Alone, and Alone Together

When Peregrine left, he headed for his homeland, an area of the forest near the main temple of Ehlonna. He planned to search out some deer for horn and some yew and other wood, with which he could craft himself a masterwork longbow and some special arrows. Hunting this great deer took time, and he wanted to take wood from a special tree, a tree which his uncle and his father had planted when he was born. The tree, now a quarter-century old, would provide him with good wood for his bow, and out of respect he asked his Huntress to allow him to heal the scar he would leave on its now-sturdy trunk. He then returned to his family's house, still empty after all these years. While there, he noticed an odd glint in the stream near his house; at the bottom of a 6'-deep slow-water section of the stream, he saw a sword. He immediately recognized it, stripped down, and dove in to retrieve it. When he got out of the water, he sat staring at it until he realized how frozen he was. He then dragged his gear inside his house and lit a fire to dry himself. While waiting to dry, he drew the sword; as soon as he did, it showed him a flashback of the night his family was killed. It revealed that the man had taken it and tried to use it on Peregrine's brother, but the sword forced itself to turn aside. Peregrine wept for a while, then silently stood and took his sword off; he replaced it with his father's sword, sliding his old longsword into his quiver. He then left immediately to find Damir and Emby and continue on their quest.
While Peregrine fulfilled his quest, Damir and Emby awaited his return. Most of their time for the first few days was taken up by chores, as the wilderness isn't very safe at all in the deep of winter. Damir was, unusually for him, not acting like he normally did. The adventuring, the fighting, the killing, everything he'd been through was taking a heavy toll on Damir, and he decided to use this time away from the world to figure himself out. Emby noticed after a while that he was using smaller and less complex words and sentences, being more straightforward and less diplomatic, and seemed rather tired and worn out. Damir and Emby spent some time chatting with each other during the days; Damir had been noticing that Emby seemed tired and grumpy every morning, but she became more herself after a few hours. On the fourth day of them being alone together, Damir went to Emby's tent in the early afternoon to talk to her. They chatted for a while about various things, mainly about the possibilities in their budding relationship, and snuggled. After a couple hours, Emby asked if Damir had been having problems sleeping. He told her that he hadn't, and asked her if she wanted to talk. She admitted to having nightmares and told him sobbingly about her last nightmare, which involved her turning him into a monster lure and ultimately feeding him to a wyvern. He held her and told her she might be having nightmares because of the stress. He told her that he would be there to talk about it should she ever need to, and then he continued to just hold her for a while. Eventually, her sobbing stopped, and she began to calm down; snuggling against him, however, soon turned to kissing him, and then she began groping a little. Damir stopped her from pulling off his shirt but interrupted her apology with another kiss. She snuggled against him for a while after that and eventually drifted off in his arms. Damir watched her for a while, then kissed her gently on the forehead and drifted off to sleep against her. In the morning, Damir woke up and saw Emby still lying in his arms. He didn't move and let her sleep, but soon enough she woke, too. Damir was ready to wish her good morning, but Emby freaked and sat bolt upright. She started babbling about something unimportant and talking way too fast, obviously uncomfortable. Damir stood and told her that he'd be in his tent when she wanted to talk, then left. He then sat in his tent and worked on some music for a while, until finally Emby came over and asked if he was busy. Damir asked if she was ready to talk about last night, and her demeanor immediately turned from light and noncommittal to pale and frightened. Damir told her he'd wait, but she said, "No, I can handle it. Ask away." Damir said, "Okay, I'll start with the hard questions. How far would you have taken things last night if I hadn't stopped you?" Emby slowly answered that she'd been looking for comfort, not sex. When asked, she admitted that she'd just panicked at the realization of their closeness. Damir told her that they had the same problem, closing off from each other, just to different degrees. He told her that he just wanted her to open up to him, and he knew it would take time. He then explained that he was just flying too high from the fulfillment of one of his biggest fantasies the previous night, and when she reacted as she did, it cut him deep. They apologized to each other, and then held each other a while longer. Damir asked if Emby would stay with him again tonight, telling her that he really wanted to wake up in her arms again. They talked for a short while about sex, Emby admitting that she'd fantasized about Damir since he'd given her the ring, and Damir admitting that he'd had his share of fantasies about her as well. Emby asked Damir if he'd like to try becoming a little more intimate, and Damir told her that she should stop him as soon as she became uncomfortable. Damir let his hands roam her stomach and back, but kept himself from groping her; he did, however, nuzzle and kiss her neck as she ran her hands over his back and chest. When she started caressing him strongly, he pulled away briefly and pulled his shirt off, then pulled her to him and kissed her deeply. She clung to him for a minute, nearly climbing him as they passionately kissed, but then pulled away and said that they should probably stop. Damir agreed, took a deep breath, and then moved an arm's length away and sat down. Emby asked if she'd had an effect on him, and he said, "Why do you think I'm sitting way over here?" Damir came back over to cuddle with her for a little after a few minutes. Emby suggested that they take a walk to cool off because he had nibbled on her ear a little. Damir agreed and stood, saying, "Cute pointy ears," with a smirk, but that upset Emby. Damir apologized to her, saying he didn't know that would upset her, and she told him they'd talk about it later. They then took their walk. Then they returned to the tent and studied for a while. That evening, Emby started the conversation rather suddenly by telling Damir that he made her feel human. Damir talked to her about that for a bit, finding out that she didn't always feel comfortable because of her heritage. Damir sympathized with her, telling her that he only thought of her as Emby, not as human, elven, or half-elven. Emby told him about the people she knew and how they'd reacted, and told him that only Malicor and Miss Bliss had made her feel as comfortable being herself as he did. She told him how things had gone when she first met Dextra, Brokk, Malicor, and the people at Mount Pon (listed in Emby's notes, above). Damir listened to her, holding her, and after a while they went to bed together and drifted off in each other's arms again. The next morning, Damir again awoke first. When Emby woke up, she pretended to still be asleep, so Damir leaned over to kiss her. She still played possum, so Damir started nuzzling her until she cast Chill on his pants, then he chuckled and got up, bidding her good morning. She asked how he'd slept, and he told her wonderfully; he then asked her, and she said she'd slept well, too. He told her that he was glad she was not having nightmares anymore, and they agreed it might've just helped that she spoke to him about it. They then cuddled a bit, and when Damir told Emby that he loved her, she returned the statement. Damir told her that she couldn't imagine how good it felt for her to tell him that she loved him. After a while they separated, did their chores, and then studied for a while. Again that night they slept together, but in the morning when Damir woke he began to kiss her. This made her slightly uncomfortable after a little while, and she asked Damir if they could sleep apart the next night. Damir agreed that he'd lost control that morning, and that it might be best if they slept apart that night. Emby then tried to appease Damir a bit by offering him some cuddle time. He agreed that would be an unbeatable deal, and they made out for a little while before beginning their normal chores. Emby noticed (and Damir realized) that the time he spent with her seemed to calm and even out Damir. She had confronted him near the beginning of the week about his tiredness and spoken to him at length about how this stuff was affecting him. He told her that he'd been feeling tired and why, and she asked him to keep being himself for her since she felt she was actually getting to know a lot about him now. He told her he'd try. After they slept next to each other for a couple days, though, Emby noticed that Damir seemed less tired and happier, perhaps even content. Damir and Emby didn't talk about this, however.

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