This is now a full chapter, sorry it bounces so much between Farren and Theo! Also anyone think I need to add Ryun's POV to this?
Also thank the last reviewer (it was a guest) for this now complete chapt.
The narrow trail climbed steeply up from the plains into a wooded valley in the foothills. Evening's shadows gathered close around them as they followed the stream up into the mountain. They had traveled only a short distance, however, when Gilthanas left the trail and disappeared into the brush. The companions stopped, looking at each other doubtfully.
Theogaroth saw the Knight Sturm approach Tanis and begin talking about the elf, the humans didn't trust him that much was clear to Theo. It bothered him that they didn't trust their leaders judgement.
Looking around he say it bothered the Dwarf too, after the women dismounted he approached the man, miniscule by comparison. "What causes them to distrust the elf lord so?"
Flint sneezed, brushed his nose and spoke "There are many reasons, because he is an elf, it could be the questionable circumstances that we were trust together in or perhaps they sense the underlying tensions between Gil and Tanis."
Theo pondered for a moment "Mostly because he is an elf." The horse-elf snorted gruffly before adding as the two human's glanced back at him "I sense it is much the same reason that you all distrust me."
Flint eyed him for a moment his voice was soft when he spoke "Aye lad, without anything other than your word to go on your tale is difficult to swallow. You seem of honest stock to me," he sneezed again, "though it is unusual to know one half elf never mind two."
Theo understood what he was getting at; it wasn't unusual in fact it was very rare that someone didn't ask about his parenthood. He thought about it for a moment and realized only Farren had attempted to get to know him without diving into his mysterious heritage. "Yes Tanis is the only other half elf I have ever met. I am likely the only half centaur however; my mother was banished from Darken Wood for helping an outsider – my father – through the wood past the death knights.
They fell in love during their travels but their marriage resulted in his banishment from Qualinesti, so they traveled I was born a number of years later but the birth was difficult and my mother never recovered and died some years later. My father took me to Darken Wood, knowing he was near death himself and died there leaving me orphaned in a society that is not kind to half breeds."
Flint nodded "A similar tale I have been told before," He looked towards Tanis and the two men were silent a moment before they could continue then humans spoke up louder and Gilthanas returned.
Slipping out from among the trees "It is not much farther," the elf said. "The brush thins up ahead and the walking is easier."
"I say we go through the front gate." Caramon stated glancing at the party, Theo followed his gaze. The big man glanced at his brother who sat limply beneath a tree. Ryun was pale with fatigue. Even Tasslehoff's head hung wearily.
"We could camp here tonight and go in by the front gates at dawn," Sturm suggested.
"We stick to the original plan," Tanis said sharply. "We make camp once we reach the Sla-Mori."
Then Flint spoke up. "You can go ring the bell at the gate and ask Lord Verminaard to let you in if you want, Sturm Brightblade. I'm sure he'd oblige. C'mon, Tanis." The dwarf stumped off down the trail Theo moved to follow.
"At least," Tanis said to Sturm in a low voice, as Theo passed "maybe this will throw off our pursuer."
"Whoever or whatever it is," Sturm answered. "It's woodscrafty, I'll say that for it. Every time I caught a glimpse and started back for a closer look, it vanished. I thought about ambushing it, but there wasn't time."
Theo forged ahead offering Fizban and Ryun a ride as well as bidding Cerus to serve Raistlin for the remainder of their journey. The red robed mage and the loyal war horse plodded ahead of Theo cutting him off from all but the rear guard that was Sturm and those astride his back.
Ryun suddenly piped up "Hey Theo don't you feel weird when somebody rides you?" The phrasing made all within earshot turn and look at the little Kender, but Ryun was too young to understand his verbal mishap. Tasslehoff however was not and burst into laughter that cut off sharply after a non-verbal threat from Flint.
Theo chuckled deep in his chest and answered the curious boy, "Has Ame ever given you a piggy back ride Ryun?" The straw hair bobbed several times, and the little Kender shambled over Fizban to peer over Theo's shoulder as they spoke.
Theo continued in a kind but firm tone as not to offend any who were listing but suggested it wasn't a topic for polite conversation. "Well it's kind of like that, I am in no way like Cerus if that's what you were wondering."
The little Kender flushed and stammered out an apology which Theo accepted assuring the worried little one that no harm was done in asking.
I woke in a glade to a warm breeze playing across my face, "Love? Are you alright?" A familiar voice asked.
I shook my head clearing it of the nightmares that lingered "Hmm? Yes just some bad dreams, nothing special." I nuzzled closer to the strong armed figure that I lay against.
More voices called for me, familiar and alien all at once, "Papa, Papa!" The upset voice of a little girl with golden brown curls that bounced as she came running forward, big brown eyes laced with fear. "Sturm won't stop chasing me with his sword!"
I swept up the tiny figure named for my sister, "Kacey Laura Anne Brightblade what on Krynn is going on?" The voice behind me was stern yet playful as my daughter threw herself into my arms.
"Sturm hit me!" The tiny figure no more than three wailed.
"I didn't too!" My son protested as he picked his way up the hill towards us looking bashful, "It was part of the game Mamma– she was supposed to be the dragon lady!"
"Sturm Theogaroth William Brightblade," I used his full name in the exact way the voice behind me had used his sisters "that is absolutely no excuse for hitting anybody never mind a young lady."
"Your mother is right apologise at once." The stern voice of my husband replied, "A knight must always be responsible for his actions – for his honor hangs in the balance."
The chocolate haired boy apologised and hugged his twin as Sturm came around to face me teasing, "He reminds me of you all fire no brains."
"That Sir Knight is no way to talk to a lady." We kissed then and it was pure bliss, but when I opened my eyes to look over his shoulder as we embraced to keep an eye on the children I saw a woman.
Outrageously beautiful and garbed in black, she was smiling.
"Love, what is it? Another vision?" Sturm was concerned as he pressed his hands to my face guiding my eyes to his.
"Yes," I lied easily –too easily something was wrong. Everything was wrong. My head began to spin as memories of our live together swam before my vision. Me saving his life at the tower where he was meant to die, the birth of the twins, our wedding, everything, but it was a lie.
I pushed away from Sturm who looked confused and worried, "Farren?"
I couldn't breathe, couldn't think, everything was wrong because this life could not be. Not with Sturm not ever because in order to win the war Sturm Brightblade had to die.
The world suddenly shattered leaving me standing in darkness a high cold laugh drove me to my knees. Takhisis stood before me in all her glory and said "The Knight it the key."
"No, no, no!" She knew – the Queen of Darkness knew, she knew that in order for the companions to win Sturm must die.
Part of me – a selfish part – was relieved the Queen knowing this would fight to keep him alive, she would ensure that he lived to topple the scales in her favor. Sure Sturm wasn't the only piece in the puzzle to victory but his death would have been important and it would damn near kill me.
"He will live and that life will be yours, you will have many children beneath my reign and they will grow to be strong and powerful servants, protected by my will." Takhisis smiled sweetly "a perfect life here on Krynn."
"Never," I looked up anguish written on my features, "I would never force him to be with me, to follow you for my own happiness. Not ever." I stood slowly, "I will not bow to you queen of snakes, and I swear by Paladine I will make what you have learned today worthless. I will shape the future to fight you, especially if it means that he will die a free man of his own making."
The Dark Queen's eyes went cold, "We shall see little one but fight me and the knight is mine."
Her words sent a cold thrill down my back before I jerked awake only to find myself forcefully held down by Ras. Seconds had passed and the draconian was staring at me with alien intensity, with a sudden motion he ripped the now cold poker from my abdomen.
My scream was silent compared to the bellowing roar of the dragon in the chamber.
A string of words in his own hissing tongue followed and I could feel my insides stitching themselves together again. Verminaard and his servant's words were slowing; I could tell Ember was winning the man back to his side.
Ras shifted as if to move away, with great effort I lifted a hand and grasped his wrist. Startled he looked at me, "Find something to die for Ras." He wrenched himself from my grip a look of confusion followed by a snarled word in his alien tongue.
I gave a short broken laugh as Verminaard's eye fixated on me, "Let's get this over with before-"
The vision struck me like a slap to the face brief and pain filled.
"…Tanthalas Half-Elven will guide the Everman right to the doorstep of the Queen to bring her destruction." I screamed loath to divulge by Ember dragged claws across my chest lighting the blood aflame as he went. "The knight will be killed- but not before the use of a Dragon orb located in the High Clerist Tower, the elf Maiden Laurana - will deny the Queen'- No please!"
"Tell me of the orbs!" Ember's voice rang with hate and I felt bone break as tears rolled down my cheeks and I spoke fumbling through sobs.
He released me and the pain receded into a numb cold but I did not die- I did not deserve it.
"A true Seer." Verminaard laughed high and cold as I fought to regain my breath, "My gift to you My Queen a true Seer!"
Theogaroth hung back away from the group as they began to enter the cave, clearly uncomfortable but unwilling to express it. Farren was inside and was counting on him to get the group through the dangers ahead to rescue her. The phantom screams they had heard hours before filled his ears again but he could not bear the thought of being underground.
Goldmoon was the only one who seemed to notice as the others argued, "It makes me uncomfortable too, all my life I have lived under the stars and the idea of not being able to see them for even one night seems like a nightmare."
Theo gave a rather horse like grunt, "Shall we go in together then? Sharing our courage?" He offered an arm to the cleric and together they ventured into the tomb.
The centaur did not sleep that night but stood guard at the open door as the trap for their pursuer. Ryun seemed content to stay close to Tasslehoff and Fizban for the time being. The night passed quickly and without incident and as morning came Tanis, the elf lord and Raistlin began to argue once again about their path.
Strum moved close to the newest member of the group, "You escorted Farren from Darken Wood?"
"Yes," Theogaroth gave a half smile, "I wished to break from the oppression of my clan mates and when the Forestmaster asked for a guide I stepped forward. I have not looked back."
"Does she remember any more of her origins?" Sturm asked in a low tone as the group began to move forward evidently seeking to learn all he could about the woman.
"Yes but patches only as far as I am aware." Theogaroth focused on the conversation, a pleasant diversion from his surroundings.
The knight hesitated clearly unsure if he should speak, "You know why Verminaard wants her don't you?"
"The dark Queen wishes to deny the Cleric's return to the world, Goldmoon is the only living cleric. Farren knows this, and I suspect more about your destinies." Theo paused letting the others gather ahead at the Knight's expression.
"How? How could she know anything of us?" Sturm observed the gathering length between themselves and the rest of the group with suspicion.
"Knight, swear to me you will tell no other."
"You have my word as a Knight." Sturm looked almost offended at the request.
"Not another living soul unless she tells you herself mind, and understand I only tell you thus because it is obvious she cares for you." Sturm looked a little stunned, Theo snorted a laugh, "If I fall it will be up to you Sir Knight to pry her form the Highlord or all could be lost."
"I swear it."
"Farren is a true Seer."