Beyond Dominia: The Role Playing Mill: Departure

By Aerlin on Sunday, September 24, 2000 - 01:51 am:

(OOC: I stooped low enough to actually use my roommate's substandard connection to get online using AOL so I could post this. Anyhoo, I'm getting sick and tired of days going by between anyone posted, and it seems to have been that way since I moved rooms. Egad, just because I'm not able to perpetuate my stories as often as I'd like doesn't mean everyone else has to stop, and I don't need a lame excuse like "I'm busy with schoolwork" because I've been able to log online long enough to do anything I need to every single day for the past four years -except boot camp- regardless of having a school, job, or both. Come on and contribute already!! One more week and I'll be able to catch things up a bit better. -Elrohir)


September 15, 794 TR

Maraxus remained at the Galloping Stallion for a couple of days, but he remained uneasy. It was as if the spell Gandalf had used on him had not just sent him away, but also put a geas on him, to complete a task he had not yet figured out. He knew without fail that he was being used for some twisted scheme, but couldn't lay a finger on any proof.

Aerlin spent the time coming to grips with her situation. Something was coming, stealing life as it moved, bringing only death, and it was coming in her direction. She was concerned, and terrified in the same moment. With certainty, she knew it was coming for her and would not stop until it claimed her. There was her conundrum.

Half her spirit told her that she would do best to remain, because if it claimed her, it would stop. She didn't even know what it was. In contrast, she also wanted to flee, and escape certain death. Perhaps she would meet with her brother again. He had always been the better student, perhaps he would have come up with something. Surely it hunted him too?

But if she fled, those still here that were her friends would be in its path, and surely would perish if they remained. The instinct for survival was an overwhelming one, and it at last won her over. Many things had already died, and many more would die, regardless of what action she took. Being aware of the coming danger left her in the unsettling position of having the responsibility to do her part in stopping it, whatever it was. She could not let untold countless other deaths lie on her conscience.

Her mind at last convinced, she rose early in the morning and prepared herself for travel. She packed her belongings away that couldn't easily be moved, though she did not have much to begin with, and filled a travel bag with some clothes and rations. Finished, she went down to the common room. Maraxus was already there, for it was his custom to be up before dawn, and Em was with him, already serving breakfast to the early risers and morning stragglers.

Maraxus plainly read the newfound resolve on her face, and went to retrieve his things without saying a word. Also as silently, she called Em's attention, and met with her in the kitchen. Em already knew what was going on. She had seen the silent communion between Aerlin and Maraxus.

The two embraced, and each shed a few tears. "So you decided to go with Sir Maraxus, haven't you? I didn't think you'd reach a decision so soon, Aerlin."

Aerlin smiled at Em. "The decision was already there in my heart. I just had to make my mind accept it. It's something my father managed to teach me. I have knowledge of this sickness, and that gives me the power to try and find a way to deal with it. A responsibility. I spent so long helping my mother and never gave up, even when I thought I'd never be able to help her. Now something else comes along. I'm going to fight against it as hard as I fought for my mother's health. I may have failed her. I will not fail those who now rely on those fighting against this sickness. You understand?"

"Shush child. You don't need to explain. This is something you do to help your heart, and I can't argue with that. Edgir and I are too old to go with you, but we'll do what we can to get the word out here. You'll have a home here, regardless, Aerlin."

"Thanks, Em. That means a lot to me. I'll come back. I promise." They hugged once more, before Maraxus and Edgir appeared at the door.

"There you are, Lin. Edgir says he'll be glad to take us to the edge of the city. We'll have to get horses there."

Aerlin nodded. "Let's go before I change my mind about this."


The trip went quickly and silently between the three. An hour after dawn, Edgir had paid for two horses for Aerlin and Maraxus, and was bidding them fairwell.

"I'm sorry you couldn't stay longer, Aerlin. I figured it would only be a matter of time before destiny managed to pick you up and hasten you along for a ride." He smiled at her. "I might manage to get someone to fill your place at the Inn, but not to fill you place in our hearts. We'll both miss you, Em and me."

"I know, Edgir. I'll miss you both too. I'd better get going before I'm a sobbing mess," she smiled through her tears.

"Take this, girl. That big oaf may be imposing," he said, pushing a small sheathed dagger into her palm, "But he may not always be there when you need him, and I want to make sure you have some way to defend yourself."

"I heard that!" shouted Maraxus in mock anger. The three of them chuckled.

"Thanks again, Edgir. Hopefully I won't get it dirty." She kissed him on the cheek and jumped astride her horse.

They rode off with the rising sun behind them, blood red brightening into orange. Neither of them had any words to say. Aerlin was terrified of the decision she had made, and she withdrew into herself for much of the day, lost in her thoughts.

Maraxus had slipped into bodyguard fashion once more, his senses tending to the wind, hearing the noises of the wild, joining the environment as much as a human could. He knew he could better defend his neice if he could discern trouble before it reached them.

But there was something about Maraxus that frightened Aerlin nonetheless. She mulled it over in silence, once in a while taking furtive glances at him, though he remained unchanged. Or was he? She noticed new lines in his face. His skin was a darker color than it had been before her father had sent her away, tanned and dried by time in the elements.

He was older, she decided, though knew not how it had happened. His bulging muscles were knotted and obviously strong, and he rode the horse with considerable ease, as though he had been riding horses a while, though there had never been any in the City of Solitude while she had lived. Aerlin was in a great deal of discomfort herself as the saddle rubbed her sore. It was a great relief when they stopped for the night.

As they sat that night cooking dinner, Aerlin did not take her eyes off her uncle as he moved around. In his eyes, she saw his weariness. This man had been through greater ordeals than she could possibly imagine, and had been part of her family forever, though she knew he wasn't a blood relative. What loyalty could make a man do that?

"So, what's your real story, Max?" She questioned. "Why did you track me down instead of Brylene, or my brother?"

He was briefly startled that she had spoken to him, but regained his thoughts quickly. "Because your father only told me where he was sending you, and not the others. Could I have tracked them down? Yes. But you were the easiest, and the one I thought would need help most. Brylene can take care of herself, and your brother has been well trained by yours truly."

"I see," she said. "So how long did you really look for me, then?"

"Just like your father, aren't you, Aerlin? Observant, and more intelligent than you let on sometimes." He smiled. "I'd been looking for you for nearly five years. Don't look so surprised."

"I'm not, Max. But I don't understand. My father sent us all away the same day, or so I thought."

"There're somethings about Gandalf that you don't know, Aerlin. He is a planeswalker of immense power, almost the greatest this plane has ever known. His specialty is his ability to alter time, and even to travel through time."

"You mean, he sent you backwards in time nearly five years?" She was shocked.

"It's no coincidence that Edgir took you in as quickly as he did. I told him I expected a girl with your appearance to show up sometime. We had both been on the lookout for you. When I learned of trouble down south, I went there and came back as quickly as I could. To his credit, when you showed up, he took you in during my brief absence."

"But Em didn't know you when you arrived."

"She did, but we all were on our guard the night I arrived. I didn't know if it was you, and I wanted your response to be genuine if it was. I saw many things in Shaharazad."

Aerlin leaned forward. "There's more than sickness, isn't there?" Maraxus nodded.

"For whatever reason, the kobolds are on the move, coming in from Northshir. I don't understand it much myself, but whenever they've been here, there has been war. There aren't many there yet, but it's only a matter of time."

They fell silent, and Aerlin contemplated this new information. Her father had dipped her into something far larger than it had appeared at first. For the first time, she considered the possibility that, like Maraxus, she had been put into some time in the past. That Jaron may have been sent to another time altogether, or not sent back at all. What hope did she have now to find him? Why had all this been placed at her feet?

"What made you want to protect my mother, and why did you stay with our family for so long when your help was no longer needed?"

"That's an even longer story. I worked for Oor-Tael as one of their warriors during a much different time. There, I befriended a woman named Livonya who was one of the more powerful magic users there at the time. When she chose to leave Oor-Tael, I was assigned to be her bodyguard and accompanied her to Deep Shadow Forest.

"Let's just say that she died a while later, and I eventually returned to Oor-Tael for a new assignment. Lady Siran had recently arrived, and I became her bodyguard, though the world was no longer at war and she was relatively safe. I became more important when we found out she was pregnant, and it became vital for her to give birth to Gandalf's children."

Aerlin cringed slightly as she recalled the memory of her father saying that she was not his, that her true father was the mysterious planeswalker known as Elrohir. She didn't really care if it was true or not. Gandalf had always been her father, for he had raised her. Maraxus continued his story.

"It was simply a matter of duty for me to accompany her and your father to the City of Solitude when the move was made, and I remained there, though I wan't really needed. Nothing of evil has ever entered that City under Coag's management."

"That makes sense. And now you continue to protect the family."

"Yes. And it's getting late, and we should get to bed, young lady. We have a long way to travel still before we reach Pheodran."

She nodded her assent, weary from the day's travel. They finished their meal, and went to bed.

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