Chapter 4 - Part 2

For a moment, the crying continued, ever louder, causing Alceren to gently lower his force, telling her with a gentle voice, with a simple sound, to be calm, in the same way that a father or mother might calm a weary child; the quiet S and H, now paired, produced a sound that fought its way through the cries, until it echoed in Alyxandra’s ears.

It was as this happened that the crying and the tears began to subside, dying in Alyxandra’s throat, replaced with a gentle sigh as the nightmares escaped through her lips, her eyelids stopped their shaking and her mouth was closed, causing her face to appear serene, as it should in sleep. As this happened, her body fell back slightly, her back resting on the bedding and her head now caressed by the down-filled pillow.

Alceren, with his other hand, carefully moved her hands, so that they lay on her stomach, and finally, removed his hand from her forehead. Stepping back, now drowning in the silence, Alceren smiled, in a sort of half-gasp that spoke of his relief. It was thus, leaving Alyxandra to her first peaceful sleep since the death of her parents, that Alceren retired to his room, and was overcome by a similar peace. We may know it ourselves, as it stemmed from the warmth we receive when we help one another. It was with this inner peace that Alceren too left the waking world, and the insobriety in the rooms beneath, for a a dreamless slumber, an expression of calm upon his face.

That night, Alyxandra had in sleep, relived that fateful day, as she had done for years. But it was when Alceren entered and placed his hand upon her, that the fires had suddenly faded, protecting her parents from the ensuing flame, and gave her a peace that she had not known for a long time, as she held her parents in her arms, as they were forged in her memories, and laughed, and smiled. As they emerged unscathed from the wreckage, crying with joy, a figure appeared, smiling beneath its cowl. Despite its veiled face, the Alyxandra of her own dreams recognised the figure, running over as fast as her legs would take her. She flung her arms around him, and, with her emotions now free to run their own course, she began to cry into his chest, saying,

“Thank you, Alceren, for saving us. For saving me.” With his eyes now visible, that same faint blue as outside the realm of her dreams, he tentatively returned the embrace, placing his hands gently upon her back. It was in this moment, that even in sleep, Alyxandra was filled with warmth and comfort and, for the first time for many months, she felt safe.

*

In the early hours of the morning, the hungry night clinging to her power, determined not to relinquish it until the last possible moment, the last revelers left The Overfilled Flagon, on the rowdy side of merry, performing an awkward dance over the cobbles, singing loudly, and out of tune. There were three of them there; a now resolved William and Gideon, and an Elven fellow, who went by the name of Melodicus, although many people guessed, and were correct, when they suggested that it was not his real name. His real name was Peridus, a self-proclaimed bard and master of the written word. However, he was as yet unsuccessful, especially in his recitals, for his voice was abnormally high and his language abnormally ornate. However, in their drunken state, he had acquired two new appreciators of his work; each piece had drawn bawdy laughter from their lips and haphazard applause from their preoccupied hands. They slowly and spasmodically made their way through the street, belittling the poor dwarf, as he attempted to make up for his short stature with his long and winding tales from his fishing village home, on the north coast, called Faimoor. He had reached the level of drunkenness at which he now ignored the barrage of insults. William now leant upon Gideon’s head, finding that the dwarf proved good company for those found challenged by insobriety. As they walked, Peridus mused, seeking a new work with which he would be revered as one of the lone voices in the Dark Years of Yalandir’s existence; Perhaps an epic poem, they have proved popular in the past? Peridus thought, or something along those lines - his words were skewed with the effects of wine. It was thus, that our three musketeers, united by their love of drink, made their way further down the road, unaware of the pair of dark eyes peering through the trees, framed by hair like dried mud, or rotting wood, unaware of deep scar across the right eye. There was a rustle in the bushes. The three of them turned, saw the leaves shaking, and chose to ignore it; the eyes retreated into the shadows, and disappeared from view, leaving the area to temporary peace, in its silence.

The End

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