Snowy Ground: Chapter 2 Part 3

Night fell over the city, lamps were lit, Clemnilshala still stood, fastened to the wall in the garb of a prisoner. She wondered where her scouting gear had been taken, she’d been washed in oils, purifying her of imagined filth. Then, in the Eynnic tradition, holstered to a fence with her inky black markings displayed on her arms and legs and midriff for all to see. Her shame looked upon with the curled lips of other creatures at Lanh. A golden-eyed Toadling had approached, chirping to herself as she smoothed down warts on her skin, getting close to Clemnilshala to examine her leg.
“You’ve been pretty bad huh?” she squeaked, putting her cold fingered hand to Clemnilshala’s leg.
A current of the ‘vog power coursed through the Eynnil’s skin, making her hair stand up on end. Her flopped-over ear twitched a bit, hitting her cheek with a small pap sound. They’d even taken her earrings which often weighed her weak cartilage down and made it not so jarring. Her eye closed, as not to get the little tuft of peachfuzz at the tip of her ear past her eyelashes.
“Ah…Aye lass, I misbehaved somethin’ awful, once upon a time” She replies, leaning her head against the pillar and looking up at a cloud. A hippogriff careens through the air.
“Looks like you really wanted someone dead, did you actually intend to kill the Weilvog? Pretty stupid way to get yourself exiled if you ask me” the toadling pulls her hand away and straightens her robes. “Well…then again, if you ramlings wanted to get exiled for something, I’m sure that’s the level you’d have to go to. You earned your banishment. Unlike us lesser folk huh.”
The toadling sneers and spits at the eynnil’s feet. Moving on to another exile that’d been caught and brought here sometime before Clemnilshala. He was young, he likely didn’t have the opportunity to leave the woods before he was caught and returned here. His skin still sported the dark bruises where needles and ink had marked his skin for being a thief and a swindler. She looked at him.
“What’s yer name lad?” she cocked her head at the young man. His horns were notched, he was likely going to become a scholar, she spent minutes reading his markings. Such a trivial thing, to be cast into exile for stealing a block of tea leaves. His ear flapped a bit, listening to her before it fell forward again with his exhaustion.
“Iirnrith” he whispered, his long tail hanging low and reaching out to touch Clemnilshala’s. “Have you ever been captured before? Will they kill us?”
Clemnilshala gave a breathy laugh “Aye, I’ve been captured a fair amount of times. I think this is the ninth time I’ve seen this wall. Ye have nothin tae worry aboout” she whispers. “They catch ye, punish ye, sometimes a lashin’ sometimes cold water…sometimes just this humiliation…and then they let ye go. Walk ye tae the city limit and tell ye tae run.”
The young man nodded along as he listened intently. “Where should I go? It hasn’t even been a day and they brought me back here?”
“Ye want my advice? Go by way of the wandering star. Travel at night. Hide during the day…ye would do well tae go north. Put some hair on yer chest” she said, her long tail coiling around his. “Iirnrith, yer going tae be just fine, child. Ye’ll see the morning before ye know it and ye’ll be free”
“Thank the stars that I met you. What’s your name?” He asked, listening to the accented eynnil introduce herself “Oh? You have a surname? Did you marry a non-eynnil?”
Clemnilshala nodded and smiled. “Aye, he taught me tae speak the human tongue an’ everything.”
Knights and warriors crossed through the courtyard, Iirnrith’s breathing became fast as he eyed them. He shook in his restraints.
“Hey..hey lad. Doon’t worry about them. Why doon’t ye tell me the names of the stars that come out at night eh?” Clemnilshala worked her damnedest to soothe the worrying young man. It seemed to work throughout the rest of the afternoon. There came a mealtime, where young eynnic initiates and children were brought to go through the process of feeding exiles. A brothy soup, old vegetables, and hunks of bread. Iirnrith ate greedily, while Clemnilshala took her time. Intending to waste the evenings of these little ones if they were appointed to come here for this busy-work.
Night came over the courtyard. Clemnilshala kept her head high, even as she was splashed with buckets of water and oil as the chill of dusk pierced her skin. She shivered, oil took so long to dry. She kept her torn ear pricked to listen to Iirnrith as his teeth chattered and his breath stuttered. His only warmth came from his tears that streamed down his delicate face as he continued to repeat the names of the stars. ‘Poor lad’ Clemnilshala thought to herself. Though a sound that gave the crickets a kind percussion passed behind the wall, again, again. Grouped in sets of two but too close together to be a group a smile paints her face.
“Rigs….is tha yoo?” she whispers. A long huffing breath comes through the pillars of this wall. Clemnilshala’s grin widens. She watches the windows of the priory, humming a song that she’d heard in a tavern somewhere, only being stopped by the sound of a clearing throat. A young initiate with long hair adorned in braids came with a ring of keys. By thunder she brought keys! She looks down at the initiate, she was so puny, with such poor posture.
“Don’t mind me” she says bringing her perfumed body close to Clemnilshala, she unlocks the restraints at her neck and then her wrists. Loud clicks echo in both their ears.
“the hole in the wall is still there from the last time I saw you,” says the young eynnic girl “be quick. Be clever, they threw your clothing away. Do not linger for too long but I will try to buy you some time” she whispers into Clemnilshala’s ear.
Clemnilshala rubbed her wrists and neck, staring into the night before turning to the girl. “Why?” she demanded of the little initiate.
“My magic hasn’t changed its tune in the years that I’ve been raised behind these walls. If I’m going to be exiled, I wish it to be for aiding someone in need. You don’t belong here” She replies as she pockets the keys and dashes off as quickly as she’d arrived. She took a torch and somehow cast a cover of dark fog far blacker than the night sky, blotting out every star, over the whole of the courtyard.
Clemnilshala slunk away under this darkness. Stopped only by the ringing shriek of Iirnrith’s voice.
“Guards! Guards an exile has escaped!” he shouts into the night. The stockaded eynnil throws his head back. Soon enough he is answered by the clattering of plate armor. Clemnilshala throws herself to the ground upon finding an ever-familiar hole in the wall. She drives through, scrabbling her hooves on the cobblestone, feeling chips being split into their fingernail like surfaces. Those pieces being left behind as she pulls one leg through, kicking at the hands of the gloved guards that snatched her ankles and tried to thread her back through the wall as though it were the eye of a needle.
“We have you now!” They shouted, yanking on her leg. Another guard goes for her tail, dodging her kicks as she wriggles and squirms in their grip “Give up! Just give up!”
“Nae on yer life!” her voice rumbles. Clemnilshala looks back at the faces of the guards and pulls her hoof so hard she could swear she could hear the popping of a joint somewhere. She gives one guard a good kick to the face, channeling every time she’d ever surprised Rigmol from behind and like magic she was free. She was met by her great stag, climbing up onto his saddle, a lone eynnil goes riding through the streets of Brinorion city, looking for her mountain scout gear and the easiest way to get back to her mountain.
The easiest way back to Khalenglough the Great was not through the door of a tavern, but that didn’t matter as she sat down, still in her smallclothes, and began to make bets with the other patrons for their various articles of personal-covering.

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