Prequel4-ThatTimeInTheWoods

1480, The Sword Coast

Onys Kiirnodel

It has been a hasty day of riding, unseasonably warm for the spring, the sisters unceremoniously ejected from the Greycloak Hills and heading southwest, both to avoid the Forest of Wyrms to the west, and to make for the farming communities in the Trielta Hills to ask the best route to the Trade Way, the road running along the Sword Coast. While the day's riding has not been overly hard, conversation has been strained. At least from Onys's perspective. Erys, of course, has seen fit to natter on all day, seemingly about whatever crosses her mind, while Onys's responses have become more and more terse as the day wears on, bordering on nigh-monosyllablic when they've stopped for the night in a small copse of oak and birch. Dinner is an equally-tense affair, the last taste of home for the two before having to resort to trail rations and whatever game they can bring down with bow and arrow or hook and rod.

Erys Kiirnodel

Erys paid little attention to where they were going, still so delighted that she'd managed to break those idiots apart. She liked the time with her sister, too, who was so sweet as to come along with her. She tried talking, but travel always tired Ona out, and though she gave it her best, the poor dear was worn down. Erys, of course, had the spark of life and love about her. And a last delicious meal with her sister, which she happily dug into, sipping the elven ale she'd brought along and shoveling the food into her mouth. Hardly the image of the traditional elven noble. But then, curiosity. Where exactly were they headed? "Ona, where are we actually going? Like, where are we going to end up?"

Onys Kiirnodel

Onys looks up, barely recognizing that she's been asked a question. There clearly seems to be something off about her attitude. "I don't know," she says, weakly.

Erys Kiirnodel

"I'm sorry, it can wait until morning if you're too tired." Erys said, voice full of compassion. "I just don't have the head for maps that you do." She laughed.

Onys Kiirnodel

Onys's face hardens at the continued frivolity. "Don't have the head for much but trouble," she mutters.

Erys Kiirnodel

Erys mistakenly laughs at her sister's not-a-joke remark. "I suppose you're right, I'm sorry you got dragged into all this. But isn't it fun that we get to be together? Isn't it great? And N'laea and Ivran are going their separate ways, too." She looks up in the sky, still so delighted at herself.

Onys Kiirnodel

Onys can't honestly believe what she's hearing and stands up. "You…you little witch. You actually think this is good? Are you mad?"

Erys Kiirnodel

A look of surprise spreads on Erys' face. "Ona, wh—-… Ona, of course it's good. It's exactly where we're supposed to be. Those two needed to be apart and if this is the cost then by the Gods, Ona, blessed are we who walk in their footsteps! I saved them from their idiot families!" She smirks, still trying to recover the rapidly deteriorating situation. "And it was nothing."

Onys Kiirnodel

Onys, eyes ablaze, stalks forward, stepping around the small campfire. "Do you even realize what you've done? No, obviously not! Idiot! Dungheap! You've ruined months of work getting those two families to reconcile! You've made our parents the shame of Evereska! They had to send you away to keep from being driven out of court entirely! Of course it was nothing, because there's nothing between your ears but lust and spun sugar!"

Erys Kiirnodel

Erys takes a step back, shocked at the sudden outward explosion of emotion. "You saw them. You saw them. They weren't in love. They were forcing it. Something had to be done. The Matrons and the rest of the nobility will recover in weeks or even days but their lives would have been over, Ona, sworn to each other in a loveless bond without any merit to it whatsoever." But her face goes red at the insult. "The nobility doesn't mean shit against people's lives, dear sister."

Onys Kiirnodel

This, it must be said, is the turning point. As necessary as it seemed at the time, this is Childhood's End. This is the thing that will still occasionally wake Onys in the middle of the night. She still thinks Erys was wrong, but… "People's lives?! What about my life?!" The descending right hand falls before Onys even recognizes she's in motion. Fingers and palm cross Erys's face in an open-handed slap that sounds like a firework in the quiet wood. "What about my life?!" she yells again, sobbing.

Erys Kiirnodel

Erys' demeanor shifts in an instant. Her whole body moves with the strike, feeling as though her very bones had been shaken roughly inside her. She held perfectly still where her sister's strike had forced her face, doing everything she could to resist the urge to do… anything. A thousand emotions suddenly flood her, suddenly made her wonder what she had done to deserve this. Silence. True silence descends on her for the first time in her life.

Onys Kiirnodel

Onys crumples inwardly, still weeping, not immediately collapsing—-wasn't she supposed to fall to the ground and weep? Wasn't that what happened to the tragic heroine, that she could stand no longer and would just wither away on the ground? However, she could not will herself to sit or fall or even walk away, her knees locked and posture stiff, trembling with rage and betrayal and a lack of comprehension at what else she could possibly have done, staring at the red mark she left behind below her sister's incandescent green eye.

Erys Kiirnodel

Erys finally allowed herself to straighten, her face burning hot, and not just around the mark itself. Though she held still, tears flowed down her face and she stared at the ground for several moments. "Is this it, then? Is this where I throw myself into the fire, seeing now what I've done to you? Is this where you realize you've always—-" Erys nearly choking on a sob, "hated me, following you around everywhere and getting into your business all the time? Is this where I hit you back?" Erys pointed to her right, trying her best, but undoubtedly getting it wrong. "You know the way home, Onys."

Onys Kiirnodel

It is, in fact, behind her and slightly to her left. However, that matters little in the moment. She tries to speak, but the words won't come. Eventually, she clears her throat, her usually clear and strong voice still wavering and rough. "I don't have a home anymore. And neither do you. And it's because of your selfishness. I have never hated you, sister, but you…you make it so hard for me to love you." She turns away, still standing, eyes burning, staring into the fire. "And so easy for everyone else."

Erys Kiirnodel

Erys just lets herself fall to her knees. Just lets herself sit in her fancy dress surrounded by the leaves and the dirt and the sticks. It would be years before they could safely return to Evereska, and she knew it. She knew she would pay this price. And it was worth it, Sune had clear plans for the other two. Clear as day, Erys was filled with righteous purpose and took them to bed. N'laea didn't even like boys. She'd saved her life. What was a few years of hardship for that? But looking now, from the ground, up at her sister, Erys could only feel the immense weight of the wound she'd inflicted, not with her hand, but with her words. Pain so intense that it taught her new ways to feel it. "Nn…" She tried, grabbing fistfuls of dirt in her hands, ruining her usually perfect nails in the process. "N-nothing is… ever… going to keep us from one another. Not this… not anything. But I'm so sorry, Ona."

Onys Kiirnodel

Onys does not reply.

Prequel4-ThatTimeInTheWoods

Phandelver + Storm King and beyond CapitalistPig peramene