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Author Topic: Respite in the Vale  (Read 51409 times)
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Morcaanan
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« Reply #150 on: December 15, 2007, 12:17:57 AM »

Morcaanan could see the fight beyond the stranger - the stranger who was  armed appropriately, his stance and attitude familiar; he sees the mercenary for what he is, though they have never met before.

His own sword was already out as they rounded the corner, and he pushed past the two dwarves. "Please move aside." It was not a request.

Kaelan raises his weapon, looking slightly bemused. Behind him, the elf was hurling threats and taunts at 'Teri, who was moving in and out at him, weapon in hand.
"This is something where blood must settle with blood. Getting in the way and stopping it would merely put it off until another day."

With a step forward the Korweynite repeats his order, more quietly and yet, more aggressively. "Move."

"No."

Morcaanan whips his sword above his head, as if he means to split Kaelan from head to navel, but it is a feint: he steps rapidly forward with the motion, putting him too far inside his enemy's cutting arc for his enemy to strike back, but since both are wielding bastard swords the effect is the same for him as well.

Instead of actually trying to slash at the mercenary, the Korweynite makes it a contest of speed and strength, ramming his body into Kaelan's shoulder and arm, which was raised for a horizontal slash across Morcaanan's exposed torso. Bringing the pommel of his sword down on his enemy's opposite shoulder and thrusting his hand into Kaelan's torso, he seems for a moment to have the advantage.

But Kaelan had been prepared and braced for an attack, his stance balanced and firm: for a moment it is a contest of wills and power, for Morcaanan had, by bringing his weapon over his head and charging sacrificed good footing and relied on his momentum - once lost the fight would be in Kaelan's favor unless he could bring the man to the ground.

Kaelan realized too late that that was not Morcaanan's intent at all: he was suddenly and simultaneously struck in both knees and landed with the other mercenary atop of him, both of their swords clattering to earth. A dwarf, perched oddly on his knee grappled for his free arm (the other was nicely pinned beneath Morcaanan) and Brennan was suddenly up and moving rapidly at the other dwarf, weapon at the ready. She roared something in Thergerim at him.

And then there was clang followed by a cry that made Morcaanan's heart skip.

A look up revealed the elf with the point of his sword sliding off of 'Teri's body as she stumbled back from a blow that could only have been fatal.

But 'Teri regained herself even as the other elf fumbled with his blade, eyes wide with disbelief in frustration. She moved in to seize the advantage.

Morcaanan ground the other warrior into the stone in his haste to rise, stumbling over his discarded weapon to hurry to 'Teri's side, who now knelt next to the fallen elf. She removed her torn blouse, exposing the means of her salvation to the wondering man behind her.

With a cry of relief he starts forward and throws his arms around her, clutching her tightly to him, forgetting she might have broken ribs, plate armour or no.

His body which had up until this moment been under his control began to shake with either relief or the aftermath of fear. Or both. He does not care: she is in his arms, and for the moment, she is safe again.

And then suddenly he is jabbering, looking her in the face and berating her. "You, you...idiot! Fighting someone like that, no one to back you up? What came over you? Even if you'd killed him without us here that other man might have just killed you and left! You should done something! Yell for help, come back...something!" His mind is not quite clear enough to fully grasp the nonsense that is spilling from his lips, but neither does he care. Hugging her tightly to himself again, he tries to control the shaking that has for the moment dominated him, oblivious to what the dwarves are thinking or saying.
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Aueniteri
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« Reply #151 on: December 16, 2007, 01:55:22 AM »

In a blur, Morcaanan is there beside her, throwing his arms around her and holding her tightly even before she has time to react. Eventually, she manages to return the embrace, her arms falling limply about him as he draws begin and begins to rantingly censure her for... she's not even sure what. A dull, throbbing pain starts in the back of her head as she tries to make sense of it all, and Morcaanan is drawing her close to him again. Initially, she doesn't resist, but the pressure on her chest and near her shoulders sharply reminds her of the damage she recently endured, and in somewhat of a daze, she pushes him away. In apology, she reaches up to give him a brief peck on the lips, and turns toward dead Garrek.

"I need to get him out, bury him," she whispers softly.

Meanwhile, the big warrior releases his weapon, leaving it on the ground as he slowly stands so the dwarves will know he doesn't intend to continue the fight. What he came for is finished.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2007, 02:04:41 AM by Aueniteri » Logged

Talas Anthavin
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« Reply #152 on: December 23, 2007, 03:07:32 AM »

Brenna picks up Kaelan's weapon and hands it to the guard.  "At least you've the sense not to try anything here," she says to Kaelan.  "You've got some answering to do for your intrusion into our Halls, and I expect our visitors," she adds, nodding to 'Teri and Morcaanan, "will wish to ask you some questions of their own."

She looks back at the guard and in Thergerim'Taal orders, "take him to the council chamber in a moment.  Watch him closely for now."  Brenna then approaches 'Teri and Morcaanan.

"My lady, I apologise for what has happened here in our Hall, but I cannot help but think you know him, and that this was something that was set in motion long before your arrival here.  The human," she adds, jutting a thumb back at Kaelen, "said something about 'blood settling with blood'."

She shrugs, glances at the body on the floor, and then looks back at 'Teri.  There is compassion in the dwarf's eyes.  "We can help you deal with the uhh.. burial, but I must report these events to the Gornegron.  We will take the prisoner, and give you moment to recover."

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Aueniteri
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« Reply #153 on: December 23, 2007, 03:53:36 AM »

For support, 'Teri slips an arm around Morcaanan's waist, and rests her throbbing head against him. "Thank you, I... I wanted to bury him in the forest. I would like to have him brought to the Zeiphyr for..."

Her brows knit, and she frowns. Garrek has just finished trying to kill her, hiring an assassin against whom she would have been helpless down here and yet she wants to honor him. Why? Wasn't it his own fault, dying in a cave? Briefly, she looks down to Garrek's face. Something has changed. The muscles in his neck have bulged, and the skin has turned a sickly purplish black. His lips have dried unrealistically fast, and they, too, have taken a charred look, as though something has drawn the water out of his corpse. Yet still, her brother is there, looking blankly at the ceiling through one half-closed eye. And as much pain as she has seen, Garrek was her brother.

The memories of the horror he brought come in several quick bursts of vision, and the hand around Morcaanan clenches, trying to grab hold of something secure. She has stayed calm this long, during his death and brief aftermath, but the flood of memories, pain and emotions wear down the wall with visible rapidity, and she at first buries her face in Morcaanan's shoulder, then begins to whimper, then to cry, until finally her knees will no longer hold her weight as she breaks down into uncontrolled sobs.
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Talas Anthavin
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« Reply #154 on: December 24, 2007, 10:41:58 AM »

Brenna nods, though her mind races.  The Zeiphyrian Forests are some distance to the south of Rimmerin's Ring.   "As you wish.  We will speak more of this with the Gornegron later."  With that, she returns to the dwarven guard who is keeping a vigilant eye on Kaelan.

She looks up at the warrior and motions toward the corridor that leads to one of the holding cells, similar to where Kenrill had been kept earlier.  "You must stand before the Gornegron when you are summoned.  For now, however, you will have some time to think about your decision to aid the one called Garrek."  The pair of dwarves march Kaelan to a small holding cell - his weapons are removed from his person and his wrists and ankles are shackled.  A pair of armed guards remain outside the entrance.
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Morcaanan
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« Reply #155 on: December 26, 2007, 05:44:18 AM »

Being long cut off from attachment to others had not prepared Morcaanan for 'Teri's sudden breakdown. Her sobbing made his heart ache, and yet set him off balance, for he suddenly had no idea what to do except hold her more tightly.

When her outburst grew in intensity, he finally caught up her lithe form in his arms and carried her from the chamber, whispering comforting though perhaps useless words to her. He let the dwarves deal with the securing the mercenary and their errant dwarf.

As he walked with 'Teri in his arms, a growing realization dawned on him: he did not know how to handle his own emotions with other people, particularly those close to him because it had been some time since he had felt 'close' to anyone. There were enemies, allies and friends. Enemies came with being a sword for hire; allies also came with that, it was in the job description, and those who you work for and do a good job for remember you, even tell others about you.. Friends were not common, but could definitely be found amongst his allies.

But...'Teri? His very heart and soul were in her hands, had she known it. Such...vulnerability was almost forgotten. Even frightening.
What would he have done had she been hurt? Would have forgiven himself, losing a love a second time?

'A second time.' The thought gave him pause: was 'Teri his second chance? To do things right, like he should have done before?

He was not sure.
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« Reply #156 on: January 09, 2008, 01:27:22 AM »

Through the talk, the boredom, the commotion, Kenriil remains silent. The council with the dwarves drags on endlessly, after everything seems to be settled, and even though Tulpje is sitting on his knee and he could easily lean forward and say something to her, Ken is silent. Then, Aueniteri and Morcaanan are leaving for some reason, and still, Ken remains silent. Eventually, they are rising to go, and Ken is still silent. As they traverse the hallways of the underground empire on their way out, a deep throbbing pulses through the caverns - the drums again, like the ones at the entrance, and still Ken is silent as the Gornegron turns to Capher once the drum has died down. "Those are your people. This way; we must meet them. Something is wrong."

They walk in silence, even Ken still holding his tongue as they move as quickly as the stumbling hobbit can, Tulpje clinging tightly to his hair. Then, they see Morcaanan, carrying something - no, someone - no, Aueniteri in his arms. And finally, Ken's words rush out in a conglomerated heap, like someone gasping for breath after being suffocated for an eternity.

"You guys are alright! Is she hurt? What's wrong with 'Teri? Did you get hurt? Was there a fight? Who was it? Why did you and 'Teri leave? We talked about the anvil, and the dwarves a lot. We're going to meet some more dwarves, right Capher? I think we need to get topside. Maybe 'Teri needs to get some air. We should go find Talia and Terra and Ta'las now. I hope they're okay. If we got attacked, though, then it's likely they didn't. We did get attacked, didn't we? Oh, what's that? A body? Who is- is that the elf-guy that attacked us in the Gorge? Is he dead? Did you kill him? Where are they taking him? Are they going to bury him? How did he die? How did he get in here? He won't be a problem anymore, will he? Does that mean things will get easier now? Does that mean we're getting closer? I sure hope it does. I guess it doesn't have to. A lot of things like that can be misleading. The trail out of the Gorge was misleading - I don't even know how I got out. I never saw Z'doth. I thought for sure he was at the top, but I didn't even see the animals. Did you guys bring the animals? It would be really hard to get around in good time without them. I don't like to ride much, though; but I have before. Mostly we use carts and the like. It's pretty convenient, because there's always room for other, more important stuff. I think we have the most important cargo right here... that's us, I mean. I.... did I just say something that doesn't make sense? I need a rest, I think. Should we camp outside? I wanna see stars. I like the stars, they give you a sense of direction. It's interesting thinking of those little points of light that must be so close, yet they're above everything. I wonder how..."
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Talas Anthavin
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« Reply #157 on: January 10, 2008, 11:41:51 AM »

Capher feels a sickening wrench in his belly when he first sees Morcaanan carrying 'Teri.  He gently shushes Kenrill and rushes ahead, but when he reaches them, he sees that she is well.  "Thank you Morcaanan.  What has happened?  And --"   He suddenly senses the presence of the Heart - a pulsing throb that courses through him.  It is so close, that it nearly overwhelms him, having been so far from his grasp since entering the Vale of the Brownies. 

"You have it," he says quietly to 'Teri.  Then, he sees the sorrow in her eyes, and the tension around Morcaanan's.  "Your brother has left this world."  He gently takes her hand in one of his, and pushes back a lock of her hair from her cheek with the other.  "I am sorry, my child.  I am so sorry this had to be you."  Capher had known 'Teri's destiny would be to face and slay her brother - or be slain - and though he might have tried to intervene and alter the outcome of their confrontation, he would have failed.  And so, he had to leave 'Teri to her fate.

And here she was.  Worn, tired, and filled with a great sadness that might never leave her gentle heart.  Yet, she has great strength in her.  And we will still have need of that strength if we are to succeed, Capher thinks and smiles again at 'Teri.  He kisses her cheek and whispers to her, "you've brought us closer to ending this great evil, Aueniteri," using her full name to emphasize the importance of her task.

"Watch over her, Morcaanan.  She will need your strength and love in times to come."

He turns to the Harrek.  "Gornegron, please, will you take my companions somewhere they can rest for the night?  We will take our leave of you in the morning, if that is is there a safe place where my companions can rest."

The Dwarven clan leader nods and starts away down another passage.

As  they walk, Capher looks down at Kenrill.  "My friend, will you walk with me?  I am happy to see you again.  Tomorrow we will return to the Vale - it is too dangerous to leave the Dwarven Hall at night.  And yes, we will find the others.  Talia and Terra are nearly finished their healing, and Ta'las will want to see that you are well.  So," he says with a smile, "what did you see during your stay with the dwarves?"
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Tulpje Sweetshade
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« Reply #158 on: January 11, 2008, 04:24:00 AM »

From the moment Tulpje was placed on Kenriil's knee, she was as silent as the hobbit. Not that she was usually quite as talkative as him, far from it. She didn't feel comfortable enough with Tharian to speak much of it. Still, that was not the reason she didn't say a word. If she was perfectly honest with herself, she'd have to say that the reason was mostly... that she didn't understand. Any of it.

Ok, so they'd come to these dwarves to catch up with Ken. She got that part; and she'd gone with them to act as a go-between between the group and the dwarves. Only, this was the part where her mind was getting confused. She hadn't actually done anything to contribute to the mission, except be a burden to one or the other of the party, albeit a small burden. It seemed to her that Capher knew much more of dwarves than she did. And what were they having a meeting about, just now? It wasn't about the hobbit anymore, because she was sitting on his knee. If she got it right, it was about... an anvil? She wasn't entirely sure what an anvil was, so that probably contributed to her confusion.

Suddenly the meeting was over, in a flash, or so it seemed to Tulpje. There was just some more talking, to which she'd kind of stopped paying attention, and then suddenly she found herself standing on Ken's shoulder and gripping his hair. They found Morc and 'Teri soon. The small grey brownie was concerned for the woman. She could see the sadness in her eyes, but she didn't know how to comfort her. Before she could think of a way to come closer, a voice erupted beside her like a volcano, a stream of words tumbling out of the hobbit's mouth like a river. She looked to the side, but from her position on his shoulder, she could only see part of his face. Despite not understand most of what he said - because he was saying it so quickly - Tulpje thought he was funny. She let go of his hair, as she'd found her balance on his shoulder, and with a small grey hand patted his brown curls, a vain attempt to calm him down. Then she giggled, realising just how futile her attempt was. Stopping the action, she looked up at Capher, heard his question, and prepared for another river to flow over her.
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The language of friendship is not words but meanings.

Tulpje Sweetshade
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« Reply #159 on: January 16, 2008, 01:03:55 AM »

Morcaanan, lost in his own thoughts, misses the the first stream of babble from Ken's mouth, and trying to pick up the hobbit's thread of thought is like trying to catch a galloping horse with a head start, so nearly everything that the little man said went over Morcaanan's head, figuratively speaking at least.

He listens with only half an ear to Capher, and when a dwarf motions to him to follow, he obeys, still carrying 'Teri.
The room they are shown to is small, with a couple of simple bunks and what appear to be thin straw mattresses - he wondered if dwarves slept this way; he doubted it, though the bunks were just a little bit too short.

The others did not arrive with them; either they were sleeping somewhere else or were busy talking. Wordlessly he set 'Teri on the edge of one and began to unbuckle her armour, examining the mark on the breastplate with a critical eye "Does it hurt to breathe?" he asks, wondering if she had a broken rib.

He set the armour aside and began to peel aaway her clothing to examine the bruise. In the aftermath of the battle and his emotional outburst his mind has fallen into a sort of analytical state: 'Teri is just for the moment a wounded comrade in need of healing.

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« Reply #160 on: January 17, 2008, 12:46:04 AM »

With her pack left in the council hall, it had been easy for 'Teri to remove her shirt after the fight. Her midsection was exposed then, but she hadn't thought much of it; she was sore, and shocked. Mostly shocked. Now, Jeharaid fumbles with the straps of her breastplate, pulls it off and lays it aside, and relief mingled with new pain share a moment, and she winces and whimpers softly in response.

"Does it hurt to breathe?"

She gives a light shake of the head, and Morcaanan moves on, almost absent-mindedly drawing off the only thing that remains on her upper half. If wearing only the breastplate had been revealing before, she is not prepared for this moment. After the most brief of pauses, she finds herself emitting a shocked squeak, and her hands flying up to cover her breasts, her cheeks flushing brilliant red. Her lips part in an attempt to speak, but nothing is forthcoming, and she simply stares into his eyes in surprise.
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Morcaanan
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« Reply #161 on: January 17, 2008, 01:53:55 AM »

In truth, Morcaanan had expected more padding below the armour, but was disappointed and mildly critical; she obviously needed more training.

About to chide her for her poor use of her breastplate and comment that it was a wonder she did not have any broken ribs, her squeak and flurry of hands snaps him back to a more full awareness of the situation - she was staring into his eyes with obvious shock. He blinks at her, confusion crossing his features, trying to understand what is wrong.

Then with a wince of embarrassment he remembers he is trying to field-dress a woman. He turns his head slightly, a faint trace of red staining his own cheek.

His heart has begun to race. He chides himself silently; this was not the time or place. His own pack had never left his shoulder, even during the fighting, and he hastily begins to extract his travel cloak from it while forcing himself to keep his eyes averted.

Steady...she's hurt. You should have thought through what you were doing.
He frees the cloak and unrolls it, snapping it open and throwing it around her shoulders, eyes on her face as he does so. At least he tries to keep them there. Maybe it's the rush of the battle, or the fact that he thought for a brief moment that he had lost her, but she is suddenly more beautiful than he had ever thought possible, and he feels strangely out of control of his own impulses, if only for a brief blink.

Quickly he closes the cloak around her, restoring at least a semblance of her modesty.
"It's a wonder you did not break a rib" he said. His voice is husky and strangely thick, and he coughs to clear his throat. "You'll be sore for a few days more, I expect. Riding might be painful." He feels like he is rambling but he hurries on anyway. "You need to rest, and we'll need to go over your sword and armour for any damage. I will go collect your pack and see to Garrek's body while you rest." He rises and turns to leave, feeling a sudden need to be gone from a situation that has become acutely uncomfortable.
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« Reply #162 on: January 18, 2008, 01:32:28 AM »

There is no open sky, no live greenery, no gentle, playful breeze, and now as Morcaanan blushes and looks away, drapes a cloak over her exposed chest and informs her that he is going to be walking away, Aueniteri feels suddenly alone, entrapped. Walls of stone surround her, and a ceiling of natural earth lies only a little over a ped away. Still, she says nothing as she watches him leave the room, and when he is gone, looks back to the ceiling before closing her eyes. With a little effort, she manages to focus her thoughts into options, and decides she should try to sleep; after several minutes, she is instead seized by a terrible unrest, and glances back toward the door. Still, he has not returned.

Aueniteri tries gently to rub her shoulders, but is rewarded with a stinging pain that knocks the air from her again, almost as if the blow were struck anew, and spots of light dance before her eyes. When her breathing returns to normal it is shallow, labored, and she is exhausted. Slowly, she closes her eyes and tries to sleep, but again, nothing happens.

Fighting the sleeplessness, she allows her mind to wander, staring at the ceiling, or with her eyes closed. Eventually, she is able to release the strong focus the pain in her shoulders and the right side of her chest. Her sword, her armor, her pack... bury Garrek. Was he really dead? She remembers the hammering blow, the numbness, but then... there was light glinting from a sword - it must have been her father's, there is no other answer.  Then there was Morcaanan, and everything else was a blur. She remembers Morcaanan; remembers how he was hurt by wolves, and she was too timid to help him onto her horse. She remembers the time they shared while he was delirious, and remembers just vaguely wishing she were with Talia and the others. But it was no chore caring for the man, listening to his mindless rambles; there was something that thrilled her about the voice, every time it came strong, asking for this, asking this question or that. Generally, the questions were completely out of context, having little to do with wolves, nothing to do with his location or the recent past, and she didn't understand them; only told him that all would be well. It had not been a relief to leave his side, but then again, she was anxious to reach Talia and Terra, and the heart of the Quallian.

Then, there had been another brief issue in the Quallian - and Morcaanan had disappeared. 'Teri wasn't sure whether she felt empty or relieved - or both. It was Garrek again that brought them back together, which she found curiously coincidental. She remembers the freezing, the Mullog - why did it always have to be in pain and discomfort? What possessed Garrek to always want to hurt her, while being reluctant to actually kill her? That time he'd seemed determined to do so, however, except for the faithfulness of her friends, and the divine intervention of Jeharaid Morcaanan.

It had been a full repayment, in her mind, of everything she'd done for him; and she had effectively thrown it in his face. 'Teri finds her eyes welling with tears as she remembers the pained dismissal, the brief sending-off kisses, and the sudden emptiness inside. Nothing occupied her mind more than seeing him moping about, and she actually begins reaching out for the memory as a tear begins to find its way down her cheek, before she is suddenly reminded of where she is: an unknown distance underground, in dwarven caverns, with nothing covering her chest but Morcaanan's cloak, which, on moving her arms as much as she found herself doing, is no longer sufficient.

Quickly drawing the cloak back over her, she thinks back to those days after, the dangerous climb out of the Vale, the two-day ride, traveling from before sunrise 'til after sunset to find the missing halfling, and eventually, the fight with Garrek. Now, it all starts to make sense, and she lets her imagination peruse the memories aimlessly. The best way to sleep, after all, is to think of nothing.

Her mind wanders, and she is not aware of when she starts thinking strange things of Morcaanan. Strange, intimate, and possibly more than slightly embarrassing things. When Morcaanan returns, he finds he sleeping lightly and fitfully, her eyes nearly blinking open at intervals. At the first prominent sound, she starts, her head turns quickly to look, and seeing him, her face blushes deeply.
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« Reply #163 on: January 18, 2008, 10:58:10 AM »

Capher says good night to the others, and then settles down onto the bed in his room, a great fatigue suddenly settling over him.  He rests his head in his hands and sighs - it has taken much of his strength to get this far.  And there is still so much more to do.  He lays himself down on the bed, which is nearly too small for him, but he is too weary to notice.  He falls into a fitful sleep, and begins to dream.

None of his dreams fit together into a coherent series of events; rather they are fragmented images.  Some are from his youth – flashes of himself in dragon form, the Wizard in the White Tower, another of Saban, and even Eckra in all his hellish glory.  Other images are more recent – Terra and Talia seated beside one another at a campfire just north of the Quallian, Kenrill and himself enjoying a moment together talking about a sword called ‘Jraekinannrily’, lovers’ glances shared between ‘Teri and Morcaanan, and little Tulpje seated on Ta’las’ shoulder in the Vale.

Though he is asleep, and all the images he sees of his current companions are not unsettling, Capher knows there is something wrong in his dreams.  The Old Wolf tries to wake himself from his dreams, and he murmurs in his sleep through the night until he finally does rise the next morning.
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« Reply #164 on: January 18, 2008, 11:21:47 AM »

As Morcaanan exits his room, he is approached by one of the dwarves from the council chamber.  The female dwarf dressed in clerical robes - the Tenthrum's Denirim.  She looks up at Morcaanan, and then presses something cold and hard into his hand.  "You must keep this safe, Jeharaid Morcaanan," she bids him.  "My kin were about to move the body, but I have told them to leave this to you, and only help if you ask it of them.  Two dwarven guards await you in the armoury."  With that, the Denirim nods, and offers him a blessing in Thergerim'Taal.  She turns down the passageway and out of sight.

When Morcaanan looks into the palm of his hand, he sees lamplight glinting off the surface of Thalambath's Heart.
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