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    The Ties That Bind

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    tuck
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    The Ties That Bind

    Post by tuck on 24/09/11, 04:04 pm

    In the gathering darkness, a lone figure waited outside the town gates. Twilight creeped over the walls of the town as Gillin, captain of the town guard, waited impatiently, crossbow hanging limply at his side. It was stupid, he thought, to be waiting here. There was no way she was going to show. She'd be a fool to.

    Just as the last rays of sunlight were disappearing behind the trees, Gillin turned to leave. Before he got five steps towards the gate, however, he stopped and turned, hearing the sound of galloping hooves from the forest.

    A moment later a horse and rider broke through the forest's treeline, riding at full gallop. The rider was covered in a heavy brown cloak and the horse was frothing with exertion. The rider swiftly covered the hundred yards to the city gates and reigned in, pulling up next to Gillin.

    "You made it" Gillin said, obvious distaste in his voice, "When I got your message I thought someone was playing a practical joke on me."

    He brought his crossbow up and leveled it at the rider.

    "Tell me why I shouldn't just shoot you right now."

    Beneath the rough brown hood, yellow eyes gleamed in the fading light, fire burning in the back of them.

    "Go ahead", a female voice said, "You'll save me a lot of trouble later. But if you do your whole town is in for a world of pain."

    Gillin sneered.

    "We're always in a world of pain. Mostly because of you people. Your raids leave us with practically nothing."

    "Nothing but the skin on your backs", the woman said, "But come tomorrow you won't even have that. They're not interested in supplies or animals this time. They want people. Sacrifices. They're planning something big, and they need blood to get it."

    Gillin's finger tightened slightly on the trigger.

    "Then we'll fight them. Like always. And you too."

    "You're a fool", the hooded figure said, "Without me on your side you won't stand a chance. I can get them right where you want them. Lead them into an ambush. There."

    She raised one gloved hand and pointed toward an opening in the treeline, a clearing that was just big enough for a small band of soldiers to wait in.

    "We'll break cover at dawn. If your men are waiting there they should take us with minimal effort. Have a mage ready. Our warlock is an idiot, but he's powerful when cornered. I'll circle behind and cut off their retreat when you make your move."

    For a long moment, Gillin said nothing. Slowly, he lowered the crossbow.

    "Why are you doing this?" he asked, "You're one of them, aren't you?"

    The figure paused for a moment.

    "I have my reasons."

    "How do I know I can trust you?" Gillin asked.

    "You don't. But it's either that or shoot me. I'll leave it up to you. I have to go. Even we don't travel the forest alone after dark."

    With that, she flicked the reigns of her horse and turned him around, heading back the way she had come into the now darkened forest.

    For a moment, Gillin tracked her with the target of his crossbow. He knew he could drop her with one bolt. He'd done it before.

    As she disappeared into the gloom of the forest, Gillin sighed and lowered the crossbow.

    "Fucking tieflings" he muttered.

    -----------------------------------

    The figure quietly entered the run down castle of Bael Hexott, easily slipping into the crumbling window that led below ground. In the flickering torchlight of the hallway she pulled back her hood, revealing her long, curved horns and close cropped red hair, shaved almost down to the skull.

    "Kallista." a voice said from the shadows behind her, and a large, muscular tiefling stepped out of the shadows, his arms crossed. He was dressed in fine red robes, and his black beard grew down to his chest.

    "Where have you been?" he asked.

    Kallista turned in surprise, but her face was expressionless.

    "Out... father." she muttered.

    He stepped closer to her, staring down at his daughter. After a moment, she looked away, unable to meet his fiery gaze.

    "Your test is tomorrow. You will lead the assault on the humans. You know how important this is to us. To me."

    Before she could react his hand snaked out and grasped her by the upper arm, pulling her towards him.

    "You've been nothing but a problem for years, Kallista. We've put up with your wild notions and idiotic fancies because you were a child. Tomorrow you become an adult. A leader of the brotherhood. You are no longer a child."

    Kallista nodded, her heart beating frantically in her chest.

    "Y... yes... father."

    The elder Tiefling glared at her for a moment before relaxing his grip. Kallista immediately pulled away from him.

    "Do not disappoint me tomorrow, Kallista", he said coldly, "It's going to be an important day for all of us."

    "Yes, father." she said, her voice barely above a whisper.

    "Good girl."

    As her father turned and walked back down the hallway, Kallista breathed a sigh of relief and leaned back against the cold stone wall. She watched him vanish into the dark of the castle, tears beginning to form in her yellow eyes.

    "Only one more night..." she said to herself, "Avandra help me..."

    She slid down the stone wall and hugged her knees, lowering her head as she began crying.

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