Khaell (prime)/The Woman

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Approaching the street, Khaell stopped just within the confines of an alleyway. It was dark and overcast; no moons or starlight were visible through the clouded sky. Small lights adorned the buildings, presumably so that people could recognize the buildings at night. Lit torches placed strategically here and there helped to dot the city in a dull warm glow, allowing guards to keep a watchful eye for intruders, as the last few people hurried home.

It was late. While in daylight, Khaell could move freely but the city would be bustling with people, and large crowds tended to make him anxious to get away. At night it was quieter, with less people to deal with. Guards were the only issue, as they constantly would stop Khaell, since not many wandered the streets at night except drunks and thieves. Their constant harassment temporarily made him stop and wonder if he would rather deal with the crowds of people during the day instead. No, this had to be done with the solemness of night.

Glancing down the street, he finally found the house he was looking for and started to move towards it. A house constructed of plain white stone within a richer sector of the town stood before him. A large singular column with a sign of the family mark hung under a sputtering lamp, about to go dark. Standing before the house, Khaell stared intently at the door, as the previous day’s events rose to his mind.

The image welled strongly within Khaell’s mind. The woman’s eyes stared blankly up in the sky, for no life shown from within. A spear had been routed through her back, coming out her chest, snatching the life from within. Her face contorted in agony, desperate to scream, yet one that would never escape her lips. Blood drenched her left arm from a wound that had shattered it, rendering it useless.

Khaell had taken the road many times, but this time he had been tasked with protecting someone else, far less experienced, through the mountain pass and onto Icemule. She seemed extremely young to be making such a trek, probably had elvish blood mixed into her family line generations past, and now just a youthfulness trait that seems to follow all elves. She was visiting someone on a business run, her family having sent a formal request for an escort through the township of Wehnimer’s Landing.

The way had been fine at first. Daeritha, the woman, was from a lower class of nobles, probably merchants. Polite, she did not speak much, probably just as afraid of Khaell as she was of most strangers. While the trek had started easily enough, once through the Danjirland small pricks started along his neck as if to warn of danger. Khaell spent hours searching, listening, scouting, yet could not discern anything. Daeritha had pleaded with him several times that she was in a hurry, and that her trip was of importance. There was nothing there that would show danger, yet it lurked deep in his mind. This trail was often taken by many and was generally safe as far as physical challenges went. However, it was also known to harbor monsters such as trolls, giants, and ogres as well as bandits trying to get rich quickly by ambushing travelers and adventurers alike.

Banishing the image and collecting his thoughts, Khaell took a deep breath before taking out a simple piece of fabric from his pockets, a swathe of light blue spidersilk, cut from the clothing worn on Daeritha. Gently rubbing the fabric between his fingers, Khaell removed a signet ring and tied the cloth to it, before also removing a crest taken from one of the bandits. Placing these items gently on the ground in front of the door, Khaell turned and walked away. Only when he was hidden alongside another building did he bend over, pick up some small pebbles, and lightly hurl them at the door.

Under the cover of shadows, Khaell watched as the door to the house opened, and a figure poke out. A muffled cry came from the figure, obviously a reaction to the relics placed at the foot of the door. “At least they will know what happened today, and not weeks later”, Khaell thought to himself. The township was known to be slow at letting families know when things did not go accordingly. As a woman sobbed, Khaell turned around and continued down the path, ducking into a side-street so as not to be noticed by the grieving family.

After a while Khaell found himself at the doors to the great temple. Moving inside, Khaell bypassed the priest inside, moving towards a plain, unadorned altar. As he stepped, his pace quickened, hastily drawing his sword and coming to kneel before the altar, his head resting upon the flat of his blade. “Ronan” he begged, “I have begged you for help and yet you have refrained from assisting, why?” Khaell asked, in a quiet voice rising with anger. “Why, why do you show me paths I must take that lead to so much pain? Could you not have intervened, or guided me so as to protect her?” For many hours Khaell knelt by the altar, priests and clerical staff from the temple walking by momentarily to stare at him as he spoke quietly, as a madman would if he was arguing with himself. After collecting his thoughts, Khaell finally stood up, staring intently upon the altar. Sheathing his blade, Khaell walked out of the temple, to find sleep, though only nightmares would visit him.