Chapter 14 - Part 1

Once they entered Raiholt, they were met with the scent of sea-salt, caught on the gentle morning breeze and sent as a missive from the nearby oceans. There were many people, humans, elves and dwarves wandering through the streets between the rows of buildings.

The sound of footsteps was everywhere, the base layer of many sounds that intermingled into the symphony of town life - the sound of chatter and gossip could be heard above the footsteps, the wind blurring both sounds, and the cries of gulls filled the air as the circled the stalls and stands which filled the huge square, begging from afar for sustenance, to lazy to fly down to the the nearby watery fields from which they could harvest their meals.

As the group of them were soaking in the atmosphere of the town, Alyxandra pined inwardly for Eryvale, only thirty miles north and across the Aumere. They made their way through the streets, feeling as though they were no longer fighting men and women, but of the normal folk, the common elves who simply prayed that the ones who were brave enough, foolish enough, and even a mixture of the two, would fight to protect them and preserve their normality, the ebb and flow of their collective life. For a moment, Alyxandra was jealous of this predictability, the continuation of life untouched by war, and death and blood. She was drawn from her jealousy by Aveyna’s voice.

“I am leaving for a while, to walk upon the north wall, so that I may map out our positions onto the landscape when the time comes. Feel free to do as you wish until I return.” She turned to leave, and took a step, when she turned back a moment, adding, “Aranaytha, Yvellen - please, if you can help it, do not start a riot while I am gone.”

This half admonishment, half plea, caused Yvellen to chuckle under his breath while Aranaytha scowled, her face darkened and she bit her lip to prevent herself from saying anything that might offend Aveyna or any poor, sheltered soul that might be wandering nearby.

Telthar’rion, tired of carrying the ill-fitting weapons that had been temporarily bestowed to him, found Alyxandra and held out his arms, pleading with his shrouded eyes for her to take them back. Fortunately, Alyxandra could see his desires, and she took back her bow, quiver and sword, at once feeling more comfortable; she returned his staff, and a shadow of a smile appeared at his lips, as he too felt the complete wholeness of having his weapon in his hand.

The bond a warrior of all kinds has with their weapon may seem strange and worrying to those looking on from outside, but to those who understand, it is almost a partnership, a strange marriage, in which, by working together, understanding strengths and weaknesses, the two are able to overcome obstacles, protect those they love and deal with whatever threats come their way.

The End

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