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kartikeya200 (Knight) 10/7/2006 6:31 PM EST : The Long Night Following...
kartikeya200
Posts: 1329

As cramped and claustrophobic as Shard had found the secret room in Vinka's home to be before, it was doubly, tripply so in this form. The wolf was wedged between the wall and the base of the bed, with her tail curled against the bedside table and her nose and front paws stretching past the bed itself. She was completely blocking access to and from the bed itself, unless someone felt like crawling between the bunks from the bottom--that was intentional. No one was going to get to Vinka's sleeping form without stepping on her. If that included Meeku, well, too bad for the monk. She was here and he wasn't.

She and Arinanth had moved the injured monk here a few hours ago, thanks to the help of Arinanth's earthen elemental. It hadn't been terribly easy, especially the squeeze into the room itself, but they had managed with a minimum of movement, and, for better or for worse, Vinka hadn't stirred. Now Arinanth was sleeping, one hand curled into the fur between her shoulders, resting against the wall. She was awake though. She hadn't managed to fall asleep yet.

She'd originally left her own knife, a stiletto really, lying within arm's reach of the bed, and in easy view should Vinka wake up. She hadn't been satisfied with that, and shortly after she'd moved it from the table to Vinka's belt, to make her intention clear. It was a terribly stupid, feeble effort on her part to offer a temporary replacement for the blade she'd failed to recover...but she felt better doing it anyway.

The house was very, very quiet now. Shard found herself twitching at imaginary noises, the slightest creak of old boards, the smallest footstep outside the window. The heightened sense of hearing that came with this form wasn't exactly helping, but she didn't want to shift back. Things were always simpler, always easier to digest this way. At this point, she was afraid of being buried under her own thoughts and self recriminations.

Eventually though, sleep did come. Restless, dream-filled sleep, but sleep nevertheless.
Characters: Shard Ipaku Safe Neldari Ouroboros
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Vinka Silentfist (Potential) 10/8/2006 3:49 PM EST : RE: The Long Night Following...

Vinka Silentfist
Posts: 1206

Any other night she would have called these dreams troubling, but even as they were now, full of emptiness and confusion, strange faces and voices that were not supposed to be there, familiar nightmares that could no longer be called nightmares because they had already been played out in the waking world, they were better than the world she left behind when she let her head rest against the folds of Arinanth's robes and closed her eyes.  The dreams were many and varied, the way they had been when she was a child, some pleasant, some terrifying.

***
She stood inside a wall of ice, her hands sliding upon its smooth surface, and inside it was warm, and in the dream she knew the warmth was the reason the ice didn't melt.  There were faces on the outside, and they wanted to get in, but she wouldn't let them.  Then she chose a few, and invited them inside, but one of them stole the warmth away and it got cold and the ice began to melt.
***

***
Her side hurt terribly, and for some reason she couldn't move her left hand.  It seemed strange to her at first, until she realized that it didn't hurt as much now as it had a few minutes ago because the six Teir'dal had quit kicking her.  One of their faces was just a few inches from her own.  And then there were gentle arms around her, and someone was telling her it was going to be alright
***

***
the voice of a wood elf (or was it her own?  she couldn't tell) weeping in the forest.
***

***
"Drink this.  It'll numb the pain." The man's voice said.  She opened her bright green eyes to find herself looking up at a young human man with kind grey eyes.  "My knife!  Where is my knife?!" she cried.  "Shhhh...your dagger is here, little one.  You are safe now."  He slid the hilt of the dagger into the crushed fingers of her left hand, and she closed her eyes as a soothing presence, something that was both comfortingly warm and tranquily cool spread through her body.
***

***
"She should never have been a monk," the voice said.  "She was meant for the hammers."
***

***
"I love you like a daughter.  What I do, I do for you.  If I have to watch it destroy the ones I love, I will already be dead inside."
***

***
The dagger floated in the air above the blue-black hand.  It rotated once around, those icy-blue eyes staring intently at it.

"Xannis...can I have it back now?  Please?"

"of course."
***

***
He kissed the top of her head.  "Sleep well, Little Knife."
***

***
"Pffah.  Worthless halfbreed, she'll never rent decent.  Get rid of her."
***

***
She was lying between a she-wolf and a baby dragon.  Under her head lay a sleeping cobra, and an Eagle sat upon her chest.  Then the Eagle pecked her eyes out.
***

***
"What's wrong, dear?" said the old Halasian woman
"I'm looking for something, I think?"
"Oh?  And what's that?"
"I don't know.  I think it might be my father?  Something took him away from me."
"Your father?  What about your mother?"
"No, it wasn't my mother.  There's a little girl dressed all in iron, and she said she'de make it all better, but I can't find her anymore."
"Tch.  You don't want /her/ do you?  She's not what you were made for.  Wouldn't you rather have a little hammer?"
"Go away.  I don't have what you want."
***

***
Something black and dark was skittering under her skin, and the world around her began to disintegrate.  First the trees, then the wooden platform, then his body until all that was left were his eyes, horrified at what he'd done.
***

***
"He wouldn't be the first man to bed a girl and leave her."
"Shut up, Lulette.  He came back for me.   And you're not here anymore anyway."
"Didn't you ever wonder where I went?  I could be dead for all you know."
"The others look out for me now.  I don't need you anymore."
"Did you ever stop to wonder if maybe I needed you?  I suppose its too late now, though.
"..."
"Thats alright though.  I thought you might like to know that I did love you, even if I didn't tell you.  It wasn't your fault."
"When you feel, you have to leave..."
"Go Gently."
***

***
The stink of alcohol and sweat, the Teir'dal's body pressing up against hers.  And then everything was moving so slowly, and someone took her hand and placed it on the knife, pulled it calmly out of its sheath, and then resheathed it in his flesh.  Then the world sped up again and she slashed upwards as high as her child's hands could reach.
***

Vinka tossed again in the little bunk of her hidden room, her hand coming to rest on the little knife that had been placed at her side.

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kartikeya200 (Knight) 10/8/2006 4:53 PM EST : RE: The Long Night Following...
kartikeya200
Posts: 1329

Despair.

It was the first emotion Shard felt upon waking up the second night, and it was so overwhelming, even in this form, that all she could do was flatten her ears and curl her blunted claws against the ground, riding it out as she did the increasingly frequent shockwaves that had been occurring for the past few days.

She had hoped that a little bit of sleep, fitful as it turned out to be, might have dampened this feeling, but apparently it had only intensified.

Why? Shard demanded silently of the far wall. Why? /Why/?

Tunare was still protecting him. After everything he had done, and everything he intended to do, after 'freeing' himself of her, he could still use her power. He had healed the wound she'd caused him right before her eyes, and she had recognized that power, and that aura, because she had seen Xannis use it many times before, and because, deep down, it was intimately familiar, something she had known long before she had ever met Xannis.

Why?

A small logical part of her knew that it was ridiculous to react this way, but it felt like a personal betrayal, somehow far more personal than anything Xannis himself had done so far, as if, by healing him, she were emphasizing just how much more she valued him, even fallen, even like this, over Shard herself.

Ridiculous. Tunare didn't personally dip down every single time Xannis used her healing. She certainly hadn't done it this time.

She was still granting him power though. Power that Shard had only ever felt a fragment of in her younger days. Power that she had taken away from her a long time ago.

And a tiny, tiny part of her admitted, if only silently and only to herself, that she had hoped Xannis had lost that power with his change for reasons far more personal and selfish than simply making it easier to fight him.

Why? Why is he so special to you? Don't you care about the rest of us?


Was Tosta right after all?

The wolf bared her teeth at the unresponsive wall and curled her head inward, against the bed. She could both feel and hear Vinka shifting in her sleep, tossing and turning as she had infrequently for the past twenty four hours. She waited, utterly still, until the movement ceased.

One moment.

Two.

No, Shard decided, she wasn't waking up yet. Not yet.

Not yet.

Wake up, Vinka, Shard found herself willing, even as she settled back and sought sleep again. Wake up. I don't know what to trust anymore.

Characters: Shard Ipaku Safe Neldari Ouroboros
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Vinka Silentfist (Potential) 10/8/2006 6:00 PM EST : RE: The Long Night Following...

Vinka Silentfist
Posts: 1206

Vinka's eyes opened slowly, her hands moving to the spot at the bottom of her ribcage where her own knife had entered her.  There was no scar--they must have had a proper healer at her, instead of just a monk's mendings.  It didn't hurt, and her body had mostly managed to recover the blood it had spilt on the ground in front of her alter.  Vaguely she remembered a woman trying to heal the stab wound, Meeku's mending taking care of the internal damage she had missed, and Arinanth holding a bowl of broth to her lips.  She felt empty, hollow.  Her hand traveled listlessly to the spot at her side where her dagger should be--surprise taking her for a moment when she felt a hilt in the palm of her hand.  It only lasted a moment though.  There was no sense of security when her hand touched this knife, no promise of protection, no reassuring flow of power.  A glance told her the knife was Shards, and the warmth of thankfullness for the thought behind the gesture, despite its inadequacy, warmed the edges of the cold hollow mass where her insides were supposed to be.  She rolled onto her side, and her hand came into contact with the shaggy wolf fur that guarded her, gripping it tightly between her desperate fingers.

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kartikeya200 (Knight) 10/8/2006 6:16 PM EST : RE: The Long Night Following...
kartikeya200
Posts: 1329

The sound of movement teased her ears and pulled at her groggy consciousness. Shard brought her thoughts slowly, reluctantly to the surface.

The squeak of bedsprings. But she couldn't smell anyone but herself, Vinka, and the faint trace of Arinanth, and so she sunk almost immediately back toward the long sought for sleep. Vinka was tossing and turning again. That was all.

A hand gripped the fur at the base of her neck. Shard's ears snapped forward, her muscles tensed and tightened like a ready spring, even though her eyes remained stubbornly closed.

But the touch was familiar, and a moment later, with a rumbling almost-growl of acknowledgment--and gratitude to whoever had decided to listen to her silent request, be it Vinka or higher powers--she turned her nose toward the arm that was attached to the hand, sniffed once, and then bumped her head against it.

I'm here.

Characters: Shard Ipaku Safe Neldari Ouroboros
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Vinka Silentfist (Potential) 10/8/2006 6:38 PM EST : RE: The Long Night Following...

Vinka Silentfist
Posts: 1206

The hand was soon followed by a head, leaning heavily across the wolf's neck, face buried in Shard's fur, and then both arms wrapped around the thick neck.  She didn't say anything. 

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kartikeya200 (Knight) 10/8/2006 6:47 PM EST : RE: The Long Night Following...
kartikeya200
Posts: 1329

Shard's tail thumped heavily against the bedside table's legs. It was meant to be reasurring, or maybe it was simply a reaction on her part to the embrace, such as it was.

Her eyes were still closed, and after a moment her ears lowered back into a more relaxed position, though they still twitched now and then, reacting to noises so quiet that even wolf ears could barely pick them up.
Characters: Shard Ipaku Safe Neldari Ouroboros
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Vinka Silentfist (Potential) 10/8/2006 7:10 PM EST : RE: The Long Night Following...

Vinka Silentfist
Posts: 1206

Vinka was quiet for a long time.  When she finally does speak up, her voice is quiet and empty-sounding.  "Shard?" she asks, as the wolf's head turns to look up at her and lick the back of her hand.

"Where did Meeku go?  When is he coming back?"

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kartikeya200 (Knight) 10/8/2006 7:15 PM EST : RE: The Long Night Following...
kartikeya200
Posts: 1329

Shard's response was simple--and likely predictable. She pulled her upper lip briefly away from her teeth and growled long and low. Irritable. Annoyed.

I don't know. To talk to the monks.
Characters: Shard Ipaku Safe Neldari Ouroboros
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Vinka Silentfist (Potential) 10/8/2006 7:22 PM EST : RE: The Long Night Following...

Vinka Silentfist
Posts: 1206

Vinka's voice was quiet as she lay her head back down on the wolf's neck.  "Oh."


"...is everyone else okay?"

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