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Fyra
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Eleforian Elite Guard
Echo heard the footsteps, recognized them, and then ignored them as they approached her. She had moved from Martin, stepping to the side to stroke Wraith's grey hide. The warhorse, while she had never ridden him, was familiar with her, and accepted the affectionate petting with little interest. The grass around him was far more interesting.

As Jet's voice came to her ears, her back stiffened and she turned to look at him with ice in her gaze. It was a look that was little known of the little sister. Always, it had been Whisper who stared people down with coldness in her eyes. But at the sound of his voice, the coldness within her pushed forward, over the flames that Charles had helped he build while riding with him. It glazed over her heart, even though her hair, loose, made her sharp features soften. Her voice was quiet, harsh, and she let it sound with the hurt that she had felt when he had run from her. "Is that all you have to say?" It had lowered to a slight growl as she stared at him. "You ran from me, Jet. Me. Paul ran, but he's a coward that shouldn't have been allowed to become part of the Order. Mender stayed. Mender. Who has a gentle soul that I am not sure could survive the life that a paladin of Leosine must live." Her eyes flashed with anger as she stared defiantly up at him. A kitten snarling at a full grown cat. "When all I needed was the acceptance of those I had chosen to trust, you could not even give me that. Why should I bother to listen to a man who cannot accept me as I am?" The question came out as a hiss, her fingers keeping themselves busy by untangling a bit of Wraith's mane.

----

Tomick smiled at Mender as he approached, and tilted his head in curiosity as he asked his question. Dark eyes flickered over to Whisper as he swallowed the last bit of food in his mouth. His voice was quiet as he spoke without looking at the younger man. "My motives were mostly selfish, Mender. I had to prove myself worthy of someone's regard. I came back to the Complex a paladin in name, but it was only a few days ago that I truly even began to understand what it was to be a paladin in heart." His right hand clenched around the scar for a moment. He looked at the heavy-set initiate. "And simply because you have more than just muscle upon you doesn't mean you can't make knight or paladin. Are you less strong simply because your body holds on when others cannot? You needn't be pure muscle like Sir Shayne to be a Lion." His lips quirked a little, eyes lightening with encouragement. "For all that the man will drive any of his trainees hard, he would not deny you a place. The heart is what matters. If you truly are devoted to our God, then you will make it to paladinship."
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First and Last Defense · Pathways of the Five Pilgrims


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