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Old 01-15-2008, 04:15 PM   #223
Flame of the Ainulindalė
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Embla and Fastarr change course

Embla and Fastarr rode like there was fire on their tails. From the bustling open fields to the narrow but empty alleys of the settlement they rode without a word.

Am I too late... am I too late... the thought kept recurring in Fastarr's mind until he suddenly had to steer fast aside when a cart pulled by a young boy not more than twelve winter's old appeared from behind a corner. Embla passed him so near he could have reached her with his arm. Her scent filled Fastarr while his eyes now followed her body moving up and down on her saddle in front of him. Are we too late... are we too late... Fastarr spurred Leafeye to a full trot to reach her and not to be forced to have that view that made him think of things he shouldn't.

He himself, Embla and Khandr all got mixed up in his mind. Love and death, honour and shame, daring and failing, finding and losing...

Suddenly Embla pulled her reins and halted. She could see Khandr's residence now from the corner some two hundred yards away.

"Now what is it Embla? Why do you stop?" Fastarr asked her with concern in his voice as he came to her side.

"That vision haunts me Fastarr... The wolves, the vampire... and all." She was looking straight forwards but still looking at nowhere. Her fingers were nervously fiddling with the reins. Finally she turned to face Fastarr and said thoughtfully.

"Khandr knows what is going on and if his fate is sealed there's little we can do about it... It can't be changed Fastarr... believe me, it can't be changed." There was a deep sorrow in her eyes even if she tried to brave a smile. Fastarr felt she had made a decision and was waiting for her to speak it out.

Fastarr was torn apart. He had wowed to protect his master and his cause but he had also promised to do the right thing. Which was which now if protecting Khandr was no option? If Khandr was in his residence with Thorn and the household staff he would be relatively safe but if he wasn't where should he go looking for him? And Embla made sense. There was a clear object that felt right.

Fastarr glanced at the lavish building and then turned to Embla.

"You mean the elves?"

First there was a silence. Then Embla nodded slowly not raising her head up. She knew the decision was hard to Fastarr.

"They're in the hunt... it will be hard to find them...", Fastarr tried but then fell suddenly quiet.

"Fastarr, they need to know. They need to know before it's too late". She looked at him with compassion in her eyes. "If you feel you need to go after Khandr I don't blame you but I'm decided now. I need to see the elves." Embla leaned backwards and took the reins pulling them gently to prepare her horse to yet another go, looking at Fastarr to the eye challengingly.

Fastarr glanced at the residence one more time before turning back to face her.

"We'll find those elves together! I'm no master-hunter myself but I know their ways... It would take you the whole day to find them alone... Let's go!" Fastarr pulled the reins almost violently and made Leafeye to turn around. "Follow me, I know the straight route!" With that call Fastarr strode forwards in full gallop with Embla trailing him as well as she could. They were flying now.

Fastarr led them the way he had used almost every day taking Khandr's horses to excercise outside the town. So even if Embla didn't know the way her horse knew it by heart. After bursting out from the gate Fastarr wawed Embla to follow him away from the fields towards the forest to their left. Before they reached the edge of the forest Fastarr made Leafeye to slow down enough for Embla to come level with him.

"Whatever the Ulfings lords may be they will surely take their guests of honour to the best hunting grounds... There's a small stream that goes through the wasteland and falls down to a pond not far from here. The game may ever be here and there but there's always some by the pond."

Embla nodded while she continued forwards towards the edge of the forest.

"Remember... if I raise my hand it means halt and be quiet. Spoiling a hunt is something no hunter forgives... to no one."

"Aye sir", Embla said half jokingly trying to uplift the mood but met only with a stern face.

Fastarr spurred Leafeye to a light trot and Embla followed him to the woods.
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