» Tue Apr 22, 2014 7:01 pm
Akara had not failed to notice both the surprise and suspicion on the faces of Elbren's fellow Knights when she had first been escorted into the room. At that time, she had said nothing, for she was only being introduced to them and then Elbren had hurried her outside again so that he could talk to them freely without her overhearing. She could not hear much from outside the door, but from time to time the voices within had risen. She sighed and kicked at the stone walls glumly. Why had she allowed Elbren to bring her here, so far from her home? But, it was not her home anymore, she reminded herself angrily. Never mind that she had lived among her clan for her entire life, never mind that she had spent her youth side by side among the Easterlings foraging and hunting with them, sharing their joys and sorrows. No, upon her mother's death, she had been driven out. A Westerner, they had called her, gesturing towards her yellow hair. Go back to your King, they had said, see if you're wanted there.
So, she had wandered among the other clans, hoping to join them, but the story was always the same. She could not hide what she was, though in her heart she was Easterling. And so, in anger, she had decided to find the accursed woman who had given her birth. The woman who had gifted her with this yellow hair that made her an object of scorn to those to whom she wished to belong.
She kicked the stone wall again, harder, and was rewarded by a stab of pain jutting up from her booted foot.
Here she was, rejected again. How her clan would have laughed at that irony! And still, she had not found the woman called Tempest. The elf Elbren had been kind, though she could see the doubt in his eyes. He had promised to bring her to Tempest, and so she had foolishly followed him away from the world she knew, into strange lands, with strange peoples.
She frowned as the door suddenly opened and Elbren's face greeted her again. He motioned her in, this time properly introducing each of the Mithril Knights who she would be accompanying. She noted the guarded looks on all their faces, though she brightened slightly when she saw Djaleh, a Haradrim. She also could not help but steal furtive glances towards the giant Eagle, having never seen such a one before in her life. At first, she had thought it a pet of some kind, but remembered Elbren's explanation and felt a certain amount of incredulity. Apparently it could talk? What witchcraft was in that?
But most of all, her eyes were drawn to the man standing with a strange harp in the shape of some sort of serpent, who stood with his arms crossed. This, Elbren had told her, would be her “mentor” or something like that. She had almost rolled her eyes when the elf insinuated that she was to listen to and obey the man’s orders. Just wait, she thought to herself, just wait until I’m free of all of you and back in the Eastern lands. But until then, she would submit, for she knew not the way home.
His words, however, made her bristle.
"This won't be any hayride, you know, my girl" Erinhue began. "At best we have a long hard road ahead, most of it in the wild, the rest in the relatively unknown. I need to know if you can be counted as one of the company or just a bit of baggage we have to transport. From the look of you, my guess would be that you can ride and survive well enough on a peaceful journey, but ours will be far from peaceful. Can you use a sword or a bow? Can you fight if you need to? Most important, do you plan to give us any trouble here because you will have to move when we move and sleep and eat when we do or don't. We'll be weeks on this venture and maybe more than that and not much of it will be spent in such comfort as can be found here in the guild house. So tell me gosling are you ready for whatever comes?"
”Gosling?” she smiled thinly. “Careful. The smallest serpents, I am told, hold the deadliest venom. The Eastern lands are harsh and they raise brave sons and daughters. And as for the comfort of your guild house, I don’t know how you can tolerate the coldness of these stones. It seeps into one’s bones. Give me a windswept plain any day to this,” she gestured around. ”But to your point, I can fight well enough, though Elbren has seen fit to take my weapons as long as I reside here.”
”She fights with a bow, and she’s not a bad shot,” Elbren smiled at Erinhue, amused at the girl’s fierceness. She looked more like Tempest now than he had ever seen her. Except….no, there was not the hardness in her features that Tempest carried with her.
”I will not be a liability on your journey,” she insisted, thrusting out her jaw defiantly. ”On the contrary, as we go East, I come ever closer to my home. I speak their language and know their customs better than any of you.” She paused, feeling the anger burning in her cheeks slowly draining away. She did not want to make enemies of these people; she needed their help for now. She must try harder not to draw their suspicion, and she mustn’t let her anger overcome her common sense. Besides, now that her anger was burning away, she was curious about them. The man before her was scowling, but she could see that he had kind eyes behind the scowl, and within those eyes she saw that she reminded him of someone else, someone he cared about very much.
So, changing the subject abruptly because she couldn’t help herself, she suddenly pointed at Agarak and blurted out, ”What exactly is THAT? Some sort of talisman? It has a rather cute face. Look at its little red eyes!”
A jangle of notes greeted her ears. Agarak had never been called “cute” before.