Jump to content

DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Coming Full Circle (Attn: Dilora)


Arath Faringal
 Share

Recommended Posts

Pausing on a hill overlooking the sprawling city of Caemlyn, Esyndor Renethil stared and shook his head softly.  Only a few months since he had left this place again, but it somehow seemed so different.  Before, it had been a stop along the road in his quest for revenge.  Now . . . what was it now?  Home?  He doubted that very much, but who could say?  He had no plans for the future he had never expected to have.  Everything he had been had been focused upon destroying Esanoma.  Looking back, he realized that he had never expected to survive this long, nor to actually achieve his revenge.

 

Looking down on the Andoran capital, Esy wondered.  He wondered about his future, about his past, about tomorrow and what it would bring.  Where would he start?  Doubtlessly the ban against him working in any smithie in Caemlyn still stood, though it was doubtful that any would remember him.  But could he bear to remain here?  He shook his head angrily.  This thinking would get him nowhere.

 

~~~

 

A couple hours later, he found himself wandering the familiar yet strange streets of the city.  He found himself staring at familiar sites, remembering events from five years past.  Times he had nearly died, times he had narrowly escaped the watchful eyes of guards.  Distressingly few of his memories were good.  As he rounded a corner though, his eyes fell upon a familiar inn, and the shadow of a smile touched his lips.  At least there was a decent memory attatched to this place.  This was where it had started.  His journey to Murandy which had returned him to Caemlyn and then on to Cairhien.  All because  of a peddler named Dilora.

 

A quick glance at the darkening sky decided him.  He needed a place to stay for the night, and this place was as good as any.  Tomorrow he would begin to figure things out.  Right now all he wanted was a good meal and a good drink.  Or two.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

~Dilora~

 

The city had not changed much, Dilora mused.  A tankard of ale sat untouched on the tabletop and the other customers and potential customers of the tavern went past her table full of their own importance without her raising her head to acknowledge them.  Once she would have been assessing each person that entered the room as a possible client.  Now, lost in her own world of reverie, Dilora merely blinked as she stared at the wall on the opposite side of the room. 

 

A piece of apple pie, her favourite, with a big dollop of cream sat next to the tankard, faintly steaming although it was rapidly cooling now.  The pastry at the bottom of the slice would be soggy from the melted cream, making it as velvety as she remembered eating it years ago, but it would not be the same now.  Chatter and raucous laughter from a dozen different sources would normally have told her that everyone was having a good time.  As well they should; this tavern was well recommended by everyone she knew and it was also one of Dilora’s favourite places to visit whenever she came back to Caemlyn.  But she also knew only too well that every time she came back here, she was grieving for something lost.

 

This time it was her sense of self.  She felt a different person now.  Dilora was more guarded, and was nowhere near as self confident, as she had been once.  Perhaps she would take a trip home, to Baerlon, in the near future to reacquaint herself with her own life. 

 

She could not let herself dwell like this.  Around her, the serving maids seemed to be running everywhere, although she knew their pace was their normal hurried walk.  Laughter seemed hurried now, too, and Dilora could not focus on her own thoughts any longer.  She had to do something to get out of this reverie.  It had been the Gleeman, Malic, last time that had shaken her depression off.  She had not heard from him in so long she wondered about his safety.  So, there was no one this time to help her from herself. 

 

Last time she had resorted to ale.  She recalled a massive session she had with Alianna Karalev, the former thief catcher, and the other times she had gotten drunk with various people in attempts to forget.  Each time she had attained oblivion and had told herself she would be stronger, but troubles had a way of seeming insurmountable. 

 

Her thoughts drifting in the past, Dilora tucked her hair behind her ears and sighed heavily.  She had come a long way.  Her hair was no longer in the long style she wore; the tresses had been sacrificed for practicality last week and her hair now curled just at the tops of her shoulders.  Her eyes were the same as always but held sadness, her posture just seemed … defeated.  It was so unlike her she wanted to cry.

 

She took a sip of ale.  Actually, the numbing sensation of the liquid was blissful; some of the sadness faded, but not all of it, and she took some more of it in the hope that it would spur her appetite on.  It wasn’t, but at least her thoughts were no longer concentrating on there being nothing good in her life.  Memories, she decided with a swig, were best not dwelled over too often.  She was just having a bad day - that was it. 

 

The tankard was empty before she realised it.  Her hand went into the air unconsciously and a second tankard was placed on the table.  Silver was exchanged and a bowl of roast potatoes lightly seasoned with obvious crystals of salt was placed beside the plate of pie in case she felt like something savoury.  The smell did pique her appetite.  Tentatively, she took one of the roasties and bit into it. 

 

It reminded her of the old days.  No one could do roast potatoes like her aunt.  The happy memory bought a sad smile to her face, and she took a sip from the second tankard, feeling a bit happier about things.  Yes, she was having a bad day.  Silently, Dilora toasted her family and vowed to visit them soon in case anything happened to her.

 

In silence again she dwelled on her past.  Patrons came and went, the serving maids served, all in that hurried motion that made Dilora feel as though she was moving too slowly.  She was just having a bad day – that was it.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Esyndor hesitated briefly before entering the semi-full common room.  It was more crowded than any of the places he frequented lately, and it still felt weird to be surrounded by . . . reputable company.  He shook his head and laughed at himself before stepping inside.  It would be difficult to return to a normal life after so long.

 

Despite his efforts to relax, he began an appraisal of everyone in the common room the moment he sat down at his corner seat.  Off to one side was a large group of what appeared to be merchant guards, dicing and drinking loudly.  Beyond them sat a sullen looking group who muttered among themselves and seemed to ignore everyone else.  As Esy's eyes drifted around the room, automatically marking those people who could possibly be a threat, they fell upon a suprisingly familiar face.  A face not nearly as happy as the last time he had seen it, but this was unmistakably Dilora Fashelle.  A wide grin split his face as he recognized the peddlar who had rescued him from Caemlyn so many years ago.  Vaguely he wondered if she would recognize him.

 

He rose up quickly from his table and crossed the common room, apparently unseen by Dilora who was very absorbed in her potatoes and apple pie.  "Looks like an interesting slice of pie," he said with a grin.  "Mind if I stare at it with you?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

~Dilora~

 

Dilora pushed the plate of pie towards the newcomer without even looking up at him.  “Go ahead, stare at it, eat it, I’m sure the pie won’t mind.”  She realised what a foolish answer that was to an equally silly question, and that it must have been a conversational gambit.  Only then did she look up and see the familiar face before her.

 

It had been in the stableyard of an inn in Caemlyn.  I brought a bacon sandwich to a half-starved lad a while ago, one year, two? Regardless of how long it had been, the lad had helped me load my wagon and had done some odd chores for me in exchange for food and travel.  Esyndor, the blacksmith with business in Murandy … I wonder how that turned out…

 

He had changed.  In his face more cares were obvious than they previously had been, but there was a different sense to it now.  A sense of resignation, and, was it peace?  Esyndor’s shoulders were as broad as ever, maybe more so, and he held himself with more dignity than before.  A good-looking lad, she mused, and one that had grown up since she had seen him last.

 

“Do you want to join me?  I’ll get more pie from the kitchens for you, if you like.  They do a nice roast dinner here.”  Esyndor did not indicate one way or the other, so she put her arm in the air for a roasted chicken and another tankard of ale.  It could always go with her if her friend here did not want it and Dilora had seldom refused ale.  Suddenly, the introspective feelings that she had been feeling was dissipating; whether they would come back or not was not subject to question – they undoubtedly would – but for now the respite was welcome.  A part of her past had returned, reminding her of happier times.  She should smile again too.

 

“Tell me, Esyndor, how you have been in the last however long it is since I saw you last.  Murandy must have been interesting to say the least.”  Remembering the feuding lords and ladies with their open plotting and hostility with a touch of distaste, she took a swig of her ale and forced a smile at Esyndor. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Esy chuckled slightly.  "Five years.  And yes, Murandy was ahh . . . interesting.  Your friend you sent me to as well.  Hanry had unfortunately died a week or two before I arrived and Hanry . . . well, I suspect you know something of him."  Hanry had nearly pounded his head in with a hammer when he had mentioned Dilora upon first arriving.

 

"I spent four years there, with the bickering little nobles, and the suspicious everyones . . . If I never have to go to Murandy again it will be too soon."  He made a face of disgust.  "But I've met an Ogier, and black veiled Aiel, and all manner of other people since then.  It has been interesting."

 

He paused as a steaming roast chicken was placed on the table in front of him.  Tearing off a leg and sucking on teh burned finger it earned him, he turned back to Dilora and asked, "And how have you been?  What kind of adventures has the worlds greatest peddlar had over the years?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

~Dilora~

 

Shivering, Dilora took another drink and was surprised to find she was at the bottom of the tankard already.  Wordlessly, she picked up another and took a drink from that.  It helped; the numb sensation the ale gave her was a cushion between reality and the worst of what she had recently suffered.  There were happy enough memories that could be shared with this lad though. 

 

“I’ve met a few Ogier over the years.  One was a really tall one, and strong, while the other was a bookish one.  That one was a bit smaller but he had such a sense of humour.”  Reflectively staring into space, Dilora realised she missed the keen, if slightly ribald wit of Jeran and wondered what had become of him.  “I’ve met a lot of people, and have had a lot of adventures.”  She would not tell him about the most recent encounter.  No.  “I’ve also met a party of Aiel – I trade with them frequently as they pay generously for books – and they defended my wagon a year or so back when it was in danger of being attacked.”

 

“There have been Ogier, Aiel, Aes Sedai, Lords and Ladies … lots of different kinds of people.”  Dilora finally took a bite of pie, enjoying the cloying sweetness.  “I’ve had some near misses and some good nights, too.”  He most definitely would not be interested in the nights.  Some of Tar Valon’s finest trainees had made lasting impressions on her.  She took another bite of pie.  “I’ve met all kinds of people: herbalists, Sea Folk, lots of different people.”  And one or two I could do with forgetting.    Dilora recalled her most recent encounter again, and wanted to put her head down on the table and weep.  Instead, she forced herself to listen to the music of lutist that had just taken the stage and accompanied a pretty looking girl with a sweet voice.  The words came to her unbidden and filled her mind with sadness.

 

We’ll dance from moon to sunrise

The days will hold our sleep

To leave now would be unwise

For I shall surely weep

 

The song went on to describe a young girl feeling lonely waiting for her love to return from war.  This is the path I have chosen, no, not that word!  I have decided upon for myself.  I cannot dwell in loneliness forever!    She was being maudlin again.  Forcing a smile at the lad, who had certainly grown up since Dilora had last seen him, she listened to the last words of the singer and applauded politely.  As a song it was one of the old ones, not suited to a tavern where men sought to lose themselves with naughty thoughts.  Dilora looked at the singer.  She was pretty, in a buxom way, and with her white shirt unbuttoned quite far down her chest, Dilora knew full well why she had been employed.  It was not just for her voice.  I want to hear some of the old songs!  I want to hear songs of the road to remind me of the good old days. 

 

If the chance arose she would put in a request.  If not, she would slip a couple of coins to the lute player and sing the songs herself.  It would be good to lose herself for a while.  Realising her company was staring at her, Dilora turned back to Esyndor and began a tale about how she had had to flee Caemlyn thanks to an old friend causing a commotion that ended in violence in a tavern not far from here, and how they had fled north.  I want to sing again.  I want to feel free again. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Esyndor listened carefully as Dilora told her tale.  It was not the sort of thing he'd expected to hear, though really he had known her for only a couple of weeks.  The story was a little vague on detail, but it was plain that it was distressing to her.  When Dilora fell silent again, staring at her now empty pie plate, he pondered the situation.

 

"It seems like the last year has been hard on everyone.  I found what I was looking for, but it turns out that it wasn't what I was looking for.  I almost feel like I lost something for it."

 

He took his turn relating the story of his last year.  The less than warm reception he had recieved in Lugard, and his rescue from Darl by the Ogier Forge.  His brief return to Caemlyn to track down a thug who knew a name just a few months ago, his journey to Cairhien to hunt down Lord Esanoma, his near death at the hands of the Aiel, and justice ultimately being served.

 

"I couldn't do it myself.  I had Esanoma but couldn't bring myself to do it.  I was going to leave him to his cowardice, but he attacked me from behind and Cor . . . well . . . he disposed of the 'honorless tree-killer'."

 

Esyndor glanced up at Dilora who stared at him.  He couldn't read her expression as she absorbed his story.  "I guess I owe you something for all the help you gave me.  I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you and your kindness to an orphaned wretch five years ago."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

~Dilora~

 

She looked up at him, her mood penetrated by the sincerity in his voice.  A smile spread tiredly across Dilora’s face.  On impulse, she across the table and touched Esyndor’s hand before grasping it and stroked the top of it with her thumb.  In her life on the road there had never been many moments like this; people were transitory beings, fleeting, with no sense of permanence.  Now, thank the Light, she had found something that had returned to her. 

 

“Thank you,” she began simply, not releasing his hand “you have no idea how much that means to me.”  The recent events were beginning to catch up with her, and she put her head on the table, exhausted.  “I won’t say what has happened to me lately, but it was traumatic.  I need some time away from everything, I think.”  From the wagon, from the world … Dilora needed to get away from it all for a time.  She wanted to find somewhere warmer and let the chill that had been engraved in her bones through fear fade away. 

 

“The truth is,” she told him, the further she got down her drink the bolder she became, “that I am feeling a bit vulnerable.”  She covered her eyes with her free hand as though shamed, as though she had already told him too much.  Dilora liked to build up an air that she was a strong and independent woman, not needing a guard because her wagon was too small scale for most to approach with anything but legitimate business.  The shock would keep her company for many a night still.  “I want to get out of civilisation for a while and perhaps go home for a bit, but I’m scared to travel by myself.”

 

Her frown was hidden, but it did not mask the defeated slump to her shoulders.  What had started out being a bad day was now turning into a horrible mess, one she should not have put onto this young lad.  He was just starting to get his life back together, Dilora chided herself, and here was she upsetting the cart with her emotional baggage.  “I’m sorry,” she began, pushing herself to her feet “I should go.”

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Esyndor was more than a little surprised by Dilora's reactions. She's jumping around faster than an Aiel, he thought.  As she stood to leave Esy tightened his fingers around hers to keep her from going. What had happened to her?

 

"Wait.  If there's anything I can do to help ... I mean, if you're afraid to ..." He paused for a moment.  "I remember you offering to let me travel with you as a blacksmith last time.  I don't have any plans or opportunities at the moment, so if the offer still stands ...?"  He laughed lightly.  "I could use a little friendly company as well.  I owe you that much at least."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

~Dilora~

 

Dilora smiled at him again, and patted his hand.  “That would be nice.  Altie could use some new shoes.”  Her poor horse, not knowing where her mistress had gone and all alone in the night, had been so brave.  There were, Dilora realised, wild creatures in that night that must have made her old friend want to balk and run off, but she had not.  What a valiant horse.

 

She remembered her flight through the forest and closed her eyes.  It was over!  She had to move on!  Having a blacksmith alongside her would be the perfect opportunity for her to surreptitiously arm herself; a better knife and if he could fashion some more arrowheads for her would be a step, also if she could get some more weapons made they would almost certainly sell in these perilous times.  If only she could find a herbalist, Dilora knew she could stock up on medicinal herbs for both personal and commercial use, and that they would also command a high price.

 

“Esy,” she began, removing her hands to her lap “would you mind making a few other items for me in a blacksmith capacity?”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...