10-Only Mortal

The arrows hit the target one after the other, each making a distinctive sound as they sliced through the resistant straw and penetrated the hardened wood beneath. It was a semi soothing pattern; inhale, nock arrow, draw back, aim, exhale, release… It soothed her anger and made her step through the reasons the anger had built up, it had only been a few hours ago, but the anger made it seem an eternity…

Demons again… this time inside the city boarders…Karl was growing bolder with his growing reputation in town. The planeswalker had just emerged from the forest when she saw the first of many come up behind Eorindel. She quickly called Orlandu from the pocket plane, and the earth to guard her and enhance her step, then she drew up her bow and hit the beast in the throat, turning its attention from the unaware guardian to herself.

Eorindel spun around and drew out his Riddle of Steel in a single motion, cutting it down just in time for another to take its place. The numbers threatened to overwhelm the two when Chance and Zeta came around the path from town and took their arms.

Aysel looked around for the summoning circle while the four distracted the current hoard. She noticed the red glow of it just beyond the door of the training field,

Grunting slightly she dodged the blow of a succubus and called forth ice to destroy the circle, spinning around just in time to catch the demon in the throat with an arrow.

With the portal gone the fiends dwindled and as the last fell, a small boy approached the four with a youthful curiosity.

“What were those?” he asked.

“Demons…” the planeswalker replied, uneasy at the presence of the child and what might come of it. Eorindel growled something about it not being safe.

A few minutes passed as Aysel looked at the child and let him ask her questions, when it seemed the demons would not return she began asking him questions carefully…

Eorindel was still lacking in earthly patience however and soon enough the planeswalker found herself looking at the back of the youth as he ran away. A bit of color ran out of her face, and a few short minutes later, a guard walked towards them… reprimanding them for demon summoning and child molestation.

Aysel spoke gently and did not push the guard, it was not worth the added hostility of pushing the wrongful accusations. Eorindel’s temper still flared though and Zeta and Chance stood confused…

“Benevolent? Karl?” Chance said after the guard had left.

Aysel nodded slightly… “They believe him to be a hero… credits to his other worldly ally perhaps…” She shakes her head.. the boy.. he said something about a different way to defeat the demons.. perhaps there is some merit in it.. if we can banish them rightfully…” She trailed off as Eorindel looked to her and the other two.

“His crimes… the child his bloody slave!” The Guardian breathed fiercely, she could have sworn that an animal was going to jump out of him.

She intoned his name quietly and he looked at her and calmed down slightly, then an idea hit him. “Aysel… that stone that the goblins worship… could there be a connection between it and Karl’s ally?”

The Planeswalker thought for a moment and then nodded.

“That stone is the same substance that the seals on the doors of the temple… it is possible… perhaps we should go check it out?” She looked to her companions and they nodded, and after preparing themselves for battle, the four began making their way to the Goblin’s encampment.

She lowered her bow… though she had given all her attention to the target and launching the sharp arrows into it… she felt them watching her.

The brownies looked up at her, Ting pointed at the shadows near the edge of the grounds “Sneak-sneak being bad bad Feather Lady…”

Aysel sighed and threw up a spell of seeing. “Dark elf… do not try my patience this day… leave your molesting for another day.”<br>
Zeta, Chance and Eorindel entered the grounds. She inhaled deeply and looked at them, her frustration bubbled up slightly to the surface again.

The four had reached the encampment with little trouble, Aysel approached the stone and told her companions to hold off the hordes.

She looked into the crystal… as she reached to touch it a bolt of energy touched her… the interior of the crystal was like a maze, she made her way past it she was almost blind the battle that raged on behind her… the goblins had been alerted of their presence and came on with full force, her companions fought them off fiercely.

There was something there… in the stone… she saw it and as her friends came back to her. The planar materialized on the other side of the stone.

Who are you?

The planeswalker swore her voice echoed, but her companions did not here, things seemed to be in slow motion as her companions raised their weapons and attacked the demon.

She wanted to scream… the only utterance that came to her lips was a single syllable.

No!

She called up ice to throw them away from the demon. It was too late, time had gone to normal speed… and as she stood and watched… her companions were atop the demon and then he was gone.

She looked at them, in a daze… her temper was unleashed… They had attacked and made lost the only lead.

She erupted, firey seething words came from her mouth… criticisms of Eorindel’s temper, the seemingly cluelessness of Chance and Zeta. She didn’t remember the exact words, nor did they matter… they were hot and hurtful and she stormed off, her rage with her. And so she had come to the training grounds, letting a bit of the rage leave her as the arrows hit their targets.

She looked to each of them… Chance, Zeta, Eorindel… others that knew not the danger of what was happening.

Eorindel spoke up as she looked at her. “Aysel… We’re… Sorry…”

She held up her hand for him to stay silent.

Just… think before you act… Now leave me… I need to think.

She unstrung her bow and pulled the wind around her and vanished as they all looked on.

She ran to the grove and the rage was replaced with a calm despair…. She prayed and the drow came behind her. She ignored him but he spoke of knowing her enemy… spoke of defeating evil by knowing it. She rose and looked at him but said nothing, perhaps the drow was correct. He left and her eyes followed him until he disappeared into the shade of the wood. She knelt again at the stone but something else pulled at her…

You can come out little ones… I know you are there.

The two brownies appeared in front of her and she looked at them.

Why are you sad Feather Lady?

She looked at the two and nodded slightly she sat down and spoke softly.

I am sad because Karl threatens to destroy things that I find beautiful and have come to love… and upset the balance.

Ting frowned slightly.

Feather Lady… you are being a silly big person. Karl is only one, he may be powerful but he is only one… If I kill all bad… good not be good any more. Karl can kill things and people… but he can not kill love… look into your heart Feather Lady…

The words hit Aysel like a quick coming revelation and she looked to the Brownies.

He can’t kill love…

She nodded to the brownie and repeated it to herself a few times. Ting smiled at her.

Did you hear what the drow said?

Ting frowned then.

Sneak sneak bad. He not care about forest, all he care about are gems. He would steal Feather Lady’s heart like it gem. Maybe Ting Ting and Ping Ping take his gems and put them in the trees.

Aysel laughed a little at the thought.

You don’t need sneak sneak… listen to trees.

I try… I can’t hear them…

Do not try… do!

The planeswalker closed her eyes and slowed her breathing… then she heard it… a soft whisper… the trees spoke and she could see things they could see, she wove deep within there stories… She saw the drow then though… saw what perhaps she must do… and what was in her heart… the brownies would not like it, but they didn’t need to know now. She opened her eyes and looked at them.

Feather Lady just mortal, just elf, but Feather Lady’s heart… it talks to trees, feels the forest… listen to your heart Feather Lady….

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