With force of will, Moira kept the rotation of her body moving. Arching her powerful legs, she came onto the ball of her feet, while applying extra effort to the thrusting of her hips, forcing her upper torso through their revolution much quicker. This maneuver would cause Moira to become momentarily unbalanced, she knew, but her mind was giving commands for self-preservation, and the body was instinctively following.
A sharp pain on her left side quickly answered Moira's desperate movements. The delicate fabric of her tunic had been breached, the soft skin below the slight material, cut. But the majority of the blow had been averted and the small cut did not seem life threatening.
Her room, like most permanent sleeping quarters within the guildhall, was quite small. Her bed, a dominating piece of furniture, occupied almost all of the room's available floor space. To the left side of this bed was a small gap, giving just enough space for Moira's chest of personal things. This is where Moira was standing, the lid of her chest still remained open. Part of it’s contains, precious letters from her brother Khalid in Athkatla, were spread not to carefully onto her bed. A few she had hurriedly opened.
This limited space made quick movements quite hazardous. Even an act as simple as spinning around could quickly prove disastrous. Also, Moira's actions had caused her to lose her equilibrium, and the control of her rapidly turning body. Her right shoulder crashed abruptly into the wall. There would be a mark there if she happened to live long enough for the bruise to develop.
Beyond her chest of personal treasures, in the far corner of her room stood the quarterstaff that Keldorn Firecam had given her so many years ago.
She had been an unresponsive child when her father had rescued her. There were no memories of her five years of captivity, so the terrors of her last night in Athkatla, and the death of her mother still remained fresh in her mind. It was as if these horrors had lain dormant, and were allowed now to spring forth as a release to cover even greater nightmares.
Many years prior, a small group of knights from the Most Nobel Order of the Radiant Heart had been slaughtered. Although trickery had been used to bring two apposing groups into combat, the knights had been completely overwhelmed by the magic users the other group possessed, and all had been killed.
A young squire by the name of Anomen Delryn, from the same Order, had been a member of the apposing party. Upon his return to Athkatla, Squire Delryn appeared before the Order's Prelate to testify about the fallen knights. Squire Delryn reported of the knights' bravery and valiant efforts during their brief encounter. And even though they had been quickly overwhelmed, each had held to their honor with the highest of regards.
Due to young Anomen's testimony, and that of others that had witnessed or been involved, the Prelate decreed that a small branch of the Most Nobel Order of the Radiant Heart be permanently stationed within the Whispering Hills. Located close to the location where these valiant men had fought and died, so that proper honor and respect would be attributed to them.
Sire Keldorn Firecam, one of the Orders oldest and most honored Paladins, was chosen to lead in the establishment of this new branch.
This is where Keldorn found himself that night the streets of Athkatla boiled in blood… The very night the body of the youngest of his two daughters, Vesper, was found mangled.
Devastated, but still dedicated, the old paladin worked tirelessly. And three months later provisions and accommodations were established. Keldorn brought his remaining daughter, Leona, and Maria his wife out to join him at Whispering Hills.
It was here that Anomen Delryn brought his estranged daughter. Even though Anomen was no longer a member of the Order, both he and Keldorn were in service to Helm, and thus had stayed, somewhat loosely, associated with each other.
But now there was a child involved, a child in need of desperate help. Keldorn Firecam could not turn away such a duty.
The young Moira was unresponsive and withdrawn, but the aged knight was also unyielding in the pursuit of his goal. With the eager help of both his wife and daughter, the inward Moira began the slow process of blooming into a young and active child.
It was during this time that Moira was introduced to the quarterstaff. Not being able to trust the estranged child with other, sharper, weapons, the staff seemed a natural fit for her young hands. And so her training with the weapon had commenced.
The Firecam family treated little Moira as one of their own, and Moira's childhood was once more finding happiness. This was to be short lived.
After a few quick years had passed, Imoen came to visit the Firecams. It was feared that the factions that had gathered in Athkatla might once again be gaining in strength, and that it would be unwise for Moira to remain in one place for to long of time.
Imoen had spent the past few years building contacts within certain cities to the north. She was quite certain that she could now safely move Moira between these cities without to many people knowing who she was, where she was… or what she was.
Only if she had had more time, she would feel more comfortable with her far-flung contacts. But time was one thing, when one talked of Moira, that there never was enough of.
Time or happiness…
It was rumored that the staff given to Moira by the elder Firecam was not an ordinary training stick. It was made of harden wood and included a couple of special 'enchanted enhancements' that would aid its young welder when the time came for the staff's use.
And time for its use had arrived, but the quarterstaff stood just outside her immediate reach. With her attacker now fully in her room, Moira felt she did not have the precious moments needed left to her to retrieve it.
Slowly she began to speak the words while waving her hands. A shimmering orb began to materialize within the space between her hands. It was time to bring those forces stored within her to light.
He had fully underestimated the speed and agility of his mark.
And now Pa'Tria found himself sprawled out atop a soft mattress with a scattering of papers covering his head. He had tried to quickly slash at Moira from right to left and then back again, but he was quite certain that he had completely missed his intended victim.
His first plan was quite simple. Enter the girl's room, stab her, remover the trinket the man down in the main hall had given her, and then leave quietly. Simple, effective, workable.
But as he neared the room of his intended prey another strategy was quickly envisioned. One where his great bulk was straddled over the girl's helpless form. It would be sheer delight, as he pictured her feeble body struggling beneath his superior bulk. He would watch as her very essence leaked slowly out from his hands, while holding the very prize he would claim in front of her screaming face.
'Lunge!' Pa'Tria thought congealed excitedly the closer he came. Use his weight advantage, for he was sure he greatly out weighted the other's frail form, easily pinning the child.
This would no longer be a quite attack! He, Pa'Tria, The Greatest Assassin of All the Destroyers, would proudly proclaim his deed as loudly as he could.
Eagerly, Pa'Tria had approached the closed door, all muscles tense in preparation for his brutal attack as the door slid open.
Most of Pa'Tria's victims spun to their right when attacked. Most people were right handed and wanted to bring the weaker side in line with the attack as a shield, saving their stronger side for the counter.
And this is exactly what Pa'Tria's intended had done. She had spun to her right. But Moira had not been facing the door when Pa'Tria had slid it open, and going right was only taking her farther away from Pa’Tria’s knife.
Pa'Tria recognize almost immediately his error. His mind had already pictured how the act was to be accomplished, and, believing the deed preordained, all that was necessary was for him to go through the motions. Pa'Tria would be heralded Supreme Assassin of All the Destroyers!
Pa'Tria had worked for the guildhall for only a few short months. As an accomplished assassin, he already had an established string of safe houses and places to sleep, so he never found the need to enter the Guild’s offered rooms.
They were small rooms! Real small! Pa'Tria's knees could attest to this, having rammed both into the footboard of a bed that was no more then a small step inside the room. The footboard of the bed that he now found himself upon.
Slowly, gingerly, Pa'Tria pulled himself up from the bed. No more sudden movements! This would now become a slow, agonizingly painful, death!
That was when he heard her chants. 'This witch was going to use magic!' Pa'Tria thought. But at such a young age, she could know no more then two or three spells, and they could not be that powerful.
A wicked grin slowly spread across the assassin's face, he could wait out this witch's useless spells!
Then suddenly everything went black…
Moira watched as the newly form orb left her and sail unerringly the short distance towards her assassin. Followed closely by a look of confusion upon the man's face. She knew that blinding would not stop this attacker. In such a small room he would not need to see to put his blade deep into her heart. But his momentary pause gave Moira the necessary time she needed. This time she reached for and secured Keldorn's gift.
Moira was able to easily deflect her assailant's next attack, but now she was sure that he was aware the she was now armed. 'Go for the legs.' Keldorn's voice flooded her thoughts. 'Take your opponents base of power away from them.' He tutored. With quick practiced movements Moira hocked the end of her staff behind the assassin's knee, and with all her might, pulled his legs upwards.
Pa'Tria suddenly found himself falling over backwards within his own personal darkness. Something hard struck the back of his head, but the falling never stopped.
Moira watched as her would be assassin crumpled to the floor. She heard the sound of the man's head hitting the footboard of her bed. Stunned she heard a small moan escaped from her downed attacker's lips, and watched as his head tilted further to on side. A small pool of red that had not been there before, became clearly visible.
'I've killed him!?! I've killed a man!' Panic raced through Moira. She had never before used her staff on another individual with the intent to harm them. She had only practiced… only practiced.
She had to get out of here… she needed some air… she had to… Pa'Tria's body lay before her, within the doorway. The only out… she had to step… step over…
The balcony, and freedom, now opened up before her.
“Moira..?” The voice came from her right, there also came a sudden flash of metal.
Knife!! But Moira was ready now. Her staff came up between the man's legs with all the force she could apply, and was answered with a satisfying moan.
Another flash, this one to her left!! Quickly she pulled her staff across the front of her body and heard the distinct cracking sound of wood meeting bone as her staff's blunt end caught this assailant in the head.
And now in front of her… they were all around. She moved quickly, reaching the first steps that lead down to the main floor, and her only route to freedom. Here, unlike in her small room she had more space to maneuver her weapon. As she approached the figure that arose in front of her, she looped the staff over her head allowing her hands to slide down to one end, letting the harden wood build up momentum, before striking out at the head that loomed in front of her.
She felt power surge though her veins as her attack came close to completion. Then suddenly her staff stopped moving, and was being held against all her efforts.
“No…” Moira felt her knees give under her. “no… no…”