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Farniath pulls out a dusty scroll from the huge bookshelf behind his desk.
"This is what I wanted to show you, Ayad. Uriel and Silk have been helping me go through all the prophecy books I had, looking for some kind of link with the message they brought from the council of Elrion." He unrolled the yellowed parchment on the desk, using other books as paperweights. " I had only crossed my mind this morning that the cryptic message we got from the council about the second coming of the dark could be somehow linked to the prophecies of King Ain Dzalut`s wizard, Czarod Og. The message sounded much like prophecy but there was something about it that sounded familiar."
Here Farniath leaned closer to the parchment and began to read from it.
" Midst dark and sinister skies, the broken moon
A cold and frozen breeze does cast the scent
Of shrieking beasts, of blood and evil`s boon
Does chase the exile pure of heart that can't,
For sake of death, condemn a lover's fight
Against the jealous might of bestial hate
From soul of pain call out salvation might,
While the lost hope but aggravates her mate,
Bid Duty up take lover`s sword to part
To the bleak coast of an unfriendly isle
And kill the demon feeding on Man's heart
To bring forth light of yonder day, a smile
Thus melts away the woe of bloody flesh,
Then, from contrasted truth, comes righteousness."
Ayad seemed to be the only one not affected by the reading, his face blank and his eyes focused on Farniath with a silent strength. Araia had unconsciously moved closer to the tall woodsman, seeking comforting as the eerie words unsettled her. Uriel stood frowning, his head tilted to one side and his long luscious red hair partially hiding his face. Silk suddenly gave a shiver and Uriel put his arm around her waist, drawing her close. This once young Silk leaned into his embrace without complaint. The study hall was horribly quiet.
The rustle of Farniath`s robes broke the silence. "The reason that I have brought you all here is every single one of you is linked to this prophecy. I`m not entirely certain as to who is what or how, but I am certain that the six you gathered here today will be the ones that posses the one chance to stand up to the forces of the underworld. Entire armies of men and elves I seen perish under the heel of the dark lord. You are Asmara`s last hope."
The old wizard stopped pacing right in front of Araia and lifted her chin with a bony finger. "Buried in you is the key, child. You will be our undoing if they would get to you before we can find it."
"They?" asked a tremulous Araia.
"Her!?" spurted Uriel. "That child is somehow supposed to stop the underworld? This is ridiculous, Farniath. Why she's but some spoiled human child from a god-forsaken kingdom, what good could she possibly do-"
"Watch your tone, elf. Whether you like it or not, Lady Araia holds the answer to our survival. Your survival. I`d expect a bit more decorum for the one that will be saving your hide."
Uriel gestured wildly with his hands, fuming, but stayed quiet. He gave the woodsman a look that could kill, but he knew better than to argue with that look on his face.
But Uriel had simply voiced what everyone seemed to be thinking at that moment. Disbelief tinged with an unsettling sense that the tides had turned against them was shared by all but Farniath and the woodsman. In the wizard`s eyes shone the truth of the prophecy, but in slitted eyes of the dark man there was something else that lurked just beneath the surface. It seemed that Ayad knew more about the young woman`s predestined involvement than the wizard had discovered in his readings. He was staring at the blond girl, a hand on the hilt of his sword he seemed to be ready to draw it in her defense.
Araia`s eyes glistened with unshed tears as she stared blankly around the room. His strong arms caught her before she slumped to the ground. She didn`t think twice but softly cried into his chest as he smoothed her hair and whispered soothing sounds into her ear.
Nathaniel moved towards in hopes of offering some support but the hard look the woodsman shot him stopped him in his tracks. He shrugged and looked to Farniath. The old man appeased his discomfort and gestured for the rest of them to follow him to the outer study.
Silk was the last to leave the room and as she passed the two she quietly spoke a few words in elvish and touched the disheartened girl on the shoulder. She look up at the man holding her and her eyes turned serious.
"You must watch her at all times," said Silk gravely. "Her heart is weak with burden and her innocence could be her downfall. Watch for the raven as dusk."
With those cryptic words, the white-haired elf walked out and closed the door softly with the wave of her hand over her shoulders.
Araia`s muted cries had turned to hiccups and she wiped at her eyes. She sniffed a few more times, patted down her long hair and looked up at the man holding her.
"What is it that I must do?" she whispered, but the fear in her eyes was replaced with a hard resolved that bellied her young age. "What must I become?"
His eyes flashed with pleasure before settling back to their mysterious blankness. He drew her up, letting go of a waist that he hadn't realized he had been holding.
"You must become a weapon, Araia. You will become the sword of the land and fight off the underworld."
"But I have nothing to offer, I am nothing but a forgotten runaway. How am I to fight thousands if I can hardly wield a sword?"
"You will be wielding a greater weapon then that once we are ready." He took her by the arm and they walked out of the room, both deep in thought and both beguiled by doubt and uncertainty.
|s.t.g.m ~ byron adaptation||Asmara's Bane - Chap. 13|
|Asmara's Bane - Chap. 3||Asmara's Bane - Chap. 7|
|Asmara's Bane - Chap. 2|