All the characters in this story are the product of and belong solely to Ms. Elizabeth Haydon.
A Name Conveyed
The Firbolg King leaned back in his chair with an exasperated sigh.
"Oi take it your meetin' with the delegates din' go as smoothly as planed?" his giant Sergeant Major asked.
"If I never have to speak to another one of those arse-rag Cymrian politicians again, it will be too soon," growled Achmed between gritted teeth.
Grunthor chuckled, "Sir, if you stopped talkin' to 'em, they 'ould think ur goin' to attack them an' then these lil' hills o urs 'ould be swarmin' with em."
"And that's the only reason that I put up with any of it."
"That an' to keep 'er ladyship from bein' angry 'ith you."
Achmed made no reply. He sat back in his chair with eyes closed, trying to clear his aching head from the mindless prattle that had filled it for the last several hours. Trade agreements could be so damned annoying.
Suddenly the king rose from his chair, taking long, quick, silent strides toward the door. Grunthor watched him go in silence. Just before gaining his escape, Achmed stopped and without turning said, "You know where to find me if I'm needed." and slipped out of the room completely.
Storming down the corridors, Achmed began to completely erase the day's events from his mind. He could easily make his mind relax, but it would take something more to get his rigid, nerve-tensed body to relax. He knew what he needed to do. Something he did every evening at this time… find her.
He came to the cave opening that he and Rhapsody used to sit at and stood on the edge of the precipice, breathing in the evening air. He brought the stifling, yet comforting, veil down that hid his hideous face from the world. Removing his gloves from his hands, he raised one, as if reaching out to grab a hold of the breeze that shifted across the tunnel opening.
Closing his eyes, he willed his heart to slow as he began searching the wind for a pulse that he knew almost as well as his own. The pulse that made up the other half of him that he had been listening to for the past few hundred, if not thousands, of years. Various faint beats brushed across his hand and were quickly disregarded and left to their own devises as his focus narrowed in on the heart that he sought.
Then he heard it, faint and distant at first but as he turned his full attention on it the beats became louder and nearer to him. In fact they were becoming a part of him as he willed his own heart to match the calm steady beating that he now heard.
Her pulse had always had this calming and equalizing effect on him. It was one of the a few pleasant sensations that he had found in the world, and Rhapsody never truly knew how much this mattered to him.
The heartbeat was slow and calm, almost contemplative, as it resounded in the Dharcian's heart and mind. She was most likely singing her evening aubade at this time. These were the song prayers that she would sing to the sun and the stars as they changed their positions in the sky.
Achmed had found this to be the best time to find her since she was at such peace as she sang her prayers. Her pulse was exactly how and where it should be, all was right with his world for this night. Just as Achmed was about to release his heart from hers and retire himself for the night the heart suddenly flickered. The pulse began to rapidly quicken and pound in both his and her chest. Something was happening.
"Someone must have startled her," he thought. "She is, after all, safe in her palace where nothing can happen to her. True her idiot husband has left with his uncle and their son for a trip to Gaementia, but it is the Lady that the guards are more attentive of anyway."
But the pulse did not calm down as it should have if it was just something suddenly startling her. In fact it was pounding harder and faster. His own breath came in quick ragged gulps, which must be mimicking what hers was like as his heart raced in his chest.
Then the thing that chilled Achmed to the core came. The pulse slowed, and slowed dramatically. It became the very even, measured, almost detached beat that he also knew only too well. This was what her heart sounded like when faced with death and danger. She was fighting for her life.
He couldn't stand it
any longer; he had to see what was happening. There was only one way
that he could actually see what was happening, and that was to use
his path lore. He had the ability to look great distances in order
to find a correct path; sometimes he could do this just to see what
was ahead. But he had never tried this ability over this great of
distance. It might not work, but he had to try.
Closing his eyes again, Achmed concentrated on the pulse, gathered his lore into himself, and let it fly down the connection that he held to Rhapsody. His head reeled as his vision spun down the corridor of his mind to where his friend and adopted sister fought for her life.
His vision of the scene was blurred and difficult to see clearly, but he was able to see enough. Rhapsody was surrounded by at least twenty men in masks. The only reason it seemed that Rhapsody hadn't yet fallen was they didn't seem intent on killing. They wanted to incapacitate, probably to capture her.
They were in the palace gardens as Achmed had guessed Rhapsody would be at that time. But how these men had gotten into the guarded walls of the palace, and were now going unchallenged as they attempted to steal the Lady, was unfathomable.
It was then that he noticed that there was absolutely no sound coming from the battle. Not even when the men's mouths would open in a cry of pain as one of Rhapsody's blows would hit its mark. There was no sound of steel hitting steel or fists making contact. Silence reigned complete.
The only other time that Achmed had seen anything like this was when Rhapsody had summoned the name of silence. But why would she be covering up the sounds of her attempted abduction? There must be another Namer present, but the question still remained, what did a Namer want to capture Rhapsody for?
Achmed wrenched his concentration from the fight and began looking around the garden. Then he saw it, a faint, fuzzy outline of a person standing stock still in the shadows of the trees, closely watching the skirmish. This must be the Namer.
After finding this person, Achmed turned his attention back to the fight. Rhapsody was weakening; non-fatal blows began to make contact upon her. She was stumbling with weariness and would not stand up to these men much longer. Suddenly, as if out of thin air, two men came up behind her and threw a net over her, bringing her to the ground. All the men still standing swarmed the fallen Lady and began to restrain her. More blows rained down upon her as they tied her wrists together behind her back. She still was putting up a struggle that was useless. Her heart was now racing in panic again. Her detachedness was gone as she saw her efforts to resist were useless. Then a large man made one crashing blow behind her head, knocking her out, and abruptly ending Achmed's vision.
The sudden ending of the scene overwhelmed him as his knees gave way under neither him. His breath came in huge gulps as he tried to clear his head and organize his thoughts on what he had just witnessed. He had to go to her; there was no question in that. He had to leave as soon as possible. He could easily track her heart, as he could still hear it in the back of his mind.
Carefully, and slowly Achmed rose off the ground, finding his equilibrium once again. Once he was completely steady, he quickly turned and nearly ran back to the Cauldron. He had to tell Grunthor, but he could not take the giant with him. Someone had to stay and guard the sleeping child.