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The Sublime Overlord of the Realm
Whisper did as she was bidden, blinking back tears and wiping her face as she pulled herself back into the very model of the stoic warrior. She nodded as if receiving a direct command from a superior officer which he was in two ways, first as the Councilor of the Order and secondly as her father.

Shad received Shayne's appraising eyes as well as any man could expect, cold blue eyes roving over his borrowed, blood stained, dirty clothes and battered body. His hazel eyes stayed on Shayne's face even though the older man didn't even really meet his eyes. Shad was familiar with the assessing looks. It was almost as if he stood at the slave market, stark naked, as a potential buyer came to look him over to see if he could lift enough weight, please enough noble women, or was fit to be another man to work and die out in the fields. The half elf's mouth was a grim line, but he was resolved to show no fear even before such a predator as Echo's father.

As Echo told him to near the them, he took a single step forward, one hand still gripped on the horse's reins and extended his right hand in an offering to shake hands even though he did not truly want to. However, the man's eyes narrowed as he looked to Echo and to Shad. The scowl on the older man's face darkened and he bellowed out a command for a weapon. Shad's offered hand dropped as his eyes became both confused and wary. What the hell?

Lunira jerked as if struck when her name was yelled. So she plucked up the man's weapon where he had laid it aside and trotted to him with it. Whisper, however, stepped in front of Shad suddenly, her mind made up. She scowled back at her father, bristling as if she were an aggressive dog. Her voice was a growl to match Shayne's own. Father, none of this right now. You can beat him to a bloody pulp later when he is more fit to bear it.

Shad blinked at Whisper's back, utterly confused. 'Bloody pulp?' And why is she protecting me now?

Whisper herself was surprised by her sudden loyalty to the half elf. She had been the one to try to kill him in the streets of Randatria and hand him over to the elven tracker before he was to be tried and executed. She had hated him, hated the way he treated and then left her sister. But since he had been purchased with Echo's unborn child, he had been... Exactly what Echo needed... He had helped with camp, become a somewhat trusted ally, and had shown himself to be fond of Echo, protecting her as best as he could even though he always seemed to get horribly beat up. His shorter hair made him look thinner and more like a younger boy even though his face was that of a man full grown. But even so, the man did not glisten with health or muscle. His time spent in Gideon's clutches had wasted him and his vitality. Her father would break him now with little a thought and Whisper knew it and would not let him. Not yet. He is under my command. And I will take care of my men. As you taught me.

Lunira held out Shayne's claymore, offering it to him silently should he want it still, wondering at the tenseness of the situation.

Shad's mind was awhirl. Whisper was protecting him from her father who obviously wanted to murder him, but there was one thing that Shad had learned in the streets. No one could respect a man who hid behind others. For most of his life, he risked himself foolishly, but trusted luck to help him survive. He raised his hand and set it lightly to Whisper's large shoulder. He gave her a lopsided grin that promised idiocy as she looked over her shoulder at him. It's okay, Whisper. No one will ever respect a man that hides behind someone else. If I have to get beaten to death, so be it. Whisper fell aside, accepting Gruff's reins as he moved around her to stand beside Echo. He wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her tightly against him before pressing his mouth full against hers in a passionate kiss. He could feel the curvature of her body against him, the soft tickle of her hair against his arm, the taste of her lips on his mouth. He released her slowly and straightened as tall as he could, rolling his shoulders before he gave Shayne a cocky grin. I just kissed your daughter. I'm a dead man, but I did it in front of you. What other man could have had the balls big enough to do that, hmm?

He set a hand against the hilt of his falchion as if completely relaxed and utterly unconcerned that he was going to die today.
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Respite · Phenvast City

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