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Fyra
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Eleforian Elite Guard
There was so much that she wanted to say. Every little bit. But what caught her the most was his accusation of messing with his mind. Fury rose in her, and she checked it, holding herself back even from the physical beating that she wanted to give the man. The fire of her magic raced through her, making her eyes glow a little, even as she curbed herself from binding him in place. Her voice was a hiss still as she glared at him. "I would never take away somebody's right to choose, Jet. My magic isn't that kind! Whatever thoughts you have of me in your mind are your own." Slowly, ice tamed the fire of her anger, and her hands came unclenched, her voice turning from furious to simply cold. Her eyes were like those of her sister's, cold and set.

While her mind filed away everything she wished to say, her voice continued, a glacier spilling from her tongue. "I have lived my life in fear. Every damn day. What if somebody noticed certain things that I did? What if they noticed that certain harmonies, when I used them, helped to settle a fight? What if they noticed that, even when a crowd was loud, I never went unheard? And if they did notice... what would happen? Because the whole of Court would die before my father let me be kicked out of it." She stared up at him. "My father knows the taste of fear, so does Whisper. They are only human. But both of them take it, and use it, turn it to anger to use in their fighting. There is reason he is called the Mad Lion. It isn't simply because he seems slightly insane. Have you ever visited the Victory Shrine?" She brushed a strand of hair behind her ear as she asked the rhetorical question. So few visited the place these days, she knew he was very unlikely to have done much besides heard vague tales. "There are outlines of burned bodies on the walls, skeletons scattered across the floors. More than my father should have been able to survive. If you followed it all the way to its heart, you would see the golden shrine, the crimson splash where his enemy's blood had fallen. In that room alone there are enough skeletons that a single man and a woman should have been overwhelmed and killed, no matter how skilled with a weapon, no matter what magic was used." Her voice was still harsh, but there was a lilt to it, she was telling him a story to help him understand. "But Father was blessed by Leosine that day, given the gifts of the Lions that they use as their emblems." Her voice lowered even more. "My mother is ever left as a background character in the tale, because she wished it so. I told you when you questioned me before this mission started, to not worry about me. No doubt, you mentioned it to my father when he called you in to talk to you about the mission. No doubt he told you the same. Whisper knew her duty to Lord DeKlaris and would never have sent more than two away from him. No doubt, she would have set all of you to guard him while she came after me herself! She would not risk your lives if she knew there was danger from me. Had you obeyed orders you need never have known that I killed with magic, rather than my blades." Straightening to her full height, which was still several inches shorter than the dark eyed man that she was unleashing her fury upon, she growled at him, a sound that was equivalent of Shayne's and made the horses back away from her with white in their eyes. 'I am the daughter of a Chosen son of Leosine, Jet. My mother was the daughter of a powerful mage that used to terrify the northern lands with his creatures. What makes you think that I would be any less formidable or terrifying than either of them?" Her eyes measured his reactions carefully. She knew he was angry with her, but she was hurt, angry, and scared. It was all shoved underneath the ice that she hid behind, as her mother had done.

----

Tomick's eyes were serious as he studied Mender for a moment. For all that he was more the size of the grown man he would be, he was, in some ways, the most boyish of the trio. "Sir Shayne would not let anybody who is true to Leosine sit outside of the Order, Mender. He would drag you kicking and screaming into your place, if need be." He swallowed slightly, his voice quiet as his eyes scanned over the camp, returned to Whisper's tattooed face. "I'm not sure if simply listening to our elders anymore will do it. It didn't for me. It was not until I went with Whisper to the Victory Shrine that I truly found my place. Follow your heart, Mender. If you need counsel, don't seek it with others in the Order, save perhaps Shayne himself. Seek it within the teachings that are writ down, and seek it from Leosine. You needn't be even a knight to go to the Victory Shrine. Perhaps, when we return to Phenvast, you should visit there. Meanwhile, search yourself on this journey we're on. Chance a conversation with Whisper, perhaps. You can find our God within yourself, just as I did." He pulled off his single gauntlet, showing the silvery scar that crossed his palm. Its unnatural shine would tell its own story.
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First and Last Defense · Pathways of the Five Pilgrims


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