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Chapter Twenty: Leavetaking
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Kalanna Rai

Joined: 21 Jan 2006
Posts: 3075
Location: The Frozen North

Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:39 pm    Post subject: Chapter Twenty: Leavetaking  

After a bit of quiet, the much awaited journey to Lukan's home. Enjoy.

Chapter Twenty: Leavetaking

The time was long overdue. That didn't mean that Alasdair liked it one bit. He could feel Kyrie's arms shake as she held him tightly, Aaern squirming between them. He didn't quite understand what was going on, but he knew Daddy was going away. Thus, he fussed, wanting attention from both his parents.

"I'll be home straight afterward, you know I will be. I promised Lukan I'd go and help him get things settled, mediate if I have to. I'm not going to break my word to him."

"What does it matter Alasdair, he hates you. You can see it in his eyes, the anger. The resentment. It's been there since Eresinne and it hasn't dimmed. I fear for you. You've yet to regain your strength, you're going to be alone there. It wouldn't even take a legion to bring you down. Not in unfamiliar skies. Just a dedicated handful. The men of Haga'Dir know how to hunt dragons in the skies, don't be their first kill in this age."

She pressed her face against his shoulder, her tears hot where they ran off the leathers he wore and onto his bare skin. The fingers of his free hand twisted deeper into her hair as he kissed the top of her skull fiercely. "Listen to me, I will be fair. Lukan won't move against me, not while he's uncertain of himself. He's young, not stupid. He's kept his eyes and ears open these past months. As long as I don't delay after he makes his choice, I'll be home to you and Aaern safe." He held her for a moment longer, kissing her again. "Let me go Kyrie. You still have your mirror, right? I have mine. I'll speak to you every night m'love. Don't have so little faith in me."

Slowly he pulled away from her, stooping to pick up his sword, flinching as Aaern began to howl. Pudgy fingers reached toward him, chubby body writhing in his mothers arms as he strove to reach his father. "None of that lad, be a good boy for your mother." A flicker of power reached out with his words, soothing the tot as Alasdair tossed his saddle bags over his shoulder. "I shouldn't be more than a fortnight."

He gave her a brave smile as he walked out the door but that didn't stop him from being partly chilled by his wife's parting words.

"I don't have little faith in you Alasdair...I don't have little faith in Lukan either."

For the first time in his life Alasdair Dhakkonson contemplated breaking his word but in the end he could not. Honor, once tarnished, was marred forever. A Word, once broken, could not be mended. Truly he didn't believe Lukan hated him deeply enough to see him dead. Resented him certainly...but Lukan was young and had inherited the willful stubbornness of Caur Vengivedion, a powerful legacy. It would take him time but eventually he would see why Alasdair had made his choice.

Entering the courtyard, he was greeted by quite a gathering. Lukan, dressed warmly in his leathers and furs, held a restive Beak. The buff hippogriff pawed at the paving stones, leaving faint lines behind his talons and hooves. Nearby, the honor guard of Haga'Dirian flyers were all already mounted, waiting only the signal of the heir apparent to take to the skies. Tessa looked lovely a russet travelling gown trimmed in foxfur, no doubt there were breeches under the thick fabric of the skirt. Kevrem was somber in his usual black, the heavy signet ring firmly in place, his right hand resting on the hilt of his curved sword.

From the nearby archway came Astor and Alasdair was struck by how absolutely frail the old king looked. His broad shoulders were slightly stooped, his whole spine slightly bowed. Though he stood tall as he could, the telltale flanking of guards proved how unsteady his steps were. Never the less, his voice was commanding when he spoke, still full of power and vigor. "Despite my strenious objections to the contrary, you insist on travelling in a small party. Thus I have done my best to see that you at least have proper conveyance."

He clapped his hands and the doors to the side courtyard opened and in were herded six magnificent beasts. Even Lukan's jaw dropped open. Alasdair had honestly only heard whispers and rumors of these beasts...the precursor to hippogriffs. Pegasi.

"These six are the fittest, halest, finest of the herd. There is only one don't choose a chooses you." With a chuckle Astor made a shooing motion. As if herding ducklings toward a cold pond.

Tessa's eyes sparkled with wonder and she stepped forward as hesitant as any small girl presented with something truly magical for the first time. Kevrem eyed them with just as much suspicion as they did him. But Alasdair himself didn't even bother. "'s a truly royal gift, but the moment I approach they'll scatter like hares before the hound."

"Which is why I went through the trouble of acquiring something more mundane for you. Although shoeing your mare proved to be more of a hassle than I'd first anticipated. Apparently she bites like a hellspawn."

As if on cue an ear splitting bugle cut the air as said black mare shouldered her way out of the stables. She bulled her way through the herd of milling pegasi and drug her unfortunate handler up to give her master an affectionate nuzzle. Glancing down Alasdair could clearly see the sparkle of magic in the gleaming shoes that were hammered on to her dark hooves. He inclined his head politely to Astor, getting his bags situated on the saddle. Many of his things had been left behind in fallen Eresinne, only that which he'd kept on his person and in his belt pouch had been saved. His tack, thankfully, had been in the stables from which they'd made their escape.

Swinging up into the saddle, he twisted back around to see how his siblings were doing. Tessa had been picked by a fine white beast that sported a smattering of liver colored spots on it's rump. She stood by, anxiously waiting for the stable lads to finish with the beast. Nearby, Kevrem was standing eye to eye with what could only be a young grey stallion, each of them regarding the other with a sort of suspicious glint in their eyes. As if they weren't quite sure they were making the wisest choice.

Lukan eyed the departing pegasi with an awestruck look ."A curiosity Grandfather...wherever did you find pegasi? They're extinct in the wild are they not?"

"They're extinct everywhere outside this valley. When my bride was young we made a state journey to Haga'Dir. The old king...that would have been your great great grandfather Lukan, took us to visit the god gate. That night your Grandmother dreamed of a winged steed. It was so real to her that she woke and walked out into the field, sure she'd find it there. She did not...however three weeks later a bedraggled creature showed up at the gates of Eresinne. And then another. And then another. They seemed like regular horses but my mother saw something in them, she sent every one of them here, to Malvang. When your Grandmother and I visited...this is what we found."

Lukan snorted. "Don't tell me then. But it's good to see that they're still around. Hippogriffs might have driven them from the mountains but that doesn't mean they're not still needed in the world. Now, we need to be off. I'll send word when we reach Highkeep so that a portal might be arranged for an entourage."

Alasdair caught Astor's eye, raising an eyebrow. He didn't disbelieve the old king's story. It was not unlikely that some spirit of the land had guided the few remaining pegasi to safety with her. He guided his mare over to where the old king stood, offering him a hand. "I hope to see you again in the future. Perhaps at the Festival of Flames you'll pay a visit to my Keep?"

Astor laughed. "Dragon I have no desire what so ever to visit that frozen fortress you call a Keep. Summer or not. Now be off with you. You've bothered my old bones enough."

He nodded, drawing away, a small smile on his face. "Fare thee well Astor of Leyond. If our paths do not cross again allow me to say that you are a credit to your House. It is a regret that you are limited to a mortal lifespan. Perhaps on the other side of life and death, I'll have the honor of meeting you again."

"Alasdair..c'mon!" Lukan's impaitent call came from the skies above, causing Alasdair to turn his skull upward. Giving his mare a quick command, he sent her up the nearby stairs and onto the wall. She didn't particularly like the stair climb, but she seemed to sense what was coming when they reached the wall. She picked up speed along it's expanse as he aimed for the edge and with a smooth movement she collected herself and launched them both into the air. For a moment they were carried by nothing more than the force of her jump.

Then the horseshoes burst into brilliant blue light and her hooves caught purchase on the air. She snorted at this, head turning so that she could fix one eye back on Alasdair as if to say 'Was that really necessary?' He merely laughed, patting her neck and calling for a little more speed as he aimed her for the group already circling higher.

It was...odd. To be flying without actually using his own wings. Physically. Many times had his spirit soared with Eagle and Hawk back in Rhimefaust. But if he'd ever brought himself physically aloft it was under his own power. Below him the mare surged along, her canter smoother than it could ever have been had her hooves been striking the earth. She seemed to revel in the freedom of it and he leaned low over her neck. "Run my beauty, run. Show them a taste of your true speed."

She snorted, as if understanding his words, lowering her skull and he could feel her change paces. Feel the shift in her muscles as she bolted ahead swift enough to leave a few flaming tracks behind her. He drew as level as he could get with Kevrem, avoiding the wings of the young pegasi the other rode, grinning at the less than pleased look on his face. "Ease up on the reins, he won't thank you for tearing up his mouth."

He had to shout to be heard over the wind but he watched the other male slowly relax his death grip. "Flying lessons brother. I think I want them." Came the reply.

Alasdair understood implicitly. He wasn't sure where or when such lessons could be conducted. Certainly not on the trip, not unless Kevrem was willing to relax his need for secrecy. Perhaps the opportunity would arise on the journey. It was likely to be quick...provided nothing happened.

Closing his eyes, Alasdair sent up a quiet prayer to the powers that were that their journey would be peaceful. He had no idea if they heard him.

Well, is the journey peaceful or do they encounter something? Does Kevrem get to maintain his secrecy or will something force him to reveal the truth? Flying lessons or the aforementioned difficulties. And does Lukan really hate Alasdair like Kyrie seems to think, or is he just angry over his first bitter taste of defeat? Only you know.

And if you're wondering why I went with pegasi it was Pope's choice. I stumbled into him after he lamented missing the vote. Finally escaped without the need for a coin flip!
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Joined: 10 Feb 2007
Posts: 1597
Location: Happily curled up in a Daemon's lap

Posted: Sat Sep 15, 2012 6:37 am    Post subject:  

Lovely chapter K-Rai. I spotted one little typo but that's it.

Quote: He drew as level as he could get with Kevrem, avoiding the wings of the young pegasi the other road, grinning at the less than pleased look on his face.

Should be 'rode'. And I'm sure you know that, simple typos happen to everyone.

As for Kevrem, are you kidding? Nothing is ever that simple, especially with undead creeping about from the gate. I'd say you'd stumble into some of them when you stop for a rest, if need be. And also, nothing's wrong with pegasi! :P

Kyrie's not an idiot. I'm sure she can sense some resentment and perhaps some dislike rolling off of Lukan, but Lukan's no fool either. He'll accept help where he can get it and perhaps Alasdair's help will make the young upstart a bit more grateful than he's acting right now.
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Joined: 10 Oct 2010
Posts: 1858
Location: Surrounded by many beautiful naked men

Posted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 4:26 pm    Post subject:  

Yays! Wingy horsies! *Grin* Love the Pegis. Also *Bows* Much thanks for not having them all "Show White" That always bugged me. Pegesus was white, his kids were all different coats. Makes me happy. Again another amazing chapter. Not much happened and the time skip was minimal, a nice change. I. . . . .seem to be forgetting about why Lukan is so mad. . . . .Perhaps I should look back to get my bearings. Your character interactions always have me grinning. I like the part where the new king and his Pegi are eyeing each other. Made their fit just work.

DP, DP. . . . . If memory serves, the "Dark Forces" seem to see our new king as something important/special. . . . . .I think and encounter with one of their operatives will reveal that part of him he's trying to hide, and his siblings have to deal with it. Oh, and. . . . . I'd have to say that after all this, the siblings would actually take the info rather well. I mean, Ali isn't getting much guff. I'd see them seeing him as that much more power on their side. I see so many jokes flying around at this point about it :P

Anyways, that's my idea. Great chappy! Give us more!
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Kalanna Rai

Joined: 21 Jan 2006
Posts: 3075
Location: The Frozen North

Posted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:17 pm    Post subject:  

Last call for suggestions, I'm going to the polls with it tomorrow.
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Joined: 11 Mar 2010
Posts: 398
Location: Kansas

Posted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 11:17 pm    Post subject:  

Augh, I can't believe I never commented on this! Kai, I'm so sorry. My method seems to be as follows:
1)See new chapter before leaving for work. Leave chapter in an open browser window.
2)Come home from work and read chapter. Be at a total loss for a comment.
3)Leave open the browser window for several days, as a reminder to comment.
4)Lose all open windows when the system installs updates randomly.
5)Feel super guilty when you remember you still haven't posted.

So. I still have no idea. But here's my thoughts. At the end of the day, Lukan is still a little kid. He's matured quite a bit, but that doesn't mean he won't react to certain things like a kid. Life is not going his way, and he's likely to be sulky about it. I don't think he's mad at Alasdair so much as he is just mad at the world.

For Kevrem... for plot interest, he should probably get spotted. But, instead of being spotted by one of the main characters... he gets spotted by villagers/peasants, and then the rumor mill starts...
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Kalanna Rai

Joined: 21 Jan 2006
Posts: 3075
Location: The Frozen North

Posted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 8:44 pm    Post subject:  

Poll is up all!
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