Author Topic: For A Bard's Love  (Read 1518 times)

Offline Bronwyn

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For A Bard's Love
« on: November 23, 2004, 06:34:42 PM »
This story has been bouncing around in my head for some time, so I finally got started on giving it life. It isn't finished yet but here is the first part. Hope you like it.  :)

Chapter One – A Home of Their Own

Gray early morning light bathed the still form lying beneath crisp, thick, white blankets. The wintery glow poured through narrow windows into the room Kelsey shared with Kyia. A pale beam fell across his face, glancing off his angular features. He opened one hazel eye, wincing slightly; he did not feel the familiar warmth of Kyia’s body in the bed. She was now in the late stages of her pregnancy and her sleep schedule had become erratic at best, subject to the kicks and squirms of their growing child. He rolled onto her side of the bed catching the scent of her, like night blooming jasmine, honey, and white tea. He smiled seeing Kyia’s rounded form in his minds eye. She still took his breathe away everyday, just like she had the first time he laid eyes on her in the Promenade. She’d looked battered, and bruised, and she was trembling with rage and fear. She’d also been incredibly beautiful. He closed his eyes as the memory took him…

~Long, straight, dark hair hung loose and tangled down her back, ending in a swirl around narrow hips. She was slight in build for a human, about the same height as the half-elf woman beside her. They were both dwarfed by the enormous bald man standing just behind them. He couldn’t quite see her eyes clearly from this position, but her oval face was pale. She had high cheek bones and her delicate hands were clenching and unclenching at her sides…. obviously very angry. ‘Well anytime cowlies are involved…’ He left the thought unfinished. He wondered who they were… the sounds of fighting and the explosion had drawn his attention away from his business with Hesha. He felt a chill pass over him as the last cowled wizard blinked out of sight. He thought the dark haired woman was cursing from the expression on her face, but he couldn’t hear her voice over the crowds that had gathered. Amnish soldiers were now attempting to disperse the throngs of people to no avail. The trio was making their way through the crowds toward the exit from the promenade which meant they were passing right by Kelsey. He peered down from his vantage point on Hesha’s platform.

He estimated the top of her dark head would just barely reach his chin. There was a bruise purpling on the edge of one cheek but it did little to mar her beauty. She turned her face, saying something to the half-elf, and he could see her eyes were blue and pale as the north sky. She moved gracefully, even though she’d obviously just been through some kind of trauma. Her movements were lithe; he watched the sway of her hips as she climbed the steps… ‘hmmmm, dancer perhaps’. She gave one last glance over her shoulder before disappearing from sight. Her pale eyes flashed, and Kelsey forgot to breathe for a moment. Were her eyes glowing? “Intriguing…” he resolved to find out more about her.~

The sound of a kettle whistling brought Kelsey out of his reverie. The shriek fell silent just as quickly as it had started and the smell of warm bread gently wafted into the room. The cold winter light was growing stronger now. He kicked the thick blankets back, freeing himself to rise up from the bed. Crisp cold air assaulted his bare limbs as he crossed the room. They were expecting Sarevok and Imoen to be back sometime today. Kyia’s siblings had gone to Nashkel last week following a lead for some obscure spell component Imoen just had to have. Kyia kept rooms in the house for both her siblings, insisting they think of the spacious villa as their home as well. Family was important to her that way and he knew she wanted to keep them close with the birth coming soon. The room she gave to Sarevok was on the other side of the nursery she was preparing for their daughter. He knew she’d done that on purpose, another way of showing Sarevok she trusted and accepted him. Kelsey did not fear that trust would be betrayed. During their time in Amekethran and later he had grown to consider the man a friend.

Kyia’s adoptive mother, Jaheira was also a regular visitor at the villa. Kyia and Imoen were the daughters of Jaheria’s heart, even if not her body and she would entrust the delivery of Kyia’s babe to no one else. It would not be long now until Jaheira would need to stay as well, a few weeks at most if that. He shivered in the chill of the morning. Their bedroom had two tall narrow windows that stretched from ceiling to floor. Long gauzy white curtains framed the glass, the ends just dusting the bare hard wood. Outside the world was blanketed in white, gentle flurries drifted down from the pale, gray, frozen sky. Kelsey hurried to pull on warmer clothes. Lately his days were filled more with reviewing paperwork and trading transactions for his family’s business and less with adventuring. He left his mage robes hanging unused in the closet, opting instead for a simple but warm brown tunic and darker brown pants. He pulled on comfortable, plain, boots and turned to head downstairs. He wanted a few minutes with his wife before her family came back today.

~~~~~~~

Kyia was sitting with one leg curled underneath her in a low window seat that overlooked the forested area behind the house. Her other leg dangled against the wall, the tip of one soft black boot brushing against the floor. She took another sip of her rose tea, one hand absentmindedly stroking the curve of her belly. Her cornflower blue eyes widened at the kick of a tiny foot against the press of her hand. Her daughter had been very active the last few days, evidenced by the pale bluish shadows beneath her mother’s eyes. She could hear the sound of Kelsey moving around upstairs. The quiet, steady movements were familiar and reassuring. She inhaled deeply enjoying the fresh scent of warm bread. Jaheira had left a few loaves the last time she came by. After warming one of them in the oven, Kyia had set it on the table to cool. The fragrance of sweet herbs filled the open kitchen and breakfast nook. The fire popped and crackled in the hearth, casting a warm glow on the amber colored wicker basket in front of it. Funny little whistling purrs were coming from the tangled heap of greenish scales and Kyia’s lips curved in a fond smile. Her fairy dragon familiar, Anashi and Cespenar the Imp had quite happily fallen back asleep curled around each other. One of them, she suspected it was Ces, was snoring softly. Their loyalty to their mistress led them to follow her whatever time she chose to rise in the mornings, even if in their esteemed opinion it was a most ungodly hour. It did not however enable them to resist the temptation presented by a warm fire and an empty basket.

The raven haired bard leaned her head against the wall of the window seat. She loved to watch the snow drifting gently down onto the trees. It was a love she had only recently developed. Candlekeep was too close to the coast and not far enough to the north for snow and there had not been much time to think about the weather, other than when it was in her way, in the time since she left there. Now she was enjoying the quiet serenity of a winter morning, safe in the shelter of her home… ‘home, oh how I love the sound of that word’ soft footfalls on the stairs drew her attention. Kelsey stepped down into the room pausing to yawn and to stretch his long, lean, arms over his head, shaking off the last vestiges of sleep. He grinned at her sheepishly “Hi Lovely” Kyia smiled and held out one slender white hand to her husband. He quickly crossed the room and leaned forward to kiss her, his lips cool against her brow. She edged forward in the window seat to make room for him and he squeezed in behind her. Kyia smiled happily at the feel of his solid arms wrapped around her, his gentle hands caressing the roundness beneath her shirt. He rested his chin against the top of her head, cradling her against his chest. Kyia loved the lean strength of his build. He was tall and long limbed and years of travel had gifted him with an unassuming vigor. They stayed that way for awhile, gazing out at the wonderland of sparkling white, wrapped in each others arms.

A gentle hooting from the table drew their attention to Oswald. The little brown and gray feathered familiar hopped from one foot to the other, bobbing his head, and blinking his round yellow eyes. “I think he want’s some of Jaheria’s bread” Kyia twisted her head to the side and nuzzled Kelsey’s neck just under the chin.

“Mmmmm… he can wait… m’busy” Kelsey mumbled distracted. Oswald gave an indignant hoot. Kyia grinned up at her husband then against his protests disentangled herself and made for the table. “Well he can wait, but I can’t. It should be cool enough to eat now” Kyia tried very hard not to think of the way she walked as waddling, as that line of thinking hurt her ego as a performer. Kelsey told her she was still graceful as the day they met but she knew better. Immy had promised to work out with her and help her shed the extra weight after the baby was born. She eased into one of the washed out pine wood chairs beside the table and tore a hunk off of the now cooled loaf. The edges were a little crispy from being reheated but it still smelled delicious. She tore off a smaller piece and tossed it to Oswald who hooted excitedly before snatching it out of the air. Kelsey smiled down at her and refilled her tea cup. His hazel eyes crinkled slightly at the edges and the morning light set his russet hair aflame. He fetched a cup for himself and then they began to slowly demolish the herb bread.

They talked about Sarevok and Imoen returning sometime today and whether they should hang heavier curtains in the nursery. Kyia stretched and wiggled her toes under the table listening to Kelsey talk about what business he had for the day. She felt warm and content. He had been working tirelessly to restore his families business from the damage his uncle had caused. Sifting through years of documents trying to trace down errors was not terribly exciting but it was a necessary step in a project Kelsey was passionate about. ‘and therefore it matters to me too’  She thought. She smiled at the way his eyes shone when he talked about it. “I’m almost through the files from last winter now; it won’t be long until I’m caught up entirely”. His eyes were distant, his mind already buried in numbers and transcripts. As they polished off the last crumbs Kelsey stood up. “Well I guess I’ll get started” Oswald swooped down from the mantle alighting on his shoulder. “Do you want me to go with you on your walk?” Kyia had taken to exploring the fields and woods that surrounded the property every morning shortly after they settled in the villa. As her pregnancy advanced she slowly decreased the distance and speed but, she still went everyday. It was one of her favorite things to do. Immy questioned the sanity of walking for no reason when they had had, as she put it, ‘yeeeeeaaaaaarrrrrsssss and yeeeeeeaaaarrrss of walking’, but Kyia liked the idea of walking because she wanted to and not because she had too.

She looked up at her husband, “No, I’m fine you go ahead” Kelsey hesitated…. “I won’t go far Kels, I promise” Almond colored eyes crinkled in concern. “and I promise I will take it easy!”

“Well if you’re sure…”

“Go!” she pulled herself to her feet and gave him a gentle shove towards the hallway.

“OK” he leaned over and lightly kissed her cheek before giving her backside an affectionate squeeze. He paused beside the fireplace nudging the basket where Anashi and Cespenar were still snoring with his foot. “Wake up lizards, there’s work to be done”

“Zzzzzzzz…yous not the great one…zzzzzz….”

Kelsey kicked the basket over.

Kyia’s laughter rang through the kitchen. The ensuing flurry of wings and tails and screeches caused Kelsey to grin evily. Anashi was squealing indignantly in her mind. ‘Well if you don’t want to go with me on my walk you don’t have to Nash’ ‘nay mistress, I’m awake now <grumble>’

~~~~~~~~

Kelsey lifted a heavy cream colored cloak with silvery white fur lining from a peg by the door and settled in over his wife’s shoulders. He knew she would only get irritated with him and go anyways if he protested too much. He eyed the winter sky nervously. The morning’s gentle flurries had ceased at least. He stood in the doorway and watched her making her way slowly toward the trees. Her dark hair fanned out behind her over the cream colored fabric. The fairy dragon and the imp gamboled before her, dashing in and out of snow drifts, alternately landing in dramatic sprays of powdery snow then launching into the air again. Just inside the tree line there was a clearing with some ornate stone benches and a shrine to Mystra Kyia built with Imoen. She liked to sit there and listen to the sounds of the forest. Sometimes she prayed there. Not many people knew how devout she was. Maybe they didn’t expect that in a person who’d almost been a God herself, but Kyia took her devotion seriously. If you asked her, and she happened to be in the right sort of mood to share it, she would tell you how she credited Mystra for most every good thing that happened in her life. The last two weeks she stopped wandering the woods. She went as far as the glade then she would rest there for awhile before heading back to the house. He knew that because he sent Oswald to follow her everyday. He also knew that she knew that he did that and they both pretended not to know that the other knew.

‘shall I follow her master?’ ‘yes Os’ the little owl swooped out across the field.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2004, 09:52:59 AM by Bronwyn »
The fearsome undead hunter commonly referred to as "Pumpkin"..... also sometimes known as Ilyena...

Offline Bronwyn

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Re: For A Bard's Love
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2004, 09:48:49 AM »
Chapter Two – Serpent in the Snow

Just inside a dense section of the tree line, far enough from where Kyia entered the forest to be out of her sight a man was watching. A dark, heavy, fur cloak covered his plain chain mail suit. Had Kelsey or Kyia seen the man they would have noticed the glint of a wicked black mace on his hip and the danger in the cold sneer of his expression, but they did not see him… His black eyes narrowed as he regarded the sorcerer. The instructions from his masters were clear.

~Avoid the sorcerer at all costs. Attack the target when she is separate from him, ideally when she leaves the villa each morning or perhaps when he ventures into town without her. Strike as close to the end of her time as possible to ensure viability, but do not wait too long. Strike before the Harper returns, this is very important! Harper’s connections unverified… Strike when the other Spawn are not present, we will make them come to us…. ~

Devon didn’t like the sorcerer. He was arguably one of the most powerful magic wielders to currently walk Faerun and the man squandered his talents in this backwoods country playing at being some kind of a merchant and for what? Familial loyalty? pride? Some misguided desire for a ‘simple’ life? Devon gave a snort of derision. He felt contempt for the sorcerer’s life and not a small amount of envy at his power, although he would strike any man who dared to say so to his face. Just as he had done every day for the past two weeks the sorcerer sent that scrawny little owl out to spy on the Spawn. Then he turned and went into the house, again just as he had for the past two weeks. The Spawn sometimes stayed out for an hour or more so it would be some time before he would think to come and look for her. A cruel smile spread across Devon’s lips.

~~~~~~~~

The forest was quiet except for the occasional chirps and shrieks of Cespendar and Anashi and the crunch of the snow beneath Kyia’s boots. She paused at the edge of the clearing pulling a long draught of crisp air into her lungs. Her chest felt tight with the chill and her cheeks were flushed red from the walk.

*thwack*

Ces collided abruptly with a tree and slid the ground.

‘Anashi, can’t I take you two anywhere without you trying to kill each other’

‘mmmm… no?’


Kyia sighed mentally. She crossed over to the shrine. For the next few minutes she busied herself with clearing the new fallen snow away from the stone work. By the time she was finished she could only barely make out the faint sounds of her dragonet and the imp playing in the forest somewhere behind her. She smiled and shook her head.

you’re incorrigible Nash..’ a faint mental agreement was all the response she got.

Kyia gasped suddenly, grabbing her side as the baby twisted and a swift kick caught her off guard. ‘save the high kicks for later baby’ she thought wryly ‘someday mama will teach you how to use them to your advantage…’ One hand still clutching her swollen mid-section Kyia lowered herself onto the nearest bench. Her round blue eyes were shining with contentment. She felt so peaceful here, it hadn’t been all that long since Kelsey first told her he had purchased this home for them and already she couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. It was a struggle to remember the last time in her life she had felt this happy. A sad smile played across her face ‘probably not since I was a small child…’ she closed her eyes and whispered a prayer of thanks. She smiled as she felt another swift thump against her side. Softly, Kyia began to sing…

“Rose… rose… rose… rose….
 Will I ever see thee wed…?
I will marry at thy will sire….
At thy will….

Finding the garden of the secret rose…
Finding the garden where she grows…
Finding the garden of the secret rose…
Where she lives no one knows…

She comes she goes…

Where she lives no one knows…”


~~~~~~~

Devon crept closer to the edge of the clearing. He could hear the Spawn singing softly, some trite lullaby to her child. The cold sneer on his face deepened. ‘How that particular Spawn came to be known as the greatest of Bhaal’s children…. Now where is that stupid little rat with wings…. Ah….’ Devon spied the creature sitting on a tree branch just above the Spawn. It was facing away from him, staring down at the softly singing woman below. Devon called on his magic and began to whisper the words… a faint red glow appeared in his hands and as he finished the last piece of the incantation there was a snap of white light around the tiny owl. Oswald went stiff and plummeted to the forest floor. Devon drew back a step out of sight.

*thud*

Kyia’s voice broke off, startled by the impact. Something had fallen from the tree and landed at her feet… she peered into the snow… “Oswald!?!?!” She pulled the tiny bird out of the snow, brushing him off, he looked alive but he was stiff as a board… stunned? What would cause that here? A chill ran down her spine, Kyia looked wildly around the clearing.

“No he is not dead, killing him would draw someone's attention” A dark haired man stepped into the edge of the glade.

Kyia stood up and took a step back.

“Who the hell are you?” Her face was pale; the thin hands cradling the tiny bird were trembling. Her blue eyes snapped with anger… and a glint of fear. Devon’s smile was feral.

“I suggest you do not try to run. It will only prolong the inevitable” He raised his hands and began to chant the incantation….

Kyia’s blood went cold.


*(lyrics traditional)
« Last Edit: November 24, 2004, 01:56:03 PM by Bronwyn »
The fearsome undead hunter commonly referred to as "Pumpkin"..... also sometimes known as Ilyena...

Offline Bronwyn

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Re: For A Bard's Love
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2004, 01:53:52 PM »
Chapter Three – The Sort of Silence You Can Hear

*BANG*

Kelsey’s head snapped up from his desk as the door to his study slammed open.

“opps, sorry Kell!” Imoen poked her pink head into the room. The apology did not reach her broad smile.

“Im! You’re back sooner than I expected, I didn’t think we would see you until later tonight.

“We made good time once we ran out of shops for her stop in” The tall golden eyed warrior, Sarevok loomed behind his sister.

“I didn’t stop in EVERY shop…”

“Oh, was one of them closed?”

Imoen very maturely stuck her tongue out at him. The strawberry haired thief-mage sauntered into the study and plopped into one of the brown over-stuffed chairs in front of Kelsey’s desk.

“Well if I did stop in every shop it was more than worth it, thanks again for helping me carry all my stuff Sarey”

“Your welcome, and don’t call me Sarey” The broad shouldered man claimed the chair on Imoen’s left.

“Sure thing Sarey!” There was an evil twinkle in the light hazel eyes peeking out from under a fringe of fuchsia. The large warrior opened his mouth to as though to respond but Kelsey thought this would be an opportune moment to interject.

“So did you find the spell component you were looking for?”

“Sure did! Sarey found it actually and he got me a really good price on it too” She smiled fondly at her brother. Sarevok inclined his head.

Imoen looked up at Kelsey “Where is Ky I wanna show her these hot pink leather boots I found”

Kelsey pretended not to notice Sarevok’s eyes rolling back in his head and the long suffering expression. He imagined for a moment what it would be like to spend a week helping Imoen shop…. He decided Hell hadn’t been all that bad after all.

“She’s out on her walk”

”Oh Mystra strike me!”

“We can only hope…” Sarevok’s voice was dry as the desert.

Imoen, naturally, stuck her tongue out at him again before continuing

“Shouldn’t she be resting with her feet up and you bringing her chocolate and giving her foot rubs and stuff and telling her how beautiful and gorgeous she is?”

“Well I..”

“I mean honestly Kel the woman is due to give birth at any moment! To YOUR child! And have you noticed it’s snowing outside? Couldn’t you come up with anything to get her to stay inside?”

“Shes not actually due for ano…”

“You’re missing my point here Kelso! The woman needs pampering not frostbite! And she needs to be inside where I can show her my new hot pink leather boots without getting them wet!” She fixed a tenacious glare on her brother-in-law. “How long has she been out?”

Kelsey sighed and Sarevok gave him a sympathetic look. “She’s only been gone a little while, but she hasn’t been staying out as long the last few days”.

“You still sending Ossie to watch her even though she knows you do it and you both act like you don’t know?”

Kelsey made a non-committal noise in his throat and shuffled some papers on his desk. Imoen snorted…

“Well I won’t bug her yet, I know she likes a little time to herself everyday” Imoen gave an exaggerated sigh

“Well like I was trying to tell you, she should be back fairly soon” He looked at Sarevok “Did she really buy pink boots?”

“Hey! You betcha I did, got a smoking hot vest and leather pants to match ‘em too! I need ya to enchant something neat on them for me so their useful”

Kelsey tried to imagine how anything hot pink could be made useful to a thief “Sure Im, I’ll see what I can…” Kelsey broke off suddenly. He furrowed his brow in confusion. He stared straight ahead. Something was wrong… Something had changed very abruptly…. He felt light headed for a moment….

“Kels you ok? You look funny, well funnier than usual..” Imoen sat up straight in the chair

“Kelsey?” Sarevok sounded concerned.

“I… something’s wrong… but I can’t quite place it… I was standing here talking to you two and then…. Something just went… off….”

Imoen and Sarevok looked at each other in alarm.

“Went off? Kels what are you talking about?” Imoen stood up and crossed over to the sorcerer reaching up to lay her hand on his forehead.

Realization dawned in Kelsey’s eyes “Oswald! I can’t feel him!”

“What do you mean you can’t feel him, he didn’t die did he? I’m pretty sure you would have known right away what happened then” Imoen chewed her bottom lip nervously.

“No Imoen, he didn’t die he just, like his presence just blinked out in the back of my mind like… well kind of like when he sleeps but more…. I don’t know….” He broke off with another look of confusion.

“So you are saying that your familiar, who you sent to watch your wife, has suddenly become incapacitated in some way?” Sarevok’s voice was low and deadly serious.

“Oh Gods…” fear clenched in Kelsey’s stomach “Kyia!” Kelsey turned toward the window…

Her name had barely crossed his lips when a terrific roar sounded from outside somewhere in the forest. The windows rattled, a vase toppled from the corner of Kelsey’s desk shattering on the floor, and Imoen clapped her hands over her ears at the deafening noise. There was a heartbeat of deafening silence, quickly followed by a blood chilling scream of absolute terror and fury. It was a scream known intimately to the three people staring at each other in mute horror.

Kelsey reached the door first.
The fearsome undead hunter commonly referred to as "Pumpkin"..... also sometimes known as Ilyena...