Legacy of Duality

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Legacy of Duality

Postby Snag » Wed Apr 01, 2009 3:30 pm

This is a little story notion I've had stewing for a couple weeks now. I'm going to post these as they occur to me and let the chips fall where they may. This thread will be locked and a second thread will be created for comments and feedback that anyone cares to make. Enjoy!


In a dim torchlit tunnel under Denshier Keep, four shadowed figures spoke in hushed tones, mindful of the dozens and hundreds of booted feet clomping about in the castle proper. Two of the figures held small, pink-faced bundles that squirmed restlessly.

"Gwanal, is this the right thing that we do here?" an anxious tenor voice asked while absently rocking one of the babes to calm it. As an afterthought, he drew his cloak over one shoulder to shield the little one he held from the dust settling down from the ceiling of the tunnel.

"You'd rather they caught the children along with us, Ddwyer, came the impatient, husky contralto voice, clearly a distraught female. She bore the other small bundle of child which was mercifully not as restless as the first.

"My lord, lady, we haven't the time," an anxious vassal pleaded, wringing his hands delicately. The daintiness was, of course, a sham and they all knew it.

The last figure, a hulking shadow, spoke up in a rumbling bass. "Show some backbone, Sajay," he growled in disapproval.

Gwanal placed a gentle hand on the Bear's forearm. "This isn't the time, Godfren." It was a mild rebuke, but a rebuke all the same.

"My apologies, lady," Godfren apologized perfunctorily. He'd never much cared for the reedy-voiced seneschal, Sajay. in fact, the Blooded of the serpent collectively made his teeth itch and his friend's seneschal was no exception.

Ddwyer raised his hand sharply. "They'll be here before long. It's time." Indeed, the sound of tromping feet was resounding quite loudly overhead in the tunnel. It was only a matter of time before they found the tunnel entrance.

Gwanal looked sympathetically at Sajay. "I'm sorry we have to do it this way."

Sajay dipped his head in understanding. "Think nothing of it, my lady. If I am to hold the lands until the children are grown, I must appear to have resisted. I regret that I cannot-" His words were cut short by an abrupt fist to the chin, courtesy of Godfren.

Ddwyer and Gawanal gaped at him. "It had to look believable," he explained virtuously. That had been far more satisfying than Godfren would ever admit.

To forestall their protests, Godfren held out his arms. "If I am to get the children to safety, I must leave now," he stated quietly.

Gwanal choked back a sob and kissed the child in her arms once more before handing her bundle over to the large man. ddwyer went the taciturn route, simply passing the second babe over and giving Godfren a light thump on the shoulder.

"I've never seen a better spymaster," Ddwyer stated, swalling the slight lump in his throat.

Godfren grinned boyishly. "Who would ever suspect me?" he asked rhetorically. The answer was, of course, 'nobody' or 'everyone', depending on which ven you asked.

The three nobles looked at one another for a few quiet moments before Godfren jerked his head in an abrupt nod. "I'll take care of them as if they were my own. I promise." With that, he began to pad down the tunnel with surprising speed away from the impending commotion and toward the exit from the lands.

The two ven that had just given up their children watched their friend run until the darkness swalled him. Then they turned to one another and clasped hands.

"We could still flee with them," Ddwyer offered, seeing the regret and conflict in Gwanal's eyes. "Godfren would shelter us."

She shook her head in abrupt decisiveness, suddenly an emotional rock. "No. It's done. They would still be in danger of letting slip taht we yet live." What Gwanal didn't say, what she didn't need to say, was that the children would share their sentence if such a thing ever came to light. Not that they intended to let that sentence be carried out. Not in the way the Senate intended.

They turned to a pair of vaguely humanoid-shaped lumps of flesh. Each of them drew a dagger as they took a position in front of one of the lumps apiece. Simultaneously, they cut their left forearms deeply enough that the injuries would take days to heal. For a few moments, the only sound was that of blood dribbling onto flesh. Then the silence was broken by the required words being chanted in unison. Once finished, Gwanal and Ddwyer hastily moved to conceal themselves inside a hidden alcove, cunningly deesigned to let them view the tunnel and everyone in it with a comfortable degree of secrecy.

The two Blooded watched, barely daring to breathe as the faceless lumps of flesh began to change. The flesh that was now rippling, almost bubbling. The stubs of appendages became arms and legs. The heads took on definition, faces forming and hair growing. As they finished changing, the features of Ddwyer and Gwanal settled into place on the Tulpa; sorcerous copies of the two hiding ven.

Nearly exact replicas of them, with one prominient difference. Gwanal's doppleganger appeared to be very very pregnant. Her original nodded in satisfaction from her hiding place.

The duplicates got to their feet, confused about just how they came to be on the floor of the tunnel below the keep. The Ddwyer-Tulpa found a cudgel laying next to the unconcious Sajay as if trying to puzzle out what had befallen the poor fellow.

From the end of the tunnel that led to the keep, a voice cried out, "There they are!" A long line of ven came rushing down the hallway, all wearing the black and silver cloaks of the senate with red cloak clasps shaped like daggers. The Tulpa doubles started in alarm and set themselves in place for a last stand.

The real Ddwyer and Gwanal turned away, not particularly caring to be spectators at their own ersatz 'deaths'. Leaving the tunnel behind, they walked with clasped hands through their hidden passageway until they could just barely hear the Senate investigators questioning Sajay.

They entered a chamber lit only by two flickering candles. Gwanal touched a set of ruins carved into one of the doors after dabbling her fingers in the blood still wet on her arm. Ddwyer did the same as he entered beside her through the second of the double doors. Once they had both entered the chamber, the doors began to close of their own accord, impossibly silent given their stone construction.

At the far end of the room stood a dias wide enough for two ven to rest side by side, (if the ven in question weren't shy). On what appeared to be an altar for holding offerings sat two goblets, each with faint wisps of smoke or steam rising from the contents.

Gwanal and Ddwyer stood hand in hand for several moemnts in silence, simply looking at the dias and altar. Finally Ddwyer broke the quiet. "We can still take the other path if you're unsure," he offered hesitantly.

"I'm not the one that's unsure," gwanal countered with a slightly teasing smile. If ther was one thing she'd never lacked for, it was audacity. She turned to face Ddwyer, tugging at his hands so that he would face her as well. "It has to be done this way, don't you see? If we don't do this, then there's no chance for the children to even try and live as they wish. It may not be much, but it's something!"

"It isn't much of a chance," Ddwyer returned.

"It's better than none at all!" Gwanal had to suppress a small grin of triumph when she saw her response hit home as Ddwyer's shoulders slumped in defeat.

Except she didn't quite suppress it enough. "Don't gloat," Ddwyer groused peevishly. "It doesn't become you."

She responded as she always did, by hugging his arm and peering up at him through lowered lashes. "I'm sorry," she murmured, sounding so very remorseful.

"A likely story," Ddwyer huffed, though he still turned his head to presss a kiss to her temple.

Forgiven again, Gwanal thought affectionately. She remained where she was for a few moments more, cuddling Ddwyer's arm as he rested his cheek atop her head. But the moment couldn't last forever.

Gwanal lifted her head and touched Ddwyer's chest with her fingertips. "It's time," she murmured.

He nodded soberly and they both stepped forward to the altar. As one they each picked up one of the steaming goblets and turned to face one antoher. With the same sad smile they gently touched the goblets together, the metallic ring echoing strangely in the sealed chamber. They each downed their portions in a single gulp and placed the empty goblets back on the altar.

Ddwyer made a gallant flourish of a gesture with one hand exteded Gwanal. She courtsied prettily and accepted his help in stepping up onto the dias. Once she'd reached the top step, Gwanal turned to sit on the stone slab, sliding away from the steps to make room for Ddwyer while reclining on her side. Ddwyer waited until she was settled before he joined her, mirroring her posture.

Gwanal raised her hand to touch his cheek as Ddwyer curled his arm around her waist. Their eyes beginning to drift shut as their lids grew heavier, they spoke in unison.

"Good night, my brother."

"Good night, my sister."

As they leaned to touch their lips together one last time, a change came over the both of them. Wispy strands of a white, web-like substance began to secrete from their flesh. Slowly at first but faster as time passed, until the twins were firmly encased in a large white, almost iridescent coccoon.

Together. For eternity.
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