Bronze Hall Guest Room
The elaborate décor of the Bronze Hall seeps into this small guest room that branches from its length. The etchings of vines scroll between the stones, then creep their way up the walls. Thin, bronze leafing brings shine to the ornate design. There is a single window, small, carved out near the ceiling on the wall across from the doorway. Also against this wall is a table, simple in construction, but polished to a mahogany sheen. An oak stool is tucked beneath it A mirror, rimmed in bronze, has been hung on the wall to the right of the doorway, and flanking it are paintings of anonymous horsemen. Along the same wall of the door, but on the immediate left, two sets of three candles are held in aged, bronze claws. A spacious bed protrudes from the left wall, the foot nearly reaching the room's center. The headboard is made of the same, mahogany wood, and sheets of a dark, scarlet color. A fur throw has been flung over the top, and feathered pillows are stacked neatly. An intricately woven rug depicts a battle scene on the floor, at the bed's foot. For now, an elegantly flowing, leafy decoration has been placed on top of the table, perhaps to lighten the mood of the room, while decorative coats of arms, at least as old as the Hall itself, hold sentry upon the walls as they guard the room from all peril.
The ruckus that resulted from the Royal Healer's reaction has left many a'whispering since the night's passing. A wail, hardly identifiable as human had rung out from the sanctuary of the Bronze Hall hours before sunrise, and was claimed to have continued on until dawn. Those that patrol the hall had left it well alone, not wishing to provoke whatever raged within the duchess. She had not taken it well.
The door had not been reported as opening since then, either. Nearly a full day had passed. No servant to bring food, nor drink. No member of kin to bring comfort. Simply silence. Darkness begins to seep into the guest chambers as the sun dies away. The clawed sconces upon the wall offer the flickering solace of candlelight. But even the wax was slowly perishing into the flame. Awaiting the moment at which darkness would fully envelope, Rowena sits opposite the doorway, huddled upon the bed. Like a child, she'd drawn her feet safely away from the floor, tucking them beneath her. She'd built a nest of the scarlet sheets and fur blankets, and now there resides. Like a child, she's nearly swallowed by the bulk of the fur, her fingers buried deeply within it to clutch at the softness. And so she stares at the dancing lights, cheeks ashen, eyes hollow, lips dried. She waited for its death.
A quiet, almost passive knock at the door announces a visitor.
Shadows beneath the desk shift through the pale beam of moonlight that touches the floor. A pair of glowing eyes lurk between the oak stool's legs. When the knock disturbs the silence, they blink, and reply with a soft chittering sound.
Rowena's breath catches in her throat and she snaps a wary glance to the door itself. Should she allow them inside? Had he returned? Squeezing the fur tightly, she pulls it over her right hip to conceal an exposed leg. Several seconds pass as she gathers the courage to look into the face of another...to listen to their lies. At last, when she's certain that no more tears lie in waiting to fall, Rowena murmurs "...Enter."
There's almost as long a moment before there's a response to the Duchess' invitation, and it's as simple as a gentle push on the door, opening it halfway, allowing Vhramis to look in at the woman behind it. "Your Grace," he greets, face laden with a quiet sadness as he bows.
The disappointment felt as Vhramis reveals his face was already predicted, and thus it hardly changes the rather comatose expression that governs Rowena's face. Words could not express it. She would not try. The corners of her lips twitch nonetheless, a mere relic of the smile she once possessed.
"Good eve." She breathes, taking her eyes off of him and landing a steady gaze over the candle's progress. The wax drips...drips...drips...
Vhramis bows his head again, looking very uncertain. His right hand grips a carefully wrapped bundle of velvet, of which he slowly lifts. "I've been tasked to bring this to you, your Grace," he informs.
Vhramis gives Obsidian Scimitar to you.
An Obsidian Scimitar of flawless craftsmanship, featuring a slender 28-inch edged blade that runs perfectly rectilinear for much of its length, before sweeping into an elegantly smooth upwards curve at the very end of the blade, tapering to a final sharp point. This distinctive blade connects to a 6-inch hilt, resulting in an elegant weapon that runs 34-inches in total length from pommel to tip. With a razor sharp blade that features a sharp stainless silver mirror-finish, this scimitar is one that remains very lightweight and flawlessly balanced, yet retains a visual prowess of power and grace all of its own. ''A slight fuller runs down half the length of the blade, remaining so insubstantial that it is barely noticable at all behind the sheen of the silver, yet thoroughly manages to assist in both the balance and the strength of the blade as a whole.''The golden brass guard rests between the blade and hilt; the metal smoked to give it a duller tint to that of the gleaming blade, allowing it to stand out with a grace of its own. The guard, in turn, gives way to the attenuated hilt behind it, consisting of a cordwrapped wooden handle beneath a layer of suede leather, accented with silver studs. A simple hexagonal pommel caps the end of the hilt, with only a glitteringly expensive gemstone set within the center to make it as being anything special, yet at the same time finishing off the graceful image of the weapon just perfectly. It has been engraved with:' Engraved upon both side of the blade can ornate intaglio be found, delineated into a flowing vine design that originates from the crossguard to curl down the length of the blade as an elongated horizontal "S", decorating the obsidian with beautiful serpentine bedizenment. Set beneath the trailing solemnity of the cursive inflorescence that caress the blade, upon the left side, the name "Eriya" has been carved in beautiful sinuous script, granting this flawless weapon a valor all of its own.'''
She knew what it was...Eyeing the velvet-laced blade as though it would only pierce her heart anew, Rowena does not invite him further, nor turn him away. The pendant at her throat casts as sheen upwards as she swallows and the chain shifts against her collar bone. "He'll be needing it." She whispers softly and gathers the blanket a bit tighter around herself. "Not I."
Vhramis nods his head to her, glancing down to the velvet bundle before offering it again. "And when he returns...do you think he'll come to me, first? I highly doubt it, your Grace."
Lowering her eyes in deep consideration, Rowena releases the fur blanket from her grasp and cups the hand over her arm instead. He was right. "You believe it too, then?" She inquires with a blink to her reddened eyes. Very hesitantly, she extends her hands to accept the blade. "I'll just...keep it polished for him."
"In our time together in the wilderness, I've seen him handle far worst," Vhramis replies quietly. "We saved each other's lives far too many times to count, your Grace. He's become a companion to me."
"Did they...did they really hurt him?" Rowena questions on the verge of tears again, keeping her chin tucked low. Watching Vhramis from beneath a flare of moistened lashes, she cradles the scimitar in her left arm while pulling away a flap of velvet with her right. Here it lay...a thing of death to remember him by. Power, grace, justice...death all the same.
Vhramis closes his eyes and glances away, suddenly unable to look to Rowena's face as he speaks silently to himself, his mouth forming words that never take voice. When his voice rises again, it's slightly strained. "There's only pain out there for our kind. But we go willingly."
"..And only pain for us here. He would not stay so willingly." Rowena whispers, tracing the 'S' along the blade with a fingertip. Her lips mumble the enscription "Eriya" as her palm flattens against the edge of the blade and slowly glides along its length to the hilt. "I knew he would seek Talus. I never asked him to forsake that quest...only to wait. A day, and hour...Just so I could follow." A drop of her regret falls to splash over the obsidian and she lifts her eyes to watch as the candles grow shorter still.
"He did not wish anyone to go," Vhramis offers, arms falling to his side to disappear into his cloak. "It was only by the guide of Pathfinders that I was alerted of him." He pauses and shakes his head. "And I think only by my blood that he invited me. Perhaps he took pity on me."
Rowena nudges her cheek with a bare shoulder to force away an oncoming tear and glances to Vhramis with an upturned brow. "Your blood? Had he found it more worthy, more able to protect him than the rest of us? My way is not that of the sword, but it would have served its purpose if only allowed." She sniffs lightly and shakes her head, tugging the rest of the velvet away from the abandoned scimitar and drapes it over the foot of her bed.
Vhramis shakes his head faintly, before bowing again. "I ramble. And speak of things of no import. Something I find myself doing much more often, lately, your Grace. Forgive."
"There's nothing to forgive in speaking, Vhramis." Rowena murmurs, looking gently upon his face. "I only wonder...why did His Majesty refuse to return? What of his son? Of his duty? Of his brother's intents?" She looks down again into her lap, gooseflesh rising upon her nape as a chill leaks into the room. "It's not right."
Meanwhile, Veda's sinewy, black form slinks out from beneath the desk. She creeps along the floor, far more timid than Zareef had been, and stretches her body to the point of disbelief in order to touch the dangling velvet with the quivering tip of her nose. Her gray eyes keep focus on Vhramis's boots across the room, tail held rigidly out behind her.
"He felt it would cause the realm to fall," Vhramis replies, shaking his head. "As spoken by the Instrumentalist."
Rowena scowls, studying now the hilt of the weapon. "Just as a doe abandons her fawn with the hopes that it will remain safe from the fangs of those who would do it harm." She lapses into silence for a long moment, staring hard at the leather. Something discolors it, just faintly beneath the guard. A trace of him. Gingerly, she spreads her fingers wide and turns the hilt over into her palm. Her hand wraps carefully around it, fingers fitting into the places where time and use had worn it faintly away. Rowena holds it there, clutching as though through it, she may make contact...hold his hand across the distance that had separated them...For she had not been there to hold it when he was afraid.
Veda twitches away from the velvet now, scurrying beneath the bed to hide as the Vhramis shadow moves just slightly on the floor.
"It was said that if he returned, we would be destroyed," Vhramis replies quietly. "As for me...I'm lost. And I don't feel very much like being found." With a bow of his head he takes a step backwards. "If you require nothing of me, your Grace?"
"That...sounds like something he might say." Rowena notes aloud, giving the hilt a squeeze as she glances to him, struggling to keep her chin held firm. "But no, no you are free to go. But first..." Sighing, she lays her other hand lightly over the curve of the blade and looks to him with pleading eyes. "Was there anything he said before...before they lost sight of him?"
"To run," Vhramis replies, shaking his head. "That was it. That was the last we saw."
To run. Wise advice, she supposes. But only on the battlefield. Nodding, Rowena twists in a rustling of cloth to lay the scimitar to rest at the side of her bed, the hilt nestling into the softness of a feather-stuffed pillow. "Thank you." She whispers, bowing her head as a signal that he was now free to run. She would remain here...and wait. Just as she had before. But this time, she would plot as she waited. She had to find Serath...one way or another.
Vhramis tips his fingers to his forehead as he steps back, reaching to close the door for her and allow her her solitude.
Outside the stillness of the sleeping hall, a breeze whispers secrets to the stars.
When the door clicks shut, Rowena permits the tears to resume their falling. The candles’ flames fight to remain alive as the wax remains no more than a puddle within the base of the sconce. Death was imminent for all things………but it could not have taken her Prince. Not so soon. To believe that would be to forsake him. To abandon.
Veda chitters quietly in questioning under the bed as it creaks softly beneath Rowena’s shifting weight. She lays her head down, inches from the brass guard while her bare feet bury themselves in the pile of blankets. With reaching fingertips, she tugs at a fur and draws it protectively over herself, sheltered from the approaching darkness. “Do you wish to be found?” Rowena whispers, the heat of her breath warming the cocoon instantly.
The engraved ‘S’ says nothing in reply, perhaps too tired from its long journey to continue the intimate conversation. Heaving forth a sigh, she tucks one hand beneath the pillow, the other wrapping firm embrace around the leather-bound hilt. “Can you feel me?” She breathes faintly, closing her mournful eyes to the dying light across the room, and opening them to the enduring visage of the blue gaze which haunts her memory.
“Because I’m here now. I’ve always been.”