The Wittacre family had long ruled in the North, capturing mountains and valleys alike in a mass construct of fortune to put forth their claim to both Lordship and Kingship. It worked, long in the past when legends seemed truth, and for many a century the famed Wittacre lineage was praised for their mastery of the harsh climates. They moved on from the tall fortresses up in the mountains down to the river valleys at their feet, and build a stone castle of the greatest mankind had seen for many a millennium. Great Kaehr of the North, the Mountain Fortress some called. Many families wanted to marry off into the line, knowing that whomever they sent would be in good hands until the day they died. Others were jealous, and sought to steal what the family had earned through their ancestors bravery and strength. It is here the story begins, when the intimidating Great Kaehr was assaulted by a group of unnamed men. Assassins, they said, sent my a nameless master. The slaughter was endless. The Wittacre family was thought to be lost, but there was hope yet in the two daughters who outlived their father, mother, and brother. Catherine and Ellara Wittacre were the hope of the future. In time, they would reclaim the lost Great Kaehr Castle their bloodlines had built before them. They would rise from the ash of their failures and crush the force who dared to smite them. If only they knew who. If only they knew how. Taken in by the Roivas family, this is the true start of the story, where the sisters are nurtured by the caring family to the South. They learn here of new things, new Gods and new courts to entertain. The past trauma of their family was a distant thing, nine years passed. Some day, they believed, they would be able to go home. Color Codes (Move your mouse to reveal the content) Color Codes (open) Color Codes (close) Alexander #XXXXXX Arlo #090970 Catherine #ada317 Ellara #b84265 Maeve #a46fd9 Sir Duncan #23912e Just A Dream, #b84265 A cry pierced the night like a sword against the throat of a mortal man. All manner of beast and human ran scrambling from the innermost heart of the royal palace, but not one made it past the entryway steps. One by one the collaborated screaming trickled to a sole voice among the masses. Soldiers waited with tall pikes in hand, backed by rows of archers ready to take aim. The sounds died out, the hollow ringing of fear left a stain deep against the black canvas of the sky, everything else stained red with the blood of the house Attacre. The cry was there, and all at once silenced by an unnamed hand. She was running, the handmaiden by the name Maeve cradled a redheaded child in her arms, she being not so old as to see her first days of womanhood. Tears as well as blood streamed down the front of the child's nightclothes. Maeve prayed to every God she knew, starting with those of her country. The Life Giver Daitel, the Life Taker Chale, every other name slipped through her tongue with no great amount of significance. They had nothing to do with the slaughter of innocents, and only life mattered now, so she prayed. "Hang on my sweet." Maeve cooed the child but only received desperate spouts of gurgled blood from the edges of her lips. Little Ellara Wittacre was dying in her arms and there was nothing she could do to stop the slaughter around them. "Duncan, get your ass over here, before someone finds us!" Maeve hissed back at a shadow darting just behind her hurried steps. There were four in their party total. One handmaiden, one knight, and two terrified little girls with no imagination left as to what was lurking in the halls of their home. The man had no reply for the angered handmaiden. He busied himself with another child, older than the first. Her blonde hair was thick with matted blood, her eyes wide in horror, never once did they leave her sister's face. Little Ellara was stunned and bleeding, Catherine could do nothing but watch. "Miss Maeve, where is Edward?" Catherine asked. "Where is mother, father, why aren't they with us? Who hurt Ellara?" "Quiet, child, we need to run. No more questions." Duncan, the knight of the group hushed Catherine with a jolt of his hand forward. In his opposite was a great long sword meant for two hands. The one would do, adrenaline left him with great strength. Catherine complained against his grip but didn't ask anything else. The girl was smart enough to figure when to hold her tongue and when to speak, court had taught her that. Only, this wasn't the court. The Lords and Ladies she was used to speaking with were dead on the steps of the grounds, the lone opposing voice was an arrow in their chest, and it was best Catherine never spoke up unless she wanted to join the popular opinion. Fire rained down from the sky and set whole rooms ablaze with such ferocity the stone itself began to melt off the high rising spires. This of course, was where the memory and the dream differed. Poor Ellara could barely discern from the truth of the reality and the false memories any longer. In truth, the buildings were never on fire to begin with. There was no mage summoning forth hell to burn their home, only torches to catch to the tapestries around the grounds. Those were more susceptible to the element. Stone didn't burn, wouldn't burn, not unless it was by dragon fire. Death was at her door, and only wanted to ease the pain with memories which seemed more grand than what lay in ruin around her. From what Catherine said, as Ellara never remembered, they fled to the main road with nothing more than the very clothes on their backs. For Catherine, it consisted of her pale rose colored nightgown and a pair of mismatched slippers. Her hair was all tousled, but she insisted she'd looked good in her apparel. She feared more for Ellara's safety than what she was wearing, and she always made sure to say so. The dream only continued in fire until the woods around them were red and distorted. Soldiers screamed after them, wolves sniffed the air to catch a taste of the royal bloodline, eager for the easy kill. None of it was real, the memories weren't there to justify the feeling of pain against her skin. It was burning, hot and cold all at once, the skin at her neck was cut jagged from a would be assassins shot at taking an eight year old girl's life. He'd failed, to Sir Duncan Kelly's great liking. Ellara woke with a start. Her hand slapped hard against her neck, only to meet the pink flesh of the botched attempt on her life. Tears started to spring from the corner of her pale blue eyes but good Maeve was there to stifle the familiar cry of pain which she long associated with the nightmare. The handmaiden's soft hands wrapped around the girl's mouth, knowing that a slip of the finger meant waking the entire Northern Wing of nobles. Ellara's shaking shoulders was enough to make her sigh with pity. Even in disarray she was an image of beauty, no matter how many times she dissented. Her red hair was an uncommon sighting, even among the best bred nobles in the country. She was slender but not for lack of some form to her hips, now that she'd blossomed into a proper young lady. Ellara always compared herself to that of her sister. Tall, blonde, and sociable. They felt like stark opposites despite their relation by blood. "It has been nine years and yet you still dream." Maeve's accent was slightly reminisce of a Mountain dwelling tribe, her words felt thick, like her tongue didn't have enough room in her own mouth, but it wasn't an unpleasant sound. While cumbersome, it was warm and filled with good intent with each syllable. "Do not weep." Ellara did her best not to cry, as she did when the nightmare struck. The anniversary was coming closer and the dream only got worse with each passing night. It was the fourth time Maeve had to intervene that very week. "Your sister is alive, you are alive, that is all that matters." Maeve removed her hand from the teen's mouth and used it instead to brush her fingers against her soft red hair. Ellara leaned heavily into the touch with her hands still grasping around the wound at her throat. "Would you like some ribbon?" Maeve asked. Ellara's only response was a nod of her head. It was a silly solution to a long festering problem. Ellara hated to go out in public with anything less than a high collared vestment. She was embarrassed of the mark, even though it represented much more than a close study of death. It stood for, according to Catherine dearest, for survival and a long lasting family lineage. Others called her brave, some thought her a miracle, but Ellara couldn't allow herself to let them see the mark which had almost been the end of her. It brought about too much pain. Maeve tied a thick black length of silk around Ellara's throat and she felt better somehow. The handmaiden kissed the youth against her temple before standing to leave. "I will return when you wake, alright?" She cooed. "Do not fear, my Lady Ellara. you have nothing to fear from anyone."