Daarude Hold - Chapter 1

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Daarude Hold

by finginma

Libraries: Drama, Fantasy, Original Fiction, Romance

Published on / 1 Chapter(s) / 0 Review(s)

Updated on

Well, seeing as how I keep going on about story with my art I figured maybe I would share some of what I have. There isn't much here yet and it is very rough at this point, but please let me know what you think.

Eidon peered into the darkness of the craggy cliff face, every sense heightened as he sidled along in the light of the moon. The slender young half breed could have sworn he heard something coming from this direction, and whatever it was did not sound good. Thankful for his odd shape now, he utilized the flexibility of strong legs, feet like paws able to wrap around the rocks, to his full advantage as he navigated farther.Khybert is absolutely going to kill me if I injure myself here, he thought wrly to himself straining long fingers all the more as he held tightly to the solid surface of the rocks. Eidon may have been young, but he was one of the Llamitian people’s greatest treasures. He had run away to the south a few years back to confront the rulers of the Belizios Empire head on following a number of violent advances on his beloved homeland. Now, far from home, the young man had become something of a legend. He was already celebrity in Llams; he was their only legitimate prince.There it is again! His heart quickened as the sweat began to drip from beneath the heavy horned crown that adorned his brow, stinging his eyes. His pointed ears had just picked it up again, the slightest sigh. It sounded to be tinged with agony. Almost like the broken breath of someone suffering grievous injury. As one who could heal, Eidon felt it his duty to investigate.Finally, as something small risked running from the scraggly bushes that hung along the slope rather than face the boy moving along them, he spotted his quarry. Stilling himself, he crouched low to the rock and soil as he took in what his golden eyes could tell him in the moonlight.Another ragged sigh was heaved. Eidon’s eyes grew wide and he wiped the sweat from his brow with the back of a leather bracer. Goosebumps now accompanied the sweat the labor of the climb had begun, the young man’s mind racing as he took in more information.The thing he sought was indeed wounded. The largest cat-like creature Eidon had ever seen lay before him, wedged in an uncomfortable looking position between boulders no doubt in an attempt to protect itself in whatever way it still could. Something glistened in midnight colored fur, he supposed it to be blood. As he scanned the rock above the cat he saw a dark streak, assumed to be blood from when the beast initially worked its way here.Eidon leaned back on his heels, calculating his next action. This, thing, was probably wounded in a hunting accident. I don’t see anything that looks like an arrow, so maybe it had been struck with a spear or perhaps was gored by a horn from its own prey? He sighed knowing full well that the creature would be dead by sunrise. It wasn’t a guarantee of life if he chose to intervene, but it was a chance.Putting any thought of risk to himself aside, Eidon stood back at a crouch and advanced with slow, measured movements. He simply could not accept his own guilt for a death like this.Despite being in what seemed to Eidon to be terrible shape, the creature lifted its head as he came within arm’s length. It is a cat. The thought flashed in Eidon’s mind as he admired the creature now, heart racing beneath his constricting breastplate. Adrenaline raced through the young man’s body, but he remained still as he watched and waited.As if understanding his intention, the great beast carefully laid its head back on the cool stone, jewel tone eyes rolling allowing their whites to show before slowly closing. It heaved another sigh, an indication that whatever had pierced the cat’s side had managed to hit its lung. Eidon sympathized, and gently lay his hand on the animal’s muzzle before speaking softly to it.“I am here, dear friend. I apologize, for I am not a true healer, but I can stabilize you and get you to help.” his hand shook, but he tried to send warm energy along with the words. A low growl came from deep within the creature’s throat, and eyes as green as emeralds in the low light met Eidon’s.As he tried to quiet his fear, Eidon looked to his left following the line of the long front legs that lay before the beast. Noting paws that, by Eidon’s estimate were as large as his face, silhouetted by claws that seemed not to be retractable he swallowed hard before continuing. Like a wolf in that respect? What exactly are you? “Are you a magic construct, what are you?” the thought escaped the young man in a verbal question to the creature as its eyes closed again and it seemed to relax.Mission to gain trust accomplished, it seems. Eidon thought before turning his attention to the blood matted fur by the wound. He ran his fingers along the animal’s ribs and down its side, stomach turning slightly as he reached the warm stickiness of the blood that was still pouring from the wound.Shutting his eyes tightly, Eidon apologized for a second time to the creature for his ameture skill. Despite this, a hot tingling sensation moved down his arm and a small light began to glow beneath his palm. The creature strained briefly, then coughed as it tried to stand. “No, no you must relax.” Eidon argued as the beast continued to move. “I told you,” he continued through clenched teeth as he pressed his weight against the creature now. “I am unable to fully mend all of this damage. Your left lung has been punctured and I will need more help to stabilize you so you can heal!”Eidon struggled as he continued to push the beast downward. He grunted with the expenditure of energy as the thing collapsed down on the rocks again, causing him to land atop his would-be patient.He clambered to sit upright in an awkward attempt to not stress the creature any further than he already had. Eidon listened for a moment in the stillness of the night, trying to separate the sound of the light wind above the trees rustling the leaves high in the canopy from that of the cat’s breathing.He took in a shaky breath of his own, determining something he had done had helped. The creature lay upright on its belly now, rather than entirely prone on its side. Something brushed along Eidon’s cheek, resulting in a startled smack in the dark.“Heh! A tail! You’ve got a long tufted tail!” he exclaimed in youthful exuberance once he realized it was nothing to fear. Exposing his age, the young man smiled at himself now as he rubbed the soft end of the tail between forefinger and thumb. He hadn’t considered how the creature may feel prior to committing the act, and it seemed to send him a sideways glance before flicking its tail from the teenager’s grasp.“I am so sorry,” Eidon breathed quietly beside the presumed construct. “I should have asked first. You should realize, you were responsible for it ending up in my face in the first place. You’re right, I am not your master and will not try to pet you again.” He promised with a nod in the dark.Laying his hands on the animal’s flank again, he continued to try and heal what he could. The construct eventually stood up, nearly knocking Eidon over. “Alright,” he said as he stooped to the creature’s ear, “if you think you could make it a few hundred yards out of these rocks, I will be able to call a healer to finish this job and get you properly salved and bandaged. We really are not too far from my encampment.”Without waiting, Eidon began to go back the way he had come to find the creature. If you really are a construct, you will understand what I said and follow. He smiled as his thought process proved to be correct. The enormous cat now loped along beside him, looking a bit more graceful navigating the landscape than the bipedal teen encumbered by mid weight armor.The rocks and tree roots gave way to a narrow toepath, allowing for greater mobility as the light of the moon began to wane. It's gotten later than I intended, Eidon thought as he looked toward the sky through the canopy above. Soon the birds will be waking up again, doesn’t leave much time for sleeping tonight. Hearing a low grumbling to the left, he turned to check in on his companion.The beast moved slowly now, the initial effects of Eidon’s light healing wearing off. Fresh blood looked to be coming from the wound. The exact details on the severity of it were obscured in the darkness causing the teen to pray for the best, that it wasn't truly as bad as he feared.He cautiously moved along working his way closer to the cat. To his relief it simply seemed to be chattering about something, not dissimilar to a barncat. A smile lifted the corners of Eidon’s lips, revealing his somewhat misaligned, jagged looking teeth. The great beast paused then, just long enough to regard Eidon in an odd manner and lick a front paw before moving on again.Huh, you are an interesting thing aren’t you? With that thought, Eidon added aloud to the beast. “I’m sure someone must be missing you. As soon as we get your side fixed up, we’ll try and return you to your rightful place.” The cat grumbled at the young man’s side again, much to his amusement. Someone took some time to create you, didn’t they. His mind wandered, wondering if this creature was a protector of its master’s children or the like. Somehow it seemed to exude this odd calming effect. Eidon shook his head to clear it of the random thoughts running through it. He sobered, reminding himself of the fact that this beast could easily take him down as its next meal. A cold lump formed in the pit of his stomach as the forest floor began to slope more gently now, the path becoming wide enough for both the teen and creature to walk together.Noticing the beast slow a little more, Eidon turned to it. It was limping now. Eidon decided to try talking to it again, as he picked up his pace and did a half turn on the path, ending in a crouched position before it. He effectively halted the beast, as he tried to look into its verdant eyes.“Would you like me to try a little more energy on your side? I’m sorry, I’m no Vincentianni when it comes to healing magicks, she is the master. I’m afraid your injury may require some stitches but I am quite adept at that, steady and quick with my hand there. Between the two of us we will see you back to perfect health before the new moon passes, I promise.”At the close of his speech, the great beast laid down belly to dirt. Taking this as a signal to heal again, Eidon responded in turn. “Right,” he nodded to the beast. “Then I will get to it.”Freed of some of its pain a second time, the beast rose and they were on their way again. “We are just ahead of here.” Eidon stated over his shoulder, beginning to regard the cat as his companion. “There is a clearing filled with wheat grass, an abandoned farmer’s plot. We are getting close, I can smell it I’m sure you can too.” He smiled to the beast as it grumbled something again.Eidon nearly reached to pat its muscular shoulders, but recalled his promise in time to resist the urge. The dim glow of a few fires danced on the horizon just beyond the edge of the woods, indicating the activity of an army unit. Eidon turned back to the beast, “Stay and rest here,” he bade, “there is no reason for you to have to enter our camp. I will get our healer and a few supplies.” I hope you keep listening as well as you have so far, he thought not entirely trusting the creature in a populated space.Again, the creature responded appropriately. Good, thank Myaleste for small miracles I suppose. The boy cast a quick glance to the ground and slipped through the last sliver of darkness.“My Sovereign, you failed to sleep again?” Bruno greeted Eidon from beside the guardsmen’s fire. Responding in a low voice with a simple grunt, Eidon turned to the bearded man. Somewhere in his mid twenties but extremely capable, the commanders including Eidon nearly always entrust him on the guard unit while the small army sleeps. My sleep cycle concerns you these days? Yours is so messed up, we nearly need to throw you in a wagon as we march. Eidon thought wryly, feeling a bit of guilt for how rough it must be on the man, only about a decade older than himself. “Heh, yeah, I went out to meditate but had no intention of just returning now.” The man blinked as Eidon shot a crooked grin in his direction. “It seems the Goddess had a different plan,” he continued to clarify. “I discovered a wounded construct. Or at least that’s what I think it may be.”Bruno nodded to his master. “Then best be on your way?” “Absolutely.” came the younger man’s reply with a sharp nod. Golden eyes moved beyond the light of the fire then to a darkened row of tents. With a sigh against the predawn mists beginning to form, Eidon continued on his mission.Stopping at a decently sized walled tent nearly midway down the row, he whistled low and clicked his tongue a few times at the tied flaps. “Vincentianni?” he called low. “Sorry for the intrusion at such an hour, but I am in need of your skill.”The teen stood silent in the dark for a moment, hearing the chatter of birds begin. He sighed and rubbed his hands together against the chill of the moisture in the air, feeling unbelievably weary. The sun will begin to rise within the hour, he thought to himself starting to get impatient with his wait for the healer. It’s going to be one hell of a long day, come on Vin, where are you woman. He saw a little flash of light, and a small lamp was lit.I knew you wouldn't be hard to wake. After a moment of shuffling, nimble fingers worked at the tent flap ties and a tousled blonde head came through the opening. “My liege!?” the middle aged woman gasped at Eidon in question. A body followed wrapped in heavy robe.The human bowed deeply, head nearly to knee. “Good morning Vin, again I apologize for the intrusion at such an inconvenient time.” Eidon said, bowing slightly in return. “ I need your service, I found a severely wounded construct overnight.” Clearing the grogginess from her head with a few blinks, she nodded.“Yes m’Lord, I will be with you in a moment.”pausing in thought she added “Will we be in need of supplies?” Eidon nodded. “It seems to require stitches, the cat is gored pretty badly. I believe it has a punctured lung as well.”“Ugh, oh no. Alright.” The woman sighed and made her way back into the tent. When she reemerged she had a satchel and small case, looking as disheveled as she had been a minute ago. It was clear to Eidon that Vincentianni regarded this task as if it were just as important as caring for their own wounded. She had not even stopped to pull her hair back from her face.“Show me.” she commanded now, all formality dropped. I always enjoy your directness and equal treatment, Eidon thought stifling a small chuckle as he looked down to his feet. He dodged smiling at the woman, for fear the reaction may have been misconstrued. He had no more desire to have to confront with anything uninvited than he did to encourage too free of a way with subordinates. Instead, he stiffened his composure and nodded curtly to the woman before stepping on in the cat’s direction.***** 2 *****Masahiro gingerly lowered belly to the bed of fallen leaves in the undergrowth his rescuer had bade him to stay in. Taking in the scent of the soil around himself, he was secretly thankful for his good fortune in the late hours of the night. When his job went badly and he sustained the stab wound he did, he thought he would never have the chance to see the light of day again. Not exactly an outcome he favored.He rested his muzzle upon crossed paws as he closed his eyes and sent a small prayer to the great goddess, Myaleste. I will make an offering in your name oh great keeper of men, mother of all our mothers, as you are the wellspring from which all life flows. Thank you for allowing me to continue this night, as I am not prepared for your judgement. Heaving a heavy sigh again, he watched the camp before him begin to move in the predawn mist. Heh, he thought, how do I repay the one who was incredibly brave although completely ignorant in caring for me last night? What is the creature anyway? Half-breed, must be, poor thing. Does well enough, though. Must not be a bastard, at least that is a blessing.Masahiro turned green eyes skyward at that thought. Looks to be quite the soldier, too. Hmph, I should proceed with caution around the youthful paladin. That power, though slightly hampered by the fact that I sense some anti-magick characteristics there, was extremely strong. Goddess huh? Masahiro would have smiled to himself if he could have in his current form. I smell you as I am now, so I am aware of your gender you look to hide. Fear not, I will not damage you for the sake of my own gain.With his silent oath, the tall and slender teen returned with his healer in tow. Masahiro half coughed to himself, what would have been a chuckle for him as a sphinx. The sight of the blonde mess before him brought an instant joy to his heart. Thank you, thank you, I cannot thank you enough. He sent the thought to the universal energy again as he stood before the quickly closing pair.“Holy, that is quite a cat!” Vincentianni gasped under her breath in admiration of the great beast. “I-I’ve never seen anything like you!” she continued now speaking directly to Masahiro. He dipped his head and chest low, leaning down on his forelegs as if to bow. “Amazing, that!” she spoke more with voice now, although remaining hushed so as not to alert anyone else of she and her master’s presence in the bushes.“Heh, no wonder I couldn’t see much when I looked at you earlier my friend.” Eidon spoke now as he crouched before Masahiro. “You are nearly black, sable as the darkest wood I can imagine. I bet in the sun you still have markings like any other cat. You are quite beautiful.” He smiled broadly.“Uh, no my liege, handsome would be more appropriate.” Vin interjected as she circled the beast making an early visual assessment of her patient’s current condition. “This beast is male, but you wouldn’t have caught that one in the dark.” she giggled, amusing herself alone.“Please accept my humble apologies my lord, you are quite a handsome beastie.” Eidon smiled again, to Masahiro’s delight the child’s light reached all the way to the soul. He grumbled some chatter at the teen now, cursing the fact that he was stuck here as this “beastie” for the foreseeable future. I cannot shift form, not with this bad of a wound. I am stuck here with you, understanding you far more than I can have you understand me I’m afraid, manly little lass.“I believe he will need stitches, Vin.” Eidon stood at full height before Masahiro, looking over to the healer now. “Your assessment, please, that I may get to work as soon as possible. Our friend has lost a great deal of blood already.” The authoritative tone caught Masahiro's attention immediately.When am I going to be properly introduced to you, savior? There is something special about you, aside from the fact that you merely pretend to be man. You are a unique blended race all your own, and you are lord and master. This energy you have, so bright, so warm… Masahiro lost in his thoughts swallowed hard as he allowed his eyes to close, more so in response to his contemplation than to rest.Eidon was watching him closely, and placed his hand beneath fur covered chin to catch his muzzle as it began to tilt toward the ground. Masahiro's eyes snapped open in surprise at the touch. He was met by a fearful look from the youth now only a few inches away from his face as Eidon peered into his sentient green eyes.Don’t fade on me now, cat! Eidon gasped as he saw the great beast’s head begin to lower. Without thinking of his own safety, he squatted down again and grabbed at the animal’s head bringing it back up. Vincentianni shot her lord a nervous glance. All stayed where they were in silence for a moment, before Eidon demanded a report from the healer a second time.Taking in the scent of the young woman again, Masahiro let out a deep sigh as he stared back into her golden eyes. Kitty-slit eyes like myself, of the deepest golden hue like flowers in the fields. He rumbled low in his chest as Eidon’s brows lowered to their natural position, relieved that their patient was in fact alright.Suddenly remembering his pact not to touch, Eidon apologized in a low tone and stepped away. The healer finally gave the information the youthful leader had been wanting. “My liege Eidon, you are quite correct. Let me begin to lay down some work on the deepest part of the puncture. Once that seems to be reworking itself, I will need your hands to stitch as I work my way outward toward the surface of the wound. I’m sorry great cat, healing magicks will only get you so far with this one. Nature and time will also need to be involved.”Eidon nodded. “Thank you, Vincentianni.” He turned to Masahiro. “Please, lay down for us cat.” he said in gentle tones. “I will get you some water for the time we will be at work. Food will have to wait a bit longer.”Eidon, is it? How long will it take to know your real name, lass? Masahiro thought as he stared into those eyes again. He coughed to bring himself back to what was relevant in the conversation carrying on around him. Food? I’m not even hungry, when did I eat last? Ah yes, that would have been breakfast yesterday. Got too busy to eat lunch, I knew I shouldn't have skipped a meal.Masahiro chattered his cat song as his savior stood. The healer nodded to her young lord, having overheard his conversation and he was gone. Masahiro's eyes followed the lines of Eidon’s back as the teen headed back to camp on a mission. You must be hard at work hiding your curves, or are you even younger than I had guessed? He closed his eyes tightly and clenched his jaw, bracing against the pain screaming from his side anew as he moved to lay as was instructed.***** 3 *****Eidon flexed his fingers to keep them from stiffening up in the cool predawn mist. It was April now and the trees here were already a riot of color, busily adding foliage by the day and blooming across the forested hills he had been inhabiting with his troops since late winter. The winter forgets itself so quickly here. Is this part of the Empire that much farther south than Llams and our east capitol Garremleigh?Grateful for nature’s largesse in any case, Eidon moved along on his task of seeking out an earthenware crock. Rounding the corner of the mess tent already in full preparation to serve breakfast, he came to a halt. Just as he had whistled to wake Vincentianni, he whistled to catch the attention of the scullery maid he saw first.“My liege!” she gasped in shock as she bowed low, not making eye contact with the young man before her. “Marrin,” he dipped his head in response to the girl’s embarrassing display. Eidon never took well to those who seemed to truly grovel at his feet for his title. The likelihood of him ever ruling Llams was slim to none, at least that was the plan. He was only the queen's cousin, but he did try to hide in secrecy. He moaned to himself as he was painfully reminded of his own responsibility to the crown.At home Eidon’s story had been more than a little different than the one he wove for the sake of his freedom south of its border. He was actually a she, and that she had been named Muidemi by her mother at birth. True, she was still royalty and the queen's cousin. However, try as she might, she was just as much prisoner there as she was male here. Before her entire world turned on its side causing her to become who she was today, she was being groomed to be matched for the sake of the crown. Matched and mated. Eidon thought as her brow furrowed despite the girl before her being no real issue.As her thoughts darkened the color drained from Marrin’s cheeks, displaying a constellation’s worth of freckles. “ M-my liege?” she stammered inspecting the teen similar in age as she stood before her. Shaken free of her thoughts, Eidon shook her head and apologized.“Myaleste, I am sorry Marrin. It has been another sleepless night, I am in bad need of meditation to straighten my thoughts.” The tension melted as her shoulders dropped back to where they belonged and Eidon continued. “I need a wide crock, please, and a large canteen of water.” Not questioning the prince, Marrin turned to retrieve what was requested.“Thank you,” she said when the girl handed them across the front table. “I will return them shortly.” “Tis no problem to lend, my liege.” the elven maid offered permission to take all the time she needed with the kitchen staff’s belongings. “I will be sure my master does not mark them among the missing back here.” she continued, hands tucked between her knees as she spoke toward the ground still refusing to make eye contact. “Thank you again then.” Eidon stated dryly to the top of the maid’s dark head and twisted to head back to the cat in need.At this point the sun had begun to rise, along with those of the troops whom rose earliest by nature. Eidon had to begin to weave her way through the rows of tents as she navigated, being careful to avoid coming too close to any tent flaps that may swing open as she passed. She moved along lightly on tiptoe feet, padded by paws not dissimilar to a cat’s. Despite this unique feature taken from her mother’s ancestry, the rest of her leg resembled that of any other half elf. She was, however, covered in a soft, haze-blue fur from the waist down and sported a tail that came only as far as the back of her knees. Her longer than typical for an elf pointed ears were flocked and tufted by the same blue fur.The color of the young woman’s fur was contrasted sharply by the color of her hair, which shone as bright as copper coin in the increasing light of the day. Dark beneath, Eidon was auburn rather than a true redhead. Golden eyes and a fair complexion completed the tall teen. At full height, when she chose to stand completely straightened on her legs and feet, she stood a scant inch above six foot. Not uncommon for her mother’s people, the Velmuht, to stand slightly taller she, Muidemi never considered herself to be imposing in stature. Her height did, however, prove to be a benefit once she began masquerading as Eidon.Her visage as either gender caught the fascination of many, something she often failed to note the stare of others being her lifelong norm. As a result she went to great lengths to avoid any question of manhood and padded or tucked away meticulously to hide curves as she aged. Muidemi even chose to go as far as adding something to represent the feature she was lacking in her braies, just in case someone were to catch a glimpse of her without a garment falling below her hip. It could very well mean her life if the Empire saw her as a woman; at the very least it could assure she would never be able to communicate with its leaders as she ultimately hoped to do.Quickening her pace as she felt herself closing in on the injured cat now, she nodded to Bruno as he stooped to grab a kettle of tea he had on the fire. He acknowledged his leader with a nod in return as he silently followed where the young man was headed with his line of sight. Seeing Vincentianni crouched in the hedge some hundred paces away the bearded man shrugged deciding it was none of his business anyway, and returned to scanning his part of the landscape.Prince Eidon did mention he found some sort of mage beast, didn’t he? Bruno tried to recall what his master had said as he first came back into camp an hour or so ago. Unable to completely abandon all curiosity, he sipped at the tea he poured arching a brow at his cup as he regarded the bitter brew with a wince. Vin thinks this is healthy for me? Can’t say I fully understand my superiors sometimes.Aah, back with the water you promised. Thank you. Masahiro thought as he swallowed, throat so dry it was beginning to burn. “Here, my feline lord.” Eidon spoke low just above Masahiro's tufted ears as she poured a small amount of water into the bottom of the heavy dish.

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