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He is gone.

Somewhere far beyond her conscious self her body shivered in the cold presence of the portal, trying vainly to keep itself warm. Deep trenches marked her flesh where the dragon had savaged her with claw and fang, though the blood had ceased to flow when the cold had appeared. When Auril had appeared.

He did not even say goodbye, after all our time together.

Looking up at the heavens she could still see the cloud of ice; Hiding him from view, and bearing him away forever.

Goodbye, Payne.

Shock had numbed her body to the pain of its near-death, and what little she felt the cold had soon replaced with its own bite. It served the same for her emotions, mercifully blocking her from their full force and making her mind slow. It took her a moment to remember the other loss that had been suffered this day.

Darwin.

Memory of a millenia of grief and agony clouded back upon her, threatening to shatter the barrier her mind had created to keep itself alive. Tears began to form, freezing to crystal instantly as she remembered what Rheluron had suffered.

Oh gods. His only companion in solitude for countless centuries; A gift, given to him by his lover for protection, and forged by her tears. He gave it to me, entrusted me to use it for its wrought purpose. It selected me, thought me strong enough to wield it. And I delivered it right into the claws of a dragon. Ellisandra Kret, you are a sea-salted fool.

The rasping sound of steel being bared bled into the howling winds around her as she drew her sword.

Darwin. I will recover you. And when I do, I hope that I am strong enough to wield you once more. This I swear by your mistress, Auril, The Frostmaiden, The Queen of air and darkness. May she take me if I fail you again.

Giving a swordsman salute, Ellie returned her blade to its sheathe before taking one last look in the sky, and turning to step through the portal.
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Sam
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Forgotten Realms (4E)
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