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Unread 21st of March, 2006, 13:14
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Kelemyn
Famine Spirit [Epic]

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Join Date: Jan 2002
Member: #15
Location: Pearland, TX
Posts: 3,361 (0.54 per day)
At first, she had merely been running away. Up and out, as fast - but as inconspicuously - as she could go.

Then, when the scenery around her had begun to seem familiar and she realized that somehow she had come home, she had begun to run to someplace, rather than away.

Here is where she is now - at the top of a dimly lit stairway in a rickety old building, only a few swift strides from the front door of her childhood home. A safer place she cannot imagine!

When a voice from the past - deeper and richer than she remembers it - calls out to her.

"Juni!"

No-one has called her by that name in over three years.

"What are you doing here?"

It is all too much. A wave of dizziness washes over her, probably some last remnant of the sleeping drug that Vywodor had given her. Her knees give out and she sits down hard on the top step.

"Alek!" She breathes his name, so relieved and comforted by his presence that she feels giddy. "I'm so glad it's you!"

The silhouette framed in the doorway at the bottom of the stairs is broader than she remembers. But he had been only a youth the last time she'd seen him. Tall and lanky - a scrawnier version of his burly father. He has filled out since then apparently, mostly with muscle.

"Juni, what are you doing here?" he asks, stepping out of the glare of the morning light and into the shadows. She can see his face more clearly now. Older. Tougher. He is frowning.

"Why? What's wrong?" She offers a weak smile. Why is he so serious? "Aren't you happy to see me after all this time?"

Silence. He stops his progress up the stairs to stare at her. "That's not the point." The lively gray eyes she remembers are hard and distant now. "You should not have come."

These are not the words she expects to hear. Alek - her foster brother, her childhood companion, her best friend - had always been there for her. Like a loyal guard dog, he'd shadowed her every step. From the time his mother had taken the little neglected waif under her wing until the sudden, unexpected reappearance of the waif's father, they'd been inseparable. Three years ago he'd have done anything she asked of him. Had things changed so much?

"I just need somewhere to stay for a while, until I figure things out," she says, her voice small and soft. She looks down and away from him, at her hands lying helpless in her lap. The fingers of her right hand are smeared with red. Sticky, drying blood outlines her neatly manicured nails. She doesn't bother to try to hide it.

"Alek, my father is dead."

"I know all about Rynem," he says steadily, climbing the stairs again.

"And a man that he trusted - that I trusted - tried to kidnap me." She stares at the blood on her hands. The flesh of her fingers is pale against Vywodor's black cloak. Vywodor's cloak hides Vywodor's sword. She'd thrust the sword into her teacher's belly, and the blood had poured out like a hot fountain over the sword's hilt and through her fingers.

The dizziness comes over her again.

"Alek, I don't know what is going on."

"They're looking for you. We can't talk here. Come on." His strong arms pull her to her feet and lead her away.