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|Chapter one to the 'Sorrow Song' series. Chapter two to come soon. (Story based on EverQuest)||
I am Nolan Shadowslain. I am the most powerful healer of my family line thus far. I have lived nearly eight hundred years and of those 800, the majority has been spent here, in the Neriak Commons. I was born and fostered to the temple of Innoruuk as a child where my positive energies were molded to my gift from the Prince himself: Hate. I was trained till I reached the highest level that could be attained by the High Priests and Priestesses there.
I had never before, in my now 200 years, seen the above world. Now that I had reached this age I was permitted to go journeying to improve my skills further in the name of Innoruuk’s Hate. I packed my things for a long journey ahead, but it seemed my foster family had other plans in mind for me. I pulled my pack over my shoulder and headed for the door.
"Nolan. Ghil." I stopped and looked at the cavern hovel that we’d thrived in for so long. In the dim light that was bright as day to me, I could see my two foster parents. My foster-mother sat in the comfortable chair while my foster father served wine to her and to the young Teir’Dal woman next to her in the second most plush seat. She was garbed as a warrior and one that had seen many battles for that matter.
I obeyed the previous command and put my pack down to move to stand before the two of them. I kept my eyes averted, for when I looked up at the female’s eyes they burned into me with obvious lust. She was a warrior and had a warrior’s appetites for bloodshed, cruelty, and a good man to lay with after a battle. It was obvious I was not to leave the shadows of Neriak for sometime yet.
She was allowed to examine her new potential mate and I was forced to suffer it as I was raised to do. Eventually my foster mother waved me away and she and the female set to talking. A proper dowry was to be exchanged.
And now I moved into a new cave where I was to live with my new ‘wife’. She was Lyria Shadowsbane. She was cruel and not very lovely to look upon. She was built almost as a male should have been save for one obvious difference. She quickly took to taking her marital rights the night we were ‘wed’. I had had no say in it and found the activity rote if anything at all. I practice my arts in the day and kept the homestead in proper order while she worked with the Brotherhood.
I had fallen low in my status as a cleric. Clerics were not often wed and it was only the female ones that kept their status as they did so. I was desolate and I found my faith in Innoruuk’s plan for me wavering. What use was I to my people doing common husband’s duties? I loathed Lyria for what she did to me, though I couldn’t help the way my body responded as she easily coaxed the desired responses from it. I was as a bard’s instrument in her hands and she was a virtuoso.
Months after our marriage, I found traces of an easily distinguishable herb lying around within our home. She was trying to rid herself of a child. It did not surprise me knowing her personality. It was probable that she’d had to use these same drugs many times before. I threw the scraps of the herb out and was grateful they’d been put to use.
I wanted a child even less than she did. I could only imagine have to care for the thing all day and night as it howled in the same infant’s rage that all were born with, especially those with such fury in us as we.
There was a commotion outdoors and I pushed the cloth to our home aside to peer out. There were three Teir’Dal there and they were brawling with a fourth. A male that carried a flute that he’d been trying to use to play himself invisible. The flute was snatched from him and ground into the dirt. They struck at him and a bit of cloth flew from his face.
My breath caught as the once blue skin was suddenly the color of pale cloth and the hair was now the same brown as that of earth. They’d caught a colnbluth in Neriak? An outsider? How was that possible? Was the Brotherhood so inept?
My eyes moved from the scene of the four elves as they proceeded to drown the poor Fier’Dal in the water of the fountain while their knives found new sheathes in his flesh, to look down at the fallen mask that he’d worn. I looked this way and that and then darted out to collect the thing and put it into the folds of my tunic.
The elf was dead and the others muttered about having to taint precious water with his foul, Lightbringer’s blood. I dropped the cloth back into place as I saw Lyria coming around the corner of the lot. I did a quick check to be sure that the place was tidy.
I smelled her before I saw her. She’d been drinking and by the force she used as she reached around my waist to haul me against a cold, cavern wall, she’d had a little too much to drink. At such an hour it was almost insane to be drunk.
I hissed with pain as she violently forced me into our room and began to strike me harshly. I’d never been beaten with such cruelty as a young elf and this was something I did not like at all.
Lyria was raving mad about something. The beating did not last long as I lost consciousness just after seeing her hold her stomach and rush to the washroom to empty her stomach of the day’s morning meal. Lyria’s herbs and drugs had not worked after all and as the seasons matured so did our offspring within her. Regardless of what she tried to get rid of it, it stubbornly refused to die and so she was forced to carry it to term.
Beating me had become a habit now, when she had the strength. It was seldom that she didn't. A way to vent her rage at her condition at the very cause of it. I hated her even more for it since it was she who had demanded the attentions that would obviously bring forth children. My life took a turn for the worst now as she became lazy and restless with it as she could hardly be seen in public after what "I’d done to her."
Finally we came to the end of her pregnancy and the child made it obvious it was ready to leave Lyria’s body.
"At least there will come some good of you knowing the healing arts." She snarled at me as she let me help her to her bed to lay her down while I could begin to prepare for the delivery. Her curses followed me even out to the fountain where the elf had been slain where I gathered some water to bring into our home.
It was a long, tiring process for myself as well as for Lyria who now cursed the child as often as she cursed me. At the end of the delivery I came out with a broken finger, two bruised ribs, a blackened eye, and a new daughter. Lyria had collapsed into a sleep to leave me to clean up her and the child.
A child who cried only for a moment while she was bathed in the warmed water and was soothed. I was detached from the beginning even when I wrapped her in cloths and laid her carefully against Lyria to nurse while I set about to tending to the rest of the mess. Lyria did not wake at all the whole time.
Our child was asleep now in my arms as I sat in a chair staring at this tiny thing that I’d helped to make without any emotion or obligation. It did not look, as a child should, I thought. It seemed far too small. Her hair was a pale down on her dark skin. Her features, thankfully, did not resemble Lyria at all in looks. She had the proper number of fingers and toes and other parts to make her a whole child.
I could not name her until Lyria had chosen the name. It was not proper. The child stirred as Lyria did on the bed, but the infant curled her fingers around mine, tightly and only slept on, while Lyria pushed herself onto her elbow to stare expressionlessly at me as I looked back at her.
"What are you thinking?" I asked her quietly and out of turn since she’d not spoken first. She ignored the disrespect and answered me while she stood slowly to pull on her tunic and begin fastening her armor.
"…I am thinking on the best way to get rid of her. To foster her would be too much trouble as I know no one who would want a child." She did not look at us anymore as she gripped the wall for lack of balance.
"You should not walk so soon. More rest is usually needed." She glared at my suggestion and I was silent again for a long while until she’d cleared her head and washed her face in the basin of clean water.
"What will we name her?" She sneered at my question the shrugged.
"I suppose she needs something to write upon her grave marker, doesn’t she? You name her. I have to meet with the Brotherhood." And just as that she walked out of the home and out of my life completely. She was slain that very day in the sparring arena. Someone had claimed that she was weak after so much time and she had taken offense as well as her sword from its sheathe. She had engaged in an unauthorized match of blades and had lost because of her exhaustion.
She was deemed unworthy of a ressurection and so her body was cast out into the Ultricle where the undead were free to defile her. Her weapons and armor were divided over the rest of the soldiers and her home was to be given to the next ranking officer. My daughter and I would have to leave. I was glad of it. I took the child to The Bauble down in the 3rd Gate and spoke with the jeweler there.
He found what I asked him for and I left the store many coins poorer. I did not want this child, but she was mine, nonetheless and when I fostered her out I wanted to know where she would end up at the finish. Her left ear was now pierced with a golden earring and she had a cord with a copper ring with my family’s name etched upon the inside of it around her neck.
I approached the home in which she was to be fostered to. I rapped on the door and it was opened by two Teir’Dal women. One a caster of the dark arts and the other wore an enchanter’s robes. They took her from me and took the coins I gave along with her.
"What is her name?" They asked me and I paused. There was a name that emerged from my thoughts as if out of nowhere, but it was beautiful and despite my detachment for the child I felt for a moment a spark of something better known as affection. It faded quickly as her name left my lips.
"Zephora. Zephora Shadowslain." They nodded and the door was closed upon my face and I turned to go. I had to find work someplace in this city. There were many openings for a healer of my skill, but there was no place that offered a place to sleep as well as a day’s wages.
I worked something out with the keeper of the Toadstool and he agreed to let me stay there for a lowered fee as long as I agreed to treat his family should they become ill and for free. I worked as such, saving all the wages I could spare, for six years.
I went to the home where they kept my daughter. She was growing so fast it was amazing me. She was obviously my child as could be seen by her brilliant gold eyes that mirrored my own. Her features were just as mine, but femininely round and beautiful where mine had been considered handsome.
She knew me as her father and came running to greet me each time I came to see her. Her foster mothers were not always as joyful. They were bitter to have had another mouth to feed, no matter how attractive, obedient, and intelligent she was.
"Vendui inlul’dalharil." Greetings, small daughter. She had no hesitation in smiling even as I knelt to her level and let her kiss and embrace me. She was unusually affectionate for one of our kind and that strange twinge within me struck again. I held her back and told her that I was going to visit the above world for a few days. I asked if there is anything she would like me to have when I returned. She nodded to me.
"A smile from you." I flinched a bit and she laughed her little burble of laughter and kissed my cheek again. I stood as she went to the canal’s edge to play on her own. The two females approached me and I lowered my eyes accordingly.
"Vendui, Faerenen." I greeted the casters with a respectful bow and they nodded their approval. One stared at my child as she played near the water’s edge. A hint of maternal caution as she made sure that Zephora was not in any danger before she turned her crimson gaze upon me.
"…You see what we spoke of before. She is light… A bringer of such. She is just as those that live in the trees in the Faydark. How you could breed such light within dark skin is a curse upon your blood. It surely was not Lyria’s blood that tainted the child so, and we all know you to be soft in your Hate. You and your offspring should leave these halls and not return or you should take her to the temple to be dealt with. They could curb her light to proper dark, or sacrifice her it to fuel Innoruuk’s hate."
I kept my thoughts a secret from my expressions and left my gaze level with the ground as the anger at their words burned within me. It was not any fault of mine that my child was a deviant of the norm. I was not the one that raised her as such.
"I will visit the above ground to see if such a journey with a child could be made. I will return in a few days and you will not have to bother yourselves with her anymore." They nodded and turned from me with their robes flowing after them, dark and gray.
"Zephora. Ghil." The enchanter spoke and my daughter obeyed as she always did and came to slip her hand into the unoffered one by the dark caster’s side. It did not tighten about her fingers, but remained lax, even as she continued to hum and toddle along after them, quickly to keep up with their strides.
She’d known no love from these two, it was obvious and I was not there to stain her with it either. Perhaps it was my blood that caused her emotions to run awry. I turned from that place and made my way up to the Foreign Quarter and bought a backpack from Palais Derekor and some rations from the human merchants near the Silk Underground. I spoke with the Soul-Binder and began my trek above ground. The Brotherhood turned away from me as I passed. Lyria had never been kind to them, and I knew their protection was not going to be wasted on myself. I would have to be careful.
|Stained (chapter one)||Dirzaiel|