Jul 24

Hide Your Fires X [Finale]

I wasn’t sure if The Six or the Spirits of the Norn or The Eternal Alchemy that the asura claimed governed the world held sway over any part of Tyria, much less the weather, but the storms that pushed back my departure for weeks and weeks almost felt planned. It felt as though the moment I had made my decision to leave the mountains themselves had decided I would not.

The snows had piled up, rising to surround the lodge and put into question just how well stocked my mentor’s home was. It would have been an ignominious end to starve to death, snowed in, only to be discovered weeks or months or even years later. It wasn’t infrequently that I found myself wondering who would find our frozen corpses first – the Order of Whispers or the few traders that Elsif did irregular business with.

My mentor hadn’t seemed concerned, but then it was becoming increasingly difficult to read her. I had only her voice and her actions to work from, with no other eyes it was impossible to see her facial expressions or gauge what her long silences meant. But she’d grown more distant. Her moods more erratic.

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Jul 14

The Eternal Blade Saga Book 2, Chapter 10: Refuge

There wasn’t enough time to recognize what exactly had come barreling towards us before it knocked me down on my back with the wind knocked out of my lungs. I remembered seeing a flash of something flesh-colored before the icy ground rushed up to meet me. Craning my neck back, I tried to catch a glimpse of what had come through, but it had already disappeared into the darkness of the tunnel. My head pounded from the collision with the ground and my ears were ringing, but I thought I heard the sharp sound of Quint’s bowstring. Coughing and forcing air back into my lungs, I picked up the torch resting on the ground and scrambled to my feet with my axe clutched tightly in my other hand.

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Jul 13

Hide Your Fires IX

The frigid evening wind drove The Mourn Knight’s torches to flicker as the mercenaries gathered around the edge of the forest. I watched through Elsif’s eyes as their leader approached us, her own torch crackling in the night.

“Elsif Vremmekind, I want to thank you for your hospitality once again,” Ciani said formally, her eyes glinting from the recesses of her cowl. “It makes me glad to know that your people, more than mine it seems, seem to understand the benefits of such generosity.”

“You made me aware of and assisted in the purging of a blight close to my home,” Elsif returned. “I consider us more than even.” Ciani nodded.

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Jun 30

The Eternal Blade Saga Book 2, Chapter 9: Beneath the Ice

I pulled myself out of bed early the next morning and gave my back a good stretch. The beds in the rooms set aside for weary travelers at Twinspur Haven were not quite the same quality as my bed back at the hall. They were constructed as a simple wooden frame, but sturdy. The mattresses were thinly stuffed with straw, feathers, and other scraps of unidentifiable materials that I didn’t want to think about. However, the furs covering my mattress were soft and warm, and I managed to get a decent night’s sleep for once.

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Jun 26

Hide Your Fires VIII

 

I leaned to the left, avoiding the enormous arrow the norn archer sent my way and swung my greatsword around, energy crackling along the length of the weapon. My beam caught the Son of Svanir square in the chest, breaking his bow into pieces and sent him tumbling back. His vision went dark, and I marveled at my new strength – while my actual weapon was still crude and bulky, my execution was something I was becoming more and more pleased with. This was the first time I’d had a chance to use it against real targets. Targets that fought back.

We’d struck the Svanir camp shortly after nightfall, Elsif and I both agreeing to come with The Mourn Knights, though I suspected my mentor had come more out of curiosity as to the methods of Ciani’s men than any real bloodlust. With their apparent reputation, I could hardly blame her for that.

And they had not disappointed.

The sentries had been silenced in a feat of near perfectly synchronous killing. The next death had been a half-asleep zealot relieving himself against a tree, then the Knights had moved their way quietly into the camp and started by clamping heavy cloths over mouths before knives entered hearts.

Nearly a dozen of the Svanir were dead before the alarm was sounded, and then Ciani and the remainder of her troops moved in. They swept into the cave with a smooth, military precision. No roars, no shouts, not till the battle was joined.

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