It couldn’t feel good, to come out of the water such a shade of red. Every inch of her was so enflamed. The Stag didn’t care, he nudged at her shoulder and bunted his muzzle on her face. She sputtered, flopping over his leg and coughing up buckets of tarry water onto the beach.
“Och, feels like I just got these fresh.” She lifted her arm to show Rigmol her swollen markings. “Did ye get me outta the drink? I always knew I coould count on ye, old friend.”
She turned on her knees and hugged him around the neck. He’d lowered his head to hug her back, pushing his chin on her shoulder no matter how much she groaned and squirmed. Though she resumed to heaving air in and out of her lungs.
Lavia looked to her master, proud that she’d delivered the Exile alive and in one piece. The other one, the big male, rested his eyes on Clemnilshala, his hand laid on the hilt of his battle mace.
“Lavia” Master said. “Takes notes, today’s the day everything changes.” She produced a quill and a tablet of paper. Buckskin paper that felt so nice under the finger tips. Ah the first contact between the Abbess Superior of Brinorion City and the Exile. Abbess narrated as she took strides. What she was feeling. What was happening all around down to the dwarves carrying their brothers and sisters from the waves of the sea. Medics swarming to differentiate between the living and the dead.
Clemnilshala wobbles to a stand, to aid with the fishing for the other collapsed folk. Rigmol grunted at er and bit at the hem of her leather gear. She reasoned that she couldn’t let the sea swallow up too many of their own.
“The sea has more than enough ghosts tae worry about”
The “master” mouthed along with her every word, that Clemnilshala was not going to let the sea take any more of the people here. Pulling human men and women onto the shore, nudging them onto their sides, she checked for their very breath and gave a couple of light smacks to their cheeks.
“Och, hey, big guy, care tae aid the injured?” she shouted to the large male Eynnil. “Or are those golden eyes just fer show?”
The broad male removed his plate helmet and looked to master who permitted him to lend his hand. The morning light illuminated his stories of valor like the pages of the holiest books in the library. To her, the exile, they looked somewhat familiar, but what golden eye’d man with shiney gold tattoos didn’t. She, slowly, craned her head back around, allowing her eyes to travel up his shoulder, reading his plated armor, then to his face. All color drained from her cheeks; her eyes could scarcely widen any more as her hand clapped to her marked up side. Clutching the massive, discolored, splotch that laid there just under her leather.
“Valthran..” she uttered aloud. His docked tail lifted at attention, he turned to her so that she may see the scars on his face and neck and remember just how they got there. Her legs bucked and she fell straight down, landing on her backside.
Lavia set about to writing everything of this exchange down, scratching away with a quill that the exiled scrabbled backward, clawing at the rocks while Valthran the Great attempted to help her. Her stag only watching as she shouted “stay back!” repeatedly. That the dwarf, Samythiel, had come to see what the commotion was all about, only to be stopped by Rigmol.
The only thing to stop Valthran’s lumbering advance was Master’s voice, split in more than three, burrowing into people’s ears. She held her hand out to the side, almost ruining Lavia’s work.
“Desist, General. Do not frighten her any further” her mouth barely moved while her pristine golden gaze fell to Clemnilshala. She approached, watching her scrabbled back, back, and back some more until Rigmol, a great barrier, prevented her to retreat from the abbess.
Clemnilshala turned her head downward, looking up nervously at the Abbess, and grit her teeth while the woman’s pure hand took up her arm and inspected the swollen and inflamed markings there. She smiled at her pupil, her scribe, approving of this exile that was delivered to her by this day.
“<<The Weilvog’s light shines on this moment that I get to meet you, Clemnilshala>>” Said the Sabbess.
Unamused Clemnilshala yanked her arm back, the sheer amount of holy magic in this golden eye turned her stomach in knots.
“Aye.” She replied. “M’name’s Clemnilshala….Noblehood. Nae wha in blue skies are ye supposed tae be called.”
“I am Y’luunara, Abbess superior of Brinorion City Lanh.”
“Ohhhhh! Soo yer the one who’s been tellin’ Higurna and Bosh there that I’d be their guide through the messes that I’ve seen this whole damned journey!” She hardened her face, unamused being so far from home.
“Whom and whom? Oh dear, is that one of your…Dwarvish…isms? How quaint.” Y’luunara looked to Samythiel, offering a blank smile. “It’s good to see you again, too, Sam.” She bowed her head.
Samythiel Cleared his throat, showing his teeth as he turned away from her. He muttered about sketching for his mural which amused the abbess.
“Oh yes, gaining inspuiration. As I told you Mr. Earthenboot, however long it takes.” She laid her hand on his shoulder.
Clemnilshala’s stomach emptied. “Yoo two knoow each other?”
“Lass, I’ve been a painter. When I first met her, it was because Brinorion Lanh needed my skill.” He began wringing the hem of his shirt.
“He’s been working for me. Becoming inspired by the parts of the world where you tread, where I, we, dare not go”
Clemnilshala pulled her head back.
“You’ve been such a great help to us. You’ve lead my people to the sea, to find the star!” Y’luunara reached for her hands.
“Ah-Ah!! Remember lady, I was cast intae exile! An’ when I was put out tae pasture in this miserable existence I thought that meant yer mewling generals would turn me lose tae this world and let me be” she slapped her hand away. She turned her gaze between the Abbess and Valthran, pointing with a single finger. Rigmol Nudged her shoulder.
“Bah! Fine!” She waved her hand at the stag. “Y’luunara, how good tae meet ye too, lass. I’ve hears about ye from miss Lavia here”
Y’luunara bowed her head to Lavia. “She has my gratitude.”
“More than yer gratitude lass. Yer Lavia is a first rate Eynnil and deserved tae be rewarded handsomely. Or at least have her scholars robes back.” Clemnilshala winked at the ragling. “I been hearing all these promises you were makin in my name yet ye didn’t have the honor tae come lookin on yer own.”
The Abbess didn’t move. “I did not need to Find you. You came to me. You simply needed to be bribed the right way and we would surely cross paths” She merely looked to Samythiel and back to Lavia. “Your sense of loyalty and justice is quite…admirable Clemnilshala.”
She turned her back to them, touching Valthran on the arm and stalking away with him as her guardian. Clemnilshala’s hand tightened at her side, feeling around for where she normally kept her beast whip. Poor fortune.
Samythiel tightened his fist, swallowing his pride as Clemnilshala watched the three walk away.
He reached out gently to touch her hand.
Her tail moved to one side.
She looked down at him over her shoulder.
He drew away.
“Yer mural will be a beautiful masterpiece…Shame.” She pulled her arm away, studying her tattoos. “Shame indeed. Ye reminded me soo much of Amryth.” She pulled on her sopping wet cloak, mounting Rigmol’s bare back. Muttering about getting his saddle and returning ot Milgan. She patted his cheek for him to stand and begin leaving. Leaving Samythiel alone to ponder the ocean and the sea.
He turned to the woods, unable to hear the spirits of the elements, no rustling or even a wheeze whilst the sun came up fully. For a strange reason he thought of Pimilf the painter and how he’d found him in the griffon stables when he was a boy. Who’d given away his most valued possessions for the sake of safety, who smuggled an Amryth Noblehood portrait of a long dead king back to its home in a seaside kingdom some thousand and thousands of miles away. A place it’d take a hundred days to reach, more perilous walds from this side of the great land mass to the other. He sat and tossed rocks into the water, wondering to himself if the promise he’d made was moot thanks to the Abbess.
Lavia approached, dressed in the frocks she’d worn in the city. She grinned, “Thank you, thanks to you I am redeemed” she held out a plate of food and a sack of silver chips.
Samythiel inspected them, pushing his confused finger around in the metal as though he would find meaning in their glints and glitter. Only awful ideas for their purpose came to mind. He dropped the bag and bowed politely to Lavia. He excused himself to bound down the beach as fast as his legs would possibly carry him. Paster the murmurs of the smiths and the outreach of the holy eynnil who came through portals. The first glimpse of a colmillo person since the night before. He couldn’t be bothered. He made his way to the stabled. She was still there. Speaking with Magga.
“Ye remind me of Tondrüd. He’s like a draft horse with wings, yet when ye push im he gets scared” Magga said
“Rigmol is a draft horse with antlers, just look at ‘im. Magga, lass, what do ye want?” Clemnilshala replied.
“Bah what I want ain’t important. I’m just listenin’ tae Destiny. Intuition. I have tae see ye off iffin’ I cannae convince ye tae stay. Perhaps, though, yoo could voice all of the frustration on yer face. What is Destiny tellin’ ye?”
Clemnilshala paused a moment. “The only thing speaking to me is ol’ Rigs here. And some part of these woods I can only rely on my instinct. And my instinct tells me I have tae leave this accursed place.”
“Yer just mad at the little duster.” Through the opening in the tent Magga’s gaze fell on Samythiel’s snooping face as she clambered on the make shift hitching posts. “So wha is they said he was bait. I say if those Brinorions are as evil as ye let on, then my little brother was used and as betrayed as you are.”
Clemnilshala pursed her mouth, taking harnesses off of the stable posts. She tacked Rigmol.
Rigmol rolled his head back, looking around, making a brief moment of eye contact with Samythiel. He turned to nibble at something in his companion’s hand.
“I dunnae want tae ear it from ye. I aint goin tae be settin’ by and waiting fer the abbess and the…the..” she held her tongue a moment “Valthran tae put me in my grave.
“How do ye knoow?” Maga stretched her arm to the side. “Did Sammy nae pin that wreath on ye and say he is gonna take good care of ye from that vulac fella? Why nae tha Valthran?
Clemnilshala stopped. “If I knoow anything about Valthran, it’s that he is as big of a traitor and I dunnae want to see yer brother at his wrath.” She moved to clutch the sliver wreath around her Noblehood crest. She looked for an entire minute before she pursed her mouth.
“my place is on the mountain, away from the perfectly respectable eynnil. Please do nae come a lookin fer me. If I know tha valthran, tha Vlucal, Lavia, you an’ the expeditioneers will be in better hands by noon.” She leaned down and put kisses on Magga’s cheeks, passing Rigmol’s blessings onto her.
“But what do ye return to?” Magga called as Clemnilshala mounted up.
“What’s waitin for me when I get back? Nae a lot , dust mostly, dust and my own belongings in the home that I built with my Folruth. No thing about destiny, or exiling, just me and his memory, and the mountain.” She shook Rigmol’s reins and, with a groan, he obliged. To set forth out the back of the tent, back down the beach. “We’ll find a nice ocean town tae stay in tonight.” Her voice faded into sunlight.
Samythiel crouched and rubbed his hands over one another as he watched her go. The back of her kilt laid over the width of her stag’s saddle. Her tail twitched the whole time. His breath stuttered that is, until the flap of the stable tent was whipped open by Magga who loong far less than pleased to see him sitting there. A long sigh came from her nose as she smacked the back of his head, calling him a rude name as she picked up Anfia’s saddle blanket, stalking along to the wash tub where many a dwarf did their laundry. The sack of silver remained where it’d been dropped. How many times did he pass it. Pass them, while deep in through. The Abbess Y’luunara only stood, welcoming more eynnil, humans, and toadlings. Many of whom had golden eyes. The mirror of their origin was a dark orange.
He missed her already. This wasn’t how he’d envisioned anything. He set by the fire to do what he knew best, sketching on a flat rock the shapes of her tattoos. Her caprine eyes. Anything he could possibly remember about her. To keep. To keep any memory. At all.