A final visit (Talia, p. 109)

She stood at the top of the hill, windswept snow clung to the lifeless trees around her taking on the form of frigid stands of spun cotton or sun bleached wool.  She pulled her cloak closer, a shield against the chill.  She could not remember the last time she had visited her clearing.  She could not remember why she had returned now.  There was nothing of the warmth she once knew.  Trees lay toppled and barren, half covered by drifts of snow.  Other than the wind, nothing stirred.

She walked down the hill and as she approached the clearing, even the wind seemed to die, leaving a hollow silence behind.  There were no visitors.  No motion.  Nothing to indicate another’s passing in the countless months since she last set foot here.  And there she stood, bathed in silence, and time seemed to move on without her.

After a long while, she spoke.  “There is nothing for me here.”  Her voice sounded foreign to her in the crisp air.  “Nothing at all.”

“You’ve stopped searching.”  Came a whisper in reply.

She opened her eyes, her gaze fixed on the empty white center of the clearing.  “I found all there was. Beyond the bridge lay only ruins.  She was no longer there.”

“But if not there, she must be somewhere.”  The whisper was closer now.  She did not move.  “and if somewhere…”  the whisper said, warm breath brushed lightly against her ear.  “… then she can be found.”

She turned her head slightly.  The pale smooth skin of the other filling her vision.  Her own voice hushed to match the whisper.  “Where would you have me look?”

The pale face smiled.  “If you have found nothing where you have searched…”  red lips lowered and gently kissed her neck,  “then you must search where you have not.”

She stood there, motionless, waiting.  The whisper returned to her ear, its warmth leaving the rest of her chilled.

“But if you search, be wary of what you find.”  The voice and the warmth faded.  She turned, looking about, but she was alone.  Only the desolate trees an audience to her.  She placed her hand to the lingering warmth on her neck.  Her fingers felt a wetness and when she lifted them away they were stained with small drops of blood.

Isanien, pt. 23

*written with a quick and heavy hand, the red smearing across the page, the anger of the words burning. Even one that could not read the dark script would sense the hatred reaching towards them and shudder.*

BETRAYED!!

They knew we were coming! The path was open before me and once inside they closed the net. They had received word of our coming. The very troops that were sent to aid in taking the city fought against me. One that knew of our plan spoke with the humans. The army the Matron sent to me was useless! USELESS! She has let her people grow weak on the surface! They are hardly worthy of being called Drow. Once the surface is taken there must be a cleansing!

And what of Garet’s arrival? He stepped out of the inn as if on a stroll. No surprise at what he was seeing. No reluctance at what he had done. He watched me. Mocked me! He coerced me onto the water, when I should have stayed and claimed the land. He is as much to blame as any of them. He denies it, but I am sure that Inioch sent him. Szordrin was a fool to share so much with them. Or perhaps he retains a fondness for the priestess I found him with. He knew… everything. He still hides under the pale skin of an elf, and Garet says she now does the same. His favors… his powers at her disposal. They all plot against me.

It is no longer safe to travel openly on the surface. The human tribes are united, for the while. Like a three headed serpent it slithers around the island, choking whatever it finds.