The Ebony Amber Lullaby
In the frozen realm of Irrisen a company of warriors clung desperately to what was taken….
The sound of the wet thud and rip popping proceeding the bright red mist that warmed her cheek and told her she had lost another friend. In a moment the frost trolls morning star found soft tissues beneath the silver helmet meant to protect him from a untimely end. instead the Monster had folded the metal into the deep recesses of his brain as the bones in his neck collapse from the weight of the killers death blow. She could taste the copper tang of his blood as it slipped threw her gritting teeth and rolled on the tip of her tongue. The tribe of winter manslayers had chase them all the way from the vault of the Gnome king himself. As fear and desperation nipped at their heels the punishing Gale had lay waist to all but one of their horses. The land of the witch queen, fourteenth daughter of Baba Yaga, was an unforgiving mistress and with troll stalkers surged after them day and night they had little time to stop and rest. The very air they breathed rejected them, threatening to turn their lungs in to shriveled quivering lumps of flesh.
She hadn’t come to Irrisen for fortune or any juvenile sense of honor. She had come to keep an eye on her brother and to add a ready sword to his numbers. But the sword would not be enough, doubt swallowed her as the troll stepped over poor Aliazars lifeless body and lumber toward her as she clutched what was taken in her arms. She could hear the other warriors crying out in defiance against the murderous vanguard but her eyes were one with the sunken spheres that lusted after her behind the creatures mangles snout.
Stumbling back over still forms she dodge blow after reckless blow from the tyrant as tears of dread welled up into her eyes. Until, finally, she collapse beside the snow covered body of a women she barely knew. As she gave herself to annihilation a resolute voice cried out above the sounds of carnage.
“You can’t have her!”
It struck a chord deep within her core awakening a part of the gritty veteran she had once been. She was not a frightened whelp like so many of the other fledglings in her company. But she couldn’t bring herself to move and struggle for her own safety. The lancer was buying her precious moments and she new unless she could find her strength she was living on borrowed time. What had changed in her to make her fail her brother and his men when they needed her most, nothing had changed. then all at once she realized the aura of pure fear resonating from her companies stolen artifact.
“I have a proposition for you…” the voice was smug and ghostly, far away.
“You need what I offer or broken wings make brittle beings rest. And they find your bones at the Babas nest.” the voice was full of jesting and a sly poetic rhythm like a particularly twisted bard.
“My will is my own.”
“Yet your there still and should our bargain come to vex you’ll find you heartbeat still….”
“No riddles no games, what do you want?”
“Just to see, your eyes will do, I’ll ask for one instead of two.” against despair washed over her as she considered the echo’s terms. The sickening feeling of knowing when ones death was at hand crawled up her spine like so many rattle snakes. She had no choice, as the sounds of the lancers battle came to an end with the all too familiar thud and snap of bone she bite down hard on her bottom lip until the blood flowed. A moment later the soft orb was warm in her palm and she felt the fear retract is talons from her soul.
She scrambled to her feet with the sound of the trolls shocked grunt at her back. With the eye she had left she searched frantically for the last remaining horse hoping it had not fallen to the stalkers assault. When her eye found the stead there was no question in her mind and she found herself supported by an arcane speed. In moments she was mounted and the horse charged through the snow and away from the battle driven by some unseen force of dominate urgency.
Clutching what was taken in the cradle of her arm and holding the reins of her stallion with the other she looked down in disgust and awe at the thing her brother and his men had died for and yet again it frightened her.
The Path of Tan lie at your feet.
Seeing truth without knowing falsehood. It is the attempt to see the Light without knowing Darkness. It cannot be.