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Posted by on 1999 Nov 24 |

Dullen Speaks To Darkensi

(Crossing, Zoluren: Skullcleaver 359)

Stinging as if a thousand hornets lit upon my arms, the day’s battles still foggy in my mind, I sought refuge from the crowd that gathered around the river bank upon which Darkensi stood.

Calm and quiet; for that I would have given my blade. Inhaling softly, I leaned back, tensing my muscles in wait for the cold grass that lay behind and under me.

PANIC, Shiichhhhkkk, the hard leather pushed back against my clutches, my feet now firm on the ground. Uneasy, I studied the horizon, but only grass swayed back at me. Then suddenly a voice came to me. Like daisy petals on the wind it whispered, "Come if you wish to speak with me, for my time grows short and I must hunt soon."

As if from thin air he appeared with a grin and a nod, he moved through a hole in the ground; a grace like I had never seen.

Following but worried, I stepped into the makeshift cave. There crouched upon the ground sat a muscular feline like creature, at easy, but I knew in my mind by the shape of his body, that he could be on his feet and in battle in seconds.

I began at once, my sword drawn smoothly. He glanced at me, I saw his muscles tighten in readiness.

"I .. Offer my sword as a promise that this shall be a peaceful talk." I was shaking, but starting to get a grip on my fear as smoothly as I could. I handed the hilt of my blade toward him.

"No, I do not collect them like the non-fur bearers" came a smooth voice, quiet but confident, and I couldn’t help but notice the corners of his mouth turn up, though I knew not whether in amusement or in surprise. His tail made a quiet lazy movement through the air and I noticed his hand reach into a bag behind him and pull out a bloody leg.

I couldn’t help but notice the boot; it was Perana’s leg. I had led the charge that got him killed, my heart grew a bit heavy, but I knew I had to get this over with and a least try to show strength.

"Is there any way i can help you or your people?" I asked, easing my way toward a nearby rock.

"You have questions for me?" he glanced at me quickly.

"A few," and inhaling deeply, i began. "What do you know of Marstan?"

Unease crossed his face, and he studied the ground a second before turning to me "He is a Necromancer. That speaks for itself," then glancing back down he added, "his other is one of the dead."

"Vaxin?" i jumped at the question to learn about the sorcerer.

"Something to that effect," he nodded slowly.

"He seeks the papers?" I asked, excitement growing.

"I know not what the one wants," he frowned.

"What is the book you seek?" I glanced at Darkensi. I couldn’t help but notice how he was always on guard, moving quietly to the left or right as I shifted, my weight. On guard, but very confident. He did not fear my presence there, even though I am known to have survived many battles.

"It is the book of the stone," his tailing was now making big loops in the air behind him, I could tell he grew impatient.

"The Zaulfung?" I asked.

Nodding, he glanced at me for a second then added, "The book itself is something I cannot read, but Prayk can sense it if its close."

I glanced at him , apparently showing something I had not meant to for a grin crossed his face and he chuckled quietly to himself.

"The book is said to have silver insignias on the cover depicting the stone," he continued. "Though I do not know much outside of the mountain, we once hunted Theren to retrieve the Lord sorrows things."

Instantly his ears perked and he sniffed the air, then nonchalantly he turned his head to the opening and spoke aloud "Speak creature or sleep."

Wheeling around, I was surprised to see sitting in the very corner in a crevice was a gerbil, even I had not heard nor seen it come in.

"I am a friend," it squeaked, nodding, Darkensi turned to me, "I must go soon now i must hunt for my kits."

Standing stiffly, I turned to him and spoke in my best regal voice, "if you ever have need of a historian , or of advice on things beyond the mountains, come find this old ‘Tog, I have seen most lands up close, you have my respect, you have come across right in our meeting"

A sincere look crossed his face, he stood and looked upon me, "In time perhaps, I thank you for this." He looked me over again.

Extending my hand slowly toward him, I held it in place to shake his hand.

A very puzzled look came across his face, he stepped back and looked at me, then at his paw, then at my hand. He extended his hand toward mine in a like fashion.

I smiled and nodded, and spoke softly, "It’s a sign amongst non fur bearers of trust and friendship," and I took his hand and shook it.

Politely he shook mine back and smiled amusedly, "Something learned," and he turned to the door.

A voice echoed in my mind, the voice of Prayk saying, "Sadiaer you have permission to kill anyone who take his time leaving Lord sorrows land."

"I feel I must make haste now, remember my door is always open to you Darkensi." Bowing, I ran through the doorway and across the river, up the trail and past the tree, up the grassland and into the trail, stoping to lean on the marker. I turned and looked back across the lands that Sorrow hand claimed, and I knew that the time would come, that this would all come crashing together, and my heart grew sad for Darkensi, and his pride and the S’lai , and The people of the crossing.

A single thought in my mind, "Hard times are coming, old ‘Tog, hard times are coming."