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Border Crossing

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1 Border Crossing on Sun Dec 27, 2015 10:42 pm

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"You're late." Baralai Fairchild despised the rain, almost as much as he despised mages. He was waiting at one of the bridges that crossed the river that in turn divided the two largest kingdoms in their land. It was the same bridge where he had waited countless times. Templar or no, gold was gold, and this gold also got rid of troublesome mages.
"You want the gold or not?" A black clad man snarled as he jumped down gracefully from his equally black steed.
Baralai muttered something rather unbecoming of a Templar, then held a gloved hand out. "Gold first, then the cargo. Try anything..." He words were cut off as the mage he was transporting broke free of his restraints. It all happened so quickly that he didn't see the flash of lightning and the proud Templar was crashing into the raging river below.
Six months. It had been six months and the fallen Templar still woke in a cold sweat after dreaming of that night. The mage had rendered him immobile, though wide awake when he had plunged into the river, his heavy armour weighing him down until a pig farmer had dragged him from the river several miles away. It had taken months to get back to health and pay back the farmer for his kindness. In that time word had gotten out that Fairchild the Templar was a deserter.

Alice Gormanghast was scowling into the mirror. She hated this world she had been born into, even now as her maid pulled tightly on the laces of her dress she thought of nothing but a way to escape. Her brother's were all war heroes, famous to everyone in the kingdom for their brave deeds and triumph in defeating several of the dragons. But Alice... All she was known for was to be the prize her father handed over to the man he deemed brave enough to end the war altogether. She was the proverbial Princess in the tower, useful only for luring in prospective suitors. The young brunette didn't even realise her rose coloured lips were quirked into a slight smile 'if only they knew'. Indeed, her father would have a literal heart attack if he knew his prized daughter had secretly been learning how to shoot a bow and handle a sword. She lost herself for hours at an end in books that told of the thieves guild, and their mysterious leader who was sometimes known to have a higher moral code than the knights of their kingdom.

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121 Re: Border Crossing on Fri Jan 15, 2016 9:58 pm

Baralai groaned and robbed a hand over his face. "Then you're fine with them burning you alive?"

This finally had Alice's attention. "I don't understand." She confessed. "He... was beaten, just so he could marry me?"

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122 Re: Border Crossing on Fri Jan 15, 2016 11:06 pm

"It's basically what the dragon plans to do to me. Yes?" Yena countered her nose still painfully close to Baralai's. "You don't seem to mind that. Are you afraid that might think you're one too?" 

Again the little elf seemed to get mysterious. She gave a secret smile and shook her head. "You'll need to ask him when he arrives, won't you?"

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123 Re: Border Crossing on Fri Jan 15, 2016 11:25 pm

Baralai smiled at the thought of being considered such a thing. "Such nonsense inside that head, not that I'm surprised with so much space in there." He mused.

Alice was shaking her head again. "Kane told me he offered the King a great deal of coin just to have me for himself, but he was denied. Why would my father reject that offer for the pathetic satisfaction of beating another man?" She asked, though was now chewing on her thumbnail in a manner not very becoming of a princess.

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124 Re: Border Crossing on Sat Jan 16, 2016 5:13 pm

"You're just jealous." Yena told him with a soft giggle. She kissed the tip of his nose and stepped back as the inn keeper's wife entered with her cake. 

"You don't know much about your father do you?" The elf asked. "He is a cruel man if I ever saw one. He deals heavily in slave trade."

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125 Re: Border Crossing on Sat Jan 16, 2016 7:16 pm

The feather light kiss had surprised Baralai, who was left speechless as the elder woman returned, again ignoring him to plonk down a rather large cake in front of Yena.

"Slave trade? You mean the servants?" Alice asked, having been naive enough to think the staff in the palace were actually paid for their work.

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126 Re: Border Crossing on Sat Jan 16, 2016 7:28 pm

The tiny elf seemed to  have regained her appetite as she saw the cake. She thanked the elder woman several times and dug in. Lifting her her long enough to offer Baralai a bite.

"Your father purchased me and my sister when we were babes. He never gave us anything but a beating. Anaris bought me from the king after finding me lying almost dead, protecting what was left of my sister's body." The young woman whispered. "The old man paid me with death and misery I guess you could say."

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127 Re: Border Crossing on Sat Jan 16, 2016 7:59 pm

Baralai actually ate some of the cake offered up to him, licking the buttercream from Yena's fingers, simply to get a rise from her.

Though she was probably not meaning to, the elf had only managed to make Alice feel even more of an idiot that she had felt before. "Excuse me..." Se was pushing past the other woman now, suddenly barely able to breathe.

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128 Re: Border Crossing on Sun Jan 17, 2016 12:24 am

Yena simply raised an eyebrow and smiled at him, her crimson eyes glittering. "I do hope that wasn't poisoned, my darling." She purred, turning back to the elder woman. She knew how he felt about mages and by the way he'd called her knife ear the day before she was guessing he didn't care for elves either.

"Your room is to the right." The young woman called after her. "Your clothes and a bath are waiting! I'll let you know when Anaris gets here." She was already turning the other way. She'd been prepared for the princess to reject her words and was not disappointed.

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129 Re: Border Crossing on Sun Jan 17, 2016 8:58 am

Baralai seemed to genuinely be worrying about this as he simply sat there staring down at the table. The Templar was a little confused by his behavior of late and was beginning to wonder if Yena hadn't used magic on him.

Inside her room Alice was pacing, whilst still chewing on her thumb nail. Had she really been so stupidly blind? It explained the number of people who had waited on her father's every wish, but suddenly she felt dirty. She had unknowingly been a part of it all every time she had been helped to dress, served dinner, even spoken to.

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130 Re: Border Crossing on Sun Jan 17, 2016 1:33 pm

It was later that evening when inn keeper came to him, wondering if they were planning to stay another night. Yena had been gone for the largest portion of the day, helping the man's wife around the inn.

Anaris took his time traveling home. He was hoping to give Alice time to recover before he came to her, begging for help. Especially after what she had been through.

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131 Re: Border Crossing on Sun Jan 17, 2016 4:29 pm

"No, I'm afraid we have somewhere to be." Baralai replied, though didn't elaborate on where. "We have already stayed longer than we should." The Templar was watching the inn keeper, seemingly looking for some sign that he suspected they were not who they said.

Alice hadn't put on any of the dresses that had been left for her, instead she had dug through the trunks that had been brought with her belongings in until she found the clothes she had been wearing when she had tried to escape the palace the night before her wedding. She didn't want to be a princess, sometimes she didn't even want to be a woman, all she wanted was to be free.

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132 Re: Border Crossing on Sun Jan 17, 2016 6:10 pm

"I see. Your wife seems to have left ahead of you. My wife told me to tell you this earlier but I'm afraid I have been quite busy. She said you wouldn't want to see her mother so I didn't think much of it." The man said with a smile. 

Anaris didn't make a show of his arrival. He even avoided Reglan though he knew she would want to see his wounds. He went to his room and tumbled onto his bed, not even bothering to get beneath the sheets.

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133 Re: Border Crossing on Sun Jan 17, 2016 6:37 pm

"What?!" All good nature left Baralai's honey coloured eyes as he surged to his feet. "You elt her go out there alone?!" He added, masking his anger as worry for his 'wife'.

It hadn't been hard for Alice to find Anaris's room before he had gotten home. The dark haired woman was simply sat in the large chair in the corner, a book in her lap as she had waited for his arrival. She had assumed there would be things they needed to discuss, and wanted it out of the way as soon as possible. The princess hasn't for a second thought her new husband would simply collapsed onto his bed.

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134 Re: Border Crossing on Sun Jan 17, 2016 7:56 pm

"She is an elf...she assured my wife she knew the woods..." the old man said quickly. "She said she was going straight to her mother."

Anaris hadn't slept in days. He had never been so tired in all his life. He let his guard down and began to snore, thinking he was completely alone.

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135 Re: Border Crossing on Sun Jan 17, 2016 8:07 pm

"Her mother wishes her dead!" Baralai blurted as he quickly began gathering up his weapons from where he had been concealing the from the inn owners.

Alice quietly set her book down and began removing Anaris's boots before moving onto his shirt. It was then she got a closer look at the marks on his back he had been trying to keep hidden back at the palace.

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136 Re: Border Crossing on Sun Jan 17, 2016 9:32 pm

"Oh my...I am so very sorry." The inn keeper said, backing himself to the wall and holding up his hands in fear. "Please....dont...kill us..."

Anaris moaned softly when the cool fingers brushed his skin. He wasn't used to the way it felt to have a kind hand touch him. 
The marks on his back were angry and infected. It was a wonder he wasn't sick and dying.

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137 Re: Border Crossing on Sun Jan 17, 2016 10:18 pm

"What?" Baralai was frowning at the innkeeper, not realising he was waving his sword around like a madman. "Why would I..." He glanced to his hand, then sighed heavily. "No, you misunderstand. I am a Templar."

"You silly man..." Alice murmured, before disappearing to the bathroom and returning with some hot water and a washcloth the clean the angry wounds.

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138 Re: Border Crossing on Mon Jan 18, 2016 10:38 am

The old man was still shaking his head. "I don't want trouble. Please...just go. The room...the food...all of it free...just...go...I'm so sorry about the elf...please...I have a family..."

"Alice..."Anaris murmured her name but stayed where he was. A rogue strand of hair tumbled unto his face but he continued to snore, not even stirring.

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139 Re: Border Crossing on Mon Jan 18, 2016 6:03 pm

"I was taking her across the border, if something happens to her... you will have cost me a pretty penny!" though he seemed angry, it was all a show. He would never hurt the man or his family.

Alice sighed quietly, feeling more than responsible for what had happened. "You should have stayed away, you silly fool." She murmured, wringing out the wash cloth before picking up a fresh one to dab at the infection around the wound.

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140 Re: Border Crossing on Mon Jan 18, 2016 7:52 pm

"Please just go! You will never find her standing here! Take my horse if you need to!" The old man cried. "Just leave!" He scrambled to leave the powerful man alone in the room, running to find and hide his own wife.

"Reglan...I told you to leave it be..." Anaris grunted, finally opening one eye. "I'm all right." He tried to swat away his caretaker and push to a different position. "I need to talk to Alice..."

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141 Re: Border Crossing on Mon Jan 18, 2016 8:08 pm

It was still raining. Baralai was already soaked as the horse pushed on, and all the while he was cursing that damn knife ear. He should have known better than to drop his guard for even a second.

"What for?" Alice asked curiously, keeping her face out of Anaris's line of sight. "I would think she had caused you enough trouble already."

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142 Re: Border Crossing on Mon Jan 18, 2016 8:28 pm

Yena was running as hard as she could, her energy renewed by the food she'd eaten. She was careful to leave no trace behind her as she buried herself in the trees. She had to get away from the Templar. It was more the strange way he made her feel as much as the fact that he planned to sell her like livestock. 

"That's not like you." Anaris whispered, again trying to sit up. "You know my feelings for her. She is no trouble. She never has been. The girl is innocent and beautiful. She deserves her freedom as much as any of them do."

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143 Re: Border Crossing on Mon Jan 18, 2016 9:17 pm

Baralai had also been concerned by the way Yena had made him feel, or more correctly, the fact she had made him feel anything at all. He wanted to brush it aside and attribute it to magic, but something simply wouldn't allow it. He had tied the horse to a tree now and was on feet in the trees looking for any trace of magic.

"Maybe you give her too much credit." Alice breathed, a warm hand gently pressing against Anaris to keep him lying down.

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144 Re: Border Crossing on Mon Jan 18, 2016 10:03 pm

He wouldn't find traces of magic but he would find traces of blood on a nearby tree. Yena had been slapped in the face by a branch and it had torn into her skin, leaving angry welts on her usually smooth cheeks. She was not far from him now, dazed and exhausted, hiding beneath big leaves. 

"You always say that." Anaris laughed softly. "I don't understand why you are so cautious of her. The fact that she has magic like the those we help from Feralden shouldn't worry you as much as it seems to. Now, leave me be. The wounds will heal. You'll see."

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145 Re: Border Crossing on Mon Jan 18, 2016 10:21 pm

Baralai touched the blood, finding it still fresh as he glanced around. He could see snapped twigs and a few leaves that had been knocked from the branch. "Yena... I know you're here. Your blood is going to attract worse things than me, you know."

Alice suddenly pulled her fingers back, surprised that Anaris seemed to know the secret she had been hiding from even her own family. "I think you must be mistaken, Sire. Only a Feralden can use magic."

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146 Re: Border Crossing on Tue Jan 19, 2016 1:22 pm

Yena said nothing, her fingers twitching as she held tight to the leaf over her head. She wished she had something to hit the big man with. He was backing her toward a set of impenetrable trees whether he knew it or not. The feeling of being trapped was overwhelming.

Anaris opened one eye, tipped off by her words. Reglan knew as well as he did that magic was prevalent in places other than Feraldan. 
Alice possessed a particularly powerful kind that her own people would pay dearly for. He just needed her to believe in that as much as he did. "My dear old woman," he said finally. "Don't discount her people. They are worth no less than we are."

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147 Re: Border Crossing on Tue Jan 19, 2016 6:20 pm

Baralai no longer seemed to care that he was soaked through, all he saw was the mage that would buy his way back into the order. "I need only wait until the animals find you, lovely." He warned, almost certain he could hear the tremble of leaves.

Alice snorted at this, rolling her eyes in belief that Anaris couldn't see her. "Her people are narrow minded fools, anyone with eyes in their head can see that."

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148 Re: Border Crossing on Tue Jan 19, 2016 8:18 pm

The closer he got the more Yena felt like running. She was beginning to breathe hard, her chest already on fire. She was tired. She wouldn't get far but she had to try. She could smell him now, that rich sandalwood and summer rain was overwhelming her. 

"They are narrow minded but not fools, my dear lady. We both have been on the receiving end often enough to know that." Anaris said softly. "The dread wolf curse us but we must be careful. I want so very much to keep Alice safe." He added, forgetting himself for a moment. "I have watched over her for so long now..."

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149 Re: Border Crossing on Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:41 am

Baralai closed his eyes, able to hear that little heart pounding twice as fast as it usually did. "Or is that your plan? To sit here waiting for the dread wolf to take you back?"

Alice couldn't help herself as she lay down behind Anaris, just close enough to feel the heat from his skin through her own clothing. "But Sire... Why that princess? there are so many others."

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150 Re: Border Crossing on Wed Jan 20, 2016 7:01 am

Yena closed her eyes, her fingers gripping the dirt beneath her hands. Once he was close enough she threw a handful of it into his eyes and exploded out of the trees. The same branch caught her shoulder, tearing at her clothing. She didn't stop or look back, she didn't dare. 

"Reglan, I'm starting to worry about you." The dark haired elf chuckled. "You never as ( so many questions. Especially not when you already know the answer very well."

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