Joined: Sat Oct 19, 2002 10:04 am
Rumors in the flesh
A dry wind whipped across the plain, tall grasses coming alive at its very touch. They swayed in waves and patterns beyond recognition, waving, twisting, writhing, pushed by the unseen currents of air sweeping across the landscape. Above, the clouds kept pace with the winds below, as if both had somewhere to be.
And it happened.
A form appeared on the land. Had any been there to observe its arrival, and had they taken in the winds, the long grasses, the gently rolling hills, its inception would have seemed nothing butÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ natural, even appropriate.
Its movement gentle and graceful, it slowly rose to its full height, dark, midnight hair streaming out behind it in the wind. It was distinctly female, clad in soft, neutral tans and browns. It Ã¢â‚¬â€œ she -- raised her head and gazed out over the plain, her features expressionless, eyes like gilded fire.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“So it is here that I find myself,Ã¢â‚¬Â she stated slowly, her voice low and sweetly sarcastic, deceptive in its pitch and tone. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Fitting, as it is.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Raising a brow, she tilted her head back and gazed into the sky, her eyes searching amongst the clouds and patches of blue beyond. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Yes. I believe that will do.Ã¢â‚¬Â
A sword in her hands where there had been none, she held it grounded point down, hands clasped over the pommel.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Where you travel, so too shall I.Ã¢â‚¬Â And with the words, her birthplace was empty once more. The winds continued on their whispering path over the grasses and hills as if uninterrupted, yet as if from her momentary presence, somehowÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ different.
Joined: Sat Oct 19, 2002 10:05 am
A tumbling crash issued from the closet, accompanied by a deep, rich, blood red glow emanating from beneath the old, worn door.
Agner sat bolt upright in bed, his wife almost mirroring his movements from where she lay at his side. Ã¢â‚¬Å“What in the blazes was that!?Ã¢â‚¬Â he called out, peering frantically around their small room before he noticed the soft light that had cast the floorboards around their closet in a fiendish shade of crimson.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It sounded like something fell,Ã¢â‚¬Â his wife, Laurni, spoke slowly, scratching at her grey hair with stubby fingers, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Something big and heavy.Ã¢â‚¬Â
He muttered lowly under his breath about the woman, always pointing out the obvious. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Yes, but, butÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ what?Ã¢â‚¬Â He pointed towards the closet, grabbing the womanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s attention, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Look, yÃ¢â‚¬â„¢old filly!Ã¢â‚¬Â
And she did, just as a thump sounded behind the door. The light between door and floorboards faded.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“IsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ is someone in there?Ã¢â‚¬Â Laurni called out, her voice going shrill.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Of course not!Ã¢â‚¬Â Agner responded, Ã¢â‚¬Å“How could someone get inside our-Ã¢â‚¬Å“
His words were cut short as the closet door opened.
A man stepped out into their bedroom, peering down at the pair of them, lying in bed. He was tall and muscular, yet seemed to carry aÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ weight of some kind. Figurative as his burden was, it stooped his shoulders and gave him a sulking, bitter appearance. His clothes were fine, if old, made with silks and leathers, the latter covering his form like a sort of armor.
Beneath his fell appearance, his eyes burned hot, ancient anger.
Agner went wide-eyed, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Who- H-How, wh-what are you doing in our home!Ã¢â‚¬Â he all but demanded, stepping out of bed. He stood up as straight as he could, yet despite his efforts, his skinny, wrinkled frame still didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even come up to the manÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s head.
LaurniÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s first reaction, on the other hand, was to squeal lowly and pull the sheets up over her, holding them bunched up at her chin.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Where is this that I find myself.Ã¢â‚¬Â the man said slowly, his deep voice carrying through the room like a roll of thunder.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Y-you, in our home! Down here in the slums, milord!Ã¢â‚¬Â Agner had decided that this man, with his imposing manner and well made Ã¢â‚¬â€œ if slightly tattered Ã¢â‚¬â€œ clothes must be a noble of some kind. Certainly heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d wish to know what part of the city they were in, so he could get back to his palacesÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ or whatever it was that they lived in. Honestly, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d never been to the noble district.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“In the slumsÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬Â the man repeated flatly, closing his eyes. Within scant moments, a deep laugh shook his large frame. Ã¢â‚¬Å“That would make sense, I suppose.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The tall man seemed to be speaking to himself. Agner, annoyed and infuriated by this intrusion, even if by nobility, decided to speak up once again, Ã¢â‚¬Å“MÃ¢â‚¬â„¢lord, if you please, this is our bedroom!Ã¢â‚¬Â
The manÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s eyes remained closed. Lowly, he whispered, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Where you travel, Lord, so too shall I.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This is our bedroom!Ã¢â‚¬Â Agner repeated when the man didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t respond. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Our bedroom!Ã¢â‚¬Â Laurni cowered.
Finally, the manÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s eyes slowly opened, and he stared Agner in the face. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Who are you?Ã¢â‚¬Â he stated flatly, in low, rumbling tones. He didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even seem to have heard AgnerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s other comments, as if the big man had been all but carrying on an entirely separate conversation in his head.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I- IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m none of your-Ã¢â‚¬Å“
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is clear that you are poor.Ã¢â‚¬Â The manÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s voice cut him off, his smoldering eyes boring into AgnerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s. Ã¢â‚¬Å“You used to be a merchant.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Why, I suppose we- H-How, how did you know that?Ã¢â‚¬Å“
The man took a step toward Agner.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We! What, no, mÃ¢â‚¬â„¢lord! We pay our taxes!Ã¢â‚¬Â
The man took another step forward.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Where we suffer, you shall not.Ã¢â‚¬Â Grasping AgnerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s wrist, the dark man pulled it out straight, palm upward. Laurni screamed in surprise, as he clapped his own hand down on her husbandÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s, leaving it there a scant moment before removing it.
He looked into AgnerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s eyes, the old man stared back in surprise, fingering something in his hand.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Reclaim what you have lost.Ã¢â‚¬Â The manÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s tone could almost be called absentminded, save for the absolute resoluteness of his whole being. As abrupt as his arrival, he closed his eyes, and was no longer in their presence.
Agner looked down into his hand. Cradled in his palm was a single, perfect ruby.