You will hate this – I'm away from civilization once more. I write this by the light of the most modest of campfires and the silver sheen of the waning moons. I know you love the city, but there is no beauty like the stars in a desert's nightsky, and you should see it more often. Life is short, mother, so short. What I am doing right now, the purpose of me being in the desert... I may find out that life is even shorter than I bargained for. But I gave my word.
The stark contrast between the scorching heat of day and the cold air that surrounds me and my company this instant, now night has fallen... It's unreal. Divine. Frightening. But I live for it. The knowledge that something is so much bigger and stronger than we are. It is why I left, mother. I know you never understood it. Neither did father.
I may not come back from this. But as I said, I gave my word. To someone who
“Is this the time for scribbling?”
Sahar looked up through her eyelashes. The flames of the tiny campfire reflected upon the bronze of the Patriarch's armour as he came to stand beside her. Over their heads, the silver discs of Masser and Secunda eminated their pale light. Far away from the small camp, on top of a dune, a desert fox scurried away after having caught the company's scent. Two men of the Order were tending to the horses, a third was skinning a hare. Sahar had taken a lonesome spot a bit further away, huddled up in her crimson scarf and with a scrap of parchment resting on her knees. She smirked up.
“What would you have me do, Patriarch? Go on ahead, while you boys eat our luxurious dinner?”
She pointed at the skinny hare, ready to be roasted. It would take a while, over this small fire. Tecca cracked his knuckles as he looked away – a habit of him. He then pointed to her side.
“Mind if I sit?”
She perked a defined eyebrow and glanced at her unfinished letter. Then, she folded it.
“Not at all.”
The Patriarch had not liked her plan at first. Too risky, not viable, a waste of time. Only after a good while of her talking about the territory the outlaws had fled to, the route she had planned and her reasons of going with but a handful of men instead of an entire division, Tecca had given a solemn nod. Against Sahar's expectations. What had been against her expectations even more, was what the Patriarch had said then, in the light of his small oil lamps at his wooden table.
“I'll pick three men I consider to be capable of this fool's errand. You can start leading the way come dawn.”
“I asked for four.”
He had stood up. “You'll have four. I'm coming with you.”
She had watched him as he had walked to a weapon rack. “And leave the entire Order here? You are the Patriarch.”
“I'm an example. I said I would come with you. Don't ask questions.”
Even though Sahar had a feeling the stern leader of the Kynaran Order was warming up to her at least somewhat, she also knew where the line was and when she should stop. She had not asked further and had simply smiled.
And here they were, in the cold of desert's night, two days of riding away from the main encampment. They kept their nightfires small, as modest as a mere torch. They did not dare to risk something bigger. Sahar leaned against Dusk's saddle, placed behind her back, as Tecca sat down beside her. The leather straps of his armour made a cracking sound. He exhaled, looking up into the dark dome that held thousands of stars.
“You can promise me you thought this plan through?”
“I can promise you that most certainly.”
“And you can promise me it will work?”
She countered his glare with a sweet smile. “Only the Divines can make promises and always hold them, Patriarch. I can promise you I will do what I can. All of us will.”
Tecca grunted lowly and they both looked at the other three, minding their own business and chores. A horse snorted. Sahar let her gaze trace the Patriarch's profile as he looked away, in thought for a moment. The strong jaw, the faint hint of a scar reflecting the moonlight, the eyes that looked pitchblack now there was no sunlight to dance within the deep brown. She cocked her head aside.
“Why did you come, Patriarch?”
Tecca shot her a look. “I already told you – I'm an example to my men. Whatever I ask of them, is nothing I would not do myself.”
She allowed her smile to reach her eyes. “If only all men were as just in times of war. They'd be over sooner.”
Despite himself, the Patriarch countered her smile at those words. Then his frown returned.
“Why did you come, Sahar? To our camp? You are probably the biggest enigma under my banner, and I have seen a lot of faces, with many stories to tell. You are, in general, a bit of a mystery.”
She noticed how the dark of his eyes shot to her side, where she had placed the unfinished letter. Her smile remained adamantly set on her full lips, yet it did not reach her eyes any longer as she stared up into the sky as well.
“I came because I heard you needed people, Patriarch.”
“There is more to it. Despite the marriage between High Rock and Sentinel, most Redguards are still wary of the Covenant. Our people do not consider this our war, and you know it. What is it you hunger for, Sahar of Gilane?”
He looked straight at her as she turned her head towards him. Her lips parted as she thought of a reply. Then, a sly grin found its way to her features, and she pointed a slender finger at the fire.
“That hare. It smells like it's done.”
This post was last modified: August 19th 2013 02:38 PM by Triskele