In the Unseelie Court:: The King of the Unseelie was very busy causing extreme pain to a naiad when his minion arrived. An irritated Madoc Morfryn paused in his torture, and speared the grimalkin with his cold gray eyes. The faint flush caused by his irritation faded from his blue skin as he studied the creature, considering what he had sent the minion to do. With a gesture, he indicated the demon cat could approach, Madoc?s long, lanky form sprawling back into his throne. ?Well, Big Ears, did you get it delivered?? This asked in tones that clearly expected an affirmative reply. The grimalkin nodded, its small form wending between table legs before leaping gracefully up onto a short pillar near the King. His voice, a sibilant hiss, filled the air in response. ?The Trickster took the bait. He will get the Sword and deliver it into your control, Sire, never realizing that he is giving into the hands of the Unseelie the Chaos sword.? A very, very pleased look formed upon the King?s face, and he nodded at the demon cat. ?Al-Kanon shall soon be mine.? A grim smile curled pale lips, as the King rose to his feet. The infamous sword, the very name of which caused fear in the hearts of all Seelie, was an ancient treasure. As it was bound by no static form, it could appear to be whatever the wielder wished. The sword had certain properties that made it very beneficial to the Unseelie, but very detrimental to the Seelie. Mab was going to be very, very pleased with him. ?Soon the balance of power will be ours, and the Seelie will not have a clue as to why.? In his delight, he turned and with a gesture, caused the naiad to be crushed into nothingness. As the lovely creature?s cry faded away, the King chuckled evilly, his form beginning to change. In only a few moments, he had donned the incarnation he preferred for that place, Rhydin. As Richard Maddox, he stepped through the Veil.
In a certain Grove:: The Grove lay silent, dark, and still. Nothing moved, not even the rustle of leaves blowing in the faint breeze. That was because, of course, there was no breeze. She Who Tended the Dead, The Linewalker, had firm, tight control over this place. Erevan, through his Godly shenanigans, was somehow there, somehow accessing the place, and he began trying to remove the obstacles that were keeping him from really tampering with The Linewalker?s grove. For far too long, nothing happened and he redoubled his efforts. He had to struggle, forcing his focus, working his will upon things. He was starting to become annoyed at having to work so hard. Why, he was actually breaking a sweat! He had not bargained on having such a hard time slipping Gem?s spirit out of Limbo and through the threads that bound this place.
Finally, though, whatever was stopping him gave way. There was a wavering of light, a thunderous crashing of air, and then a lightning bolt of immense power suddenly birthed into existence, slashing downwards and cutting deeply into the ground in a certain, unmarked spot of Faye?s grove. A cracking sound began, deep underground, sharp as rifleshot on a cold, crisp morning, and it went on for several minutes. The smell of ozone was strong, snaking up out of the cracks that appeared in the ground. With a sigh of relief, Erevan relaxed and began to yank the thief?s spirit from where she was to where he wanted her. Silence again ruled, nothing moving but a mist which shimmered and coalesced, forming in the air over the grove. It began to swirl in lazy, slow circles, poised over those cracks in the ground. Pure spirit, it slipped and slithered downwards, like heavy, weighted air, through the dried leaves and detritus on the surface, down through the dirt that had sundered and was starting to become mud, down to the now broken, melting, cracked remnants of the block of ice that had lain below, in which the body of the elfess had been encased. That body lay cold and still, though now rudely jolted from its supine position of dead grace by the cracking of ice and earth. Still and untouched by time, the body of Gem looked as it had when she had died. No rot marred the features of the elf that lay there, no stench of decay fouled the air above her. Like a sigh, that mist drifted down, down, into the body of the thief, gently joining with it, seaming the two, spirit and body. From two into one, forming a silent, sweet reunion. For an eon of moments nothing happened, and then?
In total blackness, Gem gave a sudden, sharp gasp as she felt herself change. Felt air rushing into her lungs and incredible pressure on her body. Felt anything for the first time in far too long. Being a spirit for almost a year and a half surely caused one to forget just how it felt to?to feel. It was like coming awake after not even realizing one had slept. Suddenly gifted with a living body again, she wondered why she was so cold. Not just cold?but an iciness that seemed to seep to her bones, to the very marrow of them. What was pressing on her?? She would shiver if she could?but it seemed that she could not move at all. In fact, but for that first intake of air, there seemed too much pressure upon her body to allow for much continued breathing. Panic assailed her as she instinctively began to struggle, hands and feet pushing outwards, upwards, her legs kicking, pressing, every muscle in her body straining. It took her but a moment longer to realize she was underground! The sounds of trickling, melting water and shifting earth blended with the little grunts and sounds of her panicked fight to break free of the earth and ice remnants that held her. She struggled, her heart thudding, pulses pounding, fear a cold, harsh taste in her mouth. She could feel the earth moving, giving way, the stuff softening from the sundered and supernaturally melting water. Icy shards dug into her tender flesh, leaving scratches and shallow cuts along her arms as she dug upwards, little growls of fierce determination sounding from her, though muffled by the damp earth. She could not see, mud coating her eyes, her face, filling her nostrils. Her open mouth, teeth bared in a grimace to keep the mud out, sucked in what air there was to be had, her fight continuing for long minutes. Finally, she could feel her hands break out into clear air, and she gave a dry little sob of relief. Kicking and shimmying her body upwards like an erstwhile eel, she came up out of the mix of earth, mud, and ice, slithering and sliding until she was entirely out of that hole in the ground. She just lay there, then, gasping for air, her hands wiping layers of mud from her face and mouth. The thief focused on simply breathing for awhile, until her heartbeat went back to normal and panic no longer ruled her.
The Trickster was awaiting her, impatiently, of course. He gave a little yawn and smiled down at the mud-coated Gem. She blinked up at him, as things slowly shifted and settled back into memory. She knew why she was here, why he had brought her back, and what she was supposed to do. A teacup? How odd. His voice came while she was still thinking that over. ?It took you long enough. Now listen up. Get me that teacup within the month. It?s all the time allowed me. I must have my Ever Full Goblet again! See that you get it done and then you can stay in the land of the living. Fail, and you will just have to go back to Limbo.? The thief, still tasting mud in her mouth, elected not to engage in speech with him. Spitting out a wad of muck, she contented herself with a nod and a wave of her hand, signifying her agreement. Erevan, naturally not wanting to witness the results of Gem?s emergence from her grave, as it were, gave a carefree waggle of his fingers and wandered off into the Veil. When the thief looked up from having cleared her mouth, he was gone.
Scraping off as much mud as she could, she looked around her, trying to figure out where she was. She started to remember, then. Images flickered on the backs of her eyelids, as she remembered. This place....it belonged to Faye, She Who Tends The Dead. Oh, Erevan was so going to be in trouble when Faye found out her sanctuary had been violated! The little thief shivered, cold still seeming to burn in every bone of her body, as she recalled the past. Gem?s body had been secreted away here, protected, salvaged, shelved. Like a favored toy that one could not quite bring oneself to throw away. She vaguely recalled the block of ice. Somehow she had known the fate of her body. She sat very still, there in the mud, as thoughts and memories rolled over her, battering waves washing down upon her. It seemed as if all those things from before her death were ramming full speed into those things which had happened after. A wrenching sadness assailed her again, as it had 16 months before, when she realized that she had lost Ali. Lost him at her death, and then lost him again, when he had found love with Fio. She had known of that, even though dead. She had known it because he had come here and told her himself. Some connection had still been there, enough to reach her in that other realm. And now, none of that situation had changed or would change, just because she was once again in the land of the living. Her heart ached, though not nearly as it might have. Her time in Limbo, those months in the spirit realm, had made such things of lesser importance, somehow. She felt a certain detachment, a certain disassociation from those intense feelings now, even though she breathed and was once again flesh and blood. She felt a sense of calm acceptance roll over her, and a peace that she had seldom known filtered through her.
Letting out a long sigh, the thief rose to her feet, carefully balancing in the mud. With a determined look settled upon her filthy features, she trudged off towards one of her many hidey holes. She was intensely glad that it was her habit to take such precautions. Clean leathers, new daggers and other weapons would make her feel much more the thing. Hopefully some of her precious special things were still awaiting her in one of them. For now, the thief, naked but for her coating of mud, headed for safe harbor and a shower. After that, she would try to find Mesteno.