Lesa Cromwell / Rowhaine - Disciple of Nagash
Graveclaw - Goulking88 (written by DoN with permission from Ghouly)
The months after the battle had been hard for Lesa. The purpose and cause that had driven her for so long was gone, leaving only guilt behind. The attack she had unleashed to aid Vekarin had nearly destroyed her, and a week later she awoke to find herself in the care of Rowhaine.
The Champion of Asaph had rescued her from the field, carrying her with the armies of the Tomb Kings. The skeletal legions were much reduced, and could not have afforded to linger as the realms of men and dwarf prepared to scour the weakened dead from the aftermath.
For many months Lesa rested in Khemri, welcomed thanks to her divine child. She watched with pride as Rowhaine swayed the long dead Kings, showing them that only with progress could they hope to regain the splendour of years past. In turn the Land of the Dead started to once again welcome the living, and finally two years after the destruction of Nagash the Covenant with the Nehekharan gods was forged anew.
Throughout this however, Lesa wandered like a ghost. Rowhaine tried everything he could, but the Lahmian now seemed little more than an empty shell. Month after month this continued, then one day she simply disappeared.
"Wondrous is it not?"
A grunt was the only answer, and for the first time in many months there was the soft tinkling of Lesa's laugh.
"I see you have not changed," she said, glancing over her shoulder at the hunched form of Graveclaw, "but then I would have been disappointed if you had I suppose."
"No changesss," Graveclaw agreed, stalking forward, muscles rippling under his coarse skin, "but you....you changesss."
Not for the first time Lesa remembered that under his bestial manner, Graveclaw was surprisingly astute. Something his enemies often forget at their peril. There was no answer for a while as she watched the clear water shimmer under the pre dawn light.
"It is wondrous," she finally said again, as if Graveclaw had never spoken, "once this was known as the desolation of Nagash. But with the destruction of the metronome, it had an unexpected side effect. One that no one could have seen, not even I." She gestured to the emerald green grass around then, the clear skies of fading stars, "even something that had been twisted and rotting for hundreds of years can be redeemed.....perhaps anything can be redeemed?"
That last was said almost pleadingly, and Graveclaw cocked his head as he regarded the Lahmian.
"What thingsss?" he asked, voice rumbling. Lesa felt his penetrating gaze on her before she glanced up to the skyline. There was just enough time....
Tentatively she began to speak, of her many long years. Of the prophecy of Nagash's rise, meeting Milosh, her betrayal of him and finally her manipulations to create and direct the Council against Nagash. Though the guilt inside threatened to overwhelm her, she would did not stop until the full sordid tale was told. During it all Graveclaw listened silently, as motionless as a statue.
When she finally stopped talking, the silence seemed to swallow everything. The chirp of birds started as they caught sight of the suns rays, before Graveclaw finally spoke.
"Liesss," he hissed, dark eyes glaring at Lesa. His muscles tenses and for a split second the Lahmian thought he would strike. However with a snarl the Strigoi settled back on his haunches, shaking his head.
"Liess hasss hurt Mistressss more than othersss now canss. Hurtss of the soul."
Lesa nodded her had, turning her back on Graveclaw as raised her hand in the dawn. There was only the slight reddening of her skin however, her many years granting her the will to resist the effects.
"I wanted to speak to one of you beforehand, to admit what I had done. I.....I did what I thought was right, for the greater good. I know most will never see it that way, but somehow I knew that you would listen." Looking over her shoulder she gave Graveclaw a wry smile, "one day I am sure you will finally give up this pretence. I know under the façade of the beast there flows the blood of royalty, and I have no doubt that those who think you dim-witted will come to regret this. So many don't even look further than the obvious, such as why should such an animal have the intelligence and will to stand in the light?"
If indeed was an answer, there was not one forthcoming. Graveclaw simply sat in the warming sun, no sign that it was affecting him in anyway. Their eyes met for the last time, and in that final moment he simply nodded his head.
Dipping her head respectfully in return, Lesa turned back to the sun, still caressing its rays. There was one other who she owed an apology to, one that would most likely forgive her in an instant, yet she would never stop trying to make it up to him.
Graveclaw watched as the tips of Lesa's fingers began to blacken, the darkness swiftly spreading down here arms like rot. By the time it had reached her shoulders her fingers had already started to flare and disintegrate.
It took mere moments as Mistress Lesa let her will slip and gave herself fully to embracing sun. For a second her body burned as bright as the sun itself, and then in a gust of wind she was gone, her ashes spiralling into the air and over the lake.
With a grunt Graveclaw rose.....and then rose once more as he straightened his back. In that moment an observer may have thought that not a beast, but a giant of a man stood there, especially if he had heard the last whispered words.
"Until we meet again Mistress."
In the light it was so warm. He was there waiting as she knew he would, and before she could say anything she felt him wrap his arms around here, holding her close in an eternal embrace. He knew everything, she could feel it, yet he was still here.
"Because I made a promise.........."