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Friday, 16 September 2005
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Chapter ii, We Are Measured With Doubt
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Nimine's sense of being ill at ease was still upon her when her fosterdaughter rode back to them, for all that Ae'thenal had not ridden Nadimar among the warrior women like a wild reaver and hewed them down. For any easing of the Banepearl's hold upon her fosterchild that had been made in Athel Loren was in truth well gone, and as the Banepearl had increased in its hunger for blood these past days, so had Ae'thenal become more the terrible warrior armed with a sword of black fire that she had learned to fear. Fear not because she herself was in any danger at Ae'thenal's hand, but fear because of those who had joined with them in exile. For the six Swordmasters of Hoeth that now did dwell among them as a part of the household that had been Arhaindir Moonhand's own, could be none else save guardians set to watch for Chaos's taint. And if they were all six of them seemingly quiet and grave in their manner, and publicly at least respectful in their observance of her authority as the captain of Si'anelle's female guard, that did not serve in any measure to lessen her concern. And as for the enchantress Talieth Mistborn she did not possess a liking for the she-Elf, neither before she had joined their company nor afterwards. If at those times in the lands of the Bretonnian king, when they had joined their strength at arms with a Lordling's knights to fight against either Skaven or Orcs or both allied together, there had been cause enough for her to worry at each occasion that her fosterdaughter had hewed down Orcs or Skaven like cornstalks as if she was indeed a fell knight of Chaos. Now she did have a further worry, for the Wood Elf enchantress did seem to ever have her eyes upon Ae'thenal and Si'anelle as if measuring the weight of their every act for purity of purpose.

In this moment all she could now do was to sigh with relief that Talieth Mistborn was stationed safely with the rearguard of their stalled company and not here to observe her Lady and her fosterdaughter as Ae'thenal did canter Nadimir up to where Si'anelle did wait for her upon Finaith. For the moment was tender indeed as Ae'thenal did join her hand with Si'anelle's slender pale hand and did smile, their eyes but for one another alone. Already Nimine was certain that Talieth Mistborn had not failed to note that Si'anelle and her fosterdaughter did but rarely speak a word each to the other. The bond between them that was the Banepearl's doing gifting them the knowledge of one another's thoughts and thereby making speech between them uneeded.

"The bond between them is their love each for the other Nimine Starbrow and that is still greater than the Banepearl's hold." Now turning her head Nimine did see that the young scorceress Jean-Marie d'Quenelles had dismounted and come to stand beside her. "Though now I shall ask you what is the true nature of that love Jean-Marie?" was Nimine's sharp tongued reply for all that she did not intend the use of such a tone of voice. Which caused the young woman's face to colour at once as she did come to realise the meaning behind her angry response. Then sighing Nimine did attempt to excuse her words, "Chaos will ever seek to twist that which is good to its own purpose; - I do hold dear the memory of these two at play when they were but children Jean-Marie. I could not bear to see their good and true friendship become............" And here Nimine did discover she could not further speak further of her fears as her throat did tighten about a lump which she could not swallow and her tears did begin to spill from her eyelids. Softly Jean-Maire did speak to her as she did guide her to a place at Cloud's flank where her tears would not be observed by the others of their company. For the young scorceress had come to know her well enough these past months to understand that for her to be seen openly weeping would sorely test her pride. "Good Nimine, the Lady Si'anelle and your fosterdaughter are aware of the subtle dangers inherent in their service to the Banepearl; - I do truly believe they shall not premit their friendship to be demeaned by its wicked nature." "If it was within the compass of their true born natures that I could bear well enough," Nimine did then say to Jean-Maire even though before this she had thought she would not ever speak in this fashion to another. And in certainty not to a one who was not of Elf-kind. "But if such desires should arise within them Jean-Marie as a foul work of Chaos............." And here her tears did begin afresh as her voice did fail her, the memory of the day that Ae'thenal had made Dechala servant of Slaanesh flee before her sword alive within her. And also her memory of the question her fosterdaughter had asked of her in her despair in the aftermath, and Ae'thenal's deep fear that Dechala had spoken true. "Then we must pray that it shall not happen thus," Jean-Marie did say to her as she did begin to gently wipe at her tears with her fine linen kerchief. "And be watchful in our loving service towards Si'anelle and Ae'thenal so that they may not be entrapped unknowing."

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