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Wednesday, 08 June 2005
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Chapter iv, The Gift Freely Given
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"Behold," Alarielle did say then as she did stand before Si'anelle's upraised hands, her fair beauty that even the gods did accknowledge rivaled by that of the Noble Lady Si'anelle of Avelorn who did kneel before her robed in her tatters and her dirt. "Behold," she did say again, "this perfect seeming treasure that has been hard won at the greatest cost." The Everqueen's eyes did touch all within her pavilion before she did speak again. "Only a one who did possess a pure intent to gift this great pearl to another did own the power to claim it. All others becoming the property of the witch deamons who do dwell in the pool 'Despairing'." And in that moment it was if Ae'thenal did hear again the hissed whisper in her ear, 'Worthy......Ae'thenal Oathmaker...'

"Watch now all of you and see," Alarielle did cry aloud of a sudden, her voice ringing with command. "Watch and see how this thing of perfect beauty does mask itself." And bending towards Si'anelle she did lightly touch her face with her hand saying, "Lady, your gift is not the fair treasure that is before me in this hour. And may Isha forgive me for now I must do you harm."

Even though she did stand behind her friend Ae'thenal did sense Si'anelle's child-like bewilderment, the ebbing of her joy as she did look with confusion upon the great pearl she did hold in her hands. Naideth Morningstar's grip did bruise her arm as she did make an attempt to join Si'anelle, the maiden champion a match for her strength despite her age being the less. "Si'anelle," she did cry aloud and now the maiden champion's other hand was a crushing weight on her mouth forcing her silence. As others of the Maiden Guard did move to offer threat with their spears' sharp blades Ae'thenal could do naught but watch as Alarielle did shift her hands to almost touch the flawless surface of the pearl her friend did hold.

Of an instant the pearl did become black as night, oozing blood that did spill over Si'anelle's hands. The sweet music and pure light utterly gone as if it had never been. The moan Si'anelle did give voice to then was like unto the chorus that had arisen from the pool 'Despairing'. Her friend's voice rising to a shriek as she did stare in terror at the wicked object she did now hold in her hands. The eyes of all within the pavilion were claimed by this black orb that did draw all light unto itself and the sight of the blood that did stain Si'anelle's pale hands. Even Alarielle, Everqueen of Avelorn did stand as if transfixed, her violet eyes focused in horror upon the terrible thing Si'anelle did hold. And then Si'anelle did shriek again as if her living heart had been torn from within her breast, her scream of agonising pain and loss causing all to flinch as the black orb did now rise but a little from her bloodied hands. For the barest of moments Naideth Morningstar's fingers did falter in their grip and Ae'thenal did sieze that moment in which to twist herself free of the maiden champion's hold. A spear blade did skid against her breastplate, the force of the thrust upsetting her balance so that she did stagger. Drawing her sword the sudden weight of the weapon was near more than she could wield as she did meet and parry Naideth's sword strike. And then fling the weapon at maiden champion before she did cast herself on unsteady feet that were bare her own towards the foul object that was even now rising towards Alarielle. The Everqueen falling back before the black orb as she did work to gather power born of the land to her defense.

A spear did thud into her back, the thrust confounded by her armour as Ae'thenal did fall across Si'anelle's limp form, reaching out with her desperate bone thin hands to snatch the black orb from the air. Clutching tight to the wicked thing that did writhe and quiver in her grip she did crawl to cover her friend with her own thin and wasted body even as a dozen sharp spear blades did thrust in to end their lives.

"Hold!" At the Everqueen's command the twelve spears in the hands of her Maiden Guard witheld their gift of death. But did not withdraw. "Guard them and prevent any move of escape, but do not take their lives," was Alarielle's further command as she did stand before her throne, the Stave of Avelorn haloed with power gifted to her by the very land itself. Then with a sigh she did say, "The Lady Ae'thenal did well, for it does seem the Banepearl will tolerate her touch. The wasting of her body now that the Banepearl has quit its pretense of glamor does inform me that her friend, the Noble Lady Si'anelle, did freely place the wicked thing into her hand; - the act being one offered in the innocence of her love and being intended to ease her fatigue."


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