|Two Sides of the Coin
Author: WintersBlueRaven PM
DISCONTINUEDRated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Adventure - Chapters: 5 - Words: 14,162 - Reviews: 18 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 3 - Updated: 07-26-08 - Published: 08-19-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3733071
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
This is the reworked version
Disclaimer: I do not own NWN2 or any of its storyline, plot or characters. I merely own Ashnara and her past.
Warning: Slight rape suggestions in this chapter; please don't read if this makes you uncomfortable.
AN: I would like to thank Mirrah, A.X. Balov'czeko, Kynrael and Faye for the wonderful reviews for 'Unholy' and the 152 hits, cheers! Oh, enjoy and R&R!! ---WintersBlueRaven.
The gloom seemed to close in around her, constricting snake-like. Trees became grasping, groping skeletons, snagging her clothing, scratching her skin. She swore she could see eyes in the darkness, lidless, all seeing. All around her the swamp awoke, squawking, hooting- crying of a lone wolf.
She was far from the safety of West Harbour, the villages twinkling lights snuffed out by the density of the Mere. She couldn't find her way back in her state, she no ranger….
The leaves rustled as she passed. A lump caught in the back of her throat, her heart thumping painfully against her ribs. Eyes set wide, she gasped for breath, the night air sharp and crisp puncturing her very lungs. Clutching her blood stained tunic to her body, she risked venturing deeper into the swamp.
"It stings" she cried inwardly, forcing herself onwards…terrified of who pursued. Wind stung her eyes, blurring her vision, deafening her to the approaching footfalls. The decay and dampness from the marshy undergrowth assaulted her nostrils; she could taste the bile rising in her throat.
"That's not just wood…corpses!" terrified, she tried to run faster, away from whatever the source of the stench was.
However, the exertion of her limbs slowed her movements; the lactic acid constricting her muscles caused her to cry out in agony. Damp soil met her as she fell, crashing into the swampy earth. More dampness wafted up, the soil clung to her face, her sweat acting as the glue.
Whimpering, she pleaded to her god for rescue. Fingertips dug into the soil as she attempted to back away, her breathing shallow and rasping. Clouds broke and the moon illuminated the clearing she'd fallen into, wicked shadows circled biding their time until the moonlight's retreat. The hairs on the back of her neck stood on end, she had hoped she'd escaped him, but it seemed not.
"Tyr will answer, he will save one of his own…."
A wicked chuckle echoed around her, as if hearing her thoughts. Tears now leaked from her eyes, streaking down her pale cheeks, her whole body quaked, goose bumps rising up all limbs.
The crunching and snapping of twigs got louder, a silhouette offered itself to her, tall, well built, muscular. Her lip quivered fearfully, her mind racing a mile per minute. It was him, he'd followed her!
Tousled black hair hung limply around Wyl Mossfeld's chin, watery blue eyes shining with iniquitous lust. He strode with an arrogant, dominant stride. Her voice caught in her throat, preventing all but a barely audible yelp to escape.
Wyl smirked, reaching for the knot in his breech laces. She backed up, ridged with terror, unarmed, no armour, no honour…only fear. She prayed…no… pleaded with her god.
"I'm begging you!!!"
Twisting, desperate to get away, she willed her legs to move. Straining, her limbs shook before giving way, leaving her to claw frantically at the rocks behind. Muffled footsteps sent ice chills along her spine before a rough hand yanked her plait painfully backwards. A shriek burst from her lips, his eyes met hers. Her eyes reflected what lay in her heart, pure fear, feeding Wyl's hunger.
"You're going to learn your place Tyr worm" Wyl sneered, licking his lips as he examined her willowy curves. Utterly disgusted, she squirmed under his gaze, battling the unseen shackles that held her there.
"No…You must…do something"
Wyl's grip tightened on her hair, she let out another whimper. He had her right under his thumb, she felt pathetic, weak, unable to protect anyone, let alone herself.
"Tyr…please…help!"why wasn't Tyr answering; giving her the strength to defend herself against this hulking great brute. Suddenly, her head was jerked downwards and she could see the few glimmering stars that had escaped the cloud. In that split second it dawned on her, as the stars disappeared from view.
"He's not going to answer…no one…"
Another hand clamped on the side of her hand, slamming it against something extremely hard. Excruciating pain filled her for a moment before the dazing confusion took her, her vision going blotchy and reeling violently.
A quick tearing of cloth filled the air and she felt the cool air on her chest, only to have her breast invaded by sickening warmth. Her eyes widened in horror as she grasp what was happening.
"No…I won't let it…Tyr, answer me!! Please!"
Mercy was discarded and she was torn like a piece of meat, she thrashed around as best she could, only to be beaten back down. Wyl invaded her with a ferocious thrusts, causing her release a bloodcurdling scream.
Ashnara woke with a jolt, the dream still vivid in her mind. Her body shook with sheer fright, hands trembling. Everything around her was quiet, eerily so, unlike her mind that literally buzzing from her nightmare. The blackguard flung off her bed cover and swung her legs over the edge. The cool tiles met her bare feet. Her head throbbed, in an effort to numb the pain she grinded her teeth and clutch her temples.
"What in the Hells?!" she hissed, glaring at her hands until the pain subsided and the trembling ceased. It had been so realistic; every sound, smell…it felt like she'd actually relived it. The very thought caused another ice chill to snake down her spine.
"So much for chivalry and the whole 'save the damsel in distress' drivel".
The elf listened; the keep was still, except for the odd jeer from the tavern or heavy footfalls of a passing Greycloak. With a sigh, Ashnara rose to her feet, crossed her dark room and pulled on some breeches, belted her greatsword, that hung from its weapon rack, to her hip. Slipping her feet into her boots, the blackguard left the comfort and warmth of her room, seeking the cool air the night brought.
A fresh breeze flowed through the corridor; the shutters had been left open. Ashnara rolled her eyes "How callow can these men get" and with a snap, the stars where shut out and the moon extinguished. Mumbling to herself, the blackguard ambled down the corridor, grateful for the lack of guards that normally swarmed everywhere.
Running her fingers through her thick black hair, Ashnara's mind wandered back to the nightmare. How long had it been since, eight years? Ten, maybe? She'd been so wrapped up in vengeance and training, she forgot what had ripped her from Tyr. Or had she blacked it out, pushed it aside and swore a blind oath to Bane instead.
The elf's eyes narrowed, the Black Sun. Her new lord was much more…responsive, his dark aura always there in the back of her mind…reminding her of new found existence. Many followed him out of fear, or greed. Ashnara's reasons seemed elusive; she existed in a plane of limbo where retribution weighed down one end of the scale and uncertainty the other. Bane offered a new path, which she for one, agreed with. So for this reason, she worked in his name and would gather under his banner if the time came.
Ashnara was so enveloped in her own thoughts she didn't notice the depiction of all things great and holy step out of another doorway. By the time she sensed the overwhelming righteous aura that caused Neeshka to become flea-infested it was too late. Being of elven kin had its advantages, yet her…vertical limitations had caused Ashnara some serious headaches in the pasted, along with some off-the-cuff, hot headed remarks from Qara, now was no different.
The blackguard found herself sprawled out on the cold stone floor nursing a nasty bump on the crown of her head. She could hear a stream of apologies from somewhere above, but trying to focus on said speaker was another piece of pie altogether. Making out the "milady" from the string of words, Ashnara bristled like Jeral after seeing Bishop too early in the morning.
"Forgive me, milady; I did not think anyone else would be up so late" Casavir's deep voice reverberated; his callused hand outstretched waiting to receive her's.
"What's this, a paladin being courteous to a blackguard?! Where's the smiting in gods' name, the noble speech that rights all wrong" his eyes narrowed, stormy blue glaring down vindictive sepia, "It looks like he's going to make a stand this time…defending his pathetic god" .
"True, you would be my enemy if the nature of events was different – however, you are my Captain and companion, thereby, an ally and…dare I say it -" the corners of his lips tugged upwards, causing Ashnara to raise a brow quizzically "- a friend".
The elf - for once in her life – was speechless. "I…I can't believe it…am I going mental or is he attempting to get me at my own game". Slightly unsure of the situation, or the uncomfortable silence that now fell between them, Ashnara was grateful when another comment tickled the tip of her dagger tongue.
"A dare indeed…watch yourself, paladin, the devils and demons have many ears. You might join our ranks sooner than you think with that kind of talk" she smirked, that feral look smouldering away in the depths of her eyes. Clasping Casavir's hand, the blackguard allowed herself to be hauled to her feet.
It was a rarity to see even a trace of a smile on Daeghun's face, but to see Casavir without his chunk of metal was a miracle that only happened once every blue moon. Ashnara allowed herself to admire the well toned muscles of his arms, a peek at his chest that showed. "Thank the weavers for low cut tunics!" she mused.
"What is the radiate light of Tyr doing out at this late an hour? I didn't think the temple was your cup of tea…especially after rejecting those lawfully good monks" Casavir frowned as she mentioned the monks; she could tell he silently opposed her decision, but since he didn't voice it…
"I had trouble sleeping; times have grown darker as the Shadow King draws more power. Even Tyr's divine power cannot shield me from the horrors of nightmares, milady" he answered eventually, leaning against the stone wall, his normally knightly stature shattered. Frowning, the elf shifted her weight to her other leg, this wasn't like the paladin, god bless his shiny halo.
Casavir's words ran through her head for a moment, casing her to lapse into thought again. "I wonder if anyone else is having difficulty sleeping?" she didn't know why, but for a moment she swore she could feel someone watching them. Shaking off the feeling, she made a mental note to ask some of the others.
"It is not uncommon nowadays, dear paladin. Even those who follow darker deities feel the strain. The King of Shadows is butting in on their territory as much as anyone else's" she grumbled, running her fingers lovingly over the hilt of her blade. "We just have to keep fighting until we get back what's ours"
Ashnara scowled at his intense aura, remembering how it felt; warm, powerful, strength at your fingertips. Then there was hers, the sense of dread and death that sent even some of those bloody Shadow Reavers running for the hills. "Thank you, Bane, for the Rotting Corpse Aroma…what a gorgeous blend!"
"So, what are you up for milady? One such as yourself is normally not fond of mornings, especially before long journeys" the paladin's voice seemed louder as a deathly silence claimed the Keep. Ashnara's whole composure crumbled, the air around them grew steady chilly. Casavir had touched a very sensitive nerve. As she lifted her eyes to meet his, a shadow crept across her features. She recoiled with such venom it caused the very air around them to wither away.
"What do you know…hmm? What do you know about me?"
"Precisely, nothing…absolutely nothing. This conversation ends here, goodnight Casavir, may your god keep you safe tonight from Bane's wrath" the blackguard avoided his eyes and stalked down the corridor.
Fury ran through her with every step, her internal battle raging inside her head.
"He didn't deserve that, not one word"
"How dare he try and summarise me!"
"He was being friendly and you slap him down like crap"
"Shut it!" she hissed, bursting into the upper courtyard, startling a few Greycloaks from their slumber. The moon was waxed and bright, bathing the Keep in silvery moonlight. From the windows came a warm candle light giving the Keep a cosier look, a far cry from its bloody history. Towering turrets and sturdy walls cast gentle shadows upon the lower courtyard, ivy creeping up the sides in a smothering green blanket.
Ashnara gripped her head as a spasm of hot pain shot across it, reacting with the freezing chill in her chest. She buckled over, lunging for a stable support. "The shard….how is that possible…how can I…?" as the elf covered her chest, she could feel the ridged scar over her heart…it was ice cold. Another searing twinge caused her to gasp for breath as a vision etched into her mind.
Green rays shot forth from the black gauntleted fist that appeared from the darkness, a deadly shiver thundered along her spin. "My lord" she cried inwardly, the spasms growing more intense.
Then he spoke, an echoing hollow voice that made the world around her spin and her stomach reeling.
"Remember where your loyalty lies…Ashnara"
It came and went as fast as it had started, Bane's words burning brightly in the dark abyss. The elf gasped for air, propping her weight up against the wall. Everything came rushing back at once, making her light headed.
"I shan't forget, Black Lord…" growling, she unsheathed her greatsword. It shone an eerie red in the moonlight, revealing the enchantments she had Sand place. Stumbling forwards, Ashnara struggled to walk as she slowly regained her sight. She made her way to the combat dummies to vent some of her anger, for tomorrow they began their journey to Arvahn, where the real battle began….