons dancing and trailing through black night air, then wrapping along fur and limb in decoration–how chic!  The daesce were celebrating, hooting, giggling as they took the ribbon, clearly of a cheap pastel, and smeared it.  How rude of them.  Messing up the picture.  But they did it anyway, biting into the desert, tossing up streamers and confetti and–

bits of flesh : bits of blood : bits of fur and yellow piss where one had found the bladder and bowels and : the spine with effort was out out out out out : and then the others were sticking things in in in in in : revenge was semen and spit and defilement–

Elmiryn closed her eyes and turned away, gagging once before she steeled herself and sat hard on the ground.  Her ears perked again as, through the horror that floated across the way, she picked out the sounds of conflict.  Shouts and metal hitting stone as though a weapon had fallen.  The warrior gave her head a shake.  She couldn’t slip into another episode.  The world couldn’t feel too large, nor her too small, because she had to be with Nyx.  The woman strained her eyes, making them ache, ignoring the pain in her arm from her inconsiderate movements in favor of–

“Fuck it, just start somewhere,” the woman muttered to herself.

She went to the stone, noting how it was at something of a slant.  She found one gash in the rock by the weak moonlight, like Nyx had found before, and proceeded to climb–a wounded caterpillar forced to favor her right side for every foot she gained.  The woman grit her teeth and cursed, knowing that whatever was happening on the bridge would be done with before she made it there.  What bothered her was that she didn’t know what the outcome was.  The woman thought about the others at camp as below her chased the sounds of hell, and she wondered if they were having as good a time as she was.

Then Elmiryn nearly fell, because she started to laugh.


Quincy was…brighter now.  The shade of honey her long bangs still held had been swallowed in a near platinum blonde, and her skin had a radiance to it that made the camp a tad bit more illuminated.  These were the effects of Tonatiuh’s use.  Hakeem pulled back at the woman’s collar to reveal the skin of her chest, and just over her heart (it took a pointed glare to make Graziano stop trying to get a look) revealed to him the blended scars from all the time Quincy had taken the blade into her soul.  She had done it four times in her life.  The man was glad that the woman, his partner–his wife–had returned from her journey into the light, but the stakes were raised too high now, and she couldn’t afford to gamble her soul again.  If he could, he’d take the blade away and destroy it himself, but it wasn’t that simple.  The sword and the woman were bound together, and by the woman’s changed appearance, now so more than ever.

“Why does she look like that?” Paulo asked warily.

Graziano stood over them.  “Yes, Hakeem.  Have we anything to fear, beyond the usual from you two?  Will the woman…explode?”

The man looked up at the Moretti.  “She isn’t a bomb waiting to go off.  This is just an aftereffect of using her magic.  You have nothing to fear.”

Graziano didn’t seem entirely satisfied with this explanation, but he didn’t press the matter, and went to sit near his brother.

Hakeem returned his attention to his partner, and it was at this point that something hit him.  Hard.  The jubilation truly fled him when it occurred to the man that Quincy shouldn’t be sleeping.  At all.

He seized up and took to shaking the woman.  She could sleep into death, and there’d be nothing he could do about it.  If things were still as he thought they were, then his attempts were futile, but still he tried.  With both hands, the wizard shook his wife with all the strength he had…

What he got in return was a mouthful of knuckles and an old Fanaean curse he hadn’t heard since his mother first washed it from his mouth.

Azure eyes burned a hole in him, bright and angry with the luminescence of a lit sky.  The man sat back–and laughed out in relief.  Then he looked at the hand Quincy used to wipe at her eyes, and frowned, his happiness fading to consternation.

“Your ring!  Where is it?” he asked.

The ring of the Living Death.  He still wore his since the day he had put it on at Tiesmire.  It gave the user the ability to move through the days without sleep, food, or drink.  The tradeoff was that upon its removal, the user slipped into a death-like sleep for the same amount of time the ring was worn.  The worst of it was that all the strength the ring gave, it took away.  So not only did one slip into an unbreakable hibernation, their body still suffered the effects of starvation and dehydration. When pressed with time whilst pursuing a target, the ring was a fantastic tool–but this particular venture of theirs had gone on too long.  For his part, the man didn’t know if he could ever take the ring off again.  This wasn’t a solution, either.  Eventually the power of the ring would turn him into an empty shell, soulless and yet stuck in continued existence.

…But how had Quincy avoided the effects?

“What?” the woman mumbled, frowning at her hand.  Then her look turned sour.  “Tai’undu!”  She sat up and looked at him.  “I’ve lost it!”

“But you were wearing the ring when you pierced yourself, didn’t you?”

“Of course!  But…”  The woman blinked, then held out her arm.  Tonatiuh, which had vanished the moment she fell asleep, was now back in her grip in a flash.  It pulsed with a warm glow, as though sensing it was the focus of attention.

Hakeem scowled.  “It took it, didn’t it?  Your ring of the Living Death?”

“I imagine…” Quincy shook her head, frowning.  “I imagine it was like the third time.”

“What do you mean?”

“The last time I took His fang into my heart, Tonatiuh consumed the staff of lightning I possessed.”

“Why didn’t you tell me this?  I thought you’d traded the item away!”

Quincy tapped her lips, her focus on her weapon.  “When I returned that time, I was restored in full health.  It did it again this time, and I came back with all my injuries healed.  Only it took the ring from me…as payment.”

“Or a tradeoff.” Hakeem said, crossing his arms.  “To restore the energy you used up.  It explains why you do not suffer the usual effects from removing the ring.”


The woman drew her cloak about her as she stifled a yawn.  Her hood came low over her face, leaving only her pink bow lips showing.  “Hakeem, now that we’re together again and you have so rudely rouse me from sleep, do you mind explaining to me in detail why it is you’ve decided to help these people?  I heard the marshal say you were helping the enchantresses and came looking for you along the main trail.  I admit, I’m surprised at how much those claims were true.”  As she said this, her head turned in the direction of Paulo and Graziano, both resting against their scultones, the older Moretti with his loaded pistol in his lap.  He glowered at them over the flames.

Hakeem sighed and looked at Quincy.  “It wasn’t entirely my choice.  The Morettis captured me with the help of the warrior woman.”



“And then?”

“And then he found us again when we split up, after Elmiryn defeated you,” Graziano dug.

Quincy grew hot beneath Hakeem’s touch, but her voice remained level.  “She didn’t defeat me.”

Graziano sneered and Paulo managed a weak laugh through his cough.  “You retreated,” the man said.

“Arduino was going to abandon me and the dog on the mountain with no food or warmth,” Hakeem interjected loudly.  “I did meet up with Graziano and Elmiryn, but only after I realized there was foul magic suffocating Belcliff.  From what I learned from the warrior’s items, I concluded that she was involved with it somehow.  She…spoke of bizarre things–”

Crazy things…” Graziano muttered.

“Astral demons and the like.  But at present I still do not know the exact nature of what is going on.  I only know that the enchantresses are the best means to stop this trouble.”

Quincy shifted next to him.  “Hmm…given my recent actions, your prolonged absence, and our accuser, the marshal has seen fit to condemn us both.  Something has him scared.  I think he fears that Syria will reveal his secrets.  Things that could ruin him.  Her apprentice, Lethia, told me that the enchantress had been seeing the marshal secretly for therapy.  This started some two years ago, after the dwarven colonies left Albias due to disagreements with the local city-state.  And there were discrepancies in the case files I viewed for the murders.  The damage done to the bodies required two spellcasters to achieve, and Lethia doesn’t have the skill needed to achieve the level of magic required.  Yet they sentenced her to death as well.  I’m no longer certain either woman is guilty of anything.  There’s something rotten in this region, and my vows compel me to find the answers.”

Compel you?  I didn’t think anything compelled you Quincy save for the sight of riches.”  Graziano sat forward, stroking the neck of his pistol.  “My dearest lia, have you a moral compass in that super nova chest of yours?”

The woman gazed at him coolly.  “That’s quite arrogant of you, Graziano.  Tell me, did your nethers burn when you realized you had left me to face the Torsheks alone whilst you lay passed out at the brothel with gonorrhea?”

Paulo looked at his brother.  “Chuso!  Graz is that true?”

Graziano looked at his brother in alarm.  “I never abandoned her!  I was fourteen years old and my culebre ate my horse!

“Your excuse is your pet dragon ate your horse?” Quincy deadpanned.  “Do you have the mind of a child, Graziano?”

Paulo waved this away with a floppy hand.  His sweaty face broke into a grin.  “No way, brother.  I know you left Quincy to deal with those giant beetles alone.  I’m talking about the gonorrhea.

“Bruja!” The man mumbled at the woman.  “Now he’ll never leave me alone about it!”

“But for what reason would the marshal want Syria dead?”  Hakeem said, bringing Quincy’s bright eyes back his way.

“I don’t know.  But he’s become unhinged, and I’m afraid our fellow bounty hunters are all too glad to oblige his demands for our heads.  I killed off some of the rabble that were traveling with the marshal on their way here, but the more formidable ones I knew to be in the city were notably absent.  Karolek, Jetswick, Tennim, Winamer, Arduino–I haven’t the slightest idea where they could be, and that isn’t good.  They should’ve been with the marshal’s group.”

“You didn’t see them when you watched in secret?”

“I was following the marshal, trying to see if he’d give anything away while I was one with the light.  But he revealed nothing.”

“So doing just what Arduino is accusing us of could clear our names.  Amusing.”

“Yes.  Possibly.  But I hope you managed to bargain up something nicer to ease this stress?”

Hakeem smirked.  “Of course.  We get a fourth of whatever the warrior receives from the enchantresses, as well as all the information they have on Tobias.”

Quincy nodded.  “Excellent.  Then I approve of this.”

“So glad to have you on board…” Paulo wheezed sardonically.


I slowly rose to my feet, knees bent and my claws tensed.  Jowan came nearer, squinting at me.  Then his eyes turned big and he took a step back.  “Great Halward, you’re an Ailuran!”

Two more guards appeared behind him, wielding swords and shields.  Jowan held them back with hand.

I thought about how my performance for the daesce had saved our skins once.  I decided to give it a second try.  In my travels, I had learned that of all the therian races, the Ailurans were probably hated the most next to the Draconians.  Even the Draconians seemed better liked–gods knew why.  But who was I to sit and weigh popular opinion amongst humans when my own kind was liable to throw rocks at me on sight?

Funny, the things one thinks before plunging into danger.

I breathed in all the air I could muster, ready to let out another fierce roar.

Then a blow to the back of my head reminded me, quickly, that not everyone froze at the sight of a bloodstained therian.

I went down, my face knocking into the hard stone floor, scraping at my cheek and pulling my right eyelid down.  My nose hurt, badly–so much that I could hardly see for the tears that came flowing.  Then I was hoisted up a few inches by the collar of my tunic.  I gurgled.  The fabric felt like it were cutting into my throat.

“She’s Marked.”  Freck grunted over me.

Jowan spoke to him.  “Didn’t the messenger bird bring an official warrant for the head of any who tried to break into the tower today?”


I heard a blade and I started to squirm.  Freck sat on my lower back with all of his weight and pulled my tunic back so hard I heard some of the fabric tearing.  I could hardly breathe, and my neck burned where the collar cut into me, just under the chin.

“Woah!  Are you really–?”

“I’m retiring from this shit job soon, damn it.  I’m going to get something out of this hell hole, even if it means cutting off some kid’s head!”

“Mm…alright.  But I want some coin too–I distracted her after all!”  Through my blurred vision, I saw Jowan look up and smile.  “Oh, Farrel!  You’re alright boy!”

Then I heard a muffled slap and Freck let me go.  I hit the ground gasping, but I didn’t sit and dwell on my pain.  I could hear Elmiryn in my head, urging me to capitalize on this sudden turn around.  “Fights don’t give you second chances!  Move, or die.”

I screamed and scrambled into a charge, knocking Jowan over as I went.  He knocked into one of the guards behind him, and the man fell with the bald guard over his legs, successfully pinning him down.  The second guard jumped back in surprise, but I sensed in his lack of proaction a man unskilled in combat.  I could feel the cartilage in my nose shifting, and the stinging at my throat and the skin of my neck fade away.  I blinked away tears as I disentangled myself from Jowan’s flying fists.  A sixth sense feeling, a heat up my back, inspired me to lean back far, and I saw a blade flash past me, down onto his armor.  The swing was at a poor angle, so it didn’t pierce the armor, but this misstep made the novice guard, who had attacked without much thought, very fearful, and I saw him dance back again with uncertainty in his eyes.  As I leaned forward again, I mustered up all my strength raised both my hands and brought them down on Jowan’s ribs.  This was a thing to be seen, as even with his armor, I heard something snap, and Jowan curled beneath me with a purpling face, hugging his ribs.  I hit him with as hard a right hook as I could muster, and the man was knocked out, blood trickling from his mouth where I imagined his teeth had cut the inside of his lips.  I stood, clumsily and from the corner of my eye, I saw the guard at my left attack again.

I ducked, feeling the blade soar over me.  My eyes flashed his way, and I saw an opening in his armor, at the armpit.  Already I was moving to strike, stepping to the side to better reach his exposed flank, my claws extending as far as I could make them.  I felt them bury into his flesh, felt them drag through his skin and muscle.  As far as I knew, the place I hit him lacked any vital artery, but his pain would not be small.  Sure enough, the man stumbled back with a scream, his hand flying to his new wound as his shield dropped from his grasp.  Unaccustomed to the pain, he did not look as though he would dare rise and attack again.  Still, I knocked him out with a clean kick to the head.

But there was still his partner.

With his legs freed, the other guard was up on his feet, and I could see by the way he held his sword and shield that he had more experience than his partner.  He strafed slowly, crouched low behind his shield with his weapon at the ready.  I mirrored his movements, waiting for him to strike so that I could counter.  The man jabbed toward me, and I leaned away, but didn’t take a step back.  He was testing my resolve and skill.  I saw his eyes, beneath the dark of his nose guard helmet, turn hard with resolution.  He rushed forward, and I tried to evade him, but his kite shield was broader than I thought, or maybe he just moved faster than I thought he could, because, the guard managed to bash into me with it.  I lost my footing and fell backward hard onto the ground.  The soldier moved to jab at me, but I kicked at his left knee as hard as I could.  It didn’t snap the other way–a terrible thing to hope for, I suppose, but he’d hardly die from it, and I was fighting for my life at the time–instead it bent far to the right.  This made the man loose his balance, and he screamed out as his body crashed over mine.  I let out a shout as I slammed my elbow into his head, near the back of his right ear.  The man went limp, and the weight of him was tremendous.  I grunted as I shoved him off me.  My eyes looked to his knee, and I realized that while I hadn’t broken his leg clean in half, I had still broken his kneecap.

I turned, hands raised, ready to engage Freck next when I was met with a shocking sight.

The archer was kneeling next to Lethia, checking her pulse and her breathing with hands that bled at the knuckles.  He looked out of breath, and there was a fresh bruise on the right side of his face.  Next to him lay Freck,  his face bloodied and swollen, his dagger kicked from his hands.  The man looked up at me, and I took a step back.  I bared my teeth at him, feeling a primal intensity burning in me.

“My name is Farrel,” he said, sounding different than when he had spoken before.  In fact, to my astonishment, he sounded like Lethia.  “You’re…Nyx?”  He gestured at the girl in question.  “This girl saved me, even though she didn’t have to.  I’m very grateful.”  He stood and touched a hand to his chest.  The arrows in his quiver clacked behind him as he stepped over Lethia and toward me.  I took another step back, hissing at him, and he froze his face turning wary.  “Please.  My mother was an elf, and I was taught to repay these acts of kindness.  You have nothing to fear from me.”  He turned and went back to the girl, where he scooped the teenager up into his arms with only a mild bit of effort.  He looked at me somberly.  “Yes, I repay my debts. That…and I can’t really stomach such barbarism from my companions.  They were going to slit your throats, even though you spared their lives.”

My mouth fell open, but no sounds came out.

Now that the threats around me were removed, my focus was entirely devoted to the man before me.  Surprising the things one could miss in the heat of the moment.  Like how his eyes were wisterian, a light shade of purple, or how they were larger than the average human being’s; or how his ears stuck out, like Lethia’s, but had a bump at the tips; or how his arms seemed a little long, atleast in terms of human proportions.  Of course, given his revelation regarding his mother, there was no doubt.  The man was a halfling.  This fact comforted me, somewhat.  Partly because I was familiar with the sub-species, perhaps moreso than humans, for they visited my village to trade and I would see them in my forays into the forests.  Partly because I knew they had similar beliefs and sentiments regarding honoring debts.

Partly just because it felt nice meeting someone who wasn’t human…or atleast entirely so.

“Are you going to come with me or not?”  The man asked, bringing me out of my thoughts.  “I’ve got the key to the medicine cabinet on this floor.”

“Um,”  I pointed at myself and Lethia.  I could almost see Elmiryn face-palming in my mind, but I had to ask. “You realize of course that we’re breaking in to your tower?  To save Syria? Your high profile prisoner?

Farrel smiled at me.  “Is this supposed to be worse than the marshal’s idea of ‘community service’?”

I looked at him, bewildered.  “Community service?  You aren’t–that is to say–you didn’t–”

The man shook his head, his face twisted up in derision.  “Volunteer?  Sign up?  Öctér! Why would I want to end up in this hellhole!?  Half the guards here are serving sentences themselves for misdemeanors!”  He started walking toward the door.  “Come on!  Help me shut the gate.”

“Wait!” I said, hurrying after him.  “My friend is still outside!  I can’t leave her out there!”

Farrel paused at the doorway.  “That stretches things, therian.  I am in the debt of both you and this girl for your mercy, but to leave the gate open invites disaster!”

I straightened my back.  The warmth that curled from the doorway was enticing me, but Elmiryn was still clawing her way up the rocks.  I couldn’t abandon her.  “If you really mean what you say, then you’ll honor my request!  For my part, it is what I would ask as repayment!”

The man looked at me, conflicted.  “I…suppose I wouldn’t really be doing you a favor if I left your friend out there, would I?”

My heart lifted.  “No.  You wouldn’t!  So will you leave the gate open?  If you’ve some rope somewhere, I can bring her up faster that way.”

“You’d trust me with your friend’s life?”  He gestured at Lethia with his head.

I looked at him with a somber expression.  “Have I much choice in the matter?”

Farrel glanced over his shoulder, then looked at me again.  He shook his head.  “Not much.”


She was only half way up.  The warrior paused for the second time, resting her temple against the rock with a sigh.  At first, she was confused and annoyed by her growing exhaustion.  Then she remembered that she’d been awake for nearly 24 hours, and had been in three very demanding fights with people and creatures of high caliber.  Once she accepted this fact, it didn’t seem so unreasonable to ask for a moment to rest, to close her eyes and…

Something knocked gently against her left side.

The redhead jerked awake, her eyelids burning with desire for sleep.  She leaned back far, head whipping this way and that in search of the offending object, whatever it was, that had touched her.  Then she kept moving.  Kept falling backwards.  Then she was just…falling.

Elmiryn’s stomach dropped and she cried out, her right and swiping wildly through the air when a dark line passed her sight.  She grabbed at it.  Rope.  She stopped with a jerk and bit back the scream that bounded up her throat like an over eager dog.  So much pain in her left arm and shoulder.  The woman blinked and tried to focus her blurry eyes, and above her, she saw Nyx’s wild mane of hair.  She was little more than shadow, but the woman could just imagine the look on her face.

“Sweet Aelurus, are you alright!?” The girl whispered loudly.

The woman chuckled weakly.  Her heart was still doing a marathon in her chest.  “Oh y’know…” she tilted her head to the side.  “Just hangin’ around.”

When Nyx spoke again, her voice turned critical.  “…You were sleeping, weren’t you?”

“Ghosts don’t sleep, Nyx,” Elmiryn said as the girl vanished and began to pull her up.  The woman sighed and held on as best she could.  “We just fade away…”

As she came up near the ledge, Nyx grabbed onto her arm and pulled her the rest of the way.  The woman looked around, noting the four guards lying on the ground.  She knew they were just unconscious–neither Nyx or Lethia had the stomach for killing–but the woman considered offing the men, just in case.  It wasn’t very honorable, but they would pose a threat otherwise.  She considered this…except her thoughts were usurped by a realization.

“Nyx, where’s Lethia?”

The girl was coiling the rope around her arm, a good idea if still time consuming–they could use the rope later.  But at the question, the Ailuran’s face twisted in discomfort, and she turned her eyes downward.  “Um…well, as you might’ve heard, there was a bit of a scuffle up here.  It seems the guards were anticipating us.  I managed to knock out three of the guards, but–” the girl paused, biting her lip.

Elmiryn waited impatiently for her to finish, one hand on her hip.

When Nyx resumed, she was looking at the warrior with imploring eyes.  She started to speak in a hurried voice.  “Oh Elle, please stay calm when I tell you this!  Like I said, I’d knocked out three of the guards…but there were five of them!  The fifth one was the one that Lethia borrowed the information about the tower from, only she took too much and the man couldn’t breathe, so she tried to put him right and she did–only–only–that is to say–she, ah, passed out. I thought I was done for, but then the fifth guard, he woke up and he knew what Lethia did for him so he saved me and her both by knocking out the fourth guard.  So–So Farrel–I mean–That’s the guard’s name–he’s tending to her wounds now!”

Elmiryn already started walking before the girl even finished, and Nyx chased after her.  Her face felt hot and her body was a promise of violence.

“Elle…Elmiryn, wait!” Nyx’s words hit her back like water to glass.  It just slid right off.

The warrior entered through the doorway, and into the foyer, where warm torches made her face dance with shadows.  The room led into a perpendicular hall that curved out of sight at both ends.  The woman had to wait as the girl closed the door behind her, then slipped into a side door she hadn’t noticed.  There was a “clack” and she heard gears turning.  The Ailuran had closed the gate outside.  The guards still outside the bolted door were atleast protected from the daesce if not the cold.

With the girl finished with her task, Elmiryn rounded on Nyx, her eyes sharp.  “What way did they go?  Do you know?”

The girl looked at her with wide eyes.  “I–Yes…they, they went that way, but–”

Elmiryn went down the left hall as Nyx had pointed without waiting to hear her.  If the girl had been so concerned about Lethia all this time, then why, why, why would she leave the youth in the hands of one of the enemy?

The woman drew her sword with her right hand, her expression darkening as she came to the only open doorway.  She stood in the frame, her cerulean eyes flashing, her sword raised–and stopped.  The woman stared.  Then she rubbed at her eyes and looked again with a bewildered frown.

Nyx squeezed past her and stood before her with arms spread wide as if to stop her.  “There, do you see!?  Please don’t try to hurt him–you could bring the other guards if you do!  The others are sleeping further down the hall.”

Lying on a low sick bed in a room cramped with ten more, was Lethia.  At the other end of the room was another man, but he was asleep and lacking an arm and leg.  Next to the enchantress, crouched down onto his knees, appeared to be the guard Nyx had mentioned.  He looked at Elmiryn like a rabbit caught in a predator’s sight.  What did Nyx say his name was?  He had funny looking ears and pretty purple eyes.  They reminded her of flowers.  The kind of flowers she saw rabbits peeking out from underneath.  She half expected him to have buck teeth.  She couldn’t remember his proper name, and he clearly wasn’t human.  But what a pleasant change of pace!  In the Rabbit’s wide hands, he held clean bandages, and on the bedside table next to him was an assortment of bottles filled with things the warrior couldn’t readily name.  She blinked and shouldered her sword, but didn’t put it away.

Elmiryn smiled slowly.

“…Who on Halward’s plane would’ve thought that a rabbit would have the balls to do something like this?”

The Rabbit looked at Nyx in confusion.  “I’m confused…What does she mean?”

The girl sat down on the bed next to him and looked at him wearily.  “I think she thinks you’re a rabbit.”

“Not a rabbit.  Just Rabbit. The Rabbit,” Elmiryn corrected, shutting the door behind her.  “There’s a difference.”

“Oh!  Um…Well, my name’s Farrel.”  He held out his hand and offered a smile.

Elmiryn raised an eyebrow at him.  “Is it?”

The man’s hand and smile faltered as he looked at her in confusion.  “…What?

Nyx patted the guard on his arm with a sympathetic expression.  “You have a bit more to do, right?  I might as well explain it to you…”

The warrior snickered.  “Oh sure.  You can try.”

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