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Wednesday, 07 September 2005
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Chapter ix, Exile, a leavetaking with both honour and hope
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"Shall this be our fate then?" Ae'thenal did ask of the wide ocean as she did grip the rail.

"To weep in despair until such time as the Banepearl hungers; - then to suffer being as goddesses of war until the thing is glutted." Sighing she did shake her head the urge on her to speak Isha's name. For if nothing else the act of defiance and the following punishment did serve to burn away her despair for a time.

"Child." The soft word did seem to whisper all about her as the moment did draw out as if time did no longer flow. The ship did now seem to stand motionless upon the sea even though its sails were full and it did heel to a wind that did no longer blow clean and strong from Ulthuan. And now a soft laugh before the sweet voice did speak again, "Oh child, do you not know that I do hear you each time you do speak my name."

"Isha," she did say quietly as if afraid the moment would break apart, and this one time she did not suffer punishment for saying the name of the Mother of all. In wonder Ae'thenal did look about herself, but she was alone on the deck. The steersman's place and the rest of the vessel shouded in a glittering mist that did shield all other eyes from her.

"No, not alone child, for I am here." Lightly a hand she could not see did touch her shoulder guiding her to once more face the rail and look out over the ocean. Only when she did rest her hands upon the rail there was not the ocean, but a wide and green land bordered by a tall grey range of mountains. Mild of weather and fair to look upon. Soft to her ears she did hear then a jingle of harness and a woman's voice raised in song. That the singer was perhaps lacking in her craft was an obvious thing, but her ease of heart was evident enough as she gave the song full voice. As if out of the very air of that fair and green land Ae'thenal did see a tall and well built woman riding a chestnut horse take form. The woman wearing full plate armour of a kind that she had not seen before this, and that armour marked and dented and plainly having suffered ill useage in its time. As to the woman herself her head was shaven, save for the back of her head, where her hair as red as a flame was drawn back into a long thick plait that did reach to her waist. Now it did seem as if the woman had seen her, for she did now sit her horse her green eyes merry with amusement. Over the woman's right shoulder Ae'thenal could see standing up the hilts of a great two handed sword, the sheathed weapon reaching down in its length to past the woman's knee. In her right hand and propped upon that same shoulder she did also bear a long lance, and on her left arm she did carry a shield that was well notched about its edges from warding blows from edged weapons.

But it was that shield that did now steal her eye, for upon it was painted with a careful hand the Elf rune ÎQuyl-IshaÌ set upon a green background. Now she did look upon the woman anew, seeing that which she had missed before; - for the woman did possess ears that were a match for her own, and her face was shaped long tapering to a pointed chin. Though more softened in its shaping than a she-Elf's face would be.

Soft in her ear Isha did say to her (for it could be none save Isha who was with her now), "Her name is Bronwyn of Nuln, called the Half-Elven; daughter of Gertrude of Nuln, who did run away from her home in her youth to join a minstrel troupe. Gertrude did lead a merry enough life before she did lose her way and come to Athel Loren. Though when she did take leave of the Elf-kindred it was with a babe carried within her womb." And here Isha did softly laugh again as if delighted by a secret that she alone did know. "So you do see Child, there shall be friends of Elf-kind who shall cross your path in your exile; - and you shall not be alone in the wide world beyond Ulthuan."

It was upon Ae'thenal's tongue then to ask of Isha why it was that both Si'anelle and herself had been so cruelly fated as to become the Banepearl's servants, but the words were gently taken from her before she could say them aloud. As she did watch Bronwyn Half-Elven did now raise her lance in salute towards her, her eyes animated with her ease of spirit, and wheeling her chestnut horse about she did now ride away into that fair green landscape swiftly fading from her sight as if the very air itself had swallowed her up. Ae'thenal was saddened to see the half-Elven woman depart, for it did seem to her that if she and Si'anelle were fated to meet Bronwyn Half-Elven in their exile, they would find themselves a good and true friend. And in truth they would have a need for good friends in the days to come.



Last Updated ( Wednesday, 07 September 2005 )
 
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