Just a note these :: mean that its telepathy. enjoy
I just realize in the begining what I've posted doesn't explain who Duran or SpiritWarriors are, so here's the lowdown.
Spirit Warriors are spirits who chose prospective mages and act as there guides and alternate energy sources to channel their gifts. Mostly the SpiritWarriors are dead mages from ages past. Hope that helps.
He was almost home.
Home...such a soothing word, promising so much more than any such a four letter word could imagine if indeed words had imaginations of their own.
Taolinn shifted his weight on his bay mare. But his skin seemed to separate from his body and flinched with each step. It was amazing he was even thinking straight, much less alive. Being the most influential Journeyman-Mage in the Freelands didn’t bode well to fluffy pillows and warm baths. And being everyone’s favorite target on the western border had made him think twice about his choice of work. (Like he could even repudiate his gifts at his own will.) He hurt all over; there wasn’t a place that didn’t hurt. With every movement it accentuated the shooting pains of every bruise and every scar. His mind blurred with pain and drugs the Moonwoman had given him, and visions of disgruntled, skewed monsters leaped out at him, many resembling the humans they once were.
He could see Livoness from the road, shinning in all its splendor, the pressing sun reflecting off the ivory plastered walls of the Great Wall. Blue clad sentries patrolled under the shimmering azure plane, silver swords and rosined bows attached to them, ready for any eventuality. A slight breeze brushed and played with the ends of his long, unkepted sapphire-ebony hair, and cut through the film of sticky, hot sweat that covered his finely chiseled face.
Before he let weariness and sleep reprieve him of the sun, he peered out at his destination with pained and dizzied fogginess. Closing his blue-grey orbs he fell into a dreamless stupor, letting his mare guide her afflicted master home.
: Heartbrother, wake up! It does neither you nor anyone else, any good to fall asleep on a horse especially when one’s bed is screaming to be slept in. : The gentle mind call jostled him out of his stupor.
:Duran...: Tao’s mind choked, opening one glazed eye and then the other searching for more of the person that went with the deep tenor, (so much like his own, he remembered balking the first time, it had entered his head).
: Yes....brother. : The voice echoed, impatient for Tao hadn’t moved an inch, compelling him to do something about it.
: You are a fiend. You have been living in high comfort since we finished at the border, a week ago. :
: Well, brother it’s not my fault you didn’t have enough strength to Leap back in style. : His Spirit-Warrior added smugly.
: Oh go suck a rock..: Came the automatic response as Tao slowly surrendered and peeled himself away from the gummy, rough rawhide saddle. Like scrapping skin from an apple, Tao sluggishly, arduously detached from it.
: You still have to see the Queen. :
: I know, I know. : Tao grumbled taking effort not to inflict any more pain on any part of his battered person.
Standing to his full height, he made a striking and in the wrong light imposing figure even through the smarting bruise stretching over his left cheek and down his chin, dark circles under his eyes and scraggly, unshaven face. Carefully, only moving the necessary muscles, he reached into a saddle bag and pulled out a satchel.
“I’m coming,” he groaned taking his first steps.
Even though he couldn’t see Duran he knew he was there. That was the trouble with Spirit-Warriors, they were well-skilled with their powers and in the department of back-talk (atleast Duran was), but you couldn’t see him unless you had a mirror.
Winding his way through the hallways and stone corridors with Duran complaining about his appearance and physical state the entire way, Tao headed towards the Conference Hall. Smoothing his hair and his clothes the best he could and knocked 3 times on the conference hall doors.
“Come in.” Queen Lynett’s voice echoed through the cracks.
Tao slipped into the great hall his eyes cast down slightly, he couldn’t get quite comfortable in intimate presence with the Queen or royals just yet, being from a family, so far detached from Royalty they didn’t even recognize it as a governing body.
“Ah...Mage Taolinn.” The Queen’s soft, clear voice penetrated his fogged mind.
“Your majesty.” He bowed the best he could controlling his features so not to look as tired and beat as he really was.
He placed the satchel light on the table. “Information from the Western Border at Korlak.”
“Yes, thank you...”
There was an awkward silence between him and the Queen. His eyes flickered to Mage Jener who sat as High Clannad of the Mages Circle, the Queen’s favorite advisor, placid, his grey featured weathered revealing nothing of what lay beyond his sienna-blanched eyes.
“For Lady’s sake you look like a drowned cat in need of a warm bath and comfortable mattress.” The Queen observed, her thin lips curving at the ends.
Taolinn was startled by the admonition, and in shook he kept his eyes pinned to the floor.
“Yes I agree Milady...” Mage Jener added drolly, his face showing no sign of emotion.
“Yes, yes...we can’t have our new addition to the Circle presented to the court like this...go...go I’ll inform you later after you’ve bathed and rested awhile.” The Queen feigned a mock diffidence at the subject and directed her smile for Taolinn to raise his eyes.
One did not want to disappoint one’s Queen...
Tao nodded in his most stately fashion and turning to hurry as fast as possible out.
How did one say no to the Queen?
A highly, mischievous voice retorted as soon as he was out of the hall.
: One doesn’t:
His bags and possessions had been taken to his rooms and a bath had been drawn for him in the room beyond. Stripping out of his tunic and breeches, not caring about anything else, he slipped into the scolding water and the realization hit him like a ton of bricks.
: I’m a Mage. :
: Duh: The response gave Tao the impression of feathers.
: No. I’m an Adept Mage of the Circle:
: Yes. What did you think; you would stay a Journeyman forever. :
: Well--I never though I’d live past my Journeyman stage. :
: As you said it’s only a stage:
: I’m an Adept: He let in sink in, his brain mopping it up like a dry sponge first time in water.
: At least you will be, as long as you don’t make a fool of yourself tonight and I decide to kill you:
Tao decided not to reply and sunk further into the scalding water, letting it ripple over his tanned skin, making every cut, scratch, or gash simmer in pain. But where was pleasure without it. A moon’s worth of dirt and grime was swept up by the encompassing steamy liquid. But he couldn’t stop thinking, he could never stop thinking.
: What? : He sounded a little irritated
: I could have died out there, on the road home. Why didn’t you help? :
: No and the road, it builds character. : Came the flat reply
: Hmm…I could have died and you know it:
: No I don’t:
: Yes you do:
: No I don't :
: Yes you do:
: Forget it:
: There you see. I win. :
: No you don’t:
: Yes I do:
: Oh and try not to fall asleep. I may be otherwise occupied if you try to drown yourself. :