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Rated: E · Short Story · Fantasy · #2309202
Background to a character from my D&D days for possible use as a prologue to a story.
In the frozen expanse of the far northern lands, a baby was born amidst a swirl of biting winds and snow-laden skies. She was fit and healthy and her parents gave thanks to their goddess for the safe arrival. They believed she was a miracle; a celestial gift sent by the Goddess from the Fires Beyond The Sky to bring peace to the tribe and end their suffering. Therefore they named her Romany which they borrowed from the distant Southern lands, translated as traveller in their native tongue.
Romany grew into a very average young girl in most respects, but she had a quick wit and seemed to hold a wisdom beyond her years. The villagers noticed her unique intellect early in her life, especially when she began to mix with the other children of village. She lacked physical prowess and was not the most attractive girl in the tribe; she would never be hailed as a striking beauty, yet despite being deficient in those areas traditionally celebrated by the tribe, she possessed a certain indefinable something. Her bright smile and her infectious laugh cast a spell on those around her, endearing her to all who encountered her radiance.
One night in Spring, a conflict arose when the herdsmen disagreed over the best grazing route for the cattle. As tensions flared, Romany, despite her young age, intervened in the heated discussion.
"You're both right," Romany began, her voice clear and resolute. "So why don't you divide the grazing time? Half the herd will follow the southern path today, while the other half will take the northern route. Tomorrow, you reverse. This way, both pastures are utilized, and the cattle get fresher grazing without exhausting one path."
At first, the herdsmen scoffed and exchanged sceptical glances, unsure about the unorthodox proposal, especially from a young girl, but Romany persisted, offering detailed reasoning and a persuasive argument that won them over. Reluctantly at first, the herdsmen agreed to the plan and as the days passed, they witnessed the benefits of Romany's innovative solution which led to healthier cattle and a newfound respect for the girl's insight.
Before long word of this clever your woman had come to the attention of the Chieftain’s daughter, Klara.
Klara, headstrong and inquisitive, recognized something exceptional in Romany. She sought out the younger girl's company, sensing a depth of insight and perception that surpassed her peers. As Romany blossomed under Klara's tutelage, she discovered the world beyond the confines of tradition and tribal lore. Klara, intrigued by Romany's hunger for knowledge and quest for truth, became her guide into the realm of literacy, teaching her to read and write. Romany's father, a seasoned herdsman, imparted lessons on the intricacies of cattle rearing, offering her a pragmatic understanding of life and birth and from her mother, she gleaned the practical arts of homemaking, mastering culinary skills and needlework. Yet, despite her proficiency in these conventional pursuits, a restlessness simmered within her.
Romany and Klara's friendship burgeoned within the backdrop of their village, an unlikely union between the Chieftain's daughter and a girl of humble origins. From their initial encounters, a unique understanding between them blossomed, built upon shared laughter, whispered secrets, and a thirst for discovery.
One crisp afternoon, Klara, concerned about Romany's well-being, took her into the royal apartments and had servants clean her. Once she was brought back to Klara, the transformation was unbelievable. Romany had long, blond hair, and a soft, gentle face. Her body was slender and lean from physical exertion of walking with the herds and lack of sufficient food. Klara grimaced as the servants returned Romany’s tattered grey cloth dress, but she knew she could not give her friend something from her own wardrobe. Then suddenly, she had an idea! Klara whisked Romany away to the opulent royal kitchens and as they strolled through the bustling corridors, the aromas of elaborate dishes filled the air.
Klara, determined to treat her friend to the indulgences of the court, approached the kitchen staff with a resolute air.
"Give Romany anything she desires," the princess instructed them. "Ensure she gets whatever she wants from our kitchens."
The kitchen staff, accustomed to fulfilling the princess's requests, took Klara's directive seriously, extending their hospitality to Romany. Over time, they continued to offer her the finest leftovers from the royal tables, eager to please the Chieftain's daughter and her close companion and Romany, relishing the rich and delectable offerings, delighted in the royal fare, savouring the flavours and textures that contrasted starkly with the meagre meals of her village. No matter how much she ate, there always seemed more available and Romany gained access to foods usually reserved for royalty and esteemed warriors; luxuries seldom tasted by the average villagers. However, she was not partaking in the rigorous physical training routines required by these people so the rich, sumptuous meals quickly had subtle effects on Romany's physique. While not particularly overweight, her exposure to a diet enriched with indulgent foods saw her quickly gain a plumper figure, especially noticeable when compared to the slender, lean appearance typical among the villagers.
In Summer, Romany and Klara embarked on a journey of exploration. The verdant expanse of the forest beckoned, shrouded in an enigmatic aura. Their youthful exuberance propelled them deeper into the woods, where secrets of the ancient trees whispered to those who dared to listen. The winding trails led past babbling brooks and through glades full of flowers. The atmosphere teemed with the vibrancy of life, an untamed wilderness brimming with the unknown. However, their carefree excursion took an unexpected turn when they stumbled upon a hunting party of the Fey—a group known for their elusive nature and often unfriendly encounters with humans.
The Fey, ethereal and enigmatic, regarded the Romany and Klara with a mixture of curiosity and wariness. Their sharp features twisted into angry scowls, and the slow flapping of their iridescent wings produced a radiant glow. Their whole bodies exuded an aura of otherworldly majesty. Klara, ever ready for action, unsheathed her sword, her stance emanating an air of defiance and readiness for battle.
Romany raised her hand in front of Klara and gently shook her head without taking her eyes from the beings in front of her. The atmosphere grew taut as they found themselves encircled by the Fey, their presence both enchanting and intimidating. Romany, was mindful of the Fey's reputation for trickery and deceptiveness, so she sought to engage in dialogue, attempting to unravel the source of the tension.
“Forgive us,” she said respectfully. “We did not intend to disturb your hunt.”
The Fey eyed Klara warily, as she maintained her fighting stance and held her sword ready.
“My companion will put her sword away to prove we mean no harm.”
Klara looked at Romany in shock, but she sheathed her sword and raised her hands, trusting the judgement of her friend.
The head huntsman flew forward and looked at Romany as she smiled sweetly. He examined her gentle face and soft features looking for any sign of dishonestly or deviousness.
"We understand the sanctity of your hunt, and we do not intend to disrupt it.” continued Romany, her voice serious and earnest. “We ask for your forgiveness for our intrusion and seek only safe passage through your lands.” The Head Huntsman seemed to ignore her as he ensured Klara had no concealed weapons. Finally, the Fey, seemed convinced of Romany's sincerity and Klara's restraint. They exchanged silent glances among themselves and after a tense moment of deliberation, the head huntsman nodded slightly, a gesture signalling a reluctant acceptance of Romany's plea.
“Be gone from these woods swiftly," he said, his voice carrying a weight of warning. "Do not cross our path again."
With a gracious bow, Romany expressed her heartfelt gratitude, and with Klara in tow, they retreated, navigating the woods swiftly and carefully, keenly aware of the Fey's watchful eyes on their departure.
The air hummed with the lingering tension of their encounter with the Fey as Romany and Klara found themselves back on the outskirts of the forest. Their eyes gleamed with a mix of exhilaration and relief, their hearts pounding in unison after the perilous confrontation. Romany even began trembling from the adrenaline coursing through her veins.
Klara, still catching her breath, turned to Romany with a mixture of awe and gratitude. "Romany, I've never seen anyone handle a situation like that," she exclaimed, admiration evident in her voice. "The way you managed to talk them down... it was incredible! You have this way with words that's just... unbelievable."
Romany, her cheeks flushed with modesty, offered a bashful smile. "I just didn't want anyone to get hurt," she replied, her words laced with a touch of self-effacement. "They're not so different from us, you know. It's just about finding common ground."
Klara's eyes sparkled with a newfound respect, a sense of realization dawning upon her. "You're something special, Romany," she said, her tone carrying a note of melancholy. "When we're older, and we have to follow our separate paths, your diplomacy and your way with words, will always be welcome at my court."
There was a brief pause, the weight of the future settling upon them, casting a shadow over the buoyant atmosphere. Klara's expression softened, and she spoke with a determined resolve. "But, Romany, no matter what happens, I'll always be here for you. I'll never let anyone hurt you. You're like a sister to me."
Romany, moved by Klara's unwavering loyalty and affection, felt a surge of emotion. She reached out, embracing Klara in a warm hug, their bond transcending mere friendship, encompassing a sisterhood forged through shared experiences and unwavering support.
“I am not going anywhere, Klara,” she whispered.
In this moment, amidst the rustling leaves and lingering echoes of their recent encounter, their connection solidified, an unspoken promise sealed—two hearts intertwined in a bond that surpassed the boundaries of time and destiny.
The frosty embrace of winter had settled upon the land, a tranquil hush enveloping the surroundings beneath the ethereal curtain of stars, the heavens a vast canvas painted with shimmering constellations. Romany and Klara lay among the herd, a pocket of warmth amidst the winter's chill, their breaths mingling with the night's whispers. The horizon stretched far and wide, blanketed by an undisturbed layer of snow that glittered under the celestial glow.
Beyond the subtle undulations of the landscape, the forest loomed like a sentinel, its dark silhouette hinting at the secrets held within its verdant depths. The distant songs of nocturnal creatures and the murmurs of the brook accompanied the night, lulling the senses into a reverie. The air bore the fragrance of pine and woodsmoke, a blend of earthy scents woven into the fabric of the night.
Klara, dressed in her least regal attire, had surreptitiously sneaked away from the comforts of the Royal Court, yearning to experience the simplicity of the villagers' lives. Her eyes scanned the dimly lit homes of the villagers, a mixture of disbelief and empathy etched on her face. Her upbringing in the opulent Royal Court had shielded her from the reality of the daily struggles faced by the common folk.
"This... this is how everyone lives?" Klara asked, her voice tinged with disbelief, her heart aching for the villagers' plight.
Romany, accustomed to the frugal existence, nodded solemnly. "Yes, this is our reality. It's not luxurious, but it's all we know.” She thought about her time with Klara. "All they know,” she corrected herself with a smile.
As they lay side by side, the chill of the night nipping at their skin through thin blankets, they gazed up at the starlit sky. The silence between them was filled with a shared understanding a bond woven from contrasting backgrounds and a shared connection stronger than societal divides.
"We come from such different worlds, Klara," Romany finally murmured, her gaze fixed on the shimmering constellations. "But somehow, we've found a way to bridge that gap."
Klara, her thoughts mirroring Romany's sentiments, nodded in agreement and silence descended again, leaving them with their thoughts. However, their contemplative moment was abruptly interrupted by a sudden rustling and dark figures, silhouetted against the moonlight, stealthily encroaching upon the herd.
“Dark Elves!” hissed Romany and she tried stand so she could raise the alarm, but she found herself pushed back to the floor. True to her promise as a protector, Klara’s instinct kicked in and she sprang into action. Her preparation came to the fore as she shoved Romany down into the shadows to protect her from the oncoming Elves and unsheathed her sword. Her royal persona slipping away to reveal the fierce warrior within. Silently, she crept through the darkness and then leapt out blindsiding the intruders. As Romany watched Klara unleash her training, she witnessed a transformation, an embodiment of fierce valour masked behind regal poise. Klara moved with a calculated grace, her sword a blur in the moonlight, an elegant dance of steel that rendered the Elves defenseless. Her sword crashed down on the helmet of the nearest Elf knocking him to the ground and with barely a moment to draw breath, she swung her weapon into the chest of the next elf. With two of their number floored within seconds, the rest of the marauders fled in panic looking for easier targets. The herd was safe for the moment,
As Klara caught her breath, Romany gazed at her with newfound admiration and respect.
"You saved us, Klara," she remarked, her voice tinged with gratitude and awe.
Klara, her breathing still ragged from the adrenaline rush, offered a humble smile.
“One day, I will be the warrior queen. This is what I train for!” she replied, her eyes burning with adrenaline. “Despite our different backgrounds, we do make a good team, Romany," she continued, their shared experience deepening their bond, each recognizing the strengths the other brought to the table.
In the coldest heart of the unforgiving winter, when the biting winds gnawed at the village's resilience, Romany and her mother found solace in the warmth of their rustic kitchen. The scarcity of provisions wasn't an unfamiliar struggle, yet their resourcefulness breathed life into the humblest of ingredients.
"We've got a few potatoes, some carrots, and a bit of meat," Romany's mother noted, surveying the meagre offerings that lay before them. "A vegetable soup with some bread will have to do."
Romany nodded in agreement, her hands deftly manoeuvring the knife through the vegetables, their vibrant hues contrasting against the bleakness outside. As they chopped and stirred, Romany’s mother cast a fond gaze at her daughter, a soft smile curving her lips.
"You're filling out quite nicely, my dear," she remarked in a teasing tone, a playful glint in her eye.
Romany instinctively tried to mask her slightly fuller form, a hint of self-consciousness flushing her cheeks. “Blame it on the royal leftovers," she retorted with a grin, attempting to cloak her mild unease with humour. Her mother chuckled in response, her tone carrying more warmth than jest.
"I'm glad to see you eating heartily, even if it does show a bit," her mother said, her words wrapped in an embrace of affection rather than critique. A gentle pat on Romany’s plump figure conveyed her pride and care. With a chuckle, she returned to her tasks, the rhythm of their cooking punctuated by shared laughter and casual conversation.
Amidst the swirling aromas of simmering soup and freshly baked bread, their camaraderie thrived. As they sat down to savour the humble yet nourishing meal, accompanied by the herdsmen who had joined them, the kitchen reverberated with warmth, laughter, and the joy of shared moments.
As time moved on, Romany's thirst for understanding extended beyond the mundane routines of her village. The tales and legends woven around their Goddess, once a source of solace and conviction for the tribe, began to appear dubious in Romany's perceptive mind. Her intellectual acumen, nurtured by her love for reading and exploration, led her to scrutinize the myths that had been held sacred for generations until, with a growing scepticism and an eloquence that belied her years, Romany dared to openly challenge the veracity of these cherished legends. Her audacity to question the sanctity of the Goddess' tales sent shockwaves through the community. The very essence of her popularity and her ability to articulate her scepticism shielded her from immediate retribution. However, the mere act of challenging the long-held beliefs was enough to label her as an outcast within the tribe's conservative circles.
While Romany's ability to voice her doubts safeguarded her from immediate punishment, it created an uncomfortable schism within the community. Her boldness teetered on the edge of defiance, threatening the stability of their traditional beliefs. The elders and devout adherents, uncomfortable with her dissenting views, watched her with a mixture of awe and apprehension. Romany's inquisitiveness had not only disrupted the harmony of their beliefs but had ignited a discord that would reverberate through the village.
Romany grappled with an internal storm, torn between her unquenchable thirst for knowledge and the comfortable familiarity of tribal traditions. The weight of her dissent weighed heavily on her shoulders, an invisible burden that threatened to pull her into the abyss of isolation. She felt the tension within the tribe, the sideways glances and hushed murmurs that followed her every move, marking her as an outsider within the community she once called home.
The following Summer, Klara came of age, officially assuming her rightful position as princess of the tribe. Her newfound status beckoned her into the world of formal training and royal responsibilities. However, this led Klara to navigate her own emotional labyrinth. Her heart ached with the weight of responsibility as her royal duties clashed with her loyalty to Romany. She found herself teetering on the edge of two worlds, one bound by obligation and tradition, the other tethered to the bond of a cherished friendship that was now crumbling in the face of irreconcilable differences.
In a heartfelt exchange, Klara revealed her inner turmoil to Romany, confessing her own doubts about the tribe's faith and traditions, but duty weighed heavy on Klara's shoulders, compelling her to prioritize her role over personal convictions. This admission strained their friendship, casting a shadow over their once unbreakable bond.
For Romany, torn between her quest for knowledge and her allegiance to her dearest friend, the choice became agonizingly clear. She stood at a precipice, torn between supporting Klara in her royal duty, sacrificing her own convictions, or pursuing her quest for truth, knowing it would distance her from Klara irreversibly. The foundation of their friendship, once a source of solace and strength, now became a battleground of conflicting ideologies and heart-wrenching choices.
The weight of their impending separation loomed heavily over Romany's heart. She paced back and forth, anxiety etched into every line of her face. The Royal Court bustled with activity, mirroring the turmoil within her.
Klara approached, her expression a blend of anticipation and apprehension. "Romany, what's wrong?" she inquired, her voice tinged with concern.
Romany hesitated, her eyes welling with unshed tears. "I can't do this, Klara," she choked out, her voice trembling with emotion. "I can't live this lie."
Klara's confusion mingled with a growing sense of dread. "What do you mean, Romany?"
"I can't ignore what I've learned, Klara," she explained, her voice laced with anguish. "I can't pretend to believe in something that I don't. I have to pursue my quest for truth, even if it means..." Her words faltered, choked by the enormity of the impending decision.
Klara's eyes widened in realization, her heart sinking with the weight of Romany's words. "No, Romany, please," she implored, her voice cracking with emotion. "Don't do this. We're more than this—our friendship means everything to me."
Tears streamed down Romany's cheeks, her heart aching with the unbearable pain of separation. She whispered, her voice barely audible amidst the turmoil in her heart. "I'm sorry."
Their friendship, once an unbreakable bond forged through shared experiences, lay shattered at their feet. Klara recoiled, a mixture of anguish and betrayal etched across her features. She stood there, frozen in disbelief, her heart torn asunder by the loss of the one person who had been her confidante, her sister in spirit.
Romany, torn between her convictions and the devastating loss of her closest friend, turned away, unable to bear the anguish in Klara's eyes. With heavy steps and a heavier heart, she walked away, leaving behind the shattered fragments of their once unbreakable bond. Despite the fact they could no longer be seen together, Klara still protected her friend from the more conservative elements of the Elder Council, refusing to let her be tried for heresy when she was simply asking questions that they could not answer.
“Perhaps if you studied as hard as Romany, you would be able to respond to her!” she shouted in the privacy of the Council Chambers, but publicly, she knew she had to denounce her friend for bringing dissent into the tribe.
The following Spring a wandering priestess arrived at the village, her presence marked by a quiet air of reverence and an air of mystery. Romany, always eager for knowledge, found herself drawn to the new arrival's teachings, fascinated by her coloured robes and the various equipment she used in the her daily devotions.
Paria, as the priestess was called, also brought something new and amazing to Romany’s life. A large round fruit, full of sweet juice. Nobody in the tribe had ever seen an orange before, and the texture, the flavour and the colour, so different from even the food served in the Royal Court, immediately convinced Romany that this was a gift the Gods! However, despite being seduced by the novelty of the orange, Romany was not naïve. As Paria preached her beliefs, Romany's curious nature propelled her to question the priestess on every facet of life, her inquisitive mind probing for answers. To her surprise, Paria had responses, thoughtful and intriguing explanations that sparked a sense of wonder within Romany.
In their discussions, Romany's vast knowledge, garnered from her upbringing and insatiable hunger for learning, came to the fore. Paria was impressed by Romany's understanding of midwifery, although it was a skill honed from tending to the village's cattle and not entirely accurate for humans, and her proficiency in reading, which was a very rare trait among common villagers this far north.
Intrigued by the priestess's teachings, Romany eagerly took all the literature she could, despite the village's restrictions. Knowing their daughter's thirst for knowledge was exceptional, Romany's parents clandestinely assisted her in hiding the forbidden texts, trusting her innate wisdom and insatiable curiosity. As Paria departed, promising to return, Romany harboured a newfound sense of intrigue and excitement; an awakening of her quest for knowledge and truth that stretched far beyond the boundaries of her humble village.
Late at night, by candlelight, Romany's deep dive into the priestess's teachings ignited a transformation within her. With each passing day, her mind embraced the philosophy and wisdom contained in the forbidden texts, finding a resonance that stirred her soul. Determined to embody these newfound beliefs, Romany returned to the royal court for the remnants of the lavish meals. The kitchen staff, recognizing her from previous visits, readily handed over the spare food, assuming she would indulge in the sumptuous fare.
However, this time, Romany, driven by her newly acquired principles, carted the leftovers back to her humble home. She urged her mother to blend the rich ingredients with locally grown vegetables, coaxing her into crafting hearty pies for the villagers.
Romany's fervour to share the abundance with her fellow villagers mirrored the essence of the teachings she had absorbed.
“For is it not written that wherever the crowd gather, they shall receive the pies of abundance!” cried Romany as her earnest dedication to providing nourishment to the community, albeit from unexpected sources, became a testament to her unwavering commitment to these newfound beliefs.
The aroma of freshly baked pies lingered in the air, a tantalizing scent that danced through the village, beckoning curious noses. Romany's act of kindness had swiftly spread through the cobblestone pathways, drawing villagers near her modest dwelling like bees to honey. Excitement pulsed through the air, mixing with murmurs of appreciation and wonder.
However, as the scent reached every corner of the village, it carried with it more than just the promise of a hearty meal. Whispers, initially hushed and furtive, began to traverse the winding streets like wildfire. Scepticism simmered beneath the surface, mingling with the aroma that had initially sparked joy.
Older villagers, rooted in the traditions passed down through generations, cast wary glances at Romany's house. Their furrowed brows betrayed their unease as they exchanged concerned whispers, their wrinkled faces etched with anger.
"That girl's gone too far this time," grumbled one, his gruff voice barely concealing his disapproval. "Bringing foreign beliefs into our village, disrupting our way of life!"
The village square, usually a bustling hub of jovial chatter, now housed clusters of villagers engaged in heated discussions. Arguments flared among the villagers, dividing the once tightly-knit community.
"Romany means well! She's trying to help!" defended some, rallying behind Romany's act of generosity and attributing it to her goodwill.
"She's undermining our traditions! Disrupting our peace!" countered others, their voices raised in frustration and fear of change.
As the sun dipped low on the horizon, casting an orange glow over the village, tensions rose. The conflict that had been brewing in hushed tones now spilled onto the streets, transforming the once harmonious atmosphere into a battleground of conflicting ideologies.
In the fading light, Romany's home stood as a silent witness to the growing divide within the village. The scent of the pies lingered, a fragrant reminder of the conflict brewing among the villagers. It was a turning point that marked a fracture in the unity of the community, with Romany unwittingly at the centre of a storm fuelled by her act of generosity and the clash of beliefs. Accusations of challenging tradition and sowing dissent circulated through whispers in the village square and this time Klara was unable to protect her friend.
The Elders called on Romany to answer their charges, however, armed with the teachings from the Paria's literature and her broader learning, Romany stood firm in defending her choices. She articulated her beliefs eloquently, citing the wisdom she had gleaned from the forbidden texts and challenging the conventional beliefs tied to the Fire Beyond The Sky.
Romany stood before the council, her gaze steady and her words deliberate. "You argue that our way of life needs to be protected from new ideas," she began, her tone respectful but firm. "But if this is the case, how will our life ever improve? We must allow new ideas and new thoughts; we must question if there is something better. If you are so afraid that a new idea will change our life so much, then you must believe that our ideas are wrong!"
Her words echoed in the chamber, the weight of her conviction evident in her unwavering stance. "Progress doesn't stem from stagnation," she continued, her voice resonating with passion. "It arises from questioning, from challenging what we know. If our traditions and beliefs are truly strong and just, they will withstand scrutiny and adaptation. If they cannot endure the test of time or open inquiry, then perhaps they are not as unshakeable as we have been led to believe.
Romany's gaze swept across the assembled Elders, a fervent determination burning in her eyes. "Our ancestors, I believe, didn't adhere blindly to old ways; they evolved and adapted. They embraced change to better our lives. We owe it to them to do the same. Let us not fear change, but rather, let us embrace it as a catalyst for growth and improvement."
Her arguments, bolstered by her newfound knowledge and unwavering conviction, quelled the dissenting voices among the villagers, leaving her critics silenced once again. But her use of the new religion to counter the established beliefs of the Fire Beyond The Sky drew concern and officially brought her into conflict with Klara, who, in her official capacity as princess, struggled to reconcile her friendship with Romany against her duties to uphold the traditional beliefs of their tribe.
Summoned to the Royal Court, Klara explained that Romany was sixteen now and she could no longer hide her heresy behind the fact that she was not of age. Klara begged her friend to reconsider and denounce her new religion, fall in line and return to court as a diplomat and adviser, but Romany could not accept and that left Klara only one option.
“I have to be seen to uphold the law,” said the Princess. “I certainly cannot show any sort of favouritism! And the law is very clear that your crimes will lead to banishment. Please Romany, denounce your new God and accept the Fire Beyond he Sky. In public at least!”
Romany shook her head, “I am sorry, Your Highness, I cannot do that.” Despite the formality, Klara could see the pain and sadness in Romany’s eyes. However, unable to overlook Romany's persistent challenge to tribal beliefs, Klara was compelled to enact the banishment, an official declaration that severed Romany from the tribe.
Paria returned to the village as promised and Romany seized the opportunity, realising that her path could no longer align with the tribal beliefs. She sought refuge and solace in the teachings of the priestess and, with a heavy heart, approached her with a plea to join her on her journey. So at the tender age of sixteen, Romany left the only life she knew and headed South to the populated cities and the main temple of her new God, J’Mhil.
Yet, after the finality of the declaration, in a bittersweet moment concealed from prying eyes, Klara stole a fleeting moment to bid her friend a silent farewell. Under the cloak of darkness, when no eyes observed, Klara sought out Romany, casting aside her regal obligations momentarily to stand beside her friend one last time. Their farewell was wordless, but the hug they shared in the quiet night spoke volumes. It was a poignant exchange, marked by shared smiles, a tight embrace and silent tears. In that moment, Klara, burdened by duty, yet clinging fiercely to the bonds of their friendship, bid Romany a heartfelt farewell, acknowledging their shared past, and silently wishing her friend well on her new journey.
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