11th of Sun's Hand, the Year of Theirdas
“You do not mean to keep this girl, do you Theriion?”
“Give me a reason not to, Jor’en.”
“We weren’t supposed to leave any survivors.”
“You saw her out there, don’t be a fool. She’s a natural.”
The two men looked over the edge of the forest, staring out at their handiwork with smug looks on their faces. The village of Stagmoor sat quietly in embers, smoke drifting through the air and over the bodies that were left to burn and rot. A boy no older than nine could be seen making his way down the main street, a trembling girl at his side. She was a petite child, maybe five or six, and she had her hands over her eyes as he guided her around the death that filled the streets.
“Morali will be furious. How do you plan on handling this when he finds out? Let alone convince the girl to come with you?”
“Do not underestimate my resources, Jor’en. Now leave, I do not need your filthy tongue spewing cowardly nonsense in front of my son. Take the men back to camp and reward them for their successes.”
Jor’en stood there, his sharp Wild Elf features hardening in contempt before he turned and walked away. A moment later, the two children were at Theriion’s feet. The little boy patted the girl on the back, whispering some words of comfort before facing his father with as much bravery in his stance that he could muster.
“What do we have here, Auri?” Theriion said, his voice firm and full of control. Auri stared up at his father and took a deep breath.
“I found her in a tree, sir.” Theriion gestured to Auri to move to the side, and looked the girl over. She was tall for her age, almost reaching Auri’s height. Her skin, though dirty, could be seen as pale as fine porcelain and it complimented her long sandy hair.
“Child, move your hands from your face so that I may look at you.”
The child hesitated, but did as requested. Theriion’s brow raised for a moment, but he quickly had his face settle back into apathy. For a simple wood elf, she was unique. Unlike her brethren, her features weren’t as sharp but had found a subtle medium between velvet and bone. She had big round eyes, as blue as the Drathirian sky with flecks of green, and strong brows to contrast it all. He had never seen the likes of her before. The silence had begun to overwhelm Auri, and he quickly moved to stand in front of the girl.
“Don’t hurt her, Father. Can we take her home with us? Please?”
Theriion was silent, an answer which Auri was never comfortable with. There was no certainty in it. However, Theriion had already decided when he first saw her in the village. She was a fighter, and had managed to survive when no one else in the village could. She did not give in to weaknesses even when it seemed there was no hope, but had fought back against his men’s forces and survived. Yes, he would keep her. Work would need to be done, and he would have to contact his resources in order to take care of this memory of hers--but it would be done.
She would be his greatest accomplishment yet.