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Battle Accountant
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Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2005 11:46 pm
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Unread postby Battle Accountant » Sun Sep 24, 2006 10:55 pm

The first segment of Koravel's history.


On a snowy night, way north in the Shuman Mountains, the cries of a woman split the night air. These were not cries of horror or of fright, but cries of pain: the pain of giving life. Alone and frightened, she hoped beyond all hope that maybe, just maybe, someone might pass, hear, and decide to help her. Heaven smiled down upon her that night, for as she felt herself fading, another entered her small cottage: an ancient man, bearded and gray. He spoke to her kindly and was able to nurse her properly for the birthing. Not fifteen minutes had passed when she was holding her newborn baby in her arms: a boy. The man had since realized that this woman and her baby were elven-kind. Why was she alone? Where were her kin? He found these circumstances odd indeed. He offered to stay and watch over the baby while she rested, knowing she had not the strength to care for the child alone just yet. She accepted this offer of aid after short consideration.

"What have you named him?" the old man asked.

"Koravel." She responded with a kiss on the baby’s cheek.

The following morning, the man waited for her to wake and then took leave of them shortly thereafter. "I live just past the hills to the south; the tower ruins with a garden if ever you need anything at all, miss." He smiled warmly and crept on his way, leaning on his walking-cane.

The woman proceeded to care for her son on her own. She would pay the old man a visit at least once a week, bringing him flowers she picked in the meadow. The man, likewise, would call on a regular occasion bearing a basket of fresh vegetables from his garden each time. It was not long before the old man learned of the odd circumstances that would cause an elven-woman to embark upon motherhood alone.

She explained that her kind (gray elf) were a very proud people. They were fascinated by certain uncouth arts. Her husband, the son of their chieftain, revealed his aspirations for the future of their child. "If a girl, she will, of course, serve to be a fine hand-maiden and a source of morale to our men" (which of course was a great honor in their clan). "If a boy, I will teach him all that I know of the new science I have been studying; he will succeed me by perfecting it." She then explained that this "science" was no science at all, but dark, dark magic that had been used historically for performing evil deeds.

"So I fled." She explained that she had a dream, perhaps foresight, that she was carrying a son. In her dream, she saw him grow to be belligerent and power hungry. She knew she must help him to escape such a dark fate. "My husband has changed lately. He’s not been himself anymore. It’s as if he’s stepped out of his body and let someone…evil…step in." She glanced over at her newborn son. "I wouldn’t be able to live with my self if I allowed him to be exposed to that."

The gray old man nodded and smiled consolingly, his bright eyes dancing underneath his bushy eyebrows. "Eamane, it is time for me to go. The sun is getting low in the sky and I’m afraid these old eyes don’t work well in the dark anymore." He walked over to Koravel and tickled his chin before leaving.

Three years passed uneventfully. Eamane lived peacefully, raising her son alone with frequent visits from the old man. This particularly special night was a snowy night, just the same as the kind of night that Koravel was born on. Of course, it was special because it was Koravel’s birthday. The old man called at the cottage as usual, but today he carried a surprise just for Koravel. He revealed to the small boy three wooden carvings: the first, a woman holding a bundle of flowers (this was his mother); the second, a man with a long beard and a walking-cane (this, of course, was the old man); and last, a small boy pointing up at the sky (Koravel knew at once this had to be him for he loved to look up at the stars at night). These instantly became his favorite things; they never left his sight.

Several months later, spring was in full bloom in the mountains. Koravel and Eamane were in the meadow picking berries. Eamane was teaching Koravel which berries were dangerous, explaining that eating them would make you very sick. He listened very intently to her and asked "Mama! This one?" for every berry he picked. When she approved, he jumped and laughed while dropping it in her basket. If she said "no, not that one", he threw it on the ground, stamped on it, and said "yucky!" which would make Eamane laugh. That night, she tucked him into bed, making sure his wooden figurines were with him, kissed him on the cheek, and said "I love you, darling" to which he replied "I wuv you too, Mama!"

That night, she sat in the main room of her cottage next to a fire and was mending some of Koravel’s clothing. A quick rap on her door startled her, but she answered the door with a smile expecting to see her old bearded friend, although odd of him to be wandering around so late at night. Upon opening the door, however, she was shocked to find her father staring back at her. She gaped at him open-mouthed and dumbstruck for a moment or two until he smiled warmly at her and said "Eamane….how good it is that I’ve found you at last" in her native tongue. She felt the sting of tears in her eyes and embraced him warmly.

"Father! Oh how I’ve missed you" responding also in gray-elvish. She led him inside and offered him a comfortable chair by the fire and hastened to boil water to fix him his favorite tea. When she brought him the tea minutes later, he said nothing, but smiled at her. She sat down in a chair across from him, staring in disbelief. "Oh, father. You’ve no idea how I’ve longed to see you. Surely you have questions; I can only hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me…"

He sipped his tea and smiled at her again with shining green eyes "I have been worried, Eamane; very worried and anxious indeed. And your husband…he especially has been most eager to learn of your whereabouts, yours and his child, of course." Eamane looked down at the floorboards, feeling a wave of shame cross her face, but he continued. "I cannot pretend, Eamane, that I am not most bewildered by your actions. You have left many people with many more questions."

She sighed and her voice cracked. "I understand, father. But…I couldn’t stay. Failariel, you see, well…he was acting so…strange."

His attention perked at this. "What do you mean, child?"

She then explained about his dark "science" as he called it and her fears about how he had been changing during his pursuit of learning more about this science and how scared she was when he said that their unborn child, if a boy, would inherit this study. "I couldn’t bear it, father, if Koravel grew to be like that; I would never forgive myself. I ran for him, father, for my son. I had a dream and I saw him behaving strangely…worse, even than his father. I believed this was a premonition of things to come if I stayed. I made a decision, father. A decision that was harder still to follow through with. I loved Failariel very much, but I needed to protect my child." She was shaken, but resolute in her words. She could only hope that he would understand.

The moment came at last when he sat his cup down and looked sympathetically at her. He reached over and touched her hand gently. "Can I see him?"

She smiled at him with a leap in her heart, realizing that he might’ve understood. "Well, he’s sleeping, but we can peek in on him if we’re quiet." She led him over to the door behind which Koravel was sleeping and opened it noiselessly. Her father entered the room and looked at the little boy with a proud smile on his face.

"He has your nose and lips."

She responded only with a grin. After a few minutes, they returned to the chairs by the fire. "Father, as happy as I am to see you, I cannot help but wonder how you found me."

He chuckled a bit and said "Oh, it was not easy. No, not easy at all. Have no fear, your secret is safe." It was as if he’d read her mind with this comment, for the last thing she wanted was for her husband to know of her whereabouts.

Several minutes of peaceful silence passed when he arose to his feet. She looked up at him curiously and asked "You aren’t leaving, are you? You are a great distance from home."

His eyes examined the room and then rested them on the bedroom door for several seconds. "I’m afraid so, darling." And without warning, like a snake attacking its prey, he grasped her around the throat, lifting her out of her chair.

Her eyes wide with fright and disbelief, she wanted to say "Father?!? Why??" but her pleading was muffled by her strangulation. Horror seized her violently when the kind, amiable likeness of her father melted away to reveal the cruel, tortured features of her husband, Failariel. She struggled for him to release her, but it was all for naught. Her vision darkened and her heart stopped. She was dead. Failariel dropped Eamane to the floor like a heavy stone. He crept into Koravel’s room, careful not to wake him. He carried the small boy out as if he were holding the most fragile treasure in the world.

"At last" he thought to himself. "I will know my son, and my son will know me."

Edited by: [url=http://p068.ezboard.com/brpgww60462.showUserPublicProfile?gid=battleaccountant>Battle] at: 9/27/06 19:55

Battle Accountant
Posts: 103
Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Austin

Koravel, part two

Unread postby Battle Accountant » Wed Sep 27, 2006 7:38 pm

The next segment of Koravel's story.


For Koravel, each night that passed since that night fifteen years ago was lonelier than the last. He often found himself struggling, searching for faded memories of his mother, clinging to anything that ignited any small recollection of their short time together. In his dreams, he would be in a green meadow, picking flowers, and then handing them to her. In his nightmares, he awoke in a strange bed with a strange man telling him that she was dead and that he has returned to live with him, his father. That nightmare, coincidentally, is his worst memory. His father, since bringing him, Koravel, back to live with his native people, has been utterly immersed in Koravel receiving a very strict education. And now, here he is, 18 years old, despising his father, Failariel, more than thought imaginable.

"Come, Son" said Failariel. "I want to show you something." Failariel, tall with long white hair and piercing blue eyes, frightened Koravel immensely. He could not explain this fear, but it was ever-present. With a sigh, Koravel followed Failariel. He knew what his father was going to show him. Another dark project he had embarked upon, no doubt.

Failariel led Koravel into a round room with towering windows. In the center of the room stood a marble statue of a nude woman, with hair so long it curled around her knees at the tips and hollow-white eyes that Koravel felt were looking into his very soul. Her arms were held outstretched, holding a golden basket as if offering something. Koravel stared for a moment, taken aback.

"She’s beautiful" he heard himself say. A low, scornful laugh escaped Failariel’s lips.

"She is beautiful, indeed, Son. But, as most women do, she will bring you pain."

Koravel glanced at Failariel, not completely understanding how this beautiful statue could possibly hurt him, and then returned his eyes to the statue.

"She will not speak to you." Failariel said, sounding quite smug. "You’ve not given yourself to her."

Koravel’s imagination swam in those hollow eyes and he breathed "what do you mean?"

"She will not speak to you until you’ve given her something."

Koravel considered his words a moment. 'He said "she will bring you pain"…of course!' He pulled a dagger from his boot and sliced the palm of his right hand and squeezed it over the basket, allowing his blood to flow freely as he stared, hypnotized, into those white eyes which were now glowing brilliant gold. The next instant, he found himself lying on cool green grass. Around him, grape vines were climbing up massive white columns that seemed to sprout from the ground, supporting nothing but the delicate blue sky. A soft breeze was blowing and the scent of ambrosia filled his nostrils. He sat up and looked around when his eyes found stone steps that lead up to a golden chair in which sat a woman; a woman so beautiful, it hurt his eyes to gaze upon her for longer than a few seconds. There she was, as real as the air he was breathing; the statue was alive. Her long, golden brown hair was draped across her body in a way to conceal her nakedness. He could sense her gaze and attempted once more to look at her, and, to his great delight, was not pained to do so.

"Do you know who I am?" She asked, her eyes examining every inch of him.

"I’m sorry, but no. I’m afraid not." He managed to respond sullenly.

She stood and beckoned him closer with a hand outstretched. Slowly, he approached her, climbing toward her, pausing momentarily with each stair so as to not stumble, for he was certainly not watching his step. On the top step, he held out a hand—the bleeding hand. She took it and held it palm up. She bent over and kissed it, wiping the blood away with her hair. His heart leapt as the gash healed before his eyes. She smiled at him and asked "do you still not know who I am, Koravel?"

He felt a bit ashamed as he shook his head.

"While I can heal wounds, I can also cause great anguish. I am beautiful, yet I am painful to behold. Anyone who wishes to find me may do so, but they will always find me naked." She paused for a moment and inclined her head in a bow to him and said "I am Truth."

The clarity of her words rang through his soul like a trumpet.

"I can see that you have questions, Koravel. There are many things that you do not understand." Koravel nodded slowly and averted his eyes. Truth stepped forward and sat down on the step in front of him. She beckoned him to kneel in front of her, and when he did, she held his face in her hands and said "close your eyes."

Once his eyes were closed, she placed her thumbs over his eyelids. His every sense was flooded in that instant when he found himself standing in the cottage he was born in, watching his mother mending clothes. Every nerve in his body leapt for joy; however, that joy was short-lived when she did not respond to his zealous greeting. 'She can’t see me' he thought dejectedly, so then he just watched her.

He witnessed the series of events starting with his mother greeting her father at the door to the horrific scene of his father strangling his mother to death. Truth removed her thumbs from Koravel’s eyes and looked at him with great sorrow: he was trembling. She pulled him closer and held him in an embrace until he stopped shaking. She spoke softly to him, "Now that you know what the past beholds, you must take responsibility for what you choose to do with your future."

She led him back to the same spot he arrived upon, gave him a kiss on the forehead, and wished him farewell.

Edited by: [url=http://p068.ezboard.com/brpgww60462.showUserPublicProfile?gid=battleaccountant>Battle] at: 9/27/06 20:08

Battle Accountant
Posts: 103
Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Austin

Koravel, part three

Unread postby Battle Accountant » Mon Oct 02, 2006 7:11 pm

The third segment of Koravel's story.


Koravel opened his eyes and saw that he was standing rigid, clutching the golden basket; his knuckles white and his face pale. Failariel watched him with a pleased expression written across his face. He laughed his cold, forlorn laugh and asked “what did you think of her?”

Images shot through Koravel’s brain; images of plunging his dagger into Failariel’s chest and watching him bleed to death. Then, in an instant, unable to control himself anymore, Koravel lunged at Failariel, unconcerned about the consequences. Failariel held up a hand and chanted something which resulted in Koravel halting violently. He stood breathing hard, his heart pounding in his chest; he felt as if a length of barbed-wire had been wound tightly around his whole body, from his shoulders, down to his ankles. If he tried to struggle, the invisible barbs dug deep into his flesh. Failariel laughed again, approaching Koravel with a satisfied expression.

Failariel clicked his tongue, circling around Koravel. “You disappoint me son. Of all the things you would want Truth to show you, you wanted to know what happened to your cow of a mother.” The barbs bit into his skin again as the cruel way Failariel had addressed his mother caused his rage to increase twelve-fold. “You are wasting your time and emotions on that bitch.” Failariel’s haunting blue eyes were planted heavily onto Koravel’s face in an unrelenting, cold gaze.

Koravel, not caring about the pain that would surely ensue, roared at the top of his lungs. “SHE LOVED YOU! YOU WERE HER HUSBAND AND YOU KILLED HER!” Failariel’s face reddened with madness when he grabbed Koravel by the hair.

“Do NOT speak of things you do not understand, boy” he hissed. “SHE BETRAYED ME!” His voice shook as he shouted back at Koravel. “Get out of my sight!” Failariel pushed hard on the back of Koravel’s head where he had clenched his hair, and the spell on Koravel lifted just in time for him to catch himself from falling on his face.

He struggled to get to his feet and ran away as fast as he could.

A fortnight passed with Koravel avoiding his father at all costs. Ever since he met Truth and was shown how his mother had died, he spent hours at a time locked up in his room staring at the wooden figurine of her that he had received as a birthday gift years earlier. He closed his eyes and went back to the cottage in the hills and saw her sitting there, mending clothes in front of the fireplace. His memory then played a foul trick on him and flashed over to the moment when the life was wrenched away from her at the hands of his father. He felt his eyes burning, full of salty tears, and then he remembered Truth. He began to contemplate going to see her; ‘But what if my father finds me?’ he thought, worried that if his father were to find him that he would be forced to converse with him, which he never enjoyed in the first place, but found the idea even more unfathomable since the altercation next to Truth’s statue. He put the wooden carving away where he was certain no one could find it and then made up his mind. He decided that she was well worth the risk since she had been the only solace he had found in all the years he had been living here.

He looked out of a window in his room; the sky was dark and the stars were out. He looked across the grounds for any patrollers or scouts that he might need to avoid. He pulled his long white-blonde hair back and tied it behind his head and threw a cloak over his shoulders; a cloak dark as night. He left his lofty room and as soon as his lungs filled with the night air, his black hood covered his head and he set off, quiet as a whisper.

Moving noiselessly, he made his way across the small village. After a few close calls, narrowly missing detection of a look-out, he found himself upon the threshold of the room that housed Truth’s statue. He fell into a near-hypnotic state, once again, upon sight of her likeness. He dropped his cloak where he stood, hurried over to the statue, closed his eyes, and hastily made his blood-contribution.

Upon opening his eyes, he was pleased to see that he was standing on the same plot of luxuriously cool grass as he had on his first visit to this place. Here, it was also night. The stars shone brighter here than he had ever seen. He looked around and saw what appeared to be torches hanging on the massive pillars, but realized that they were balls of fire suspended, floating in the air. He looked up to find Truth’s gilded chair empty and was about to call out for her when he felt a hand on his shoulder. He spun around and saw her standing there, same as she was before. She smiled warmly at him. “I had wondered when I would see you again, Koravel.”

His cheeks reddened and he smiled back, unsure of what to say. It seemed that he would always end up dumb-struck in her presence. “I…just wanted to…to see you; to talk to you.”

“Of course. Come.” She glided up the stairs to her seat and sat on the top step, beckoning him forward. He felt as though he was floating as he ascended toward her and felt utterly weightless when he sat down next to her. She brushed a few stray strands of hair from Koravel’s eyes and said “I see you have much weighing on your mind.”

Koravel sighed; there was indeed much on his mind, and he took comfort in knowing he had someone to talk to. “Yes. I find my village a very lonely place. I am the grandson of the chieftain and I am considered a failure to my people, as well as an outcast. Since I wasn’t born among them, they find me different and strange. I haven’t any friends; no one to turn to. My father sees me only as a piece of clay which can be shaped into any form he pleases.” He paused a moment and continued. “I do not want to become my father. I saw…you showed me…what he did to my mother.” His eyes turned cold and his expression very sad. “I hate him for what he did. I wish I could run away and leave that horrible place behind. But he’d find me; surely he would. He has some sort of plan for me and I don’t want to find out what it is.” He stared down at his boots with a heavy weight growing even heavier in his chest.

“Koravel. Your father was once a good man. Although your kin have very…notorious…interests, he once cared about things in a way others would not. He loved your mother, despite what he did to her. To this day, he misses her. She is, in a way, his only weakness.”

Koravel looked at her with an expression of absolute confusion when she continued.

“You see, when she became pregnant with you, your father was still very much his former self. Very loving, very dedicated to her. Excited to become a father, at long last; until the night something came into his possession; something he keeps concealed in a very secret place. Only he knows where it is, but even if someone were to happen upon it, they would probably find it quite in the ordinary.”

“What is it?” Koravel found himself uttering.

Truth hesitated for a moment, and then smiled at Koravel. “I believe I will save that for another visit, Koravel. Rather than tell you, I will show you. But not tonight; my mind is weary and I need rest.”

Frustrated, but understanding, Koravel nodded and returned to his feet. He could only imagine what it must be like to have memories flash through your brain that were not your own; memories that were all at one end of the spectrum of happy or sad; gruesome or encouraging.

“Please return to me soon, Koravel. I am anxious to visit with you more.” She stood and touched a hand to his cheek. He felt as if he had dipped his face into a pool of cool water when he looked around where he stood and saw that he had returned to the room with Truth’s statue.

He stood transfixed, gazing at the statue again when he picked up his cloak and returned to the night air, making his way back to his room.

Edited by: [url=http://p068.ezboard.com/brpgww60462.showUserPublicProfile?gid=battleaccountant>Battle] at: 10/2/06 19:17

Battle Accountant
Posts: 103
Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Austin

Koravel, part four

Unread postby Battle Accountant » Mon Nov 06, 2006 11:43 pm

The fourth segment in Koravel's story.


For several weeks after that night, Koravel grew increasingly more frustrated as each day passed without the promised visit to Truth. In the evenings, he would pretend to be on a casual stroll past the statue’s lair, but each night he passed, it was heavily surrounded by the guard. He learned that his grandfather had been visiting Truth every day lately. The ancient elf, it seemed, was finally succumbing to his age. Koravel wondered why his grandfather would need to visit Truth so often, so close to his death. His walk today proved to be as disappointing as the walk the day before, but more so when he saw his father ahead, walking quickly toward him.

“Oh, damn!” he thought. He looked around, hoping that a convenient exit would appear, but conceded to the fact that he would have to endure the mind-numbing task that is conversing with his father.

“I’ve been looking for you, Koravel.” Failariel stated in his usual cold, empty voice.

“Yes, sir” Koravel responded with as much exasperation as he could muster.

“Your professor has informed me that you will be completing your studies very soon” stated Failariel in a tone that sounded somewhat proud, but still condescending. Koravel nodded, but said nothing. “Once you have finished, you will commence working with me, understood?”

Koravel’s heart sank at this news. Working with his father on a regular day-to-day basis was about as appealing as peeling the skin off his own arm. Failariel studied him with a raised eyebrow, obviously awaiting a response. Koravel did not speak, but nodded in consent. Failariel sniffed indignantly and carried on his way. Koravel reached his room and pulled out the little wooden carving of his mother. He sat up on his window-seat and stared down at the activity on the ground.

Holding the statuette tightly in his hand, he wondered what it was like when she had lived here. Was it the same? Was it different? He stared down at the ground below for several moments when his gaze was broken by the sight of his grandfather crossing the forest floor beneath him, followed by the guard. Every nerve leapt for joy at the prospect of finally making the promised visit to Truth and being able to speak to her again. He wasted no time, hastening to stow away the wooden statue and make his feet find the path to Truth's statue.

The room stood unguarded for the first time in weeks. Koravel made his blood-payment and found himself again, at last, in Truth’s presence. She greeted him as she had before, smiling warmly; truly welcoming him.

“We meet again” she said with a glint in her eye. Koravel suddenly felt happily anxious. He took her hand and kissed it.

“Please forgive my tardiness, madam. It was beyond my control.”

She chuckled lightly and touched his cheek softly. “Believe me, I understand the delay.” Koravel felt his face grow in color.

“Can I ask…that is…I was wondering…” Koravel started, but broke off, not all that certain he wanted to know the answer to the question in his mind. Truth, of course, knew his question already; he needn’t finish it.

“Why your Grandfather has been visiting so frequently?” She grinned and walked over to the steps and sat down. “No sinister reason, I assure you; just an old man wanting to go back and visit some select moments of his life.” Koravel took a seat next to her and nodded. “I must admit, however, that the change of company is most welcome, dear Koravel” she said with a smile. He blushed again slightly, but recovered quickly. “Now…I promised to show you a specific moment during our last visit, did I not?” she asked.

“Yes, my lady,” Koravel uttered, “the object that ignited the change in my father.”

“Indeed.” She took his face in her hands and proceeded to cover his closed eyes with her thumbs, exactly as she had done before.

Koravel opened his eyes and found himself standing in a room that was completely new to him. It was a long, narrow room with a very tall ceiling. Tiny orbs of purple, blue, and green lights danced over his head. Standing toward one end of the room with his hands behind his back was his father looking not a day younger than his present version, walking around as if he were touring a museum or browsing a shoppe. His eye, it seemed, had been caught by a glass sphere with lightning flashing inside it when another elven man entered. He was tall, broad shouldered, and had long brown hair with bright green eyes. Koravel’s first impression of this man believed him to have been a soldier or a warrior earlier in his life, for he just had that look about him. The man greeted Failariel warmly and Failariel responded heartily. “Aravel! So good to see you, brother-in-law!” Failariel clasped the hand of the man known as Aravel.

Aravel smiled warmly and responded to Failariel. “It’s been far too long, old friend. Tell me: how is my dear sister, Eamane? Did she not travel with you?” Failariel grinned.

“Great news, dear Aravel! Eamane is with child! We learned of it shortly before our scheduled departure to journey here. She thought it best that she rest and not travel during this time. She sends all her love, though. She was so looking forward to seeing you.”

“That is wonderful news!” Aravel’s eyes lit up. “I am most pleased to hear of it! I will have to plan a journey, as well, to visit once the baby is born!”

“You will indeed. She desires to name the baby after you. If a girl, Kyavel; if a boy, Koravel.” Failariel patted Aravel on the shoulder. “She holds you in such high regard, dear brother-in-law. It truly pained her to not visit.”

A humble smile adorned Aravel’s face. “I am most honored. Goodness; it seems as only yesterday she and I were children playing in the fields.” He chuckled lightly and then held a hand out, directing Failariel toward a door at the opposite end of the room. “I do believe it is dinnertime. You must be quite ready for a good meal after traveling.”

“You must be reading my thoughts, Aravel. I am quite in need of your maidens fine cooking.”

Koravel watched through dinner, listening to the conversation. It was very different for Koravel to watch his father being such a likeable person; most strange, indeed. He watched his uncle frequently, too, noting that he inherited his eyes.

After they had finished eating, they drank wine and listened to one of the maidens strumming on a harp. Aravel addressed Failariel.

“I’ve just remembered! I have something I’d like to show you.” Aravel stood and crossed the chamber to a doorway and waited for Failariel to follow. With Failariel close behind, Aravel walked down a torch-lit hallway to a descending staircase. He followed the steps down into a room that appeared to have been used as an office. On the far wall, there hung a rectangular object with a large piece of cloth draped over it. Aravel approached this object and, somewhat apprehensively, pulled the cloth down off of it. Underneath the cloth was a mirror. In the low light of the room, the face of the mirror appeared clouded, as if it was in need of a good polishing. The frame was adorned with strange runic-shapes from corner to corner. Aravel took a step back and Failariel stared.

“A mirror?” Failariel asked.

“Well, yes. But at the same time, I’m not sure.” Aravel responded, sounding somewhat nervous.

“Not sure? What do you mean?” Failariel stepped closer to the mirror to examine it a bit closer.

“It was confiscated from a dark mage in the east. My infantry was sent into his domain to capture him and free his prisoners. He was holding many people hostage, for purposes we were never able to determine. Most of them had gone mad. The rest died in their cells. He was killed during the raid. The estate was set afire and my men guarded it throughout the night. The next morning, the whole place burnt to the ground; everything inside had been destroyed by the flames; everything but this.” He pointed at the mirror.

“Fascinating. You suspect it contains special properties?” Failariel looked closer at the frame, running a hand over the runic-marks.

“I do. I’ve been keeping it all this time to give to you. I know you study things like this. I’m simply a fighter with no arcane knowledge. I thought this might interest you.” Aravel looked up at the mirror with an expression equal to that of a child attempting long division for the first time.

“Indeed. I shall start investigating it as soon as I return home. Thank-you, Aravel.”

Koravel blinked, but was back with Truth when his eyes opened. “A mirror?”

Truth smiled at him and nodded once. “A mirror.”

“How could a mirror have such an effect on him?” Koravel wrinkled his forehead.

“That will be explained soon, dear Koravel. For now, ponder these memories. You will understand soon enough.” Truth responded, and with a kiss on his forehead, he was standing back at the statue, utterly perplexed.

Edited by: [url=http://p068.ezboard.com/brpgww60462.showUserPublicProfile?gid=battleaccountant>Battle] at: 12/9/06 9:21

Battle Accountant
Posts: 103
Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Austin

Koravel, part five

Unread postby Battle Accountant » Thu Dec 28, 2006 12:18 am

The fifth segment in Koravel's story.


“Hurry with that water, boy! And if you spill it, I’ll make you lick it up!” Failariel barked from behind his desk. Koravel waddled his way into his father’s laboratory carrying two rather heavy buckets of well-water.

“Coming, Father.” Koravel mumbled. He was eight months into ‘working’ with his father, but not the sort of work he expected to do. Failariel treated him as another servant in his house. Koravel was also required to live with Failariel now in the case that Koravel was needed on a whim. Because of this new entrapment, Koravel’s visits to Truth were few and far between lately. He often looked for opportunities to meet with her, but rarely found any. The few times he was able to see her, the time was spent in well-needed conversation which helped keep Koravel sane. He was very grateful to have her for a sanctuary and his heart always yearned for her presence.

“Put it over there!” Failariel shouted at Koravel as he pointed to a table covered in vials, scrolls, and what appeared to be ashes.

“Yes, Father.” Koravel responded. He shuffled over to said table and heaved the heavy buckets up and set them down in the requested place. Relieved to be rid of them, he rubbed his aching wrists and turned to face Failariel. “Is there anything else, sir.” He had a blatantly sour tone to his voice.

“Of course, you simpleton. Did you not wonder what the water was for?” Failariel curled a lip in a slight smirk. “You will clean this laboratory; every surface is to be scrubbed.” Failariel pointed to a shelf near the desk he was sitting at. “CLEAN vials go here. Yes, you’ll clean those, too. Scrolls are to be neatly rolled up and put in the library. Bottles of ingredients are to be put in this drawer of my desk.” Failariel signaled to a bottom drawer with a rather heavy-duty lock on it. “Once everything is put away, you will find a rag and clean this place. If I find one speck of dust when you are finished, you will clean EVERYTHING again. Understood?”

Koravel looked down at the ground and felt his cheeks burning. He swore that Failariel was enjoying this. “Understood.”

Failariel stood and approached the seething Koravel. He straightened and clasped his hands behind his back, staring down his nose at his son. “I’ll be in the library. Notify me when you have finished.” Not waiting for a response from Koravel, he marched out of the room, slamming the heavy door behind him.

Koravel sighed and started his work. He began by gathering up the scrolls and dropping them in a basket near the door. He would take these to the library when he finished with everything else. The room had no windows to allow the light of day outside to brighten the dark room, so he lit a few candles from his father’s desk and placed them nearby as he worked. He took each vial and, one by one, dipped it into a bucket of water, wiping it clean with a rag. Since he had only one rag and dared not ask his father for another, he dried the vials off on his shirt and placed them on the shelf. This task took the longest as there must have been about a hundred or more vials needing cleaning. By the time every vial was clean and put away, his fingers were pruney and his shirt was completely soaked. He looked as if he’d dunked himself head-first into a barrel, but miraculously managed to keep his head dry. He rolled his long sleeves up to his elbows and proceeded to gather up the bottles of ingredients strewn about the room. One bottle he picked up was filled with a dark, almost-black liquid. He shook it, thinking that maybe it was ink, but it did not coat the inside of the glass container as ink does. Curious, he opened the bottle and cautiously sniffed the contents, but it had no scent. On a whim, he touched the mouth of the bottle with his tongue, allowing it to absorb a tiny drop. He cringed violently, for this was the most disgusting thing he’d ever sampled. To describe the flavor would be impossible as it was unlike anything he’d ever tasted before in his life. It took all the strength he had to not retch in revulsion.

Although his hands shook horribly, he managed to return the lid to the bottle and put it away with the rest of the ingredients. He stood still for a moment or two, his chest heaving. “That was an idiot thing to do” he declared, vowing to never taste anything again in his father’s laboratory. He shuddered and then continued gathering the ingredients and putting them in their drawer. With the rag he used to clean the vials, he began to mop off the table tops; table after table he cleaned, dunking the rag in the bucket and wiping and scrubbing until the surface was surely clean enough to eat off of. He stood, feeling an ache in his back from having to bend over the tables, and looked over at the fading candles. These candles which started out tall and bright were now on the verge of dousing themselves into darkness with their own wax. He looked around the clean laboratory one last time, pleased with his work. He carried the now half-full buckets out into the hallway and dropped the rag on top of them. He reentered the laboratory, blew out the candles, and picked up the basket full of scrolls on his way out, closing the door behind him.

He walked down a long hallway that led to the library and noticed through the open library door that the windows were darkened. It was now night. He spent all day cleaning that laboratory. With a sigh he knew that any chance of seeing Truth today had faded along with the bright sun in the sky. He was forbidden from walking around the village at night. Once inside the library, he kept his eyes down, thinking that maybe, perhaps, his father would not notice him. His hope was confirmed when he heard his father conversing with two other men. Relieved, he went straight to the cubbies in which the scrolls were stored and began emptying the basket of scrolls, placing them in their designated hole.

“So she foiled you, eh, Oronar?” Failariel chuckled his low, poisonous laugh. “No matter. She was caught and she will be dealt with. What was she carrying?”

Oronar, the captain of the guard, spoke. “I found this in her pack.” A low thud like the sound of metal on dense wood followed his words.

“You’re a fool! I use it for hunting! I’m a traveler! I live off the land!” came the desperate voice of a young woman. At this Koravel turned to look at what was happening, but his vision was blocked by a large bookshelf that stood between him and where his father, the two men, and the mysterious girl stood. Slowly he slid some books out of the way, creating an opening to peer through undetected. He saw his father sitting at a large table with several open tomes as well as a rather deadly-looking dagger; before him stood the accused: a young female elf, looking to be perhaps his age, with long brown hair. She dressed simply as a traveler would, but her eyes shone brightly in this dark room. Her hands were bound and one of her arms was grasped by Oronar and the other by a soldier named Firas.

“Nay, Failariel. She’s a rogue, I say. What would bring her so close to your home if not to rob you blind. Foolish child. She didn’t know of the defenses, although she did manage to slip past your oaf of a captain.” Firas’ words reverberated in the quiet room and earned Firas a look of utter murder from Oronar.

“Sire, may I suggest she spend a fortnight with the prisoners in Ama Tathar. That will ensure that she would surely regret wandering too near this village.” Oronar’s grip tightened around the girl’s bicep as she struggled to pull her arm away.

Koravel caught his breath. Ama Tathar!? Her crime could not possibly be so horrible. Ama Tathar was a dreadful place. Koravel had heard many tales of the type that are imprisoned in Ama Tathar. Many never see the light of day again. Murderers, rapists, assassins. Those are the type who end up in Ama Tathar. Not a traveler who happened to find the chieftain’s home and breach security.

Failariel studied the girl momentarily, his cold eyes examining her critically. Koravel wanted so badly to intervene on behalf of the girl, but knew not how to approach it. He remained concealed and observed with a knot in his gut. At last, Failariel spoke. “Oronar, Firas: Leave us.” Oronar clicked his heels and bowed slightly and exited the room. Firas dropped the girl’s satchel on the table next to the dagger and saluted Failariel in the same manner as Oronar. He marched out of the room, closing the door behind him. The girl stood tall and proud, her eyes searing into Failariel as much as his dug into her. Failariel stood and approached her, pacing around her, examining her further as if appraising her value. He stopped behind her and looked over in Koravel’s direction as he would if Koravel had shouted out to him. Startled, Koravel stepped away from his peep-hole, reassuring himself that it was far too dark for Failariel to be able to see him, not to mention that he was standing behind this bookshelf. Koravel’s heart pounded as a few more seconds of silence passed, when finally: “What is your name?” Koravel returned to his previous position and continued to witness this event.

The girl hesitated at first and then looked out the window behind Failariel. “I am Syldre.”

Koravel watched her. He admired how bravely she stood before his father. Not many could do that, including him. His father, he noticed, seemed to be debating something internally. His brow was wrinkled as if confused, but his eyes reflected fascination. “Where did you come from? Why did you come here?”

Syldre sighed. “I came from nowhere. I go where the wind sends me.”

Stroking his chin with his thumb and forefinger, Failariel responded “Do not speak to me in riddles. Explain yourself.”

Syldre broke her gaze from the window and look straight into Failariel’s eyes. “There is nothing to explain. It is simple as that, sire. I am terribly sorry if that displeases you.” The expression on her face was so very stale, as if she cared not whether she could give him an answer that would make him happy.

Failariel’s eye twitched and he grinned. He picked up her dagger and bounced it in his hand. He surveyed it, handle to tip, turning it in his palm. “This is a fine weapon. But, I dare say, far too lavish for a simple traveler.”

Syldre’s bright eyes dimmed ever so slightly and the first trace of worry betrayed her countenance. She took a step backward, her eyes locked on Failariel. Failariel stretched a hand out, almost beckoning her toward him. He hissed a few words that Koravel could not understand, and Syldre collapsed, unconscious, as if her muscles dissolved away and nothing stopped her bones from giving under her weight.

“NO!” Koravel emerged from behind the bookshelf and crouched down next to Syldre’s still, sprawled form. “What did you do?? She did nothing wrong!! Why?!?” Koravel studied her face for a few moments before looking up at Failariel. Koravel was surprised and disgusted to see his Father’s face adorned with a grin that could only indicate that he was pleased with what he had done.

“Oronar!” Failariel shouted, still grinning.

The library door opened, and Oronar entered with a look of surprise at seeing Koravel there. “Yes, sire?”

“Take our guest to my son’s quarters.” Failariel’s venomous grin stretched further across his face as Oronar scooped Syldre off the floor, transporting her to Koravel’s room.

Edited by: [url=http://p068.ezboard.com/brpgww60462.showUserPublicProfile?gid=battleaccountant>Battle] at: 12/31/06 3:16

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Koravel, part six

Unread postby Battle Accountant » Sun Dec 31, 2006 4:25 am

The sixth segment in Koravel's story.


Koravel gazed up at Failariel, dumbfounded. What was this new treachery? Why is he sending her to my room? Failariel’s face straightened. “To your feet, boy” he commanded.

Koravel begrudgingly stood and studied the face of his father. “What is the meaning of this, father?” Koravel was surprised to hear his own tone so strong and resolute; so foreign.

“Burden me not with your questions. I have much to reflect upon.” Failariel paused for a moment and then continued. “Is my laboratory finished?”

With a nod he replied “It is, sir.”

“Good; now for your next assignment.” Failariel stepped over to the window behind the book-covered table and placed his hands on the window-sill, gazing out at the stars in the sky.

Koravel started “But it is late. I am utterly spent from—”

“Quiet!” Failariel demanded. “You should know your place by now. You do what I tell you to do when I tell you to do it!”

Koravel bit his lip, wanting nothing more than to shout a stream of obscenities at his father and concluding that with a square punch in the nose. He sighed. “Yes, father.”

“These books” Failariel waved a hand toward the table. “Read them.” For a moment, Failariel surveyed the face of Koravel, perhaps searching for defiance before continuing. “You’ll not leave this library until they are finished. You will eat here, sleep here, bathe here until every single page of these books is absorbed into your mind. Firas will be stationed at this door ensuring that no one goes in or out…except for your servant, of course” Failariel concluded with a wicked grin.

Koravel stood aghast. Read all those books?! He’s mad! In between thoughts of incredulity, another somber thought entered his brain. Truth. When will I be able to see her next? Koravel sighed, his chest feeling as if it would collapse at any second. “As you wish, Father.”

Failariel walked to the door and opened it. “Firas. I am assigning you to stand guard outside this room. Koravel has been given a task to complete and may not leave until it is finished. A servant will be sent to deliver his food and drink, as well as water for bathing.”

Firas glanced over at Koravel, no doubt wondering how long he would be stationed here. “Of course, Sire.”

Failariel turned in the doorway to look at Koravel. “The sooner you begin, my son, the sooner you will finish.” Failariel laughed haughtily and exited the room, locking the door behind him.

Koravel sank into the chair behind the table, slouching. Not only was he exhausted from the day spent cleaning, but now the idea of reading so many books drained him further. Out of frustration, he slammed his fists down hard on the table, wishing that he’d never been brought to this place. He decided that tomorrow would be a better day to start reading, as his mind was so fatigued; attempting to fill it with new, and no doubt strange, material would be futile. He peeled his still damp shirt off and rumpled it up, deciding to use it for a pillow. He stretched out under the table and immediately fell asleep on the hard floor.

<div style="text-align:center">* * *</div>

Turning over, Koravel’s hand rose to his face. Light was forcing itself through his eyelids, waking him. He stirred where he lay, putting his back to the window that allowed the sunshine in. Just as he started to drift off again, a click and a creak at the door indicated that the lock had just been opened, followed by the door itself. In a mad scramble, wanting to look busy reading in case it was Failariel, Koravel sprang straight up! Unfortunately, he momentarily forgot that he was lying under a table, and as a result, banged his head hard against the underside of the table. He cursed. Now, the light that shone through his eyelids was dancing. He groaned and lay stunned. He heard the shuffle of footsteps and groaned again, propping himself up onto an elbow. Opening one eye at a time, he beheld a sight he had not expected.

Toward him walked Syldre, her feet shackled. In her arms she carried a basin of steaming water; she looked like she’d been crying. Horror entered his mind. Is she to be my servant?!? Koravel crawled out from under the table and walked to meet her, his head still throbbing. She looked at him in a manner that a child would look after losing a favored doll. He reached out and started to take the basin from her. “Here. That looks heavy.”

Her eyes examined him and then lowered to the floor. “No thank you, sir” her voice shook with her response, as she brushed past him.

He watched her carry the basin to the table he had slept under, setting it down, careful to not slop any water. She reached into the steaming water and pulled out a rag, twisting it over itself, wringing out the excess. She turned and looked at him, those big, bright eyes dulled by exhaustion and tears. “Come. You must bathe.” Her cheeks reddened.

Koravel wrinkled his brow, looking around the room, waiting for the joke to end. “Y-you” he stammered “are going to bathe me?” Something very strange is going on. Only the chieftain is bathed by a female servant.

She stood before him, avoiding his gaze. “Yes, sir. He commands it so.”

Koravel assumed that ‘he’ was his father. Slowly, he approached her, stopping a pace away. He reached out and took the damp cloth from her. “You don’t have to. I can do it myself.” He began to smile at her, wishing there was something he could do to cheer her up. “My name is Koravel.”

Her eyes dropped to the floor and she heaved a sigh. “Please, sir. I must do as I am told.”

Apprehensively, he handed the rag back to her. He began to remove his pants, as he was already shirtless. Out of the corner of his eye he noticed that she looked at him curiously. Once he was naked, she proceeded to pour some oil from her pocket into the water; she did this carefully, almost as if she were counting every ounce. Koravel looked at the water then over at Syldre.

Anticipating his question, Syldre said “Your Father’s maid told me ‘three thumb-fulls’. I don’t know what that means though.” She quickly capped the bottle and set it down, her cheeks blushing again.

Koravel grinned; he wasn’t sure he knew what ‘three thumb-fulls’ meant, either. It could mean anything since his father’s maid was a tad bit eccentric, inventing all sorts of expressions.

Syldre dipped the cloth into the oiled-water, stirred it around, and wrung out the cloth again. She started with his neck, lifting his long white-blonde hair aside to get the back of his neck. She moved to his shoulders, shoulder blades, and down his back, just above his buttocks. She returned to his front, dipping the cloth, wringing it out, and then going over his chest and stomach, again stopping just above his groin area. As she returned to the basin again to freshen up the cloth, he thought of how interesting and strange it was to be getting bathed by another, especially a pretty girl. He felt his cheeks grow warm. He couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. This was all so unnecessary. No one ought to be bathed by another person who is perfectly capable of doing so themselves. But, she insisted; he wondered what drove her to obey so diligently.

She washed his left arm followed by his right. As she dipped the cloth into the water, twisting the water out, she said “You have very nice shoulders, sir.” She cleared her throat and continued the bath, this time working on his backside and legs.

Koravel blushed three-fold at this: primarily, because she was cleaning his hindquarters; secondarily, for the complement. He had never been complemented on his physique before. “Please. Call me Koravel.”

Syldre paused and looked up at him. He thought she smiled ever so slightly, but if she did, it faded as quickly as it came, and she was back to work scrubbing his legs. She dunked the rag for the last time and cleaned his groin area. Koravel held his breath and closed his eyes trying to concentrate on something else, because this area in particular was so very sensitive to touch. She finished and stood up, tossing the rag in the basin. “I have fresh clothes for you outside.” She spoke, looking down at the floor again and abruptly turned to the door to retrieve the clothing. Seconds later, she reemerged carrying a short stack of folded garments. She set them on the table then picked up the basin. “I will return shortly with your breakfast…Koravel.”

She left the room before he could put a word in edgewise. He rubbed his damp skin, feeling the softness the oil left behind. After he was dry, he dressed. He had never worn these clothes before; the fabric they were made of was softer, more luxurious than what he was accustomed to. He felt confused, wondering why he was getting such special treatment all of a sudden. He turned and looked out the window and tried to spot the lair of Truth’s statue. He scratched his brow and turned back to the table, taking a seat. He pulled the first book toward him. ‘Anthropology of Igala’. This may not be so bad to start with.

Edited by: [url=http://p068.ezboard.com/brpgww60462.showUserPublicProfile?gid=battleaccountant>Battle] at: 12/31/06 12:23

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Koravel, part seven

Unread postby Battle Accountant » Tue Jan 09, 2007 9:31 pm

The seventh segment in Koravel's story.


Two chapters into ‘Anthropology’, Koravel began to feel hungry. He pulled a ribbon from the top of the book, sliding it down between the pages it was open to. His thoughts drifted from his hunger to the activity outside to the occurrences the night before and then to Syldre. Poor Syldre. Such sadness he has never beheld. Her eyes betraying her sorrow more than anything. Those eyes that, the night before, shone with a flame that would shame the brightest star. He shook his head. What evil plan did Failariel have? He new that his father was devising something; he could read it all over his face. Is she to be my chamber-maid? My paramour? My concubine? A sour taste filled his mouth. I won’t have her. I won’t give him that satisfaction. Koravel paced randomly around the room, seething at the very thought of Failariel’s machinations.

Several minutes passed and the door creaked open again. As before, in walked Syldre, shackled, and carrying a tray of food. Her face was expressionless, as if she were dumb, deaf, and blind to the world around her. She stood there holding the tray, looking somewhat puzzled as her eyes examined the cluttered table. She started, as if coming to a solution, and then halted when the solution was deemed insufficient. Koravel watched her and then jerked with a revelation. Move the books, you dolt! He chided himself for not being more helpful. “My apologies, miss” he said sheepishly as he gathered up the books, stacking them, and then putting them to one side of the table. He could sense her gaze again as before. It wasn’t a gaze of scrutiny. No; it was more a gaze of marvel; bewilderment. Nervously, he scratched his scalp and clumsily seated himself.

Syldre shuffled over to the table and placed the tray of food before him. Berries, dates, nuts, and bread sat before him with an empty cup top-down next to a plain porcelain kettle. Syldre turned the cup upright and proceeded to pour the hot contents of the kettle into the cup. The beverage had a rich scent, like the forest when the leaves were falling; the aroma of warm apples also filled his nostrils. He sipped the hot cider cautiously and picked up a piece of bread, taking a bite out of it. Syldre had retreated several steps and was standing with her back to the wall, obviously waiting for him to finish. As Koravel chewed the warm bread, it seemed to dissolve flavorless in his mouth; the taste of guilt. He looked at Syldre. She looked as if she might be hungry. An empty chair sat propped against the wall behind him. He pulled the chair around and set it in front of the table. “Why don’t you have a seat?” he said quietly.

She glanced at the chair and then to the door. “No thank you, sir.”

He took another bite of the bread and chewed on it. He swallowed hard and regarded Syldre again. “Have you had breakfast yet?”

Her eyes drifted to the floor and a small movement of her head told him ‘no’.

His heart went out to her. He took a quick sip of his cider and asked, “Would you like my nuts?” He paused a moment and then a great wave of idiocy swept over him after hearing his words echo in his head. He felt the color on his cheeks rising. He hid his face with his hand, but looked up at the sound of laughter coming from across the room; laughter like the sound of birds singing or the warm rain falling on flagstones; it was the sweetest sound he’d ever heard.

Syldre covered her laughing mouth with a hand, her dulled eyes glistening again. Koravel couldn’t help but smile at her failed attempt to hide her amusement. “That’s one to be recorded, sir.” She said with a chuckle. “Forgive me.” She tried harder to stop laughing, but each time she bit her lip and averted her eyes to the ceiling, it had been for naught, for she was tickled all over again.

Koravel grinned, still sensing his flushed face. He cleared his throat. “Truly, Syldre. You may have whatever you wish. The bread is enough for me.” He gestured to the empty chair.

Her laugh faded but her eyes remained bright. She walked over to the chair and sat down, looking Koravel square in the eye. “He told you my name?”

Koravel felt ashamed, suddenly. He looked down at the bread he fumbled between his fingers. “I…was here last night. I heard the exchange between you and my father.”

She blinked several times.

“For all it’s worth, this treatment is most unjust. I wish I could help you…somehow.” He took another bite of the bread and offered his plate again. “Please; help yourself.”

She looked at the plate full of food, chewing on her bottom lip. She really did look hungry. Reluctantly, she stretched a smooth, pale hand out and picked up a few berries. She popped them in her mouth one-by-one, chewing and swallowing hurriedly, as if she’d been on a fast.

“How long has it been since your last meal?” Koravel said after sipping some hot cider.

Syldre wiped some juice off her chin with the back of her hand and flushed. She looked down at her feet, somewhat discomfited.

Koravel considered his words for a moment and decided that he probably could have phrased the question a bit more delicately. He stumbled, seeking words to make his question appear more tactful. “I mean, you said you live off the land. Scavenge? Hunt? Forage? I think it’s very admirable. It must not be easy.”

She nodded and picked up several more berries. “Indeed; it varies in difficulty depending on where I am. If the pickings are sparse, that tells me that I’m close to a village. It has been three days since my last meal.”

Koravel ran a hand through his hair on the side of his head. “Well, I’m glad to share my breakfast with you.” He said smiling gawkily.

She shifted uneasily in her seat and then stood. “I had better be going. I have more chores set aside for me to do. I will return later to take your plate.” She shuffled over to the door and looked back at Koravel before leaving the room.

Koravel sat dumbstruck as usual. Of course he is not quite sure how to act toward someone who has lost their freedom without just cause; he could relate, that’s for certain. He watched her go not looking away until hearing the click of the locking mechanism. With a sigh, he returned to the massive book sitting before him.

* * *

Nine days passed by and Koravel was finally on the last page of ‘Anthropology’. Anxious to be done with this task, he only stopped reading for a few hours of sleep and when Syldre was in the room. She was still very quiet and withdrawn, worst of all still shackled. He wished that his father would at least remove the shackles, and then maybe she could start to feel more at-home and less like a prisoner. He liked it when Syldre was here, although he missed Truth tremendously.

With a snap, he shut ‘Anthropology of Igala’. “One down.” He murmured. He stood picking up the book and carried it over to one of the many stacks in the room. The books were arranged alphabetically, so he located the spot where this book should go and placed it there, feeling a small sense of accomplishment.

Returning to the table, he reached for the book on top of the stack and pulled it toward him. He raised an eyebrow as he read the cover. ‘The Brain’. With a groan, Koravel opened the book fully expecting a biology lesson. He was surprised when, upon reading the prologue, that this would be no biology lesson after all; far from it. This book discussed channeling psychic energies!

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Koravel, part eight

Unread postby BattleAccountant » Mon Jan 15, 2007 8:38 pm

The eighth segment in Koravel's story.


Koravel sat with his eyes closed and his hands folded in his lap.


He waited and then tried again.


Still nothing. He looked down at the book before him, reading and rereading the details of this particular exercise. Frustrated, he grumbled and then closed his eyes once again.


Behind his eyelids there was a bright flash, but a loud crash and a young woman’s cry from the hallway startled him, forcing him to lose his concentration. He could then hear Firas shouting, saying “Idiot female! Clean this up right NOW!”

With a pang, Koravel remembered a passage of the text he was reading:

Some targets may have training or knowledge in psychic defense and would be immediately aware of a prying mind, thus successfully blocking outside energy. There are few, however, who can feel the presence of another in their mind, but inexplicably cannot block the energy. These few are caused an almost crippling pain by the effect; the pain is fleeting, but tremendous.

“No…SYLDRE!” Koravel ran over to the door and jerked on the handle, desperately trying to open the door to find out what happened, beseeching and hoping that it was not Syldre in the hallway.

Heatedly, Koravel banged on the door as loud and as hard as he could. Finally, the door swung open and a perturbed-looking Firas barked “WHAT, boy!”

Ignoring him, Koravel looked past Firas into the hallway and saw Syldre crouched over what would have been his lunch which was now scattered on the floor. She looked up at him, tears pooling in her eyes. She jerked her head away from his stare, quickly gathered up everything, and then shuffled hastily down the hall. Koravel watched helplessly, barely noticing the hand on his chest giving him a rough push back into the library.

The most despondent feeling he had ever experienced clouded his senses as he gaped at the slamming door. He tried to erase this image from his eyes; that sight too painful to see. He shook his head wanting so badly to repent for this terrible deed. He drew a ragged breath and covered his face with his hands. “My punishment is this.” he declared striding over to the scroll cubbies, roughly snatching a blank one. He violently spread the empty parchment before him and began writing with a near-by quill. He wrote quickly, but clearly, a correspondence for Syldre, knowing she would surely return to him, not by her own volition of course, but he would see her and give this to her.

* * *

When he looked up from the scroll, the light in the room was fading; he had been writing all afternoon. He estimated that it was close to dinner-time and Syldre would be returning soon…hopefully. He read over what he had written and folded it up, making it as compact as he possibly could. Putting the letter in his pocket, he reopened ‘The Brain’ and tried to continue reading where he had left off; his consciousness a mixture of concentration and distraction. About twenty pages later, the door opened slowly. Koravel watched the empty doorway with fierce eagerness. The familiar snarl from Firas reached his ears as well as him declaring “Get in there!” In a jerk, Syldre stumbled through the doorway, looking absolutely petrified. The door slammed behind her and she looked back at it with a pleading countenance. The room was now fairly dark, so Koravel promptly lighted several candles around the room. While he was away from the table, she scurried over and dropped the tray onto the table, immediately turning around and heading back to the door as quick as her shackled feet could take her.

Seeing this, Koravel rushed over to her and caught her by the hand. “Please, wait!” Koravel felt ashamed at having touched her, but at the same time, the feel of her warm, smooth skin bolstered his soul, though it lasted for only a moment.

She jerked her hand away, her lips shaped into a scowl. She eyed him with a ferocity that he was sure would frighten a hungry beast away.

Koravel reached into his pocket and pulled out the folded parchment. “Please. I just wanted to give you this.” He handed the note to her. “No circumstance in the world could excuse what I’ve done…I just hope in time that you will forgive me.”

The anger on her face melted somewhat as she closed her hand over the note.

“Will you read it?” Koravel asked, looking her in the eye.

She faltered a moment then turned to the door. She stopped before opening it and said over her shoulder. “I will.”

Koravel smiled to himself as she left. Perhaps there was still hope. He returned to the table and sat down, ate his dinner, then continued reading.

* * *

When Syldre exited the library, Firas sneered at her as he locked the door behind her. Ignoring him, she felt the thick, folded parchment in her hand, wanting to read it as much as she wanted to burn it. But, she gave her word that she would read it. She sighed and listened to the echo of her footsteps in the hallway as she made her way to her room…Koravel’s room. A homesick sensation swept over her as she became increasingly aware of the grip of the shackles around her ankles. Every emotion imaginable flooded her mind; hate, fear, bewilderment, betrayal, and, most of all, confusion. He’s as much a prisoner here as you are, Syldre, you know that said a voice in her head. She tugged lightly on her hair and turned the last corner into the corridor to her room. She opened the door, anxious to lie down after such a horrendous day. Her brain was still sore from the onslaught earlier this afternoon. When she lit a lamp, she was startled to see Failariel sitting in a chair on the opposite end of the room. She immediately fell to her knees and downcast her eyes. “Forgive me, sir. I was not expecting you.” She clasped her hands together at her breast in an almost pleading nature.

Failariel clicked his tongue. “Oh, stand up. You need not butter me up so. Our wager is still in place. Have no fear.”

Syldre raised her eyes into his and pushed herself awkwardly to her feet, covertly slipping the note into the waist of the apron she wore. “Thank you, sir.” She whispered.

Failariel stood and walked around the room; he looked as if he were pondering something. “And Koravel?”

She cleared her throat. “It…it would appear that he is progressing, sir. He has finished one book and already started another. I…I think he may be halfway through a second.”

Failariel brightened somewhat. “Oh? Remarkable. I thought it would surely take him a fortnight to complete just one of those books.” A low chuckle sounded in Failariel’s throat. “What book is he on, then?”

Syldre sighed. “He is studying the brain, sir.”

“Indeed.” Failariel’s mouth curled into what one could call a smile, but to Syldre, it was just evidence of his sick delights.

Syldre took a hesitant step toward Failariel. “I…was wondering, sir. Could I—”

“No. Not yet.” Failariel cut her off.

“But…I didn’t fin—”

“You may write to your order in due time, Syldre.” Failariel declared as he started toward the door.

Syldre sighed; this trait of his scared her. He could perfectly detect when she was missing her former colleagues. “Yes, sir.”

Failariel opened the door and then examined her for a moment. “You have obeyed meticulously, Syldre. Tomorrow, your shackles will be removed.” He exited silently.

Through her exhaustion, Syldre felt an odd sense of happiness, strange as the circumstances were. Thank you.

Under the waist-band of her apron, Syldre could feel the bulk of Koravel’s note. She pulled it out and looked at it for a moment before placing it on a small table next to the bed. She undressed, thinking about the note and lay down, fighting with her heavy eyelids. She lay on her side, looking over at the table with the note, but her bitterness wouldn't allow her to read it; no, not yet. She extinguished the lamp and slept.

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